Carb Nite and Carb Backloading

cbl

This post is way past due.  It’s time I told you all about my experience with two secret weapons I have been experimenting with for a while now.  Those of you who listen to our podcast (on iTunes here) will remember our good friend, Kiefer, on episode 84.  He is brilliant and very well versed in the art of helping people lose fat.   Through his extensive research he developed Carb Nite and Carb Backloading, his tried and true fat loss plans.  Kiefer is not a paleo guy, but both plans can be made paleo by simply following his guidelines while choosing paleo friendly foods.  Those of you who know me and my work will understand that I have not talked too much about Carb Nite and Carb Backloading before now because I like to be sure of what I promote to you guys.  Well, I’m sure now.

Carb Nite, the more widely used of the two, is a basic fat loss plan for anyone looking to get their metabolism back to a healthy place and lose body fat.  If I were to guess, I would say more women use Carb Nite than men, but I am only speculating.  The general premise is about timing carbohydrate consumption to allow for maximum glucose control while still giving your body enough carbs to keep hormones in line and keep you from living forever in ketosis.  Some people seem to do okay in ketosis for long periods, but I believe most people (myself included) function much better and experience better energy levels when not in ketosis.  I have tested Carb Nite on many different clients now, admittedly all female so far, and have seen some excellent results.

Carb Backloading is mostly aimed at men, but many women use it, too, if the way they exercise is conducive to the plan.  Similar to Carb Nite, carbohydrate timing plays a big role, but an integral component of Carb Backloading is heavy lifting.  If you are interested in losing fat while keeping as much muscle mass as possible, Carb Backloading is amazing.  I have used it personally and it works like clockwork for me.

Both plans are easy to implement and easy to maintain, especially when compared to the ridiculousness of the many forms of starvation diets out there.  If you are already eating a paleo diet, or even if you aren’t, these plans are simple enough to add to your health and fitness journey wherever you happen to be.  Okay, I’m done.  Go check out Carb Nite and/or Carb Backloading.  You won’t regret it.

*Affiliate links are used in this post.

Comments

  1. NRC says

    Good post, Jason.

    I think a lot of people can benefit from these protocals. I’m 6 weeks into Carb Backloading (CBL) so I thought your readers may like my thoughts.

    First, I’d only suggest Carbnight or CBL to folks who have first dialed in their Paleo for a while (Kiefer would certainly disagree). The fact is, switching from a standard American diet to Paleo is, almost by default, drastically less carbohydrate-focused so assuming fat loss is the goal, most people will have a good amount of success with this major change alone.

    Second, and partly related to the above, people should be aware that both protocols rely upon one (Carbnight) or several (CBL) carb dumps per week, while remaining ultra low carb the remainder of the time. In my expereince, deviation from the program even just a little scuttles the potential benefits and can lead to fat GAIN. For example, if you’re doing CBL but “slip” and go over, say, 30 grams of carbs a few days that are not your designated CBL nights, and if you go a little TOO crazy on one of your designated carb nights, then you lose the benefit of CBL. Also, there is somethign to be said for living (and eating) Paleo without designated carb dumps (i.e., cheat days) insofar as pshychology is concerned. What I mean by that is by living for a pre-designated cheat day, or cheat days, you’re telling yourself that you’re depriving yourself the other days of the week. Also, folks should know that both protocals call for high glycemic index carbs, and Kiefer suggests stuff like pizza, pie, ice cream, etc… works best. Again, it’s easy to “go off the rails” on these programs in many ways. Carbnights can easily turn into CarbWeekends or Carbweeks, for example.

    Finally, a fair amount of thought should be put into whether you do CBL or Carbnight. On a recent podcast, Kiefer stated that most people on CBL probably should be doing Carbnight and that CBL is really a protocol for “athletes” (however you define that). I think Carbight should be the default for most people.

    For what it’s worth, here’s my expereince, so far. I’m a 5’7 male weighing 150 pounds, down from 200 lbs. Despite the weight loss, I was (am) still a little squishy in the midsection. I lift heavy (well, “heavy” for me) three times a week and sprinkle in some Brazillian Jiu Jitsu a few times a weeek. I was looking for some “late game tweaks” to lose the belly fat but I also did not want to lost any more “weight.” CBL seemed like a good protocol to accomplish this. Befor startign CBL, I weighed myself, took a bunch of measurements and took before pics. I also calcualated my body fat percentage using calipers. I know this is imprecise and I may not have even done it corrrectly but I figured I’d at least have a baseline. After 6 weeks, I have gained 6 pounds but my measurements, including abdominal circumfrence, remain the same. My body fat perecentage is down to 12%. So, at least looking at those numbers, the protocol appears to be helping me to accomplish my goals. I’m getting stronger and losing body fat without losing weight. That said, my squishy midsection is still very much there and I wonder where I’d be if I would have just proceeded with my lifting/BJJ using a strict Paleo diet and inserting some sweet potato or white rice three times a week post workout, instead of possibly overdoing it with the “good” carbs Kiefer suggests.

    Anyway, I hope folks find this helpful.

