red meat

Journal Entry 301 – The Carnivore Diet?

The Carnivore Diet

The Carnivore Diet seems to be the flavor of the week in the dieting industry.

This diet has actually been around a long time but recently resurfaced due to Dr. Shawn Baker. He is a doctor that started eating only meat for a lot of reasons, but mainly because he found he could stay lean and recover faster when eating only steak. He also noticed the disappearance of bloating, health issues, joint pain, cravings and a whole plethora of other benefits.

In terms of macros, the carnivore diet is a zero carb diet with more protein than a traditional ketogenic diet. It reminds me of old school bodybuilder diets that Vince Gironda and Arnold Schwarzenegger used to use to get really ripped.

This is a red meat diet though, which is where it truly differs from Keto. The reason is red meat is actually a very dense and nutritious food. It contains many of the fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and nutrients and delivers them in a streamlined dose. Meat is easy to digest and the fat from the meat also helps the nutrients to be absorbed. The low fiber also counteracts some of the binding that can occur with nutrients being absorbed. Another really good food to eat in addition would be Eggs as they fit the same bill as red meat. Some people have allergies to eggs though, which is why red meat usually works better. The dietary fat from the meat also has been shown to increase testosterone levels. Testosterone levels also have a lot to do with the overall nutrients you are getting, so the nutrient/ dietary fat combo makes it a great food to help with this.

Another interesting benefit of this diet is actually pretty cheap. If you substitute out the steak for ground beef and eat some eggs to replace one of the steak meals, the diet is very cheap. You get more calories per dollar. With vegetables, you can eat way more volume, but this comes as the expense of bloating, gas, indigestion, a sluggish “heavy” feeling and it’s more expensive because the food is so low in calories that you have to buy more. Vegetables usually don’t help your appetite very long either. They are initially filling, but 1-2 hours later you are hungry again.

The zero carb aspect is also very important for the overall health gain you get. Low carbs have been shown to be very helpful in managing blood sugar-related diseases (think type 2 diabetes), helping to lower cravings (again likely due to blood sugar), restoring health (tend to be loaded with nutrients / higher quality foods) and sensitizing the body to insulin and carbs. This list could go much longer, but I came from a family history of type-2 diabetes, so I’m always conscious of this. These diseases are built over time, so it’s important to eat in a way that feels right.

I find this diet intriguing. I don’t think I could ever do just red meat, but I could adapt a diet pretty similar. I went to Costco and bought 5lbs of 88% lean ground beef for $15. Deals ;). I also bought some eggs from Aldi that I got for $0.40 a dozen. My grocery bill is going to get very cheap. I’ve done this diet the past 2 days and have already dropped 3lbs. Yes, its mostly water weight, but I actually look visibly leaner and my stomach is really flat with very littly bloating. I have also eaten 2500 calories a day these past two days, which for me is way too much to burn fat on. Nevertheless, the scale is down and I look leaner. Winning ;).

I’m going to run this diet for the next two weeks with maybe one cheat day thrown in. I love the simplicity of it and hope the results continue.

Image result for ron swanson meme

Workouts

I have been doing 200 pushups and 50 chinups 5 days a week and cardio 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes. I have only been lifting once a week in the gym. You read that correctly. For me, its the least “gym work” I have done in probably 10 years. I love to workout, but I hate gyms. Especially recently, because they have been packed beyond belief at all times of the day. That being said I have 3 major goals right now:

  • Get leaner
  • Get really good at pushups
  • Keep getting stronger on the bench press

I’m a simple man, what can I say. The bench press is my only gym workout and I’m still repping 215lbs for 6 or so reps. I think the pushups have been helping me a lot with this as well.

 

 

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Journal Entry 195 – WSB part 3

Workout:

This week I did my 40 minutes of cardio in the morning every day. I enjoyed it at my parents house in Powhatan, because the country road makes it very easy to zone out and enjoy nature with minimal distractions from cars. At my place however it was a different story. Constant construction and traffic coming in and out were not only distracting, but dangerous. This also makes it very hard to focus and “zone out”, which for me is crucial to get a good workout, especially when running. I really did like implementing cardio into the daily routine though and the benefits can’t be ignored. I’m going to try and switch around when I do cardio and probably add it in in the afternoon instead after work. Even the place I work has a long driveway that after a certain hour, no one comes down and would make the running much more enjoyable.

The cardio did start to feel like a chore at my place however. I can’t say I enjoyed waking up an hour early to run in a noisy environment with constant cars zooming by me. And I’m not a huge fan of treadmills either, unless I’m doing incline walking. So I’m either going to do cardio after work or save it for rest days during my lunch break. 3 days a week of 30 minutes of cardio has been shown to achieve most of the benefits of exercise, so even if I save it for just rest days, I still get the benefits.

