Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

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Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

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Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

1​ ​Challenging Biases

What The Shit Is A Ketogenic Diet? WHY!? WHY DO SOMETHING AS CRAZY AS THIS?

2​ ​The Experiment Begins Prepping for the Experiment SKD: Standard Ketogenic Diet CKD: Cyclical Ketogenic Diet TKD: Targeted Ketogenic Diet

3​ ​The End of the Experiment What I learned The Pros The Cons Overall Opinion

4​ ​Should You Do A Ketogenic Diet? Picking The Right Ketogenic Diet For You

5​ ​Setting Up Your Own Ketogenic Diet Working out calories Setting Macros How to do a Cyclical Ketogenic Diet? How to do a TKD? Keto Friendly Foods Sample Meal Plan

6​ ​Tips For A Successful Ketogenic Diet 7​ ​In Closing Resources WAIT. THERE’S MORE.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

DISCLAIMER ​The Boring Shit Blah blah blah, if you die I can’t be held responsible. Oh...I’m not allowed to say that and I need this written by a Lawyer? Well that sounds fucking lame. Fine, hold on for a second. The information presented herein is in no way intended as medical advice or to serve as a substitute for medical counseling. Rather, as with all exercise and nutrition programs, it is intended only to supplement, not replace, medical care or advice as part of a healthful lifestyle. As such, the information should be used in conjunction with the guidance and care of your physician. You must consult your physician before beginning this program as you would with any exercise and nutrition program. If you choose not to obtain the consent of your physician and/or work with your physician before reading this book, you are agreeing to accept full responsibility for your actions. By utilizing the exercise and nutritional strategies contained herein, you recognize that despite all precautions on the part of Aadam Ali and Physiqonomics Ltd. there are risks of injury or illness which can occur because of your use of the aforementioned information and you expressly assume such risks and waive, relinquish and release any claim which you may have against Aadam Ali and Physiqonomics Ltd. or its affiliates as a result of any future physical injury or illness incurred in connection with, or as a result of, the use or misuse of the exercise and nutritional strategies contained in, associated with, or performed in conjunction with the information laid out in this book.



Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

1 Challenging Biases In 2015, I spent half the year experimenting with a Ketogenic diet. Now, this is perhaps where you stare into your Smartphone, Kindle, Macbook, or, if you’re still living in the 19th fucking century, a Windows PC aghast at the idea someone would actually want to attempt a diet like this. Oh, right...what’s a ketogenic diet, My bad. I’m jumping ahead. Let’s jump back a bit.

What The Shit Is A Ketogenic Diet? There tends to be a lot of confusion around what a ketogenic diet ​actually is. When most people think of a ketogenic diet, they assume a low carb, high protein diet – which it isn’t. A ketogenic diet is a carbohydrate restricted, sufficient protein, ​high-fat diet. Meaning: 70-75% of your diet should be coming from fats, 5-10% from carbs, and 15-20% from protein.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

Generally, carb intake is set between 30-50g per day. Some people can increase carb intake to 100g per day and still be in ketosis, but for most, the 30-50g mark works best. The goal with a ketogenic diet is to shift your body from using glucose as its main fuel source to fat.​ When you restrict carbohydrates, the body enters into a metabolic state known as ‘ketosis; where the liver converts stored fat (triglycerides) into ketones. These ketones are what the body uses to fuel your brain, organs, and muscles. Ok. ​Now stare into your smartphone, Kindle, Macbook aghast and ask me why.

WHY!? WHY DO SOMETHING AS CRAZY AS THIS? Oh, I thought you’d never ask. For a few reasons. -

Challenging My Own Biases: ​for many years I was staunchly against low-carb diets of any kind; let alone a zero carb diet like keto. But, at the same time I’m always preaching the importance of being open minded and trying things. This experiment was, mainly, about challenging my own biases. Translated: not being a damn hypocrite.


Curiosity: ​ketogenic dieting has been a popular diet for many years now, but I really think it hit its mainstream peak around the end of 2014 and really took off in 2015. A lot of this has to do with credible, and evidence-based, coaches like Menno Henselmans who were openly espousing the benefits and advantages of a ketogenic diet.


Increasing My Coaching Tool Box: I​ ’m a coach. And for me to provide the best service I can to all my clients it’s my job to learn about all sorts of diets and nutrition strategies so I can best serve those who trust me to.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting


Increase My Own Knowledge: I​ ’m an autodidact, which is just a pretentious way to say, “I love to learn and experiment”. Reading textbooks is awesome, but more often than not, actually trying things teaches you more than any textbook can.

Keto Misconceptions As with most things, there are a few misconceptions people have about the ketogenic diet. This, not surprisingly, also tends to be those people who have never actually tried the diet themselves but ‘heard’ it was “bad” because a friend said so. I’m not one for rumours– let’s separate facts from fiction. -

You’ll lose muscle and strength: ​perhaps the most pervasive misconception is you’ll lose all your muscle and strength if you switch to keto. This only happens to those who don’t set their diet up correctly. Remember at the start when I said, “this is a high-fat, low carb, sufficient protein diet?”, well, the people who struggle with and see a dip in performance tend to be the people who rank up protein intake, drop their carbohydrates and pay no attention to their fats. As long as you set up the diet correctly, and pay attention to things like electrolytes (more on all of this later) you won’t see a dip in performance. And this may well just be an n=1, but I continued to set PR’s in the gym, and muscle loss? I’ll let you be the judge...


