Author: Derek

Benefits Of A Ketogenic Diet

Where to Begin

The Benefits of a Ketogenic, or Keto Diet are vast to say the least. With that being said let’s take it from the top.

Fat Loss

This is the most popular reasoning that people have attached themselves to the keto diet….Thanks to TV ads and social media. Some of the promises made by slick marketers on how keto will drop bodyfat effortlessly, or selling you some type of keto supplement to help cut weight is almost always snake oil.

But there is truth in the fact that a keto diet will help keep your insulin levels low, which creates a great environment for your body to burn fat. When you are not taking in a lot of carbohydrate, especially 50 grams or less per day, your body will have to pull from other energy sources to fuel itself. The next fuel source from stored glycogen, or carbohydrate would be your bodies stored fat, which is how the magic happens. Once your body begins using stored fat as fuel you will begin to really see some progress in your fat loss goals.

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Greater Hormone Response

Not only does a keto diet aid in fat loss by utilizing stored body fat, it can also aid in increasing key hormones such as growth hormone as well. When the bodies insulin levels are lowered from eating keto, this causes growth hormone to stay more elevated. The benefits of more growth hormone production is tremendous, but here are a few key benefits…

Better Energy Production, Vitality, Joint Support, Fat Loss, Better Looking & Skin, Better Sleep Quality.

So eating keto is not just for weight loss purposes, but really can have anti-aging benefits as well by increasing growth hormone production. Lets move onto the next benefit.

Helps Build Mitochondria

Mitochondria, are the power plants of our cells, turning the nutrients we uptake from foods into ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, which is our cells energy source. The more mitochondria we have the more energy we can receive from food we eat. When the body goes into what’s called ketosis, after eating keto for a while, this state puts new demands on our bodies’ mitochondria, which causes the body to adapt by producing more mitochondria. This means more energy, and an increase in physical performance.

Better Cognitive Function & Reduction In Brain Fog

When the body is in Ketosis, it naturally produces more GABA, an amino acid that acts like a neurotransmitter, a calming neurotransmitter to be exact. Depressed GABA levels have been shown to cause brain fog, which now explains why a lot of dieters that go Keto begin to notice a certain clarity after a few weeks, due to the increase in GABA.

Ketogenic diets have also shown to cause a decrease in cognitive decline in patients with certain nervous system diseases, such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons.

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So eating a ketogenic diet is not just something that can be beneficial for weight loss purposes, but can be an aid to keep you healthy as you age. But always remember even eating keto you can not ignore food quality, which I can’t stress enough. Until next time.

Is Following a Keto Diet Healthy?

Recently in the media, I have been seeing the keto diet popping up, and not for good reasons. People are making claims that keto diets are causing problems such as heart disease. But is the keto diet as bad as it is being made out to be? Let’s take a look…

Quality vs Quantity

When eating a ketogenic diet it is still very important to pay attention to the quality of the foods you are putting in your body. For example, eating two cheeseburgers without the bun, and a few veggies on it would constitute as being “keto”, but you are also consuming a large amount of trans fats that are known for causing heart disease. So even thou the two cheeseburgers kept your carbohydrates low, it is still a very poor choice in food quality. This concept of quality vs quantity can be applied to any meal of any time of the day. Another great example is breakfast. Instead of eating a few scrambled eggs topped with home made salsa and sliced avocado, you decide to eat one scrambled egg with a pound of bacon and cheese. In this scenario you are again keeping your carb intake low, but the foods you are putting in your system will play a roll in your overall health over time.

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Too Obsessed With The Numbers

Another issue that has been getting noticed is the fact that people can’t figure out why sometimes there ketosis readings are coming back so high, meaning they are barely into ketosis even thou they have been eating a very low carbohydrate diet. No one has discovered why this is yet, but I am sure at some point down the road scientists will in fact figure it out. The important part to remember is that you are in ketosis, and you are getting all those benefits from being in that state, which we will discuss in another post because honestly there is a pretty lengthy list. By people getting obsessed with there keto readings they actually end up cutting out some very healthy and beneficial foods in there diet for more meats because the thought process is, “well I guess I should try to cut my carbs from 40 to 15, and then maybe my ketosis reading will be better”. More isn’t always better, and as long as you are in ketosis in the first place, honestly who cares about the number, just be consistent with your diet so you can stay in that state to reap the benefits. Don’t sacrifice eating good quality foods to attempt to get a better ketosis reading. This mistake can cost you in the long run in terms of your overall health, and we have discovered doing so may not even help your numbers anyway. In our next installment we will touch on the benefits of being in ketosis. Until next time.

