Specific Questions I get asked a lot from lean individuals

1 Apr

Rich Froning

“Hi Paul, great info, I am just reading Metabolic Flexibility for High Intensity Athletes right now”.  “Met Flex” is the centerpiece of the Science Lab.  Is it a book? It’s seven short chapters. Think of it like a text book that gets updated monthly adjusting for the topics specific to our Community but it is helpful for people that don’t Crossfit as well).  To get a copy of Mike T Nelson’s “Met Flex” manual and join become a science lab member click here for information.

My questions:

1- I had been under the impression that the goal post workout is to have protein and replace muscle glycogen by adding carbs to the post workout shake. Good idea?

Protein is fine alone but it is somewhat goal dependent.  For someone at 12% BodyFat trying to get 8% (for women you would add 10% to these numbers), they probably need the extra carbs.  30% folks are fine eating whole foods carbohydrates around their workouts with just protein shakes assuming they are having trouble getting in enough protein from just whole food sources.

Here is a post on the supplements I put in my body as a relatively lean individual.  Certainly you can do it without supplements but protein and getting in adequate carbs is problematic for a lot of people (including me).

2- thoughts on using dextrose in the post workout shake?

I don’t hate it but it’s not as good as Vitargo as an example.  Dextrose as a sweetener is good, it’s of course a sugar so it can overpower a drink in volume.  Vitargo as an example is a fast loading starch that is probably better for loading post workout because it’s not sweet and doesn’t overpower your shake.

For more info on Vitargo click here

3- is the idea is to carb load in the evenings where you have a WOD the NEXT day? Can you carb load instead in the evenings of the days that you had a WOD (regardless of whether you are resting the next day)?

Not only can you but for most Crossfitters they should.  Our community isn’t like other communities, we love working out.  The problem is we tend to screw ourselves into the ground doing so and moving poorly on occasion and not eating to our level of performance (which is why I made my blog).  This does go into your next question a bit though.  You have it backwards, your high (ish) carb days are days before you WOD for morning WOD’ers and around your workouts for the rest of the folks out there (which I suspect is most of the day’s of the week) and then your lowish days your carbs should be something in the order of 100-150g.  As a man you aren’t even covering “brain function” with 50g or carbs and it can cause unneeded stress to your system for an active individual.

What I described in this question is covered in great detail in Mike’s Met Flex manual (link is above).  Mike recently did a great video describing how this all sets up which makes it very clear to people new to our concepts.  That video (unfortunately) is only available to Science Lab members.

4- I do 50-100 g carb on rest days. What type of carb amount do you recommend on the loading days approximately for someone who is lean? 300-500g?

People that do Crossfit don’t need extreme carbs, Period.  Our workouts just don’t require an extreme level of replenishment.  I am speaking of high intensity workouts that are short and pronounced, you literally can not do tabata protocols for long periods of time without hurting yourself, even our most extreme workouts probably burn something in the neighborhood of about 500 calories (Murph is an outlier but even in that instance carbs burned is lower because you can’t be at the red line the whole time).  For a man that would mean they used 450 calories of carbohydrate and for women it would be 300-350.  For the man that means they lost 110g of carbs they would theoretically need to replace.  Rather than overloading the system with almost 500 calories from a mostly glucose sources you do things in a more gradual manner with respect to how you approach your health as well.  A carb drink pre and post workout for an evening WOD probably should look pretty close to 2/1 carbs to protein (50g carbs/25g protein) for a lean individual like yourself.  You don’t need to load it all in an acute manner, for instance if your next day is a rest day eating a moderate amount of carbs sets up your system like I described earlier and then you follow up the next day with something like white sticky rice.  For lean individuals (males under 10%) white sticky rice should probably be used at least 2 times a week, possibly more depending on how it makes you feel.

16 Responses to “Specific Questions I get asked a lot from lean individuals”

  1. Steve Sheffild April 1, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    I’m a 53 y/o male who was a Crossfitter before it is what it is now and I simply love this type of workout. I’m 6′ and right at 208, about 14 pounds over my college weight or twenty over the ideal weight for my heighth. Here’s my catch though: 4 heart attacks since ’07, open heart quad bypass , illiac aneurysm and heavy metal poisoning, yet I get plenty of compliments from the doctors such as “you don’t look sick”. Additionally I’ve had two ACL repairs and a torn meniscus that went undiagnosed so I now have no cartilage in the left knee and a discectomy of L4-L5. Additionally I continue to have severe tendinitis in both elbows even after deep tissue work by a therapist. In October 2011, I had all mercury fillings removed as well as any tooth that had a root canal performed on it.

