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Julia Ladewski Womens Science Lab Coach

2 Apr

Julia Ladewski is the lead teacher for the Science Lab ladies seminars on Wednesday Evenings and Friday during the day.  Julia is a strength and conditioning coach, elite level powerlifter and one of Kiefer’s testimonials for Carb Back Loading.  Click the link and it will give you more details.  

Also here is the link for the Science Lab class schedule

This is one of the classes we did with Julia recently.  Not only is it video but it is also time stamped and transcribed in case video is not an option.

Julia Bench
Julia Squat
Julia Prowler

Julia Monolith

Julia Ladewski Ladies Class Time Stamped and Transcribed

31 Mar

Julia with Chains

Julia Ladewski is our strength coach in the Science Lab and an EliteFTS sponsored athlete.  She is also powerlifter and figure competitor.  She is also teaches the Ladies Seminars we offer in the “Science Lab”.  For info on how to sign up click here.

This is the link to the video if you want to watch this conversation in real time.


[00:07] Paul:  This is Paul Nobles and the Eat to Perform science lab seminars.  We have Julia Ladewski here today, and we are going to run through the ladies classes.  Julia’s going to be here for the first part, and then once Julia has to leave, I will take over in regards to the majority of the questions after that.  Julia, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, what your background is, and then we’ll go from there.

[00:40] Julia:  To give everybody a quick background here, I am currently running a sports performance facility where I work with young kids ages 7 and up, all the way up through adults as well.  In the past I’ve been a Division 1 strength & conditioning coach, so I have a lot of experience with athletes (as well as female athletes) and the sports performance side of things.  You know; women and fitness and weight loss and things.  I began getting into weight training when I was in high school; that developed into a powerlifting habit, so to speak , where I started competing in 2001.  So, I’ve been competing for the last 13 years and I am currently in a very short transition mode in training for a figure show.  As most people here are probably interested, I’ve been doing and following CBL for the last two years.

[1:39] Paul:  I think maybe everybody doesn’t know this at this point, but they will obviously after.  Pretty much everyone in here has either bought the CBL book, or they are really acquainted with it because of my site, and some of the adjustments you need to make for CrossFit.  Julia is one of the testimonials that Kiefer uses on his landing page for CBL.  I think that’s probably a good point to start off from Julia, because usually there’re a lot of questions as it relates to the differences for men and women.  We talked a little bit about that the other day, and if you could expound upon that point, that would be good.

Loading Carbs around workouts For Women

[2:33] Julia:  The main difference is (I mean there’s a couple things), but I think the main difference is in reading the book…I mean, Paul, you and I talked about how when the book was originally written, I think it was really designed (obviously) for men geared towards gaining mass and leaning out, which it is certainly very good at.  So, a lot of the ideas behind it (and when you read the book, and you look at the charts and you look at the carb numbers, and you look at the amount of food that is recommended, the amount of carbs that are recommended), you really have to take into consideration that it was really designed for your leaner guys who are really trying to gain size and lean out at the same time.  Some of the main differences are obviously just, in general, the amount of calories and the amount of food to be eaten.  It needs to be adjusted.

[03:27] The main difference is that the number of times a woman should back-load during the week, and also the amount of carbs that they should back-load with.  A lot of that really does have to do with their muscle mass.  Somebody my size who might carry a little more mass is still gonna be able to get away with more carbs than somebody who’s fairly new to weight training and doesn’t carry as much muscle.  Those are usually the biggest differences, and the other thing to understand, with CBL, is that it’s really a body recomposition.  People do use it for fat loss, and it does work for leaning out, but we’ve talked about this; it’s a slow process.  It’s a patient process and the main thing we wanna look at is the body recomposition, of gaining the muscle mass, and losing the fat.

 [04:19] Paul:  I refer to that as the “gradually awesome approach”.  The difference between what your clients, and anybody that’s like a figure competitor and CrossFitters, is probably that when you’re a figure competitor, you probably have a 3-4 month window where you try to get a very specific result and most CFers are not in that boat.  They tend to be on the more aggressive-active side.  You would think that, “Wow”.  CrossFit seems like a big cardio-type thing, and I can imagine that people probably do that 3x a week.  Pretty much everyone I talk to is like, “Nope, I CF 5x a week and then I run 3x a week!”  I’m just like, “First of all, you need to chill out!”

[05:18] Can you talk a little bit about how PLers approach recovery that might be a little bit different?  I think that a lot of the gals that I talk to on a daily basis really sorta use CF to manage their weight.  I think that some of the concepts of CBL, and maybe like a modified CBL (to look a little more like CNS) is a bit more the answer than kinda just killing yourself in the gym all the time.

Training smarter vs. training harder

[05:55] Julia:  Yeah, that’s interesting that you say that ‘cause women in general…We tend to have this mentality that more is better.  Working out more days a week is better, and doing more is better, dieting harder is better, but as far as recovery and powerlifting and relating it to what I’ve done for years…Recovery is truly important.  My husband and I always say you should train smarter, not necessarily harder.  Things need to be better.  When I look at powerlifting and compare it to CF, or things like that…In the CF community, I’m a huge proponent of…If people are doing CF, they should take the time to be coached properly on the things that need to be done.  There are certainly great advantages to metcon and things like that.  But if you’re truly looking to get the most bang for your buck and really get out of CF what you want, be coached properly on those lifts.  That way, it’s gonna benefit in the long run as far as training goes…And fat loss, and things like that.  I do think that sort of a modified CBL does work out well.


[07:10] Again, most women have this concept of “more is better”:  if I can work out harder, and then also just completely cut out all the carbs I have, like a CNS type of diet, then that must be the way to go.  I’ll just take two extremes and put ‘em together.  What ends up happening is that you end up really beating yourself up.  You end up with some hormonal or metabolic damage.  A lot of women that I’ve talked to have tried VLC diets for very long periods of time, and they end up really struggling coming out of that.  Then they’re deathly afraid of eating carbs; they’re really afraid of having a sweet potato for fear of gaining weight.  If we can educate them on the process of how this works, and how these carbohydrates are actually gonna be better for them and help them grow, help their muscle mass, help their performance in the gym, we might have more women on that edge of feeding their bodies to fuel their bodies properly.

[08:20] Paul:  We do have one question and I’ll read that to you in just a second.  One of the reasons why I’m such a fan is that it really is a good example of what Mike T. Nelson refers to as “metabolic flexibility”.  What that is, is sort of relying on fats a good majority of the time, and you sort of use the carbs to trigger your metabolism.  For a lot of the women clients that I’ve worked with in the past…It’s really difficult for me to have individual clients at this point obviously, because I’m talking to a hundred thousand people, but what you need occasionally is for the scale to go up.  It sends a signal to your body that all is well, and then you us fat to do sort of a “come down” type of thing.


[09:17] That really goes to Brittany’s question, that I kind of think is going to address this (and if it doesn’t I’ll try to fill in the gaps), but she said, “If you do have to go on stage in 3 months or you have something you want to lean out for in a few months, how do you tailor CBL to accelerate your fat loss?”

Eating and training for a specific result

[09:35] Julia:  That’s a great question, because it relates to last year when I really started dialing in CBL for a powerlifting meet (I had to make weight).  So very similar to a figure competitor stepping onto stage, there was a defined time where I had to meet those requirements.  The major modification is having those planned back-load nights and having those planned backload meals coincide with my training, and then with any conditioning work or HIIT or whatever you wanna call it.  What I was doing, was I was able to still feed my body PWO with a good carb meal, and then the next morning, in conjunction with Kiefer at the time, (Kiefer was helping me out with this), I would do short HIIT the next morning.  The idea behind this was to be able to still give my body those carbs, to still be able to give my body those nutrients, but then the next morning, be able to kind of burn through them and get back to the fact burning process for the next few days.  That’s kind of what I did to make weight a little easier.


