My Carb Back-Loading n=1 Plans

CBLCarb Back-Loading Protocol

Carb Back-Loading is John Kiefer’s variation on a targeted ketogenic diet in which a large load of carbs are only eaten after heavy resistance training (optimally in the afternoon).  This theoretically takes advantage of the body’s hormonal and metabolic response to stimulate muscle cell growth while at the same time increasing the breakdown of fat cells.  You can read more about the basics of this approach from my review of the book.


Burn fat while increasing muscle mass and strength.


  • Adhere to Kiefer’s Carb Back-Loading as much as possible
  • At the same time, use paleo and primal principles (eating whole foods, avoiding wheat products, legumes, vegetable oils, processed foods etc).
  • When back-loading, primarily use ‘clean carbs’ such as rice, potatoes, and sweet potatoes as my source of carbohydrates.



  • Stronglifts 5×5 – Weight training regimen
  • BJJ 2-3 times per week
  • Walking or slow jogging at least 10,000 steps (~5 miles) per day.
  • Crossfit 1 – 2 times per week.  Kiefer specifically mentions in the book that Crossfit doesn’t provide enough stimulus to make the physiologic changes that Carb Back-Loading is supposed to take advantage of.  This means I don’t get to do a back-load on Crossfit days.  He does state that Crossfit is a great way to burn through glycogen stores which is helpful when speeding along ketosis.  The BJJ Cavewife really enjoys Crossfit and enjoys it even more when I do it with her and she can beat me on the WODs… so this is one of the main reasons I’ll be continuing with this during this experiment.  Need to keep this missus happy!
  • My workouts will include 3 days total of either Stronglifts or Stronglifts + Crossfit or just Crossfit.BJJ I still try to do with light training to allow for recovery and am aiming for 1-2 imes per week on my resistance training off days.  So hopefully the regimen will look something like this:
    • Mon: Stronglifts 5×5 or Crossfit
    • Tues: Light BJJ or walking
    • Wed: Stronglifts 5×5 or Crossfit
    • Thurs: Walking
    • Fri: Stronglifts 5×5 or Crossfit
    • Sat: Light BJJ
    • Sun: Walking



There is now a bunch of stuff from the Protein Factory which is one of the sources Kiefer actually recommends (here and here).  In Carb Back-Loading, Kiefer also recommends a few different ‘optional shakes.’  I figured why not give this experiment the best possible chance and try as much of what he recommends as possible.

Here are some of the shakes that I’ll be messing around with.

Pre-Training Shake – Whey, MCT, and Creatine

Post-Training Shake – Whey, Casein hydrolysate, Leucine, Creatine, Rilose

Carb Back Loading Shake – Casein hydrolysate and Leucine

I’m still a big fan of Dave Asprey the Bullet Proof Executive and Mark Sisson and try to use their stuff when possible.  As with my Carb Nite experiment, I try to take these things regularly but sometimes I forget to take them or forget to bring them with me when traveling, and so my use isn’t as consistent as I would like.



Coming soon…

9 Responses to My Carb Back-Loading n=1 Plans

  1. sootedninjas says:

    minimum effective dose 🙂 and I hope you are a young dude because your training program, at least the way I see it, looks like you could be bordering over training. recovery is also crucial. you don’t grow bigger and become better during the workouts. it happens during recovery. young folks like 30 an under recovers faster that is why they can do lots of intensive exercise. just saying.

    Have you look into HRV?

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      I’m 33 years young… not sure that’s young enough!

      I should’ve added that my workouts will include 3 days total of either Stronglifts or Stronglifts + Crossfit or just Crossfit.

      BJJ I still try to do with light training to allow for recovery and am aiming for 2-3 times per week on my resistance training off days.

      I’ll edit the post to reflect this…

      Funny that you should bring up HRV… I’ve just started to look into the Bioforce HRV system… and am interested. Something I will probably have to play with in the future, but right now I have enough toys to mess around with.

      • sootedninjas says:

        cool ! yeah 3 days of resistance training should be fine to an old dude like you 🙂 I’m 52 myself. I do 2 heavy resistance training a week. Basically 3 to 4 days apart depending on what my HRV is at that moment. Also, 1x weekly a recumbent bike sprint and all active recovery is Kung Fu and Tai Chi.

        Bioforce HRV cost a pretty penny. Look into ithlete, SweetBeat or HRV Logger. Right now I’m using emwave2 and extracting the emwave2 data into Kubios to get HRV.

        Just waiting the Android version of SweetBeat. I like SB better because you can just strap on your Heart Rate Monitor and monitor your HRV continuoisly even during the workout, I guess even when you are sleeping, as opposed to iThlete and Bioforce which will just record your HRV for 1 to 3 minutes.

        • BJJ Caveman says:

          Interesting I have an emwave 2 also!

          I’ll have to look into the Kubios thing now…

          Have you found doing this helpful? Does Kubios give you helpful data? If so what?

          • sootedninjas says:

            yes…. basically all the apps used the same data, rr data. to get the HRV used rmSSD which Kubios also provide then scale that info by using excel formula LN(rmSSD)*20


            need to get I would say at least 2 weeks if not 4 weeks of baseline data. After that you’ll see how your HRV looks like between workouts and rest days.

            I use the emwave2 everyday within 30 minutes of waking up even before drinking my coffee.

            It pretty much right on the money “subjectively”

    • Mike says:

      I am also very interested in HRV, is it just a new fad or gimmick? While I know it has been around a long time, is the app accurate?

      I think having a personalized gauge to use to pull training back when needed, could be an invaluable tool.

      • sootedninjas says:

        I see my HRV goes down the day after the workout and within 2 to 3 days it climbs back up to baseline.

        there will be some other factors involved like the weather, your stress level the previous day, how much sleep you got, what kind of recovery your are doing, the food you are eating etc.. etc..

        that is why I said “subjectively” on the money.

  2. MB says:

    Great experiment. I will be following this! I am 10 years older then you and have been following Carb Back-Loading for a couple months now with great results. My wife thinks I could enter a bodybuilding competition. With the addition of carb back-loading my abs are much more visible and my muscle “pop” more then ever. I am following a modified hypertrophy version of Wendler’s 5/3/1 and using John Meadows “Mountain Dog” training methods for assistance work. With almost no cardio I look the best I ever have. I wish I had access to all these bio hacking tools and tests that you do. I am also looking into the Bioforce HRV. I look forward to reading about your results and I just sent you a friends request on myfitnesspal.

    • Mike says:

      I am glad some else said it before me. That level of activity seems to be a bit much. I wonder if you can measure cortisol levels? I think it was Chris Kresser who talked about chronically elevated cortisol in his testing of endurance athletes. I know Crossfit in itself even 2x a week would be enough, but to add BJJ and resistance training too and let’s not forget a job and a partner? There is a finite level of stress the nervous system can deal with weekly.

      That being said, I am not one to talk. I do one session of weights per week and occasional low heart rate walking. Anyway, just something to keep in mind if your trying to lose fat, stress can stop fat loss.

      CBL seems to have some science behind it. While some claim it barely has science behind it or that Keifer cherry picked his data, others report success using the protocol.

      My follow up Dexa scan is Wednesday the 12th. 3 months on Carb Nite Solution. I am hoping it confirms about a 20 pound fat loss with little or no lean mass loss.

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