BodyWorks: Just Get Fit.

Is it possible to lose enough weight to a healthy BMI by just doing a keto diet without exercise?

A rather predictable but risky question to ask a guy who runs a gym, isn’t it?

Well, I won’t answer it predictably, then. I’ll answer it briefly and honestly:

Yes, of course it is possible.

A properly designed Ketogenic Diet will certainly do the job as specified.

But is it desirable?

The role of exercise in this type of diet would be to maximize the benefit, reduce the loss of lean muscle mass and modify some of the other possible negatives or residual effects of a diet of this type which the practitioner may encounter.

Just as an aside, as long as you are going to go to the trouble to put a keto diet in play, it seems a bit of a shame not to get the maximum benefit from your task by avoiding a little iron pumping.

If weight loss is your only concern  in life, then a well designed diet will be sufficient. But most of us want to look good and be functional, too.
If weight loss is your only concern in life, then a well designed diet will be sufficient. But most of us want to look good and be functional, too.

Can I ingest all my daily protein requirement in one go?

As is the case with a majority of questions, it depends on how you go about it and what your goal is.

Most athletes, bodybuilders among them, like the idea of numerous protein feedings throughout the day, distributing a minimum amount of amino acids evenly, more or less, to the body for modifications and repair as the body requires building blocks for these purposes.

Furthermore, athletes like the idea of about 2+g complete protein/kg body weight, say around 200g average intake per day.

Practically speaking, 200g of protein at a single sitting, while sounding simple and certainly doable, may be a bit uncomfortable as a daily habit.

There is also a question of whether the body will efficiently assimilate the quantity of protein at one go. What is likely to happen is that a higher percentage of the protein than is the case with smaller, divided protein portions, is converted and stored as fat.

Then again, in circumstances like a Ketogenic Diet, an ”all-in-one” might just work out to your advantage.

For most people, at least ones interesting in conserving and perhaps increasing lean muscle mass, splitting up their protein feedings is going to be a better choice.

SQUATS: Full Vs. Half

Squats: The Queen of Leg Movements?

Back in the day, when I was both less and more: less injured , less experienced, less wise, less cynical, yet more confident that I knew more than I actually did, I was in the habit of proclaiming to training partners, clients, interested relatives, friends and basically anyone else who would listen to me that

Full range of motion is the golden fleece of bodybuilding training and always, always, always is the right way to train in the gym!

Anything else was just tripe and junk information put out by anybody who was ignorant and too lazy to know any better than to have any other viewpoint that wasn’t mine.

All these years (and all these injuries)later, my experience, further learnings and whatever tiny slivers of wisdom that I’ve managed to wrest from the cruel onslaught of time have reliably informed me that I will, under certain circumstances, have to change my viewpoint a little.

FULL SQUAT pros:

  • You get better at doing full squats than if you don’t.
  • You get slightly more glute and hip flexor/extensor involvement , so if glutes are a prime concern this is one (but not the only) of the ways of getting to them.
  • More Quad involvement (except for the Rectus Femoris muscles)

FULL SQUAT cons:

  • Increased risk of injury, wear and tear (Lower Back , Knees and Hip connectors/connections.
  • Does not significantly improve hamstring conditioning .
  • Difficult to do with back and knee injuries

HALF SQUATS pros:

  • Less Risk of Injury
  • Less wear and tear on the lower back and knees.

HALF SQUATS cons:

  • Not as stimulating to Quads & Glutes (but close enough).
  • Like Full Squats, little benefit to the hamstrings.

So, there you have it.

If you’re injury free and want maximum gluteal and hip flexor stimulation then FULL SQUATS are your weapon of choice.

If you are dealing with a back, knee, hip and/or connective tissue issues then HALF SQUATS will be the movement of choice, if you want to do squats at all.

Can You Furnish An Example Of How Genes Influence Choice of Training Programme Design?

Is it Mind Over Matter? Or, just Genes that matter?

Great question, I was hoping that somebody would ask me one like it!

People struggle with all the conflicting ”expert” training advice that they are so often exposed to. Champion A tells us that 3 hour training sessions, twice a day, are the way to go; while Champion B let’s us know that Champ A’s training methods are laughable and that only 30 minutes every other day are required. As long as you train like a bat out of hell, the way that he trains.

The simple answer may be that both could be right. Each champion might actually be telling us the truth that, as long as you have his genetics, training like him will provide his results.

There is one particular Gene designated ACTN3 R577X  that is highly involved with whether you will respond to heavy weight/low rep volume vs. light weight/high rep volume.

If you ar a member of the majority of the population possessing either of the two versions of this gene that remain functional, you’re in luck (roughly 2/3 of world population).

The lucky individuals who possess RR and RX variants are very likely to respond well to low volume with heavier weights or, alternatively to get more from HIIT type of workouts and be better at sprinting. This is because they will often have a preponderance of Fast Twitch Type II Muscle Fibres. Along with these features, RR and RX variants will suffer less muscle damage and require less time to recover from their training sessions.

