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Going to the Dark Side….

3 May

Stack of powdered doughnuts

 

In our extreme fat loss classes these are the types of struggles that are very common, we don’t just help people understand their food choices.  We provide them other people with shared experiences.  Some of whom (me) have come out of the other side.  For information on how to join click here.

If you have been reading my blogs (and not just enjoying my recipes) you’ll know that I have struggled with my weight all of my life.  I didn’t need to worry or struggle with my weight when I was in highschool, but I did and this certainly lead to a path of unhealthy living and eating, which of course lead to me actually needing to worry about my weight.  Over the past 25 years or so, I have learned a lot from my successes and failures…more from my failures than my successes since most of my successes were achieved by the wrong means.  One thing I have realized and really owned recently (by recently, I mean today) is when I begin going to that dark place….any of you who have struggled with their weight know what I am talking about.  It’s that time when you start getting frustrated, the weight is not coming off and you are focusing on the numbers.  No matter how much you or anyone else tells you that you look great and the numbers don’t matter, you are brought back to that logic that got you to where you are in the first place.  Numbers, numbers, numbers…logic doesn’t matter…self destruction begins…

I feel myself going there.  I don’t know why, but I think that by writing about it and owning it, it will help me get through it and hopefully help someone else that may be going through it.  I realized I was going there today when I was walking through Walmart and saw a bag of powdered donuts…suddenly, I had this urge to eat the entire bag.  What is crazy is that I became very aware that this sudden urge to eat this bag full of sugar and carbs was a signal that I was getting frustrated with my progress.  That has never happened before…

PROGRESS??????

I feel like this is a major step in my journey to “be the person I am meant to be”.  To be aware of the triggers that can lead you back to the person you used to be is a HUGE accomplishment and in 25 years of struggling with my weight, I have never chosen to listen to those triggers.  I am listening now.  I know that bag of donuts could have been the turn in the road that lead to self-destruction and am so proud that I have been able to listen to my body and my mind.  People always say that to lose weight you need to find out why you are eating the way you do, find the underlying reason….

I think that’s bullshit for the most part.

Of course there may be certain situations where some traumatic event occurred in someone’s life which lead to a life of overeating, but for the most part, we are overweight because we make bad choices and form bad habits because we don’t know any better!  I am not going to blame my mother, my father, how I grew up or a bad relationship for the condition I let my body get to.  It was my fault and now it is time to fix what I have broken.

I am not sure if this will get me out of my “dark place” but the fact that I am aware I am starting to go to my “dark place” (and now so are thousands of other people) I know I will get through it and be stronger (mentally and physically) than I was a week ago.

Sorry, no recipe with this one…just me and my words 🙂  Keep working hard, don’t give up and don’t buy the bag on donuts…I didn’t….

If I want to lose fat why shouldn’t I be on Carb Nite?

10 Mar

This wasn’t a question that came up specifically in one of the nutrition question and answers but it ended up being the answer to another question.  Namely should you be on Carb Nite Solution if you are trying to lose fat? That answer can be tricky and I have seen women doing Crossfit gut it out with what they believe is some level of success.  Typically the scale went down and certain parts of them look a little tighter because their inflammation levels were lower as a result of eating less than 30g of carbohydrates.  Here are some of the pitfalls these people run into:

Now realize I am having a discussion about populations that Crossfit and some of these negative symptoms can be lessened by eating more fats but that isn’t what most people do.  They eat about the same fat and try and rely on a calorie deficit to do the work.  It basically becomes the suckiest version of Weight Watchers ever.

1.  They often can’t sleep or have less sleep.

2.  Cardio workouts might be slightly better but during weight training they never feel really strong.

3.  Stress levels are high

4.  Metabolism slows to a crawl

Above is the video where I describe how you can do Carb Back Loading in a moderate way using Crossfit to create a drain on your energy system to get a similar result to Carb Nite Solution without the negatives.  Once again, this isn’t a knock on Carb Nite Solution, it’s a fine diet for some people and I have even had Crossfitters say it works for them.  Overwhelmingly though it’s unnecessary to restrict carbohydrate in an extreme manner with our levels of activity. The end result tends to be a more broken and confused crossfit athlete.

