2

votes

21 year-old male, newly paleo, and looking for advice

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 12, 2011 at 1:06 AM

So I'm 21 years old, 6'1", 173 lbs and about 13-14% bodyfat. I follow Body By Science workouts, but took up CrossFit just last week. In general, I'm pretty active, I occassionally run, swim and do BJJ. I'm mostly vlc, I'm talking only fibrous green vegetables, mushrooms and some spices. I've been strict paleo (grassfed beef, wildcaught fish, coconut oil, grassfed lard, some shrimp, green vegtables and cod liver oil) for about 2 weeks now. I have not noticed any real notable weight loss/body recomposition. I'm sure I'm in ketosis, but for some reason I'm just stuck. I eat about 2000 net calories per day and track my macro/micronutrients on Cronometer (much better than Fitday and Dailyplate). I keep my n3/n6 at 1:1. Carbs usually under 20 grams net. Protein between .8-1 g per lb of lbm.

In January, I went from 175 to 165 in about a month using a ketogenic diet. Now I'm stuck where I am and havent been able to get back down to my ideal weight. I'm pretty sure it also had to do with me consuming about >1500 calories per day, but I'm not sure that was entirely. I tried the 4 hour body plan, which worked until I could not drop the weight I gained on one of my carb ups. I'm weary to even eat coconut milk, pumpkin, squash or sweet potato at this point. I'm not sure that its a completely rational fear.

I'm not really looking for anything unreasonable or anything fast. I understand the results worth having take time. I'd just like my vascularity/abs back. I'm worried I may have messed up my thyroid from a low-calorie diet for an extended amount of time and that's why I'm struggling to drop my bodyfat again. I'd appreciate any thoughts. I really like my abs and I'd like them back

As a side note, I know there is some controversy about Cod Liver Oil. I'm going to cycle off the Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil as soon as I finish this bottle and move to Carlson's Fish Oil.

Also, I'm a college student so sleep is not always regular for me, but I usually get between 7-9 hours per night.

Another thing: Has anybody have any thoughts about any of this? Also has anyone put on any sizeable mass using a vlc diet? I'm curious about this. My CrossFit coach told me I needed to bulk up lol.

Ee18d6c76789ac7115b2bf566c6e4f22

on September 12, 2011
at 06:19 PM

Thanks for the response David! Very nuanced and helpful.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on September 12, 2011
at 03:41 PM

Yeh, that's right. I know- as well as I can *know* without a proper body fat test- that it's fat, because when I went VLC again I didn't lose the weight again quickly (as one would with water weight, given that I was exercising very intensely and wuld have depleted my glycogen). And yes, I've never gained significant muscle mass, but improve in strength pretty steadily (nothing dramatic though).

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 12, 2011
at 12:36 PM

you gain 14lbs of fat(how do you know its fat?) if you add any carbs but you can't build muscle going to the gym consistently? or am I misunderstanding your post?

Ee18d6c76789ac7115b2bf566c6e4f22

on September 12, 2011
at 02:27 AM

Thanks for the response, man. I sincerely appreciate the bluntness.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on September 12, 2011
at 02:21 AM

A bit harsh, but I agree.

235259a645be3cac56196e0489dbc8f4

on September 12, 2011
at 02:18 AM

Over eating days I get upto 150-200 grams of carbs....post workout only.

235259a645be3cac56196e0489dbc8f4

on September 12, 2011
at 02:16 AM

My last one was 8 weeks. Although if I was more strict on calories I think I could reduce that to 6 weeks. With practice Im getting better and better at it...especially when I throw in some ESE. And Im still eating massive meals most coming in over 1,000 calories per.

Ee18d6c76789ac7115b2bf566c6e4f22

on September 12, 2011
at 02:12 AM

Also another quick question: What was the period of your cut?

Ee18d6c76789ac7115b2bf566c6e4f22

on September 12, 2011
at 02:06 AM

Thanks you so much. I actually fasted yesterday ESE style. I honestly prefer it to LG IF.

235259a645be3cac56196e0489dbc8f4

on September 12, 2011
at 02:04 AM

sure...during my last IF cut...I went from 12% bf to 8% bf while putting on 4lbs of muscle. I ran at 2500-3000 calories on lifting days to 1700-2000 calories on off days. I used both LG IF and ESE protocols and tracked all calories. Im 6 feet tall.

Ee18d6c76789ac7115b2bf566c6e4f22

on September 12, 2011
at 01:58 AM

I'm familiar with Martin's work. I read him before I even heard about paleo. I do count my fishoil calories and I come out to 1500-2000 on average. Can you specify specific caloric numbers for undereating/overeating? Thanks, Nick

Ee18d6c76789ac7115b2bf566c6e4f22

on September 12, 2011
at 01:48 AM

Yeah, I'm 173 right now.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on September 12, 2011
at 01:40 AM

Are you still around 165 lbs? How tall? Goals? Without knowing more about you, I would agree with your CrossFit coach.

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4 Answers

5
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 12, 2011
at 02:17 AM

Your a 21 yr old male who needs to gain weight, get over you othorexia and start eating at least 150g carbs(personally I would do a lot more). Up your calories too.

Your restrictions are clearly holding you back, a 21yr old fit male who exercises shouldn't be very low carb, especially if you suspect you have thyroid issues.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on September 12, 2011
at 02:21 AM

A bit harsh, but I agree.

Ee18d6c76789ac7115b2bf566c6e4f22

on September 12, 2011
at 02:27 AM

Thanks for the response, man. I sincerely appreciate the bluntness.

2
4bf5827bfb7df85c5b4b485db0945e64

(1386)

on September 12, 2011
at 03:18 AM

If you're doing Crossfit, you're going to eventually need to up your carbohydrate intake or you will crash. Crossfit is too glycolytically challenging for most to thrive there on a ketogenic diet. Every time you feel your muscles burning, that's anaerobic (without oxygen), you're using glycogen, and you get that feeling a lot in Crossfit.

If you stay VLC and continue to Crossfit, your cortisol will shoot up and this competes with testosterone. Higher cortisol will make it near impossible to lean out and testosterone is important for recovery.

Keep all that in mind.

You can get your cortisol to testosterone ratio measured to see if you're over-training and pin it down to that. That might also be a good time to get your thyroid checked out.

Also, calorie restriction is going to increase cortisol.

1
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on September 12, 2011
at 08:10 AM

I think first we (or rather you) need to sort out your goals. On the one hand you want weight loss and to get your abs back, on the other you (or rather your coach) want you to build some mass. These goals are, of course, likely to be in tension and to require opposite prescriptions. Four years ago I was in much the same position as you, in that I wanted to be a bit leaner but also- being of a naturally very slight build- wanted to bulk up. Indeed, although I knew I needed to lose some body fat, everybody who only saw me with clothes on thought that I looked much better after a period of drinking lots of pints, eating kebabs and not going to the gym (first term of uni!) than when I was fitter.

It sounds like you're doing everything right for weight loss, so one hopes it will come, albeit slowly. I wouldn't be too worried by the fact that you lost a lot of weight quickly before on LC and now seem not to be losing anything. Presumably you lost a lot of water and glycogen at first, but in the long term you only lost 200g of fat for a 1800calorie deficit (luckily, of course, a lot of weight is water and you'll keep losing that), so fat loss will be a slow process. Check out this wonderful chart. One thing I would suggest is some longer, less intense exercise. I am an extreme case of preferring hard and short exercise (also did BBS, to the point of wanting to throw up after an exercise and also much prefer the sprint intervals when I am doing longer cardio- I find them more fun and psychologically easier). But contra what almost everyone else suggests or reports, I find more weight loss coming, surprisingly quickly when I do an hour of slowish cardio every day (only burning 4-500 calories or so), compared to when I'm doing intense workouts every couple of days. This doesn't count as 'chronic cardio' either since the intensity is so low and there's no impact in my case (cycling or cross-training). The only problem is that it is time-consuming. If you're doing BBS, you have plenty of time though. It's true that intense exercise is the bedrock of your workouts- actually improving your performance, but your BBS has probably got that covered. For losing fat you probably just want lots of non-intense activity- like a HG moving around constantly in the wild- rather than yet more short bursts of intense activity.

