PART 1 - WHAT TO EAT
“Ketosis is a panacea” –Dr. Dominic D’Agostino
Panacea - a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases.
In 2012 I began the ketogenic diet, made my first bulletproof coffee and lost 15 pounds. By 2014 I was running fasted half marathons, with no prior endurance training and grew my first six pack. 3 months ago I competed in my first powerlifting meet, lifting a lifetime personal record, without carbohydrates. Ketosis is working for me.
In Ketosis, fat loss and endurance are freebies. Energy, focus and satiety are effortless. But strength and size is challenging. This was a problem for me because I want to look, feel and perform like a Superhero. Doesn’t everybody?
This article outlines what I'm eating to get Superhero size and strength, without excessive exercise, eating frequency or supplementation. Im not a bodybuilder or an aspiring pro athlete. Im just a regular guy with a regular job, and average time constraints. I have a new baby, girlfriend and lots of responsibilities. I dont have time to eat, sleep and breathe fitness, but I do want to be yoked. I want to do it without excessive effort, and I want it to be sustainable.
The strength programming will be a separate post. Its a 3 day per week powerlifting schedule.
Heres the entire Keto Superhero Program outline:
1. Cyclical ketosis
2. 12 eggs a day
4. Balanced Electrolytes
5. Epic Sleep
6. Minor Supplementation
7. Sauna Training
8. Have fun, dont worry, be happy :)
9. beer (added this one when i was buzzed)
In my opinion:
· If you get big and strong but you are damaging some aspect of your health, the program has failed.
· If you get big and strong, but you have no free time, the program has failed.
· If you get big and strong but your relationship with food suffers, the program has failed.
· If you get big and strong but your cognition suffers, the program has failed.
· If you get big and strong but you are unhappy, the program has failed.
· If you get big and strong but the gains are unsustainable, the program has failed.
· Basically, if you get big and strong but you don’t feel like a Superhero, the program has failed.
The popular “low fat, Bulk and Cut while eating dry chicken breast and supplement shakes 6 times a day, training like a slave, and losing your sanity in a cloud of protein farts,” method is unhealthy. It might give you abs for the summer, but it might also break your metabolism and hormones. Don’t do that.
Step one is becoming fat adapted. That alone will have you feeling like a mutant (I've been partial to Wolverine since childhood). Without it, exercising with no carbs is miserable. Here’s some writing on that.
In Ketosis I’m better at everything (im not saying im good at everything, just better than before ketosis), so adding carbs to get big and strong wasn’t an option. (Brace yourself for strong hyperbole) I have professor Xavier like focus, I heal like wolverine, I’m stronger, faster, more calm, more productive, I don’t get sick, I’m lean, rarely hungry and have a lot of positive energy. I feel like an Avatar. An extremely short Avatar, with a very brown shade of blue. Mostly brown…Ok, completely brown with no blue whatsoever. But still with bones made of naturally occurring carbon fiber and the guiding force of Eywa.
Weight - So far, I’ve gained 20 pounds of mostly muscle in 3 months. I say mostly muscle because my bodyfat percent increased by 3 points. From 13 to 15. It was measured on an electrical impedence scale. Pretty cool. Not Bruce Banner instant 1,200 pound gain into The Incredible Hulk, cool. But I’m not using gamma energy, I’m using amino acids and cholesterol.
Strength – My 1 repetition maximum deadlift prior to this program was 365 pounds. I can now lift that at least 25 times in a row. My new 1 rep max is 465 lbs. Reddit has made it very clear that "that shit is weak" which I can respect. Im ok with not being the strongest dude on the internet. However, I feel it important to clarify that I am not an experienced powerlifter. And this isnt about just being strong. Its also not about being the best, its about getting better. Ok moving on...
Basic Nutrition – Cyclical ketosis
I eat a low-carb paleo’ish diet, soaked in offensive amounts of fat. I eat mostly green veggies, half being raw. I eat fermented foods, fatty animal parts, eggs, nuts, seeds, cream, raw cheeses, lard, oils and low sugar fruit. I have weekly cheat meals, beer and I drink coffee. I occasionally fast for a few days. I supplement fish oil and magnesium. I swing in and out of ketosis. I’ve sustained a lean and strong 175’ish existence for the last 4 years. But I want to be Jacked like Dr. Manhattan. Is that weird…that’s not weird right? Look at all the blue! He's def my fave.
Bulking Nutrition - Getting Big
Eggs on eggs on eggs
Eggs are the perfect food for building. They beat everything on earth except breast milk. If they can make an entire chicken, muscle cells are no problem.
I eat 12 whole eggs a day in addition to my basic nutrition. That’s an additional ~1000 calories. I found this protocol from MarksDailyApple.com. I eat them raw and fried in butter or lard. Sometimes I scramble them but mostly avoid cooking the yolks. It oxidizes the cholesterol and denatures much of the nutrition.
When choosing eggs, don’t skimp. And for Christ sake eat the whole egg, not just the whites. “Egg whites only” is low-fat, Bro-science. Get pasture raised, organic eggs. Here’s a handy guide to locate legit eggs in your store> http://www.cornucopia.org/organic-egg-scorecard/
This sounds excessive at first, and even feels that way. After about 3 weeks it’s easy. Lifting and eating is a positive feedback loop. The more you lift the hungrier you are; the more you eat, the more you can lift and so on.
Meat and inflammation
Meat is great for getting big and strong. But not all meat is created equal. I eat lamb steaks and salmon filets because they’re fatty, delicious and cheap. But mostly because the omega-6: omega-3 fatty acid ratio is outstanding. They contain more omega-3 than omega-6 fats. Omega-6 fats are inflammatory, omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory, ergo, lamb (.77/1) and salmon (.08/1) are anti-inflammatory meats. Compared to pork (23.8/1), chicken (13.8/1) and beef (9.15/1), lamb and salmon are clearly the high performance choices.
Optimal omega-6: omega-3 ratio is ~2:1. The average American diet is 16:1. Americans are very inflamed and wonder why their bodies hurt when they exercise.
The average personal trainer will tell you to eat dry chicken breast with no skin and tilapia, 6 times a day. Don’t do that.
“The key to getting really strong is not getting hurt.” George Leeman
Inflammation is the Devil. It leads to swelling, stiff joints, auto-immunity, brain fog, and injury. It’s horrible for getting big and strong. You can’t perform 100% when inflamed. Carbohydrates, sugars and vegetable oils are also inflammatory foods. Don’t eat them. Don’t get hurt.
Most lifters are chronically inflamed. They think they need sugars to be strong. Mark Bell is my favorite power lifter, but he looks like he needs to foam roll his face, specifically his second chin. He openly talks about his injuries and immobility. He also eats donuts and candy. I wonder if reducing inflammation would help him.
Below are photos of what many powerlifters were eating at the meet I competed in. Twinkies, Oreos, Sour Patch Kids, Donuts, sugary drinks etc…these choices were apparently normal. I was surprised to see athletes eating so much junk food. I assume they were attempting to refuel with sugar between lifts. The majority of the competitors were overweight.
I’ve been training hard for years without injury. I’ve tested my blood serum C-reactive protein (a marker for inflammation). On a scale of 1.0 – 10.0 its 0.3…super-duper low. I heal like Wolverine.
Of course great lifting technique is critical, but that is out of the scope of this article. If you don’t have great form, you have no business lifting heavy…hire a coach.
Inflammation swells your tissues and makes you look puffy. If you want to look lean like a Superhero reduce inflammation.
On Lamb >>>http://www.grazeonline.com/landsalmon
More of everything else
The rest of my nutrition is the same, just larger portions. More veggies, more meat, more butter, more nuts and seeds, water etc. This part isn’t exact, I just put a lot more on my plate. Muscles aren’t made out of dreams and unicorn farts, they’re made out of raw materials called food. Eat more.
Salt – Neglecting to increase salt intake on low carb induces death-like symptoms. When restricting carbs you will pee out electrolytes fast. Exercise worsens this effect with sweat. Put a lot of salt on your food and some in your water. It’s not complicated, your craving for salt will increase. Listen to your body and eat as much as you can. Our salt shaker lid is permanently swiveled to the “pour” setting. When in doubt, eat more salt.
Make sure you’re eating real salt, not table salt. This is important. I like Celtic sea salt and pink Himalayan salt. If you think salt is bad for you, stop listening to the FDA. Here’s some of my writing on salt.
Stan Efferding’s salt rant - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spGHEnE0S-Y
Minerals – You will pee minerals out fast too. After dinner I eat supplemental magnesium and zinc picolinate. When I train like Captain America, I take Epsom salt baths for even more magnesium. This helps with muscle soreness. Magnesium is like a performance enhancing drug, it maximizes exercise performance and recovery. Here’s a video of Dr. Rhonda Patrick explaining this.
...Next post...strength training and supplementation...
Interested in coaching? email at Gabe@ancientgains.com
Thanks for reading :)