I really dont think I will ever eat carbs at breakfast as long as I want to continue building muscle

“I really dont think I will ever eat carbs at breakfast as long as I want to continue building muscle”

….has caused a bit of uproar in the world of cyper meatheaddom.

Im glad! Im glad it has caused a debate and got some people thinking (as opposed to listening and doing like autonomous robots). It has many of you asking very intelligent questions. As well as others making ignorant statements, but this isn’t for you, and either is anything else intelligently stated on this planet because you are fixed in your opinions and stagnant in your ways.

Some of you took the time to actually READ the statement. Of which the words are carefully chosen. As they always are.

First off, nowhere in this statement do I make any recommendations to anyone with fitness or muscle building goals. Although I could certainly direct this exact statement at a large percentage of the population. This statement is simply me stating my opinion and what I feel is optimal for muscle building for myself… yes I feel most people would be better suited following this type of recommendation to avoid any type of carbohydrate with their first meal of the day. Why? After 15 years of dealing with people from all levels in the fitness industry, clearly the most common thing holding people back from achieving their muscle building and fat loss goals is the inability of their body to properly utilize carbohydrates. This leads to poor recovery, increased fat storage, dramatically diminished energy to perform workouts, the laundry list goes on. It has been shown time and time again that consuming carbohydrates at meal 1 will disrupt carbohydrate utilization, or glycation, for an extended period post consumption.

Consuming carbohydrates has been shown to increase serotonin, a “feel good” and relaxation hormone. For many people, carbohydrates can induce a feeling of sleepiness (sound familiar?). Interestingly after 911 sales in high carb foods skyrocketed. Carbs are basically self medicating … Meaning people eat them to put themselves to sleep. Is this something youre after when youre rolling into the gym for another killer session? No chance.

How do you increase energy pre workout? Increase neural drive? Maximize focus and eliminate apathy? Well, obviously the supplement world will tell you there is a need for something to “amp you up”, and don’t get me wrong im definitely no stranger to a good strong cup of coffee, but how about learning to optimize the hormonal effect of food? Or increasing excitatory neurotransmitters like acetylcholine?

The absolute truth is, this stuff is way over the heads of most armchair He-Men out there.

Increase endogenous growth hormone? Maximize acetylcholine? HUH?!

But “ I read somewhere that insulin makes you grow and that I need carbs with every meal”. Awesome.

There are MANY factors to consider and circumstance plays a huge role in every case.
This is why, everyone who follows any of my programs or dietary recommendations, is taught about something that I refer to as “current settings”. Where you are RIGHT NOW. This exact instant in time. That is the only time that matters, and that is the only time that you should be basing decisions around. It is nearly impossible for someone to tell you, accurately anyway, exactly how you should be eating or supplementing without extensive prior knowledge with regard to every single factor within your life at that instant.
Job. Stress. Sleep. Nutrition. Supplementation. History. Etc. So, for me to tell you you “shouldnt eat carbs” would be ignorant, because I know nothing about you.

We can however, make educated recommendations based on the fact that many people tend to fall under the same category and many people tend to see the same limiting factors of progression.

If I say that I will never eat carbs again at breakfast, it is because I have tried just about everything under the sun as far as food combinations, timing, amounts, etc and after 15 years of trial and error with myself as well as being an astute observer of my peers, I have come to the conclusion, that while trying to build muscle mass(aka during my IFBB career), I do not see a benefit in consuming carbohydrates at my first meal of the day. Nope, NONE! Zero. Zilch.
Not on my heaviest days, not on my lightest days. Perhaps if I were an endurance athlete this would be different.

Namely, I feel shitty throughout the day. My energy definitely peaks and plummets. I crave more foods. I don’t see any type of performance benefit, but I do see a performance detriment.

For all the people that are asking themselves, “but I thought you need carbs in the morning to blunt cortisol, or because insulin sensitivity is high so don’t I want to eat carbs in the morning?”
The answer to both of these questions is in fact, yes! But unfortunately, there are many more things to consider that go beyond that, things that override these truths with respect to optimizing body composition and muscle building. The first being that insulin sensitivity, is in my opinion, THE most important factor in muscle building and optimizing body composition(aka losing your spare tire).

How many of you have ever gone in the gym and felt like you would rather go home and take a nap? I know I have.

Early in my career my pre workout ritual every Saturday was a double serving of chocolate chip pancakes with extra real maple syrup (I am Canadian, eh!). Id get to the gym and be ready for a nap, definitely not energized to train.

So then I tried some oatmeal, same result. (It might’ve taken 1hr for lethargy to hit instead of 15mins, but it still hit).

Over the last two years I have switched to a meal high in protein, fat(MCT, SCT), and some fibrous carbs(usually broccoli or spinach for me) and my performance has gone through the roof. More importantly than that, it has been CONSISTENT! Consistency and replicability is everything to me. Anything can happen once or twice. Heck, ive definitely had amazing workouts having had a large serving of carbs pre workout. The issue is that its not predictable, and its not always consistent. To me, an IFBB pro that absolutely must get 100% out of each and every workout, or at least be able to predict as many variables as possible, if I can maintain control over something like this, than I must.