As to the gaining mass: if you're a 'hard-gainer' in the sense that you can never gain any fat come what may, then it's easy to prescribe downing gallons of milk and chowing potato, but otherwise it may be the last thing you want. In your case it'll be more complex. Myself and innumerable naturally slight people I know haven't built any substantial muscle mass over 5 years or so religiously going to the gym (trying various different methods. Strength can always being improved, but building muscle mass is rather more difficult. If you're VLC now, I'd suggest adding 50g of carbs first and seeing what happens. If you suddenly feel alive with energy then great. In my case, I just gained about a stone in weight (mostly fat).

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 12, 2011
at 12:36 PM

you gain 14lbs of fat(how do you know its fat?) if you add any carbs but you can't build muscle going to the gym consistently? or am I misunderstanding your post?

Ee18d6c76789ac7115b2bf566c6e4f22

on September 12, 2011
at 06:19 PM

Thanks for the response David! Very nuanced and helpful.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on September 12, 2011
at 03:41 PM

Yeh, that's right. I know- as well as I can *know* without a proper body fat test- that it's fat, because when I went VLC again I didn't lose the weight again quickly (as one would with water weight, given that I was exercising very intensely and wuld have depleted my glycogen). And yes, I've never gained significant muscle mass, but improve in strength pretty steadily (nothing dramatic though).

1
235259a645be3cac56196e0489dbc8f4

on September 12, 2011
at 01:53 AM

Just curious, but are you counting calories at all. I find for myself when I hit a plateau that if I count calories accurately ( livestrong.com ) that I find myself under estimated how many Im actually eating. My biggest flaw was never counting fish oil accurately and consuming hunderds of calores more then I thought I was.

Also, I find for quick weight loss...if I do VLC at 2000 calories for 10-14 days, I drop weight quickly but then plateau. The best way around this for me has been IF (Intermittent Fasting ) with periods of over eating and then under eating. Over eating days will be extra carbs only post workout and under eating days are VLC days. This up and down of calories running a slight weekly deficit has always worked for me in dropping weight consistantly without sacrificing muscle and strength.

This method is probably best described at the LeanGains IF approach. www.leangains.com

235259a645be3cac56196e0489dbc8f4

on September 12, 2011
at 02:04 AM

sure...during my last IF cut...I went from 12% bf to 8% bf while putting on 4lbs of muscle. I ran at 2500-3000 calories on lifting days to 1700-2000 calories on off days. I used both LG IF and ESE protocols and tracked all calories. Im 6 feet tall.

Ee18d6c76789ac7115b2bf566c6e4f22

on September 12, 2011
at 02:06 AM

Thanks you so much. I actually fasted yesterday ESE style. I honestly prefer it to LG IF.

Ee18d6c76789ac7115b2bf566c6e4f22

on September 12, 2011
at 01:58 AM

I'm familiar with Martin's work. I read him before I even heard about paleo. I do count my fishoil calories and I come out to 1500-2000 on average. Can you specify specific caloric numbers for undereating/overeating? Thanks, Nick

235259a645be3cac56196e0489dbc8f4

on September 12, 2011
at 02:16 AM

My last one was 8 weeks. Although if I was more strict on calories I think I could reduce that to 6 weeks. With practice Im getting better and better at it...especially when I throw in some ESE. And Im still eating massive meals most coming in over 1,000 calories per.

235259a645be3cac56196e0489dbc8f4

on September 12, 2011
at 02:18 AM

Over eating days I get upto 150-200 grams of carbs....post workout only.

Ee18d6c76789ac7115b2bf566c6e4f22

on September 12, 2011
at 02:12 AM

Also another quick question: What was the period of your cut?

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