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Leangains vs Carb Backloading, to add carbs or not on rest days, and when?

Commented on November 12, 2014
Created September 30, 2012 at 12:01 AM

Doing leangains. My goal is to reach 5-6% bodyfat, reset my fat set-point, keep it there, then add calories slowly leangains recomp style to build muscle.

I IF, eat 2 times between 12pm-8pm, train fasted 11am. 2000cal high carb really low fat workout days, 1400cal high fat zero carb rest days.

I've gotten below 8-9%BF this way, but the going is slow. On rest days I feel really zapped of energy, and hungry, ESP two of them in a row.

I've come from 6mo of zero carb keto before, so I'm keto-fat-adapted. The zapped feeling is even more pronounced if, on rest days, I do some brisk walking or light cycling near the end of my IF period @10am-12pm. I figured this would burn more fat effectively, but I feel depleted as I get low cal that day and no carbs. We're talking very light exercise here.

Leangains is not a low carb diet, and most folks eat some carbs, just low carbs, on rest days. I reasoned maintaining the keto adaptation ability on rest days would be a good idea to rest my insulin-metabolism-system and prime me for post workout carb load absorption, so I've done zero.

For those doing leangains who do eat carbs on rest days, how much, at what meal (one or both), and how many carbs do you eat?

How about comparing Keifer's Carb Backloading to leangains, where you eat your carbs at night, and basically stay keto on rest days (the latter of which I already do)?

What would be the advantages / disadvantages to being zero carb rest days vs a little?

If I do add some carbs on rest days, I figured I'd eat my first meal meat-fat only as I've been doing, and then have a lean meat and small carb meal my second and last meal. How's that sound? Or, would it be better to do the reverse and have the lean meat and a little carbs for my first meal (and after my walking/cycling when I do that)?

Medium avatar

(2417)

on September 02, 2013
at 08:14 AM

If the higher heart rate of hockey training necessitates a bit of added energy DURING the game, have a shake of 50g/50g whey/glucose ready to get you through. IMPORTANT: do NOT take any pre game. Make sure you are sweaty and full on in the zone before beginning to take that shake; that way it goes straight into tGLUT facilitated, glycogen window wide open muscles. Evening continue as above. Your satiety level as described above will adjust to exertion demands.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on September 02, 2013
at 08:04 AM

I'm on week five of a nine week daily sport rock climbing trip. I need to keep fat low or even reduce a bit, while staying strong daily. The short answer is yes, it works. I wake, climb all day, eat sardines (fatty) and tuna at midday sun, climb, and at sundown eat a bit of fruit then sweet potatoes as needed with whey. In an hour or two I eat lean beef and greens. Low-ish fat. Stop satisfied and not too full and you'll train hard the next day, and lose fat also. Stop stuffed and you'll train harder, but gain or stay same fat. Stop LIGHTLY hungry and you'll train ok and lose more fat.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on November 15, 2012
at 06:39 AM

Keto-adapted is not a permanent state. If you eat 2000 cals of high-carb a few days a week, you are not keto-adapted anymore.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on November 15, 2012
at 03:09 AM

You've a good point about ketosis and carb cycling. Actually I've just never been able to really metabolize or tolerate carbs except directly after hard exercise. If I eat them on a rest day, or even just hours after training, I feel crappy. PWO they feel awesome. So it's less ketosis that I'm going for and more an avoidance of carbs. You're also right about having to feel hungry and crappy get down below 10%BF. I'm a climber and I need to be as light and strong as I can...and I just like to be low fat.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on November 15, 2012
at 01:43 AM

Fantastic comment. Exactly the kind of discussion I was looking for man! So you hired Andy from rippedbody.jp? Was debating on doing that. He recommends a couple peices of fruit as carbs on rest days, not starch? Ive been at 1900wo/1300 rest for a while, zero carb rest. Training was two meals 12pm and 7pm 140g starch each meal, 140lbs bodyweight. Been reading that 1g/lb carb/BW is best for fat loss, so I'm trying to eat carb only after wo and evening meal just meat/fat. How many carbs/lb bodyweight wo/rest days did he recommend?