[10:55] At that moment, there’re a lot of different ways to play on it.  It’s probably very individual depending on where the person is at body-composition wise, but I typically had at that point two back-load meals a week combined with two or three HIIT sessions that I had to do.  That’s kind of one of the major modifications to make.  I hope that answers your question Brittany.  So like Paul talked about, you’re still allowing your body to feed off of those nutrients, otherwise what happens (when you completely starve the body from those carbohydrates) is that things don’t go well.  By doing that, by timing them properly with your strength training and your conditioning work, you can still feed your body properly and get right back into the fat burning process by utilizing those glycogen stores during your HIIT sessions, and get back to the fat loss and be able to cut weight or lean out.  Again, various amounts of carbohydrates are gonna vary depending upon the individual.

Why CrossFitters don’t need to do HIIT

[12:04] Paul:  One of the things that I kind of want to expound upon what you’re saying, is that in our world, HIIT happens every single day.  That’s what we do; it is HIIT.  There are a lot of people that are reading CBL and they’re going, “Okay so I started CFing and I started HIIT as well.”  I’m just like, “You HIIT already.  There’s really no reason to do more HIIT and push your body to the upper edges.”  The next question is always, “How few carbs can I eat?”  For CFers, it really isn’t about carbs.  I know that sometimes the calories thing gets a little bit confusing, because all calories are kind of equated differently.  Julia and I talked a little bit about this when I met with her in Indiana.  For CFers, a good majority of the time, their calories need to be a lot higher than they think.  I’m hearing a lot of women that are at 12-1300 calories.  Their activity level needs them to be at about 2600.  If they wanted to create a slight deficit at 2400, that’d be cool, but at 1200, basically it’s shutting down their system.

Calorie/carb cycling

[13:21] So (kind of describing a little bit of what you said), what I usually recommend is kind of that carb day, and then kind of using your fat days as control days.  Let’s say that you have a carb day (and once again, I really don’t wanna have the calories in/calories out conversation), but let’s say that your carb day is something like 2800 calories.  In your average calories, you might wanna be at about 2500.  You might have two control days at 2200 and that would essentially be about the same thing.  I know Kiefer always tries to stray away from the calories in/calories out conversation…You know, we talked a little about this…You can eat fats and actually eat more calories in general because of the way fats act in your body.  The thermic effect of food becomes a big factor there.  Is there anything you wanted to add to that so we can move onto the next question?

[14:23] Julia:  No, and I really, I mean, just in general speaking…It’s very similar to a lot of other concepts out there.  Whether you wanna call it calorie cycling or carb cycling, or high days/low days, however you wanna explain it, there’s a million different ways out there.  That’s essentially what you’re doing; your training days, you should feed yourself.  That’s the idea behind it, that’s what you wanna be able to do.  Like you said, your non-training days, or days that might be less demanding, are going to be your lower days if that’s how you look at it.  If you’re not as active on those days, you’re not typically going to need as much.  So again, it’s gonna vary based on the person and what they’re doing.  Like you said; with CF being so metabolically demanding on a daily basis, that’s definitely something to consider.

[15:22] As far as adding more HIIT on top of that, some people I talk to that are doing CF have a couple days a week where they are doing more heavy strength training, and a couple days are more WODs and more metabolic work.  That’s kind of where the individual pieces come in and fit together, is finding what works, but I can’t emphasize enough that I just see people contacting me on Facebook or whatever it is, that are struggling with body composition changes because they’re so…I don’t want to say so strict, but they’re trying to tighten way too much up that they’re not feeding their bodies.  They’re not giving their body the metabolic advantage to be able to change.

[16:17] Paul:  We talked a little bit about that, and one of my beliefs in that scenario is that a lot of the women that are struggling, they’re just eating too little.  We get this non-stop and I’m constantly being told, “I’m not even hungry.”  One of the reasons you’re not hungry is because you’re just eating chicken and broccoli.  If you were eating some more energy dense foods occasionally, that would actually allow your hunger signals to act the way that they’re supposed to act.

[16:50] Let’s try and move onto a couple of questions.  Heidi’s asking, “Kiefer suggests fasting in the morning, then PWO I have a shake with about 8g of carbs.  I save the rest of my carbs for later in the afternoon/evening.  Is this what works the best?  Are you suggesting eating more calories on training days, not just carbs?”  That one’s gonna be a tricky one, we’ll have to have a debate on that one, but go.

Incidental carbs

[17:18] Julia:  The 8g of carbs is kind of what I call “incidental carbs”.  You know, like the carbs you get from vegetables when you eat broccoli.  PWO, I really don’t see that as counting a whole lot.  As far as the morning shake goes, and then saving the rest of your carbs for the evening time…Yes, ideally, that’s what you would do, assuming you’re having actual carbs in the evening.  In this CBL process, if you’re not eating carbs that day and you’re to keep the carbs under 30g a day, those 30g a day…I don’t even count them.  If you’re getting a few grams of carbs from broccoli, your vegetables and things like that…Peanut butters and almond butters…Those are incidental carbs, so it’s not really anything to count.  So, when you’re counting your back-loading meals and your back-loading carbs, yes, you would save them all for the evening.  If it’s PWO, that’s even more fantastic.  That would answer that question.

[18:31] As far as the suggestion to eat more calories on training days (and not just more carbs)…Yes and no.  What I do with my clients and myself is I just have certain days a week that are planned back-loading meals, however many days a week that is.  If that’s two days a week, if that’s four days a week based on your training schedule (I’ll let Paul chime in too), but calories vs. carbs is tricky because ideally, you want to be able to…A lot of my clients sort of…It sort of ends up evening out.  When you have a low carb day, your fats are typically higher.  Like we’ve been talking about, you’re going to be eating more fats.  That’s going to help the fat burning process.  Because fats are more calorically dense, you’re getting more calories from fat.  When you have a back-loading meal and you’re eating fats throughout the day, but at night time you’re eating these carbs, typically you’re not going to be eating a lot of fat with those carbs.  So if you can kind of visualize that, you’re not eating a lot of fat where the carbohydrates are lot more energy dense but they’re not as calorie dense.

Back-loading before bed

[20:05] Paul:  The one example that would be a little bit different would be that back-load right before you go to bed.  You wanna have fats there, ‘cause if you don’t have fats there, you can sort of kind of get like a little bit of an insulin response in the morning, and then you wake up hungry and things of that nature.  You can offset that by having a little bit more fat in your back-load.  Usually I address that in my shakes by throwing in some peanut butter or something like that.

[20:33] Julia:  Yes, correct.  Fats right before bed.  I think that’s kind of where the whole idea of the dessert comes in.  A lot of people ask me, “Can I have cleaner backloads?”  Yes you can.  “Do I have to have junk food?”  Absolutely not.  But even with some fats, typically, you’re going to have…A lot of people are still hungry the next day.  If that makes sense.  You’ll wake up because of the process of the carbs in the body.  Most people do typically end up waking up a little bit hungry the next day, but you can help that by giving the body some fats the night before.

[21:18] Paul:  The answer to the question though (and your personal process is a little bit different than our process because we work out all the time), we just don’t work out as intensely on any given day.  When I went and watched Julia work out, she was working out for about an hour and a half and she was really putting in a good amount of work.  I just did the open WOD yesterday and worked out for 7 minutes.  Am I going to have a big back-load day at that point?  I don’t need a gigantic back-load for a 7 minute workout.


Planning your back-loads around training waking up tighter

[22:02] But the answer to the question is actually, “Yes, you should backload every day.”  So in the case of CFers who are working out 5-6x a week, you don’t necessarily not eat carbs, you just adjust the carbs towards your goals.  So if you’re feeling a little watery or something of that nature, what you do then is that you have more of a control day or a fat day.  Kind of the opposite.  There are times (and I think Julia you’ll be able to relate to this), there are times when you’re a little watery and you’ve tried the fat approach…And then all of a sudden you go, “You know what, maybe the carb approach is what I need.”  So you carb up and then all of a sudden, you’re tighter the next morning.

