fat loss

Journal Entry 263 – Push/Pull & Gym Weigh In

On Monday of this week, I went to the gym and did a weigh in and body fat test for an upcoming company gym challenge. My stats were 187lbs (Midday, fully clothed including shoes) and 14% body fat. My weigh in that morning on my scale was 185lbs. I wanted to weigh in on Monday because my weight always peaks on Monday’s after always eating big on the weekends. I dropped down to 179lbs within 3 days of weighing in and I definitely will go low carb and high protein right before the final weigh in just to get some extra points from losing weight. You get 1 point for every pound you lose and 1 point for every time you go to the gym. You also get points for better body composition, but since changes like that take way longer than 21 days, chasing after that would be a bad idea. The winner gets 1-year free gym membership. The body fat they tested was not the most accurate instrument. I asked the trainer how accurate it was and he said 3% error and usually measures high. I agreed with this as I feel I’m around 12-13% at the moment.

The last time I did one of these tests I was 166lbs at 10% body fat. Although this was a bod pod test. Meaning I had roughly 150lbs of lean body mass at the time. This time I was around 185lbs and let’s say 13% body fat. This means I know have 161 lbs of lean body mass. Which means I gained roughly 10-12lbs of lean body mass and 6-8lbs of fat. Not terrible, but not great either. Looking at photos of these times, though I can see a tremendous difference. A much bigger difference than these stats represent:

My diet was a bit lower in carbs this week and damn did I feel it in the gym. My last pull workout this Friday was really bad. I dropped reps on every exercise and I only did 4 exercises. I carbed up with some pizza to make up for it. Other than that last workout I really enjoyed the 4 day split this week and found myself over eager to hit the gym on my rest days, which is a good thing. I’m still playing around with the exercises, but think I have really figured out the ones I want to do. Now it’s just a matter of grinding.

For this 21 day challenge, I plan to bump up my carbs pretty high during the beginning 2 weeks and keep protein high as well. Fat will be more or less normal 50-70 grams. The final week I will cut down on carbs just to drop water for the weigh in.

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Journal Entry 252 – 5:2 Diet Revisited

I’m at a much different point in my life that I was in 3 years ago when I started this blog. The idea of tracking every calories, carb, protein and fat gram no longer appeals to me. Neither does turning down every bad cheat food offered to me that I can’t track or doesn’t fit into my rigid meal pattern. I still want to get results and stay lean, but I want to do so in a much different way than I have done in the past. After a pretty chaotic eating pattern the past year, I still want some type of organization that won’t impede my lifestyle and also help me fit my goals. After trying to figure this out, I have basically narrowed it down to one eating style … the 5:2 diet.

The 5:2 diet is pretty damn simple. 5 days eat your normal diet (for me anywhere between 2000-3000 calories depending on the day) and  2 days a week take in under 800 calories on non-consecutive days. These days don’t sound like fun, but after drawing up a meal plan I think it’s going to be incredibly easy. The best way to handle these low calorie days is to basically eat nothing, but vegetables or low sugar fruits. Doing these on a work day also helps a lot since your busy working all day and not sitting around, thinking about food. I plan on doing these days Monday and Thursday. These two days appear right before and after the weekend. It is much easier to eat lower calorie right after a big day of eating. They are non-consecutive and will be cardio only days.

The meal plan will look something like this:

  • Meal 1 – Berry Smoothie with Cashew Milk and Greens Powder
  • Meal 2 – 2 bags of raw veggies for lunch (maybe some low cal ranch on the side)
  • Meal 3 – Vegetable Stirfry (massive pile of non-starchy vegetables)
  • Meal 4 – Berry Smoothie

This chimes in at around 6-800 calories. I will also drink any zero calorie beverage I want on these days, like coffee with light cream and diet coke.

I also made this into a vegetable day instead of PSMF day, because I honestly think it is easier to cut calories using vegetables than eating nothing but lean meat. This day also acts as a detox day from all macros including protein. I have spoken about protein fasting in the past, but have recently ditched it. I honestly think though it does have merit and may even help my body respond more favorably to protein when I do eat it. I like the idea of a vegetable only day for health reasons, especially now that my diet isn’t as healthy as it used to be.

