Intermittent Fasting + Carbo Back Loading = Success

About a year ago, I tried intermittent fasting (IF). I was disappointed that I didn’t get any results, with no change in body composition after 2 weeks. I noted some things that could have improved the results – it seems that IF is pretty sensitive to a lot of things in order to really get benefits.
Just recently I got turned on to Carbo Back Loading (CBL) by John Kiefer. Despite the overwhelming marketing on his site, I actually found his method to work for me. The process is pretty simple, even though his book is 290+ pages long. You basically just only eat carbs towards the end of the day, and move the workout to right before dinner time.
I had already added carbs back into my diet as I was wondering if my thyroid issues were the result of being on a low/no-carb diet for the last 4-5 years. The low/no-carb diet worked wonders for my fat composition, but other things seemed not quite right. I also didn’t seem to be gaining any muscle but I also found evidence that I needed carbs to make my muscles grow.
So I began adding carbs back, but I found that I was gaining weight, up from about 156 lbs to 168-169 lbs! My waistline wasn’t looking trim – my Omron said I was up to 25% body fat now. And by the way, my thyroid numbers didn’t get better by carb intake which was disappointing, so I fixed that via supplements prescribed by my functional medicine doctor, Dr. Justin Marchegiani.
At this point, I was working out mid-morning. I would take Infinity Fitness’s 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis before and after workout, and then started eating carbs at lunch time to refuel as if I did not, I would often get into a low energy state by mid-afternoon. Taking carbs in right after working out seemed crucial, although it seemed that this was also making me gain a lot of fat. So carbs seemed essential for recovery from a tough workout, but it was making me fat too.
Enter CBL. There is a ton of theory that I’m working my way through now in Kiefer’s book. But implementing it is relatively simple.
I moved my workout to around 4pm every day instead of about 10am. I then only ate carbs after working out, and only at dinner time. During this time, I would have breakfast consisting of whey protein, eggs, and Bulletproof coffee with grass fed butter. At lunch, I would eat about .5 lb of beef on days I worked out – if I didn’t workout, I would just healthy but not necessarily meat to keep some variety in my diet. At dinner after workouts, I would have another .5 lb of beef, and on non-workout days just vary it up with something healthy again.
Note: I try to eat 1x my body weight in grams of protein per day for recovery and for growth. There were times when I could only recover with 1.25-1.5x my body weight. So weighing about 165 lbs, I try to eat 165g of protein. In beef, there is about 6g or protein per oz of beef. One pound = 16 oz = 96g of protein. I can then make up the other 65g or so with protein powder supplementation and other foods.
I did this for 2-3 weeks and found that not much was moving in my body composition. What the heck was wrong with this? If you read the book, Kiefer claims you can eat whatever you want including crap at night. Not sure if I would ever do that, or even buy into that. But still, if someone can eat crap and still lose fat, then why was I not losing any?
Side note: Dr. Kathy Dooley, a coach therapist based in NYC, was the one who turned me onto CBL. In my conversations with her, she told me that CBL works with some people and not so well with others. I find that consistent with my own observations and readings on diet; some diets work great with you and some don’t work so well or not at all. There definitely seems to be some differences between humans in their responses to food intake and how they process it. How do you tell what works and what doesn’t? I think the best way is to try some for a while and see what gives you the best results AND is sustainable by you, given your mental make-up (ie. how good is your willpower and focus?) and your lifestyle (ie. traveling often for work sucks for eating right).
So just a week ago, I decided to add IF back into the equation. I started skipping breakfast and only drinking some Bulletproof Coffee, and only consuming food during an 8 hour period between 12noon and 8pm. This is recommended by Kiefer, which is to simply skip breakfast.
At the same time, I was wondering about my ultra-high cholesterol numbers and Dr. Justin mentioned yet again that he has seen cholesterol go up when people start drinking Bulletproof Coffee with butter in it. So I started drinking Bulletproof Coffee without butter, but with only Brain Octane to give my brain a boost and MCT Oil which will give me energy benefits as fat but doesn’t get stored in my body in fat cells.
Just this week, I measured myself now at 164 lbs and 24% body fat (down from 168 lbs and 25% body fat). Wow! Now things were working better!
However, the fact that I lost about 4 lbs and barely moved in fat % worried me. Was I going catabolic during the morning when I didn’t eat? I then added in 10g of 100% MR in the morning which are BCAAs to help me maintain muscle during fasting periods. The results were pretty good. Now I’m at 164 lbs and 22% body fat. So body fat dropped while weight stayed the same. Pretty cool.
Note: The 100% MR I take is their new product that is Stevia sweetened. I believe this was the missing element during my first experiment with IF that cratered my results. Their old product was sweetened by sucralose which in many ways is worse than sugar! When I worked out mid-morning and bracketed my workouts with sucralose sweetened protein powders, my belief is that this messed up my ketosis big time and made IF produce no results. Stevia however seems to not interfere with ketosis. I have ordered all new Stevia flavored versions of the protein powder, both 100% MR and their new Muscle Synthesis. Can’t wait to go through my final sucralose flavored tubs of those two. Thankfully it seems that taking in sucralose during my non-fasting period seems to be OK from a fat loss perspective.
It’s pretty interesting to see my progress. Definitely there is a lot of tweaking here and there. You also have to pay attention to labels and what you’re putting in your mouth. Any little unknown deviation could stop your results cold, as I found out. I’ve also started taking Omega-3s when I eat a take out meal or eat out. So many restaurants use crappy oils for cooking; it’s a good idea to balance out the Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio somewhat if you are eating food cooked by a restaurant.