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Carb Backloading Revisited

It’s been a while since the last post, but I may have caught on to something. A couple nights ago, I got on the scale (I know, it’s a mistake!) but I broke 190 lbs, and my body fat has been just about the same on any measure I can find. This equates to about a 4-pound muscle gain in the past week, with a 10-pound total muscle gain in the past 5 weeks. I don’t know if I had a size gain goal, but 2 pounds/week seems like  the upper limit. I’m not too keen to get over 200, despite Ah-nold’s warning from some movie, possibly Pumping Iron:

“Any man who weighs under 200 pounds is a woman.”


(Awesome! He’s wearing a UAB T-shirt~! Go Blazers!)

So what have I changed? Well, I’m earning my carbs, as John Welbourn recommends, but to the semi-extreme. You may remember (or have heard of in some other venue) the Carb Backloading protocol for body-building, which forbids any insulin-spiking food on rest days or prior to your lifts, and that *includes* plain eggs, dairy, low-fat meats, and any non-leafy vegetable. It was unsustainable, despite my best efforts to eat seaweed strips dipped in olive oil for breakfast every day. Carb Backloading also recommends gorging on low-fat, high-carb food after your lift, but this would mean lots of fat-free ice cream and yogurt, and like my girlfriend The Terrorist said last night, “I just don’t trust fat-free. It makes me sad.”

So I have a more simplified system which most people probably follow naturally *anyway*:

Lifting Days:

Breakfast – bacon and eggs

Lunch/Pre-Workout – some meat and veggie dish, no starches (for now…)

Post-Workout – 0.5-1lb sweet potato and 2 scoops whey protein

Dinner – big meal; shepherd’s pie, a Thai coconut curry stew with potatoes, or a big baked potato; this is also a perfect t

Rest Days:

Breakfast – bacon and eggs

Lunch / Snack / Dinner – various low-carb high-fat meals; Moe’s fajitas without the tortilla ; salmon and creamed spinach ; buffalo cheeseburgers.

So I’m not obsessive over 5g of carbs here and there. My only major split with Crossfit Football eating is in the pre-workout meal. Should I have some starches an hour-or-two before my lift or not? So far, I’ve made a decent linear progression with every lift, but I’m getting a little nervous about some of the lifts, since I’m reaching some of the old historical maxes that I haven’t been able to break through for the past 3-4 years, let alone 3-4 months. Here’s where I am with the basic lifts:

Squats – did 235x3x5 on Monday – really squeezed my way through the last 2 sets and almost missed the final rep. My 1 rep max all time is 275 with questionable form, 255 with good form. Goal by 12/31/12: 275x3x5

Press – I jumped up to 130x3x5 on Monday and it was surprisingly easy. My 1RM is 155, 5RM was 125. Goal by 12/31/12: 155x3x5

Deadlift – Still have plenty of room to go up. I’ve done 435 for 1 ugly rep before, and my 5RM is 385. I go for 375×5 later today, which shouldn’t be too rough. Goal by 12/31/12: 425x1x5

Bench – We haven’t really done too much of this. My 5RM is 200, and the highest I’ve done this month is 185 for 3 sets. Goal by 12/31/12: 225x3x5.

Power Cleans – I put up 125 for 3 reps like it was nothing on Saturday, and this has historically been my worst exercise, because it requires skill and coordination. Not my forte – I lift things up and put them down. I’ve never power-cleaned more than 145 before, and that plateau is looking more and more possible. Goal by 12/31/12: 155x5x3

Conclusion: if I stall in any of the lifts, the first thing I’m going to do is routine eat some pre-workout starches. If that doesn’t work, then I have to make sure I get a big slug of high-fat dairy everyday, like a chunk of Kerrygold cheddar with breakfast. 2013 may end up being the year of fat-burning, but I’m going to make 2012 the year of strength.



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