The other 5 days are easy. There is no food restriction or food rules. I simply eat whatever I want as part of my normal diet. The idea isn’t to overeat on these days or feel like your dieting at all. The diet is done on two days a week and then it is over. This way of eating has also been proven to be way more effective at ongoing and maintaining fat loss than traditional dieting or food rules/restrictions because these plans are not sustainable and eventually suck. Even if you are on a diet for 5 years, which is a very long time for most, once you break that diet and start eating a normal balanced diet again with normal calories the weight will return. 5 years is still short term when compared to a lifespan of a human being.

I have also moved my training schedule around this plan. I will lift weights 3 sets of 6-8 reps here recently on just about everything, on all days I eat normally. I also may do some optional morning cardio on those days and simply eat whatever I want, making sure to eat enough. On the diet days, I will only do cardio and no lifting. The goal is to keep my intake under 800 calories and resume normal eating the next day.

Simple and effective. I have also done this to help Sarah lose some stubborn pounds. She is not fat by any means but would like to drop a few pounds. She also feels like she has to be in constant diet mode to see any results, but it’s really not working at the moment. I think this plan will be what she needs to relax on her diet and still get really good results.

 

Journal Entry 240 – Low Protein Challenge

I have been playing around with my diet this week in that I have been purposely eating more carbs and fat and way less protein. I’m trying to keep protein between 110 grams and 140 grams on the high end. I have honestly been shooting for the low end by literally just not eating lean meat. This is very difficult for me due to the way I’m wired, but somewhat fun nevertheless. Carbs have been much higher and I’m trying to keep fat at about 50% of protein intake. So between 60-70 grams. Carbs make up the rest of my diet after protein and fat has been met. Calories have been around 2500 calories this week. Still weighing in around the 170-174lbs.

I noticed that I have been suffering from “protein guilt” a lot of the time. Which simply means that if I don’t eat a high protein meal or a meal with out SOME protein in it, then I have guilt about the meal. This week has been somewhat different and I noticed without even worrying about eating enough protein, I usually get enough in. Basically trying to sub out chicken for fattier chicken or egg whites for whole eggs. Using more starches and cheese to make hitting this easier. I’m not going to lie I haven’t really noticed a lot of benefit from doing so as of yet. It definitely puts more food back on the menu though, which is nice. A lot of the bloating issues I used to get from too many carbs and calories are starting to go away though. Especially from cheat days. It used to take me 2-3 days to clear  that bloat at least. Now I can wake up the next day and look fine. My volume in the gym is pretty high though. I have been adding in A LOT of pullups and pushups everyday. Also I should mention that usually when I go to be with 200+ grams of protein I have a bloated stomach. Lowering it down to this level I have noticed this has gone away.

I hit my chest day on Tuesday and it was horrible. I felt extremely weak in the gym, even with ample amounts of protein. This is why I decided to start this experiment. Fat tends to get too low in my diet and I feel like I was just way to unbalanced with the excessive amount of protein. It didn’t seem to helping too much either. So I wanted to bump up the fat and lower the protein. Obviously need to keep carbs and sodium high though for gym performance. The rest of my week has been really good though in terms of strength in the gym.

So a few simple changes I have made is to replace one of my protein bars (which are expensive anyway) with a Poptart. Poptart is mainly carbs and a little fat. Another change is instead of jerky at lunch, I take a bag of rice cakes or popchips for about 400 calories. This is mainly carbs and a little fat. Dinner is highly variable, but is almost always my biggest meal of the day with a lot of carbs, fats and protein. A lot of my daily protein comes from this meal. Because I’m not trying to go low protein, just cut it down to where it needs to be. Although eating this amount to me feels like super low protein. 😉

Downed about 3000 calories yesterday due to a trip to Mellow Mushroom. Protein actually got high up to 180 grams which is the highest its been since I started the challenge. Not too worried about it though. Mellow Mushroom is hands down my favorite restaurant at the moment. Carbs were around 280grams and fat got up 100grams.