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting


The “Protein Sparing Effect”: ​the protein sparing effect is the idea that as your body has a fair amount of body fat to use as fuel it won’t revert to breaking down and using your muscles. This sounds great in theory, and does hold ​some truth but isn’t entirely correct. Sure, the more bodyfat you have the more the body will use the fat stores for energy, but as you begin to get leaner and body fat drops, your muscles are still at risk of being used for fuel – this can be offset by consuming adequate protein and strength training. Do you know what else is protein sparing? Carbs. When you consume adequate amounts of carbohydrates, your body will ‘spare’ protein (muscle) and use the carbs for energy; when you give the body dietary fat, it will spare protein and use fat for fuel. Do you know what is more ‘protein sparing’ than carbs and fats? Yup, protein. This is why protein intake is required to be kept at adequate levels, and sometimes even higher, during a dieting phase.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting


You’ll ​Never Get Hungry: ​one of the biggest benefits of the Ketogenic diet is the appetite suppressant effects, which i’ll discuss in more detail later. However, this doesn’t override biology. When you start to get really lean, your body is going to fight to get you back to your normal body weight regardless what your diet or macro composition is. And a large part of that means feeling hungry.


You’ll Burn More Fat If You Eat Fat: ​this is the most common argument you hear supporting the use of keto or any low carb diet – “eat fat to burn fat”. And again, this is one of those ideas where what’s really going on is misconstrued to what people want you to think is going on. If you increase your dietary fat intake, your body ​will ‘burn more fat’ but “fat burning” doesn’t equate to “body fat burning”. Simply, your body’s burning more fat because that’s all it has to use for fuel (when carbohydrates are removed), but if you’re consuming more calories than you’re burning, you can eat all the fat you want – you’re still gaining body fat. Why? It’s to do with a little something called, “Fat Balance”.

Take a look at the image above. Y ​ our body is constantly storing and burning fat in a day (first image). It's the long-term balance that will decide if you're losing or gaining fat. If the amount of fat you burn stays the same as the fat 7

Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

you store over the long term = body fat remains the same. If the amount of fat you burn over an extended period of time is less than the amount you store = fat gain (image 2) If the amount of fat you burn exceeds the amount of fat you store = fat loss (image 3). Gettit? Good. Then let us move on. -

YOU NEED CARBS!!!: w ​ hile carbs can most definitely aid performance, they’re not as necessary as people think. And as long as you set your ketogenic diet up properly, you’ll be surprised by the amount of energy you have.


High Protein Intake Kicks You Out of Ketosis: ​This myth is

constantly spouted by keto-folk, and it’s utterly and completely false. The myth: ​eating too much protein will kick you out of ketosis. This

isn’t true. Bill Lagakos of Calories Proper has written a great piece on why this doesn’t happen in humans, you can ​read that here. Now, just because high protein intake won’t kick you out of ketosis, this doesn’t mean go nuts with protein consumption; remember, this is a high-fat diet, and so, fat should be the dominant macronutrient. -

Keto Works Better For Fat Loss: ​I’m a bit torn on this one. While I’ve gotten lean on a higher carb diet before (see image below), I did find being in a state of Ketosis to be more conducive to tackling the ‘trouble’ areas – what people more commonly refer to as stubborn fat.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

But, does being in a state of ketosis override total caloric intake? Absolutely not. Ok, now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s get into the experiment.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

2 The Experiment Begins Prepping for the Experiment Before we get into the experiment, I need to explain what I did before starting. To make things ‘fair’, I decided to gain some, uh... weight. Here, see for yourself.

Apologies for the bad quality photos, but I had a potatocam back then

As you can see from the pic, I was pretty lean before going into the experiment. And seeing that I wanted to test out the diet thoroughly, It made sense. Though, I’m never doing that shit again. I went from around 166/167 lbs all the way up to 175lbs.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

So, here I was: Fat. Now to begin. I tested the three variants of the Keto diet: the SKD, CKD, and TKD.

SKD: Standard Ketogenic Diet The SKD, abbreviated for Standard Ketogenic Diet, is the traditional keto diet I described at the start: 30-50g carbs all coming from vegetables, sufficient protein intake, and the remainder of calories to be filled with fat. I started with the SKD approach to ensure that I entered into a state of ketosis before experimenting with the others.

What I did I brought my calorie intake back down to maintenance – 2500 calories – from the absurd 5k calorie weight gain diet I’d been on to ‘prep’ for this whole thing. I figured I’d lose some weight just from the reduction back to normality, and I was interested to see if there were any ‘metabolic’ advantages as is claimed by a lot of the Keto folk. This was the difference in body composition between the end of my 5k cal weight gain and a week into the experiment. You can see the drop in bloat.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

This was what my weekly calorie and weigh-ins looked like.

