Strict Keto. Underfeeding, overfeeding and forced overfeeding. What I found out.

Category: Nutrition

A couple of days before we went to Australia I finished watching Jason Wittrock’s 21 day keto challenge and was inspired to get back to real keto, high fat and moderate protein to see how I felt. The reason was I was interested in why Jason didn’t gain any weight while overfeeding on keto. Now the guy is a workout maniac, there is no way my life is a reflection of his and although I have gone over this before, I think a recap of what actually happened is in order.

While we were away I stayed pretty close to my TDEE, mostly because I wanted to get back to full keto without the overfeeding part. To be honest I felt much better, especially mentally once the vacation was underway. I managed to stick to the program through the vacation and didn’t gain any weight. Once I was back I resolved to start the 30 days overfeed and that is where we are now. It’s been about 10 weeks since I started and went on vacation. It has been about 5 weeks that I have been overfeeding and I have a startling revelation.

If you eat too many calories, you gain weight.

However, it’s not as simple as CICO because for the first 30 days I was over by 500 calories. My workouts were just about as regular as could be and although I haven’t been able to get to the gym quite as regularly as I would like it’s been pretty much par for the course in my day to day life. So what happened? Well, during that first 30 days I didn’t gain any weight. My fat % according to my scale went down very slightly but not enough that I could really point to a change. This was very weird to me. I knew I was overeating and not doing enough to burn off the surplus and yet I was the same…. day in day out.

So I decided to increase the surplus to around 1000 calories a day to see if I could test the limits of the experiment and almost immediately I started to gain weight. My workouts were very sporadic at this point, but I don’t think that was the issue, I think I got to the point where the keto diet couldn’t keep me in stasis any more and I found myself going up in both weight and %.

So this is where I am. I started around 238 and 22% when we went to Oz. I came back at around 233 and 21%. Since then, trying to match the 4000 calories a day that Jason did I have crept up to 239 and 22%, pretty much where I was when I began. How much of the weight loss on vacation was the travel and the environment and the fact I was very active compared to normal I am not so sure. However, what I do know is I feel different. Jason noted in his vlog that the eating was hard and that he often just didn’t feel like continuing. I felt the same way but I also felt the same way about the workouts and my coaching. Eating as such a big surplus made me cranky and I felt slow and honestly kinds fat and slow. I didn’t like it I have to be honest so I am deciding that going back to the smaller surplus is best for  me to try and see if I get any body recomposition benefits from eating more. I am going to try to increase my workouts a little, maybe adding cardio in the morning on days I coach. This isn’t a big change in expenditure, but I feel like my cardio is severely lacking right now and I think that may help to make me feel a little more “healthy” than I do right now.

So for the remainder of May and June I will be back on MFP, making sure I am slightly above surplus (for me that is around 2500-2700 calories a day plus a 500 surplus for 3000-3200 total feed) and I will see how the strict keto that dropped weight in Australia with all the extra exercise will do the same thing here with my regular life.

Eating 3200 calores a day, 4 days a week in the gym for about 45 minutes each (weights) and a plan to do 3 days of “cardio” which will probably be walking on the treadmill for 20-30 minutes 3 days a week. Today I weighed in at 239.8 and 22%. I would love to get below 20% and maybe below 220 by the end of June. But bear in mind that what I am actually doing is planning to LOSE weight  and % while eating MORE than I require.

That’s the “magic” of keto as far as I can tell…

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My Keto Experiment. Starting the 30 days.

Category: Nutrition

I promised before we left that I would start this 30 day test when we got back. I think enough time has passed to make it viable now. I have been sticking to the macros and calories pretty well and by now I have at least one workout for each body part done. Some days I feel like I am losing fat, other days not so much, it will be interesting to see what actually happens.

In the tradition of sharing my progress and experiments, I posted this to a forum in which I participate. My apologies for the wall of text, it’s mostly stuff I already posted here.