Going to try and keeping working some “funner” foods into my diet for the following week. Only requirement to keep eating this much is to just to exercise for an hour a day. As long as I do that, weight gain doesnt seem to be an issue. 🙂

Journal Entry 224 – 20/15 Vision – Lasik

I can now see 20/15, both near and far away for the first time in about 10 years. I feel like I was a blind man that can now see. It’s really strange to be able to see this well all the time without glasses. Even looking in the mirror from far away, I can see myself without getting 5 feet away from the mirror. I can see people from far away in a store and I drive and see very far distance’s without any glasses on. It’s awesome. I feel like someone installed HD vision into my eyeballs after seeing in black and white for a long time.

I went to LasikPlus here in Richmond and have nothing, but positive things to say about the place. Very organized, knowledgeable, friendly staff and very  fast. The whole surgery took about 7 minutes. I was in the office for about an hour and 20 minutes. The price was very affordable considering you get perfect vision after and the surgery is for guaranteed for lifetime. Meaning if for whatever reason my vision reverted to what it was, I would get another surgery for free. Most likely not going to be an issue, but still a nice guarantee. The only negative thing I can say is just some pretty bad eye irritation post surgery. Basically just burning, uncomfortable feeling that took awhile to go away. There was also some uncomfortable pressure place on the eye during surgery, which caused no pain, but the sensation of eye pressure was uncomfortable. Tear drops help immensely with the burning sensation though and I would use them as needed until you feel your eyes are adequately hydrated.

They recommend a week off from the gym, so no training for me until next Thursday.  I’ll just get some walking in and continue to burn fat before Menno’s consultation begins.

Diet and Training this week was 3 days full body and still hitting 10 x LBM in calories. I notice as I eat less calories, fasting or skipping breakfast is a bad idea. The less calories I eat the more often I need to eat. I try to snack on something all day long usually protein powder or jerky. Most of my meals are meat and veggies and sometimes for dinner I’ll make something else. If I skip breakfast until 11 or so (after waking up at 5:30AM) then I tend to be very hungry for the rest of the day and my energy tanks. If I eat often, starting at 8am or so and just snacking all day long my energy is fine even on the same calories.

Weighing in today at 169.6lbs. Strength is on par, but has not gone up. I’m not too worried about taking a week off, but mentally going without lifting for a week is hard for some reason. Probably because it’s my favorite hobby to do in my free time. Walking and music will hopefully replace the dopamine boost I get from lifting.

Really looking forward to Menno’s coaching though. The timing was actually perfect with the eye surgery and all, so I’ll be extra motivated to hit the gym when our week starts. The diet plan should also be interesting. Menno’s views on diet are one of the main reasons why I think he was the best one to hire for me.

 

Journal Entry 223 – Cutting Fat and Lasik

As per recommendations from Menno Henselmans, he recommended that based on the initial pictures I sent him, we start with some fat loss. I figured since we start on April 8th, I would go ahead and get started on the fat loss early. I estimate to get down to a low enough body fat range for optimal muscle growth (8-10%) I will likely have to get down to at least 160-165lbs. I weighed in at 170.0 lbs on Wednesday and will hopefully be down to my goal by the start.

The initial pictures I sent him I was around 175lbs. If I cut 5-10lbs of pure fat I should hit my goals. In my opinion there are 3 very important things to hit for fat loss without losing muscle:

  1. Reduce calories (big shocker here)
  2. Eat enough protein and overall glucose (at least .64 grams of protein per pound of LBM) (Lyle Mcdonald states that eating 50g of carbs severely limits the need for the body to break down protein) – Applied to my bodyweight this is roughly 620 calories or 155grams of protein and carbs combined
  3. Maintain strength on heavy lifts in the gym and cut back excess volume