 

 

 

Scott Paltos Crossfit Games Competitor interview

8 Mar

Scott Paltos

Today, I’m bringing you a short interview with Scott Paltos, owner and operator of PUMP Crossfit & Performance in East Hanover, NJ.  Scott has a great background in sports ranging from baseball to powerlifting.  He’s worked as a Strength & Conditioning coach for over a decade and as of late, he’s become a top-level CrossFit Games competitor.  This interview focuses mostly on Scott’s experiences with Carb Back-Loading where he works with John Kiefer (the author of the book) in creating custom plans so he can perform better as a Crossfit athlete.  To download a copy of the book click here.  (using this link supports this site and gets you into the Q&A sessions where we dial in some of the concepts in the book)

Paul (Eat To Perform):  So tell us; how did you meet Kiefer, and why did you think Carb Back-Loading would be a good fit for you as a CrossFitter?

Scott Paltos:  You have to understand, I come from a true strength background.  So a lot of my online reading was with EliteFTS, T-Nation, and other more performance-related sites.  I read a little about Kiefer, and was kind of floored by his approach.  My whole performance career was based on small meals, frequency, balance, etc.  So when this guy came out with CBL, I had to reach out.  I reached out, and reached out, and reached out.  He responded after me being a pest for a little.  We spoke on the phone for a while.  We clicked with what we were looking to do (to raise my performance)…and bam, we are going into our third year.  Kiefer is a SMART dude, as well as a good friend.

As far as me thinking CBL would be good…it was not my first reason.  I wanted to get leaner and keep strength.  We not only did that, but also improved a good deal of my performance with it.  Since Kiefer and I started, we have done some form of CBL or CN.  Yes, we adjust me personally, but I think that is because I like ice cream and turnovers too much.  Haha!!!!  Remember CBL is not based on some theory; it is science, and Kiefer proves that in his protocol (this is Paul, and highly referenced scientific principles, you could spend a year reading the research Kiefer devoured to put this book out).

Paul:  I feel like your experience is different than mine.  When I first heard about CBL, I was just coming off of a year of Leangains, which leaned me out, but killed my performance in the gym. Since then, I’ve taken CBL and added 15 pounds of muscle. I suspect that building mass wasn’t a big priority for you considering your background.  Can you shed some light on what you’d hoped for, and ultimately what you gained from CBL?

Scott:  Listen, I am not as lean as I should be, and I don’t always perform like I can.  That’s sport…well the first part, is because I eat too much.  Like I mentioned above, I needed to get leaner.  Strength in the sport of CrossFit, for me, is not an issue.  I don’t really need to pull 600 for reps anymore…I don’t need to bench 500, but what I needed was a way to manipulate energy systems.  CBL has helped me create a better environment for my body to burn fat.  It has also helped me recover better.  Look, in this sport I am NO spring chicken.  My 36th birthday is in a few weeks.  I need that assistance.  Pure volume alone, it takes its toll on me.  Now, I can’t reverse the aging process, but I can help make sure it doesn’t get bad too fast.  With Kiefer, we have been able to do that.

Carb Back Loading is the only book we promote on this site and on the Facebook page because I think it’s the ultimate performance way of eating.  People always ask me, is it really worth the $53? Meanwhile they walked into the gym with $109 Nanos, carrying $139 Olympic lifting shoes and $47 custom jump rope.  From an athletic progress standpoint I think it’s patentedly ridiculous that people would spend that much money on gear and then balk at the price of this book.  Thoughts?

I agree 100%

Paul:  I am not a huge diet guy.  I don’t count calories,  but I tend to have a pretty good idea where I’m at most days as far as how much I expend and consume. I don’t consider CBL a diet; I consider it a strategy to integrate into my lifestyle, because (from my experience) a strategy as it relates to carbs is favorable related to metabolism and athletic progress.  What are your thoughts?

Scott:  Great point!!!! It’s a lifestyle for performance.  Do I recommend my PUMPsters to do CBL or CN…Hell yeah.  But I also will cycle their lifestyle off of it for a periods of time too.  You are manipulating hormones, metabolism, and chemically stimulating yourself with CBL.  It’s not just a ho-dunk methodology….BUUUUUUUUTTTTTTTTTT, you need to train correctly as well.  That whole concept sometimes gets lost.  Intensity is something that most CrossFitters are not missing, but knowing when and how much is key.  Let’s just say I am not always a fan of how some CrossFitters train, or think what they are doing is right.  The two (nutrition AND programming) have to coincide synergistically.

