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John Kiefer: Carb Back-Loading – #19

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John Kiefer is an exercise scientist, nutrition expert, and author of the new book Carb Back-Loading.  John applies his knowledge from a career in physics to hack the human body for fat loss, muscle gain, and improved performance.  He is the author of the Carb-Nite Solution, and is releasing a new book that is designed for rapid fat loss and muscle gain.  John is coming on Bulletproof Executive Radio to help you do what some people call alchemy – burning fat and building muscle at the same time.

Bulletproof Executive Radio at the iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store

What We Cover

  1. How did you get interested in diet and health?
  2. What is carb back-loading, and how did you think of it?
  3. What makes carb back-loading different from regular post workout nutrition?
  4. Are there any benefits from training without pre-workout carbs?
  5. What kinds of foods do you use for carb back-loading?
  6. Are there any supplements you recommend when carb back-loading?  Are there any you think are a total waste of money, and any you think actually work?
  7. Is there an optimal time to workout during the day?
  8. Can you get results with aerobic exercise?
  9. How would you do carb back-loading with someone who trains in the morning?
  10. How can caffeine be used to enhance carb back-loading?
  11. How can eating breakfast make it harder to lose fat?  Why should people especially avoid carbs in the AM if they want to stay lean?
  12. How does fat act in a similar manner to carbs in terms of muscle replenishment?
  13. Since sleep deprivation decreases glucose tolerance, could lack of sleep potentially cause carb back-loading to be less effective?
  14. What are the most common mistakes people make when carb back-loading?
  15. What does a typical carb back-loading training day look like for you?  What is the most (crap) you’ve been able to eat and stay lean, and possibly gaining muscle?
  16. Do you think there may be other health benefits from not eating crap?  Such as living longer, better focus, avoiding cancer, etc.
  17. Where can people learn more about you?


Carb Back-Loading by John Kiefer


Creatine Monohydrate

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Kerrygold Grass-Fed Butter

Grass-Fed Meat


Lindt 99% Dark Chocolate

Coconut Milk

Probiotic Ultra Blend

Essential Amino Acids

South Park


Bulletproof® Upgraded™ Coffee Beans

Upgraded™ Whey Protein

Upgraded™ Chocolate Powder

Upgraded XCT Oil

Upgraded Collagen Powder

Glutathione Force

HeartMath emWave 2


Click here to view the transcript of John Kiefer: Carb Back-Loading – #19

Listener Q & A Summary

  1. How do you get rid of mycotoxins?
  2. Which is worse, farmed salmon or grain-fed beef?
  3. Is there any evidence behind the set-point theory?
  4. Are all fermented foods contaminated with mold?

Biohacker Report

“Leaky gut and autoimmune diseases.”

“Timing of amino acid-carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise.”

“Theta coupling between V4 and prefrontal cortex predicts visual short-term memory performance.”

Questions for the podcast?

Leave your questions and responses in comments section below.

You can also ask your questions via…

The Bulletproof Forum



Listener Questions

Henrick: I’ve read about mycotoxins and I wonder if that’s why I get problem with my stomach if I eat Coconut milk and sometimes if I eat dark chocolate. Is there some way you can get rid of the mycotoxins for example store the coconut milk and chocolate in the freezer or the fridge?

Chuck: If stuck in a situation where you have only the option of farmed salmon or semi-lean grain-fed beef, which is the better choice?

Katy: Is there any evidence behind the set point theory?  That your body will maintain the same level of fat mass no matter what?  Say it ain’t so!

Matt: I thought I read somewhere that with The Bulletproof diet one should not eat fermented foods. Is this because of mycotoxins or do you believe that lactic acid bacteria can cause problems as well. I make my own sauerkraut and kimchee and consume them for digestive support and GI health. Just a bit confused at this point…

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Some background research for this post may have been conducted by Bulletproof staff researchers.

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  • Adam Fiddler

    Awesome podcast guys. Definitely appreciated the higher-level discussion of some of the mechanisms at play during resistance training and fasting/carbohydrate restriction. Kiefer seemed like a really cool guy who loves breaking the rules. I’m really curious as to why he recommended stacking caffeine and creatine together–I know some supplements like Jack3d and others do this, but my understanding was the caffeine actually interferes with creatine uptake? Let me know if you have any thoughts, and looking forward to the next podcast.



    • dhnaomi

      That’s an interesting question that’s also come up on the Dangerously Hardcore forums lately. My understanding thus far is that this is a dose-dependent issue, and that the studies which showed interference involved absurdly high levels of caffeine (like 1g a day).

      Sounds like there’s enough interest in this question that I should try and get Kiefer to make a statement about it either on our forums or in the podcast / radio show we’re starting next week.

      • Dave Asprey

        Yes – I’d like to get Kiefer’s feedback on this too.

        • Adam Fiddler

          Would be really amazing to hear you (Dave), Kiefer, and Martin Berkhan do some kind of panel on intermittent fasting, as all your programs seem highly effective but follow somewhat different philosophies.

          Kiefer, for example, claims IF leads to muscle loss on his site but the evidence he cites for that doesn’t seem to involve any actual upregulation of genes involved in muscle catabolism, while both the Bulletproof Fasting and Leangains programs seem to involve strategically shutting down mTOR for periods of time. Would be a fascinating discussion between the three of you in my opinion. Thanks again for the great podcast Dave.



        • Dave Asprey

          An intriguing idea! Maybe one for the BP Conference…

        • Adam Fiddler

          Ooo there’s a BP Conference now?

        • Dave Asprey

          Details soon!

        • Armistead Legge

          It depends on context. If you’re trying to get to below 10% BF, go with Berkhan’s recommendations. And no, skipping meals and not eating protein all day does not cause muscle loss. That’s false.

      • Adam Fiddler

        Thanks Naomi, looking forward to the podcast.


  • Kira

    HI GUYS:-)
    Can you advise RE Raw Cocoa Powder.
    I am a chocoholic and eat 2 tbsp every day… I buy from a reputable brand – Navitas, or even David Wolfe who brings in the Arriba Nacionale variety which I consider the best. How big is a concern with these quality products?

    • Dave Asprey

      Eating higher quality makes sense always for chocolate. Those are both good brands. Like coffee, you’re likely to have better luck that way. When we are done with the chocolate process optimization, ours will be designed to be more predictable at about the same cost. And taste awesome too! Until then – these are both good brands. ?

  • guest

    When I cut back on sugar and grains I get bad breath. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Dave Asprey

      Thats ketosis happening. Keep it up! Charcoal will help. Once you burn off your toxins it stops doing that.

  • Jordan Steve

    Awesome podcast guys! Can you post the study link that Kiefer talked about regarding a meal of grass fed beef vs a completely processed one? I would love it if in the future you guys could include more of the studies you talk about during the interviews in the show notes. Thanks!

    • Sheri Berggren

      *bump* I just listened to this podcast (am catching up on older podcasts) and I have the same request – can we get more details on this study?

      • Dave Asprey

        Let me see if we can get that one.

  • Adrian

    Just wanted to say I’ve only recently stumbled across this site and Dave’s work and others alike but am heavily getting into it and loving it!! Was just wondering how someone with type 2 diabetes can take advantage of all this?? Is the diabetes a hinderence in getting results of big muscle gains?? Also, can Dave maybe suggest the best path for someone like myself to “hack” my diabetes??

    Many thanks,


    • dhnaomi

      Much of the crucial research that led to Carb Back-Loading actually came out of looking at diabetes research, especially in people who generated no endogenous insulin (type-1 diabetes).

      The useful bit is that GLUT-4 activation is able to “suck up” glucose even in the absence of insulin.

      Heavy resistance training is the most potent GLUT-4 stimulation activity that we currently know about. So spending 30 to 60 minutes in the gym, 2 to 5 times per week, a type-2 diabetic should be able to utilize far more high-glycemic carbohydrates than usual, strictly for muscle building purposes.

      The CBL diet leading up to training, and on off days, is basically ketogenic. It’s also very Paleo- and Bulletproof Diet friendly. So following a sort of “Bulletproof Back-Loading” diet (if Dave will permit me the artistic liberty here) SHOULD result in improved insulin sensitivity and far less need for insulin.

      • Eugene Huang

        When I eat something at night time 1 hour after a workout, which would be around 10pm, whether it is protein or carbs or both at the same time. I will get a light stinging migraine attack approx 30min. to 1 hour after eating. When I eat nothing at night everything is fine. BTW also when I do not workout but feel I need some extra Calories at night, I will get a light migraine attack. Eating during the day however everything seems fine. What is happening to me, and how does the carb backloading research fit in to my situation. Or how could it help me?

  • Carbjunkie

    I’m looking into the carb-back loading, but need to know if I can do it as a vegetarian?


  • Carbjunkie

    I should also say that I am not a bodybuilder. I stick to my p90x and I’m happy with that. I just need to lean out.

    • Dave Asprey

      Ok, you’re a carb junkie, you are doing P90x (ie overtraining vs doing intervals), and a vegetarian. You’re having trouble leaning out? You should expect that to happen with the program you’re on, my friend. Cortisol city, lack of healthy fats, excess omega 6, too many carbs. Try doing X09P (inverting P90x’s insane “reversed interval” idea to do real high intensity interval training) and adding TONS of eggs and butter to your diet, and eating no starch. Hard to do as a vegetarian and you won’t be optimal, but you’ll get more results than your current program – and live longer too! ?

      • Carbjunkie

        I don’t eat eggs! I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 6. It’s a psychological thing for me. So for protein I do shakes, legumes and soy. Can I d the carb back loading with those?

        • Dave Asprey

          If you really want to be bulletproof, you need to deal with food psychology issues. Starving yourself or using poor quality foods because you have “issues” with healthy foods is the elephant in the room that’s limiting your own potential across far more than health. Seek out your issues – all of them – find where they come from, and destroy them.

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  • smokesmd

    the thing is, with low carb diet, i have low libido (look at google, there are lots of people having this issue.. getting back on carbs works.. if it wasn’t for this issue, i would stay on bulletproof/paleo diet..

    • Dave Asprey

      That’s why it’s cyclical! See my post on female fertility and intermittent fasting…

      • smokesmd

        hey, i’m a man.. or is that article for both genders?tnx

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  • Eric

    Kiefer said that MCT’s, if taken for breakfast, may actually block the growth hormone response that happens about an hour after waking. My question is in regard to bulletproof coffee (which contains MCT oil). Wouldn’t the MCT oil work against that?

    “small amounts of fat and even small
    amounts of protein don’t have its great of an effect but if you’re
    introducing, it also depends on the fat. Too much quick acting fat of
    which there are not very many varieties basically Medium-chain
    Triglycerides, those can screw up the process if you have a lot of
    regular fats like animal fats, most of the oils they can take any more
    from 2 to 5 hours to get into your system so you’re not actually
    introducing an exogenous fuel to the system.” -kiefer

    Thanks, loved the article,

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  • Brandon Tobias

    Excellent podcast, especially for an athlete (collegiate football player) trying to be bulletproof and figuring out an ideal carbohydrate situation. My question is, Kiefer says towards the end that eating low G.I. carbs can have severely detrimental effects on fat loss and muscle gain because of the prolonged insulin rise in combination with cortisol increase throughout the night. Does this mean we should avoid low G.I. carbs altogether post-workout? I’m pretty sure that’s not the case, and if not then how many hours after workout or before bed are we safe to eat a full load of low G.I. carbs? How many hours do we have post-workout to remain in a “highly wasteful,” “thermogenic” state that doesn’t allow the body to store carbs as fat? And finally, how does all of this apply with high G.I. carbs? How many hours are we safe eating high G.I. carbs before bed, etc. Thanks so much. Feeling amazing a couple weeks into the bulletproof diet. Only problem is my Coach has been upset at the amount of fat I’ve lost! Of course all they care about is total weight…oh well!


  • Daniel

    Whether something is a cherry turnover or not is irrelevant. I use high-gluten flour to make ANY laminated pastry.

    • Daniel

      What I mean is that not every chef uses the same recipe for the laminated pastry in “apple turnovers”. I know because I am a chef.

  • Anabolic Men

    John Kiefer Really knows he’s shit, and cant really say that he won’t look anabolic enough!

    The man is a machine! With a brain of an einstein. God bless us for such a gifted guy.

  • Ripken Holt

    the download button isn’t working

  • Eugene Huang

    When I eat something at night time 1 hour after a workout, which would
    be around 10pm, whether it is protein or carbs it doesn;t seem to matter.
    I will get a light but painful and stinging migraine attack It accurs approx 30min. to 1 hour
    after eating. When I eat nothing at night everything is fine.

    I am affraid that the cortisol because of the pain suffered after a workout will hurt my otherwise good workout. Eating during the day however
    everything seems fine. What is happening to me, and how does the carb
    backloading research fit into my situation. Or how could it help me?

  • Seth

    What’s with the sound quality Dave? You should spend some time learning about sound engineering since you know everything.

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