BodyWorks: Be No Weakling

Paleo vs Keto. Which Is Better?

It’s a comparison of two different things here, apples and tangerines.

The Ketogenic diet has a pretty definite set of criteria and clearly defined boundaries involved with it. It has a good body of science and logic associated with it, whether you subscribe to its claims of sustainability or not.

On the other hand, Paleo is a diet system that is not very clearly defined. It seems to be one of those touchy-feely sorts of diets, full of arbitrary guidelines and riddled with conjecture, without much science. The premise here that food consumed during man’s palaeolithic past, when whatever he managed to gather or hunt down with primitive stone tools is what we ought to base our modern eating habits on, is just a little silly. Palaeolithic man’s life was poor, tedious, nasty, brutish and short. He often maintained a variety of comorbidities throughout his brief existence, covering everything from worms, arthritis, spinal degeneration to vermin and periodontal disease.

You also haven’t mentioned as far as better for what exactly? what do you hope to achieve with your diet tool?

Is it Fat Loss? Then use keto.

Is it the optimisation of your blood profile? Then use keto.

Is it blood sugar normalisation? Keto is your diet tool of choice.


Hopefully, that answers your question?

Nutritional Ketosis: How do I know that I am Keto-adapted?

*Note* The question comes at the right time: Day 42 of LOCKDOWN! Looking around for my toes only to see the top of my belly-button.
No, but it is KETO.

By three very simple & methods.

Checking whether or not you’re in Ketosis isn’t much of a chore, nor need it be daunting and complicated.

Many people either seem to believe that they don’t need to check that they’re in KETO [WRONG], that they can just ”know” or feel that they are (maybe they can, maybe not); or that finding out if they are in KETO is a complicated matter, like becoming a freemason [WRONG again].

The two Ketone Bodies that you’re concerned with are Acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB).

The simplest one of these two to find is Acetoacetate, the chemical that causes your breath to smell of acetone. This brings up the point that the odor of acetone on your breath is a very easy practical way to tell if you’re in Ketosis. In other words, it rarely gives you a false positive and you can use it quite happily as an indicator.

  • If your breath smells like acetone, you’re in.
  • If your breath doesn’t smell of acetone, does that mean you’re out? NO. Some people are just more susceptible to this type of bad breath than others (probably due to certain characteristics of their gut microbiome).
  • If you’re not using breath odor to find out your status, the other easy way is to use KETOstix or a similar brand to easily test the level of acetoacetate that your body is excreting in the urine. You can buy a little packet or canister of these handy little tools on Amazon for about £10.

Now, for geeks, like myself, blood BHB meters are widely available online for about £50. These involve pricking your finger with a little microchipped lancet and having the device analyze your blood for any BHB molecules swimming around in it. Not necessary, but fun (at least for people like me).

During the day, there are two optimal times for testing:

  1. Before breakfast
  2. An hour or two after supper and prior to bed.

Be warned, testing after the gym quite often leads to disappointment. This is usually because exercise will break down any glycogen stores that still may be clandestinely stored in little pockets around the body, releasing enough glucose in the bloodstream to boot you out of Ketosis for a while.

Also, you will find that you are well keto-adapted when you notice that you rarely suffer from low blood sugar or random blood sugar level swings. You will also rarely suffer from hunger or be particularly interested in food.

Funnily enough, to be truly keto-adapted is a little like being on a course of culinary & dietary Prozac.

Being a Mad Scientist and Experimenting on Yourself is often Fun and can be Educational.

Things As They Are

Ok, COViD-19 Update!

Just like every other business on Earth, we are on a very necessary but unsought and unwanted viral holiday.

Bodyworks, a business that has not had one day off in the last 21 years, is now closed to the general public due to a plague of a bloody bug that went interspecies due to the twisted tastes for Bush Meat of the Chinese palate.

This status to be reviewed and updated, as events unfold.


Hopefully, we will be open for business as usual in the near future.

For those of you who require products from our health shop, we can supply all products required on a by-arrangement-basis, observing all SOG Mandates & Regulations. This includes all bars, protein, drinks & supplement supplies at bargain prices!

Please contact us for further details.


Things as they are.


I want to gain muscle mass quickly, but can’t change my schedule around much, as I don’t have a lot of time to spare. What are some good Mass Hacks?

Well, you can try the same kind of hack that has been tried for flying to the moon without a contract from Nasa or SpaceX or making your 3 wishes come true without the benefits of a magical lamp from Aladin.

One of the downsides of the internet, as I see it, is this modern Hack Mindset. The idea that there is a shortcut, an effortless way out, for everything. Usually, the proponents of this Hack stuff know damned little about the subject that they’re setting hacks up for.

