So after the 30 day challenge I wondered what would be the best way of maintaining my body fat and increasing performance. I wrestled with a couple of ideas and they all seemed to come back to one thing…..Ketogenics! So what is a Ketogenic diet I hear you ask. Well it’s pretty simply a high fat, low carbohydrate diet…..though this doesn’t mean stuffing your face with pasties and deep fried food. This is about getting your carbs through fruits and vegetables, and getting your fats through good sources like olives, oils, animal fats, nuts, seeds.
So how does eating more fat help me maintain and lose weight.
When the liver is low on stored glucose it begins to use fat as a source of energy, this creates things called Ketones, these can then be used for energy around the body. Though to the achieve this the daily intake of carbs can only be around 50 grams per day. Now a massive drop in carbs naturally will reduce the amount of calories that goes into the body for fuel, but that’s where the fat comes in. By increasing the amount of good dietary fats being ingested, the body will be more comfortable. So weight and performance can be maintained without having to constantly count the calories. Also increasing dietary fat and reducing carbs will promote the body to use fat as a predominant source of energy and burn more stored body fat.
The upsides of Ketogenic Diet.
Many people think of being in ketosis as a bad thing, but all it means is that the body is using fat as an energy source. One of the biggest upsides is the reduction of body fat, as fat is being used instead of stored. Research has also shown that Ketones are the organs preferred source of fuel, and have been known to show increased functions. Ketones are shown to improve alertness, concentration, sleep patterns and hormone levels. Also as calories aren’t being massively resrtricted stress hormones remain lower, this means the body will function better day to day and recover better after training. Stress hormones have the affect of making the body catabolic, this means muscle will be used for energy, this is dramatically reduced on a ketogenic diet. With fat being used as a source of fuel this means training volume can have a increase, as you are less restricted by the amount of stored glucose in the body, meaning training can be more intense and longer. The last massive upside is that dietary fat adds to the flavor of foods, making meals more enjoyable as we all naturally crave fats. This also means you feel fuller for longer as the body will have a constant supply of energy.
The main downsides are minor effects on lifestyle. When the body becomes ketogenic it doesn’t take much in the way of carbs to take you out if it. Thats why carbs have to be kept to around 50 grams, if you go to far out of ketosis by having to many carbs, the body will begin to store the dietary fats. It also takes some getting used to. I would advice doing the 30 days of slow carb eating first, it will reduce the cravings for complex carbs and make the transition easier.
So how did I go about it?
I wasnt too hard having done the 30 days of slow carb eating. All I had to do to adapt was remove the peas and beans from my diet and replace them with, olives, butter, oils, cream, animal fats, cheese, whole eggs, nuts, seeds, chorizo, ect……pretty easy actually. So my average day would be…….Bacon, eggs, and tomato for breakfast……..spinach, cheese and chorizo stuffed chicken for lunch…..nuts and berries to snack……and lamb bolognese with broccoli, asparagus and parmazan for dinner……it all sounds pretty good hey? Once a week I would then chose to either have a one whole cheat day from midday to midnight, or 2 cheat evenings. This just made socializing on weekends easier and didn’t seem to knock me out of ketosis too much. It also allowed the body to completely replenish stores of glycogen throughout the body that would have been slightly diminished through training. The real secret is to make sure you don’t get your 50 grams of carbs though simple carbohydrates. By getting them though vegetables the body will stay in ketosis and not store fat. Having something starchy or sugary will rise insulin and cause the body to stop burning fat.
So how did I get on.
30 Day Challenge results:
Weight = 73.6 kg
Chest = 106.5 cm
Waist = 81.5 cm
Body Fat = 10.1%
Weight = 77.9 kg
Chest = 107.5 cm
Waist = 82.5 cm
Body Fat = 10%
So from what you can see is that making a massive increase in my dietary fat I have gained 4.3kg, and still maintained my body fat. This means I have had an increase in lean muscle mass and reserves of stored glycogen. We were a little confused by the 1 cm increase in waist size, but we later work out on the calipers that my obliques and abdominal muscle seemed thicker. This even suprised me, It’s very difficult to increase lean mass and maintain body fat all at the same time. The biggest factor of all was the way I feel……I feel amazing! I’m sleeping better and for sorter amounts of time, my recovery and training has gone through the roof, and I am in better moods and have so much more in the way of concentration and alertness. I thought I felt good after the 30 days, but this has taken it to a whole new level.
The secret is again is not to look at this as a “fad diet”, this is just a lifestyle adaptation. Removing the junk food, getting rid of the stuff that that we didn’t evolve to eat and getting back to eating to what suits our bodies. Over the last 60 or so days I haven’t calorie counted, of worried how big my portions are, and on my cheat days I haven’t felt guilty, and this is because what I have been eating has suited the biology and our bodies. So for those reasons I’m going to keep this going the foreseable future and hopefully all will carry on in the same direction, but will keep you all posted. If you want some advice or fancy having a crack at what I’ve tried book in for a session with us at BourneFit Personal Training or check us out on Facebook and Twitter