The rest is basically not important enough to worry about. I started this process a couple of weeks ago and have already dropped about 5lbs. I’m sure a max of about 2-3lbs of it is fat, as I’m shooting for 1.5lbs of fat loss per week. I’m going pretty aggressive at the moment though. Trying to average about 1600 calories a week, which is my LBM x 10. I can’t imagine going lower than that would bring about favorable changes. Not going to lie though I usually go lower than that during the week and hit about 1300 calories. This allows me to increase my calories on Friday and Saturday without worrying about going over my average. Been interesting eating this much though. My hunger is not an issue and I’m getting pretty quick results. My waist size/pant size is decreasing and my abs and lower back have increased definition. Also I don’t get bloated nearly as easily. Due to my reduced activity for my job going this low in calories is necessary at the moment. It’s interesting to see the difference between lean and “pretty lean”. I’m always “pretty lean”, but to get very lean requires some diligence and unfortunately some pretty strict calorie cutting. I definitely want to stay this lean though once I reach it. Menno recommends it for optimal muscle growth anyway. He himself stays this low year round, so hoping he can show me how to effortlessly do it while making gains in the gym.

Diet consists of protein powder, coffee, lean meats, low sugar fruit, veggies and low calorie sauces/seasonings, beef jerky (awesome snack) and a  1/2 – 1 quest bar at the moment. No added fats or starches. Pretty effortless fat loss and again my hunger is null. Spinach helps tremendously to eat before a meal to fill the stomach. Also keeping sodium at least 3 grams per day, but this is mainly eaten too taste. I also drink a lot of diet drinks, always have and always will. 😉

My split this week is Push/Pull/Off/Push/Off/Legs/Pull. Strength is still on par, but some day it does feel pretty heavy. Also try to hit at least 6000 steps a day, which is almost always hit without effort.

I had my Lasik appointment this Thursday and my procedure will be next Thursday at 1 pm. Going to be around $3600 total, but I got the money to pay it straight up without loans so that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll pay $3600 for 20/15 vision any day of the week. Especially considering how bad my vision is right now haha. Asked the doctor what my vision is on a scale of 1-10 and she said 3-4. Yeah that’s not very good. She also said some people are -15 so it could be worse haha. I can’t lift for a week after surgery unfortunately, but as long as I can get it done before April 8th, then I’m not worried about it. I’ll just walk each day instead.

A few restaurants that have some really good low cal options to eat out are:

  • Panda Express – (get double chicken teriyaki 120z of meat and weigh the amount of grams you want to eat with mixed veggies. A ton of food and you will have leftovers. Also tastes amazing.)
  • Which wich – Any bowlwhich with lean meat and light mayo (tastes awesome)
  • Chipotle – Meat, beans, double veggies, salsa, lettuce
  • Qdoba – Haven’t tried this place yet, but will soon.
  • Moe’s – I usually go to Chipotle though, WAY better

Some pics from the week:

 

 

Low Carb Limbo, Keto and Building Muscle While Burning Fat

Low carb limbo is essentially a grey area between keto dieting and a normal carb based diet. I discovered this term reading through a blog that I will cite at the bottom of the article. Low Carb is a very vague term. Most people know that 3-400 grams a day is not low carb, but is 150grams low carb? I think many people get stuck in Low carb limbo, myself included in the past, and I think a lot of it is just poor advice, even from experts. I have read a lot of articles stating that anywhere from 50grams – 100grams is good for fat loss. Where did this number come from though? I mean that’s not a good number for fat loss if you eat 200 grams of fat a day. Many people think that ketosis develops when carbs dip under 100 grams of carbs. It may, but it may not. Even if it does develop its usually not enough ketones to replace all the glucose you still need for basic basal functions. After going back and reading some articles by Jacob Wilson I think people should take one of two approaches to stay out of this low carb limbo. Staying out of this grey area should greatly increase your energy levels, protect your muscle (I’ll explain why in a minute), and should allow you to bust through your body composition plateaus.

