No matter what you do or what you compete in, nutrition plays an enormous part of your performance. Hands down, I believe whatever your programming or ability is, you cannot succeed unless you have a grasp on nutrition. This concept holds even more true as you get older. It also explains how Kiefer and I met up in the midst of Carb Back Loading.
I had read a good amount on this guy Kiefer and his more scientific approach to nutrition. He’s not your typical nutritionist – he is straight science. And in reality, you really can’t beat scientific findings. So I did what any other typical obsessed-with-performance coach would do… I hammered him with e-mails and messages. However, it should be noted that Kiefer does not work with just anyone. Not to say I am special by any means, BUT when you are 240 lbs. and compete in CrossFit, you spark some interest. Kiefer responded with, “Okay, let’s create a monster.” Over two years ago, we started the project.
Carb Back Loading is a nutritional program in which you use the body’s most potent hormone, insulin, to dictate growth, recovery, replenishment of energy stores and glycogen, as well as help turn your body into a fat burning oven. That’s it in a nutshell. Trust me, there is a lot more to it. Kiefer does a great job explaining it on his Dangerously Hardcore web site www.dangerouslyhardcore.com.
I am here to explain how it has helped me increase my performance within the sport of CrossFit. We all know that in CrossFit we need to be able to adapt and train for long periods of time, in multiple domains and with many different modalities. So how does CBL efficiently work with performance? It forces the body to adapt to an energy source that is efficient in the domains you train in without really sacrificing muscle or strength. The adaptation of carbohydrates increases the body’s ability to burn at the proper time, as well as create an environment that recovers quickly even in the oxidative state. Alright, alright, I am all over the place, but know this: CBL creates an energy environment within the body to use the proper pathways for potential. I know it sounds crazy, but your lactic threshold and work capacity becomes greater as your body learns how to manipulate energy.
Now for those who have just read a little bit about CBL and come back with “It’s low carb and it’s crappy food,” I say read more. That is not what CBL is. Also for those who preach strict-Paleo, get over yourself –the competitive athletes in CrossFit DO NOT EAT STRICT PALEO. Most of the athletes, if you really want to know, eat some bastardized version of CBL. The genesis of it all is creating the sensitivity to reloading the body with what it needs when it needs it. The beginning stages of CBL do institute a lower carb theory, but that is so the individual can prime insulin sensitivity. The refeedings of CBL (once into the next stage) calls for a legitimate amount of carbohydrate ingestion. Timing is everything on CBL.
When all is said and done, we are looking for performance gains. Along with those gains, we are also looking at body composition and body fat percentage loss. I’ve added those last two to the conversation because even though we all may train in a CrossFit environment, we all don’t compete in CrossFit. Some people who are reading this article want to change what they look like. They enjoy doing CrossFit, they love training, but they couldn’t care less about competing. Guess what? CBL works for those folks, too. There really isn’t too much manipulation, but timing may be a little varied. I will say it again; my answers are simple. If you want the real thing, read up on Kiefer.
To get the greatest benefit out of CBL, the level of intensity of your training has to be high. The training has to have the ability to deplete glycogen stores and stress the central nervous system (CNS) properly. I can’t lie, straight up WODs don’t do the trick and straight strength work doesn’t do the trick. Programming is critical. Volume, and then efficiency within that volume, is important. I know I may have burst some people’s bubbles. It’s not just simple stuff. Programming, if done correctly, can make it happen. The good news is that if you have a good coach in a good environment, he or she is probably doing just right. If you have a poor coach who swings from whatever vine looks good that day, then it probably won’t work. And if your performance doesn’t get any better either, find a new coach.
Kiefer’s CBL makes people’s heads turn. CBL is something people need to read about to understand. It’s not rocket science to do it, but it is rocket science that created it. Seriously, take a look and enjoy the results.
SAMPLE CBL DAY
5-5:30am Wake Up: 10g whey isolate (MHP ISOFAST), quad americano w/heavy cream
9am: Breakfast: 5 eggs and 8 oz. breakfast meat (typical egg bake with sausage or bacon and veggies in it), 5g fish oils
Pre-Workout: 5g creatine, 10g whey isolate (ISOFAST), TBS Coconut Oil
**Straight strength work with some technique emphasis**
Post-Workout: 10g MHP Glutamine-SR, 10g leucine, 40g whey isolate (MHP ISOFAST)
Lunch: Large salad with lean protein (chicken or turkey, steak)
Pre-Workout: Same as above, plus MHP Trainer (occasionally a medium coffee, too)
**Conditioning, intervals, gymnastic, some heavy loaded Met-Cons**
Post-Workout: MHP Dark Matter, 30 minutes later 40g Protein Blend (MHP Probolic-SR)
60 Minutes Post-Shake CBL starts
6-8 slices of BBQ chicken pizza and 3-4 meatballs on the side
30 Minutes Later: 2 apple turnovers and cup of 1% lactose free milk
2 Hours Later: 20g Protein Blend (Probolic-SR or personal mix) with 1 pint of ice cream