A few things that bear noting: 1. If you’re wondering why my starting weight was 171.7lbs as opposed to the 175lbs I mentioned above – I was away from home for a week and a few days after I’d started the experiment. And as I had no access to weighing scales, I couldn’t record my weight. I lost around ~5lbs by the time I got back home. 2. You’ll note the disparity in calorie intake – I prefer a calorie undulation™ approach, with a focus on the weekly average intake (green tab at bottom) as opposed to daily intake. So, my starting calorie and macro intake came in at: 2500 calories, 168 grams of protein, 27 grams of carbs (kept them under 30), and a whooping 200 grams of fats.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

I was on the SKD for around 6 weeks before deciding to ‘carb-up’ and move onto experimenting with a CKD approach. Here’s a picture of my progress thus far.

I guess I should also mention this. I had my bodyfat tested via the BodPod around this time, and I came in at 11.9%. I had intended to have it tested again at regular intervals, but I just never bothered. You can read about the test and some of my thoughts, ​here​. I also had my blood tested around this time. I was curious to see how 6 weeks on such a high fat intake affected my health markers. These were the results.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

Everything was normal. As is evident by the extremely official looking letter above.

Thoughts Surprisingly, I really, really enjoyed the SKD. I’ve always had a preference for fattier foods over sugary or carby foods, so omitting carbs wasn’t a big deal. Here are a few things I noticed and experienced. -

Mental clarity:​ there was this was really strong mental clarity in thought and concentration. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying being in ketosis gave me cognitive superpowers akin to N ​ ZT​; but, it was 14

Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

noticeable. -

Appetite Suppression: ​this was definitely very real. At first I thought maybe it was just me, but digging into the research, turns out I wasn’t going crazy (which is always good). I came across ​this meta-analysis​ – a review of all the studies that have been done on the topic – which compared ketogenic low calorie diets with normal low calorie diets, and found the keto low calorie group show superior appetite suppression effect than standard low calorie diets. The researchers commenting: “Individuals were less hungry and exhibited greater fullness/ satiety while adhering to VLED, and individuals adhering to KLCD were less hungry and had a reduced desire to eat. Although these absolute changes in appetite were small, they occurred within the context of energy restriction, which is known to increase appetite in obese people. Thus, the clinical benefit of a ketogenic diet is in preventing an increase in appetite, despite weight loss, although individuals may indeed feel slightly less hungry (or more full or satisfied). Ketosis appears to provide a plausible explanation for this suppression of appetite." (highlight emphasis mine)


Energy? ​This was perhaps my biggest worry, and why I was so anti-keto in the past. I use to believe that if I cut out all my carbs my energy levels would tank and so would my performance in the weight room. This never happened. Energy levels remained stable and I continued to set PR’s in the gym*.


The Dreaded Keto Flu? ​The k ​ eto flu is the name given to the symptoms people tend to experience during transitioning into ketosis, so called due to the similarities to the conventional flu. Symptoms include: Headaches, nausea, brain fog, fatigue and lethargy.

*I should point out here that while energy levels remained stable at the start, as I got leaner, and calories got lower, carbohydrates m ​ ost definitely helped my performance – I touch on this in more detail when I discuss TKD.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

I personally never experienced the keto flu, why? Maybe I’m superhuman, or, more likely, because I’d set up the diet properly – eating enough fat, consuming electrolytes, and drinking enough water.

CKD: Cyclical Ketogenic Diet After 6 weeks on a strict (standard) ketogenic diet, I decided it was time to experiment with the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet. The premise is simple: you follow a standard ketogenic diet from Monday to Friday, and then you spend anywhere from 12-24 hours loading up on carbs. The carb load aspect of the CKD is what differentiates the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet from the standard Ketogenic Diet. Many bodybuilders and physique athletes have been known to utilise this approach in preparation for shows or photoshoots. Why? This of course brings us to the question, why? Why use a CKD when you could simply stick with a Standard Ketogenic Diet. There are a few reasons: -

The “Anabolic Rebound”:​ This is the crux of Lyle McDonald’s UD 2.0 diet. The depletion of glycogen throughout the week, and then loading carbs, can – apparently – help with an “anabolic rebound” effect that can lend itself to muscle gain. I haven’t really seen anything significant on this and doubt it happens to any measurable degree*.

*This idea of the “anabolic rebound” is something I’ve been wanting to experiment with, and plan to do sometime in the future.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting


Aesthetics: ​As calories get low, stress-hormones like Cortisol increase which can cause water retention, increasing calories – specifically carbs – can reduce cortisol, help you drop excess water, and give your physique a leaner, tighter look.


Performance:​ when calories become low, relying solely on ketones to fuel high intensity training can become tough. Loading carbs helps replenish glycogen stores which can help you through the next weeks worth of training.

What I did I followed a standard ketogenic diet from Monday through halfway on Friday. I then went to the gym and did a whole body high rep, depletion workout to prepare for the ensuing 24 hours of carb debauchery. On the friday, I consumed somewhere around 200-300 grams of carbohydrates on top of my normal calorie intake and I then spent the whole of saturday stuffing my face with high carb foods – cereals, bagels, rice, potatoes etc. – consuming in excess of 600 grams of carbohydrates as the image below shows. The carb load came to an end Saturday evening.

The screenshot above is what my first week looked like on the CKD. The two red cells are my carb up days. You can see the macro intake beside them. I had intended to keep my fat intake around 40-50 grams, but alas! I went over that number. Which really isn’t a big deal. You might be wondering what the shit 17

Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

happened on the Tuesday where my calories were extremely low. I’d love to tell ya, but I can’t remember. I assume I was either not that hungry, or I was out all day and just forgot to eat. Here’s what my physique looked like before the carb up, and 24 hours after.