Now the rest of the world (roughly 1/3 of our total population), and I am one of these, who have the XX, or knockout allele will not respond favourably to heavy weights or HIIT type of training. We will have to use other strategies (High Volume/Lower Weight or LSD, Long Slow Distance) to achieve their fitness goals.

Are you doomed to failure, if you are one of the unlucky XX Knockouts? Who never might develop herculean strength and size and may have to put longer hours in at the gym and see fewer results?

No, not outright. You may still have a relatively good chance to be successful. As long as you are willing to try harder, work harder, learn more and make maximum use of your smarts.

Footnote Reference:

A Gene that affects the quality and quantity of muscle fibres and response

How to train?
Consult your DNA.

Is Morning, Afternoon or Evening the Best Time to Train?

Here is an instance where ‘’knowing yourself’’ is advantageous.

Are you one of these people who throw themselves out of bed at the crack of dawn and yell ‘’HELLO WORLD!’’ at the top of your lungs, going from 0 to cruising speed in a heartbeat?

Then taking advantage of what early risers inevitably like to call the ‘’best part of the day’’ will be the option you choose as your hour of power to maximize your potential.

On the other hand, if like me, you’ve got everything it takes to be a Rock & Roll Star (except the ability to sing or dance) and the only way you will ever see the dawn is by staying up all night to do it, perhaps later in the day will be best.

If you are a square peg, my advice is to keep your edges nice and sharp and not round them off in order to succumb to a fashionable belief that round holes are better than square ones.

If you try to maintain a schedule that doesn’t suit your particular style, predilection and aptitude…failure, fatigue and disappointment will be the likely outcomes.

Looks pretty uncomfortable.

Everyone says that Sugar Alcohols are OK on a Keto Diet if you’re looking for that sugar fix but also want to maintain Ketosis. Is this right?

Caveat Emptor.

Everyone is usually a damn fool.

Whether the sugar alcohols (polyols) will kick you out of KETO or not depends on which one(s) and amounts that are in the ingredients list (this goes for those delicious ”No Carb” Protein Bars, too).

For instance, Malitol, the most ubiquitous of the commercial grade polyols has about a 35/100 value on the glycemic index (glucose rates an even 100) and this polyol will certainly boot you out of KETO.

However, due to the way a particular sugar alcohol is called Erythritol is metabolized (it isn’t, your body excretes it virtually unaltered) it is one that won’t affect your KETO in any appreciable amount. Some manufacturers will incorporate Erythritol in their product, but along with it, will usually use others, as well.

There’s quite a bit of false or misleading advertising when it comes to these ‘’non-carbohydrate’’ carbs, so watch it.

Cooking with Virgin Olive Oil (VOO) is the way to go for Bodybuilders, Health & Fitness People, right?

Quite a few people appear to think so.

But as far as most of its health benefits, particularly for VOO or X-VOO, in practice doesn’t really work for anything other than dishes requiring relatively low level cooking temperatures. Especially when frying at high temperature, as it has a relatively low smoking point temperature.

Even at lower temperatures, levels of oxidation are great enough to make the reasons for cooking with it, other than perhaps taste, invariably disappear.

Cooking with Virgins is usually a tricky business.

Canola (rapeseed here in Europe) oil, which uses expeller methods of processing, on the other hand, is fairly robust, even at high cooking temps (194-235 Centigrade) and resistant to significant levels of oxidation (unless you tend to overcook and burn things like I do).

Although, I’ll be the first to admit, perhaps not quite as tasty as VOO & X-VOO. It is usually much less expensive and a better tool for searing and quick cooks when you want the griddle nice and hot for a quick fry up.

Virgin Olive oil (along with true balsamic vinegar) is best saved for those cold, raw and the more delicate dishes and served cold.

*To set regular readers of this blog minds’ at ease, Alex’s Corner is NOT turning into a cooking blog.

The last few questions we’ve received have been on cooking and nutrition related topics.*

Amateur Keto Cookery PT. 2. Why You Should Do It.

The main complaint goes something like this:

Keto seems to be the rage and appears to work, but it’s so boring, all that fat is disgusting, you’re food selection is limited, making it dull and hard to stick to and yada, yada, yada….

Yeah, ok I get it.

Carbohydrates are party foods, release serotonin, so you feel good, all that fat is disgusting and yes, does take some getting used to, and life is hard. So what?

You’ve got to do something, you’ve got to change something and that change ain’t racing towards your email box, as we speak, to be delivered free of charge.

Keto is just the least disagreeable way to sort out some of that unsightly candle wax stored just beneath your chin like a turkey goblet, surrounding your midriff like a piece of albino inner tubing and melting down your thighs like tallow.

Man Up, princess life is hard and so is dieting.

Yes, but it’s not impossible!

Fortunately , the majority of us live in relatively well-to-do countries and can usually afford to indulge our culinary whims and aren’t forced to go that involuntary diet route known as “”starvation”.

Keto living tests out your culinary skills and makes you put on your thinking cap, sure. This is just bound to make you more self reliant!