Another thought was to try and jump rope between sets of my strength workout. I’m become very good at it and its a good way to keep the heart rate elevated during a workout. I’ll most likely try them all out and see which is more enjoyable.

My lifting split this week was:

  • Saturday – Push
  • Sunday – Pull
  • Monday – Legs and Abs
  • Tuesday – Rest
  • Wednesday – Push
  • Thursday – Rest
  • Friday – Rest

On Friday I put on a weighted vest and walked on an incline for roughly 35 minutes. It was actually really good cardio. It’s amazing what even an extra 10lbs feels like when your walking. Goes to show why its so important for athletes to be low body fat during the season to maintain optimal speed. Body fat isn’t doing you any favors in that department.

I think my plan is to start to doing Westside for Skinny Bastards III (WSB part III). This is a football based workout designed to increase strength, muscle and athleticism. Since I’m implementing more cardio and still want a blend of everything lifting provides I think this will be a good plan. Brian Cushing and JJ Watt both have done this in the past and from what I read of it seems very well designed in regards to implementing all the factors of lifting into one workout.

This is a 4 day upper / lower split with two heavy (Max Effort days) and two lower (Dynamic Effort Days). The Max effort days are when your going for PR’s in the gym on one main lift. I plan to do Barbell Bench Press and Trap Bar Deadlifts. Trap bar deadlifts are one of my favorite moves, because it combines the squat and deadlift into one movement and takes a lot of stress of the lower back. Due to the angle you hold it at, it also allows you to get more weight up. There’s only two Max days though, as lifting too heavy tends to stress out the central nervous system. The other days are dynamic effort, which are rep based days to focus on endurance. This workout also hits your traps pretty hard. The template leaves a lot of variation to the persons liking. Meaning you can replace certain exercises if you don’t like them.

Planned Schedule:

  • Sunday – Cardio
  • Monday – Max Effort Upper Body
  • Tuesday – Dynamic Effort Lower
  • Wednesday – Cardio
  • Thursday – Dynamic Upper Body
  • Friday – Cardio
  • Saturday – Max Effort Lower Body

Nutrition

I plan on doing some calorie cycling with this plan. Going to leave the cardio days in a deficit, the dynamic days at maintenance and the Max Effort days in a surplus.

I think my macros will be higher fat, adequate protein and lower carb. With one carb-up day somewhere. Going to get some ground chuck meat this week (higher fat), avocados, cheese, butter and lots of eggs. Most of my carbs will come from vegetables and some fruit (usually berries and a small apple). One day a week usually Saturday I’ll just eat whatever.

A couple things I noticed personally. Butter is superior to coconut oil and olive oil when it comes to cooking for one main reason: taste. Butter taste so much better than the other two and may have the most benefit in terms of testosterone. I’ve noticed better digestion with it as well.

When eating a lower carb or starch diet, sodium become a non issue and you need almost triple the amount then you do with lots of carbs. This is to keep your electrolytes in balance. Since carbs and insulin production is lowered, the kidneys dumps salt. The solution is to each more salt and make sure to eat enough potassium from vegetables. Also supplementing with magnesium is important as well.

I think progress will be easier to chart with a higher fat diet, due to not only preference in meals, but water retention. Carb ups are tricky, because sometimes I nail them and other times I fail and get bloated. Carb ups also can cause lots of weight fluctuations on the scale and even though I know exactly why they are happening it still is kind of annoying to deal with.

At higher calorie intakes, I also feel like my body does much better with fat, then a bunch of carbs. Whether it be genes or just a nutrient partitioning effect, I’m not sure. Its most likely due to my history with long term low carb diets, making my body more sensitive to glucose. Or should I say more efficient with glucose. The sources of fat are also very important, because just like carbs, the wrong fats can cause lots of inflammation and fat gain if consumed in high amounts. Beef, cheese, avocados and butter will be the main sources and maybe some high fat, low sugar chocolate if I can find it. Beef bacon and not pork bacon should be a good choice. Also have to include at least 1-2 tbs of peanut butter. Not the best source, but since fat is going to be so high, there’s no way I’m not including this in. Should be some good times.

Pics from the week:

Texas Roadhouse side salad and roll.  Pretty much amazing

Texas Roadhouse side salad and roll. Pretty much amazing

New SUV radio

New SUV radio

Meat, two eggs, crab rangoon and veggies

Meat, two eggs, crab rangoon and veggies

Pork tenderloin with veggies

Pork tenderloin with veggies

Chicken cooked in butter, veggies and whole egg.

Chicken cooked in butter, veggies and whole egg.

Higher fat chicken with butter and veggies

Higher fat chicken with butter and veggies

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio