Ketosis, Resistance Training, Stubborn Fat and Glycogen

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 25, 2011 at 6:39 PM

By way of background, it should suffice to say that I'm 6'5" and have gone from ~215 lbs. (ca. June 2009) to today's weight of 185 lbs., mostly through carbohydrate reduction.

In an effort to lose the last 8-10 lbs., which are happily clinging on to my abdomen and back, I began resistance training in earnest about 3 months ago: specifically Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength protocol, which amounts to a bunch of 3x5 compound movements 3-4 times a week.

So far, my training has been in a fasted state, with the exception of 10g of BCAAs, per Martin Berkhan's recommendation. I "fast" in the sense that I do not eat breakfast. On an average day, I'll eat two meals (for example, 1:00p and 7:00p).

On the advice of Travis Culp and others, I began taking 45+ minute walks each morning.

Here's where I could still use help. My stubborn fat seems content to stay where it is for the time being, so I've been looking into shaking things up.

Reading Lyle McDonald's Ketogenic Diet left me with the impression that the purpose of carbohydrate in the diet is primarily for athletic performance. Thing is, as I mentioned above, I'm a complete beginner to weight training and consequently am still riding the wave of the beginner's gains. I'm 25 years old, and a day's recovery seems to be more than enough for my body. Nothing McDonald says (at least in KD, anyway) indicates that carbohydrates are useful for fat or weight loss. What's left unsaid, then, is that weight loss should progress more rapidly on a ketogenic diet without the sporadic carbohydrate intake advocated by the Targeted and Cyclical Ketogenic Diets.

On the other hand, yesterday Paul Jaminet's Twitter feed pointed me to a month-old post of his that I must have missed. It discussed glucose deficiency due to lack of readily available glucose and intimated that relying on protein and ketones to make up the difference would be too risky. I guess one possibility is hypothyroidism or euthyroid sick syndrome, but my lack of other symptoms makes me doubtful. And I've seen enough anecdotes between PH and the comments sections of several blogs to satisfy me that adding in a bit of starch has the potential to kick-start fat loss. I'm not averse to trying.

And another possibility is that I am not taking in enough calories to prevent my metabolism from slowing down. This explanation feels crude, though, and it would indirectly call into the question the merit of the Martin Berkhan's approach. (According to McDonald's calculation, a male of my weight requires 2,960 kcal for maintenance. Assuming a 20% target deficit [2,368 kcal], that's almost 1,200 kcal for each of two meals. That's a lot.) But it's an explanation that I guess I could stomach. There are worse things than being told to eat more.

What I'm looking for isn't so much an "answer" (I haven't really asked a question, yet) so much as commentary or suggestions. But in the name of good Stack Exchange sportmanship, here are a couple:

  1. Do you advocate starch?

  2. In your view, what is the purpose of starch? E.g., performance (a la McDonald), weight loss, dietary diversity, or general well-being?

Thanks in advance for playing along!



on November 10, 2011
at 06:33 PM

body fat percentage currently? goal?



on October 06, 2011
at 07:10 PM

I think Ben's comment is helpful (at least the protein part) because on a ketogenic diet some protein will get sacrificed to make glucose. And if you are not eating enough protein for that plus muscle growth, time at the gym will be wasted. BTDT and have added back some paleo carbs like beets and carrots and got leaner.



on September 26, 2011
at 12:34 AM

Carbs at night knock me right out. I pretty much get all of them at night for that reason. I usually have a little before a workout too if I feel the need though.



on September 25, 2011
at 11:10 PM

Ben, tony has obviously done his homework and you just spat out the most generic advice that is in nine million places on the internet. How is that helpful? Tony, you can also join Lyle's forum and ask him his opinion on this as well.



on September 25, 2011
at 08:23 PM

eat protein at 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. Eat carbohydrate at 1-1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight. eat the rest of your calories from fat. the carbs will be best from a lot of starch: potatoes of any variety work well. starch is good. the purpose is for performance, and just overall wellness. there is nothing wrong with it so I don't really know why you would ask what the purpose is.

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on September 26, 2011
at 12:24 AM

At 6'5 and 185lbs, I would imagine that you are already quite thin.

However, you mentioned having some stubborn abdominal-area fat, which, combined with the fact that you are engaged in a strength program and following a low-carb/low-calorie/daily IF diet, your cortisol levels could very likely be elevated.

I would suggest giving your body a break from catabolism for a little while.

This would involve the addition of some "safe starch" (per Jaminet's recommendations) which will absolutely improve your performance and could very likely improve your overall well-being. (Side note: I have found that consuming starch at night (versus in the morning) helps get me to sleep and I also tend to stay asleep through the night.) Keep the portions low at first and watch how your body responds. (Some weight gain is to be expected, but it is almost all water weight.)

Increasing your total calorie intake (to at least a predicted "maintenance" level) may also help although it would likely require you to break from the "two meal a day" and "6hr eating window" aspects of your current plan. 3 meals with no snacking might be a good option for easing the transition.

Since you won't be spending as much time "fasted", you can also add more high-intensity exercise such as Cross-fit style workouts, sprints, and, gasp!, jogging/sprinting.



on September 26, 2011
at 12:34 AM

Carbs at night knock me right out. I pretty much get all of them at night for that reason. I usually have a little before a workout too if I feel the need though.

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