I’ve written about this before – how some days I’m having 75-100g of carbs.
“But that’s NOT keto!”
“You will kick yourself out of ketosis!”
Do me a favor. Go find the definitive book on how to do keto.
When you watch hundreds of hours of keto on youtube, you pick up some cool things. What I’ve been finding, or rather have found, is that when you’re doing 20-30g of carbs per day and having high fat and moderate protein – that it’s VERY hard to add more muscle. Athletic performance for me on keto is fine if I’m doing an aerobic run for 1+ hour…or biking for 2+ hours. Where I have problems is when I need that “next gear”. For example, my 27 mile bike ride a few weeks ago was on flat land on gravel. I do a 12 mile bike near my house which has lots of hills that challenges me a lot more. When I have to do climbs – immediately I’m feeling it in my hammies.
So I started having more carbs awhile back and more protein. A few things happened:
- I have spared muscle and can build more. Protein and carbs have an insulin spike. I feel like I have minimized my insulin spikes, and the ones I do have, I CHOOSE to have in regards to athletic performance. For example, having whey protein after a workout with some berries before a workout. This helps my performance, has a spike or two in insulin – but this spike is carrying protein where it needs. I’m not eating a bowl of pasta to then have it all stored as fat.
- I’m carrying 5-10 pounds of water at any time. I also was using a lot of “pre-workout” for biking, running, and lifting. It’s called “Lit”. My wife got me using it. One thing of interest, is one of the main ingredients is creatine. Creatine is safe, but it has a tendency of holding about 3-5 pounds of water on you. I believe this water is more or less in the muscles with glycogen. The glycogen stores full really help you for working out.
- I’m not in ketosis nearly as much. Guess what? Who cares. More on this “cut” below.
- Athletic performance is through the roof. The creatine helps with recovery, and at 42, I need every edge I can get to add more muscle and burn stubborn fat. Last night, I ran 3 miles. The first two miles were a gentle run, then I stepped it up for the last mile. It’s funny, at the end of 2 miles, I felt like I had run 1 lap – I was fresh. The last mile I pushed it. Finished and felt great!
So all of you are told, “20-30g a day!”. If you do not do this, you are not doing “real” keto. Again. Find me the book. What you will find is the original diet which was 92% fat created for kids with epilepsy. Other than that, you are dealing with a lot of experts who have affected weight loss. And yes….when you add more carbs, your weight loss slows down – or you add water weight.
But ask yourself, what is your end goal? Are you going to count 20 carbs a day the rest of your life? Most of us who have done keto for a period of time understand the principles, understand the “good” foods to have, and understand about where the line is we can get away with. My goals are:
- Lose weight
- Add muscle
- Feel amazing
- Crush athletic performance
So if I have 75-100g on some heavy lifting/workout days to help 3 out of the 4 goals, GREAT! So I wake up and the scale is 2 pounds more. Don’t care. I know it’s not fat. I know it’s from the berries and whole head of cabbage I had, and I know I feel amazing.
But the scale. Don’t you want to lose weight?
Let me tell you, after taking off 127 pounds, weight loss is a byproduct of living your best life. So let me tell you where my goals are now:
- Feel amazing
- Crush athletic performance
- Add muscle
- Lose weight
The funny thing is, I’m now 1 pound up on my weigh in from 3 weeks ago. But guess what? I’m holding a lot of water yet. I know this because just 2 days ago, I was up another 7 pounds. I simply cut my carbs to 30g the last two days and BOOM. Gone. It takes me about a week to remove the creatine weight from the Lit. When running/biking, it also takes about 2-3 days to remove the excess water from inflammation. More on this with the “cut” below.
What I’ve told everyone who wants to listen is keto is a tool. Most people start it and can’t last a month on it. “It’s not sustainable”. Bullshit. If I did zero athletic performance, it’s a pretty easy diet to stick with. I’ve increased my usage of the “Quest” bars and pizzas, and while they claim low carb, I know they have a bit more impact than they are letting on. It’s ok – remember, I’m not so concerned about the 20-30 carbs and am floating at 75-100. On non-workout days, I’m probably 50-75.
If you go about your normal life and eat 400-600 carbs per day, which is the Standard American Diet (SAD), and try to cut down to 100 carbs per day, nothing good happens. You will be tired. You will not be able to do workouts. You will be miserable. What happens is your body continues to search for carbs for fuel, and you’re not giving it enough. It is not low enough to switch over to fat full time.