And the “D” word, diet…I have been on a diet since I was 12 years old and had to make weight for junior football.  Then I was on a diet to get bigger for football, then on a diet to get smaller, bigger….It is a horrible word.  I like “Lifestyle” or like you mentioned, “Strategy”.

Paul:  This is my last question, so I’d like to thank you for taking the time to do this Scott.  In the book, Kiefer is openly critical of CrossFit and paleo.  Many CrossFitters prefer to eat in a paleo style (which I believe is very realistic in combination with CBL and have written many articles on this very topic). I read Kiefer’s jabs at CrossFit like this:  “Carb Back-Loading isn’t the ideal nutrition protocol for CrossFit.”  It might not be the perfect fit for soccer either. With that said, it is BY FAR the best alternative I have come upon (aside from having your own personal Kiefer design a diet specifically for you like you did). How would you describe his criticism, and how did you reconcile that once you started working with him?  Also, do you follow a mostly paleo approach to CBL, or are your energy needs just so high that it’s almost impossible?

Scott:  This is a good one.  One:  Kiefer’s issues with CrossFit, from my view, is more of improper coaching, methodology of programming, and overall safety.  Guess what:  those are my issues with it as well.  So he and I are not far from it.  My gym, “PUMP CrossFit & Performance” in East Hanover, is a TRAINING FACILITY…not just a CrossFit.  A lot of people have seen, I do not program typical WODs from mainsite.  Not to say, that they are bad, they are just not for me or my PUMPsters.  Kiefer has caught slack, and really could not care less, for being critical of CrossFit.  The funny thing is, it’s not a rant he or I will go on.  It is strictly based on things that are seen and overviewed.  I believe a good deal of coaches in CrossFit feel entitled.  Just like a good deal of MMA coaches feel entitled.  “Well we are certified, so we can teach.”  SHIT, that is not it.  It takes years to become a great blacksmith or iron worker…What, it only takes a weekend or a few months to become a great coach or trainer?  No F’ing way…it takes time.  It takes the ability to work with people.  It takes effort and hours to work with groups.  Kiefer and I are on the same page.  You cannot just get a piece of paper and consider yourself an expert.  Do I know about Kiefer’s methodology, yes.  Do I preach it scientifically like he does?  Hell no.  There are good coaches out there, the individual needs to search for them.  Just because CrossFit is in the name, doesn’t mean it’s going to be right.

Sorry, I got off target.  Back on now…Paleo…great in theory, but not for me.  I have done CBL in a paleo mindset, I have done strict Paleo, I have done adjusted Paleo…Whatever, I have not had personal success for it in long periods.  I followed it for a while; my joints hurt more, my body recovered less…and that’s when I was in my off-season and training volume was low.  Kiefer adjusts me when I need it, but I have a pretty good grasp on when we will make changes.  If you really look at Paleo, most of the CBL meals, if done right are similar.  So there are some similarities. As far as my energy levels?  I am hyped up all day long.  Whether it’s the caffeine, or just me, I am usually pretty animated.  Around competition time there is a definite need for more intake, but I am getting better and not over regulating.  Again, my main focus right now is the season, staying healthy, and just having a good time.

I appreciate the opportunity to be in front of everybody with this, and I am always welcome to answer questions or chat.  Please feel free to email scpaltos@pumpcrossfit.com or contact me.  I do my best to answer stuff if they are general, but if it gets to the “I need to know” then I usually do ask for it to become a consultation.  Oh, and as far as the other question you asked.  “If I know any other CBL followers?”  Hell yeah…but they don’t call it CBL.  They just call it paleo with refeeds and paleo with “anything I can eat at night”.  Haha.  CrossFit followers who watch some of the personal videos of others, or read blogs from athletes, should understand what I am talking about.  There are a good deal of TOP athletes who follow a similar if not exact system of CBL.  They just don’t say it.  Good Stuff….good luck to all in the Open.

Scott Paltos

PUMP CrossFit & Performance

scpaltos@pumpcrossfit.com

 

Leptin, the hormone and metabolic trigger

7 Mar

So Leptin says to the brain “Yo homey, why you always hoggin’ the sugar”.  This is a leptin joke that will never catch on but it cracks me up.