Besides, by dropping all your takeaways, it won’t cost you more than you’re already putting down for munchies.

Keto Meal Plan: Lunch

  • Organic cucumber with broccoli. Turmeric, cayenne and aged balsamic vinegar flavoured hummus.

  • Steak mince mixed bean goulash with egg, tomatoes, organic lemon pieces, marmite, onions and spices. Topped with feta and Guernsey butter.

  • A variation of bulletproof coffee: Freshly ground and brewed coffee bean, Sri Lanka cinnamon, MCT Oil, lecithin, collagen, ground coconut and raw cocoa.

And look, you even get some nice leftovers for work, care of Mrs. Tupper(ware)!

The Cooking Amateur’s Keto Cooking Corner.

So, one of the best things about running your own business and scripting your own website for that business is, that you get to do what you want to do when you want to do it and write what you want to write. (Although, if you don’t get it right often enough, you are sure to eventually go out of business).

I don’t know about the readers that peruse this website and how they feel about the results that they must often come up with after searching Google for something that they might be interested in and coming up with nothing but predictable reams of junk.

Personally, I get bored, fed up and become hungry for something a little more informative, even perhaps individual and unique, without just being crazy or idiotic. Is this really hoping for too much?

Anyone who has read much of my News & Views here is familiar with the interest of the writer in Ketogenic Nutrition related topics. Only my closest acquaintances are aware of my attempts to cook. Usually, pretty unsuccessful ones. But, as I am often heard saying to say, “Every Day’s A School Day!” And hopefully, I get a little better as I go along.

Although, not still alive and trying to get away, this thing was devilishly hard to keep on the spit

Recently, because the old stove in the loft had a nervous breakdown as it presumably just had had enough of my ridiculously amateur culinary antics, I bought a portable rotisserie convection oven.

And I was dying to try it out, if for no other reason, than to avoid another microwaved omelette.

Murphy’s Law applied to Keto Rotisserie Chicken:

  1. Don’t untruss or score the chicken. This just destabilizes the damn thing on the spit;
  2. Coating the splayed unbalanced chicken with your special seasoned tahini & mustard dressing before the match makes it awkward to wrestle with. By the time you finally convince it (about 45 minutes later) to stay put on the spit, less is on the chicken than on you and across the rest of your kitchen.
Once it had been convinced to remain on the spit, things went well.

Wrestled Spicy Organic & Cashew Stuffed Rustic Rotisserie Chicken swathed in extra virgin organic Kalamata Olive Oil, Tahini, French Mustard, Balsamic Vinegar & spices.

  • Cook in a convection/rotisserie oven @ 190C for 110-120 minutes if, like Alex, you like it extra crispy. To get it proper crisp, set temp to 210C-220C for the last 10 mins. Otherwise, 100 mins should do (1.3kg) most normals. (Alex is just squeamish, doesn’t want to hear it squawk when he sticks it).
  • Serve hot & crispy with roasted onion wedges, broccoli, mushrooms, a cold Greek Salad & houmous. These can be thrown into the oven under the chicken during the last 10 minutes of cooking time with a little olive oil and seasoning, if required.
  • Wash it down with icy sparkling mineral water and freshly ground coffee on a sunny day.
  • Serves 2-4 normals or 1-2 hungry bodybuilder types.
The Payoff.

What are core exercises and what are some good ones?

The Deadlift. Considered by most as a classic core exercise.

I’m an old school guy, so this will be an Old Skool Gym answer.

Firstly, a few points. They may or may not be familiar points, but they are necessary to state for a basic understanding of why core movements (also often mislabeled as functional exercises) are different from isolation movements and why (or why not) they be preferable.

Scoop out the internal organs, slice the upper human body transversely and you get something that looks like this.

Above is a simplified representation of a cross section of a human torso. What you see have here is basically a space (where your internal organs would go) surrounded by concentric bands of muscle with a spinal column thrown in.

If you apply force by way of an exercise anteriorly, dorsally or laterally (from the front, back or side) for a period of time to this torso, it is likely to develop these muscles and be considered a core exercise.

Core exercises often are difficult, relatively complex, involve multiple joints and multiple muscle groups (obviously, centered around your core) sorts of movements. The opposite of what most bodybuilders would call focused or isolation exercises.

Core exercises can also be placed in a higher risk category. This means that they will offer you more injury opportunities, not least because core exercises will be done with heavier weight loads than isolation exercises and usually utilize free weights rather than machines (which offer more supporting structure and are therefore ‘less core’ ).

The following is a list of good gym core exercises:

  1. Squats (Both Front loaded & Back Loaded)
  2. Deadlifts
  3. Dumbbell Press (Various bench angles).
  4. Unsupported Dumbbell Rows
  5. Pull Ups
  6. Push Ups

*And if it’s a nice day, you might want to get yourself outside and do some tyre flipping and/or sled or prowler pushing/pulling.*

Now, are these the only good core exercises out there? No, of course not.

The above short list are just the most accessible ones for most people and probably require the least amount of time to master (as opposed to the Olympic Lifts, etc).