[22:52] Julia:  You’re exactly right.  It’s funny when people find that magic combination and they really end up kinda hitting that number, and you wake up the next day and you’re like “I can’t believe I had carbs and I’m waking up tighter.”  What I do with some of the CF people that I’ve worked with and done consultations with in the past, what we try to do is we try to manage their larger backload meals based on exactly what you said.  Either their heavier, more demanding workouts, or their heavier strength training days.  So if they have a day where it’s a little more strength work…Maybe they’re doing heavier cleans or heavier snatches, or a lot of chin-ups or whatever that might be, those might be the nights where they have their biggest backloads.  The short metcons, or the shorter WODs are definitely either going to stay lower carb, or it’s a lot less.  That’s why for me, I like knowing what my training sessions are going to be.  I don’t know if a lot of CF gyms out there have their workouts up ahead of time, but if you know what you’re going to be doing…Some gyms I’ve talked to, their coaches do.  They have it where it’s M-W-F or certain days a week are heavier strength days, then you might be able to plan a little bit ahead of time.

[24:13] Paul:  When I was in Chicago, that was very common, where we did a little strength work and then we came back and did what you probably know as a “finisher”.  One of the things that’s nice about when you go to Chicago, or Los Angeles, or whatever, is that naturally, the gyms tend to be really good.  Because, you know, they have to be.  Otherwise they will go out of business.  I’m not saying that a CF gym in Goshen, Indiana might be perfect, but I’m just telling you in Chicago, they have to be.


[24:56] Let’s move onto Laina’s question, but Heidi asked a question as a follow-up and I’m gonna answer it.  Heidi, you do not need a sweet potato in your post-workout carbs.  The one example you would maybe do that, where you might use sweet potato recovery fuel or something of that nature, is if you’re trying to lean and you’re trying to build muscle.  Heidi and I actually talked on the phone this morning.  That would be the example I was talking about earlier, where you’re really trying to fill up your muscles.  You’re not trying necessarily just trying to get the fat to kinda wrap around your muscles so you have unflexed abs.  If you’re lean, you might wanna have carbs in your a.m. backload and just kinda keep it under that 30g level.

[25:55] Julia:  Is she talking about training in the morning and then having carbs PWO?

[26:00] Paul:  Yeah, she was a little confused about something you said.  I think that a lot of people think like this, that you absolutely 100% need carbs to recover.  Why don’t you go ahead and expound upon that real quick?

Back-loading after morning workouts

[26:18] Julia:  You know, you’re right on point in that it really does depend on your goals.  What I’m doing right now…I’m preparing for a fitness show, and I’m working with somebody else.  To be honest with you, I’m not following a carb back-loading approach just for these 8 weeks, but the person I’m working with is very big on carbs post workout no matter what time of the day you train.  That having been said, in the past, I usually trained in the morning as well.  For the longest time, I didn’t have any carbs PWO Heidi.  I would just have my shake, go on for the day and then a few hours later have a regular old lunch and then move on for the day…Have my snacks…I did play around for a few weeks with adding in a carb powder PWO.

[27:08] I think if you’re going through a phase where you want to put on a little bit of mass and you’re not afraid of the scale going up a few lbs. because you’re simply providing your body with a little bit more, that’s something to experiment with.  The way that CBL is designed, and I think the way that Kiefer has written it, is that we don’t necessarily need them PWO.  Again, it’s very individual.  There are some guys who’re 160 lbs. soaking wet who’re looking to get jacked and ripped.  Would I recommend carbs for them PWO?  Probably.  But for most women, no.  Especially with the muscle mass that we carry.  I believe Kiefer has done a few podcasts, and even a few YouTube things on women and carbs PWO and things like that, but the idea behind it is to be able to have the carbs the night before, get up, you train and then you just have your PWO shake with no carbs.

[28:08] Paul:  Well that addressed it really well.  I’m gonna ask Alaina’s question:  “As a runner and CFer, how would one CBL for that?  I CF 3x a week and I run 3x a week to train for endurance distances (marathons or 50K’s).  Is it better to link the running/CF days to include more rest during the week, or just a full 1-2 days of rest per week?  Eventually I plan to cut the distance when I register for the races prior to starting CF.”

Eating for endurance training

[28:37] I’m gonna start and then have you take over.  I work really hard for my muscle, and I’m not a big dude.  Also, I would like to say that Julia is an elite athlete.  You really have to think of her in terms of how you would think of one of the top 20-30 people in all of CF.  There aren’t that many super powerlifting women that are going to have extreme demands.  We’ll probably talk a little bit about what extreme carb days look like vs. moderate carb days because I think that will be enlightening for people.  But once again, Julia’s not you.  Julia’s demands, as it relates to powerlifting training, are a little different than CrossFitting.  There are some similarities, and that’s why I think she’s a good role model for you guys, but I think we also need to talk about the subtle differences.

[29:42] Now we’re talking about running, and we’re talking about basically being in a catabolic state the majority of the time.  Running breaks down your muscle.  So, you do really need to make sure that you’re protecting yourself when you’re running.  Because, you’re now in the gym trying to lift, trying to build.  The mistake that I think most runners make is they don’t use carbohydrates enough.  They don’t use proteins enough, they don’t even use fats enough, to sort of protect their muscles.  So when they get to the CF gym, they don’t really see a lot of strength progress.  So when I run, like if I run a 12 or 10K or something of that nature, I really make sure that I’m not putting my body in such a catabolic state that it’s going to be breaking things down.  Julia, do you have any experiences with marathoners or people like that?

[30:50] Julia:  A little bit.  I did have a client that I worked with over the winter who ran half-marathons.  She was really starting to get involved with her husband in some more weight training.  She was doing a spin class 2x a week.  One spin day she was following up with an hour and a half of kickboxing, and then the other day she was doing something else.  Saturday mornings were her long runs where she would run up to 10 miles, and she was wondering why she was still stuck at the same weight.  I was actually able to get her to cut back on all the cardio stuff that she was doing, and we were able to give her some really solid back-loads.  I back-loaded her Friday night before her running session on Saturday.  She said she did feel better.  On her long runs, she would take a carb gel or something with her, but by cutting back on her cardio, she actually ended up running her race better than she did the year before.  That was really interesting.  I think she also lost 10lbs over that time frame, but the really cool thing was that her body composition changed dramatically.  So, 10lbs on the scale and a huge change in her actual body composition, from doing less cardio.


[32:26]I got her down to 2 ½-3 hours of cardio a couple days a week and we were still able to feed her body with some good carbs.  She saw even better results.  I do agree Paul.   With the long-distance people, definitely make sure that they’re getting solid protein amounts, but also that they’re getting their carbohydrates.  It’s very individual.  On ultra-long runs like that, you might need to take something with you.  Even though we were following a carb back-loading approach and she was doing her morning runs on a Saturday morning, I wasn’t opposed to her taking a carb gel with.  She knew her body best, she knew how her body was going to respond, and it ended up working out really well for her.

Why CrossFitters shouldn’t aspire to be shredded

[33:15] Paul:  One of the things I talk about quite a bit (and it applies actually more towards women than it does to men), but a lot of women don’t expect to be abbed up.  The guys have that expectation, so they don’t feel like it applies to them.  What most people don’t understand is they believe that CF is a real intense type of thing, so they almost believe that you can get like super-shredded doing CF.  Part of Kiefer’s criticism with CF and why it’s not necessarily a great fit for CBL (He’s 100% right) is because it’s very difficult to get super-shredded doing CF.  That’s why you don’t see a lot of bodybuilders CFing.  When you get to that point where you’re constantly putting your body in this cardio state, you’re in this breaking down/building up phase.  One of the things that I did, personally, as I gained 15lbs of muscle over the last year, was I started CFing less.  What I would do is…I took two different approaches, both of which I think were good.  Honestly, it was really controversial in my gym.  I would strength train real heavy in the morning time, and then I would modify down.  Actually, I would do the women’s’ weight.  Julia, you might not know this, CF has men’s weight and women’s weight.