Leptin Resistance

Most people are aware of insulin but many people are not as aware of the hormone leptin and its role in the body.  Leptin is sort of like insulin’s identical brother. Each is simply a signal for the body, and a hormonal signal at that. Leptin and its receptors are spread throughout your body and even those areas which do not see the light of day! Leptin is also found in your fat tissue.  It relays signals to your brain regarding energy balance and the brain relays back whether your body should release fat, keep it or store it.  So if you are on a diet, or have ever been on a diet then leptin is something you need to be well versed in.  Blood tests resulting in elevated triglycerides may impair your brains ability to process the relay messages between leptin receptors and the brain. This can serve as a sign of leptin resistance. One week of dieting can lower your leptin by 50%.

The role of leptin in the body is affected when insulin levels are too high due to increased inflammation related to excessive carbohydrate consumption.  Leptin is a complex topic, so complex that this short primer isn’t going to tell you all you need to know but it is a start.

Leptin excess leads to resistance of signaling, much like insulin in excess leads to downgraded organ signaling. When dieting too long or too strictly, especially when using a low carbohydrate diet as a tool for weight loss, leptin is lowered to an extreme level affecting the body’s ability to mobilize fat and keep hormones at healthy libido levels (this is the opposite of the scenario in the last paragraph).  This is where a big helping of sweet potatoes and bananas after a day of low carbohydrate dieting can actually spur fat loss, because you have now opened the door for leptin again and it mobilizes fat as a result (I keep referring to this as the Metabolism Switch and it’s one of the basic premises of the book Carb Back Loading).  As it stands, the body can become leptin resistant from excessive signaling but also levels can become too low from excessive restriction- both impair fat loss.

Carbohydrates are the boogie man of nutrition to many, even more so than fats, though there are groups on both sides who disdain both of them with equal fervor.  The detonator in the carbohydrate war is over simple and complex carbohydrates.  Simple carbohydrates consist of quick acting foods like white bread, cereal, table sugar, soda- very refined foods.  On the other side are complex carbohydrates consisting of sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, tomatoes and quinoa.  That is a pretty wide spectrum to paint with a very broad brush (but I just did it baby!).

For a lot of people the Paleo Diet can cause Leptin issues but things are fine if they add Paleo starches and some occasional white rice and keep overall calories at maintenance levels. I have no beef with the Paleo Diet if you do it without restricting intake. If you are in a standstill as it relates to weight issues and would rather not count calories Paleo can be useful.  I can assure you it is more difficult to become obese eating in such a way.  That said, if you eat coconut fried sweet potatoes in all of your meals each day it’s not the diet that is the problem …..  Such a diet would clearly be nutrient deficient and you are likely well aware of that fact.

So now that we have cleared that up let’s move on.

Solving Leptin

Solving leptin goes a long way to having a healthy metabolism and one of the best ways to do that is to keep a moderate amount of starchy carbs in your diet. Certainly fruits are advantageous and even the occasional sugary treat can actually serve a purpose as the joke at the top suggests.

How Do I Know How Much I Should Be Eating? (w/ dead-simple calculator)

5 Mar

(Click here to jump to a summary of this article)

Ok, it’s time to get serious.  I talk a lot about eating “enough food” to support your activity level.  I realize that up until this point, that recommendation has remained relatively vague.  You’ve asked me, “How do I know how much I should be eating?” and I’m going to do my best to provide you with a succinct answer.  The problem with giving a one-size-fits-all recommendation, or setting up basic guidelines, is that they’re never right for everyone; each of us is a biochemically unique, adaptive organism living through its own personal challenges.  Even when a suggestion comes close, it needs to be tweaked as time wears on, or progression will wane.  Nevertheless, I’m going to do my best to explain what I mean by “enough food” and how to determine what that actually means.

Our new TDEE Calculator with activity multiplier

Here is the calculator for you guys to play with, but first, a few words of caution.  This isn’t a calorie counting exercise where you need to be all obsessive; running this calculator will simply enlighten you, show you what eating for performance looks like in a quantitative measurement, so you can make more educated decisions in regards to your food intake.  Before you start punching in your data, I want to ask you to look at this as a tool and nothing more.  Use this calculator as a means to establish a general idea of how much energy you expend during your average rest/training day, and go from there, always listening to your body and doing what feels right.