In stating that I will NEVER again eat carbs for breakfast, well, if I know its bad for performance, and I can unequivocally say that it will deter my progress even a little bit, then of course I will NEVER eat them again(yup its true, I even eat a non carb breakfast on my cheat days-which btw are plentiful these days! ;))

I just truthfully feel that I have much more consistent energy throughout the entire day, not just in the morning. I crave much less, especially while dieting. My MOOD is more consistent. I capitalize this for all the grumpy dieters out there, give it a try. My workouts are more consistent, whether I train after meal 1 or meal 5, what I eat for breakfast makes a difference. The biggest of all, is that my bodyfat drops much faster than when I eat carbs at meal one. Ive been dieting for contests twice a year every year since 2005, and since I stopped consuming carbs at meal one(and no carbs pre workout as well-for full disclosure), I have never done so little cardio in my life, and my bodyfat drops faster than ever.

This is pure honest observation from someone that is probably one of the most analytical, observant human beings on the planet, often to a fault. Im also my worst critic.

So take it as you will. I am here to read, observe, be a guinea pig and offer the best information that I can find. End of story. Im glad I could get a few of you fired up. Strong passion, whether for good or not, is underappreciated. 😉

This topic seems to be controversial to some.
Id love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the matter.

So please take a minute to comment below and share if you think this can help even
one person you know!



Learn how to optimize your breakfast for performance, muscle gain, and fat loss with the Muscle Expert Ben Pakulski joined by Dr. Jacob Wilson and John Meadows HERE

What Do You Think?

By |2017-04-16T00:13:54+00:00April 8th, 2013|


  1. Gilbert Leacock April 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    First off thank you for MI40.
    I’m a PT in Northern Ontario (Timmins) and have been training for over 30 years. I have never found it easier to drop inches from around my gut than since I introduced Meat and Nuts to my AM routine. Many of my clients have told me the same. AND I HATES DOIN’ CARDIO! Although at my age I should do more.
    IT’s nice that you as a pro care enough about “our” sport to share your knowledge and understanding of the human body.
    I’ve always thought about how to make 5lbs feel like 20 or more and you showed me some very interesting “tweeks” that do just that.
    Thank you young man, I’m sure you make your parents very proud!

    “You have to do it yourself, but you don’t have to do it alone”
    Gilbert Leacock

  2. Selven April 8, 2013 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    I completely agree with you ben!…not that i am following blindly…speaking with personal experience, i am better of without carbs at breakfast….never have been a fan of you…but a strong believer….keep it up bruh!

  3. Brett April 8, 2013 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the info Ben! I noticed that another pro trainer’s ideas in dieting pretty much falls in line with yours; carbs if not handled correctly can be detrimental. I had a high carb breakfast yesterday and all I wanted to do afterwards was to just take a nap. My question for you is, if limiting carbs is ideal for building an anabolic environment for your body to develop lean muscle mass, how are you supposed to put on size if your goal is to gain another 20-25 lbs? Thanks!

  4. Trent Piera April 8, 2013 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    Ben, I’ve also come to the idea that carbs in the morning stop the release of gh within the body (as its released during sleep). How do you feel about this?

  5. Joseph Agu April 8, 2013 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    Interesting read Ben. I don’t doubt that you feel better from that approach. However, according to the science, it may not be optimal for most:



  6. Tylor April 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    I think this is great advice!

  7. Jay Mani April 8, 2013 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    I hear what you are saying. Unfortunately many don’t take the time to read and or comprehend. It all depends on the individual. How your body reacts is the most important aspect. Its all about how you feel. Life is about self discovery and figuring things out through heuristics. What works for you may not work for somebody else but that doesn’t mean you should not experiment. I am 43 years old. I was very skinny for the first 18 years of my life then gained lots of fat being lazy and eating crap. I just started lifting weights lats year and I can’t tell you what it has done for my self confidence. I have struggled with my weight the last 15 years or so. I topped out at 229 and now I am 160. I have found out that carbs are not necessarily bad it just depends on when you eat them. I tend to eat most of my calories and carbs around my workout. That seems to work for me. Keep up the good writing and work and congrats on finishing 2nd at the Arnold.

  8. Kyle Sainz April 8, 2013 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    Very interesting article from someone I respect. I will embrace the meats and nuts breakfast all the more at this point, especially since I’m 15% body fat and want to get down to 9-10%.

  9. Craig @ Body-Buildin.com April 8, 2013 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    Great article, Ben! I should definitely give this approach a try!

  10. Lee Rhodes April 8, 2013 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    Great article Ben, i have for the last 3 months been on the meat & nuts breakfast as advised by Nick Mitchell and have lost 10kg, and without sounding arrogant im am not an overweight person, i am 6″3 broad shoulders and weighed around 100kg for a while and could never shift any fat, changed to meat & nuts and now i am 90kg havent been this light in 5 years, plus never felt more energetic in my whole life! thanks for sharing this with us

  11. Scott April 8, 2013 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    I have been using broccoli and spinach as carbs first thing in the morning. Only I combine them with a stalk of celery, a couple of carrots, and a beet. When you say that you are using these fibrous carbs, what is your timing for taking them? And how much of these are you eating?
    Also, have you tried beets in with this mixture of fibrous carbs? I find that these give me instant energy. I have read that this is caused by the breaking down of their massive amount of nitrates and their ability to instantly begin to be broken down into nitric-oxide the moment it interacts with your saliva…

  12. benjamin April 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    if i’m trying to bulk, wouldn’t i need carbs in the morning? or do you believe even when bulking shouldn’t be taken in at meal 1?