[35:06] People were like, “Why would you do the women’s weight if you can Rx just about everything?”  You know, I’m here to work out.  I’m here to be a better version of myself.  Constantly pushing ourselves to the limits is sort of what we do.  I sort of tell people this; look, if you’re looking to get super-shredded…You know…Yes, you can get muscular, yes if you eat correctly, it’ll be favorable…But will you get to 5% body fat?  I test people all the time that are CFers.  I’ve seen somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 CFers, and we can easily get to 7-8% no problem.  Below that is real tough.  You know?  And truthfully, I don’t think a lot of people actually aspire to those numbers.  I also think, you know…Right now I’m probably sitting around 12-13%; I have unflexed abs.  I think a lot of women, as an example, would probably do well to take some of your advice and not constantly try to kill it in the gym.  Maybe have some lifting sessions focusing more on being anabolic at that point.

Moving from CrossFit to other sports

[36:20] Julia:  I completely agree.  That’s the point that I’m at now.  I’m getting a lot of people who started off in CF.  They got engaged with CF because of the community, because of the workouts, because they love it.  You know, they love the training aspect of it.  But then they get to a point where…Not that they necessarily want more, but they want something else.  They’re starting to see themselves get stronger.  They’re starting to see their body composition changing, but they want something more.  So encourage them, like you said.  Have a couple sessions a week where you’re just focusing on more strength work.  Maybe you’re working on your skill work; maybe you’re perfecting your front squat, or your clean, your pull-ups, whatever that case is.  You’re gonna find that, in the long run, it’s gonna be more beneficial because you are building more muscle.  You are going to give your body a chance to actually build and not constantly break down.

 [37:18] Paul:  One of the things that’s interesting about my approach (and once again, I’m not gonna challenge Rich Froning any time soon)…but my progress has been pretty good for a guy who sat on the couch for 25 years.  I mean, I deadlift in the 4’s…For someone that actually modifies down for a lot of workouts, when it comes time for the open…I perform okay.  My cardio’s never gonna be super great.  There are just things you end up being good at, and then other things you sort of work towards.  We talked a little bit about this; CF is sort of a gateway drug for a lot of other things.  You start off CFing…You didn’t know that you liked powerlifting.  You didn’t know that you like Olympic lifting, you didn’t know that you like gymnastic movements, and so you naturally just take what you like, and then you start doing CF as well as that.  One of the nice things about our community is that most of us can afford the training.  CF isn’t cheap.  It allows you to explore your other interests as well.


[38:41] So, Brittany talked a little bit…”I’ve only been doing the Eat To Perform way of eating the last 3 weeks and have started with about 100g of carbs on my backloading days, but like Julia was saying, I was also counting some of the carbs from other foods like avocado, nuts, tomatoes etc.  So that shouldn’t be included in the carb load amount at night?”  I know what your answer’s gonna be, so I’ll let you just do it.

Limiting fats in your back-loads

[39:07] Julia:  Two things:  One, during your back-loading meals, some of your meals should be lower in fat.  The idea behind CBL is that you can go ahead and have pizza, which is generally a higher fat thing, but as someone once told me, you can have the pizza…Just not the avocados on top.  So you’re not really adding extra fat.  Typically, really good back-loading meals for me was chicken, sweet potatoes with some coconut oil…So maybe 5-10g of fat there…Later maybe was some more protein and a dessert.  So, I think some of your meals, like dinner, should be a little bit lower in fat.  I’m just putting that out there.  Hopefully you’re not getting 30g of fat in that one meal.   As far as the other carbs, you know, if you’re counting 3g of carbs from the almonds you’re eating or something…So you’re getting 105g instead of 100g I think at that point we’re, in my opinion, getting a little nitpicky.  You wanna be able to count your starchy stuff.

[40:25] Paul:  Just to add a little note, you know, you talked about it earlier…Let’s not count those incidental carbs.  Let’s talk about what’s actually filling our muscles with what they need, which is glycogen.  So your sweet potatoes, your ripe bananas, your white rice.  I really hope that people are starting to get tuned into white rice a little bit.  It’s just not as negative as people put out there, especially in the Paleo community.


[41:00] Training for your goals and getting out of your own way

[41:00] think you’re gonna have a great answer to this one, and it might surprise people.  “What if you do a 5×5 back squat routine and then you do a 10 minute finisher, which we refer to “as many reps as possible”…Would the AMRAP interfere with any gains made during the strength session?”  I’m gonna say, answer this one honestly.

[41:30] Julia:  So you’re doing the 5×5 and then you’re doing…What type of…Is it any other exercise as a finisher?

[41:39] Paul:  It’s gonna be high intensity metabolic training at your highest heart rate.

[41:44] Julia:  Right.  I think at some point, eventually, yes.  I think you’re going to get to a point where the metabolic work will in fact get in the way of strength gains.  However, that having been said, you’re doing your squats first.  Hopefully you’re going as heavy as you can during that 5×5.  So if you’re doing those first and you’re giving full attention to those, then I think you’ve accomplished the goal for that workout.  When I equate it to my own training where that’s typically what we’re doing, we’re looking for maximum weight, we’re looking for hitting those heavier sets…If I’m not preparing for a meet, I can do finishers.  I can do conditioning work; I can add those things in to keep my conditioning level up.

[42:41] The more specific I get and the closer I get to a meet, you cut those things out because you want your programming to be founded around what your goal is.  I think where sometimes things sort of get lost in the shuffle maybe with CF (and I think we may have talked about this Paul), is that at first there is no goal.  It’s like…You’re going to work out…To do what?  What is your goal with CF?  If your goal with CF is to be able to finish the WODs faster, or to be able to make it to the regional games, then that’s your goal.  Doing the 10 minute finisher AMRAP should be included.  I don’t think it’s going to be interfering with the programming because that’s what CrossFit is.  If your goal is to get stronger, and your goal is to increase your back squat, your goal is to increase however many pull-ups you can do…I think that’s the important thing.  If that makes sense, to know the end goal.

[43:48] Paul:  It 100% makes sense.  What I like about what you’re saying is that it’s completely honest.  Realistically, if you’re training for a figure competition or if you’re training for a powerlifting meet, your goal is to get stronger.  So adding a 10 minute finisher, while you’re trying to get shredded, that’s contrary to your goals.  That 10 minute finisher is going to ultimately break down some muscle that you were trying to build before.  I think that is one of the criticisms that is kind of fair (but not so fair) of CrossFit.  If you look at the linear progression that we have in our gyms, it’s usually pretty good.  We’re mostly getting stronger.  The difference is that you, or Matt, or some of the people that you know, the way that you guys work on strength is just different.  You’re looking at absolute maximal, push your body to the limit…Get hurt occasionally.  That’s real!  It’s always silly to me, especially when people talk about powerlifting and how powerlifters get hurt and things of this nature.

[45:20] When you’re pushing your limits, ultimately, you’re going to have those types of issues.  I think that’s a little separate of the criticisms of CF.

I think what happens, we talked a little bit about this, it’s not the coaching level that’s a problem.  It’s on the client level that ends up being the issue, because the clients, you know, try and push themselves beyond the limits of what they are.  So, as an example, for me, I was really struggling posturally with the way I was doing squats until I started figuring out that my body actually responded much better to front levers.  Once I moved to goblet squats and Zerchers and front squats and things of that nature, it started building up my posterior chain…I’m still working on that as you saw Julia…Is that favorable to your back squat?  It is, it just all takes time, and it’s still part of the gradually awesome process that I talk about.