3 Simple Methods for Fasting

Now that we have discussed the benefits of fasting in terms of fat loss, today we are going to touch on a few simple ways you can apply this concept to your daily lives.

Method 1: 16 on and 8 off

This Method of Fasting is broken down into windows. You fast for 16 hours and eat your meals for the day in an 8 hour window. To me this method actually seems to be the most practical out of any of the methods I have tried so I figured I would start with this one. I feel the main reason it is realistic is because the time you are sleeping you are on a fast anyway. So if you sleep 6-8 hours, you almost have half of your fast knocked out already. All you need to do now is tighten up the window on your last meal in the evening, and your first meal in the morning. For example, let’s say I ate my last meal at 8pm last night. Then I went to bed around midnight. I wake at around 7am, and already I have 11 hours knocked out on the fast. Instead of having breakfast, I simply wake up and have some coffee, or tea along with water. I will sip on whatever zero calorie beverage I prefer until around 12pm, when my 16 hours is up, and then from 12-8pm I will have my meals for the day. Typically I spread them out to 12pm, 3pm, and 7:30pm.

Method 2: Every Other Day Method

This method is exactly how it sounds and it definitely takes fasting up a notch. You fast for 24 hours, and then eat normally for 24 hours, and alternate. On your fasting days I do know that some people allow for a small calorie intake on your fasting days like 25% of your normal intake, which is equivalent to one small meal, but others go all day without. This one would be tough to try right out of the gates in my opinion. If you haven’t fasted before I still feel the 16/8 method would be best.

Method 3: The Warrior Method

In this method, the idea is to fast all morning and into the afternoon, until the later evening, and then eat one large meal. I mean its like thanksgiving dinner type of meal. You are consuming a high amount of calories at this meal, and then doing the same thing again tomorrow, and the next day. One meal a day, in the evening. If I did this method my meal would be between 2400-2600 calories at one sitting! Probably a 16oz ribeye with a huge salad topped with a large avocado. By the time I add on all the extra foods to my salad the calorie intake would be right where it needs to be.

Again, I would suggest if anyone wants to try fasting in any way to help accelerate fat loss, that they start with method 1, eating in windows. From here it is a much easier transition into something like the warrior method or even the every other day method. If you struggle with cravings in between your windows I would suggest drinking green tea when you are on your fast. The green tea can really help keep the cravings down for you, to make it easier to stay on track.

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How Fasting Accelerates Fat Loss

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting almost always causes a calorie deficit, but it also creates ideal circumstances for fat loss. This is because it increases your insulin sensitivity. When you fast, your insulin levels lower, causing your body to access your stored fat easier. That’s how your body opts to use fat for energy, instead of muscle.

You might be familiar with this idea, because it is the same reason why people adopt low carbohydrate and ketogenic diets to drop body fat. Eating low carb will lower your insulin levels, but the fact is that fasting will drop them even lower. This makes fasting more powerful for fat loss. Another way fasting boosts fat loss is by increasing the amount of growth hormone your body produces. Studies have shown that production of growth hormone can decrease your amount of body fat. Finally, fasting has also been shown to increase production of norepinephrine, the fat burning hormone.

Hopefully some of these reasons give you some insight into why fasting has been all the craze the last few years. There is quite a lot of research now backing it up so if you are wanting to further you fat loss gains, then this may be something you want to try. There are a few different methods you can try to use when fasting to achieve greater fat loss. We will go over these on one of our next posts.

Are All Calories The Same?

If It’s Too Good To Be True…

You know how people say, “if it’s too good to be true it probably is”? Well in this case regarding calories in and calories out that statement holds true. If everything we put in our bodies had the same measurable effect on our metabolism, then losing weight would be much easier that’s for sure. All you would need to do is eat in a deficit of calories everyday, and as long as the calories you were taking in were under your required intake for weight loss, you would drop body fat. Simple as that right? Wrong! Here’s why….

