The Journal: Day 7 to 10
These are extracts from my daily journal entries over at Classic Muscle Newsletter. To get the full story, including tips and more detailed thoughts, become a member today. As a member you’ll also enjoy 4 to 5 new full-length articles a month, a review of the latest research, access to more than 260 articles and training programs, and much more!
Saturday, June 18. Day 7 – MCT-“fasting”:
Weighted in at 71.1 kg (156.4 lbs) today, another 200 grams (0.44 lbs) less than yesterday. The decline in body weight seems rather constant at the moment, but I expect a larger drop by tomorrow.
Since I’ve been training four days in a row, I have a MCT-“fast” with no protein today, and the fact that I have so much else going on I my life for the moment, I decided to take the day off from the gym.
I had one cup of coffee in the morning and one in the forenoon. Only 5 g of MCT oil in each cup. Also took a longer morning walk with my wolfdog, and at 1 PM we took a 4 km (2.5 miles) bike ride to meet up with some friends and their dogs at a dog park, where we stayed for 1.5 hours – walking around, playing and taking some photos. On the way back home, I took another, a bit longer, route home. And I did notice a bit of ammonia in my breath. And since I had my last meal with protein at 7 PM on Friday, it’s due to autophagy – the body is recycling bad cells as protein and energy.
During my evening dog walk I actually felt a bit tired in my body for the first time, but it went away after 10 minutes and then I felt really good again. Considering I only had 15 grams of MCT oil since 7 PM yesterday and that my body is still adapting to run on fat and ketones, it’s expected.
I remember the first time I did a ketogenic diet (Dan Duchaine’s Body Opus) back in 1997. Back then I felt really miserable the first week and I had the infamous keto breath and smelled of ammonia for two weeks before my body started to adapt to burn fats and ketones more efficiently.
With that said, I haven’t done pure keto since 2008, but I have done some 28- to 36-hour water fasts, especially during 2009 to 2012 – and I do a lot of intermittent fasting. So my body is a lot quicker to adapt nowadays.
In the evening, I did have some extra fats, a little bit of dark chocolate, raw cacao nibs, and cacao butter. Also 3 grams of omega-3 and a scoop of greens powder.
So to recap, my last meal yesterday was at 7 PM and it was probably absorbed within 3 hours (since it was small), which means that I was in a fasted state around 10 PM. During the day I had a total of 15 grams of MCT oil, which do not interfere with the fasting or autophagy. Then I had a small meal at 8 PM in the evening. That’s 22 hours of MCT-“fasting”. However, since I had almost no protein at all, my protein fast will continue until Sunday before hitting the gym. It will probably be close to 35 or 36 hours without protein – pretty much as during day 1 and 2 of this experiment.
When adding in my 8 PM meal, the total for the day sums up to:
32 grams of fat (of which 15 grams was MCT oil) – about 91 E%
4 grams of protein – about 5 E%
3 grams of carbohydrates (about 2 grams of fiber) – about 4E%
About 303 kcal total
That’s a deficit of around 2100 to 2200 kcal and almost no protein. Feeling pretty good though. Tomorrow I’ll add in some protein before, during and after my workout, and then I’ll raise the calories again, going back full keto on Monday.
Sunday, June 19. Day 8 – intermittent fat fasting, adding in some protein:
As predicted, my morning weight after yesterday’s MCT-“fasting” and 303 kcal total, was 70.7 kg (155.5 lbs) – a reduction of 400 grams (0.88 lbs) since last morning. I honestly thought it would be a little bit more, considering loss of body fat and contents within the intestines. Perhaps the extra electrolytes I take daily helped to maintain a good hydration/water balance (which can be tricky on a low energy ketogenic diet.)
Speaking of fluids. My previous water/fluid retention around the face and ankles has improved considerably. The fasting and high intake of fats is working. Total body inflammation is lower, which I also noticed during today’s workout (more on that in a bit.)
As I woke early today (4:15 AM), I started the morning with coffee, MCT oil and a little drop of double cream. After a brisk walk with my dog at 7 AM, I took another cup as an early pre-workout at around 8.30 AM. I then had my first protein since Friday evening – about 20 grams of whey isolate mixed with 10 grams of MCT oil. I loaded an additional 30 grams of whey isolate and 5 grams of MCT oil as my intra-workout shake and did yet another push-oriented workout. As my back is still a bit stiff, doing shoulders and some easy chest and triceps seemed as the best choice – so I can go in with more intensity tomorrow and hopefully get a good leg workout.