  13. gregory jones April 8, 2013 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    Dear sir,

    As a college student of human biology and health studies, I aggee wwith alot of what you have said. I think if you’re trying to put muscle on like yourself, then you’re totally correct in what you’re saying. Having been formally obese(starting weight 25 stones). I ‘ve been training now for 21/2 years and my current weight is 161/2 stones, I do eat carbs, but only before a cardio session. This format has worked for me so far, and i’m reluctant to change somthing that works. I would appreciate any comments you have

    kind regards

    • benpakulski April 8, 2013 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      THat would be the absolute worst time to eat carbs, Gregory. Theoretically anyway.
      But it would depend how intense your cardio is.
      HIGH intensity cardio, will burn calories for the rest of the day, in which case, a bit
      of carbs before cardio might not be a terrible thing.
      If its low intensity, then youre all but halting all fat burning because elevated insulin
      levels has been shown to halt lipolysis.

      • Travis Olson April 8, 2013 at 11:55 pm - Reply

        Love the article Ben! I def use to get warn out and tired when I did the “carbs and protein for breakfast. ” I feel much more energized and pumped up with a fat/protein breakfast. I have 1 question. What are your thoughts on having a clensing shake at the beginning of the day with lower glycemic carbs such as blueberries, strawberries, and cherries? I recently added this at the beginning of the day. I have had no energy crashes or any changes in my mood throughout the day. You seem like a very humble person and the kind of person that can connect with a lot of people. Keep up the awesome job Ben!

  14. Tim Wood April 8, 2013 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    So I eat 4 meals before I go to the gym, at around 7PM. I’m 215 pounds, 5’11, fast metabolism. Do you suggest all meals 2,3,4 having carbs?

  15. daniel silva April 8, 2013 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    hi Ben!!!

    I love your work men you Rocks.
    What the best thing to eat befour workout? Only protein and fats? Or fibro carbs as well ( ex: Brocoli)?

    Good work,regards.

    • benpakulski April 10, 2013 at 4:59 pm - Reply

      I add some veggies cause fibre is extremely important for many reasons.

  16. Aron April 8, 2013 at 10:13 pm - Reply

    I’m definitely all ears. I dont have much input on the subject due to the fact that Im an amateur in the nutrition realm and really have tons to learn. Im like a sponge and love learning more everyday, whether it deals with health and fitness or nutrition. Keep it coming! Appreciate the advice and will definitely be trying this asap…

  17. jonathan stelzer April 8, 2013 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    Dear Ben,
    First off, i want to start by thanking you for constantly contributing your knowledge to all of your fans and followers. You give back much more than any other pro in the business and it constantly gives me motivation and fuel to keep progressing!I can personally say you have helped me so much in my knowledge of training and nutrition and look forward to all you have to keep offering! Now to my question, you said that you still avoid carbs even on your cheat days but unfortunately for me breakfast is probably my favorite cheat meal of them all! So what would you recommend to deal with that issue?

    • benpakulski April 10, 2013 at 4:59 pm - Reply

      MIne too. eat a non carb meal, then have your breakfast cheat meal 3 hrs later.

  18. Aaron April 8, 2013 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    Great post. I workout in the morn, about 4am so would you stick with this no carbs in morning thing even after my morning workout?

  19. Rod Wark April 8, 2013 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    I have followed this since commencing your M.A.X program, I was 25% BF now with high protein breaky and better use of carbs through the day, I’m now down to 15% BF, and my weight has gone up 1-2kg

    Thanks Ben.

  20. John burgess April 8, 2013 at 11:05 pm - Reply

    I took your advice and went with zero carbs with meal one. I had 12 egg whites and 100 grams of avocado instead of my usual sweet potato pancakes. Went to the gym right after my meal and I felt great!! Good energy levels and sustained focus throughout. Thanks for the suggestion 🙂

  21. Joel April 8, 2013 at 11:05 pm - Reply

    Thanks B-Pak, I really agree, it’s great to hear someone else say it! Mood and diet-wise, I personally am a LOT better without carbs 1st thing. Thanks for the un-conventional wisdom!

  22. Curtis April 8, 2013 at 11:26 pm - Reply

    Mr. Pakulski,

    I follow your reasoning on the no carb breakfast (meal 1). Most of my training occurs after My meal 2 in a standard 5 meal plan. Should I be avoiding carbs for both meals 1 and 2 in this case? And then getting my carbs in post work-out and my post-work out whole food meal? My guy intuition on your response is going to be yes, just looking for the right direction.

    Keep making Canada Proud!

  23. S April 8, 2013 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    Hey Ben, I have been doing this for the last 2 years now:
    Pre-contest, no carbs until after training. Also bouts of intermittent fasting: no eating at all until post workout.
    Off-season, I skip breakfast ,eat only traces of carbs [20g or less] per meal throughout the day with zero carbs for 2-3hrs pre-workout. Moderate to tons of carbs post workout.

    The reason: SCIENCE SUPPORTS THIS. & My last contest 6 months ago I was in my best shape ever with only 30 minutes of cardio PER WEEK.

    ps. I also consume BCCA drink during my workouts.

    Thnx Ben for you fan interactions.