I was very taken by the 21 day overfeeding vlog and experiment that Jason Wittrock did and it inspired me to do some of the same. My purpose was not necessarily to overfeed purposefully but rather to see if the average person who is not a physique model or competitive lifter with sponsorships could garner the same kind of results. A lot of the comments about Jason’s results centered around his potential use of steroids and his questionable level of activity so I thought for the average old guy I would step up and see what happens.

The problem was that I was heading to Australia for almost 3 weeks and the effects of jet lag and travel would confuse the results. I decided to start anyway, since I have been doing Paleo / targeted keto for around 8 years already. My goal personally was to drop my protein intake because I had a sneaking feeling that my issues with not losing weight, or not being in control of my weight loss and gain was due to eating too much protein. So I set my goal at 75% fat 20% protein and 5% carbs. I would still hit my 1g per kg of protein which is the level I am comfortable with and keep my carbs below about 25g.

So who am I? Here is what you need to know going forward.

I am 6ft 240lbs and 49 years old. My body impedence scale calls me around 21% fat and although it’s probably not emprically accurate it is relatively accurate to itself. So good for comparison, not good for claiming my actual % I am sure. I do have pictures that I will post with the full writeup when I get a chance probably in a few days time once things have settled down again.

I have a day job that forces me to work at a desk much of the day. I go to the gym 4 days a week and the days I don’t go to the gym I coach 4 hours in the evening. My history of weight lifting is relevant I played rugby to a high level when I was younger and since then have always lifted weights so I have about 35 years experience behind me. I also have 2 back surgeries behind me in 2001 and more recently in 2012 so I am restricted with the amount of work I can do. 3 years ago I managed to get back to a 1000lb total for my lifts, but I think those days are behind me now.

As far as the eating went, I immediately ran into the same issues that Jason mentions in his vlog. I had a really hard time getting enough food in me. The diet is very satiating as we all know but when you go this route it’s actually to the point of turning you off from eating at all. Over the course of the 21 days I never managed to hit 4000 calories and rarely was able to manage 3000. I did keep track with MFP making sure I was hitting my macros every day and was actually impressively consistent. The problem was that while I was away my workouts were vastly different, as was my activity level. I went from Canadian winter to Australian fall (hot) and that also messed with me a little bit so the fact that I ended up losing about 8lbs was misleading. I realized as I got back that the point of the trip was really just to get comfortable with the eating pattern so that when I resumed my lifestyle at home I would be ready to go.

My “results” were interesting. I managed to drop around 8lbs but weighed myself a day after getting off a 20 hour flight so have no idea what that effect was. The % fat was up about 1% which was discouraging but again with not doing my weight training this is hard to accept as a real result. What I did notice was that I was performing mentally on a whole new level. My attention span was better, my retention of technical information was better (I was reading some technical performance literature while I was away) my dreams were far more lucid and enjoyable and in general I felt mentally far more on point. Oddly I feel like my testicles were bigger… Anecdotal only I have no idea if relevant and I found certain days when I only had keto coffee for breakfast I had some slight indigestion issues which was fixed by slightly weaker coffee and a bit of extra cream. My energy levels were not bad at all, given the time change was 15 hours and I have no idea of the effect of the jet lag I will have to wait for the next 30 days to comment accurately on how this strict keto has affected my energy levels day to day.

We have been back for about a week now and I have kept up with the diet. My plan was to start April 1 and go the whole of April to see if I could compare results to Jason but in retrospect it seems a bit pointless and I will tell you why. Most people want to know the efficacy of a diet. How easy is it to stick to and will I see results? The simple fact of this kind of keto (75/20/5) seems to be that there is no need to overfeed to see what happens because most of the time you won’t be able to stomach the amount of calories it would take to go over your limit on a day to day basis. My TDEE is around 2500 calories which, if I compare myself to an average 160lb dude is quite a lot I know but I think it would scale the same way and as Jason found, they would have a hard time managing to hit their goal.