Medium avatar

(2417)

on November 15, 2012
at 01:34 AM

Or too few cals. Agreed, when I was zero carb eating tons of meat and fat without cal restriction, I was always strong.

E8fbc8067e64d0994aa70171601e68fd

(297)

on October 27, 2012
at 05:13 PM

You don't get strength loss from doing a low carb diet for a few days. You get it from eating too little fat.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on October 17, 2012
at 06:05 AM

Ill try the C-HCL; thanks for the tip. Yeah, my genetics say endurance sports are my gig. I just returned from 5 day backpacking trip ascending 1-2000m a day, moving for 8hrs a day, fueling 1500cal above my WO day levels, and came back even leaner :) Also I've learned that with lifting, super heavy, high tension, low (3?) rep range, long rests, many sets makes me respond the best; no weight gain but noticeably harder and more vascular. Rock climbing is basically that.Training I've been doing ring dips and pullups with 25% added to bodyweight, the above method, and testosterone is way up.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on October 17, 2012
at 06:00 AM

Well said man. It's a journey. As for me, carb feeds post WO with lean beef make me ripped with energy..never tired or drained.

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on October 02, 2012
at 11:32 AM

Sounds to me like your genetics are telling you to do endurance sports, haha... Since we last talked, I've also added Creatine HCL (CHCL) to my PWO stack (along with coconut water, protein, etc.). For some reason I just wasn't seeing results with CM, but the CHCL is working great and I put on another 5 lbs of muscle... You can check out the whole PWO stack on my blog post: http://spacecoastprimal.blogspot.com/2012/08/post-workout-nutrition-self.html

Medium avatar

(2417)

on October 02, 2012
at 05:50 AM

Genetics are powerful. I'm able to excel in endurance sports, and never get cramps on a 4hr ride at 100' outside. But I can deadlift and eat till the cows come home, and my strength hits a (low) plateau, because I simply don't gain an ounce of muscle no matter what I do.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on October 01, 2012
at 10:56 AM

I'm ridiculously strict. As I try and slip below 8%, when I get into a calorie deficit, my body fights me with the most intense hunger I've ever felt. I end up caving and eating some calories from my usual sources. The deeper I go, the more strict I must become and the more corners I must cut. It's a challenge.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on September 30, 2012
at 11:00 PM

Training this summer and now is alpine mountain climbing/backpacking 8hrs a day two to four days in a row, weekends, and Pavel Tsatsouline style ladders for pullups, ring dips, and kettlebell presses 2-3x per week. No leg work (mtns do that). When not in the mtns, I sport climb at the gym. Winter I'll be deadlifting when I can't hit the mtns. I do coffee before training, and green tea on rest days, both always before my first meal. Adding fat/cream to the coffee to me would seem to negate the fat burning effects of fasted training with all those fatty acids floating in the bloodstream.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on September 30, 2012
at 10:55 PM

Yeah I've been doing zero starchy carbs on rest days. Prob is I'm feeling bonkedon those rest days, ESP if there are two such zero carb days in a row. I end up being compelled to eat out with friends and blow my calorie deficit ive earned all week! I'm wondering how adding a bit of starch to one of my rest day meals would affect things. Something's gotta give. Read on rippedbody.jp, a leangains site, a guy 189lbs (I'm 140) eatin wo/rest 2000/1400cal on his cut cycle. He looks great. He's bigger. So I should be able to eat LESS, but at the same calories, I'm ravenous on rest days.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on September 30, 2012
at 10:48 PM

Well, prob is at wo/rest-2000/1400-high carb low fat/zero carb high fat, I'm feeling zapped and starved on rest days, and my fat loss has stalled. That's why I'm looking to change it up and add carbs rest days, keeping calories the same. I'm wondering whether to add them first meal or last.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on September 30, 2012
at 04:02 PM

Hopefully with all three together you can get the info you need. Good luck and keep up the good work!