Without further ado, here is our new TDEE Calculator (remember almost everyone who Crossfit’s is considered “Very Active” and that is the calorie number we are looking at as your total)

Determining Activity Levels

Once you load the calculator, it should be pretty straight-forward.  You can ignore the bits about body fat percentage, waist circumference and such if you don’t have those data, but the “Activity” drown-down menu on the left beneath “Age” needs some special attention.  Half of knowing whether you’re eating enough comes from understanding how to define your level of activity.  The menu gives you several options; here’s how I’d suggest you match the categories available to your lifestyle:

  • Sedentary:  People who work a desk job and engage in very little (if any) structured exercise.  Chances are that if you’re reading this blog, this does not describe you, so you’ll probably avoid this option.
  • Very Active:  If you CrossFit or lift heavy a couple times a week, or if you work a physically demanding job, your activity level can probably be described as “very active”.
  • Extra Active:  For those of us who CrossFit 5-6 times a week.  Serious weightlifters and athletes, as well as folks who work jobs requiring hours of heavy llifting, fall into this category.

Again, because we’re all different and lead different lives, the TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) calculation that we arrive at is naught but a guideline; a person who lifts hay bales for 12 hours days will do well to classify their activity levels as “extra active” even if they’ve never touched a barbell in their lives.  A person who trains hard a few times a week but does little in the way of physical labor at work will err on the lower side of things.  Once you’ve got your numbers plugged in and your activity level selected, you’ll move onto the next page of the calculator: the macronutrient breakdown.

Macros:  What Are They and Why Are They Important?

Macronutrients are major components of your diet that are broken down into constituents to provide energy, build tissue and create hormones.  The ones we’re concerned with are protein (which provides 4 calories per gram), Carbs (4 calories per gram) and Fats (9 awesome calories per gram).  Just to clarify, micronutrients are vitamins that play an important role in how your body metabolizes the macronutrients that you make available.  A body without essential vitamins and minerals is like a car with a full tank of gas but no spark plugs.  This is why eating wholesome, nutrient-dense food is so important.

At the top left-hand corner, under “Presets”, you’re given several self-explanatory options.  I would recommend setting this to “Maintain” first and then to make adjustments with the sliders beneath the pie charts.  Here are some general guidelines for achieving different goals by manipulation your macronutrient ratios:

  • Improving performance/gaining muscle:  Increase your protein and fat on both days and increase your carbs on workout days.  Adding on an extra 3-500 calories for training days should help you put on some muscle and make some gains.  There are a lot of people out there looking to bulk up or get stronger with an all or nothing approach, but believe it or not, constant overeating may not be helping their progress.  Eating a little less carbohydrate on rest days can keep your body sensitive to insulin so that it can function properly when it needs the extra energy (around training).
  • Losing fat:  Simply eating at “Maintenance” calories and engaging in vigorous exercise a few times a week will help you lose body fat.  It’s important to eat when you’re active.  I write about it all the time because it’s true and I can’t stress it enough; you must eat enough or your workouts will suck and your long-term physique goals will be compromised.  To that end, a minor reduction in your carbohydrate intake on rest days that results in a 2-400 calorie deficit should do the trick and mobilize more fat, especially since you’re active.  Again, start small and work your way up.  Always pay attention to what your body’s trying to tell you.

 

A Real-World Example

I’m going to use Lindsey Valenzuela as my example, mostly because she is awesome.  Here are her stats that she tweeted the other day, with some minor adjustments to simplify the math.

  • Height:  5’6″
  • Weight:  150 pounds
  • Age:  26
  • Activity level:  Extra Active
  • BMR:  1572 kcal’s (basic calories you need to live)
  • Total Daily Energy Expenditure:  3000 (no wonder she’s so awesome)
  • Protein:  150g=600 calories from protein
  • Carbs:  300g (she is Lindsey after all)=1200 calories from carbs

That leaves 1200 calories to come from fat, so you divide by 9 which will leave us at 133.3 fat grams for the day.