As mentioned earlier, whole body inflammation is lower and all my joints feel better. I’ve had a lot of trouble with my shoulders and during May and early June, I could only do barbell shoulder presses and high incline presses. If I lowered the bench beneath 45 degrees, as in incline bench press or regular bench press, my shoulders would hurt like hell and I would lose strength and control. I could actually only lower the bar half the way in bench press before the shoulders would give out, risking an injury.
Today however, I could easily do the incline bench press at about 30 degrees. My shoulders felt fantastic.
After the workout I had a tiny bit of unpasteurized raw milk with 20 g of whey protein, 5 g of collagen protein, 5 g of isomalto-oligosaccharide (prebiotic), 10 g of pumpkin seeds, 5 g of sunflower seeds, 10 g of raw cacao nibs and some raw cacao for additional taste. In the afternoon I had another cup of coffee with MCT and in the evening I had a chicken leg with veggies and a bit later some eggs with veggies. And of course, a lot of spices and herbs. A lot!
The daily total looked like this:
170 grams of fat (of which 30 g was MCT oil) – about 71 E%
120 grams of protein (of which 15-20 g was collagen protein) – about 23 E%
30 grams of carbs (20-25 g fiber) – about 6 E%
About 2 096 kcal total
My total energy expenditure for the day was in the neighborhood of 3100 kcal as I was a bit more active than I’ve planned, which yields a deficit of about 1000 kcal. No worries though, as calories will be raised tomorrow.
Monday, June 20. Day 9 – ketogenic diet, more on health:
Slept pretty well for a total of 7 hours with three instances of deep rejuvenating sleep, totaling about 1h 50 min. Got up at 4.55 AM and had my usual cups of coffee. Morning weight was 70.7, a slight decrease by “the usual” 200 grams (0.44 lbs.) Once again, I was expecting more. But it seems that my body is doing quite well on this experiment.
Noticed increased definition and vascularity in my legs, so they are finally coming along. I can now see muscle fibers contracting on the upper part of my calves. The lower part still holds some subcutaneous water, but to a much lesser extent than before the experiment.
Since the main focus of this experiment is to heal my inflamed and injured kidneys, I don’t want my intake of protein to creep up too high. So to keep the calories going up, I can only add more fats. Even if I have room for a few more carbs, they don’t really mount up to anything much. I’d like to keep my “energy giving” carbohydrates below 20 to 25 grams so I’m sure I’m staying in ketosis. After the experiment, I’ll start adding them around the workouts, but for now, more fats it is.
Another concern is the fact that my mother has a very aggressive form of rheumatism and psoriasis. Most of her joints and bones have been eaten away by inflammation, especially the shoulders and elbows, as well as her hip and ankles. When I was younger and hungry for gains and didn’t really care about healthy foods or avoiding chemicals in skin care products or beauty products, I did notice some spots of psoriasis. Luckily they all went away as I became more health-conscious and when I did my first famous diet experiment in 2007 and 2008. Since then, it’s been totally gone. But I still need to be careful because it’s hidden away in my genetics, and although it’s dormant, a compromised immune system or a lot of bodily stress could bring it back to the surface. So the most important thing is to keep inflammation under control, keep my hormones in check (thyroid and testosterone as high as possible and estrogen low, but not too low) and to keep my body fat as low as possible without compromising my health.
In the evening I had pork chops with butter, onions and some veggies. Made it two separate meals, because convenience.
The daily total looked like this:
182 grams of fat (of which 30 g was MCT oil) – about 70 E%
135 grams of protein (of which 10-15 g was collagen protein) – about 25 E%
30 grams of carbs (20-25 g fiber) – about 5 E%
About 2 263 kcal total
Torched about 2900 kcal today, so the deficit for the day comes in the neighborhood of 600 to 700 kcal.
Tuesday, June 21. Day 10 – ketogenic diet:
Slept pretty well for a total of 6 h 45 min. Morning weight at 70.3 – another 200 grams (0.44 lbs.) down since yesterday, like clockwork.
Had a day off from the gym today. My schedule today and tomorrow is crazy – and I’ve been wading through 50+ studies to find some of interest for my research series here on Classic Muscle Newsletter. I got 4. Will wade through another 50 on Thursday.
