***This is from my archive, very good read for anyone afraid of carbs at night. Taken from 2013***

My report on carbs after 6

The whole carbs after 6 myth is been and gone. Before I give you the full “results” I’m giving you my honest opinion and my specific results, I’m not guaranteeing that they are the best. (In my opinion, there isn’t one right way, just “optimal” programs suited to the individuals lifestyle at the time).

Firstly, a little reasoning and background on the purpose of this.

Too often in the industry, so called fitness “professionals” are shouting that their way is best.

Now, if you think there is only one method for fat loss, you are wrong, there are many, that’s why there is so much confusion on the subject. The purpose of this experiment was to go against the grain and so called myths of the industry to prove a point that the basics work and if you take care of these consistently then you will progress.

For whatever reason, when I said I’m trying to lose fat and I’m having all of my direct carb sources after 6pm, the majority of people said “I thought you weren’t meant to have carbs after 6?”.

I initially retaliated with “who told you that?” in which the response was, “I don’t know I just heard that’s the best way to lose fat”.

I can only assume that the reason for this is that if you are carb heavy through the day then it would be easy to eat even more carbs at night.

My point here is, if you are on a diet then you should know what you are eating, meal timing is irrelevant, if you stop carbs after 6 does that mean you wont over eat them? Or overeat in general?

In theory you could have extremely carb heavy lunches and breakfasts, therefore defeating the purpose of no carbs after 6, if you eat more than you burn on a daily basis then you WILL put on weight, the same goes for the opposite, if you eat less than you burn, I can guarantee you WILL lose fat. (There are a lot of variables here and it isn’t guaranteed forever, a balanced approach has to be taken but that is another rant).

Another point when I said this is people asked if I was doing the carb back loading diet, I wasn’t intentionally and at this moment in time I haven’t researched too much in detail of that principle, however, from what I do know, I was partially following the theory.

So onto my next myth buster, on a fat loss diet, I was doing no cardio. Again the general belief to lose fat is to eat less and do hours of cardio. Not in my case, I didn’t do cardio once in the 4 weeks of this diet and still lost a lot of body fat.

Here’s my guidelines that I followed with some reasoning behind it. I intentionally had all my carb sources after 6pm just to prove a point, this was inconvenient on many occasions as I found myself eating 250+ grams of carbs after 6 on many an occasion. I can only apologise to my clients at the time as I scoffed a full pack of rice cakes during our 6pm session – oops.

I started on 325g of daily carbs. At the start of the diet, I have to say, I overate until 11:50 the Sunday night before so there was a good bit to lose. Also, with an indulgent offseason, I was carrying a little more “fluff” than intended so there was quite a bit to lose. The initial few days seen rapid weight loss (I said weight and not fat as the majority of this would have been food in my intestinal tract and water weight). Before I continue to progress weight and fat loss, I will give you an outline of my training schedule.

I know Charles Poliquin has a weight training principle that advocates heavy weights in the morning to stimulate CNS (central nervous system) and hypertrophy work at night (less demanding loads, yet more demanding short rest periods). I took on board what I had researched about this and designed my own program that went something like the following.

Day 1 am – Leg strength

Day 1 pm – Leg hyper trophy

Day 2 am – Shoulder and calf strength

Day 2 pm – Shoulder and calf hypertrophy

Day 3 – Rest and mobility

Day 4 am – Back and biceps strength

Day 4 pm – Back and biceps hypertrophy

Day 5 am – Chest and triceps strength

Day 5 pm – Chest and triceps hypertrophy

Day 6 – Rest and mobillity

Day 7 – Rest and mobility

Continually through the program on many occasions. I would only eat chicken and spinach as my post workout meal, after both sessions. Like I said earlier, more inconvenient to not have carbs than to have them but I was determined not to cheat myself and stick to my plan. Am I saying it is optimal not to have carbs post workout?

No, am I saying it is ideal to have carbs post workout, also no. In any circumstance, “it depends”, there is no clear cut answer as science points towards both being optimal, you will find research for and against both, it just depends on the environment and test subjects.

My results and protocol.

What was most, and what I believe to be most important is daily macronutrient targets. Your body’s hormonal processes are regulated over a 24 hour if not weekly period, not instantaneously. This means that I would set my target and hit that for the day, whether I had carbs before or after 6 would make no difference.

In my case I came across a nice “side effect” of carb free mornings, my energy levels and focus were regulated a lot more efficiently and gym performance did not decrease. This was great as I did not binge (or feel the urge to binge) for 4 weeks. Those who know me will have heard of my epic binges since the start of the year. I was surprised and pleased. Being so strict on my carb sources (or lack thereof) before 6, I started to eat less processed foods and more natural foods, I think this contributed to my lack of binging.

While carb sources don’t matter for body composition, they do for hormonal responses so I put my improved appetite regulation to natural foods. (I’m extremely hesitant to say paleo as I follow many nutritional principles but not 100% of the time, balance is key to health and food avoidance diets are just going to leave us wanting more)

With regards to lack of cardio, cardio should only be used as a tool and not relied on. Why go 100 mph on your journey when you can half the speed with less damage and stress to your engine (body)? It just wasn’t required at my current level of body fat.

Here are the results of my 4 week experiment, these are accurate as I made sure I had calliper readings taken before and after the experiment in the same circumstances to ensure accuracy. Now, remember I lost a lot at the start and also at the end when I dropped carbs.

Starting weight 93.1kg at 14.2% body fat, finishing weight 86.4kg at 10.1% body fat. I even surprised myself. Through the diet, I had clients telling me that I was doing it wrong. (You’d think they’d have faith haha) Other good comments were that I was looking leaner AND bigger! Jackpot. Other benefits of this were that I had revealed some muscle that I had built in my previous 12 week strength program.

The key points to remember here are to lose fat, you need to be in a caloric deficit, carbs can be your worst enemy or best friend but know what your eating and adjust slowly. One of my sayings are, “be consistent, do what you can, when you can as often as you can”. Life will get in the way, I can guarantee that, no journey is perfect so just take care of the basics and don’t be afraid to eat carbs after 6!

If you found this useful please share with anyone you think it will help. Any questions, please ask, I’m here to help.

Fabio Bonanno

Personal training Marble Arch