Seriously frustrated!! Could use some input on my 3 year CNS journey…

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    Tony Snow

    I have not been on the forum in a while, LIFE happens! Here is my situation, as briefly as possible (sorry it is long, but I need help:
    Stats: 5′ 8.5″ tall, Current Weight – 205, BF about 25%

    • Started CNS in the summer of 2012, lost 10 lbs in 2 months going from 210 to 199 lbs
    • Was stuck @ 199 for an entire year and posted pics that showed no progress despite following protocol strictly – Heavy lifting & HIIT
    • Had hormones checked, no issues. Moved CN to once every two weeks, lost 10 lbs in one month, Nov. 2013 @ 190 lbs
    • Moved from CA to NJ, got engaged, and by March 2014 down to 183 lbs. All the while losing massive inches
    • Pinched a nerve in my back, couldn’t workout for a month, went off the diet and ate carbs every day for two weeks went back to 190 lbs
    • Started back on diet in May 2014 with only body-weight workouts (pushups, pullups, stepups, dips 3xweek) & HIIT (hill sprints 6x week) and followed CBL – 50g carbs 3xweek, the night before body weight exercises and about 25g carbs post workout 6x a week (after HIIT also).
    • I LOST 15 lbs IN LESS THAN 2 MONTHS, getting down to 175 lbs, about 17% BF, Woo hoo!

    Then LIFE happened:

    • Engagement ended in August 2014, @ 175 lbs.
    • Very next day got a hernia deadlifting, began to eat carbs every day, no workouts, living in a hotel, went up to 210 lbs by Nov. 1
    • Surgery in Sept, cleared to workout again on November 1, started 5×5 and CNS, within 90 days (Feb 2015) @ 195 lbs, so down 15 lbs
    • March 2015 got laid off, ate a whole pizza the day I got notified, ate carbs for about 3 weeks straight, shot up to 205 lbs., shook it off, and got back down to business on April 1

    Now the challenge:

    • So for the last 120 days, I have not lost one pound or any inches
    • Lifted heavy doing CNS with HIIT, nothing
    • So, tried 30 days without carbs, nothing (while in Montreal for 1st time, so no Poutine!!)
    • During 30 days with no carbs, did HIIT first week, then just lifted heavy and walked the remaining 3, nothing
    • Stopped taking protein postwork and just BCAA’s, nothing
    • Reduced calories from about 2000 to about 1600, nothing
    • Went back to carbs once every 7th day with just 150g to 200g carbs on CN, nothing
    • Reduced my protein and upped my fat during ULC days, nothing.
    • Did Bullet Proof intermittent fasting for a month, nothing

    Any thoughts? I have tried every tweak I can think of in the last 4 months and I have been hovering between 203 and 205, @ 203 the morning of CN, and at 205 the morning after. I eat 90% organic and grass fed, mostly ribeyes, short ribs, and ground beef, with some chicken. Vegetables are onions, peppers, brussell sprouts, spinach, about 2-3 times per week. I am a very structured individual, so I don’t typically cheat when I follow a protocol, so this seems crazy!! I am almost considering going to a standard bodybuilding diet and doing 60 days of Insanity! I refused to buy new fat clothes after being @ 175 lbs a year ago. I don’t know what is going on…


    Steve Cauffiel

    IMHO – Stop lifting heavy. Follow CNS and stop lifting heavy. Start from ground zero: CN every seven days and get in at least 400g of carbs in at least three spikes an hour and a half to two hours apart; 500-600g in four spikes would probably be better. You need that big hormonal hit. ULC: Back to at least 1800-1900 cal a day; .5g of protein per pound of bodyweight (100ish) and .8g of fat per pound (140ish)(or vice versa, but pick one and stick to it for at least a month). If you’re not seeing any changes, flip-flop those macros. Stop lifting heavy on CNS – save that for CBL. I could stall my loss easily when I lifted heavy and noticed my best losses when doing damn near nothing.