So my goal for April will be to hit my TDEE or slightly over and see if I can lose some body fat with my largely sedentary lifestyle and advanced age. I am no Jason Wittrock or Rich Piana so I am interested to see just what an adapted keto lifestyle will bring to your average guy.

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E-Type Abs

Category: Crossfit WOD Type Workouts

This was named for Elissa who obviously has a long and illustrious history of asking for Ab workouts. In this case, do 15 of each rest 2 minutes, do 10 of each, rest 2 minutes and do 5 of each. This is a simple and effective workout. 100% me.

e-type abs
15-10-5
hanging straight leg raise
hanging tuck leg raise
arms up in and out
arms up bicycles
full rainbow against wall
vsnaps
side crunch
push up spiderman
Russian twists with weight

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I need a harder abs workout :)

Category: Crossfit WOD Type Workouts

So here we go with Cycle 1 of the competitive abs program. It’s part of a larger routine and would usually be done with legs but here is the relevant part. You will need a bar to hang from to do this, there should be somewhere in the house to do this at home or tons of places in the gym.

I also need to add this is a modified version of what we do at gymnastics. It was adapted from it’s original to fit our girls abilities and to follow on from what they were originally doing. This is in no way a reproduction of any existing program.

Level 1 (Plus 1 Core Circuit)

2/25 Situp double twist
2/15 Leg up toe touch
2/15 Butt lifts
2 30s Hollow Hold & 10 Hollow rock arms at ears
2/10 V snaps

Level 2 (Plus 1 Core Circuit)

3/15 Incline bench situps HBH (Hands Behind Head)
3/12 HB Leg lifts strict
3/12 Squat thrust sliders
3/12 V snaps

Level 3 (Plus 1 Core Circuit)

3/15 Incline machine Situp with 15lb
3/12 High bar L lifts (top half leg lift)
3/12 Stalder leg lifts
1 10 Count core
1 Core circuit

Level 4 (Plus 1 Core Circuit and 10 Count Circuit)

3/15 Incline machine Situp with 15lb
3/12 High bar L lifts (top half leg lift)
3/12 Stalder leg lifts (Lift to HB Straddle)

Core circuit

30s Hollow hold
30s Hollow rock
30s Side hollow hold
10 Side hollow roll to hollow (1os hold left, centre, right for 1 rep)
15 V snaps
25 Crunches

10 Count Circuit

10s Hollow hold
10s Hollow shoulders down
10s Hollow legs down
10s Side hollow
10 Side plank hip dip (hip touches floor)
10s Side plank to 10s side plank
10s Side plank top leg up hold
10 Single leg V snap from hollow
10 V snap from hollow
10s Arch hold
10 Arch rock

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I Need An Abs Workout

Category: Crossfit WOD Type Workouts

I am not sure if I was helpful but I tried.

You’re welcome Elissa.

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My Most Popular Back / Hip Stretch

Category: Crossfit WOD Type Workouts

My gymnastics kids are epically flexible. I have had 2 back surgeries and sometimes feel like I am made of stone but the one thing we have in common is the piriformis stretch. I was introduced to this after my second surgery and the dawning realization that my back issues had for the most part been aggravated by tight hips and hamstrings and glutes. For my girls, having flexible hips is a must for performance of any split jumps and leaps and of course in order to keep their backs flexible for walkovers and so on. I was sent the following infographic (everyone knows how much I love a good infographic) by our friend Jenny over at DailyHealthPost.com and I am happy to share their very good post on the piriformis stretch here. It’s a great place to start for anyone with lower back pain or hip mobility issues and certainly with such a wide range of applications it’s something that I believe everyone should be doing as part of their mobility plan. (in case in future the picture won’t load, you can also see it here)

Click the image below, read and go stretch!

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Back Home – Stayed on the wagon, 28 days now.

Category: Nutrition

Don’t get too excited, I am not ready for any results yet. I have slept maybe 5 hours over the last 4 days and have been going to the gym and coaching, frankly I don’t know how I haven’t collapsed. Here are some interesting things that I have found since on this strict keto thing for around 30 days now.

