T Nation

Carb Back-Loading Confusion...


I've started reading the CBL book but one thing is confusing me, especially as I've read many threads on many forums about how people are going about this plan. It's the timing of the backloads, i.e ON workout days. Thing is, aren't you backloading for a workout the NEXT DAY, so doesn't it make more sense to consume all those carbs the DAY BEFORE, rather than on the workout days itself?

Isn't that the point of taking in the carbs, so your body utilises them on your NEXT workout? What good are they just hours after you workout? That isn't how the body works is it? All that food is going to take many many hours to get digested and work through your system, so makes sense you'd want it there for a workout the FOLLOWING DAY... but if you're working out, eating tons of carbs, then doing nothing the next day, where's the sense in that?

Am I totally off the mark here??


Muscle glycogen is best refilled few hours after WO, meaning that carbs you consume will be sucked-in by muscles and fat cells won't have much to take (at least that's what they say).

Well, you could wait for next day to refill glycogen, but muscles would be (some) less sensitive to carbs and fat cells would get some more comparing to case when you backload after WO (muscle glycogen is partly refilled from proteins in absence of carbs; carb intake after WO would have effect on protein sparing and mucle building)

If you backload after training and then take a day off, muscle glycogen is not going anywhere since you are not training.


Fueling for the NEXT day's workout is more so for those who train in the morning, so you're 'fuel up' then night before.

It kind of depends on the person, training schedule, training volume, etc. Some people feel better backloading the night before, some prefer the night of. I personally prefer the night of, but that's because performance is not necessarily my main focus, more so gaining muscle, and personally that works for me.

Try it out and see what you like better.


I'm aware muscle glycogen is best refilled after workout, but isn't that the point of big carb pwo shake of some high GI carbs like glucose or vitargo? All the carbs you would consume later, given how long that would take to pass through your system, that won't be utilised until the following day surely, morning or afternoon wouldn't matter I don't think. This is a quote from Kiefer himself "You?re always eating not so much to recover from your workout as to prepare for the next day?s workout. Those carbs become glycogen for the next session."


First off dude, Kiefer has a made a good deal of alterations to the CBL protocol since the books' release, and should be coming out with a 2.0 version soon. Timing of the backload can vary based on:

-Time you train (during the week, time of day, etc)
-Amount of Carbs you take in during backloads
-Goals (strength, gaining muscle, cutting)
-Training style/volume
-Personal schedule

You REALLY have to experiment with this protocol. You're really going to have to play around with it. MOST on on CBL forums backload the night BEFORE a morning workout, and the night OF a afternoon/evening workout. Decent rule of thumb. But it depends. Some people backload every night, some 3x a week. You have to see what works for you.


Yeah I'm just quoting what Kiefer has said in online interviews, and it seems to lean towards a lighter backload on workout days when you are not working out the next day, and a full backload regardless of whether you have worked out or not if the following day is a workout day. No mention of morning workouts from him that I've seen.

He definitely favours the afternoon ones anyway. As the quote I gave from him above clearly states, "you are always eating not so much to recover from your workout as to prepare for the next days workout"... that makes perfect sense to me. As you say though, I will experiment with it and see how it goes.


I agree with the flexibility of trying out diff CBL windows of eating. I also can't wait for CBL 2.0. The internet is just full of articles left and right of center of Kiefer's expected upgrade and I'm a bit confused myself.