You can see a visible difference in the two photos – the carb up really ‘filled me out’ – particular point of note is abs and chest.

Thoughts I pretty much followed the same protocol for around 6 weeks before it just became too much and I decided to move on and experiment with the TKD. Initially, having been on zero carbs for 6 weeks, the thought of carb loading was almost sexual; but, the novelty soon wore off and the task became more onerous than pleasurable. Look, I know, this sounds like one of those “first world problems” –whatever, you try it, and let me know how long you last. I, personally, wasn’t a fan of this approach, but I know plenty people who love it. So each to their own I guess.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

TKD: Targeted Ketogenic Diet The Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) is a compromise between a strict ketogenic diet, and the more excessive cyclical ketogenic diet. In the TKD, you follow a strict ketogenic diet but allow yourself anywhere between 20-50 grams of fast digesting carbs around the workout window.

What I did Simple: 30 minutes before training I would consume some form of fast digesting carbohydrates. The carb choice tended to vary, but generally it was either Dextrose or a Mars bar. Yes, a Mars bar, they worked surprisingly well. So, an example training day looked like this: ● Breakfast – high fat, moderate protein ● Lunch – high fat, moderate protein ● 30 minutes before training – 30-50g of carbs (either dextrose mixed into a whey protein shake, or a Mars bar) ● Dinner – higher protein, lower fat

Thoughts The TKD was definitely my favourite variant of all the Ketogenic Diets. I had gotten pretty lean by this point in the experiment – I’d hazard a guess around 8% bodyfat – and energy levels began to drop pretty hard. The small amount of carbohydrates before the workout provided me with ample amount of energy to train hard which in turn helped retain my muscle and strength​.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

3 The End of the Experiment Somewhere around the six month mark I decided it was time to bring the experiment to an end – though, I would stay on a ketogenic diet up until march 2016. This was the full transformation.



Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

Again, apologies for potatocam.

I went from 175 lbs at the start to 163 point something lbs by the end.

What I learned This was a massive learning curve for me. Not only because of the knowledge I gained on the ketogenic diet, but on the importance of challenging our own biases, regardless of how uncomfortable doing so might make us feel. Here are some of the main things – both the good and the bad – I learned.

The Pros -

‘Healthy’, nutritious food focus:​ This is a point that is often overlooked. The diet – due to its high fat, zero carb nature – inevitably means you end up having to eat quote-unquote healthy foods like vegetables, nuts, healthy oils like Olive and Coconut, and meat. This automatically cuts out the processed crap that makes up such a big bulk of the Typical Western Diet.


Appetite/Craving suppressant: ​I mentioned this earlier, but the diet does have amazing appetite suppressant effects. Many of my clients who I’ve put onto a ketogenic diet end up losing their “sweet tooth”, and sugar cravings within a few weeks, which, undoubtedly makes the diet easier to stick to. 21

Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting


Simplifies Eating: ​Mentally knowing you can’t eat any carbohydrates removes a ton of thinking about what you can and can’t eat. This simplification of the meal plan removes decision fatigue which makes sticking to the diet easier and less stressful as you’re not having to overthink.


Fast weight loss at the start (water loss) provides a psychological boost: ​Momentum is a massive part of success on a diet. Due to the water loss seen at the start of the diet, this can help massively with building that momentum as you see the scale weight dropping. This in turn creates a positive feedback loop and your actions – now that you’re motivated by seeing the change – begin to reflect those that are conducive to weight loss.


The “shrink-wrapped” effect – T ​ he what? This.

Due to the lack of glycogen and water between the skin and muscle (in combination with low levels of bodyfat.), it gives your physique this really tight, vascular, and for lack of a better word, ‘gritty’ look.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting


Stubborn Fat: ​I found those ‘trouble areas’ – where fat seems to never come off, and if it does, it sucks the life out of you – came off much more easily when I was in a state of ketosis. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know. But they did, and I’m not complaining.

The Cons -

Very restrictive: ​The Ketogenic diet is very restrictive, though, the foods you can eat do tend to be tasty – steak, anyone? – it can make it difficult to adhere to, especially if you’re someone who prefers carbs over fats.


It’s not for everyone: ​I’ve been a part of a few ketogenic dieting groups on Facebook and occasionally someone will post that they’re trying to follow a ketogenic diet, but keep bingeing on carbs. Everyone then flocks to this person’s rescue by telling them to just push harder, eat more fat, it’ll pass. The person then pops up a few weeks later lamenting another carb-binge episode. My point here is simply: it’s not for everyone. If you do experiment with the diet and find yourself binging uncontrollably on carbohydrates, then eat carbs. You’re not a bad person because you couldn’t stick to the diet. Some people are just not compatible with the diet, and it’s absolutley fine.


Eating Out: ​So, there’s two things here. 1. Restaurants: ​I never struggled with this myself, mainly because every time I went out to eat we would go to restaurants where they catered foods that were high in protein and fat (steaks, salads, etc). Like this:


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

No, of course I didn’t eat the buns.