    I have yet to return to full time work because of the radical ups and downs of my BP and heart rhythm. My wife and I have eaten organic for years, but without the workouts to burn off excess sugars, I tend to find myself binging on just about anything sweet. We’ve done pretty well eliminating simple carbs from the house which seems to greatly help with lowering my triglycerides. I’ve reimmersed myself in biology and have tried following an anti-fungal diet with some good results in my blood work, yet I am not meeting my goal of increasing the HGL to acceptable limits of 44-50(currently stuck at 23 w/ a high of 29 during the 6 week workout in 2011) However, 5/2011, about 1 year post heart surgery, & in week 6 of my return post surgery, I passed out at the end of my workout. I could tell my body was just not catching up during re-oxygenation and I sought out assistance before blacking out.

    I find myself aching to get my workouts back on track but finding knowledgeable trainers for my situation are hard to find, even harder than the proverbial needle in the haystack. Because I am still detoxing the heavy metals, my calcium is still bound up in the bones and my bloodwork reveals extremely low levels below the accepted threshold. The doctors I speak with repeat the same mantra that “it’s ok”, but I disagree. Once I supplement with a Standard Process calcium lactate and magnesium lactate my muscles to feel much better.

    Any suggestions, direction or coaching would be much appreciated..


    • Paul Nobles April 3, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

      I think you need to keep moving but in your situation I would probably prescribe more like a carb nite solution but instead of under 30 g with carb up days I prefer 75 g and occasional eating for joy days without crazy carbs.

  2. Austin Harris April 1, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    I just want to look like the rich froning. The end. Make that post and ill be happy. hahaha. good stuff paul!

  3. Dave jones April 1, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    For CBL, which carbs are ideal, which carbs are acceptable, and what carbs should be avoided at all costs?

    • Paul Nobles April 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

      that’s hard to say because I think in moderation nothing is out of bounds. That said I mostly eat sweet potatoes and occasionally eat white rice.

  4. shirley April 1, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    I bought the ebook last night, and the download link didnt work. I had already sent emails to support teams, they havent replied me yet. I was planning to read the book today….Also with the forum, i registered last night but didnt received an email with an activation link, checked my spam mails as well, nothing was there. Will you able to help me with that?

    • etpmaggie April 2, 2013 at 1:31 am #

      As for the forum registration, could you please email me your order number for the CBL book to eattoperform@gmail.com and I’ll get you the appropriate information for the Science Lab? -Maggie

    • Paul Nobles April 2, 2013 at 2:35 am #

      actually shirley the best place to email is probably info@carbbackloading.com, that should fix your problem.

      • shirley April 2, 2013 at 3:01 am #

        Thanks Paul, i had sent one to both of the email addresses you and Maggie provided. I am very new to crossfit and really enjoying of reading all of the info on your website. However i am not sure if this book is for professional crossfitters or someone like me just doing crossfit for personal interest?

      • Paul Nobles April 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

        it’s probably more for you in the respect that you need to know to keep calories high. We can definitely run through this more in the science lab.

  5. stephen April 2, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    I’m still reading the CBL book, almost done. I’m having a hard time deciding if this is right for me. I crossfit and I guess my worry is that this diet will cause me to gain fat, maybe I’m just not understanding how to change the diet to apply to crossfit?

    • Paul Nobles April 3, 2013 at 11:58 am #

      The two things that cause you to hold onto fat are over eating and under eating.

      What does this calculator say? For most Crossfitters their real issue is under eating and fear of fueling their bodies properly.


      • stephen April 3, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

        Its giving me a number of 3, 141 calories. I’ve just never been a person to count calories. Is this easy on the carb backloading method? Also I’m reading his book and see about a break down with grams, where does the number of grams come from?

      • Paul Nobles April 4, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

        You don’t need to count calories but you do need some idea of what ballpark you need to be in. Honestly I like the ideas in Kiefers book but we created the Science Lab to dial it in for Crossfitters. Some of his recommendations don’t apply to us.


  6. Crystal Isom April 3, 2013 at 5:50 am #

    If I was back-loading, during the day would it be okay to juice with fruits and veggies or just veggies?

    • Paul Nobles April 3, 2013 at 11:30 am #

      my initial answer would be no because you need the fiber to blunt the insulin a bit, even in the case of greens you are juicing it for their carbs (and vitamins). Doesn’t mean don’t do it, just means it might not be optimal.

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