Diet wise I have nothing much to report really. The veins in my chest, lower abdomen and legs are coming along nicely. And I have tons of energy. Brain fog is a lot less than two weeks ago, and that’s a big plus!
The daily total looked like this:
162 grams of fat (of which 30 g was MCT oil) – about 71 E%
115 grams of protein (of which 10-15 g was collagen protein) – about 24 E%
25 grams of carbs (15-20 g fiber) – about 5 E%
About 1 985 kcal total
Burned about 2500 kcal today, so the deficit was about 500 kcal.
Wednesday, June 22. Day 11 – metabolic day, increased calories, some tips on back training:
Another pretty good night. I slept for about 6 h 35 min with three instances of deep restful sleep, totaling 1 hour and 55 min.
Sleep efficiency was at 97 % according to my Microsoft Band II and the MS health app. Time to fall asleep was 4 min 39 sec, which is a bit longer than usual. Resting heart rate at 50 (I usually fluctuate between 46 and 51). Not too sure about the accuracy of the data, but I usually check it a few hours after I wake up to see if it matches how I feel – and so far it usually has been pretty correct.
Morning weight at 70.2 kg, so only 100 grams (0.22 lbs.) less than yesterday.
Today is another metabolic day to keep the hormones flowing. I’m a bit pressed for time as my afternoon and evening is fully booked. Anyhow, I took some quick photos this morning before I started to increase my calories. Since I took them 2 to 2.5 hours earlier than usual (at 7 AM), the sun was still low and didn’t give as much light as in the earlier photos, so I had to lower the shutter speed (I don’t want to go above ISO-400, as the photos will be too grainy). Unfortunately, the photos came out with a little bit of motion blur, but they’ll have to do. They look decent when shrunk, and you can still see a lot of changes in only the five days that have passed; abs a little bit tighter, vascularity is beginning to show in the legs again, etcetera.
Higher resolution photos are available at Classic Muscle Newsletter.
My workout this day was all back. I usually have two distinct different ways to start a training session. For as long as I can remember (mid-90’s) I always have begun by ramping the weight on my first and main exercise. Keeping the repetitions between 3 and 5 not to waste energy. By increasing the weight by each set your nervous system gets activated and you get warm, ready to do some serious lifts without burning much glycogen in the process. In other words, you’re fresh once you hit your heavy work sets.
This is usually the approach I take with most clients to learn and program their nervous systems to become more efficient, teaching them to recruit more fast-twitch muscle fibers.
However, once you have a pretty efficient nervous system and can switch it on with only a set or two, I have another approach that is very effective if your main goal is muscle hypertrophy and you don’t care much about doing strength work. This method is simply to start the workout with a mechanical drop-set. In other words, you pick a weight that is about 50 to 60 percent of your max and you do an exercise where you can shift positions without resting. You start in your weakest position and when you are about one repetition short of failure you shift to a stronger position and so on in three steps.
For example, since I did back, I started with Barbell Row. When I was close to failure, I raised my torso and continued to do reps in a Dorian Yates row fashion. When I was close to failure on these I finished off with Romanian deadlifts. This set took about 1 min 40 seconds and it was enough to get me warm, fired up, reach a heartbeat of 170+, and it also sat the bar for the rest of the workout. No way you can drag your legs behind after such a start!
Also got my body composition tested just before my workout using the Harpenden Skin-fold caliper. Most dramatic changes occurred in my upper and lower back, and to a degree in the thighs.
The daily total looked like this:
210 grams of fat (of which 25 g was MCT oil) – about 66 E%
177 grams of protein (of which 15-20 g was collagen protein) – about 26 E%
55 grams of carbs (15-20 g fiber) – about 8 E%
About 2 785 kcal total
At 55 grams and 30 to 35 g of energy giving carbohydrates, that was my highest intake of carbs thus far on this experiment. Did feel fine all day though, never dipped out of ketosis. Probably because I had a lot of things to do and didn’t sit around a lot. According to my MS Band II, I took close to 16 000 steps during the day. I usually average 9000 to 11 000.
So, the “calorie burn” through the day landed at approx. 3420 kcal. More fuel plus more activity equals higher metabolic flux. Still I had a deficit of about 650 kcal, which is just fine.