One way is to increase one's carb intake is do so on a daily basis or on every workout day as advised by Loren Cordain. Another way is to carb refeed: To expose the body to a high carb intake maybe just once or twice a week.
Now since I'm on a the 90 Day Revamp Challenge and my main goals is to lean out, increase strength I decided to go for carb refeeds rather than increasing my carbs on a daily basis. Carb refeeds are body-hack strategies in which you take advantage of the body's metabolic rhythm and efficiently feed the body carbs at specific times when the carbs will be used for muscles and not converted into fat. It also turns out that as opposed to pure intermittent fasting women actually lean out better on IFs if they throw in a carb refeed.
Funny enough yes it can... if eaten at the right times. One critical factor to make this thing work is continous glycogen depletion. Except for the carb refeeds your normal diet still needs to be low carb and focusing on healthy meats and fats. If you are already low carb Paleo that won't be much of a problem.
John Kiefer, author of Carb Nite, also argues that you should eat the bulk of your carbs in the later half of the day. The reason is that when we wake up in the morning the body is more insulin sensitive and primed to burn fat. Why mess that up by eating a carby breakfast and causing an insulin spike?
I have done the calorie counting, measuring and weighing and I prefer nutrition to be easy. So I opted to follow the principles as decribed in John Kiefer's book Carb Nite. Carb Nite is not Paleo but can be easily made Paleo friendly.
- Set up: Before you have your carb nite you need to be on ultra low carbs for 10 days. Do not exceed the daily intake of 30g of sugars or starches. A can of soda already contains that amount.
- Schedule your carb nite on the 10th day. Start eating high GI foods around 5 pm, and keep snacking on high GI foods until around 7pm when you have a carby dinner, follow up with a dessert, and then later have a pre-bed snack.
Make sure that the first carb meal is low in fat. The later it gets the fattier you can go. So coconut milk sorbet would be alright as a pre-bed snack.
- Wax on, wax off: After your first carb nite return to your ultra low carb diet. You should have loaded up on enough carbs to fuel you for ca. 4 days. Plan most of your intense workouts in that time window. At this phase you should schedule a carb nite every 7 days. Once you have gone below 10% below for men or 18% for women you will need to add a second carb nite in the week to prevent your body from plateauing.
As already mentioned Carb Nite is not Paleo since the book recommends to load up on processed carbs like donuts and ice cream. Though in recent interviews Kiefer admits that sticking to non processed foods would yield better results. So even when loading up on high GI foods we can stay Paleo-decent.
Well, I have scheduled my carb nite today (OMG!!!) and will start right after my afternoon workout around 4:30 pm. And yes, I am a bit nervous about the sugar exposure. If this was a super hero comic the sugar is either going to destroy me or make me a Power Puff Girl!
The plan basically looks like this:
- First low fat carb meal at 4:30 pm: Chocolate Banana Smoothie
- Pour 400ml coconut water, 2 over-ripe bananas, 1 tsp raw cocoa powder in a blender. Add some form of glucose. Ice cubes optional.
- Second carb meal at 7:pm: Carby dinner with moderate fat
- Lean meat with veggies and a bowl of white rice. Use coconut oil.
- Third carb meal 7:45 pm: Dessert
- Sago with sweet coconut milk OR if you not too strict, sago with whey shake.
- Pre-bed snack ca. 21:45 pm
- Spiced pumpkin coconut ice cream
If you are male you can go all out. But if you are female you will need to tweak a bit. Do not under-feed and do not overeat. Stick to the 6 hour window. Adjust your carbs according to how tough the upcoming days will be. I will probably
NOTE!!!: When loading up on carbs do not rely too much on fruit or fruit juices as they are high in the sugar fructose. Muscles only use the sugar glucose. Fructose needs to go through the liver and is converted into glucose and fat! The same for sweeteners. Stay away from stevia and all that crap. Normal table sugar is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. To be more efficient I would rather go for dextrose, maltose or maltodextrin which are all glucose or glucose chaini sugars.
For more info checkout this article Kiefer wrote for Men's Fitness and his website Dangerously Hardcore.
Currently I am pretty much sugar craving free. My concern is that once I start Carb Nite it'll come back again and hit me full throttle. Of course I am clinging to the hope that this whole thing will work out for me, my mind won't go into sugar junkie mode and it'll indeed improve performance and body composition.
I will keep you posted on my progress or regress. Fingers crossed!