2e1591c76896828077b930de5107f1af

on September 30, 2012
at 03:18 PM

i meant wouldnt*

Medium avatar

(2417)

on September 30, 2012
at 04:27 AM

Thanks. Point taken, however, this forum does have some pretty advanced users, and paleohacks users are by far the most objective, helpful, prompt, advanced, and friendly of any forum.

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9 Answers

2
D05f3050dc3d973b8b81a876202fa99a

(1533)

on November 14, 2012
at 10:35 PM

My comment might be a little dated, but I think it's relevant.

I actually hired Andy for 12 weeks and got a macro break down from him and regular consultations. Under his program he does not recommend ZERO carb on rest days by any means, usually the suggestion is to get two pieces of fruit and leave it at that. I don't see any benefit to going zero carb on these days, since it takes more than 24 hours to go into ketosis and that's not ever going to happen on a leangains protocol since it involves regular carb cycling.

Also, the deficit you need to reach bf percentages below 8-10 are to the point where, no matter what, you're going to be hungry more than half the time. That's why I gave up on my abs - I got to pretty solid four pack but I was miserable on all my rest days from eating so few calories. It's just not sustainable unless you're a model and your career demands it. Personally, I hated it even though I looked great. Being hungry on rest days is just kind of the ugly dark side of leangains they don't talk about. You can't feel satiated to the max and keep your abs unless you're genetically predisposed to that physique to begin with (which I am not).

A0a5700800dba6321d457c5a700eab8e

on November 12, 2014
at 01:15 AM

If you want to cut down to lower teen BF% you got to take it much slower than going form 10% to say 8%.  You will need to up calories and make the cut slow...... and metodical cutting only a 1/2 pound or less a week.  Perhaps a 1000-1500 weekly deficit.  and use walking only on rest days.  I worked with Martin on my cut to 5-6%

1
D826020b1ba2d9d7c7043d3a5eda9140

on October 16, 2012
at 11:21 PM

i personally do a leangains type IF but i do not do the high carb on the training day. i use to do the carb days but they made me soo tired.

i tried all different kinds of carbs. even doing the paleo type ones, tubers, veggies, and fruit, and i still was bogged down.

so now i do low carb throughout the week and then do a moderate carb "refeed" during the weekend. i also try to do some kind of high intensity work each day on the weekend when i do moderate carbs.

i found that doing some carbs with a good amount of protein and fat does not make me tired but allows me to get some carbs in. examples are boneless wings(breaded), (very)loaded potato with some kind of meat, potatoes with chicken nuggets mixed in, and sometimes brown rice with chicken.

basically, and im sure youve heard this, it comes down to what works for you. i kept trying to find what other people did that worked, but until i started trying things out myself and based on my body, none of that worked for me. experiment, record, and learn.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on October 17, 2012
at 06:00 AM

Well said man. It's a journey. As for me, carb feeds post WO with lean beef make me ripped with energy..never tired or drained.

1
06ca9c524c28bc3fba95d4d90f8f43c6

on September 30, 2012
at 07:24 PM

I do a similar protocol to what you mention (LeanGains coupled with carb backloading). Here are my observations. I'm also doing some n=1 with a minimal workout regimen (20 minute total body suspension workout 3 times per week) for about 3 weeks and will continue for at least 2 more. I would speak to the strength increases, however I feel it is mainly neuromuscular adaptation at this point. I have noticed improvements in my metabolic conditioning and endurance. Body composition has been favorable (less fat, maintain muscle).

I consume bulletproof coffee in the morning. I always work out fasted and break the fast post workout with a high carb meal. I've also been letting the fast continue for bit post workout. I've been eating a lot of sushi lately, but my favorite is with sweet potatoes. My fruit consumption is mainly avocados and some berries. In a nutshell the carb sources are: non-starchy vegetables, sweet potatoes, and white rice. On rest days I consume just the non starchy vegetables (spinach, kale, and broccoli). I've not been checking for keto, but I've noticed continual gains in favorable body comp.