I just wouldn’t give you House Odds on it.

Not making a change to your current strategy & behaviour, continuing to do what you’ve always done, expecting something different to happen, is a ticket to a fool’s paradise. It’s not going to happen, no matter how many Internet Gurus you consult on the subject of Hacks n Quick Fixes.

So, barring that miracle, your results are very likely to be pretty disappointing, any way you cut the deck.

Image result for rube goldberg machine ideas

Rube Goldberg should be able to provide the answer that you’re looking for.

Should I cycle off of protein and other muscle building/workout supplements every other month to protect organs?

Protein? No, it’s not a drug like say, Oxycodone.

In fact, if you decide to completely ‘’cycle-off’’ protein, i.e. remove it from your diet for long enough, it is quite likely to result in rather dire consequences.

One of them would be the protein deficiency disease called kwashiorkor and the other? Is, of course, death.

Whether it is wise to cycle-off other supplements that you may be taking really depends on the supplement, it’s pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics.

How Many Times A Week Should You Deadlift & Squat?

*Note* This has been one of my most popular posts on Quora, I thought it ought to also work for the website, so I’m re-blogging it here.

Both of these multi-joint exercises exert incredible stresses on the spine, individual vertebrae and intervertebral discs, as well as core muscles, postural muscles and main drivers.

If handled intelligently, qualities like fortitude, dedication and willpower are good and beautiful tools. Like any good tools, they’re reliable but only guaranteed to build and not cause injury if applied within their measured tolerances. When these qualities are applied to training and pushing yourself beyond your body’s limits, even more so.

Obsession is a very overused term. It is often mistaken for the previously mentioned set of qualities. Letting obsession get out of hand conjures up a whole Pandora’s box of high-risk outcomes from activities that have potentially devastating consequences if pushed too far and too hard for too long.

The body is a many-faceted machine, resilient and magical, but it’s a relatively soft one. Its owner must proceed with caution, with an eye on the clock and respect for his or her future self.

OK, detour finished and on to a simple answer to your question: if your sessions are brutal, high-intensity, kick-a*s types of events, a maximum of once-per-week should be about right.

 Less intense, lighter, perhaps higher volume training schemes could be run more often. But, then whether this type of training suits you is based a great deal on genetics. *You will have to experiment to discover if these types of sessions produce results. If they do, this will significantly reduce your risk of injury and chronic conditions in the future. Don’t take someone else’s word as law before you spend the time necessary for evaluation yourself. This is not an area where shortcuts always pay dividends.

Yeah, INTENSITY, that electrically charged “I don’t care if it kills me” attitude, it works, it surely does. Ocassionly with truly astounding results.

But there are potential risks as well as the costs involved for running it at too high a current:


All photos from my collection.


The photo above is an example of some of the functional outcomes of decades with this training outlook and ethic.

And here are examples of some of the downsides keeping with the “fuck it, I’ll do this if it kills me” mindset:

Sure, the point here may appear a little dramatic, perhaps overly so. Outcomes will vary. Of course, it won’t be the same story for everyone.

Ah, I hear you saying to yourself: ‘’Who here is really dumb or timid enough to believe that scare tactics like this work?’’

”Not me!” I hear you boast.

In the long game, trying to shame or bully people doesn’t change anyone’s behaviour or achieves nothing worth much.

Telling people what they would rather no hear and don’t want to believe just pisses them off, or else, they just ignore it and continue, business as usual.

For what it’s worth, I’m probably just waving around a magic reality wand and crying over spilt milk in the hope that a blog like this might perhaps modify someone’s behaviour enough so that they might avoid some common mistakes.

Sometimes, by grabbing the sharp edge of good intentions and taking a positive thing to the extreme, the sharp edge catches up with you.

If you want to get anywhere important in Bodybuilding, it is absolutely crucial that you train intensely. Hard, big exercises like deads and squats are phenomenal for creating this intensity.

But…it is also critical for you to spend the required time to recover from the resulting inevitable stress & damage that your tough training sessions bring about.

If you’ve managed to read this far and can tolerate a guy who once thought he was superman, climbing onto his pulpit to confess that he’s discovered otherwise, stick with me a bit longer.

Was injury just bad luck? Perhaps.

Was it Fate or Destiny? Who knows? But most likely my level of success would have measurably improved, and Fate might have worn a kinder smile, by affording myself an attitude a little less driven, a little less reckless, proceeding a little more cautiously and spending my recovery time a little more wisely. Pain? What was pain? Way back in the day and at the time…The pain was just a signal to throw open a door that you walked right through…not letting it hit you on the ass on the way through it.

