Excerpt: Carb Back-Loading

The Ultimate Drug

Carbs are a drug. As with any drug, knowledge of effects—and side effects—is the only way to guarantee a positive outcome. Drugs often hit market before we’re aware of the full gamut of their effects, leaving consumers scrambling for answers, alternatives, and adjuncts. It works the same way with carbs, because we have yet to develop the capacity to understand their full influence. Years of ignorance have left a trail of recommendations based on folklore, hearsay, and guesswork as to what types of carbs to eat, when to eat them, and what, exactly, their role in the body is.

This commonsensical approach to carb inclusion ranges from eating carbs first thing in the morning to cycling them based on your gym schedule. Some people go anabolic—eating carbs just on weekends—while others have just one Carb Nite® per week. Only recently have people started eating their carbs at night.

Wait. Oprah’s trainer says you’re not supposed to do that. As a matter of fact, you’re not supposed to eat anything at night. According to the so-called experts, that’s sacrilege, because there’s nothing to gain but fat. Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if a pepperoni pizza before bed—the whole pizza—could cause fat loss and make your muscles grow? This is crazy talk, right?

Admittedly, not everyone is concerned about carbs—since some people obviously eat them at will without affecting strength, muscle mass, or their waistline. The rest of us, unfortunately, need to control our starchy dinners and sugary sweets. Eat pancakes for breakfast, and you’re likely to receive an unwanted serving of moobs—man boobs—a few weeks later.

For those who don’t need to worry, the pancakes won’t matter—nor will ice cream, pasta, or even post-workout nutrition. These people are freaks. Most of us seethe over the inequity of it all, because despite how carbs cause body fat stores to bulge, they also spark muscular growth, too. Forget their sweet, savory taste for a moment, and forget how they turn a boring slab of meat into chicken and dumplings. Growing huge, rounded shoulders, sculpted pecs, and massive quads requires carbs. They’re a means to an end.

Most people need carbs to approach the realm of freakiness, but fat accumulates along the way and hides their hard work. That’s what carbs do—they make things grow, like fat cells and muscle cells. Carbs don’t discriminate. The solution? Limit carbs, cut them out, or cycle them somehow. It’s not fun going without carbs—and it’s even less fun when you lose muscle and strength as a result.

We can do better.

pieThat’s what this book is about. Forget the constant cycle of bulking up, leaning down, bulking again, then leaning back down—where you take one step backward for every two steps forward. It’s time to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. Having an extra hundred pounds of body fat isn’t a prerequisite, either. Starting at a typical low-20’s body fat percentage, anyone can gain muscle, strength, and maybe even good looks while dropping into the sub-15% body fat range and lower. You won’t need any magical supplements or crazy food combinations, either. It’s literally as easy as pie.

I don’t live in a vacuum, and I know these sorts of promises float around the internet like fairy dust—and most of them are about as real. Empty promises do nothing but empty your wallet. Gurus everywhere, however, promise the same thing: Gain muscle and lose fat at the same time with ease. Hell, the cover accompanying my article in the May 2011 issue of Muscle & Fitness advertised Carb Back-Loading as the “Holy Grail of Nutrition.” Had I been a typical reader, I’d have been as skeptical as M&F’s editors were when we first discussed the concept—until, of course, they tried it. And loved it.

I’m not going to sit here and blow my own horn, and I’m not going to tell you to unequivocally trust me. I’m not even going to mention how stupid-simple the program is, and how anyone can get results, even with half-assed effort. I will, however, issue a warning: If you keep reading, the excitement and impatience to achieve the physique of your dreams—or your significant other’s dreams—will overwhelm you. Remember, knowledge is power. After reading this book, you’ll be omnipotent.