The first approach is to go straight ketogenic. A perfect healthy and safe diet, but in  my opinion very difficult to achieve in today’s society, especially if your social. This requires you keep carbs under 30 grams for a long period of time. No one really knows how long it takes, but for many that have achieved full ketosis it can take a long time, such as weeks or more at a time. Probably depends on the diet you were on before you attempted it. You also have NO carb refeeds at all. Refeeding throws you out of ketosis and can take you a while to get back into it, which ruins the effectiveness of the diet. You also need a very high fat intake and need to keep protein below 120grams and it may be even lower than that. Eating too much protein will throw you out of ketosis and ruin the effectiveness of the diet. Doesn’t sound too fun anymore does it. By eating carbs and protein in too high of an amount the body starts to shift over to glucose burning again and this can be very bad for your muscle mass. Ketones displace glucose only when the body has no source of glucose. The diet would likely get pretty stale after awhile, because you would be eating the same fatty foods over and over. But some people do like it. Jacob Wilson also found that when carb totals were increased above 30 grams to 60g and 104g, even a high protein intake couldn’t prevent muscle loss on a diet. Now I know that low carb limbo is responsible for this and I’ll explain why during the second approach. So with keto, you’re either on or your off. There isn’t a middle ground with this diet and protein and carbs NEED to be controlled and kept low for it to work. Personally, even though keto has some really interesting benefits, there is no way I would ever attempt this diet.

The second approach and what most people need to stick to is a carb based diet of around 150grams a day minimum on average. I consider 150grams to be a low to moderate carb diet and with this many carbs you are not on keto and you aren’t in low carb limbo. After reading through how much glucose needs you have in your body the answer for most people under restful conditions is about 150g-170g a day. This is to regulate glucose needed by the brain, liver, red blood cells and immune functions. This is also doesn’t change much based on a person’s size. If you weigh 400lbs or 120lbs these are likely unchanged, because organs dont really vary in size.

Guess what happens when you eat 50grams of carbs a day… you start to lose muscle unless your protein is extremely high. Protein can displace carbs almost at a 1:1 ratio so that body can get its glucose, but you dont want protein to be used in this manner. You want protein to be used for structural functions and muscle building. Well at least people that want to look good do. So bascially the protein you eat is being used as an energy source. This means no muscle building and strength loses, because the basic structural functions of the body are more important than building muscle. So lets take our example of someone eating 50grams of carbs a day. Lets say the body requires 170grams of carbs (under restful conditions) so you ate 50g of carbs, but you still need another 120grams of glucose. Say goodbye to your protein intake. Let’s say you eat 120grams of protein a day. Many consider this low if your a bodybuilder, but I feel like most people consider this high. All of that protein is going to be used as carbs, to feed the brain and basic functions and this leaves none left over for your actual protein needs. Now it probably doesn’t work exactly like that in the body, but the point is when your trying to build or even protect muscle on a diet, you DO NOT want gluconeogensis to occur in a manner such as this. I guess you could eat 300 grams of protein to prevent this if you truly didn’t like eating carbs, but that’s up to you. I will say though that is a saving grace of high protein diets. If you do consume this much, you are eating enough glucose to provide the brain, liver and immune system with glucose and still have enough protein left over to protect and maybe build muscle. I also forgot to mention that those are the needs you have BEFORE activity is factored in. If you lift weights you needs go up even more. Lifting on too low of a carb intake doesnt really sound like a good idea anymore. Not unless you carb cycle, but in reality all cycling does is balance out your weekly intake anyway.

So summing up the second and recommended approach: When dieting or just eating at general maintenance, you want at least 1200 calories a day worth of glucose before activity is factored in. This can be achieved with 150grams of carbs and 150grams of protein. Protein has been shown to be toxic in large amounts, so I would honestly ditch the excessive protein (eating in excess of 200grams) and eat a more normal diet including a decent amount of carbs. The sources likely dont matter as Menno Henselmans has pointed out in his article: Is a Carb a Carb?. Once 1200 calories of glucose are achieved your muscle mass will be protected and likely allowed to get bigger, since none of the carbs will be needed for gluconeogensis.

Weight lifting also increases your needs, but its probably not as much as you think. If you do a pretty normal 4 day split routine with a combo of isolation and compounds and with not much cardio besides just walking, then your probably need an additional 300grams over the course of the week to replenish what you used on TOP of the glucose needs I stated above. 300 grams may even be stretching it, as the ATP system is relied on sometimes far more than glucose when lifting weights, but lets play it safe.

So if someone that weighed around 75-80kg was trying to build muscle and lose fat at the same time, then this is what I would recommend based on this information.

The first step is to factor in your daily glucose needs on a weekly basis. 1200 calories of glucose a day maximizes your glucose needs under restful conditions, but lets factor in exercise. 1200 x 7 = 8400 calories. Add in another 300grams or 1200 calories for the workout and you are now at 9600 calories a week. 9600 / 7 = 1371 calories a day. 1371 / 4 = 342 grams of glucose a day to provide everything the body needs. 342 / 2 = 171grams of carbs and 171grams of protein if you split it evenly down the middle. If you want to go higher or lower carb or vice versa, that is individual and up to you, but you want to consume at least this. An example, lets say you are carb sensitive and like eating protein more. You could eat 220 grams of protein and 122g of carbs or lets say you hate protein and do well with higher carbs, then you could do 240 carbs and do 102 grams of protein. The total glucose needs are the most important factor. Now factor in your fat intake. I wouldn’t recommend going below 40grams of fat ever, because under this level absorbing vitamins and minerals, testosterone, diet adherence and maybe even depression can become a big issue. There doesn’t seem to be an upper limit to fat intake however. As I stated the glucose needs are somewhat of a minimum and maximum. This means that this is what the body requires to fuel bodily functions and to build and protect muscle mass on a non ketogenic diet. But going above this amount serves no additional benefits and if you go to high in carbs, you’ll probably just get fat if you dont handle carbs well. This means that fat can fill up the rest of your needs if you wish. That’s quite a large range from fat, but this person wants to build muscle and burn fat at the same time. That means that body fat needs to come into play as an energy source, so eating a ton of fat would negatively impact the burning of the body’s fat stores.

(Sidenote) – After looking this up, its kind of interesting how this looks strikingly similar to many precontest diets that bodybuilders have known about for years, even if they didn’t know the actual science behind how it worked. Anecdotal evidence at its finest.

So lets go back to the minimum calories and carbs/protein/fats this person needs to achieve his goal. Carbs 171grams / Protein 171grams / Fat 40grams – Total Calories – 1728 calories a day. Based on this persons needs he would likely lose muscle if he dipped below this amount of calories based on his size. If not lose muscle, then he would definitely not be building any muscle dipping below this intake. I would honestly set his fats to at least 50grams, so that would move him right up to 1820 calories a day, but if he liked 40grams of fat he would likely be fine. If he wanted to reduce his calories to lose fat faster, then he would need to reduce his weekly workout volume to ensure recovery. If this person was completely sedentary for a week or so then he would need a minimum of 1200 glucose calories and 40 grams of fat at least, so about 1560 calories.

Also I sort of mentioned this earlier, but carb cycling could work for a plan like this, but is completely unnecessary unless you actually enjoy it. As long as the weekly average is the same it really doesn’t matter if you cycle your intake.

Be careful of refeeding and cheats on a plan like this. What I presented was your daily balance of all you need to burn fat and build muscle. That means if you want to burn the max amount of fat you need to be between 1720-1820 calories a day averaged out over the week. If you refeed or cheat, then you need to factor that in to your weekly balance. So if you go 6 days of 1750 calories and have an all out cheat day of 4000 calories, your weekly calorie balance is 2070 calories. Which can negatively impact your fat burning. Consistency is crucial on a plan like this. If you have a big meal coming or party coming up then, go low calorie or intermittent fast until the big event so you can stick to your numbers. Or you can go higher calorie that day, but will need to go low calorie the next day to balance it out.

Also cheats and refeeds are not the same. Cheats are rarely a good idea and can set you back a week if it had a lot of fat, because almost all fat is stored in a surplus, especially if lots of carbs and protein were along side it. (Which I’m sure they will be on a cheat)

Refeeds are a much better approach, but their effectiveness is questionable. Refeeds seem to be much more effective if you are not eating enough carbs or glucose to begin with. So if you are dieting in low carb limbo, between 40g-140g or so and not eating enough protein to compensate, then refeeds can help balance you out and upregulate metabolism and leptin for a max of about 24-48hours or so. I would only recommend these if you hit a plateau and you have been consistently on point for at least 2 weeks. I do think a refeed is probably a good idea at this point. Until you reach this point though, you should have plenty of glucose to prevent leptin and energy from going to low anyway, so I wouldn’t mess around with these too much.