[46:24] The importance of good coaching

[46:24] Julia:  But again (and briefly with coaching), that’s also where good coaching or good training partners come in, because, you know, while we can sort of blame it (I guess) on the client themselves and say, “Well if they’re pushing themselves…”  You walk into the gym and you wanna squat more, you’re trying to get your squat to improve…But as a CF coach, if I’m there watching you, I might say, “Hey Paul, time out.”  You have to have those people who’re willing to be honest and say, “I don’t think you’re ready for that yet.” Or, “I don’t think we’re at that point.”  I think that’s where maybe CrossFit sometimes gets a bad rap.  Either coaches just don’t fix those things, or they continue to push.  Like you said, no matter what sport you’re in…I don’t care if it’s Olympic diving…Any time you’re going to an extreme and trying to be at the highest level, you’re always going to have a risk/reward ratio that is higher because you’re pushing your body to the limits.

[47:24] The risk/reward of pushing yourself in any sport

[47:24] Paul:  Once again, I’m gonna reiterate…We’re talking about two different things.  One thing that we’re talking about in the case of powerlifting is people pushing themselves to the maximum limit.  The thing we’re talking about in CrossFitting is CFing poorly because you’re moving poorly.  So you’re back squatting, and you’ve got the baby giraffe legs going, and you’re just trying to hit the ball rather than actually moving into the position correctly…

[47:5] What a lot of people see are the videos that get posted on YouTube that I think serve us all really well.  You have an example, where Matt passed out in a video.  You can post all the great things that Matt has done and taught people and shown…I mean, in 15 minutes the dude taught me more about my deadlift than anybody ever…And that’s no disrespect to anybody else, he just really knows what he’s doing.

It was really kind of funny watching Julia and Matt interact, ‘cause you know, they’re couple.  They were sort of answering each other’s questions as a couple…But as a couple that trains power for a living…


[48:48] But no matter what Matt does, that video’s gonna be the one that gets watched the most.  It reflects so poorly on Matt’s training, I think.  But it is sort of interesting, and it’s kind of funny, and you don’t mind having it out there.  But what people don’t see are the many times that the coaches DO step in, and they DO tell people to move correctly.  That doesn’t get addressed.  I was watching the Olympics all summer.  I was never interested in weightlifting EVER, and I was just glued to my computer watching the weightlifting they won’t even show on TV, right?  Well guess what; weights fell on people, some people looked ridiculous trying to lift those really heavy weights…So when you’re pushing your limits, things get a little difficult.

[49:40] Julia’s gonna have to leave here real soon.  We have one last question from Brittany.  I will stay on to try and address any other questions.  Unfortunately, Brittany left, but she’ll be able to watch it afterwards.

[49:55] Right now she’s at 22.4% body fat but wants to get down to 18%.  She CF’s 4-5 days a week and strength trains 2-3x a week…What are a couple of the main things she could do to get where she wants to be?  I think I know what your answer’s gonna be, but go ahead.

[50:15] Getting leaner by prioritizing strength

[50:15] Julia:  I would say, make those strength training days…and again, my answer might be a little biased, but only because I’ve seen what it’s done for my clients and my body composition over the years…I have done various types of training over the years, and I really truly believe that the strength training base and the powerlifting base that I have is kind of what’s got me to where I am today.  So make those 2-3 strength training days a week a priority.  Allow yourself to be anabolic, allow yourself to build, and allow your body to go through that process of changing, and growing, and building.  Modify your CF workouts accordingly.  I really think a lot of women will be surprised (when they start to make that switch over from more CF to a little more strength training, and then filling in the blanks with some of the CF stuff) at how positive of a change it actually is going to be.  So, with those strength training days, make those a priority.  You might end up CFing 3-4x a week.  Make 2-3 of those days are right after your strength training with smaller, shorter WODs…Then your other two days a week might be a little bit longer on those ends…But I’d really concentrate on making those strength training days a priority, and I think she’ll be surprised at what happens to her body composition and how it actually starts to come down.

[52:04] Less is more

[52:04] Paul:  Well, saying it differently…”Less is more.” What really is happening is people are trying to screw themselves into the ground in chasing their ultimate fitness goals.  I think a lot of people are going to end up seeing you (just as kind of a promotion to the kind of content we’re getting from Julia)…Her physique is pretty impressive.  She’s a mother of two.  She’s not killing herself CFing non-stop and the good majority of her high intensity stuff is actually probably pretty small…And definitely lessened when…You know, she had just gotten done doing some heavy leg work, and was talking about how her conditioning was lower.  When you’re getting to uber-low body fat percentages, it’s really hard to keep your conditioning high, and that will actually work against your goals.

[53:13] So Julia, I’m gonna let you go get to your play date and we’ll kind of roll on from there.  I’ll be able to address most of the other questions.  Folks, I’m gonna be begging Julia to do as many of these as possible.  We’ll ransom something to make that happen.

[53:34] Julia:  Awesome.  Thanks Paul!
[53:36] Paul:  Thanks!  I really appreciate you being here.

53:38] Julia:  Okay, we’ll see you next time!

Can CBL get and keep you lean?

12 Mar

Many of the people you see as testimonials for Carb Back Loading tend to be thicker powerlifting types, maybe an occasional body builder.  I met Fred Joh approximately two years ago and we were firmly entrenched in the LeanGains style of eating.  Which was great to get lean but left both of us lacking for what was the inevitable “next level”.  For Fred his profession as a male model required a certain physique and being ultra-lean was fine but he felt a need to add some muscle to get that more “shredded” look.  I think you can see from these pictures it worked.  Like most of us CBL is a strategy, it’s the always easy fall back position as a go to way of eating.  For Fred his profession requires a specific look and so sometimes he has to veer from that strategy.  I can tell you that there are a lot of stereotypes about models and as you will be able to see from these pictures he is an example that most of those are actually myths.  When he eats it’s for size and some of his meals are epic to say the least.

If you are interested in buying Carb Back Loading we offer a Q&A series that allows you to dial it in with my help if you buy using the links on this site.

Without further ado.

Fred Joh Oblique Pic

Fred Joh Back Shot

Fred Joh Abs FTW

Scott Paltos Crossfit Games Competitor interview

8 Mar

Scott Paltos

Today, I’m bringing you a short interview with Scott Paltos, owner and operator of PUMP Crossfit & Performance in East Hanover, NJ.  Scott has a great background in sports ranging from baseball to powerlifting.  He’s worked as a Strength & Conditioning coach for over a decade and as of late, he’s become a top-level CrossFit Games competitor.  This interview focuses mostly on Scott’s experiences with Carb Back-Loading where he works with John Kiefer (the author of the book) in creating custom plans so he can perform better as a Crossfit athlete.  To download a copy of the book click here.  (using this link supports this site and gets you into the Q&A sessions where we dial in some of the concepts in the book)

Paul (Eat To Perform):  So tell us; how did you meet Kiefer, and why did you think Carb Back-Loading would be a good fit for you as a CrossFitter?

Scott Paltos:  You have to understand, I come from a true strength background.  So a lot of my online reading was with EliteFTS, T-Nation, and other more performance-related sites.  I read a little about Kiefer, and was kind of floored by his approach.  My whole performance career was based on small meals, frequency, balance, etc.  So when this guy came out with CBL, I had to reach out.  I reached out, and reached out, and reached out.  He responded after me being a pest for a little.  We spoke on the phone for a while.  We clicked with what we were looking to do (to raise my performance)…and bam, we are going into our third year.  Kiefer is a SMART dude, as well as a good friend.

As far as me thinking CBL would be good…it was not my first reason.  I wanted to get leaner and keep strength.  We not only did that, but also improved a good deal of my performance with it.  Since Kiefer and I started, we have done some form of CBL or CN.  Yes, we adjust me personally, but I think that is because I like ice cream and turnovers too much.  Haha!!!!  Remember CBL is not based on some theory; it is science, and Kiefer proves that in his protocol (this is Paul, and highly referenced scientific principles, you could spend a year reading the research Kiefer devoured to put this book out).

Paul:  I feel like your experience is different than mine.  When I first heard about CBL, I was just coming off of a year of Leangains, which leaned me out, but killed my performance in the gym. Since then, I’ve taken CBL and added 15 pounds of muscle. I suspect that building mass wasn’t a big priority for you considering your background.  Can you shed some light on what you’d hoped for, and ultimately what you gained from CBL?

Scott:  Listen, I am not as lean as I should be, and I don’t always perform like I can.  That’s sport…well the first part, is because I eat too much.  Like I mentioned above, I needed to get leaner.  Strength in the sport of CrossFit, for me, is not an issue.  I don’t really need to pull 600 for reps anymore…I don’t need to bench 500, but what I needed was a way to manipulate energy systems.  CBL has helped me create a better environment for my body to burn fat.  It has also helped me recover better.  Look, in this sport I am NO spring chicken.  My 36th birthday is in a few weeks.  I need that assistance.  Pure volume alone, it takes its toll on me.  Now, I can’t reverse the aging process, but I can help make sure it doesn’t get bad too fast.  With Kiefer, we have been able to do that.

Carb Back Loading is the only book we promote on this site and on the Facebook page because I think it’s the ultimate performance way of eating.  People always ask me, is it really worth the $53? Meanwhile they walked into the gym with $109 Nanos, carrying $139 Olympic lifting shoes and $47 custom jump rope.  From an athletic progress standpoint I think it’s patentedly ridiculous that people would spend that much money on gear and then balk at the price of this book.  Thoughts?

I agree 100%

Paul:  I am not a huge diet guy.  I don’t count calories,  but I tend to have a pretty good idea where I’m at most days as far as how much I expend and consume. I don’t consider CBL a diet; I consider it a strategy to integrate into my lifestyle, because (from my experience) a strategy as it relates to carbs is favorable related to metabolism and athletic progress.  What are your thoughts?

Scott:  Great point!!!! It’s a lifestyle for performance.  Do I recommend my PUMPsters to do CBL or CN…Hell yeah.  But I also will cycle their lifestyle off of it for a periods of time too.  You are manipulating hormones, metabolism, and chemically stimulating yourself with CBL.  It’s not just a ho-dunk methodology….BUUUUUUUUTTTTTTTTTT, you need to train correctly as well.  That whole concept sometimes gets lost.  Intensity is something that most CrossFitters are not missing, but knowing when and how much is key.  Let’s just say I am not always a fan of how some CrossFitters train, or think what they are doing is right.  The two (nutrition AND programming) have to coincide synergistically.

And the “D” word, diet…I have been on a diet since I was 12 years old and had to make weight for junior football.  Then I was on a diet to get bigger for football, then on a diet to get smaller, bigger….It is a horrible word.  I like “Lifestyle” or like you mentioned, “Strategy”.

Paul:  This is my last question, so I’d like to thank you for taking the time to do this Scott.  In the book, Kiefer is openly critical of CrossFit and paleo.  Many CrossFitters prefer to eat in a paleo style (which I believe is very realistic in combination with CBL and have written many articles on this very topic). I read Kiefer’s jabs at CrossFit like this:  “Carb Back-Loading isn’t the ideal nutrition protocol for CrossFit.”  It might not be the perfect fit for soccer either. With that said, it is BY FAR the best alternative I have come upon (aside from having your own personal Kiefer design a diet specifically for you like you did). How would you describe his criticism, and how did you reconcile that once you started working with him?  Also, do you follow a mostly paleo approach to CBL, or are your energy needs just so high that it’s almost impossible?

Scott:  This is a good one.  One:  Kiefer’s issues with CrossFit, from my view, is more of improper coaching, methodology of programming, and overall safety.  Guess what:  those are my issues with it as well.  So he and I are not far from it.  My gym, “PUMP CrossFit & Performance” in East Hanover, is a TRAINING FACILITY…not just a CrossFit.  A lot of people have seen, I do not program typical WODs from mainsite.  Not to say, that they are bad, they are just not for me or my PUMPsters.  Kiefer has caught slack, and really could not care less, for being critical of CrossFit.  The funny thing is, it’s not a rant he or I will go on.  It is strictly based on things that are seen and overviewed.  I believe a good deal of coaches in CrossFit feel entitled.  Just like a good deal of MMA coaches feel entitled.  “Well we are certified, so we can teach.”  SHIT, that is not it.  It takes years to become a great blacksmith or iron worker…What, it only takes a weekend or a few months to become a great coach or trainer?  No F’ing way…it takes time.  It takes the ability to work with people.  It takes effort and hours to work with groups.  Kiefer and I are on the same page.  You cannot just get a piece of paper and consider yourself an expert.  Do I know about Kiefer’s methodology, yes.  Do I preach it scientifically like he does?  Hell no.  There are good coaches out there, the individual needs to search for them.  Just because CrossFit is in the name, doesn’t mean it’s going to be right.

Sorry, I got off target.  Back on now…Paleo…great in theory, but not for me.  I have done CBL in a paleo mindset, I have done strict Paleo, I have done adjusted Paleo…Whatever, I have not had personal success for it in long periods.  I followed it for a while; my joints hurt more, my body recovered less…and that’s when I was in my off-season and training volume was low.  Kiefer adjusts me when I need it, but I have a pretty good grasp on when we will make changes.  If you really look at Paleo, most of the CBL meals, if done right are similar.  So there are some similarities. As far as my energy levels?  I am hyped up all day long.  Whether it’s the caffeine, or just me, I am usually pretty animated.  Around competition time there is a definite need for more intake, but I am getting better and not over regulating.  Again, my main focus right now is the season, staying healthy, and just having a good time.

I appreciate the opportunity to be in front of everybody with this, and I am always welcome to answer questions or chat.  Please feel free to email or contact me.  I do my best to answer stuff if they are general, but if it gets to the “I need to know” then I usually do ask for it to become a consultation.  Oh, and as far as the other question you asked.  “If I know any other CBL followers?”  Hell yeah…but they don’t call it CBL.  They just call it paleo with refeeds and paleo with “anything I can eat at night”.  Haha.  CrossFit followers who watch some of the personal videos of others, or read blogs from athletes, should understand what I am talking about.  There are a good deal of TOP athletes who follow a similar if not exact system of CBL.  They just don’t say it.  Good Stuff….good luck to all in the Open.

Scott Paltos

PUMP CrossFit & Performance


Carb Loading – Paleo Women of Crossfit Version

8 Mar

Tomorrow we are releasing our Metabolic Flexibility chapters that you get when you purchase a year long subscription for $49.95.  These chapters are written by Mike T Nelson who is considered to be the authority on the topic.  When I wrote this article Carb Back Loading was the only book that closely resembled what I teach.  With two volumes of Foundations and now Mike’s chapters on MetFlex I can safely say this is NOW the best information you can purchase specific to our sport (that being high intensity weight lifting and OLY lifting).  Not only do you get that but you get seminars and a private group with other doctors and Crossfit athletes to support your new performance journey (how cool is that?).

(Click here to jump to a summary of this article)

This is a big topic for the seminars:  “How can a woman keep a healthy amount of carbs in her diet while also mobilizing fat?”  I realize that it’s all very confusing at this point, because there’s been a lot of buzz over the past few years surrounding fat loss on a ketogenic diet.  There are certainly a lot of women who’ve made dramatic transformations by cutting carbs, but the results may have come at a cost; for a small percentage of women, symptoms like irregular menstrual cycles and compromised fertility go hand in hand with calorie deprivation and maintaining a low body fat percentage.  If this doesn’t apply to you, you probably can’t relate, but for a few of the ladies out there, a bell just went off in their heads.  Another group of relatively lean ladies have taken a less restrictive approach to eating, and most are quite happy with their body composition.

Exercise Differences Between Men and Women

Aside from the obvious differences, men and women are biologically quite different and respond differently to exercise in a few important ways.  For instance, women burn fat more easily than men do while CrossFitting; due to a significantly decreased oxidative work capacity, women have been shown to use up glycogen more slowly than men do.  They rely upon alternate pathways to supply ATP to the muscle cells during intense activity.  So if women burn more fat while exercising, why are some of them struggling to rid themselves of what they consider to be excess body fat?  Although it has something to do with neurotransmitters and adrenergic receptors in adipose tissue, we’ll just say that each person stores and mobilizes fat differently; it’s dependent upon so many factors that it would take an entire book to adequately explain.  Once again, this is a complicated question that is largely individual, but I have and will continue to argue that there is a process of analysis that must occur.  In the long run, the results are enlightening and will lead to important discoveries about your unique metabolism.

What about Carb Back-Loading?  That Seems Like a Lot of Carbs…

Later, you will read three testimonies from women who Eat to Perform.  Not all of them are CrossFitters, nor are they CBL zealots, but that makes their experiences much more informative and broadly applicable.  Each of these women has formulated a conscious approach to carbohydrate intake that works for them.

Once you hear from them, you’ll agree that the contrasts between these various athletes are eye-opening.  All of them do some version of what I describe in this article, adjusted for their activity level, at various times.  Some do it by feel, some count calories and some carb cycle BUT every single one of them agrees that a high-functioning metabolism involves some amount of carbohydrates.

Adjusting CBL for Women

Back-loading can be intimidating.  Kiefer talks about “slamming the carbs”; images of doughnuts and turnovers dance before your eyes.  This rubs people the wrong way sometimes, because it doesn’t jive with what they consider a basic tenant of human nutrition; it seems insane (and unhealthy) to suggest that eating baked goods and pizza could help you lose fat.  When I started this site, I wanted to start women down the path of thinking more openly as far as carbohydrates are concerned.  That started a discussion and here we are with almost 200,000 people participating (it will probably be more if you read this down the road).  That discussion led to experiments for a lot of people and better performance while eating moderate carbohydrates.  I think I can safely say that women trying to lose fat might do well to try something out of their comfort zone and add some carbs/starches to their meal plans.

This Is a “Non-Standard” Recommendation

It’s important that everyone understands that no recommendation works for everyone.  You have to take the reins, but this is a safe spot for most active women to start.  I just posted an article with a link and explanation of how to calculate your energy requirements based upon your activity level.  It’s very informative so you should give it a quick read.  In the articles coming up you will see examples of women using vastly different approaches as it relates to carb strategies that all make sense.  We’ll go over this more during the seminars as well, so don’t sweat it if these numbers don’t work for you.

  • For our example, we’ll use a woman in her mid-twenties, 5’4”, 125lbs who CrossFits a few times a week.
  • We’ll start her on 125g of protein a day.  If you are particularly light (under 125 pounds) then you can get away with 100g.
  • 125g of carbs (ideally eaten in a small window post workout at the end of the day, similar to the way it is described in the book).  Again, if you weigh less than 125 pounds, 100g is a good place to start.  If you’re particularly active (or you train in the morning), you may want to add 25-50g of carbs to your post workout nutrition.
  • 125g of fat.  This will provide the bulk of your energy throughout the day and turn you into a veritable furnace of fat burning.

Starch Sources in Your Evening Meals

Part of the problem with very active women following a Paleo-esque diet is that they struggle to find energy dense sources that come from mostly whole unprocessed foods.  Fibrous vegetables don’t count; eat as much of them as you want throughout the day but leave them out of your evening meals.  While they may be packed with vitamins and minerals, they will fill you up and you may have a tendency to under eat when it comes time to “slam the carbs”.  This is one of the reasons I recommend having dessert on your back-loading days (ideally, the day before a workout).  My coconut milk smoothies are a great choice; I have also seen women get very favorable results adding dark chocolate and wine into the mix (as long as it’s in moderation).

As far as more traditional options go, we’ll keep this simple: sweet potatoes, squash (kabocha squash pictured above) are great carbohydrate sources.  If you’re open-minded, you could occasionally try some white rice too.  Starches are important, as they provide a quick source of glucose to spur muscle tone (really muscle growth but I digress) and trigger the hormonal cascade responsible for fat burning.  I think you’ll get a great response from these.  Finally, variety is the spice of life, so try different things and don’t be afraid to have a cinnamon roll before bed to prepare for a particularly brutal workout the following day.

Workout Days Followed by Rest Days

Because men burn through sugar like there’s no tomorrow, they can get away with back-loading every day.  Women have things a little harder due to their decreased usage of glycogen as fuel during exercise.  If your goal is to mobilize fat, I would suggest reducing your carbohydrate intake on these days, while simultaneously increasing your fat intake.  It may seem like it contradicts the entire ideology of back-loading, but by eating relatively low carb after training, you will ensure a glycogen debt and maximize fat burning hormones.  Using the example from above, stay with 125g protein, 100g of carbs and add roughly 22g of fat (preferably from sources like coconut oil and grass-fed butter) to make up for the loss of calories incurred by lowering carbohydrate intake.  That would shift your macros to 125p/150f/100c.

These are just my thoughts; you can play with this many different ways.  My goal is to convey a more clear understanding that a reckless approach is unnecessary; you don’t need to eat turnovers and pizza to back-load.  I hope this helps a bit in clarifying that.  As always, these are guidelines and not rules.


  • Men and women utilize carbohydrate differently.  Women are, in general, better at burning fat than men so they need fewer carbohydrates in their nutrition plans.
  • Ketogenic/low carb diets can cause fast weight loss but they are rarely ideal for optimal performance.
  • While it may not be extremely common, some women suffer some unfortunate side effects when they get really lean and/or deprive their bodies of carbohydrates.  For this reason, it’s better to adopt a less restrictive approach to carbs.
  • Women should strive to hit their protein goals first, and then focus on carbs and fat; in general, women seem to do well on 100-125g of carbs on training days.
  • Rest days can be modified to include more fat and less carbs; 75-100g may be appropriate.
  • As with most things, experimenting with more or less carbs will help you arrive at a balance that works for you and allows you to look and perform the way you want to.
  • You don’t need to eat pizza and turnovers to carb back-load; go for starches like potatoes and rice, and be sure to include some vegetables.  Coconut milk smoothies are also a great option.


Live streaming plus Question and Answer seminars

7 Mar

Simply Pure Nutrients

My goal is for the seminars to be free when people use links on this site.  Unfortunately that will probably never happen with but buying stuff you would have already bought using this link supports our site and keeps the content rolling.

We now offer a paid option as well

For some people they want may want to join the science lab but have no need for any of the products we sell.  For those people we have a $4.95 monthly recurring option.  The details and “Science Lab” sign in can be found on this page.

I am still sorting out the schedule (and will release it publicly) but I am going to try and use various times of the day to meet everyone’s needs.  I will be using the new Google Live Hangouts software and will be sending out invites and times for people to stop by.

For the quickest access to the Science Lab using the free option it is best to sign up using this link and then follow the steps below.

To get the free offers simply send the order numbers from Simply Pure Nutrients, Rogue (for orders $50 and up) and Carb Back Loading.

The email is  This email is for business inquiries, if you email me asking for advice using this method I’m probably going to let you down because someone actually checks this email for me.  I rarely see it.  It serves an administration function.

Why Do I Have to Buy Carb Back Loading to participate?

You don’t, you can now also buy any of the products from Simply Pure Nutrients using the same process where you simply email me your order number.  You will also get the seminars free with a purchase from Rogue using the links on this site (that’s important because when you email me I match it up with the information I get from Rogue, this is for orders over $50).

You might want to consider it though.

The method I teach people is covered in CBL, that is why it is the only book I sell.  I have not really seen a better book as it relates to “Metabolic Flexibility” and it is a great starting point for the discussion.

Made in America

But I despise Carbs with a passion, yuck yuck yuck, what should I do?

Reconsider your position.  No macronutrient is the enemy and if you want a well functioning metabolism you should have a strategy as it relates to carbohydrate intake.  Ultimately though Carb Back Loading (ironically) is really a book about fat.  Both mobilizing it and eating it correctly and then using carbohydrates to mobilize it.

What if you can’t help me?