    • Jason says

      Thanks for this! I agree, most people with fat loss goals should do Carb Nite. I don’t think carb nights need to be cheat days, though. My wife is doing Carb Nite and she loads carbs with paleo friendly starches like sweet potatoes. She has never not eaten these foods, so they aren’t a cheat, she is just eating them at different times now.

      Thanks for sharing your results. Powerful stuff!

  2. Kristi says

    So I guess I do “carb back-loading” (didn’t know this was a branded term) if I strength train before eating carbs, and I do “carb nite” if I eat my carbs in the evening? I think I’m doing both most days :) I’m female, and it definitely works for me. Keeping carbs out of the morning keeps my energy and mood stable, and then at night, the carbs help me build muscle after strength training, as well as sleep better.

    • Joe says

      Kristi- ‘Carb Nite’ refers to a protocol of eating very low carb (~30g/day) for all but one ‘nite’ of the week, that ‘nite’ being about a 6 hour window during which a large amount of high-glycemic carbs are consumed.

      Carb Backloading is eating one’s carbs in the evening after a workout.

      It sounds like what you’re doing is Carb Backloading, or close to it :)

      • Kristi says

        oh ok, thanks! I wouldn’t think that the Carb Nite kind of protocol would be favored by women–that’s interesting.

    • Jason says

      Carb Backloading isn’t quite that simple. It sounds like you are carb cycling, but Kiefer’s plan has a few more specifics that make it more beneficial than old school carb cycling.

  3. Matt S says

    Informative that you support these methods, but some examples of success wold be nice. Even a few details of the changes made would be helpful, though I understand you can’t give away too much as that would eliminate the need for the books.

  4. jess says

    Thanks for the info Jason, having listened to you for a long time now, I know it would take a lot for you to endorse something! I have a zillion questions, but my main ones would be would Carb nite still be recommended to someone with Hypothyroid issues, as far as I’m aware it can be unite detrimental for T3 conversion to be too low carb, and also, I’m under the impression that someone who is metabolically deranged needs to work pretty hard to get into ketosis, would this therefore not be as effective for someone like this?

    As a side note for people discussing carb selection, I think I recall Kiefer saying on a podcast that if he were to rewrite Carb Nite he would have chosen better sources of carbs to suggest, (although I know he is not a massive advocate of Paleo per sey), and at the time he was going on the goal of fat loss and the effectiveness of the program therefore all carbs would be equal in that premise. Of course if your doing this with optimal health as a goal as well, you would stay away from processed food and stay with the natural carbs, it all boils down to your goals folks, as anything in life.

    • Jason says

      I have not personally used Carb Nite with someone with more than moderate hypothyroidism, but I just shot Kiefer a text with this question. His response: Absolutely, it is very effective for that group.

  5. shane says

    Thanks for the post. I hope you write a few more detailed posts on CN and CBL in the future. I have used CN in the past with good success and have been back on it for 2 weeks now. Kiefer is one of my favorite Gurus and hope you can get on his podcast. If you could maybe do a sample week of meals for your wife and you on CN and CBL that would be awesome.

    • Jason says

      I’m not sure that I could break it down that far without giving away Kiefer’s books. He’s a friend and I would really like to see everyone purchase his book, but I will post results from my wife and people in the gym as they unfold.

  6. jennifer says

    The two websites for those plans raise every red flag about a scam that one can put into a design. “Price goes up soon!” “I was shocked!” lots of red text, exclamation points, and of course “The results are unbelievable!” The Sham-wow guy would be proud.

    That is unfortunate, because assuming the plans are legitimate, the presentation of the material turns off readers like me and I will not be purchasing. I’m actually very surprised you are endorsing this – although you did say he is a personal friend.

    • Jason says

      Good call. If something feels like a scam to you, don’t spend your money. I can only report what I know. The acceptance part is purely your business.

    • NRC says

      I agree – - the heavy-handed marketing is off-putting. I’m on Kiefer’s email dist list and just got an email stating that Carb Nite is the “Only Diet That Kills Fat Cells.” I know we all have to make a buck but, c’mon, there are ways to promote yourself without resorting to this kind of shtick. The weird thing is that Kiefer himself, if you listen to his interviews and his podcast, presents himself as somewhat of a contrarian who often criticizes the mainstream (and not so mainstream) fitness/nutrition industry for engaging in these very same tactics. Regardless of the way the message is presented, I think the message has a lot of value. Just my opinion.

    • Lindsey says

      I just jumped over to the website to check it out and thought the same thing. Everything about it made my skin crawl. It was so bad that I wondered if I wanted to come back to this website. I’ve been reading your post all afternoon and have loved every minute of it. Until this. Now my brain just keeps yelling “Red flag! Red flag!” And, like Jennifer, I was also surprised that you are endorsing it. I’ll keep returning to Everyday Paleo but I thought you might want to know how a reader might feel with a reaction like this. It would be sad if more readers felt this way and didn’t return back here. You have so much great information on here!

      • Penny Danner says

        I felt the same way when i first saw Kiefer’s websites a good while back…..but if Jason/Sarah and Robb Wolf endorse Kiefer’s work, then I know it is legit!

  7. Gwen says

    Is carb nite something you would recommend to cross fitters? I noticed the author does not recommend hiit.