References:

http://primalnorth.blogspot.com/p/keto-adaptation-vs-low-carb-limbo.html

http://zerocarbzen.com/2015/10/05/a-high-fat-ketogenic-diet-is-protein-sparing/

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ketogenic-dieting-frequently-asked-questions.html

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/03/protein-for-athletes/

http://bayesianbodybuilding.com/is-a-carb-a-carb/

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ask-the-nutrition-tactician-whats-the-difference-between-a-refeed-and-a-cheat-day

Journal Entry 202 – More Carbs and Fat Loss

I remember back the first time I lost weight, I didnt ask anyone what they thought or what was the right way or the wrong way to do it. I simply stopping drinking sugary drinks and switched to diet and I watched my fat intake, so that it remained low in my diet. It definitely wasn’t high protein and considering dietary fat was kept low it was definitely high carb. I also didnt count calories either. In eighth grade, I dropped down to 130lbs at 5ft 8in tall. I looked good for the height I was as well. Dont get me wrong I had no muscle and wasn’t even remotely interested in lifting weights or exercise then. The only thing I did was play basketball after school and sports during gym time. I remember at one point I would literally eat a bag of sour patch kids at night and the next day my teeth hurt so bad I couldnt eat for like 10 hours haha. Point being carbs and fat loss have gotten a bad wrap. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence showing that once calories come down, fat loss occurs no matter what. Now there are plenty of things that can throw this equation off. Thyroid can slow down, testosterone can drop, cortisol and growth hormone can become abnormally high and the result is your body becomes resistant to these hormones and to fat loss. The body suffers a so called “adrenaline diabetes” and your body is basically constantly fueled by stress and adrenaline and needs copious amounts of coffee to keep going. Not a great state to be in. Usually in this state you usually have zero appetite, but when you do get an appetite you crave salt and sugar like no other. Most people think this is a bad thing, but if your body is begging for it, then trust me its not a bad thing.

Carbs may be the solution to end this stress fueled metabolism. Carbs are the only macronutrient to basically signal to your body that it is well fed.  Cortisol and stress are very beneficial, but only when counterbalanced with a period of feeding and relaxation and adequate calories and carbs. Research shows even when calories are adequate, but carbs are not then thyroid will get suppressed big time. Thyroid is needed to turn cholesterol into sexual hormones, so guess what happens when your thyroid is down. Low sex drive. Not to say you won’t have any sex drive, but it will be greatly reduced. When it comes to protein and fat, you need what you need to build muscle and absorb vitamins and minerals, but this really isnt a massive amount. .7 grams multiplied by your lean body mass in grams is likely to be sufficient. I would honestly go slightly higher to .8-1 grams per pound of lean body mass, but again more isn’t really better. The amount of dietary fat you need is roughly .2-.33 grams per pound of lean body mass. If you weight 170lbs and have 155lbs of lean body mass, then 31-51 grams of fat is likely sufficient. For protein it would be 109-155 grams. Lets cut down the middle and go 41 grams of fat and 132 grams of protein, this equals roughly 900 calories a day. I wouldn’t go much lower than 11x lean body weight in calories when trying to successfully lose fat and maintain muscle and this an aggressive approach. For the example, it would be 1700 calories total – 900 from protein and fat = 800 calories. The rest of these calories go to carbs or roughly 200 grams. That’s a decent amount of carbs that will keep your muscles, liver, brain and central nervous system properly fueled while you burn fat. If your lightly active and burn lets say 2300 calories a day, then 2300 – 1700 calories consumed = 600 calories worth of body fat. By eating sufficient calories and carbs and also enough protein and fat, your prevent the above situation where you constantly fueled by stress hormones and adrenaline. You also dramatically decrease muscle loss by eating more carbs and your muscles look and feel stronger when working out. This leads to more calories burned during exercise and more fat loss overall. A diet setup this way, especially if your active, which in my opinion everyone should be, then your energy, health and metabolism will be much better. I also highly recommend overfeeding once a week. Carbs can help prevent dramatic decreases in metabolism, but I still think a calorie deficit all the time is not a good idea. If your trying to lose fat then you want to overfeed or at least eat a maintenance level of calories at least once a week. Two- three days if your leaner and are trying to drop into the single digits of bodyfat. 4-5 days if your trying to maintain and build muscle. I think underfeeding is still good to because calorie restriction does have benefits if used properly. But again you can still underfeed with plenty of carbs in the diet.