However. 2. Travelling: t​ his was really hard. Most convenience stores don’t offer ‘keto’ friendly foods – even the salads contain pasta or some form of carbohydrate. So unless I packed my own food, trying to eat on the go was a real pain in the ass.

Overall Opinion I was pleasantly surprised by how much I actually enjoyed the diet. While I wasn’t a fan of the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet, both the Targeted Ketogenic Diet and the Standard Ketogenic Diet worked really well. So much so, that I stayed in ketosis until March the following year and it’s definitely going to be my ‘go-to’ approach when I’m looking to lose fat in the future. 24

Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

The Ketogenic Diet and Muscle Gain? A question I’m often asked is whether the ketogenic diet can be conducive to muscle gain. Possibly. While there are people who have used the Ketogenic diet to gain muscle, I, personally, don’t think it’s optimal. Like with everything, there’s a time and place – the Ketogenic Diet works excellently for fat loss; but when it comes time to gain size, I would prefer there to be a decent number of carbohydrates in the diet. This doesn’t necessarily mean a high-carb diet – but a moderate carb approach is best.

An Important Note on Ending The Diet One thing I want to note here is the importance of slowly adding carbs back into the diet. When I ended the experiment, I went right back to a high carb intake and found myself gaining body fat at an alarmingly fast rate – I’m not referring to body weight increases via muscle glycogen and water; I’m talking actual body fat. * Dr. Jacob Wilson, a leading researcher on the Ketogenic Diet, speaks about this phenomena and some studies that have tested this ​here​ (time-stamped). And it’s definitely something I experienced. If you do try the ketogenic diet, especially if you do what I did and stay in ketosis for more than half a year; my recommendation would be to slowly reintroduce your carbs back in.

*I can’t find the photos I had taken around this time, which sucks, SO. You’re just going to have to take my word for it.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

One way to do this is is to slowly add 20-30 grams of carbs per week while holding your fat and protein intake where they are, until you’re out of a deficit and back to maintenance. As an example. Let’s assume you end the diet at 1700 calories. And you want to start bringing your calorie intake back up to your new maintenance of 2300 calories. This is how I would do it. If you’re end of diet macros were: 150g protein / 50g carbs/110g fat. Week 1:​ +20 grams carbs/ keep fats as they are / protein stays the same – 150g protein / 70g carbs / 110g fats (1870 calories) Week 2: ​+30 grams carbs/keep fats as they are/ protein stays the same – 150g protein / 100g carbs / 110g fats (1990 calories) Week 3: ​+30 grams carbs/ fat remains the same / protein stays the same – 150g protein / 130g carbs / 110g fats (2110 calories) Week 4: ​+30 grams carbs/ fat remains the same / protein stays the same – 150g protein / 160g carbs / 110g fats (2230 calories) At this point you can either keep things as they are, or start reducing fat intake, while continuing to increase carb intake as you slowly transition into a bulk. Please note: There will be quite a bit of weight gain on the scale and measurements might increase as you reintroduce carbs; this is ​not fat gain. It’s simply water and muscle glycogen being replenished. As long as you keep an eye on total calorie intake while slowly adding carbs back in, you’ll be fine.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

4 Should ​You Do A Ketogenic Diet? Alright. So you’ve read what I did and what I thought, but now you’re probably wondering whether ​you should try the ketogenic diet for yourself. I’m always hesitant telling people they should or shouldn’t do something, but – health permitting – I’d say try it. You might hate it or, like me, you really enjoy it. With that said, here are some groups of people who will benefit the most from keto: -

Those who really enjoy higher fat foods


Obese / Overweight individuals:​ Insulin resistance tends to be higher in folk who are overweight and obese. Reducing carbohydrates to a ketogenic level seems to improve insulin levels. Their energy tends to increase, reduces sugar cravings, and helps with appetite control.


Some people just feel, perform and do better with a low carb, or ketogenic diet. ​I definitely fall into this group. And unless you experiment, you won’t know.

But, there are also people who probably wouldn’t do so well on a Ketogenic Diet.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting


Performance athletes:​ If you’re a performance athlete or someone who engages in high-intensity training like Crossfit, Powerlifting, Sprinting, Rowing, etc. you’ll do better with a carb-focussed diet.


Just like there are those who innately do better with a low-carb diet, there are also those who innately do better on a high-carb diet.

Picking The Right Ketogenic Diet For You Here are some simple guidelines that I recommend when it comes selecting one of the keto diets for yourself.

The CKD works best for those who are already lean; insulin sensitivity is healthy, and you’ll benefit from the carb loads. This group can also use the TKD – what I recommend – if they don’t wish to carb load. If you’re already fairly lean, but wish to drop a bit more body fat, the SKD or TKD works best. And lastly, if you’re really overweight or obese, stick with the SKD.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

5 Setting Up Your Own Ketogenic Diet I’m going to explain how to set up your own diet manually below, but I’ve also created ​this calculator​ that you can use if this is too confusing, or, you’re lazy.