  24. lewis April 8, 2013 at 11:41 pm - Reply

    You’re a legend Ben. Such a breathe of fresh air to see someone in your position taking a look at things from a more structured scientific POV.

    I’ve been following this approach for some time now and yep, as you, ive noticed a dramatic improvement in performance!!

    Keep it up mate, it’s a pleasure reading your stuff

  25. Jeff Lavoie April 9, 2013 at 2:20 am - Reply

    Don’t know if you’ve heard of the Renegade Diet by Jason Ferruggia as there is some common thought between your views and his. I have been on this diet for just under two weeks and feel great. Not having carbs at my first meal hasn’t hurt me at all. I have an 8 hour window to eat. I won’t go into more detail as this is an online diet book that Jason is selling but I fully back your thoughts on the no carbs in the morning or first meal. Btw Ben totally off topic but I know your uncle Chris, I’m also from the Toronto area.

  26. Derek April 9, 2013 at 2:30 am - Reply

    I was wondering the same thing as Travis with the shakes. When I heard about the nuts and meat breakfast from Vince I thought in his article Vince said low glycemic berries are acceptable. I can’t remember all the details to that part of the article, but seems to me it was from Charles palquin. Hopefully u may recall
    Something about that and can clarify.Thanks in advance. From a fellow Canadian


  27. Jason April 9, 2013 at 2:35 am - Reply

    So Ben what about with post workout shake???? Are you saying no carbs before or after training??? Thanks

  28. Nate McCoy April 9, 2013 at 2:42 am - Reply

    I just started MI40 (actually did the primer/detox and week 1 twice as I wasn’t able to meet the routine the first time) so week 2 but 3.5 officially. Anyway started a routine 5 mos prior(body for life) and dropped from 25%bf to only 18% in a long period of time. With this carb approach I feel like a infomercial because I’ve dropped an additional 10lbs in under 4 wks, I will get an official BF measurement tomorrow, but lost no size except my waist

  29. Luke April 9, 2013 at 2:53 am - Reply

    Awesome to see you on this dietary method Ben. Known for being an intelligent bodybuilder, you might be able to have some people change their stance based on no evidence that carbs should be consumed at breakfast. I actually debated a classmate in my graduate obesity prevention course and was almost cast rated for suggesting this! My stance was that breakfast consumption is NOT mandatory for weight loss and you can actually benefit in increased lipolysis by pushing it back a couple hours or at least, keep carbs out of it to see the same effects on fat utilization. All of the sheep in my class dismissed it without reading my evidence in the literature. The link to my debate is below if you want to watch it in between wingate sprints! Lol
    Keep doing what you’re doing man, we need more people like you in the game.

  30. Abhinav Gupta April 9, 2013 at 4:56 am - Reply


    Well written sir. I am just confused by the no-carbs before the workout anecdote. I am not an expert or anything but I keep reading that I need to load up on complex carbs 1-2 hrs before a workout to ensure maximal energy in the gym.
    Does a protein/fat/fibrous-carb meal give you the same effect in the gym..?


    • benpakulski April 10, 2013 at 4:53 pm - Reply

      Nope. carbs pre workout is not only unneccessary but I feel as though it greatly inhibits performance.

  31. Sinan April 9, 2013 at 7:50 am - Reply

    Hii Ben!,

    I am from holland and i think u are awesome
    Thanks for the info!!

    But I am intermittent fasting now.. its like your idea of skipping carbs at breakfast, but i skip everything no carbs,fats,protein
    And fast till 13:00 ( that is 16 hour fasting time) and i am doing 1 hour cardio before 13:00 ( the first 15 min training abs or sometimes training the bodyparts i am going to train that evening( not going extreme just little high reps)..

    What do u thing about that?
    Things to consider:
    1. Should i do HIIT and after hit a little more steady pass cardio.. or just steady pass cardio ( i know HIIT is better but i dont want to lose muscle.)

    2. HGH levels are going up in the morning so u cant burn muscle?? is that true

    3. Is it a good idea that i am doing this.. i want to lean out get shredded..
    I just want that my body uses my fat stores when i am doing cardio in the morning..

    And please remember my name cause i am going to be the on of the best in the world.

    Sorry for my poor english

    And LOVE U BRoo

    Great work!!!

    Greetz from holland!

  32. Marius April 9, 2013 at 9:40 am - Reply

    This article realy gets things in perspective for me. I have been training on and off for 30 years (I’m 44) and the last 4 I have realy been focusing on getting in the best shape ever. I have one challenge though, and that is the last “tire”. My fat % is down to 12 and I’m planing to get down to 7-8 %.
    With this last info I think I have one moore trick in my bag now. Thank’s alot my friend.

  33. ivan April 9, 2013 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Hi ben, awesome article.
    When would you recommend having carbs on non-trainig days? I usually do some HIIT sprints first thing in the morning on my off days and drink bcaa+glutamine while at it. Then i go home and have my first meal of the day. If i were to have a meat and nuts breakfast after my sprints, when would it be optimal to have my carb+protein meals of the day?

  34. James April 9, 2013 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Hey Ben! Great article.

    If you’re not having carbs at meal 1 and pre workout, does this mean you’re having carbs in the meals in between those? Or are you getting the majority of your carbs post workout?

    Thanks again for sharing.