    You’ve had a lot of stressors going on, the body doesn’t dig that. Chill out, meditate, get in some relaxation and plenty of sleep.

    Again, just my honest opinion,


    Tony Snow

    Thank you for your input sir! I have been considering upping my carbs to the 400-600g range.

    The stress thing is interesting, because the last 4 months has probably been the least stressed I’ve been in probably five years. I’m not working right now, but I had a very stressful job, but financially I’m okay so I’m not stressing about that. My fiance was a pain in the you know what and the relationship was very stressful, so breaking up with her actually helped reduce my stress. And lastly the last 30 days I’ve been getting 8-9 uninterupted hours of sleep a night and that is the first time that I’ve been getting a good night’s sleep in over 2 years.


    Makoto Tomizawa

    You’ve had a lot of stressors going on, the body doesn’t dig that. Chill out,

    ^I agree wholeheartedly with this. Yes, stress in life is included in here, but it’s also taking into consideration the stress from your lifting sessions, HIIT, caloric deficit, etc…

    While you can lift heavy on Carb Nite, you absolutely have to cut back on the volume (I can’t remember if it was cut back 40% of a normal workload, or cut back to 40% of a normal workload… can anyone chime in on this one?). A good way to do it would be to just get in the big movements (squat, bench, deadlift, press) and do a full body session for 3 times a week (high intensity, low volume). Don’t do HIIT to start with. If you REALLY go overboard on your Carb Nite, you could do it the morning after if you wanted to, but you don’t have to.

    Also, if you’re lifting heavy, you gotta be eating more. While I’m starting to not really like the whole “set calories and limit” thing, it’s still a good starting point. Take your body weight and multiply it by 12, and that’s a good starting point for a cut. Protein:fat ratio will all depend, so you’re gonna have to be the experimenter and the guinea pig for yourself. And my goodness, your Carb Nite is like a woman’s backload… EAT MORE CARBS SIR!!! 😀


    Training Log:


    Tony Snow

    lol…Yeah I decreased the carbs, as my body doesn’t respond well to lots of carbs. I am extremely carb resistant, but I am going to bump them up for a month or so and see what happens.

    I also think my daily calories during the ULC week were a little low, so I was going to bump that up to. I really have not been very hungry during the week, sometimes only having a BP Coffee in the AM and one meal in the PM. Not sure what’s going on, I used to do at least 2400 ULC calories daily during the week.

    I thought the heavy lifting was ok, and I was doing Stronglifts 5×5, and the volume felt super low, but I have never done more than a 4 day split, typically doing a 3 day full body workout, or a 4 day upper/lower, upper/lower split.

    I have been doing 2-3 HIIT sessions a week, and may need to drop that to just one right after my CN.


    Makoto Tomizawa

    You actually don’t need a crazy amount of carbs. While the carbs do play a role in resetting the hormones, the important aspect is the insulin spike. If you really can’t handle that much carbs, you can easily achieve it with some high GI carbs and whey protein + leucine. It’s kind of another reason why Carb Shock came out, as it is useful to get the insulin spike we’re looking for for people who don’t handle a large quantity of carbs (especially women).

    I would actually drop HIIT completely, and give that a try for a few weeks. You have to remember that HIIT is a form of glycolytic resistance training. 3~4 lifting sessions with 2~3 HIIT sessions in a week, you’re looking at 5~7 resistance training a week. In a glycogen depleted state, too much anaerobic exercises will most likely shoot your cortisol level up, which is counterproductive for fat loss.

    As long as you’re not adding a bunch of accessory works, I think 5×5 on compound lifts is good. If you feel that you can’t push it through the entire week, you could taper it down to 3×5 or something.

    Training Log:


    Tony Snow

    You actually don’t need a crazy amount of carbs. While the carbs do play a role in resetting the hormones, the important aspect is the insulin spike.

