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How to Carb Load and Intermittent Fast to Burn Fat

By Edited Feb 20, 2016 1 0
Carb Backloading
Credit: mjpyro

I have been doing carb back loading for several months now and it is the best system for people that struggle with binging on their favorite foods from time to time. Using this strategy combined with intermittent fasting has proven effective for me.

What is Carb Back Loading and Intermittent Fasting?

Carb backloading is when you eat only protein and fat throughout certain days, then do your workout at some point in the afternoon or evening, then eat whatever carbs you like after your training. It is more complex than that which I will discuss in detail later.

Intermittent fasting is simply not eating anything 16 hours out of a 24 hour period, then eating during the remaining 8 hours. So whenever your first meal starts during the day, the clock is ticking. You have an 8 hour window to eat, then nothing after that for 16 hours.

Fortunately, sleep takes up the majority of the fasting time so it is not difficult once your body is used to it. It will take time to adjust if you are a traditional 3 meal a day type person. But when you wake up from your ‘fast’, your body is primed to burn fat provided you do not immediately fill it with a bagel.

Combining the two methods, you also have one fast day per week. You eat nothing and drink only coffee in the morning, and water and green tea all day. More about that later.

And here is the best part about your post workout carb loading. It is not the usual brown rice advice, this is the real stuff that you crave from time-to-time:  pizza, ice cream, cookies, milk shakes. These types of carbs actually work best when you are back loading.

On my carb loading days, I wake up, skip breakfast, skip carbs all day until my noon strength workout, then have a post workout meal consisting  of anything from pizza, pasta,  cookies, ice cream or those donuts from Publix that I love. 


Sounds too good to be true right?

Well, it is if you are a woman. Sorry ladies. This method does not work as well for women because they have a lower muscle mass and therefore fewer cells to refill with the carbs you will be loading.

So if you are not eating any carbs before working out, do you feel spent before you even start working out? Not from my experience.

The idea behind this strategy is that without carbs before a workout, you are fueled by the protein and fat stored in your body. If eat you carbs before a workout, they are more than likely converted to glucose and stored in fat cells.

One other point I would like to make before continuing is that if you are diabetic, do not try this. If you have high blood sugar readings, but are not diagnosed as being diabetic yet, see your doctor before going on this type of diet.

Often times blood sugar readings that are slightly elevated over the normal range (just above 100) are just a symptom of being overweight. A couple of years ago, my blood sugar came in at 106 during a routine physical. My doctor told me to lose some weight. I lost almost 30 pounds before I saw him again and my blood sugar reading had dropped to 84 without changing my diet.

How this Works

When a person diets and is trying to achieve fat loss, they tend to take in low amounts of carbohydrates and calories overall. Your body responds by going into survival mode. It is reacting to thousands of years of evolution when food was scarce and our ancestors never knew where their next meal was coming from. Your body adjusts by slowing down its metabolism rate because it is taking in fewer calories.

With carb and calorie cycling, the body prioritizes fat loss over muscle gain. The objective is to get as much glucose stored in our muscles as possible instead of fat cells. By employing cheat days through carb loading after strenuous workouts, you retrain your body into thinking it is getting plenty of calories which ignites the fat burning process.

Getting Started

You have to prepare your body for this conversion and this is the hardest part. For the first 10 days, you eat an extremely low carb diet for 10 days. Most recommend less than 30 grams of carbs during this period.

Ok, I confess, I cheated on this part. I only did three days because I reasoned I was already in pretty good shape and I was already practicing intermittent fasting in one form or another.

However, it you are serious about getting ripped and concerned that your body is not going to function correctly on carb loading, do the entire 10 days on low carbs. You can eat as much fat and protein as you like, within reason of course. Be careful on the veggies and stick to green ones. Keep in mind though that 1 cup of green beans contains roughly five grams of carbs so they add up quickly.

Again, this is hard to do because your mind is going to start playing tricks on you. It craves carbs. It needs them to function properly so a few days into the program, that internal voice in your head will start asking,“Why am I doing this again? I am not that fat!”

Try to push through this. Think of the reward at the end of those 10 days. Not only will you already be a few pounds lighter but then you can start the carb loading process and eat pretty much whatever you want post workout on those days.

Once you reach your 10th day, carb up after you workout. At this point your body is so thirsty for carbs that it will soak up anything you give it. This is your reward so go for it. Pizza and ice cream are on the menu today.

You will probably feel like a big fat blimp, but as you sleep, your body is turning all of those carbs into fuel and storing them in your muscles since you depleted them with a heavy workout earlier. Sometimes I wake up and still feel a little bloated, but amazingly, most of the time I feel and look fine.

Now you are in the cycle of carb loading. After every day of strength training with heavy weight (once per week), you can pig out post workout to replenish those cells in the muscles and make them grow. On other moderate lift days, you eat moderate amounts of carbs post workout.

Why does this Work?

One theory is that our bodies do not do well on a lot of carbs early in the morning and that they are easier to process later in the day.  So all of that stuff about breakfast being the most important meal of the day can be thrown out the window if you believe in this method.

On the days where you are not heavy lifting, just do cardio on a bike, a treadmill or interval training and eat low carb just as your did on the 10 day carb fast.

My Eating and Workout Schedule

Carb Backloading
There are four types of days you can include.

On non-workout day or days when you are doing high intensity interval training eat low amounts of carbs and high amounts of fat such as almond butter, olive oil, coconut oil.

On days you lift moderate weights eat starchy carbohydrates after your workout. Eat fat with each meal, just not the one after your workout.

One day per week, eat high amounts of carbs and low amounts of fat. This is your carb loading day so enjoy it. This should be the day you really hit it in the gym with heavy weights and do a total body workout. Eat starchy carbs with every meal after your workout.  Eat as little fat as possible on this day.

One day should be a total fast day. Each nothing and do not workout. The only thing you can have on these days are small amounts of green smoothies. This is actually the day when your body will produce more growth hormone.

So taking that into account, here was my schedule:

  • Monday – Muscle Building – Eat Moderate Carbs and Moderate Fat
  • Tuesday – Heavy Weight Muscle Building (Total Body Workout) – Eat High Carbs/Low Fat Post Workout
  • Wednesday – Rest – Fast Day
  • Thursday – Fat Lose Intervals – Eat Low Carbs High Fat
  • Friday - Muscle Building – Eat Moderate Carbs and Moderate Fat
  • Saturday – Rest- Fast Day
  • Sunday – Fat Loss Intervals - Eat Low Carbs High Fat


On my High Carb days, I still fast during the day before my workout. The only thing I will have during the day is water and green tea. The purpose of the heavy strength training on this day is to deplete all of the glycogen from your muscles.

So what if you have trouble fasting through the first part of the day?

There are various approaches to carb loading so you do not necessarily have to combine it with intermittent fasting. If you are the type that absolutely needs something in your stomach every couple of hours to prevent growls and strange noises during meetings, you can still employ the carb loading method after workouts, but also eat any type of green veggies and protein during the day. Find what works for you.

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If you are someone that really struggles with controlling your cravings for your favorite foods, you might want to give this a try. It is a fun and rewarding program because if done correctly, you will see muscle gains and eat all of your favorites indulgences.

However, you must do each of the steps properly. I have no doubt that you will do the heavy carb backloading correctly, but you have to do the intermittent fasting and low carb days for this process to work. There are several hybrid programs similar to this so experiment and find the one that gives you the best results.

After a few months, you might want to switch it up to high intensity interval training to confuse your muscles.



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