  35. Rob Haas April 9, 2013 at 11:47 am - Reply

    Great Blog & Article.
    It all makes perfect sense to me.
    Keep the great info coming Ben. Thanks!

  36. Andrew April 9, 2013 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    So what would be a good breakfast? I live in Romania, so I don’t really have a large array of food available. When i go to school, I usually drink a protein shake along side with an apple, but these days when i don’t have school I eat a big meal at 10 in the morning, after that I’ll go to work-out.

  37. Juuso Korvola April 9, 2013 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Love the article, dynamite as always. Keep it up!

  38. Miha April 9, 2013 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    Hi! I also see benefits from this. Also I discovered that when I eat just carbs (oats, rice) and meat (none or very little seasoning) before training I have much better energy; as when I add vegetables.

  39. Stephen Obar April 9, 2013 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    Well said! I ditched carbs a little while before I started MI40. I wake up and have 10g protein, along with coffee w/MCT and grass fed butter in it. Lights me up with steady energy throughout the day.

  40. Jason Kelley April 9, 2013 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    When you say you lost BF faster this way….is that like for like? Comparing same Kcal intake?

  41. Mz April 9, 2013 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    I must say that I ”think” that I agree with all that…I put think between comas because I got to try it myself and see if it works for ME.

    I just have a question, I’ve been working out in the evening for a long time now and just switched things up this week and train fasted in the morning which lead me to this question : since I workout in the morning, eat breakfast around 45 minutes after it…will it be bad to eat carbs at this time or even if it is post-workout but first meal I should only get protein/fats and some greens for satiation?

    I am feeling kinda tired in the afternoon now, like I want to nap at work around 3-4 PM (even after drinking 2 X-large coffee from Tim Horton’s), I wonder if it is because I eat carbs for breakfast aka meal 1 or just because I wake up at 5h30 AM (waking up is not an issue, I feel great when waking up and been sleeping 8-9 hours a night so I’m not lacking sleep, and I’m on a ”deload” workout week so the intensity is not at its maximum).

    I don’t expect a clear answer to this, I know everybody is different…just want an opinion before being that guinea pig myself and trying it and maybe you tried it yourself to hit the gym first thing in the morning and not eating carbs before lunch or meal 2 whatever 😉

    Thanks for input!

    • benpakulski April 10, 2013 at 4:50 pm - Reply

      Definitely eat carbs post workout. But training fasted likely isnt optimal.

  42. Matt April 9, 2013 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    Can you give an example of an optimal breakfast please ben. Cheers

  43. Steve Dennis April 10, 2013 at 9:14 am - Reply

    Hi, I am also on no carb breakies every day and weight training most days. I have however been roped into doing an ultra marathon in July!! I don’t like running really, especially long distance. When would you recommend I start getting more carbs in for the training of it (2 runs a week) and also the week before the event? Scary thought but don’t want to have too many carbs as been low carb for 2 years now but also don’t want to run out of steam and let my friend down on the run. Great posts BTW and thank you. Steve

    • benpakulski April 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm - Reply

      Tough question. I know nothing about running, mate. Id prob still try lower carb in the morning(but prob use some)
      and use a greater percentage post workout. Youre the guinea pig now 😉

  44. Geoff G April 10, 2013 at 9:18 am - Reply

    All you need is meat and veg, Iv kicked all grains and any other carb alike and my energy levels never fade

  45. Rhys Jones April 10, 2013 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Great post Ben, really interesting and informative! After reading this i thought i’d give it a go and i feel great, more energy and most of all no slumps, just consistent alertness!

    I’m entering my first show later this year in the Men’s Physique category and i’ll definitely be implementing this into regime from now one and throughout my prep!


  46. Daniel April 10, 2013 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    Co sign to the fullest. Been lethargic all the time is lame. All bases cover here. Anti meathead. 🙂

  47. Rochelle April 10, 2013 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    Interesting read….so when should you eat carbs?!

  48. Godsie April 10, 2013 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    Great blog, been eating meat and nuts breka for past 4 month and noticed massive fat loss gains. but just wondered how this would affect my 6am fasted workout? Would I have a post workout carb drink and then meat and nuts 30 min later or would you opt for a post workout low carb protein shake, bcaas then my meat and nuts? Or is this going to cause issues for my muscles and raise my potentialy raise my cortisol levels??

    Trying to change body composition and maintain size and currently following second option… Would love your opinion as I’m not sure what’s best as its still all new to me and really having difficulty in shifting that layer of fat on gut, which I put down to either nutrition or stress???

    Thanks 😉

  49. Cristi April 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    Nice article but i have one question. Meal 1 no carbs but my 2nd meal is the pre workout meal. still no carbs? thank you

  50. Peter April 12, 2013 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Great article, enjoyed the read as well as the comments and replies. In the beginning of the article you said the most common thing holding people back is their inability to properly utilize carbohydrates. Besides for eliminating carbs from meal 1, and eating a lot of carbs post workout; what other recommendations do you have to maximize your body’s ability to utilize carbs? I remember reading in One of Lyle McDonald’s books about genetically gifted bodies having the ability to shuttle carbs into the muscle more efficiently. Please elaborate, as I would love to maximize my bodies ability to utilize carbs. Not only for energy purposes, but also so that my muscles appear fuller. Thanks again.