Working out calories We need to establish a baseline. Once we know how many calories you need to maintain your current weight we can create the relevant deficit. While there are a myriad of online calculators that will claim they can accurately predict your maintenance, I find the simplest to be the best. This prevents paralysis by analysis, and overthinking. Besides, between the most complex and the simplest formulas, there’s only a ~5% difference in the calorie numbers they give you, and seeing that adjustments will be made regardless, I see no need to overcomplicate things. To find a rough maintenance, simply, take your bodyweight (in pounds) and multiply it by 13-17. But, Aadam, you might ask, why is there a range? Very astute, internet friend. Simply, you’ll pick a number based on your gender, height, and how active you are. If you’re not really that active, say work an office job that sees you sitting for 8 hours a day, or are female – go with the low to mid end of the range; and if 29

Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

you’re really active, like say, work a construction job and are male – go with the higher end of the range. If for whatever reason you don’t know what you do or what your gender is – go with a mid range multiplier. Example: If you’re a 170lb male, working an office job – so you’re not very active ,and maybe only train three times per week: multiply your bodyweight by 14 or 15: Maintenance intake: 160 x 14/15 = 2240 - 2400 calories per day. If you’re a 140lb female who also works an office job and trains only two or three times per week, you would go with 13 as a multiplier. Maintenance intake: 140 x 13/14 = 1820 - 1960 calories per day. Alternatively, if you’re a male who weighs 160 lbs, and work a very intensive day job, a construction worker say, and also train three or four times per week, go with 17 as your multiplier. If you’re a 140lb female who works a job that requires you to be on your feet for long hours, and you train four or fives times per week, then go with 15 as your multiplier. Now that you’ve worked out your maintenance, to find your fat loss calorie intake all you have to do is take 20% off your maintenance calories. So, if your maintenance intake is 2,500 calories, this is what you would do: -

2,500 (calories) x 0.20 = 500 calories.


500 (calories) – 2,500 (maintenance calories) = 2,000.

Fat loss calorie intake = 2,000 per day.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

Setting Macros Ok, so you’ve set your fat loss calories, we now need to set up your ketogenic macros.

Just remember that there’s: -

4 calories in one gram of carbohydrates 4 calories in one gram of protein 9 calories in one gram of fat

We know that on a ketogenic diet, c ​ arbohydrates are set between 30-50 grams, ​for the sake of simplicity we’ll go with 50 grams. Next, we’ll set protein intake: ​important note – During the first few weeks of transitioning into ketosis keep your protein intake to 150 grams – for both male and female. As you restrict carbohydrates and the body transitions into ketosis, it will use muscle protein to make glucose, the 150 gram mark will offset any muscle loss while not interfering with the transition. After this time – usually the first 4 weeks – you can reduce p ​ rotein intake to 0.7 grams per pound if you wish.​ If not, you can keep protein at 150 grams. And lastly, you’ll set your fat intake with the remainder of calories left after carbohydrates and protein intakes are set.

To put this all together, I’m going to use a hypothetical person who weighs 180 pounds​. We first need to establish our hypothetical persons maintenance intake. ​Let’s assume that he trains 3x per week, works an office job and isn’t too active outside the gym; we’ll use 14 as his multiplier.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

180 x 14 = 2,520 calories per day is his maintenance. Next, we need to establish his fat loss calorie intake. 2,520 x 0.20 = 2,016 calories So we have his fat loss calorie intake. Now we can start setting his macros. Set carbs first: 50 grams Protein intake second: 180 x 0.7 = 126 grams And finally we set his fat intake: to set fat intake we simply follow these four steps. 1. work out the number of calories coming from carbs and protein: 50g (carbs) x 4 (number of calories in one gram of carbohydrates) = 200 calories 126g (protein) x 4 (number of calories in one gram of protein) = 504 calories 2. add carb and protein calories together: 200 + 504 = 704 calories. 3. Deduct the carb and protein calorie total from (fat loss) calorie intake 2,016 - 704 = 1,312 (calories left over to put toward fat intake) 4. Work out fat macros To work out your fat macros in grams, simply divide 1,312 by 9 – the number of calories in one gram of fat. 1,312 / 9 = 146 grams of fat (rounded up).


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

So, our hypothetical person’s calorie and ketogenic macros look like this: Calorie intake – 2,016 calories per day Carbs – 50 grams per day Protein – 126 grams per day Fat – 145 grams per day

How to do a Cyclical Ketogenic Diet? As I mentioned earlier, I’m not a fan of the CKD. And, generally, if you’re not already very lean – 8-10% body fat for men; 16-20% for females – you should not be doing the CKD. However, I’m going to outline how you can implement it if you do decide to experiment. Unlike the SKD and the TKD, the CKD also has a training element to it. For the CKD to work, you have to first deplete glycogen stores. I simply did a full body high rep workout, before starting the carb load. I picked one exercise per muscle group, and did 2 sets for each with a rep range of 15.

