By Ken "Skip" Hill
Have you ever dieted really hard, gotten very lean and then cheated on your diet with a lot of calories and carbs? Don’t lie, of course you have. We all have. Even the hardcore guys out there saying “I don’t ever cheat” are lying through their teeth. There are times when we get to the point that we can’t stand the dieting anymore and we fall off the wagon. When that happens, what foods do you crave? That’s right, carbs and LOTS of them. Welcome to Skiploading. Well, not exactly but … kinda.
Skiploading was born from falling off of a diet and then realizing two main things:
1. The next day after cheating on your diet with high carb foods you look like a freak in the mirror.
2. The water weight that you gain after the high carb splurge only takes a couple days to come off and then body weight falls even lower than it was the previous week.
Bottom Line: You get leaner the following week after a carb splurge. Hmmm...
Anyone that knows me knows that I am a skeptic. I question everything. If you come up to me and you are nice to me I am going to be thinking “what the hell is this clown up to and what does he want?”. That’s just me. I have had the same approach to nutrition for the last 30 years. When someone says that something is true about nutrition, I immediately question it. A lot of the concepts in bodybuilding are archaic but for some reason, so many of these archaic concepts are accepted and never challenged. I never understood why bodybuilders have always been so easy to trust and accept methods and advice as fact without ever challenging much of anything. I don’t work that way.
I didn’t really dig the old-school way of dieting where you basically feel like you are being tortured and are hungry all the time, low on energy, and bitchy to anyone that dare speak to you. Even carb cycling seemed more complicated than it needed to be with the diet changing every single day based on whether you were on a low, moderate or high carb day. You have to constantly remember what day it is and what diet you are supposed to be on for that day and when dieting, remembering things isn’t always an easy task.
Skiploading was born because it seemed a very practical and easy way to keep the body off balance and continuing to burn body fat. As a side bonus, you get a mental break from a boring diet once a week, as well. By definition, Skiploading is when you take in large amounts of low fat, processed carbs once a week to offset your metabolism, not allowing it to settle into a predictable rhythm. The diet during the week is very strict and for the purpose of burning body fat. As the metabolism starts to slow later in the week from taking in low calories, the Skipload provides a surge of carbs and calories to keep the metabolism amped up into the next week. You Skipload every week so every week your metabolism is benefiting from the added carbs and will continue to run red-hot.
The Skipload foods need to be high in processed carbs and low in fat because they need to be stored away as quickly as possible in the muscle. Processed carbs hit the blood stream very quickly and cause a rise in insulin which, in turn, will store away the carbs as glycogen as efficiently as possible. Fat needs to be low not only because fat slows digestion but you want to get as many carbs as you can during a Skipload and so the less fat you ingest, the more carbs you can get down your throat and into your depleted muscles.
Throughout the week you will be depleting more and more of the glycogen in your muscles with your regular diet. The more depleted you are, the bigger the Skipload time needs to be. Some will only need a 3 hour Skipload and yet others may need to go for over 12 hours. You eat by hunger because your hunger will tell you how depleted your muscles are. You don’t simply force carbs or make yourself miserable but you do eat until you are full and when you are hungry again, you eat again.
Some examples of Skipload foods would be pancakes and syrup, kid’s cereal like fruity pebbles or LIFE, toast, no or low fat chips, hashbrowns, granola bars, spaghetti, low fat homemade pizzas, low fat versions of sushi, sorbet, etc.. Any food with low fiber, low fat and a high amount of carbs is a good choice.
For the first couple of days after the Skipload your weight will go up from the added water weight. This lasts usually 2 or 3 days and then dissipates. Once your weight drops back down to what it was before you started the Skipload, this is what is called your “baseline” weight. It usually takes about 3 days, give or take, to baseline before the weight falls even further and you are leaner by the end of the week. This cycle then repeats for the entire duration of your diet phase or contest prep, week in and week out.
Not everyone can diet this way because there are some out there that just insist that if you aren’t feeling as if you are being tortured and starving with no energy, then you aren’t dieting. I say that I don’t care how I feel, all I care about is getting shredded. And if I can do that on an extra sweet potato 3 times a day or a plate full of pancakes with syrup, you can bet your ass I am going with the pancakes. I am not the shiniest dumbbell on the rack but I am no fool, either. Just Sayin’.