    Ok, that is good to know. I had CN last night and probably did about 350g, which is on the high side for me. I did make sure to ingest carbs each hour to get a spike more frequently. I am going to try the following for 30 days and see what happens:

    • Less carbs (about 200g) with bigger spikes. I have Carbshock, so I will start using that more on CN and I have gotten away from the 5g of Leucine with each meal on CN.
    • I will do one (1) HIIT session per week right after CN and that’s it, instead of 2 or 3.
    • I am going to up my walking game. My goal will be to walk in the AM and the PM.

    I will try this for 30 days and see what happens.

    If anyone else has any thoughts I am open to feedback!


    Steve Cauffiel

    From what I’ve read it can take anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours for insulin to spike and then return to normal so I’d space out your carb ingestion a bit more to get true spikes instead of a “grazing” type of insulin response. Just my opinion though. 🙂



    Tony Snow

    Is letting the insulin return to normal and spiking again an important aspect of Carb Nite? I wasn’t aware of that. My understanding was that you should not go more than two hours without ingesting carbs, to keep insulin levels up, with the goal being keeping insulin levels high, as opposed to spiking up and down. Is that in the book?

    My typical Carb Nites go like this:
    -4 PM: Hydro Protein w/banana, dextrose, leucine to start the CN
    -5 PM: low fat carb meal with 5g leucine
    -6 PM: high fat carb meal
    -7 PM: high fat small carby dessert
    -8 PM: high fat carb meal
    -9 PM: high fat carby dessert
    -10 PM: high fat carby dessert

    I tried eating low fat the entire Carb Nite and then the next week, I am starving, so after my first real meal, I don’t concern myself with fat. I began eating every hour, because it was easier. Due to my schedule and constant traveling, I was often going past 2 hours without eating something, so on Carb Nites, I always keep my eye on the clock, with a goal of eating each hour on the hour, though I may go 1 hour and 15 minute or 30 minutes.


    Steve Cauffiel

    Maybe it’s person-dependent but from CNS, page 55: “In their attempts to disgrace Classical Carbs, current experts ignore the most powerful effects: increasing metabolism, burning fat (once insulin levels fall), satisfying hunger and raising leptin levels. Insulin spikes—which everyone thinks dreadful—accelerate metabolism, initiate the emptying of fat cells and prevent long-term weight gain. Does this sound wicked to you? These spikes ultimately tell fat cells to empty out and reveal the figure you’ve been dieting to see.”

    I can’t recall if it’s in the book or if it’s in one of the cajillion videos out there I’ve seen but I’m 99.9% sure Keifer recommends strong spikes over grazing. From page 75 “But dietary fat takes roughly six hours after a meal before being available for storage and, since insulin levels drop within an hour or two of eating, you likely to avoid the possibility of adding body fat from a fatty meal on Carb Nite.”

    Just a couple of quick passages I found…



    Tony Snow

    I appreciate you highlighting those passages for me…seriously! I come from the school of thought that says: “If you always do, what you always did, you will always get what you always got!”. What I am doing now is NOT working, so I am game to try any tweaks.

    Actually, based on yours and yre674 responses, I think I need to wipe the whiteboard clean and go back to basics: 6 Hour Carb Nites, bigger spikes every two hours, body weight exercises and walking, one HITT session right after Carb Nite. Keep it simple and see what happens the next 30-60 days.


    Kenneth Kaup


    I haven’t posted on this board much, but I’ve lurked for a while in addition to reading CNS and CBL as well as listening to the podcasts. I’m 5’ll (male) and in the past 6 wks I’ve gone from 191 to 179 lbs. using a combination of CNS and Lyle McDonald’s “Ultimate Diet 2.0”. I had been stuck like you for a while, but then I made a few alterations and the fat has been dropping steadily since (been averaging 1 lb. per week). Here are a couple things that I personally noticed contributed to much better results while on a CNS-like diet:

    – Training: I lift weights 4x per week. On three of those days I go high volume (25 total sets per workout, 20-25 reps per set) making sure to workout at least 2 different muscles groups. This is to completely deplete glycogen leading up until my large carb day. The day after my carb load/carb nite I lift as heavy as is reasonably possible (4-6 reps) and usually train back and legs together.