    • Jason says

      Carb Backloading will probably work better if you are a CrossFitter and concerned with performance, but you would need a strength training focus. Otherwise, if your CrossFit trains responsibly (short metcons and a lifting bias), Carb Nite should work well for fat loss goals.

      • Gwen says

        Thanks. Yes, I am lucky to train at a responsible CrossFit :) I was just wondering if the 30g carb should be upped slightly for postwod. I guess now that i have the book i can ask these kind of questions at the source.

  8. SannaK says

    Hi,

    If I have understood this right, you have to eat quite low-carb for most of the time (both carb nite and loading). This means you have to calculate your carbs. I thought you were against calculating too much things you eat? About 30 grams carbs per day means that you can´t even eat vegetables and berries freely. For example here in Finland we have lots of forest fruits that we use in our diet and i thought it was a good thing to eat daily.
    Hope you understand my english…

    • NRC says

      To gauge my carb intake, I monitored my carbs for a few weeks and, after that experiment, I now have a general sense of my carb (and caloric) intake without needing to continually monitor it. Also, I believe the carb restriction is really a “net carb” limit, which means you should subtract any and all fiber from your overall carb intake. This generally means you can eat quite a bit of green leafy veggies and not worry about going over the 30g carb limit.

    • Jason says

      No need to ever measure anything. Most people will be able to eat all the fibrous vegetable they like and not reach 30 grams. For example, 5 cups of broccoli has less than 25 grams of carbs after fiber is deducted. Eat meat and fibrous vegetables and eat it freely.

      On a side note, I never recommend that anyone eat fruit daily.

      • SannaK says

        My mistake in my messages. I meant forest berries, like blueberry, lingonberry, raspberry… what do you think about those?

  9. Renee says

    Hey Jason

    Hope you’re doing great and Happy 4th to you !
    I have both of Kiefers books as well as your of course – been Paelo for a long time now 4yrs and still struggling with the fatloss .. I am trying CarbNite but would live some suggestions on what to eat to remain paleo and be able to still get the required insulin spike needed that Kiefer refers to to be successful with this protocol ? Would you be able to share what your wife’s approach looks like both on a normal day and also how she implements the CarbNite day ? I could use the guidelines as the examples in the book are from a standard American diet protocol …I am female -49yrs with hypothyroid too
    Thanks !

    • says

      I’d love Paleo CarbNite examples too! We’ve been Paleo for over 3 years so the ideas in Kiefer’s book didn’t fit for us. For us it needs to be at least a dairy and gluten-free CarbNite.

    • Jason says

      Don’t overthink it. My wife eats meat and fibrous vegetables all week and then as much paleo friendly starch (potatoes, sweet potatoes, white rice, etc.) as possible on carb load nights. That’s it.

  10. Cindy Wheeler says

    I saw CN endorsed by You and Sara last week. I was curious and bought the book thinking if you two endorsed it then there must be something here. Reading the book I became very confused. How could you now be telling us to eat the “old way” after becoming healthy with the Paleo way of eating. I came to your FB page hoping to find some answers and I have, but Carb loading the amount of food that is recommended seems difficult. How many sweet potatoes, rice, potatoes, fruit can you eat in an evening? Thanks Jason for your words of encouragement and advice for us older ladies……

    • Jason says

      No, we are definitely not telling you to eat “the old way”. Sorry you had to go to my FB page for clarity. I tried to make that clear in this post when I said, “Kiefer is not a paleo guy, but both plans can be made paleo by simply following his guidelines while choosing paleo friendly foods.”

      My wife is and a few other in my gym are getting amazing results by simply eating as much paleo friendly starch as possible on their carb load nights. Nobody is weighing or measuring anything.

  11. Resh says

    Would Carb Nite be okay to do while breastfeeding? I bought Kiefer’s book, but don’t see any references to breastfeeding in it (by doing a word search). This sounds like a great way to lose stubborn post-partum weight, but I can hold off trying it until after my baby is weaned if it will affect milk supply.

  12. Jaclyn says

    THANK YOU JASON!!! I heard Keifer on your podcast and was instantly intrigued by this approach to timing the consumption of my carbs. I went to his website right after I finished listening although was hugely disappointed with the look and message of it. Like others mentioned it felt very gimmicky and like a total scam. I decided not to purchase the book.

    Fast forward to June 30th…I read your post above and thought…”Jason would never recommend this if it wasn’t legit”. So, I went ahead and purchased the book, read it in one night and began the next day.

    It has only been 15 days but ALL of my summer clothes now fit and I am ecstatic to keep on this program for the next couple of months. I have not weighed myself at all nor did I use a tape measure but I have a pair of shorts that I’ve owned for 15 years that I use to check my progress and this is truly the first time I have been able to do them up years!

    Thank you so much for weighing in on Keifer’s approach…I never would have tried it without your recommendation!

  13. Farida says

    I have read Keifer’s book and tried carb nite but I struggled with cravings the rest of the week after one night of high glycemic carbs. I ate all paleo friendly carbs: sweet potatoes, rice and dates but it seemed to trigger my sweet tooth! I am not sure if this is right for me right now. Any advice?

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