Carb backloading is a nutritional concept by the well-known American fitness consultant John Kiefer. Carb Backloading is a diet that dictates that certain carbohydrates should be taken in the second half of the day and after exercise. Not everyone worries about the nutrient carbohydrates. Most people eat carbohydrates completely at will, without paying attention to the effects on body weight and current account balance. So that you can still achieve a lot of carbohydrates with a large muscle and an intense fat burning, John Kiefer, the nutritional principle Carb Backloading was developed.

How does Carb Backloading work?

Carbohydrates have for the muscle building the greatest effect when taken in a daily regulated cycle. Ingestion of most carbohydrates triggers the release of insulin. Especially in the morning, the insulin sensitivity is highest, which means that the body cells in the morning can handle the intake of carbohydrates better than in the evening. Body fat and muscle tissue also react better in the morning to the release of insulin. Although a morning consumption of carbohydrates can cause strong muscle and fat growth, but this exercise is changed by physical training sessions so that the muscles react differently to insulin and blood sugar after a certain time. With this knowledge, Jack Kiefer divides the day into two halves. For example, if you start training after 4:00 PM and you do not eat any carbs by that time, neither muscle nor fat tissue has received any growth signal until then. At the end of the workout you will start with a large intake of carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are started with a Post Workout Shake, which contains ample amounts of simple carbohydrates. Immediately there is a massive growth signal in your body. Since intensive and heavy strength training was used before, now especially the muscle benefits from this energy boost. The storage of carbohydrates as body fat is missing. This effect continues until bedtime.

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What does carb backloading look like in practice?

Consume 30 to 100 grams of carbs in the first half of the day. Breakfast is just coffee without a set meal. Thereafter, several meals can be taken, but with little carbohydrates. The second half of the day is then filled with carbohydrate-rich meals after training, which can also be enriched with fat. The strong increase in metabolism helps to process the dietary fat during sleep. The intake of carbohydrates after training contradicts the recommendations of many experts, since it is assumed that you need a lot of energy for an intensive strength training. Nevertheless, the rate of force increases in the long run due to carb backloading. John Kiefer bases this effect on his definition of strength, which he sees as a balance between muscle size and neural efficiency. The wrong timing of daily carbohydrate intake is the most common cause of muscle weakness for him, resulting in muscle stagnation.

Do you need supplements at Carb Backloading?

Carb Backloading requires the use of a fast-absorbing protein such as whey isolate and a few grams of leucine for an anabolic stimulant. In addition, Kiefer also recommends fish oil directly before training. According to Kiefer, the full glycogen stores and ketone metabolism provide the energy for muscle work during exercise. The goal of post-workout nutrition is to replenish carbohydrate stores. The only low-fat after-work meal is a post-workout shake consisting of around 50 grams of protein, 25 grams of maltodextrin, 5 grams of creatine, and 5 grams of leucine.  

Training days and training-free days

Carb Backloading differentiates between two different variants, which focus mainly on fat loss and muscle building. 

  1. The Strenght Accumulation Protocol means maximizing fat loss and high power gain with only minimal muscle gains. The backloading does not take place here every day but only if training was done on this day or training the next day and no backloading has taken place for some time
  2. The Density Bulking protocol is the variant for maximum muscle building, which provides a full backloading every day, no matter if a training was completed or not. On training-free days, you can treat the carbohydrates a bit more generously.


Carb Backloading is a nutritional form that requires carbohydrate intake to be postponed to after-work time and the second half of the day. The goal of this diet is a continuous muscle growth with simultaneous fat burning. Kiefer bases this approach on the fact that consuming many carbohydrates prior to exercise induces a hyperglycemic condition that unnecessarily burns out the power reserves. According to Kiefer, the power increases but still, if you do without carbohydrates before training. The prerequisite for this, however, is the replenishment of glycogen stores the night before. That's why Carb Backloading needs to fine-tune your day's planning with diet and exercise time. But this is where the weak point of this diet begins. Many people do not have the time during the day to comply with these guidelines. Not everyone sits in his office all day and later has the strength and stamina to do his training without carbohydrates. Carb backloading requires a lot of discipline and good timing, but for many people in today's society this is a serious hurdle.

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