    – Cardio: I don’t do any HIIT. 3-4 nights per week I take my lab on a 45 min walk around my neighborhood, which has many steep hills. And then 1-2 days per week (on non lifting days) I do 35 min of steady-state cardio on the stairclimber before breakfast at a pace just hard enough to break a consistent sweat.

    – Carb load/Carb Nite: Personally, I began to see much better results when I went lower fat each carb day (no more than 80g total). Also, the same went for when I began limiting my fructose intake as much as possible. A typical carb load day for me begins with 3 bowls of cereal (ususally Cheerios or Cap N Crunch) with skim milk, a ton of white rice for lunch cooked with fat free gravy and fat free cheese, and then for dinner a lot of potatoes, with some chicken or lean grassfed beef. Before bed I have a large bowl of Fage 0% nonfat greek yogurt with protein powder and cinnamon toast crunch cereal mixed in. Throughout the day at work I snack on an entire box of Brown Rice/Sweet Potato Triscuits. Usually the aggregate of this day falls somewhere around 900g carbs total. Also, I cut out all caffeine on this day as I believe it impairs insulin sensitivity. The next morning before my very heavy compound lift day I’ll consume around 50g of complex carbs (usually a KIND or CLIFF bar) with my preworkout drink. After the workout and for the remainder of the day it’s back to business as usual with maybe a cup of white rice thrown in post workout.

    – Diet: 5 days per week I eat low carb (usually around 0-50g) and higher fat, at about 1600 calories. A typical day starts with black coffee before my 7am workout, CarbShock + Isopure protein (40g) post workout and then for lunch I have a salad with baby spinach, grilled chicken, raw almonds, vinegar and coconut oil. Dinner is usually a lean meat with another baby spinach salad on the side or cage free eggs cooked with grassfed butter. If I’m lifting the next morning I’ll have before bed a bowl of nonfat greek yogurt with some Isopure Vanilla mixed in and a half cup of Cheerios or whatever cereal I have on hand. I take in 120g-180g of protein each day.

    – Supplements: 2-3x per day I take 25mg ephedra (in the form of over the counter Bronkaid) + 200 mg caffeine. I also drink a lot of green tea and a TON of water throughout the day. If I need an extra pre-workout stimulant I use Alphamine from PES. It has a nice smooth effect to it, without leaving me jittery. Right before bed I take “Natural Calm”, which is just a concentrated dose of Magnesium, and also a shot of Carlson’s liquid fish oil.

    Just my .02, but to summarize I would try a low-fat carb nite for a few weeks (80g or less), a lot more carbs on the actual day (spaced out over 24 hrs), a higher volume/higher rep workout plan leading up until the carb load. Everyone is different but I’ve seen great results since implementing the above. I’m probably at around 13% bf currently. Hoping to get to 10% sometime in the fall.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.


    Makoto Tomizawa

    I think I need to wipe the whiteboard clean and go back to basics

    That’s a good idea. If you’re not seeing progress within a month or two months, then it’ll be time to make one adjustment, and stick with that for another few weeks… It’s a long process, yes, but I’ve learned that that’s what this whole “fitness” thing really is.

    As for the spikes vs. grazing, I think it’s recommended to spread them out into “meals” because some people tend to just gorge non-stop for the full 6-8 hours. The choice is still yours, and you should stick to whatever is easier/you can stick with in the long-run. I’m not trying to argue with Steve by any means, just to be clear.

    It may be tempting, but I wouldn’t recommend Frankensteining diet protocols just yet. Nothing against UD2, but I think that’s more suited for leaner individuals. It’s also rather strict on the workouts, amount of carbs, the length of the refeed, etc… That would just be too stressful for me. 24-48 hour refeed would just turn into a disaster for me hahaha.