The Stalling Effect

Changing your eating habits to lose body fat is generally the best thing you can do to begin to see results. You begin to lose inches around your waist, your clothes get a little baggier, and you start feeling better from the more nutrient rich foods you are taking in. But, after a while, even if you are consistent with your diet, you will notice that progress can slow down, and even come to a screeching halt. This happens because the body is always defending itself. The human species has done this for thousands of years, adapt or die. The body has adapted to your new style of eating and regulated the metabolism to burn just enough calories to get through the food you are currently consuming in a day. So now what do you do? Here is what I suggest…

Increase your activity level first, don’t cut more calories!

Increasing your activity level can be as simple as adding a little more cardio into each session you do daily. So for example, if you are not doing any cardio on your weight training days, try adding a simple walk on the treadmill at the end of your lifting session for 20-30 minutes. Then on your regular cardio days add on an extra 15 minutes to your time. This extra time could be spent doing a number of different activities. One of the best cardio workouts in terms of bang for your buck would be either a rowing machine or jumping rope, but you can just as easily walk on an incline on the treadmill and still see results. Over the course of the week, by adding in this simple approach you can be doing an extra 2 hours of activity per week, which really adds up in terms of calories burned, and will help reignite the fat loss you have been missing.

Take Home Point

If you remember anything from this post please remember this part. When dieting, if you hit a sticking point in your fat loss progress, always try other avenues before cutting more calories out of your diet. Always remember, the body adapts over time to these changes, and eventually again yes, it will adapt to the new deficit you put it in, making it again even more difficult to see any progress. So always try other means first before cutting your diet.

My Current Supplement Routine

“Hey man, what do you take”?

I always get asked at least once a week about what my supplement routine is. So I thought I would share my current regimen with you guys to maybe provide some guidance. My typical morning starts off with either an egg based breakfast, such as scrambled eggs, or I will use the Pro-3 Protein powder and make a smoothie. Since the first meal of my day is also my pre-workout meal I typically throw some carbs into this meal to help fuel my upcoming workout. If I do the egg meal for breakfast, then I end up eating those with oatmeal. But, if I go with the smoothie instead, I will end up adding a banana to the smoothie for the carbohydrates. With my breakfast meal is when I also take my first dose of sarms. Right now I am using S4 and GWXT pre-workout. I take 2 capsules of each with breakfast.

Now It’s Time to Get Motivated

About fourty five minutes to an hour after breakfast I will mix up a scoop of Limitless Pre-workout in about 16 ounces of water and start sipping on it approximately 30 minutes before I go to the gym. I will consume about half to two thirds of the Limitless before I get to the gym, and finish it during the first 20 minutes of my workout. Throughout the rest of the workout I just sip on water until I am done training. After my workout I don’t rush to take in a meal or protein shake. I typically get home from the gym, and within approximately 60-90 minutes of finishing my lift I usually make a smoothie. Anywhere around 40-50 grams of protein total, so approximately 2 scoops of Pro-3 Chocolate, a banana, and 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter. I add this to 6 ounces of water with 6-8 ice cubes. Blend and done. After this, I am really not taking in any other supplements until bed time, which is about 10 hours from the time I have my post workout shake. The only thing I use in between that time and bed time are the Vital Greens Super Food Blend. I add 2 scoops into 20 ounces of water and sip on it throughout the evening. I do this to try to make sure I am getting in enough nutrition and anti-oxidants to support my recovery, but also Vital Greens tastes really good for a “greens” formula, and breaks up the monotony of just drinking water all day.

Nightly Night

The last supplement I use about 30 minutes before bed is Ibutamoren. I take three capsules every night before bed. It seems to help with sleep, and I recover much faster on it. And that’s it, a handful of key items is all I use on a daily basis. What are your favorite supplements?

 

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Peanut Butter Protein Cookies!

Found this new recipe and wanted to share it to all of you. A solid low carb dessert, and who doesn’t like peanut butter honestly. Check it out below!

Peanut Butter Protein Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup all natural peanut butter

1/3 cup date paste

1/2 cup vanilla Pro-3 Protein

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Mix all ingredients in a food processor. It is generally easiest to start with the peanut butter and date paste. After this is mixed pretty well, start adding in the protein powder and salt until all ingredients are mixed well together. This recipe will serve 12 portions, so once everything is mixed, distribute the batter evenly into 12 pieces, all rolled up into a ball. Then take a fork and you can press the cookies out on a baking pan that is lightly greased in coconut oil. Put them in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. That’s it. Enjoy!

