August Update – Slow Keto

My first couple of updates were not earth shattering. I had planned a big 30 day test and expected to see some major changes but didn’t. For me, everything is better done slowly, maybe because of my age or my sedentary lifestyle these 30 day tests are often more telling as 90 day marathons. That said, I was not surprised to see that I gained during my forced overfeed and in the same tone I am not surprised that eating right at my TDEE of 2500 I am losing bodyfat.

Here are the numbers:

Before Oz 238 22%
After Oz 233 21% (1 week later)
After overfeed 239 22% (30 days later)
Currently after TDEE keto for about 2 months 234 19%

As you can see, I have dropped what I would consider a significant amount of fat. I am sure I have lost muscle in the process but my lifts are the same and my energy is fine. I measure myself daily with a Tanita impedance scale so my results on the daily are sometimes off but overall I have been reporting under 20% fat for 3 days now.

I will try to find some photos of all 4 times and post them together so you can see how things have moved along.

What do I think are the results here?

For a start, nothing is as black and white as CICO or KETO. I found that it’s possible to eat over my TDEE and not gain weight, but only to a point. At some point your body just can’t process everything and has to store the extra. I do find that it’s possible to overeat slightly and not have any ill effects on weight gain with Keto, something I have not found with any other eating system. It certainly appears to me that a keto lifestyle is a lot more forgiving when it comes to CICO. I have also reported in my previous posts very significant mental differences on keto and I do find my energy levels are stable but not high.

Here are the links to my Keto entries from before Australia until now.

Coming back to Keto
Chocolate covered macadamia nuts
Keto on vacation
Keto vacation update
Back home
My Keto experiment, starting the 30 days
Strict Keto. What I found out.

As promised here are the picture updates. Enjoy!

Starting out 238 22%
3 weeks of keto down 5lbs
Back up to 239 at 22 and soft
Current Aug 1 17 234 19% after 90 days keto


My Keto Experiment. Starting the 30 days.

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.

This is based on Keto, 75% fat 20% protein and 5% carbs (for some 75% is a little high, you can adjust your protein and fat a bit). For me this means 20% of my TDEE or daily calorie requirement is around 500 calories and 500 calories of protein is around 16 ounces of protein or450g. Please use myfitnesspal app or something similar to make sure you are getting the right macros.

I recommend for active people to start by figuring out your protein requirement. Regular people can get by on 1g of protein per KG of weight or 1/2g per lb. Active people or those with higher protein requirements can go north of 1g per lb. There is recent research that has proven that eating more protein than required has no detrimental effect especially when related to glucogenesis. Once you have your protein requirement you can fill the rest of your calories with fat and make sure your carbs are under 25g.

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. Turns out this was partially true, I was actually too low on fat. 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 impedance scale calls me around 21% fat and although it’s probably not empirically 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. 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% fat/20% protein/5% carbs (under 20g)) 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.

Frosh Week Workouts and The Return To TDEE

OTW_banner_UCS1So it’s been 10 days since I stopped the cut, went to Cuba on vacation and ditched counting calories in favour of what I would consider a major refeed. I learned a couple of things during this week, first that my strength takes a major hit when I am cutting, something that I have missed. Second, my sense of what is enough (in other words portion sizes) has taken a major turn towards normality. Even though I was not going to restrict my calories on vacation I just didn’t feel like I needed to fill myself every time I ate. Even once we got back home and had unlimited access to everything I love I just didn’t feel the need to stuff myself. This means that since the end of the cut I have only gained 2 lbs and have actually lost almost 2% fat which I know is not realistic. The only thing I can think is that for some reason adding back some carbs has filled me out a bit and fooled the scale into reading a different composition. Whatever the reason I am now sitting right at 227 at 17%. But now it’s back to reality, or should I say my new reality. I am sticking with keto for the near future, or maybe some would call it paleo / primal but basically just protein and vegetables with very little purposeful carbs. I am thinking about having a small rice or  yam snack after my workouts. 100g of brown rice for example is 23g of carbs, which is about what I was eating per day through the cut. The question becomes what can I tolerate before my body starts to modify it’s energy expenditures and storages. I know that science doesn’t change and that the same thermodynamic laws still apply regardless of what I eat as long as the TDEE number is the same but we all know that your body is a very strange machine and to a large degree what you eat is important in determining your personal efficiencies. So the plan is simple. 5 days back on cut to clear the system and get keto back working again. 1 week of adding an additional meal but not carbs. Followed by 1 week of the carb meal after workouts. I am thinking that I used to eat a rice and tuna snack and that should work.

As for the workouts, it’s Frosh Week at Universities all over Canada and in honour of those who have left, some for the first time, some for a second or more I am publishing some of my favourite workouts that you can do at home, in your dorm room or the living room that will at the very least clean out the cobwebs from the night before and burn some of those beer calories away.

Today is Barbara, not much to remember and enough rounds to get a decent workout. If you can’t do pullups (find a way!) then you can substitute pushup burpees.

One thing I will say to those of you at school. There are some exercises that will keep you in shape no matter what but you need to find a way to do them ALL. Also, if you love Crossfit, here is a link to 20 CROSSFIT WORKOUTS FOR HOME

Squats / lunges
V snaps
Kettlebell swings (for cardio there is nothing better – Kill the treadmill before it kills you)

For now, here’s Barbara

5 Rounds, rest 3:00 between each round:

20 pull-ups
30 push-ups
40 sit-ups
50 squats