The Carb Load The carb load should begin 5 hours before the depletion workout. I split this into two different meals, like so: 50 grams of carbs 5 hours before, and then another 50 grams 2 hours before training. After the depletion workout, the full carb load begins. There are two ways you can do this: The ‘Eat Whatever’ Carb Load – ​this is exactly what it sounds like. You eat whatever you like with a focus on foods that are higher carb or, something like this bad boy. 33

Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

While this approach is infinitely more enjoyable than the structured carb load (see next) – because rules are boring – the downside is that if you’re not careful there’s more chance of fat gain and taking things overboard. Unless you’re someone who knows your body well and is attuned to their hunger and satiety signals, I would not recommend this approach as it can easily be taken overboard. It is fun, though. The Structured Carb Load – ​the structured carb load is where you abide by certain calorie and macro numbers and I find it to work better for most people over the ‘eat whatever’ approach. How many calories? ​The general rule for the carb load is twice the number of calories of your fat loss diet. So, if you’re fat loss calorie intake is 1800 calories, your carb load calorie intake will be 3,600 calories.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

And Macros? ​70% of your calorie intake should come from carbohydrates, and the remaining 30% should be split evenly between fats and protein. So, using the 3,600 calorie example from above, your macro intake would look like this: Calories – 3,600 70 % Carbs – 630 grams 15 % Protein – 135 grams 15 % Fats – 60 grams

The Type of Carbs? The type of carbs don’t matter as much as the amount. So don’t stress over this. When I did my carb loads, I was consuming things like cereal, bagels, breads, fruit juices, fruits, candies (Haribo), potatoes, rice etc. A quick point that I think bears emphasising: while carb type doesn’t matter, when you have to consume 600-700 (+) grams of carbs, like I did, it makes sense that the easier the foods are to eat, the easier you time you’ll have hitting your numbers and not wanting to die.

What about fat gain? Due to the amount of calories you’re going to be consuming on the carb loading days, it’s only fair to worry about fat gain. This isn’t something you need worry about, though. For two reasons 1. Carbs can not be directly converted and stored as body fat – this process, known as de novo lipogenesis, never happens in humans. 2. Any fat gain that could potentially occur will be due to any excess dietary fat intake; so, if you keep fats low during the carb load this won’t be an issue. If you refer back to my experiment with CKD, there were days when I went over the 50-60 gram mark by 30,40, and some days 35

Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

even 50-60 grams. Not only did I not gain any fat, I actually looked even better. The muscles also have intramuscular fat stores, I posit after the depletion workouts, these fat stores were also depleted so some of the excess fat was used to replenish them.

The image above was after a 6,000 calorie carb load. I consumed almost 200 grams of fat, 650 grams of carbs, and 308 grams of protein; the image is my physique in ‘natural’ lighting the day after. Like I always say, a lean body is a more fat resistant body. So don’t stress it. I show you this not to encourage you to do the same, rather to demonstrate that even taking it to an extreme like I did didn’t result in fat gain, and so, you have nothing to worry about.

How to do a TKD? This is simple, just consume 20-50 grams of fast digesting carbs anywhere from 15-30 minutes before training.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

I usually made a large cup of coffee, mixed in table sugar, coconut oil, and 10-15 grams of chocolate or vanilla whey protein – tasted amazing, gave me my shot of caffeine and energy for the session.

Supplements? While you don’t need any “special” supplements for the ketogenic diet, there are some that can be beneficial. Sodium –​ not a supplement per se, but staying on top of sodium intake is essential. Any time I’ve spoken to someone who has suffered on keto, more often than not they’ve been neglecting their sodium (and electrolyte intake). Amount:​ aim for 3-5 grams of sodium per day. Contrary to what you might hear, you’re more at risk from a lack of sodium than you are from consuming too much. Now, this doesn’t mean you start taking salt by the spoonful; just salt your meals to taste and you’ll be fine. Potassium​: ​an electrolyte that is required by your body to function properly. How much? ​It’s a good idea to balance your salt to potassium intake on a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio – salt:potassium. So, if you’re consuming 5 grams of salt per day, aim to get 2-5 grams of potassium. Magnesium: ​Magnesium is a crucial mineral that is needed for the contraction and relaxation of the muscles, the production of energy, and can improve insulin sensitivity. While magnesium can be obtained through the diet, due to inefficient absorption, it’s a good idea to supplement. Scary story: around a month into the diet, I began realising that when I showered or washed my hair; tons of hair strands were falling into the tub. At first I didn’t think too much of it, but it only at which point I became concerned. I reached out to Luis Villasenor and he asked if I was supplementing with Magnesium – no, I replied. “That’s why – magnesium up”. Thankfully, supplementing with Magnesium solved this problem.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

How much? ​200-400mg per day. Women on the lower end, men on the higher end.

Keto Friendly Foods This is not a complete list, but will give you some ideas. -

Nuts and seeds Avocados Whole eggs Cheese (full-fat) Meat – pick the fattier cuts Chicken: Thighs and legs. Again, like red meat, aim for the fattier cuts Vegetables: Spinach and other greens, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, mushrooms, bell peppers. Oils – try to stick to Olive or Coconut oil Butter – ideally salted Heavy cream (double cream in the UK) Fatty fish: Salmon and mackerel Bacon Chicken broth or bouillon cubes

Sample Meal Plan This is generally what a day of ketogenic eating looked like for me. Please note this is just a sample of how I ate so that you can get an idea – please don’t copy it exactly. Because one, our taste preferences will vary; secondly, and more importantly, if you die I’ll be held responsible. Sooo. Yh. Meal 1: I generally started my day with a Black coffee mixed with coconut oil and double cream. Meal 2: 4-5 whole eggs, ½ large avocado, tons of veggies, coconut oil or olive oil with a handful of nuts and/or seeds.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

Meal 3: Chicken thighs, or Sirloin steak​ ​with asparagus and assortment of other veggies Meal 4: Same as meal 3, but changed up the meat and veggie sources.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

6 Tips For A Successful Ketogenic Diet Now, I’ve mentioned earlier that not everyone does well on a ketogenic diet, however, more often than not when someone struggles with the diet it’s because they haven’t set the diet up properly or are making the mistakes I’ve outlined below. 1. Consume Enough Fat: ​remember how at the start I said this is a

high-fat diet? Well, that’s because it is. 70% of your calorie intake needs to come from dietary fats. This isn’t a high-protein diet; it’s high-fat. If you follow the guidelines I gave in the last chapter you’ll be fine.

