Thursday, April 24, 2014

Carb depletion, my own personal hell

Okay so that is probably a bit dramatic, but really this stuff sucks.

I should probably rewind a little and let you in on my (and my husband's) newest endeavor.
Via one of my best friends (Christina) and her infinite knowledge of all things health, we began looking into "Carb Back Loading."

What is Carb Back Loading?
When you get down to it, CBL is all about manipulating your insulin levels. You do this by refraining from eating carbs until the evenings after your workout.
"Carbs make both muscle and fat cells grow—and often at the same time. But by shifting when you eat carbs, you can actually control which kind of tissue grows. "
But then you get to eat ALL OF THE CARBS. like ever.
Okay, not really.

What's so great about CBL?
Carb Back Loading was developed by John Keifer- he's a physicist.
does different things for different people, but the typical result is burning fat while packing on lean muscle. Who doesn't want that? A crazy person, that's who.
You can buy Keifer's book with all the info, and explained way better than I could here.

So why does it suck?
Before starting CBL as a person who has some weight to lose if you have over 10% body fat (ME), you need to train your body to burn your fat throughout the day, and immediately burn the carbs you eat post workout, instead of burning your carb storages throughout the day. Most of our bodies are trained to burn our carb storages, which we typically refuel at every meal, throughout the day for energy. The problem with this is your body hardly gets a chance to burn through your fat storages because it burns the carbs first (hello, muffin top).

You train your body by "carb depletion", depleting your glycogen stores, or the "prep phase".
Disclaimer: this part will suck and most people will freak, but keep reading! Or just get over it, either one.

The prep phase depletes all alternative fuel sources and forces your body to use fat for fuel; in doing so, you are training your body to use fat for fuel and increasing the ease with which your body will switch to fat-burning mode in future.

This is done by keeping your daily carb intake to 30 grams or less, preferably less. Yes, less than 30g, that is correct.
That's a large apple, in case you were wondering.
This usually takes 7-10 days, depending on your activity levels. I'm hoping with training I'll fall closer to the 7 days mark.

So far I am 4 days into the Prep Phase and this list fits pretty dang well:
There are three stages to the prep phase:
  1. Days 1-4: depleting glycogen stores – expect to lose a few pounds here since the body stores 3g water per 1g carbohydrate. You can shorten this stage by doing high intensity exercise since this will burn through glycogen stores faster.
  2. Days 3-6: Ketone production starts up. Ketones are a great source of fuel for the body and can be used for short-duration exercise & brain activity. You will feel the worst during this phase as your body will run out of carbs before your body has fully gotten around to ramping up ketone production.
  3. Days 7-10: Fat burning mode. When you stop feeling tired, this is a sign you have reached the fat burning stage.

So why CBL?
Other than what I've said above, I'm doing this because I need a change and a challenge. I've eaten 80/20 pale for over a year now and I feel like my body has plateaued a bit. I'm not saying I hate where my body is, but I definitely have some work to do.
I WANT ABS!! Okay? There, I said it.
Carb backloading will be completely different that any diet I've followed, and it's still hard to get my head around eating carbs at night. I've always read/heard that late night carbs are blasphemous. I'll be honest though, after a week of this no-carb crap, I'll probably wrap my head prettily easily around some BREAD... or rice, or a box of twinkies. KIDDING.

But is it sustainable? Won't you gain all the weight back when you stop?
From what I've read, yes it's totally sustainable. Plenty of athletes eat this way year round.

Although this has been hard so far, I really happy that I have my husband for support. We can be cranky and tired together!

I'm not sure how this will work out, but I will keep you guys updated as I try it out for next few weeks. Justin and I took 'before' pictures, so I'll post those along with the 'after' pictures once we are finished with the prep phase. I'll also keep y'all updated with the progress when I get to start actually carb back loading.

I'm also planning another post with my meals from the "prep phase", so get ready! Ready to see a lot of turkey, chicken, and cheese...

I hope this makes sense. I also hope I didn't get any of the info wrong. Remember, I'm a teacher (and all around BAB), not a physicist. Forgive me.

Here are two articles that helped me out:
This one from Men's Fitness
and this one.

Leave me your thoughts, comments, or questions!