If you’re looking to optimize your fat loss, then
you’ve come to the right place.
Unfortunately, we’ve overlooked a key factor for far too
long, and it’s time that changes. I’m going to show you
how to lose weight as efficiently as possible by exploring the
concept of carbohydrate tolerance.
We’ll cover the theory, practice, and the specific
“How To’s”, along with plenty of Quick Tips along
What Is Carbohydrate Tolerance?
Before we get to this critically important concept, let’s
back up a minute and consider another point called insulin
sensitivity. This simply refers to how responsive a particular
tissue is to the hormone insulin. A tissue with high insulin
sensitivity will respond quite well to this hormone, while another
with low sensitivity won’t be as responsive.
This is important because insulin is known as the storage
hormone, and it’s our goal to keep it as low as possible in
order to lose bodyfat. In addition to the overall quantity,
it’s our goal to maintain a high insulin sensitivity in
muscle, but keep a low insulin sensitivity in fat cells.
That way, insulin can do its job better in muscle, but not so
well in fat cells (and as you probably guessed, the job of the
latter is to store fat).
Now, insulin sensitivity sounds important, and it is, but
it’s been the sole focus for far too long. The parameter that
comes into play, even before insulin is affected, is known as
What’s perhaps even more important is that carb tolerance
can even indirectly affect insulin sensitivity and hormonal
Quick Tip: Ideal insulin sensitivity is critical for not only
the maintenance of muscle mass when on a diet, but also optimal fat
loss. By optimizing carbohydrate tolerance we maximize insulin
sensitivity, thereby preserving muscle and burning more
So What Is It?
Although carbohydrate tolerance is similar to insulin
sensitivity in many ways, it specifically pertains to the way in
which our body deals with carbohydrates alone. The concept is best
explained by treating our muscle as a sponge that’s responsive
to carbs. For the optimal fat loss we want it relatively
“dry,” so that when the time comes, it can suck up as
many carbs as possible.
As long as the sponge has a little dryness to it, it’ll be
able to absorb the water (a.k.a. carbs) without affecting the rest
of the body. (Remember that insulin isn’t involved quite yet.
This is how we maintain an optimal fat burning state for as long as
After the muscle has absorbed a relatively large amount of
carbohydrates, it’s considered full, and reaches what is known
as the saturation point. Only after the saturation point has
been reached do the carbs begin to “spill over,” at which
time insulin, and our sensitivity to it, becomes
Quick Tip: For an easy to conceive analogy, consider the
following: if fat loss is a battle, then insulin sensitivity can be
considered the reserves, while carbohydrate tolerance is the front
line! Only by engaging all of the troops can we win the
The Key Benefit
Having a high carb tolerance relates to fat loss because it
performs a vital role: it keeps insulin levels low.
Because insulin is our storage hormone it has the double impact
of not only stopping any fat loss that is occurring, but also
directly induces fat storage itself. Obviously if we’re trying
to cut, then having as little of this hormone as possible is a very
good thing. And by having optimal carb tolerance, this is exactly
what we’re doing!
Added Bonus: The Buffer Zone
Another benefit of maintaining a high carbohydrate tolerance is
that it acts as a buffer zone for those times when we overindulge
in carbohydrates. This ensures that these carbohydrates are not
stored as fat, but rather sucked up by the muscle such that insulin
levels are minimized.
One might, if in the middle of a carb binge, think of it as a
get out of jail free card. The diet won’t be ruined, which can
have great physiological and psychological
Quick Tip: Stimulant use also greatly assists with fat loss, and
can help mitigate any damage done by slipping on our diet. For more
information, check out a previous Barrticle: “How to
Stimulate Maximal Fat Loss.”
So how do we enter a state of optimal carb tolerance, and
subsequent fat loss? Well, there are 2 main ways: 1) Diet 2)
Exercise (no surprises here).
Key 1: Diet
The most efficient way to induce a longer-term state of carb
tolerance is to maintain a low carbohydrate diet. This serves to
deplete muscle glycogen stores such that they’ll be far more
responsive to absorbing carbohydrates. Going back to our sponge
analogy, carb depleting is our practical version of drying out the
Key #2: Exercise
Our short-term path to carb tolerance is exercise, particularly
that which is able to significantly deplete muscle carbohydrate
stores (a.k.a. glycogen). Resistance exercise is particularly
efficient at inducing an elevated carbohydrate tolerant
state – something that most people take advantage of with a
post-workout drink like Surge.