    Just a few more things that I want to throw out there, and you can do whatever you want with them:
    1) Don’t go ultra low fat or no fat on your refeed – depriving of fat when you’re “fat-adapted” would signal the body to hold onto whatever fat it has/is available, which, in worst case scenario, might start breaking down lean mass for energy (I’ve read that somewhere, and it makes sense in my small mind). Just be moderate about fats and get enough carbs to really jack that insulin level up.
    2) If you want to minimize the “carb hangover” the next day, as stated by speckl, limit the fructose intake. The reason why “junkier” foods leave people in that “I feel like shit” state the next day is with a high sucrose (which is about half fructose), the liver glycogen gets repleted (about 50~100 g I think?), but then goes through the depletion process the next day that causes a drop in blood sugar. Getting mostly starchy carbs/glucose will fill up the muscle glycogen (400~500 g on average), so you have a lot more tank to fill and minimize the chance of “spill over.”
    3) You can choose to go this route or not, but I almost think that you should just go all out balls-to-walls on your “initial” Carb Nites. If that doesn’t show progress, then taper is down a little bit, and so on and so forth. When you start too conservative and get stuck, you have no where to go. Plus it may turn out you just never got enough carbs to really reap the benefits of hormonal reset. It’s highly individual, and totally up to you. Just a suggestion.

    Training Log:


    Tony Snow

    This is all great feedback.

    I definitely cannot go with anything other than carb night right now, as I really don’t respond well to too many carbs. When I was leaner I was more insulin sensitive, and CBL was working beautifully for me. But that’s when I was hovering around 175lbs @ about 15-17% bf.

    My carb nights are primarily white rice, organic corn, and potatoes. I don’t eat gluten, and most of my sweets comes from gelato and gluten free pastries. My beverage of choice on Carb nite is iced tea sweetened with organic dextrose.

    I’m going to try upping my carb intake and doing more of the spiking, shooting for 450 grams to 600. This is the range I used to do when I had my best results, with moderate to high fat, only starting low fat. I absolutely cannot go low fat on carb nite, whenever I do I am so hungry the next day that I am in danger of eating carbs again. This has come from many months of research on myself.

    Believe it or not, the hardest thing is going to be limiting or eliminating my hiit sessions. I love doing hiit


    Kenneth Kaup


    Respectfully, I completely disagree with your statement as to eating low-fat on carb night,

    “Don’t go ultra low fat or no fat on your refeed – depriving of fat when you’re “fat-adapted” would signal the body to hold onto whatever fat it has/is available, which, in worst case scenario, might start breaking down lean mass for energy.”

    I do not believe this is supported by good research. And while it is a myopic, sample size of one, I personally started seeing MUCH better results with the protocol when I made sure I was under 75-80g of fat during the totality of my carb load. Previously, I had been mixing in grassfed butter into all of my white rice and eating pizza each refeed. When I switched to a low fat carb refeed, my endomorphic body responded immediately, and ever since (6 weeks) I’ve not stopped dropping bodyfat. All other variables were kept the same.

    Also, I wasn’t trying to confuse Tony by mentioning the “Ultimate Diet 2.0”, just wanted to fully disclose what methods I’ve been following. I find CNS and UD 2.0 to be incredibly similar in a lot of ways regarding the diet protocol & research. Where they differ most is probably the training during the week.

    And Tony, going low fat on carb nite should not result in you being the hungry the following day. If you loaded enough carbs the day before then you should feel completely satiated. In your prior post you wrote that you have FIVE “high fat carb meals” between 6pm & 10pm. I think that is too much. If I were you I would make these meals “low fat” but double the carbs at each meal. Try this just once and if you feel/look like crap the rest of the week then I was wrong as to your physiology.

    Not trying to be overly adversarial, but if you want new results you can’t keep doing the same things that weren’t working in the past. Ask yourself if having “high fat carb meals” is just an excuse to eat those foods or actually the best possible choice for body recomposition?

    Again just my opinion, and I appreciate the intelligent discourse.

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Seriously frustrated!! Could use some input on my 3 year CNS journey…

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