Now let’s do a male example, but in this case he wants to put on 10lbs of muscle:

  • Height:  6’0″
  • Body fat %:  12%, 22.8lbs of fat
  • Lean Mass:  167lbs
  • Weight:  190
  • Age:  25
  • BMR:  2012 kcals
  •  TDEE:  3470

To get him there, we’re going to have him eat about 4,000 calories on training days, broken down into 187g of protein, 407g of carbohydrate and 181g of fat.  Now, let’s assume that several months have passed by and our male example’s training and diet were spot-on.  He gained 10lbs of muscle mass while adding only 2lbs of fat to his frame.  This is a great accomplishment, and his numbers look like this now:

  • Body fat %:  12%, 24.3lbs of fat
  • Lean Mass:  177.8lbs
  • Weight:  202lbs
  • BMR:  2115 kcals
  • TDEE:  3649

Compare the two sets of numbers:  A man at 190lbs and 202lbs, retaining the same body fat percentage burns only 100 more calories at rest, and only about 200 more throughout a day.  That equates to an extra hour of light activity or sleep…A sweet potato here or there.  First and foremost, it takes a lot of time, hard work and perseverance, but only a modest alteration of energy expenditure and intake to lose or gain weight.  The precise numbers are generally unimportant; as long as you’re within the ballpark everything is okay.  There are special circumstances where your unique biology and lifestyle require you to eat more or less but I’ll touch on that and explain why this is all so fuzzy in an upcoming article.  For now, what I want you to take away is this:  After you’re eating enough good food to end up in the general area according to the numbers, how you feel, how you perform, and how you look should always be the first indicators you assess when determining the effectiveness of your training and nutrition.

Summary

  • Everyone is unique, so there is no “one-size” diet prescription.  We all need different amounts of food based upon our height, weight, body composition and activity levels.
  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of calories you would theoretically spend at rest.
  • Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is the amount of calories you burn in a day.  This is based upon your BMR and then multiplied by an activity multiplier.
  • We recommend eating at or just slightly below your estimated TDEE to ensure proper recovery from training
  • Using our calculator, you can determine your expenditure without doing any math.
  • Macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrate) provide the bulk of the energy in your diet.  By eating more or less of each, you can manipulate your weight, body composition and performance without restricting calories.
  • How you look, how you feel, and how you perform are more important than any number on a scale or a calculator.  

Flipping the Metabolic Switch

3 Mar

light switch

For most people that blog about the way people eat I easily have the best folks to work with.  People who do Crossfit and eat correctly basically make what I talk about extremely easy.  I have worked with body builders, power lifters and models in the past.  Most of those populations are trying to put a round peg in a square hole.  Imagine working with a PowerLifter that needs to lift in a weight class trying to pull triple their body weight with less food.  Body builders and models are legendary for eating disorder type behavior but those populations are getting a lot smarter as more scientific information gets out there.  For us Crossfitters, our focus is simply, to get better at Crossfit and we know from the many folks around us each that are all “ab’ed” up that it really does work.  But it’s not working for everyone, for every #SOGO warrior out there, there is also someone in the back of the gym kind of pissed off that they are killing themselves every workout with marginal gains in the mirror.

Why Ketogenic Diets work and when they become a metabolic disaster?

I talked yesterday about the fact that John Kiefer has two books, Carb Back Loading (check out my article on CBL adjusted for Crossfit and Paleo populations) the one I recommend, and Carb Nite Solution–which I don’t recommend.  John is a pretty smart dude and CNS is so drop dead easy that the book is basically all about why the diet works.  Go figure, an author that actually explains the processes that make the diet work.  In my opinion it’s the best Ketogenic book on the market but Crossfitters don’t need another Ketogenic diet.  They need a performance way of eating and that is the gaping hole that Carb Back Loading fills.  Wait, what? That’s right, the way you are eating combined with your activity level nets out to about the point where the Ketogenic Diets become effective.  To flip the metabolic switch when you are an inactive individual the key is strategic carb days like I describe below.  For active individuals, the approach takes on a life of its own and many options become available.

In 2007, I lost nearly 40 pounds as a relatively sedate individual, this left me “skinny fat” but still probably a somewhat healthier version of myself.  I wasn’t moving but I was seeing results.  I fought through all of the headaches and the sleepless nights and got to the other side.  Towards the end, I looked like the walking dead and there is no way in hell I could have done Crossfit.  Basically, I did a Ketogenic Diet with a cheat day.  That cheat day often left me sick, I would obsessively make lists of all the foods I really wanted to eat and just pound them on that one cheat day.  Gradually I was able to manage things a bit better and looking back, all of the pieces of the puzzle were there I just hadn’t put them all together yet.  Instinctively I reduced the window of cheat days from about every 7th day to about every 4th day, otherwise the scale wouldn’t move.