2. Electrolytes: ​when you remove carbohydrates from the diet, the body will also drop water and with that electrolytes – salt, potassium, and

magnesium. So, ensure you’re staying on top of these (see ‘supplements’ section in the last chapter). 3. Allow Time For Adaptation: ​if you’ve been consuming a high carb, or even the typical western diet – high carb, high fat – it’s going to take some time for the body to fully transition into a ketogenic state. Some can transition sooner, while others will take longer. Generally, four to six weeks is enough time for this transition to happen as long as you’ve set up your diet properly. During this time, you m ​ ight experience some symptoms of the ‘keto flu’; 40

Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

this is something you will need to see out. It shouldn’t be too bad as long as you’re staying hydrated and keeping on top of your electrolyte intake. 4. Don’t Force It: I​ ’m a member of a few ketogenic groups on Facebook. Every now and then someone will post that they tried the ketogenic diet but couldn’t adhere to it and inevitably binged on carbs. The members will then tell them to just get back on the proverbial high fat eating ketogenic horse. And, a few weeks later that same person will be back again to let everyone know they ‘failed’ (which they didn’t). My point is simply this: the ketogenic diet isn’t for everyone. By all means try it and experiment with it. But, if you do, and you find that it isn’t suiting you, you’re not a bad person; you’re just someone who isn’t compatible with the diet. A ​ nd that’s perfectly ok. The number one key to success with your health and body composition is whatever you can stick to for the long haul​.. And whether that be a diet consisting of carbs, or a diet consisting of fats: Adherence > everything. So try the diet, and if it doesn’t suit you, don’t force it.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

7 In Closing “Adopt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is uniquely your own.” – Bruce Lee At the start of this book, I said that this experiment was more about me challenging my pre-existing biases than it was an experiment with the ketogenic diet, and now, here at the end, as I sit and write this closing chapter that sentiment holds just as, if not more, true. There’s an interesting story of Bruce Lee having a friend make him a miniature headstone inscribed with: ​"In memory of a once fluid man, crammed and distorted by the classical mess." It was around the time Bruce had become frustrated with the "school" mentality of different martial arts that led to narrow thinking and ignorance. The headstone was a reminder that he was ​"going to die to the traditional ways in which he was doing things and be reborn as a fluid individual that's going to create something new." This led to him eventually creating Jeet Kune Do – Lee’s own martial arts philosophy – an amalgam of all other martial arts disciplines. I tell you that story because the world of nutrition can be confusing, where dogma and zealotry run rampant. I know this because I have been – and if I’m not careful, still can be – guilty of this. This experiment reminded me of the Bruce Lee quote above. Bruce, who invented his own martial arts style, did so by adopting the useful aspects of 42

Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

other disciplines, rejecting what was useless, and then added his own spin. This is the way I like to view training and nutrition – being open to all views, even those I disagree with. If there was anything I would like for you to take away after reading this book, it would be to be open minded and not disregard opposing views without first trying or experimenting with them. It’s the only way you can continue to learn and grow.


Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

Resources -

Luis Villasenor​, of T ​ he Ketogains Reddit f​ ame has become a great friend of mine and helped me a ton during the whole experiment, and it would be folly of me to not give him the credit he deserves. He’s been in ketosis for over 14 years, and applies a critical and sane thinking process that is refreshing in a community (keto) that is filled with zealots and cultists. His Facebook group, K ​ etogains​, is perhaps one of the most friendly and welcoming communities on Facebook I have ever come across and I would highly encourage you to join it and ask any questions you may have.


Menno Henselmans ​– ​Carbs vs. fat research update


SNR #137: Luis Villasenor – H ​ ow to (Successfully) Implement a Ketogenic Diet for Body Composition & Strength


Menno Henselmans -​ Burn Fat and Build Muscle, Carb dogma, Bodybuilding and the Ketogenic Diet


Primal Edge Interview –​ ​14 years in ketosis, you can build muscle on ketogenic diet - Darthluiggi of reddit keto interview


Ketogenic Dieting FAQ


Lyle McDonald, The Ketogenic Diet​ – a lot of new research has come out since this book was written, but, Lyle being the smart motherfucker he is, was ahead of his time and this book is still relevant today. While the book is heavy on the science, Lyle does a great job making it easy to understand. 44

Physiqonomics: Experiments With Ketogenic Dieting

WAIT. THERE’S MORE. Before you go – I’d love to know what you thought, so drop me a message h ​ ere and let me know. Alternatively, if you’re still confused about anything, or have a question about Keto or anything else training and nutrition related, h ​ it me up. Thank you for reading. – Aadam Physiqonomics.com