A diet like this is also much more flexible and diverse then one that has you eat 300 grams of protein and 100 grams of fat to ensure your “getting enough protein.” Or a keto diet that has 150 grams of fat and >30 grams of carbs. Good luck sticking to that one. Lets say your with family or friends and they want you to try a recipe out that has more than 30 grams of carbs. “Sorry, but I can only eat 30 grams of carbs a day for the rest of my life, no can do.” Makes you look and feel kind of bad. And since your body basically forgets how to digest carbs, especially after going very low for long periods of time, you usually get pretty fat soon after reintroducing carbs. You better off avoiding situations like this. Also once your leaner and not diabetic, then all carbs are essentially the same, so you can basically eat any source you want. This includes fruit, sugar or starches. I personally would recommend more starches, 1-3 pieces of fruit and a little sugar, but I wouldnt worry too much about it, as long as the amount is controlled. So in my opinion, carbs are essential and should be consumed regularly. If you are on a keto or very low carb diet, then my advice would be to pick a calories range between 11-12x lean body weight and start eating more carbs and less fat like my example above. This will allow your body to get used to eating carbs again, but since your in a deficit you wont gain any fat. Once you feel good and less bloated after meals then start bumping up the carbs and calories closer to maintenance or just start cycling calories, while leaving protein and fat constant.

On a random note, most cultures run on carbs for the majority of their fuel intakes.

My workouts got a little thrown off this week due to my trip to Virginia Tech for the football game. I was gone from Saturday – Monday and got back Tuesday, so I just started my split Tuesday this week. Hit full body and after a weekend of bad nutrition, didn’t perform too bad. Currently in my training, I really dont care about the weight lifted, but more the feel. Been aiming for roughly 10-12 reps for 3-4 sets depending on the move. I really like this pump training though and its a nice change up from going heavy. I also try to hit roughly 5 miles a day through walking and daily activity. Still lifting 3 days a week every other day and go for a run two days a week. My diet was pretty erratic this week, but doing 3 days of a deficit on rest days, 3 days of surplus on workout days and 1 days of maintenance on Friday. Macros are similar to example above, but roughly 150 grams of protein, 45 grams of fat and the rest carbs. I also have some drinks on some nights. 😉 My weight is also roughly 172lbs this week.

Been eating a lot of the Trader Joe’s ready made rice and pasta mixes. Pretty healthy overall and very easy to make. They also make tracking much easier because its already portioned out. Highly recommend gnocchi alla sorrentina. Its a pasta with a red tomato sauce and some cheese. Macros are very good on it. The vegetable fried rice, asian style, is very good as well.

Some pics from the week:

Current Physique Pic

Current Physique Pic

PF Changs Ginger Chicken and Broccoli with White Rice

PF Changs Ginger Chicken and Broccoli with White Rice

Shrimp with veggies and a sweet potato

Shrimp with veggies and a sweet potato

Coors Light at BDubs

Coors Light at BDubs

Naked Tenders with French Fries. Also had a lot of dipping sauces.

Naked Tenders with French Fries. Also had a lot of dipping sauces.

Panera Breakfast Sandwhich

Panera Breakfast Sandwhich

My view of the VT game

My view of the VT game

Cooper Hawk Mediterranean Dips appetizer.

Cooper Hawk Mediterranean Dips appetizer.

Cooper Hawk Life Balance Chicken Giardiniera

Cooper Hawk Life Balance Chicken Giardiniera

Lean meat, potatoes, veggies and a crab rangoon

Lean meat, potatoes, veggies and a crab rangoon

Trader Joes Pasta with two slices of Butter bread. High Carb day meal

Trader Joes Pasta with two slices of Butter bread. High Carb day meal

Extreme pizza with a salad and some tequila

Extreme pizza with a salad and some tequila