Turning carbohydrates into powerful muscle-building, fat-burning weapons is a lot easier than you think.

Until now, you haven’t had many options. If you wanted to get lean, you had to diet strictly—and weeks of food deprivation stripped a little fat but also left you smaller and weaker. If your goal was to get bigger, you had to eat like a pig. Then, of course, you’d pack on not only muscle but fat as well. The reason why both strategies lead to less than satisfying results can be answered in one word: carbs. Consuming large amounts of carbs (particularly the sugary and starchy kind) raises your blood sugar. This triggers the release of the hormone insulin to bring your blood-sugar level back down.

If you’ve just finished weight training, that’s good because insulin will take the calories you’re consuming straight to the muscle cells for rebuilding. At any other time of day, however, insulin will store those calories as fat. Manipulating this effect is the key to getting the perfect body—lean, muscular, and strong.

I’m going to outline two methods of carb manipulation I have researched, road-tested, and ultimately trademarked: the Carb Nite system to lose fat and carb back-loading to pack on lean mass. You can alternate them throughout the year to stay big and lean simultaneously. While you’ll still have to choose whether you want to focus on losing fat or primarily gaining size, you won’t have to give up muscle or a trim waist to achieve either one. You also won’t have to count calories or forsake your favorite foods. In other words, you have options—at last.

As a former obese kid, I thought I’d never be able to stay muscular without being a little fat. Using these two strategies, I now maintain 6 percent body fat year-round without much effort and without giving up any of the junk food I love. Here’s how it works.

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