I’ll refund your money no questions asked.  What I won’t be doing however is become your doctor (even though I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night).  I like to refer to myself as a “fatologist” I know a whole bunch about one thing that seems very important to a lot of people.  Most body fat struggles are just a manifestation of something that is off along the way.  In this series we will explore that and I suspect it will be very enlightening for everyone.

Ok, I am convinced but I haven’t bought the book, am I still eligible?

Yes, use this link to purchase Carb Back Loading, shoot me your order number and I will email you the schedule for the upcoming week.

carb back loading button

What if none of those times work for me?

I will be doing them to accomodate everyone’s needs, if you don’t see a time that works simply email me and I will make arrangements so that everyone that purchases the book gets this special promotion.

Also one HUGE benefit that will only be available to members will be the time stamping of the seminars.  While we will publish most, if not all, seminars only subscribed members will get time stamped info that makes watching the videos a much easier process.

Do you really have a mohawk and aren’t you a 44 year old man and father to 2 daughters? What the hell is it that you do that allows you to walk around with said mohawk and what does your wife think about that thing?

Firstly you know way too much about me.  Secondly, “what it is I do” will be covered in the series and you will find out exactly why this page went from 0 to whatever many likes it has now in only a few days.  I know what I am talking about.  Period.  I will say this though, I am not Kiefer, what we will talk about will just use Carb Back Loading as a back drop and then I will apply my knowledge base on top of that.  It’s easy to do back loading wrong, I can help put together the pieces a bit.

Bulking Series-Carb Back-Loading As an Ectomorph (Hard Gainer)

6 Mar

James Awesome Shot

We have added a Hard Gainer class at 7pm on Sunday evenings.  Lot’s of sites have manuals on how to get bigger, we give you a manual and the ability to talk to two people that did it.  If you want instant access to the class you do that by purchasing a recurring monthly subscription for $4.95 (adding your phone number when you sign up allows me to contact you, many people struggle to get signed in correctly initially).

While not as easy of convenient you can also get a free membership by purchasing items like Carb Back Loading, here is the link to do that.  CBL is simply one of the best strategies as it relates to putting on lean mass that I have seen.

In May of 2011, I had the privilege of witnessing my younger sister Elizabeth graduate from the University of South Florida with her Bachelor’s degree.  All along she’s told me that she pursued her degree not for herself, but for her family; for me.  Her accomplishment inspired me to take a look deep inside myself and reflect upon my own life.  I asked myself what I was doing with the time I’d been given, what my ancestors would think of me, as well as where I was going to end up if I continued on the path I’d set out upon.  I had given up on my life-long goal of becoming a successful musician and started work as a line cook at a local barbecue restaurant; I had never made so little money for so much work but it was all I could find.  My social life had dwindled to nothing, my girlfriend was constantly at my throat…My self-esteem had hit rock bottom.  Not only was I poor, uneducated and demotivated, but I was also fat, weak and chronically ill.  I contemplated suicide practically every day, but I thought to myself, “I cannot let my sister down.  I have to get better.  If not for myself, I have to do it for her.” I made a promise to her that I wouldn’t carry on that way any longer.

Fast-forward two years; I’m an NASM certified personal trainer, I’m in college studying for a degree in dietetics, I lift weights 4-8x a week, I’m running my first 5K obstacle course in 18 days (I intend to place in my age group), and I can pull a 2.3x bodyweight deadlift right now if you’d like me to.  I’m still working at a restaurant, but I make enough money to get by and hey, I’m playing music again!  It’s absolutely astonishing how things can change if you keep an open mind and take advantage of the incredible fountain of information we commonly refer to as “the internet”.  I lost over 50lbs, added 20lbs of muscle to my frame, and (most importantly) found new respect for myself and my body.  It wasn’t easy; I wasted a lot of time (and muscle), drove myself crazy on a few occasions and endured countless paradigm shifts, but I made it.

My low carb “Perma-cut” and How I Snapped Out of It

Without a doubt, one of the greatest changes in my life has been how I approach eating.  I spent the first year of my “transformation” (if you can call it that) following a strict low carb/ketogenic (under 30g a day) paleo diet.  Mark’s Daily Apple became my bible and I almost bought a pair of Vibram Five-Fingers.  I sprinted, played, did a ton of pushups, synthesized a ton of vitamin D, and within six months I’d dropped from 5’6” 180lbs to 130lbs.  I got a gym membership and started doing some HIT training on machines (think Arthur Jones), but as 2012 rolled around, low carb “perma cutting” had rendered me a spry 120lbs.  After posting a progress picture on my favorite Facebook group (which Paul happens to have created) it hit me:  I was emaciated, and I wasn’t all that lean.  I thought to myself, “Oh my god.  How did this happen!?”  I had struggled with bulimia and self-abuse in high school, so I was surprised that it took me so long to see what I was doing to myself.  I knew that there had to be a better way, so I fired up the Google, did some research and took the plunge; I started training and eating like a powerlifter.

The cornerstone of my new lifestyle modifications were Carb Back-Loading and heavy barbell lifts to the tune of the Westside conjugate method.  When I began training in February (a little bit over a year ago as of this writing), I was benching 95lbs for two reps, I couldn’t squat the bar and deadlifting actually gave me an upper respiratory tract infection the first time I tried it.  I’m not kidding.  It was THAT bad.  Now, I’ve never been a very athletic person; I was born with clubbed feet, my shoulders and hips dislocate at will, and the only sport I ever liked was hockey (GO RED WINGS!) so although my numbers aren’t fantastic, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished this year.  My best gym lifts are a 170lb flat bench press, 285lb box squat, 225lb Zercher, 315lb deadlift and 125lb military press.  I went from a bodyweight 122lbs to 142lbs and maintained about the same body fat percentage.  I attribute the bulk (pun intended) of my strength and muscle gains to how I ate over the course of this year.

How Carb Back-Loading “Fixed” Me

Following CBL allowed me to literally pig out every single night and gain 20lbs without getting fat.  You may not be surprised, considering how tiny I was, but the key to getting where I knew I wanted to be really WAS (as Paul has written about countless times now) to ditch the “clean eating” mindset, feed my body based upon my activity levels and eat to perform.  Rather than trying to appease the imaginary, unseen panel of judges that care about how much I weigh on a scale, I paid attention to my deadlift and how my body felt.  I let the ice cream/doughnuts/beer back into my life.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that I gorged on a ton of junk food, but there have been intense training weeks where I’ve hit my protein intake and devoured a pound of bananas, several large sweet potatoes and half of a home-made pizza every night after training.  Even after ingesting between 3,500 and 5,000 calories in a day (mostly from carbs), I found myself waking up a few pounds lighter the next morning.  My lifts improved every single week.  It’s almost unbelievable, but that’s why I had to write this post.

A lot of us don’t want to hear it, but it may be time to face the facts; if you live an active lifestyle, low carbing and (especially) clean eating might be screwing you over big time.  This goes double (maybe triple) for young people with raging metabolic fires.  I hope I can serve as a real-world example of how detrimental it can be to put all your faith into a single method or program, especially when it teaches you to avoid foods you love for the sake of keeping off a few pounds of water weight.  I believe in John Kiefer and Carb Back-Loading, but it is not my bible.  It’s a toolkit into which I reached, and pulled out a viable method of continuously getting stronger and gaining weight, of healing the metabolic and psychological damage that dieting can cause in those who’re susceptible.  My mind has been liberated, my world reconstructed, and I don’t look at evenings out at dinner as a one-way ticket to Fattytown; for the first time in my adult life, food and physical activity are my best friends.  I’m proud of myself and I feel like I’m finally living up to the promise I made to my sister.

If you are interested in buying Carb Back Loading I can personally say that the $53 changed my life forever.  Here is a link to download the book with tips for Crossfit and Paleo eaters.

James Barnum is an NASM certified personal trainer, weightlifting and nutrition enthusiast, musician and all-around awesome guy living in Tampa, Florida.  He is also one of the head writers for this site.