By combining our intense exercise and low carb diet we are
setting up an optimal internal environment for fat
The “How To”
Now that we understand the basics and benefits of carbohydrate
tolerance, let’s take a look at how to do it, and do it well.
Killing Carbs and Bodyfat
The majority of fat loss occurs in a carb-depleted state, in
part due to the improved carb tolerance that accompanies this
condition. The sooner we can enter this optimal fat burning phase,
the better the results. By focusing our first carb depletion day on
getting into the optimal carb depleted state, we are kick starting
fat loss and setting ourselves up for a successful cut. This
critical first day is known as the priming
The easiest way in which to enter the optimal carb tolerance
zone is to dramatically reduce carbs on this day. This is because
our first day isn’t about losing fat per se; it is about
priming our body for a state where it is able to destroy fat. It seems like a subtle difference at first, but makes all the
difference to our body.
By reducing our carbs to a great extent in the priming phase,
we’re quickly able to get into the optimal fat loss zone,
during which we are able to consume a low quantity of carbs in
order to maintain the ideal fat burning state. On subsequent days
of the diet, carbohydrates may be increased slightly such that the
fat burning condition will be sustained until the carbohydrate
Quick Tip: Refeeeding will fill our muscles with glycogen and
induce a strongly anabolic state. This is critical for both the
maintenance of both muscle mass and training intensity.
In order to optimize these effects, excessive glycogen depleting
exercise should be avoided during this short time. For this reason,
only light cardio should be performed during a refeed, if
Divide and Conquer
Here’s a quick tip that clients love: separate your cardio
and weights into different sessions, rather than trying to cram
them all into one shot. This has the dual advantage of optimizing
carb tolerance, and maximizing the amount of energy you can put
into each session.
Because each training session improves carb tolerance,
you’re getting twice the bang for your buck. This means that
you’ll have double the carb tolerance compared to if you
performed only a single training session.
In fact, it’s likely that you’ll more than double your
carb tolerance through this method. Due to the intensity that you
can offer to each bout, carb tolerance will be exaggerated relative
to that of a compromised intensity session.
Have you ever tried to do a hard weight session after HIIT, or
vice versa? If you’re human then probably not, because both
are exhausting. But for those masochists who have, you’ll
likely remember that there was a serious compromise of the latter
This is because the intensity simply can’t be maintained
for two consecutive exercise bouts, particularly when on a low
carbohydrate diet. But, by splitting this intensity between two
separate workouts, you are better able to focus your energies on a
single task, thereby maximizing fat burning
This is particularly critical when it comes to weight sessions
because intensity is needed to maintain a strong anticatabolic
stimulus to muscle. Without it, muscle will waste in the caloric
deficit, metabolism will drop, and the diet is
Quick Tip: By splitting cardio and weights into two separate
workouts, you’re preserving muscle mass! This not only helps
to maintain an elevated, fat burning, metabolism, but it also
ensures that you’ll look better when you’re all
Double Fat Loss
The exercise and diet points are great on their own, but are
even more powerful when combined! If you recall, the first day of a
carb depletion is critical for getting us into the optimal fat
burning zone. Well, this priming phase of carb depletion is also
the perfect time for a double workout day!
This will ensure maximum glycogen depletion at a time when we
will benefit most from it. By training twice we also take advantage
of the training-induction of carb tolerance.
Day 1: Priming Phase
AM: 30 minutes of HIIT followed by 15 minutes of low intensity
PM: Resistance training session
Carbohydrate intake: extremely low
Day 2-5: Fat Loss Phase
AM: 30 minutes of HIIT followed by 15 minutes of low intensity
PM: Resistance training session
Carbohydrate intake: low
Day 6-7: Refeed
Resistance training only
Carbohydrate intake: high
In our quest for the ideal body we’ve been neglecting
carbohydrate tolerance for far too long. By entering an optimal
carb tolerant state we are maximizing fat loss and assisting with
the overall ease of the diet. Try applying the tips provided and
you can be sure to maximize cuts and lose fat faster and easier
than previously thought!
FAQ: You’re wrong. I don’t focus on no carbohydrate
tolerance and I still got ripped and swole, and girls like me
A: Congratulations on your success, but I advise you against
closing your mind to adjustments, additions, or alternatives. Do
what works for you, but remember that there’s always room for
For the sake of doings things as quickly and effectively as
possible, most people are concerned with performing optimally.
That’s exactly what this discussion is about: optimization.
You can achieve results without considering carbohydrate tolerance,
but it will be less effective and take longer. There’s no need
to bother dealing with that when there’s a simple