Carb Nite Solution Update
5 rounds for time:
100 double unders
– 35 minute time cap
AND COMING THURSDAY
30 Squat Snatches (135/95)
– 20 minute time cap
As you may have read in a previous blog post of mine I’ve been doing the Carb Nite Solution (CNS) nutrition plan for a bit now. In brief, CNS involves approximately six days per week of high fat, ultra low carb (30g or fewer) eating, and on the seventh day you get to feast for 6-8 hours in the evening on high carb, low fat, high calorie foods. I’ll talk in some future posts about why this is and how it’s about manipulating leptin, ghrelin, insulin, and other fun things in your body, but the basic idea is to turn you into a fat-fueled machine, versus a carb-fueled machine. Fat-fueled = fat burning and fat loss.
Here’s what happened to me:
I lost 3lbs the first week – mostly water and some fat, I’m guessing.
I gained 3lbs the second week – mostly muscle and some water, I believe.
And I lost 3lbs again the third week – mostly fat.
And here’s what we determined based on how I was eating and training those weeks:
CNS + caloric excess + strength training = anabolic beast mode
CNS + caloric deficit + high intensity interval training = fat burning
Now, these experiences are mine. You may have a completely different experience if you try this nutrition plan. My body really loves to make muscle, and it turns out that CNS optimizes the crap out of that. Other people may be able to eat in caloric excess and not necessarily gain weight the way I did. And to be clear – I gained muscle not fat, so it’s not really a problem – more like a “problem.”
But given that my goal was to get lean and small for my wedding, I chose to focus on the second scenario after week two – fat burning. So, ever since week three, I’ve banned myself from lifting weights and I’ve been doing intervals twice a day, Monday through Friday – at lunchtime and dinnertime – alternating between running, rowing, and cycling. I chose to do intervals based on the advice of CNS creator, Kiefer, who says women may need to do a crap-ton of intervals to properly deplete muscle glycogen (sugar stored in your muscles after carb night) each week and get you back to fat burning mode. Guys dump glycogen very easily and might only need to do one interval session. Women’s bodies have some mysterious ability to cling to glycogen like crazy, so they get to sprint every day until the day they feel like crap, and that’s the highly scientific way you know you depleted your glycogen (it’s still more fun than a muscle biopsy, which is the other option).
After the wedding I have a body fat goal in mind that I’m going to get myself down to, and then after that I’m going back to anabolic beast mode. At that point, I’m going to get back into strength training three times a week (on top of a daily set of running intervals at lunchtime, Monday through Friday – now that I’m lighter I am loving running again!). The idea is my body fat will stay low, but I’ll put on lots of muscle. To do that I’ll raise the calorie cap and eat a bit more. Those calories will be mostly in fat (avocados and red meat for the win!) with some protein, so I can synthesize muscle. And of course, there’s always the mental release that on carb night there’s never a caloric cap. Well, there is, but it has more to do with gastric pain than any number you can calculate.
So there you have it – life on the CNS. I can see myself continuing on this eating plan for a long time. It’s very simple to follow, and after the learning curve of the first week it’s actually quite easy to eat ultra low carb without any extra thought (and yes, you can eat totally real meals – see the photo below). Plus, I’m really excited to actually see my quads (they can squat a lot, so I know they’re in there somewhere.)
Becca Borawski served as Program Director at CFLA for seven years and is now part of the extended coaching family. She is the managing editor for Breaking Muscle, a website designed for real athletes and real coaches. She lives in Portland, OR and is most likely preparing a paleo meal at this moment.