1. My mind is a lot sharper. I find my brain in constant movement, at first I thought it was just keeping me up at night out of spite but my retention of a technical manual I have been reading has been amazing.
2. My dreams are far more lucid and entertaining. This is probably the same thing as point one but interesting to note.
3. Twitchy legs are annoying. I find I am far more twitchy now than I was, if I am out during the day I am OK but if I sit still for too long my legs go crazy and it’s honestly stopping me from sleeping or even relaxing at times.
4. My energy at the gym is an unknown, I didn’t have access to my regular gym stuff so I can’t compare apples to apples, and since I am still very jetlagged I can’t compare currently how I feel with before I went away. Same goes for my weight and fat %, I am still not back to normal cycles and until I am, any statistics will be skewed. I will tell you that when I did weigh myself I was about 5 lbs down and 1.5% up but let’s wait on that.
5. Eating 4000 calories a day on this strict keto is no joke. My appetite has been virtually zero since I started and honestly there were times when I just couldn’t bring myself to eat. I was only hitting around 2500 a day and it was a struggle. I am not sure I would be able to manage 4000 every day. I know the whole point of his experiment was to see if overfeeding would affect him but even with my usual workouts I can’t really imagine hitting those numbers. Besides, I think if someone saw a person my age with a sedentary job killing off fat % eating 2500 or 3000 calories a day it would point in the same direction.

I think I will wait until the weekend to make any judgements. I need to get at least one workout per body part in to get the glycogen up to where it was before I left and get my sleep straightened out so that I am not skewing results with the jet lag. Once that is done, I should have a baseline for the at home test which I will start on the Saturday which is April 1.

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Keto Vacation Update

Category: Nutrition

Ever since I have tried the keto diet I have had two notable issues, one that I can’t seem to get the keto sticks to reflect any kind of ketones in my pee which hasn’t really bothered me since everyone says the pee sticks are unreliable. Second, I have always suspected that my protein intake was too high, I have long held the belief that I should be on the higher end of the 1g per lb rather than 1g per kg putting me up at 240g of protein a day. It seems that this seemingly minor change has made a big difference to my status since I am seeing changes this time around that I haven’t seen before. For a start the pee sticks are deep red going from the second to third level of reactions, something I have only ever seen once before. Second the amount of protein I am eating is around the 100-120g mark which puts me at the lower end of the 1g per kg or relatively speaking half what I would normally eat. The bulk of those calories have been coming from healthy fats with my intake around 80% every day.

So what has changed? Well we are recovering from our travels, being on the opposite side of the planet has had it’s drawbacks with jet lag and travel exhaustion but I think we are recovering now. For the first time I feel like I have really bad restless leg syndrome. I don’t know if this is part of what people mean when they say they have lots of energy but this is irritating as all hell. I know I have lost weight on keto previously but I think that was calorie restriction more than anything and I never really felt different from an energy standpoint. This time around I seem to be able to work out no problem, have energy to do things during the day and since I am not sitting at work all day but rather out enjoying the Australian Gold Coast it’s really not a fair comparison to my Canadian life. The big difference is the twitchy irritating feeling I get in my legs when I sit around for too long which I can’t tell if it is part of having more energy or just some annoying side effect of what I am doing Anyway, I left Canada at my yearly heaviest of just under 240lbs and I expect that when we return I will be down around 235 given the extra activity that I can’t escape while on holidays. Since I can’t really compare apples to apples I can’t say what the strict keto is doing but what I an can say is that I have been struggling with hitting 2500-3000 calories a day so I can’t imagine how 4000 calories would happen. I have to say I am not a 155lb short guy I am a 240lb 6 footer so I am amazed at how Jason managed to get the food done. The great thing is that so far I have been able to stick with the keto and that means I should be off to a good start when we get home.