You have to remember I was NOT doing Crossfit at the time.  Which is good, because I couldn’t have done it.  Because I didn’t understand why what I was doing worked and at that time, I didn’t know the details on how to not get sick in the process.  In the end, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and I was a metabolic disaster.

I will never recommend a Ketogenic Diet, for anyone, even good ones like John’s because when the scale stalls, the only option people feel they have is to start eating less.  I have found they are unnecessary and can lead to harm in the wrong hands and I think it’s only natural that when the scale isn’t moving you push the panic button, eat less and that’s when things get real bad.

I was just too smart to be fat

If you want to know a synopsis of my life it’s pretty simple.  I don’t follow the crowd.  I walk into most situations with a skeptic’s eye.  There are varying degrees of success people have with “eat less do less” diets but they don’t end up more whole as a result.  I often describe this as the best version of themselves.  Not only active and healthy but those results can be shown on paper through bloods tests and or body fat analysis.

If you aren’t eating any starches and one piece of fruit I am going to say you are probably hurting yourself.  No amount of “rah rah” cheerleading bullshit is going to make that better.  Also no amount of “sugar addicted” proponents can truly explain to you why their approach isn’t working for you, after all, maybe you are just being a baby (does it not stand to reason that with few energy dense options craving sugar represents craving more energy, this isn’t rocket science folks).  “But it’s working for everyone else”.  Is it though? I mean really? Because I hear a lot of people talking about progress but it doesn’t really show.  Not in the mirror and not really in the gym.  “But I am faster and I am stronger”.  This does happen and I can explain it easily.  From a cardio perspective if you pull all of the water out of your body (that’s part of what Ketogenic diets do) you are going to weigh less.  Do you think that would be favorable as it relates to your cardio abilities? Seems obvious right?  But what about strength gains, people often PR while eating low carb and Crossfitting, so what I am saying might not jive with those folks.  Here is that answer and I am just going to lay it on the line.  You weren’t all that strong to begin with.  As someone that knows a fair amount of powerlifters I can tell you that they hone in on their areas of weakness and just hammer those spots.  Then after hammering it they find different ways to hammer it.  In some ways powerlifters are the perfect example of what I am talking about even though many of them are thought to be on the heavy side.  To lift real big you have to realize your muscles potential, powerlifters are a great example of this.  By keeping insulin high they gain muscle but many of them also get fat in the process and they become reluctant to lose weight because they think it might compromise their strength (they are probably right without proper guidance, however even with proper guidance there are no guarantees).

Your Diet Sucks

Your Diet Sucks was a book concept I came up with after many years of not knowing the little details of why all of the diets I was on didn’t work out in the end.  I am not going to lie to you, when you read Carb Back Loading it’s a bit shocking.  It doesn’t seem real and if you haven’t read the book you probably think it’s a book exclusively about making poor food choices work.  The exact opposite is actually true.  The concept I wanted to write about was going to describe some level of metabolic flexibility where I learned to move from one energy system (fats) to another energy system (carbs) and not only was it favorable it allows you to become the best version of yourself.  And then I started hearing about Carb Back Loading.  It has a few warts and if you come from a Paleo background it’s probably difficult to see all of the donuts and cherry turnovers.  I am not even an ardent low carber and it got to me a bit.  Kiefer has talked about this on multiple occasions and has said that while a super Paleo version of carb back loading might not be totally optimal it’s actually pretty close to the way he eats.  He and Robb Wolf are positively gushy talking to each other.

The only book that I could have wrote would not have been technically better than Carb Back Loading but it would have been aimed at regular folks that might not need every detail covered.  I have talked about this a bit, can you do carb back loading without reading the book, that answer quite simply is yes.  But there are some details that make GIGANTIC differences.  By the time I found Carb Back Loading I was doing things mostly right and I found tips in every chapter that made big differences for me and I have gained about 15 pounds of muscle in little over a year.  Those tips only helped.

If you are considering buying the book I would ask you to use the various links on this site.  I don’t recommend a lot of stuff so I need readers to know that it keeps me blogging when you purchase things directly from me.

Here is my blog on CBL for Paleo Crossfit type folks. There is a download link on that page and also one on the sidebar.