  51. Marcus April 14, 2013 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    All makes sense (unless it was April 1st lol) however, how come for years/decades all bodybuilders have stuck with eggs & oatmeal for breakfast, high carb meal pre-workout etc.. and has worked well for all this time without anyone opting for the no carb theory.. Or are you the only one to truly research and prove it?

    • benpakulski April 29, 2013 at 1:11 am - Reply

      Bodybuilders are blessed my friend.
      MAny things we do are in spite of ourselves.

  52. Pascal GR April 18, 2013 at 11:53 pm - Reply

    Bravo great article! which types of Carbs do you eat in other meals?
    And what are the best?

    • benpakulski April 29, 2013 at 1:15 am - Reply

      Lots of veggies and natural carbs mostly. Sweet potatoes and quinoa. Occassionally oatmeal because I
      enjoy it. 10% of my meals are foods I enjoy. (fruit. oatmeal, usually 100% natural as well)

  53. Sam Barnett April 22, 2013 at 3:55 am - Reply

    Hey Ben !
    Great Read, what about Carb supplements during workout?

    • benpakulski April 29, 2013 at 1:16 am - Reply

      I am a believer but only on really intense days or longer workouts.

  54. Dave from Toronto April 26, 2013 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    Great info Ben! I just finished week 5 of MI40 and have been loving the workouts, and trying my best to adopt the nutrition and supplementation guidance. I’m seeing a difference and looking forward to doubling down effort -and results-wise my second time through the program.

    I work out in the morning and used to eat carbs and fat (which I now know is a big NO-NO!), just to have enough energy to get me through. My challenge with your approach is eating a “dinner type” meal for breakfast (time to prep and digest before I workout).

    My question: Would a high-protein green smoothie be an acceptable option? Protein powder, egg whites, spinach/kale, and some healthy fat? Other suggestions? Just so much easier to make and consume.

    Thanks for giving back!

    • benpakulski April 29, 2013 at 1:17 am - Reply

      Youll be surprised how quickly you can cook a meal and digestion shouldnt be an issue if youre healthy.
      Drink 1L of water while you prep the meal, and try some proteolytic enzymes.

  55. Dani April 29, 2013 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    Hi Ben!
    My question is regarding pre competition dieting…
    I have always done the low carb method as the contest approaches.
    Normally the meals in the beginning part of the day 1-4 consisted of carbs. and tapered them lower from there as the contest grew closer. I have gotten conditioned and where I needed to be for the show using this method. So I am apprehensive about changing my methods because its worked in the past. My dilemma is, the science behind your method. I am all for scientific reasoning, I actually prefer it, and have never tried your method out. I guess what I am asking is…
    will this be most beneficial for me in terms of body fat loss pre contest? or did the carb method work well before because my body handles glucose well?
    last one, if I started with this method and used minimal carbohydrates pre contest, what factors would I change? I am afraid backing myself into a corner with minimal carbs. Thanks Ben. Hopefully this makes sense.

    • benpakulski May 2, 2013 at 9:03 pm - Reply

      You wont back yourself into a corner as long as your total calories arent really low.
      I tried low carb for the first time in my prep for the Arnold Classic. haha.
      If youre naturally a lean guy, maybe keeping your carbs high is a good idea. There are certainly some
      instances where this is the case. Just not in most people i come across.
      Monitor total calories foremost. Then manipulate carb timing and amount to get you where you want to go.

  56. Tana May 5, 2013 at 3:26 am - Reply

    Hello Ben,

    quick question for during contest prep i do my morning cardio fasted state and then for breakfast is protein and veggie and meal 2 to 5 is the same even my preworkout meal too is that bad for fat loss. Looking forward to hearing your answer.

    Thanks Big Ben

    • benpakulski May 5, 2013 at 1:12 pm - Reply

      Wassup Tana. 🙂
      You NEED to vary your protein sources.
      And varying your veggies is vital too.
      MAke sure youre taking 6-10g of BCAA before your cardio if youre doing it on empty.

  57. Tana May 5, 2013 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    Hello Ben,

    Thank you.

    Well thats the amount of BCAA I am having and I do vary my protein and veggie. So not having carbs after my morning cardio and before my weight training in the evening is ok. I do sip on Karbolyn during weight training though.

  58. Musia May 29, 2013 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    Firstly thank you for MI40 – we (hubby and I) both love it and are following it as much as we can and have seen fantastic results in just 1 month. We are off by about a week and a half due to other time constraints but are trying to follow the timing and the different exercises.

    Secondly, I am writing to ask for some assistance regarding this training and being a Canadian Soccer Referee. The soccer season is here and I am one of the few senior female referees in my city. I get assigned a lot of games and am now struggling with the fact that for every game I am doing 70-90 minutes cardio – being a soccer referee is like doing non stop fartleks – stop/go/slow/sprint/stop/sprint/sprint… etc. I am trying to cycle my assignments between high level competitive teenagers and lower level preteens with some masters thrown in once a week (over 40). I have stopped leg days because otherwise too sore but am making my best effort to continue with chest, shoulders, back and arms. My biggest challenge is figuring out foods – I need the carbs for the running but also want to continue to build muscle especially shoulders and arms (my weakest parts).

    I refereed a tournament last weekend where I had 7-30 or 40 minute games on Saturday and 5-40 minute games on Sunday including a semi final and a gold medal game. On Sunday I took protein shakes, hard boiled eggs with me between the morning games and the afternoon finals and ate CLIFF carb gel (that runners) use after every game. My legs were not too dead on MOnday. (I did not follow this on Saturday and collapsed into bed when I got home as I was totally wiped out).

    Any advice you can give me to on how to cycle the proteins/carbs/fat so I could still build muscle would be greatly appreciated. (during a summer season I will lose up to 15 lbs and lose 1 1/2 dress sizes – this summer I hope to lose 15 lbs of fat but build muscle – I am only 5 ft 4 inches). I referee tuesdays/wednesday/thursdays, every second friday and a weekend tournament twice a month.

    Thanks in advance

    • benpakulski June 9, 2013 at 7:37 pm - Reply

      You just need to ensure your nutrient intake around the games is higher and youre not breaking down.
      A good balance of nutrients is likely best

  59. Musia May 29, 2013 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    Further to my email. I forgot to mention that I stopped eating carbs for breakfast over a year ago and saw a significant change.

  60. Don Patrick Jakobsen June 6, 2013 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    Hei ben! I have a question for you, and would appriciate any answer

    Im 6.3 tall and about 200pounds. bodyfat 13-14%.

    I want to try this approach and have a question.

    I workout about 6 or 7pm . Should i have only protein and fats in ALL meals before? Or can i go with protein and fats in breakfest, and then add carbs in lunch ? and then go only protein and fats for pre-workout meal?

    And how much carb total for a day would you reccomend? I usually get around 200g og carbs total a day. ! thanks ben!

  61. Danny August 26, 2013 at 2:07 am - Reply

    Hey Ben. I know I’m kind of bumping an old post here, but I had a question about HIIT cardio. The other day I did 5 uphill car pushes on an empty stomach in the morning (other than the cup of black coffee and scoop of BCAAs for a boost and anti-catabolic effects). Would it be beneficial to eat before I did this, or do you think I will not waste much of my earned muscle in this type of a fasted state? I’m relatively lean naturally. The car pushes were probably about 30 seconds each or so (I pushed until my quads literally swelled so much that I had to stop from lack of ability to move anymore). Thanks for any insight!

    • benpakulski August 27, 2013 at 3:43 am - Reply

      If youre naturally lean, I would certainly eat before. It may actually have an effect on increased metabolic activity as well.

  62. Jordan McCabe September 3, 2013 at 9:05 am - Reply

    Hey Ben,
    Great information which has given me great gains. Since i have been doing the protein and fats at breakfast I have noticed greater drive and i seem to stay lean. For this period of time I have been training after meal 1 (which is the no carbs high protein high fat) but soon im going to be starting training at night time, should i eat carbs prior to the night time workout?

  63. Anthony Montalvo September 11, 2013 at 3:17 am - Reply

    ben, what would you have pre workout if you train at 6am. i usually have a 30gm protein shake at 5:30 with a little fruit. about half way through my workout, i start sipping my post workout shake (35gm p/70gm carb) and finish it when im done. thanxxx

  64. Zander September 13, 2013 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Hey Ben! Im a big fan of yours, all the way from South Africa.

    What carbs do you use postworkout? Vitargo a good idea?

    How much carbs should one consume per day if gaining muscle is the goal (without extra fat gain)?

    Thank you for all your help and hope you kill it at the Olympia!

    • benpakulski September 19, 2013 at 7:38 pm - Reply

      Vitargo is good, yes. It rreally depends on your current bodyfat and your activity level mate.

  65. Nui September 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    Hi Ben I’ve been a massive fan of your scientific appoarch. Now I’m not a bodybuilder what’s so ever! I’m actually a kickboxer.

    I’ve noticed that the typical martial artist dont really know the basics of nutrition, let alone trainers knowing what’s macros etc are lol. I’ve been reading countless books an forums about how to improve performance in my area.

    I would consider kickboxing as a very high intense sport with alot of explosive movements. How would you base carbs around such a high intense sport???? I’d think our sport would have the higher calorie burning effect. Ps I train late afternoons.

    Thank u from Aussie

    • benpakulski September 19, 2013 at 7:35 pm - Reply

      MUCH higher caloric output. Lots of greens, electrolytes and carbs after the workouts.
      I Still wouldnt do any carbs pre training, if your training is 2hrs plus, then start a carb drink 1hr into the workout

    • Nui September 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm - Reply

      Awesome! Thank you ben, i will try this out, I’ll get back to you with the results.
      Good luck with mr olympia!

  66. James Webster October 3, 2013 at 7:49 am - Reply

    Hello Ben,

    Just wondering what effect would having casein protein have on the fat burning zone if take before bed?


    • benpakulski October 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm - Reply

      LIkely not a great one.

      • Justin H August 25, 2014 at 9:35 pm - Reply

        Plz elaborate here Ben, as I have been lead to believe a slower absorbing protein such as casein is the thing to have prior to bed, to avoid catabolism etc. However I am very aware that the sports ‘nutrition’ industry is more concerned with sales and profit so many times they. ‘advise’ use of products that are unecassery or even counter-productive, often with fake or rigged result ‘studies’ (actually when is the B-Pak line of nutrional , no BS, products gonna start, you KNOW we’d all buy them, as we trust you implicitly, none of the other ‘PRO’S have ever revealed so many of the real deal info and techniques that you have)
        But back to my question, what do you consider appropriate for a pre bedtime meal, if at all?