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Never Settle! Why Settling On Your Goals Is A Loser’s Mentality

Always Keep Pushing Forward!

Today’s topic is one that is extremely important to me and I wanted to share with you. When someone is setting out to achieve a specific goal, whether that be to lose weight, build muscle, or get better at a specific sport or activity you generally have some sort of idea as to what you would like the end result to be. And as you start to get into your training, results aren’t coming as fast as they used to and you begin to lose motivation. The fire you had in the beginning when everything was going perfect starts to fade. This is when one of the worst things you can ever do starts to happen. You accept that this is the best you can do, and you decide to settle on the results you have achieved. Well, I am here to tell you that is bull shit. When you make the conscious decision to stop pushing forward, and basically put yourself in cruise control, you are setting yourself up for failure. This is a loser mentality because you are basically throwing in the towel and saying, well that’s good enough I guess. Never, never, never set limitations on what you can do. When you begin to place limits on your results, whether you realize it or not you begin to fall into more of a complacent state of mind. Once you let the complacency kick in, it almost always begins the downward spiral to where even making it to the gym becomes a chore. Don’t let this happen to you. Always have goals, and set goals that are bigger than average. Always keep yourself pushing forward toward the next milestone. I promise you in the end you will be happy you did.

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Knowing When to “Take a Day”

Live to Fight Another Day

The title is not a dead giveaway today so let me get right to the point. If you are currently following a specific training routine and are feeling very fatigued, sore, or tired. Almost to the point of you might accidentally injure yourself if you continue on, please utilize some wisdom and take an extra day to let your body heal. For example, I had a client today mention that he was supposed to be performing a 5×5 routine on his standing military press, but his shoulders are sore and he is still “feeling it” from his last training session. Feeling it, meaning he still feels sore and tight in those areas. So I advised him to skip out on the 5×5 for the day and lighten the weight up and perform 3 relatively easy sets of 10 reps. Gets the blood flowing to the area and will set him up for better recovery going into his next workout. After explaining this I finished my discussion with “live to fight another day”, which was the easiest way to look at it. Occasionally, you have to be able to listen to your body. I commend all of you out there that have the discipline to follow your routine to the letter, but you need to be able to identify when it may be a good time to throw in an easier session, to ensure you do not over do it and accidentally cause an injury. With more time and experience in the gym you will learn your bodies’ own limits and how much you can push on. In my opinion understanding this concept is almost as important as having the initial drive to get results in the first place. I can not tell you how many people I know that have been all in initially on their new program they started, and then 5 weeks into it strain a muscle that sets them back a few weeks. So when they do come back it is like starting from day one again. So remember, if you know you are not 100%, there is nothing wrong with living to fight another day.

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The One Thing Holding You Back From Achieving Your Fitness Goals

YOU!

The number one thing holding most people back from reaching their goals….Fear of Failure.
For some reason many of us seem to get caught up in the fact that if we attempt something and fail, then we will be judged by everyone else as a failure or a loser, Well I am here to say fuck that. The only way you will be able to truly succeed is by overcoming failure and continuing to move forward. Failure is the greatest teacher when it comes to achieving success. The best example of this that I can recall is Michael Jordan. The guy has missed over 9000 shots, 26 game winners too, but as his career continued, and he worked his ass off, he was able to finally succeed and take his team to 6 Titles. Without that fire and work ethic, and his ability to drown out the nay sayers, Michael Jordan could have very well became irrelevant. He still would have been a good athlete no doubt, but he would not be remembered as the greatest of all time aka GOAT if he did not have the mental toughness to push through each of his struggles and failures. We could all learn something from his mindset to not stop when things get tough, or to understand that a set back is only minor, and the bigger picture is still ahead, you just have to keep going. This is why we see so many get into fitness and exercising and they stop and start every year, over and over like a broken record. They don’t see results in the first 20 days so they say screw it and give up for the next 6 months, or just accept the body they have without even considering that they may need to make some changes to there routine before they just throw in the towel. Listen I could go on and on with this subject because it is one I deal with in clients everyday, but simply put, fuck failure, and keep pushing forward. Even when you fuck up and eat bad, or miss a workout, do not throw the rest of the week out the window. Get back on the fucking horse and get to work because no one else is going to do it for you. It’s you vs you.

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