Matt
PhysiqueRescue.com

Medium avatar

(2417)

on September 30, 2012
at 11:00 PM

Training this summer and now is alpine mountain climbing/backpacking 8hrs a day two to four days in a row, weekends, and Pavel Tsatsouline style ladders for pullups, ring dips, and kettlebell presses 2-3x per week. No leg work (mtns do that). When not in the mtns, I sport climb at the gym. Winter I'll be deadlifting when I can't hit the mtns. I do coffee before training, and green tea on rest days, both always before my first meal. Adding fat/cream to the coffee to me would seem to negate the fat burning effects of fasted training with all those fatty acids floating in the bloodstream.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on September 30, 2012
at 10:55 PM

Yeah I've been doing zero starchy carbs on rest days. Prob is I'm feeling bonkedon those rest days, ESP if there are two such zero carb days in a row. I end up being compelled to eat out with friends and blow my calorie deficit ive earned all week! I'm wondering how adding a bit of starch to one of my rest day meals would affect things. Something's gotta give. Read on rippedbody.jp, a leangains site, a guy 189lbs (I'm 140) eatin wo/rest 2000/1400cal on his cut cycle. He looks great. He's bigger. So I should be able to eat LESS, but at the same calories, I'm ravenous on rest days.

1
2e1591c76896828077b930de5107f1af

on September 30, 2012
at 03:17 PM

i do pretty much the same as you animaleater. works fairly well for me! i would see any disadventage unless you low carb for a few days in a row(strenth loss). keep doing what you doing!

2e1591c76896828077b930de5107f1af

on September 30, 2012
at 03:18 PM

i meant wouldnt*

Medium avatar

(2417)

on September 30, 2012
at 10:48 PM

Well, prob is at wo/rest-2000/1400-high carb low fat/zero carb high fat, I'm feeling zapped and starved on rest days, and my fat loss has stalled. That's why I'm looking to change it up and add carbs rest days, keeping calories the same. I'm wondering whether to add them first meal or last.

E8fbc8067e64d0994aa70171601e68fd

(297)

on October 27, 2012
at 05:13 PM

You don't get strength loss from doing a low carb diet for a few days. You get it from eating too little fat.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on November 15, 2012
at 01:34 AM

Or too few cals. Agreed, when I was zero carb eating tons of meat and fat without cal restriction, I was always strong.

0
9c598e6ba7621fcc04ce42976236739f

on August 26, 2013
at 09:12 PM

Has anyone successfully been able to carb back load and play a competitive sport like ice hockey? I play 3 times a week and I need to loses bodyfat, but I tried Carb Nite and had not glycogen stores to play well. Is there a system that works for fat loss, but allows me to play well say on Thirs and Sunday games?

Medium avatar

(2417)

on September 02, 2013
at 08:14 AM

If the higher heart rate of hockey training necessitates a bit of added energy DURING the game, have a shake of 50g/50g whey/glucose ready to get you through. IMPORTANT: do NOT take any pre game. Make sure you are sweaty and full on in the zone before beginning to take that shake; that way it goes straight into tGLUT facilitated, glycogen window wide open muscles. Evening continue as above. Your satiety level as described above will adjust to exertion demands.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on September 02, 2013
at 08:04 AM

I'm on week five of a nine week daily sport rock climbing trip. I need to keep fat low or even reduce a bit, while staying strong daily. The short answer is yes, it works. I wake, climb all day, eat sardines (fatty) and tuna at midday sun, climb, and at sundown eat a bit of fruit then sweet potatoes as needed with whey. In an hour or two I eat lean beef and greens. Low-ish fat. Stop satisfied and not too full and you'll train hard the next day, and lose fat also. Stop stuffed and you'll train harder, but gain or stay same fat. Stop LIGHTLY hungry and you'll train ok and lose more fat.

0
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on October 01, 2012
at 05:29 PM

I really see no reason to drop all carbs on rest days. That's just a preference. I notice I stay leaner when I include a certain number of carbs in my diet daily, and just add in more carbs post workout or add 1 higher carb reefed day every 3-4 days or so.