My interpretation of pain, my relationship to its signals and frames of reference, while still ambivalent, is significantly different these days.

At this point in my life, the constant, familiar, repeating and never-ending message that pain sends echoing back to me from my once-upon-a-time younger, dumber, more fearless but impatient and incautious self, has lost its power. Through year-upon-year of waging war against it, pain loses much of its value to prevent the harm that it once may have represented. The only thing it does now is to produce a continual weariness and constant fatigue.

This, I sometimes say to myself, is just the way it goes, just the way some shit happens to some stubborn, pig-headed people.

If I had the chance to do it over again?

Ridiculous speculation, because no one ever gets that chance.

I’d unquestionably take more time off to adapt, recover and recuperate.

The harder and more intensely you train, the less frequently you need to, or in fact, should train.

Assuming that this rule-of-thumb won’t apply to you often carries with it dire consequences.

This blog was not intended to be a sermon.

I am not saying “quit-before-you-get-hurt” or here to instil doubts about attempting difficult tasks with balls-to-walls determination…that would just be pathetic, the folly of losers.

My intention is merely to produce a cautionary tale designed to supply some good, old-fashion, backwoods-home-truth adhesive for application as the reader may see fit.

When I started to answer this question, I didn’t start off meaning to point in this direction, it just kind of evolved into a kind of  ‘‘but there you go: here is curated, well-packed lesson delivered directly to the door!”

Should you decide it is a worthwhile one and care to sign for it after pressing the learn-it button.

Courtesy of Steve Chauvel and BodyWorks

I get really sore after a good workout. Is it okay to use ice and/or ibuprofen to recover after I lift?

Image result for doms

Sure, should you strain your ankle or pull a hamstring muscle.

However, need to be a little careful utilising either of these strategies for just post training soreness or DOMS.

This is because both reduce/interfere with the post training inflammatory response that is a necessary part of the body’s natural adaptation process. A process as important to building muscle or increasing fitness levels as the actual training itself.

So, that post training “soreness” is actually a signal that you’ve trained with enough intensity to give the body notice that it needs to initiate a cascade of responses to repair the damage you’ve inflicted to the system.

Best to just relax, take a hot bath, apply good nutritional strategies that perhaps include HMB, BCAA, creatine and a balanced intake of macros.

I sometimes kick back in a jacuzzi or hot tub with a small glass of red wine and admire the stars after a good meal.

This also seems to do the trick.

Image result for pain after weightlifting

”Struggle breeds character?” Well, maybe or maybe not. But post training soreness is a good indicator that sufficient training intensity was applied and maintained  to initiate hypertrophy.


When Maintaining Ketosis, How Do You Prevent Gluconeogenesis?

You Don’t.

At Least Not 24/7 forever and ever. There will be occasions that GNG is going to happen, whether you like it or not.

By sticking to the Keto and becoming Keto Adapted, however, you will reduce and all but eliminate these instances.

You will find occasionally, that a particularly intense cardio or rigorous resistance training session will move you temporarily out of ketosis and into GNG, but this is not unusual and is more-or-less prevalent depending on your genetics, your level of Keto Adaptation, intensity & duration of exercise.

I have also found a dose or two of MCT Oil very useful for getting myself back on the wagon quickly.

I bought some creatine, put it in the cupboard and forgot about it. It’s now passed the expiry date. Is it still safe to use?

Creatine Monohydrate is quite stable and as long as it is kept dry and not exposed to high temperatures, won’t quickly degrade and will be good well past its BBE or sell-by date.

Putting it into solution, getting it wet, on the other hand, will cause conversion to creatinine, degradation, loss of potency and possibly fungal growth.


So, although time eventually will affect your product, moisture and heat are your real enemies here.

I’ve heard that the act of writing is like building muscles. How’s that work?

I’m delighted that someone has finally gotten around to asking me this question.

I am reasonably certain I could continue to write a piece lasting 20–30 thousand words or more trying to get at the heart of an answer to this question, dropping any number of semi-interested readers into a semi-conscious, soporific haze along the way. But let’s try to keep it short (and hopefully) sweet and still get it close to right.

The whole process of building muscle, how well and how much of it you can gain and maintain, is a chaotic, complex, multifaceted process which lends itself to all sorts of vagaries, inputs, avenues of development and defeat, disciplines, tacit fields of knowledge and so on, ad infinitum.

But leaving genetics out of it (in the literary world genetics might be considered the equivalent of talent), getting muscles is the systematic application of stress applied at the point of impact for a specific quantity of focused time and with a frequency required to obtain the effect desired.

The act of writing, at least for me:

Repetition, repetition, repetition.

works in this pretty similar vein.