Carb Back Loading for Crossfit and Paleo

2 Mar

Sweet PotatoesCarb back loading is probably the best version of what I refer to as a metabolically favorable way of eating.  The focus of this style of eating is not to create a deficit at all, it is to get your metabolism humming along like a Ferrari so when you enter your Crossfit gym you are ready to perform.  The points where I disagree with Kiefer are not significant but I think it should be brought up.  The fact of the matter is simple, if you are looking for the absolute best book to understand what goes on in your body and WHY this book does that better than any I have seen.  If I find a better one, I will put that one in the sidebar but, for now, this is the holy grail for a high functioning metabolism that allows you to burn fat.  The book is expensive, is it worth the money? I think it is.  Much of what I talk about on my blog and the associated Facebook page covers topics in the book.  The book however does a good job as a “one stop place” for an approach to eating with the scientific references to back it up.

Carb Back Loading is $53 dollars, when you consider all of the $109 nanos, $139 OLY shoes and the list goes on none of those will help your understanding of how your nutrition self and athletic self work together quite the way CBL will.

To Download your version of Carb Back Loading click here

This blog exists to help people understand their health and performance.  It is a business and as such I sell things.  I only sell things I use and I only promote products I believe in.  If you like this blog and you like my content and are considering buying this book I would ask you to use this link.

Can you do this Paleo?

Absolutely you can and it probably best describes how I eat.  I rely mostly on sweet potatoes for my carbs and occasionally white rice (many Paleo authors are starting to include white rice in their “safe to eat” foods for athletes).  My coconut milk smoothies are a perfect addition to the fat back load which is used in conjunction with carbs to get a better response before bed.

Cherry pineapple and Banana Chocolate Hazelnut smoothies

Some minor points of differences

Kiefer suggests A LOT of supplements in the book.  I wouldn’t necessarily say I disagree with his recommendations as much as I would say they aren’t necessary for all populations.  If you are eating a diet of mostly whole foods with adequate protein you have it mostly right.

Is this THE way of eating?

I think if you asked him John would describe this style of eating as the best strategy he has come up with for extreme athletic performance.  BUT IT IS JUST A STRATEGY.  It is not THE way, you could certainly take the concepts in the book and put the pieces together for an optimal way of eating designed for you.  As someone who coaches people on their diets there a lot of one off’s that you need to account for.

Even though people spend 100’s of dollars on personal trainers and Crossfit memberships they are often reluctant to spend the money for a book like this.  That is a mistake.  Even if you never carb back load you will learn infinite strategies related to how to eat to perform (catchy right).

Carb Nite Solution

The other book offered is called Carb Nite Solution, that will appeal to many people who will see it as the holy grail of fat loss.  You won’t however see see a link or it in the sidebar of this site because Ketogenic Diets (even good ones like CNS) are a metabolic train wreck for Crossfitters, especially women who have a history of extreme dieting.

He doesn’t seem to like us Crossfitters

The original versions of Carb Back Loading  was for PowerLifters and Physique Competitors (you see them as the testimonials).  His criticisms of our approach to fitness is legit for optimizing squatting 1,000 pounds or even getting shredded down to 5%.  So if those are goals of yours then you should understand that Crossfit isn’t a good method for reaching those goals.  Crossfitters are attempting different goals.  Let me put it to you this way, if you want to become the best version of yourself this book will show you a great approach to get there.  I also believe that if you play with it a bit, Kiefer describes his approach as Legos, it might take a bit to figure it out completely.  Certainly if you have any questions on how you can adapt this approach to eating to Crossfit leave a message in the comments and I will attempt to help you.

What about all of the donuts and turnovers?

You’ll just have to get over that part.  Think about it, people want an approach to eating that allows them to perform athletically WHILE ALSO allowing them to make some poor choices.  Is the turnover and donut approach vastly superior to a more Paleo approach? I have tried it, it didn’t feel right.  FOR ME.  I am a 44 year old man but I wouldn’t recommend the turnovers and donut approach to most populations.  Do I realize that it might describe an approach to the way some people want to eat? I certainly do.  If you are doing the 80% version of Paleo or even the version that Dr. Cordain recommends in the Paleo Diet for Athletes this can be easily accomplished with carb back loading and just/almost as effective for optimizing Crossfit as the donut approach might be.  Any differences would be minimal and unless you are an elite athlete those differences likely won’t matter for you and your progress related to Crossfit.