I also do not like carb backloading, and try to go to bed every night having used all my carbs up already, so I'm just burning fat while asleep (which makes sense, why would you want glycolytic fuel before resting?). Plus, I don't infrequently consume alcohol at night, and I try not mix both alcohol and carbs( unless it is a cape cod or a screwdriver :) which would be in the afternoon hours anyways, and not at night). I much prefer to eat carbs in the morning and post workout, and usually don't eat any for around 6+ hours before bed. Just works better for me, and I run between 4-8% body fat year round for the past 5 years.

I say take this with a grain of salt and just experiment to find out what works for you.

0
44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on October 01, 2012
at 05:22 PM

I think genetics plays a significant part in how low you can reasonably get your body fat without extreme measures... maybe for your genetics, "really lean" is 7% without losing muscle mass?

The body builders that are shredded at less than 5% body fat are genetically gifted and most likely also taking supplements to facilitate lower body fat.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on October 02, 2012
at 05:50 AM

Genetics are powerful. I'm able to excel in endurance sports, and never get cramps on a 4hr ride at 100' outside. But I can deadlift and eat till the cows come home, and my strength hits a (low) plateau, because I simply don't gain an ounce of muscle no matter what I do.

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on October 02, 2012
at 11:32 AM

Sounds to me like your genetics are telling you to do endurance sports, haha... Since we last talked, I've also added Creatine HCL (CHCL) to my PWO stack (along with coconut water, protein, etc.). For some reason I just wasn't seeing results with CM, but the CHCL is working great and I put on another 5 lbs of muscle... You can check out the whole PWO stack on my blog post: http://spacecoastprimal.blogspot.com/2012/08/post-workout-nutrition-self.html

Medium avatar

(2417)

on October 17, 2012
at 06:05 AM

Ill try the C-HCL; thanks for the tip. Yeah, my genetics say endurance sports are my gig. I just returned from 5 day backpacking trip ascending 1-2000m a day, moving for 8hrs a day, fueling 1500cal above my WO day levels, and came back even leaner :) Also I've learned that with lifting, super heavy, high tension, low (3?) rep range, long rests, many sets makes me respond the best; no weight gain but noticeably harder and more vascular. Rock climbing is basically that.Training I've been doing ring dips and pullups with 25% added to bodyweight, the above method, and testosterone is way up.

0
B9a579a02921868db5098bfa99f8221c

on October 01, 2012
at 03:44 AM

I think we may be at the same point.

im about 8-9% bf and can happily sit here forever it feels like. doing a leangains/ back-loading hybrid style. look up Nate Miyaki.

It seems to be the point where things work great (for young healthy males at least). and also the point where you have to take increasingly more controlled steps to take things lower.

personnally i cheat a bit. toast sometimes with my eggs at cafe, ice cream with the GF, cake when a housemate does some baking... pasta if someone has made some for me. i have no issues, so it is no big deal, but i know it is the first thing i need to tidy if i want to drop a % or too.

You can add in backloading. hold out on any carbs till the evening, and save up at least half your food for the day for a big evening meal. Cant say for sure if it will work for you, but the idea is to keep turning the screws. every little hack helps.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on October 01, 2012
at 10:56 AM

I'm ridiculously strict. As I try and slip below 8%, when I get into a calorie deficit, my body fights me with the most intense hunger I've ever felt. I end up caving and eating some calories from my usual sources. The deeper I go, the more strict I must become and the more corners I must cut. It's a challenge.

0
1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on September 30, 2012
at 01:53 AM

I've seen that Keifer suggests eating carbs at night if at a low bodyfat percentage but I'd suggest asking at their forum. Dangerouslyhardcore.com forum. You could also check out reddit.com/r/leangains

I don't think this is the right forum for your needs. It seems like you're really advanced.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on September 30, 2012
at 04:02 PM

Hopefully with all three together you can get the info you need. Good luck and keep up the good work!

Medium avatar

(2417)

on September 30, 2012
at 04:27 AM

Thanks. Point taken, however, this forum does have some pretty advanced users, and paleohacks users are by far the most objective, helpful, prompt, advanced, and friendly of any forum.

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