Here’s a snip of what I have been eating while here:

Keto coffee
50g pecans
50g macadamia nuts
200g medium beef
60g of shredded cheese
5 eggs
9 tbsp Cream
Spinach or avocado

 

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Keto On Vacation

Category: Nutrition

This is going to be a challenge. I have found that there is something called thickened cream they use here to make food with and it’s heavy cream with gelatin or some other thickening agent added to it. Apparently they can’t steam it or make coffee with it but they can add it to a coffee if you insist. It isn’t bad but as far as having keto coffee on the road it’s virtually impossible. The woman at Pacific Fair almost fainted yesterday when I suggested she should put some butter in the cup as well as the cream. We have done some grocery shopping and managed to score all the regular stuff and have found the butter is yellower and the eggs are more orange then anything we get at home. The beef is all grass fed as is the butter and the burgers and sausages we had for dinner last night were excellent. Sticking to the full keto that I am supposed to be trying when I get back is going to be a little tricky, a bag of pecans and a bag of macadamia nuts cost me $30 although everything here seems a little pricey to me. I will do what I can, but I think there may be some sushi in my future and probably some other things that I wouldn’t be having once I get back.

Weather is nice, I managed to do a shoulder workout yesterday so activity is possible with the small gym on the property. There are 2 pools, on indoors and one outdoors which is exceptional for an apartment complex. Also a BBQ setup outside (I mean a proper 30 foot long counter with built in steel BBQ units) which is great and we used last night for dinner. I know the study that Jason Wittrock was referring to when he did his 21 day test was an overfeeding study so extra calories shouldn’t matter so much but I haven’t felt great waking up the last 2 days. I will put that down to jet lag for the time being and try to consciously only eat when I think I need to, hopefully that will settle my system down a bit.

So far so good though, still on full keto and trying to stay that way.

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Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts

Category: Nutrition

So I have to admit I don’t really like chocolate. I spent 3 summers packing chocolates in the old Sterling Road Rowntree / Nestle factory in Toronto including time spent on the night shift polishing smarties… Yes, that’s a thing. During that time I ate a lot of chocolate, but I was a University student so I was burning energy like crazy at the gym and playing rugby so eating several bars of chocolate a day (or the insides of Coffee Crisps) was not a problem. However, it wasn’t too long before I started to go off the idea of chocolate. Since then, having been exposed to real hand made Swiss Chocolate in Switzerland I found I had really spoiled my taste for the stuff and so when I finally gave up sugar all together it just didn’t bother me. Which is actually funny because two questions I get a lot in my life is how do I manage without alcohol (from the men) and how do I go without chocolate (from the women). Neither is particularly hard for me, I guess with 28 years sober under my belt I am reluctant to give that up and with 8 years of sugar free living at this point I am just over it. I get that it’s just not that easy for most people but I have the worlds deepest and widest stubborn streak when it comes to will power so for me when I make a decision, that is the hard part done.

But back to my nuts. As Jason noted in his first few days of his keto challenge his appetite for macadamia nuts disappeared very quickly and his solution was to make a chocolate covering for them. So I thought I would give it a try.

100g of macadamia nuts
50g of pasture butter
2 tbsp unsweetened cacao powder
a little stevia

I melted the butter in the microwave, mixed in the powder and threw in the stevia and nuts. It was very easy, I threw them in the freezer on a pieve of parchment paper and let the cold do it’s thing. I have to say they came out very well. For a lot of people, myself included, the bitter taste of pure cocoa powder isn’t pleasant which is why I don’t eat dark chocolate, but when it is mixed with fat and has a bit of stevia it’s actually pretty good. It does have a strong bitter finish but with the salt from the nuts it’s strangely appealing. The macros in case you are interested are as follows (this is for half the serving):

ITEM Calories Carbs Fat Protein Sodium Potassium
Kirkland – Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts, 50 grams 411 7 43 4 179 0
Butter – Salted, 25 g 179 0 20 0 144 6
Cacao Powder, 1 Tbsp 35 3 2 2 2 71
625 10 65 6 325 77

 

 

 

 

 

 

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