  67. Tania October 3, 2013 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    Hi Ben!
    I’m new to your site and am wondering what you DO recommend pre-workout? I train fasted and know that I should likely have something before but I train so early that one I get up I need to get out the door.. Looking forward to your advice!

    • benpakulski October 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm - Reply

      Tania, BCAA like aminocore is essential. MCT is a great idea since fasted. Carnitine and tyrosine with a cup of coffee is like rocket fuel.

  68. Matt October 7, 2013 at 7:21 am - Reply

    hey ben when you begin to consume your carbohydrate’s after your workout/ through out the evening what source of carbohydrates are you eating? are you eating complex carbs?

    cheers matt.

  69. Sawyer October 29, 2013 at 3:40 am - Reply

    Great article BPak. I have been struggling with this for a while now and I finally understand. Everyone keeps saying “gotta have carbs blah blah blah” but I’ve always felt that big lull about an hour later. I’ve been eating a protein/veggie breakfast for a week now and it’s made a world of difference!! The funny thing is that I just came across this article today and it confirmed what I was doing was right.

    All the best BPak. You rock!!!

    Thanks again


  70. Marko August 16, 2014 at 6:14 am - Reply

    Ben, I’m sorry to raise the topic from the dead, but I have one question :
    After the training, we take pwm shake, then go meal with carbs, but if you only go one meal with hydrates or more, 2-3 ? How long is the ,,window” for entering the hydrate after a workout ?
    Thanks and regards from Serbia.

    • Ben Pakulski August 21, 2014 at 9:34 pm - Reply

      Depends how hard I train and the window is a subjective thing. Train hard and your body will use a greater proportion

  71. Mario Mazur August 18, 2014 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    Great to see how you interact with the fans.

    When getting lean, how much do you drop your carb intake. Do you ever weight train fasted?


    • Ben Pakulski August 21, 2014 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      As little as possible. I try to increase my caloric OUTPUT rather than decreasing my intake. And no.

  72. Jatin August 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    Hey Ben,

    First of all, it is real nice that you are actually replying to people’s comment. That means a lot for followers like us.
    Coming back to your post, i do my weight training in morning on empty stomach and i don’t take carbs after 4PM and take my last meal at 8 PM. I take 60% of my total daily carb intake right after the workout with whey protein. Do you think i am doing right way if my goal is fat loss by not losing much muscle mass?. And, if yes, Should i consider any supplement for Intra workout?

  73. Bart Wagner August 18, 2014 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    Ben, 2 words for you: THANK YOU.
    Seriously, just know how much you are appreciated.

  74. Scatterboy August 18, 2014 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    Totatly agree with you Ben! I’ve exiprienced that on my own skin, been doin that for a half year now and i’ve seen great results with that method! Can u tell me in what meals should i eat carbs latter in the day by your opinion?? Cheers mate keep pushin!

  75. Jamie August 18, 2014 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    I usually eat 5 meals a day and work out after meal 3 so which meals should i eat carbs and how much of my percentage of carbs in each?

  76. Drew August 18, 2014 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Ben, this is a great topic! My wife and I have had any similar observations. Ex: waffles are not a good energy food pre-workout and our sessions after Sunday waffles are poor. My best energy workouts are usually on just a mixed protein shake. It takes a bit longer to warm up and get going but after that I always kill the work out and take much shorter rests. Then post work out I’m staving and utilize the post work out meal 100%. Supplements are also MUCH more effective with a light breakfast. Body comp should and almost always does stay much leaner with meal 1 being carb free, I also lift at 6am so there are not other meals to interfere pre workout. Fat as energy is great while lifting and as long as you lift anaerobic you don’t need to be breaking down carbs. CP system all the way! Be focused, train smart, listen to your body! #LegionOfBoom, #1stphorm, #iam1stphorm, #1stphorm4life, #nextlevelshit #neversettle

  77. Paul August 19, 2014 at 4:58 am - Reply

    Hey Ben, in Mi40x you say on nutrition sheet that of you train first thing in morning as I do , then eat the re workout meal instead ,on some of the phases this has carbs in it . I’ve followed this which means some mornings I eat carbs first thing , is this INCORRECT then? Cheers .

    P.S – love all things Ben 🙂

    • Ben Pakulski August 21, 2014 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      Completely an individual and a situational thing bro. I personally don’t use carbs in the morning as I ensure to eat
      plenty the night before.

  78. Justin H August 26, 2014 at 1:43 am - Reply

    Would milk be a no-no for brekky then? As it contains 5g of lactose(milk sugar) ie simple carbs per every 100ml or is it a rule of thumb as someone mentioned above that 20g or below is only really considered ‘trace’ amounts?
    Ben are u aware of the guy Alan Elton Barrel that did a few YouTube vids under the name pump junkies, on the benefits of carb cycling he was a very well educated guy that approached his bb with science as you do, but sadly he died very young, with his death sounding suspiciously like Ketosis being the cause…. I know u didn’t advise no carbs at all in this topic but, carb cycling is something that many are doing with a fair amount of success… I was reminded of him when I asked if milk at brekky is considered a ‘carb’ input as Barrels opinion was no carbs means NO carbs not even 1gram!!!!

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