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Thib Goes Keto – Week 2 – The New Beginning

Articles / 12 October, 2017 /

By Christian Thibaudeau

As you know if you have read my previous keto experience article, I stopped my keto dieting experience after one week because my blood pressure suddenly increased from 110/80 up to 160/110 without having changed anything but the diet.

As someone with kidney issues, I understandably freaked out (high blood pressure is the most damaging thing for kidneys) and stopped the diet right there. No experiment is worth risking my health. Especially since I can stay lean without using a keto diet.

Shortly after I initially announced that I was stopping the experiment, I was contacted by a friend of mine, a keto expert who works with a lot of high level physique competitors. He offered his help to try to get keto to work for me while being healthy.

I accepted because I honestly used a lot of “bad” fats during the last three days of my first week and likely increased fats too much as well, because my weight was dropping rapidly. And that’s when my blood pressure started to go up.

So, this week we started working together and I hope to learn more about doing keto properly while improving my health and physique in the process.

KETO IS NOT A BACON ALL YOU CAN EAT LICENSE…

Keto is a high fat diet. Meaning that the dominant macro nutrient in your diet has to be dietary fat. In fact, it should constitute at least 60% of your caloric intake, and closer to 70% in the initial adaptation phase. At that time, if protein and carbs are too high it will become really hard to switch to being fat adapted, which kind of defeats the purpose of doing this diet in the first place.

Once the body is fat/keto adapted, you can increase protein and maybe even add a small amount of carbs around workouts, provided that fat still constitutes the majority of your caloric intake. But at first, you want your proportion of fats to be as high as possible. The higher (in relation to the other nutrients) the fat, the faster fat adaptation will occur.

Unfortunately, this has led a lot of people to only have one rule: eat a lot of fat! For these people, the type of fat doesn’t matter, which is why you see all these posts about eating tons of bacon while on keto. I’m sure that it’s a great selling point for the diet. After all bacon is totally awesome (and now it’s trendy), so selling it as “you can eat as much bacon as you want” sure will hit a cord with many people.  But the fact is that overeating too much saturated fats in relation to mono and polyunsaturated fats can lead to problems: increases in blood pressure, messed up lipid profiles, systemic inflammation, etc. Some might be able to get away with it in the short run, but most will run into problems. The bad thing is that these problems are hardly noticeable without getting blood work done, so few are even aware of the issues.

Don’t get me wrong; we need saturated fats. They have been connected to a higher testosterone level, but they shouldn’t be excessively high, especially in proportion with other types of fats.

When dieting down using a more traditional approach (high protein, low fat, moderate carbs or carbs cycling), most people understand that eating 300g of carbs from rice, potatoes, oatmeal, fruits, etc. is not the same as eating 300g of carbs from candy, pastries and kids’ cereals. Well, it’s the same with fats. In fact, it’s even more important with fats since fatty acids have biochemical properties that have very specific actions/effects on the body.

So yeah you can eat bacon, but it’s far from an all you can eat feast! At least if you want to stay healthy in the long run.

WHAT AM I EATING?

In my first week, my food choices were as follows:

Beef

Chicken

Turkey

Cheese

35% cream

Whey protein

MCT oil

Fish oil

As you can see, there were a lot more saturated fats than mono and polyunsaturated fats. My protein intake was also a little too high for fast fat adaptation (at the end of the week it was up to 225g) and my carbs were also a little too high (around 60g), mostly because I ate a lot of cheese. I also avoided green veggies, stupidly believing that they would slow down fat adaptation, but they provide the all-important potassium which is actually key on a keto diet.

Currently, my food choices are:

Salmon

Avocado

Pecan nuts

Spinach

Beef (Ribeye or 80/20 ground beef)

Egg yolks (at the moment, I need a higher fat than protein intake)

Coconut oil

Olive oil

Fish oil

As you can see, there is a much greater variety of fat sources/types, and the saturated/unsaturated ratio is much better. My portions of beef and salmon are also quite low because, as I mentioned, the goal is to have enough protein to not catabolise and be able to repair muscle tissue, but not so much that it slows down fat adaptation. So, my portions are about 4oz, which has to be the smallest portions I’ve eaten in my life! I have four meals and one snack every day.

We also took out whey protein and use essential amino acids (Amino + Recovery by XPN) around workouts. Recent meta analysis has shown that amino acids are not more anabolic than complete proteins, BUT they do increase anabolism/protein synthesis. And since I’m in a fat adaptation phase and want to keep protein low, the amino acids are a good way to keep myself anabolic without jacking up protein levels.

HOW AM I TRAINING?

I’ll be honest, after my photo shoot my training got into a rut. I had less motivation and basically trained like I wanted to and it ended up having no rhyme or reason; changing training style every week and just winging it. The results were of course, subpar. Now, I’m a neurotype 2A so I do need a lot of variation. But I still need some structure and a logical plan to get results.

I’m tired to thinking so I made things easy for myself. Starting next Monday my friend Jason Brown of Box Programming will do my training programs. Jason and I are both type 2As and we see eye to eye when it comes to training. He is also an expert in the Conjugate system/Westside training as well as Crossfit training. At the moment, I want to be healthier and leaner while regaining my strength and his style of training fits my needs perfectly. While my goal is not to become a Crossfit guy, I certainly would love to be able to beat my wife for the first time ever in a Crossfit WOD!

This week, to prepare myself for his plan, I built my training week according to the principles explained in one of the articles he wrote. You can find it here.

By the way, Jason has tons of amazing articles on his website, you should definitely go visit and dig around!

VIDEO/EXERCISE OF THE WEEK

This week I did a max effort on the Zercher squat with chains. I didn’t film my two heaviest sets because I honestly thought that the one I filmed (245lbs bar weight + 100lbs of chains) would be my max. However, I got amped up after seeing how easy it looked and finished at 295lbs bar weight + 100lbs of chains, but there was nobody around to film.

I was pleased with that effort because my lower body has been neglected for a while. I didn’t train it much for my photo shoot, focusing more on my upper body, then started after the shoot but injured my back hitting the rack after a set of Zercher squats so I was another 3 weeks without squatting or deadlifting.

This exercise (Zercher squat with chains) was the nastiest core contraction I remember getting!

Stay tuned next week to see how my training and diet are going!

– CT

Christian Thibaudeau

Written by Christian Thibaudeau

Christian Thibaudeau has been involved in the business of training for over the last 15 years. During this period, he worked with athletes from 28 different sports. He has been “Head Strength Coach” for the Central Institute for Human Performance (of…