You will live a miserable life. This is what’s observed by a lot of people who try keto or atkins but cheat.
If you are really able to do the 20-30g for months on end, your body becomes very fat adapted. Over time, according to the Atkins book, you can gently add carbs back until you find a weight where you don’t gain/lose. This is the Atkins “maintenance” phase. Most people don’t read this shit, they want to shortcut. Then they fail.
So I’m at a point where I’m running, biking, workout out, hiking, swimming – I have my 75-100 and feel amazing. Unlike to poor bastard above who went from 400-100, I went from 400 to 30…..then 40…then 50…and slowly increased my carb intake.
With 75-100, I have my top athletic performance. But guess what? I’m not “keto”. I’m not in “ketosis”. So what? I fixed my metabolic disorder, I’m no longer “pre-diabetic”, and I’m “woke” about the problem with abuse of carbs/sugars.
As I’ve said before, my “life goal” is to be in the paleo realm of carbs. Take a look and see how this looks…
That being said, when I have a massive salad with tomatoes and a pound of chicken, I’m not caring about those carbs. Not caring about carbs from string beans, broccoli, any green. I eat berries in moderation, you can’t eat 4 cups of raspberries. What carbs I do care about? Items in processed things like Quest….alcohol…etc. I’m just not caring much when I’m eating green veggies and smoothies.
So my 75-100 or so is mostly when I have a massive smoothie in the morning, cabbage and chicken thighs for lunch, a quest bar, and perhaps my taco salad. Usually on those days, I’m crushing it athletically.
But the weight isn’t going down?
Yes…it is. The fat weight is going down where muscle and water is increasing. But how do I check my progress month to month reliably?
So a week from today I’m doing a weigh in. This is to measure my progress. While I know I’m carrying 5-10 pounds of water at any given time due to not being strict keto, I’m going to cut for next week’s weigh in.
Thursday night after my bike, I hit 256 on the scale. I laughed it off. I had just drank 10 pounds of water that day and ate my face off. Again, Thursday is my heavy carb day. It also helped me crush my bike. Yesterday, I had no breakfast or lunch, then had a whole rotisserie chicken for dinner. I also had a package of broccoli and cheese. Probably 1400-1600 or so calories for the day, but about 24g of carbs. Hit the scale today at 249.
During the course of the next week….
Today: 40-50g of carbs, workout this morning. My carbs will mostly be dinner with a cauliflower/ground beef recipe I found.
Tomorrow: maybe a long bike ride in the early AM. Looking to do about 30 tomorrow.
This week: ADF on Monday/Weds with about 600 calories in a day, 30g of carbs. No pre-workout. Planning on doing a 2 mile run on Monday or Tuesday. Planning on walking the dog every day for 1.2 miles. Tuesday and Thursday will not be ADF, but I will do OMAD for them and maybe have 1500-1800 calories. Friday is my anniversary, and I plan on OMAD for that with a chicken Caesar salad.
So – over the course of this next week, I plan on:
- No pre-workout (remove the creatine) which will reduce my glycogen stores
- Stop running/biking by Tuesday to allow the water from the inflammation to decrease
- Do ADF to cut 1-2 pounds
- Do OMAD on Tue/Thur/Fri to keep calories under 1800
- Do not go over 30g of carbs per day to ensure I’m in ketosis 100%
In 2 days, I dropped 7 pounds of water before most of my steps above even are taking place. I’m predicting this time next week I’ll be between 241 and 246, we shall see how the cut goes. Already 7 pounds in 36 hours.
My point of the above is when you start to learn your body and understand what you are putting into it does to you – you start to fret less about the “plateau” because that is a number on a scale. I’m getting stronger. I can feel my legs are concrete with muscle. My times keep increasing. My endurance keeps increasing. I feel amazing. But that water weight? Don’t care.
What is of interest, is I want to step on the scale next week and see the muscle I gained, check where my fat loss is, so yeah – the cut of the week of weigh in I have done now for the last 2 months. I eat my quest during the month, do my amazing workouts, then 4-6 days before my weigh in, I go back to basics and off the water goes.
I got a great book in me with all of this!!
So – I’ll split the difference. I’m predicting my weigh in next week at 243.
So, my keto is not your keto. I’m loving “low carb” in whatever form, and yes, I do rely on a “ketogenic lifestyle” although my carb counting is not as strict as yours, most likely. We are eating the same foods, people, I might just dial up the greens/berries: