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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

I travel a lot for my job - I'm generally away three weeks a month. Managing a healthy eating plan while travelling can be a nightmare, so here's how I've adapted it:

1) Intermittent Fasting - e.g. LeanGains. Finding Martin's site was a revolution for me. Learning that it didn't really matter when I ate saved me from the bodybuilding and dieting mantra (aka bullshit) of "stoking the metabolic fire" by eating every three hours. It's made my life easier and more satisfying. I get far more pleasure from a big evening meal than six snacks through the day. In addition, while travelling, it helps me focus on what's important - the quality of the food I'm eating. By only eating in the evening after work, I can make sure that I'm in a restaurant, hotel or supermarket and making decent food choices. Side benefits are that I can work through lunch (since I don't eat lunch) and this has sometimes enabled me to finish earlier, or gives me the extra time I sometimes need to finish a job.

2) Hyperlipid / low carb / paleo - A typical meal (one I'm eating as I write this!) is something like this:

Chicken Caesar Salad
Cheeseburger (no bun, no fries)
Cheese platter (no biscuits / crackers)
Glass of red wine
Protein shake for dessert - 1 pint whole milk, 150ml single cream, 2 scoops of your preferred whey protein.

I've no idea of the macros, but it's probably something like 50g carbs, 100g protein, 50g fat. The main thing is that it's tasty, filling and keeps me going until 24 hours later.

This is more protein than Peter @ Hyperlipid would go for, but he's not into weightlifting. At a bodyweight of 59kg (currently), I deadlift ~120kg for 10 reps, do 40kg weighted dips for 10 reps and 20kg+ weighted chinups for 10 reps. I figure I need the protein.

3) Exercise - being in a hotel for four nights of the week is not especially fun, so I always try and book one with a gym. My workouts when away are much less serious and these days I just use them as an excuse to burn some glycogen, use up some time and "earn" my dinner. When I'm home, my workouts will be much more structured and emphasise making progress - i.e. "progressive overload". I try to put more weight on the bar / dumbbell each time. 

Thursday, 11 September 2014

This year has flown by (literally - I spend most of my life in planes) and I've not updated the blog in ages...

Long story short, since finding Peter's Blog - Hyperlipid - mentioned in my previous post - I've been having a great time eating more fat and less carbs.

Unlike Peter, I'm more interested in building muscle, so the research that I've looked at suggests that optimal protein intake is still roughly around the bodybuilding mantra of "1g per lb". Summarising this research, Bayesian Bodybuilding suggests 0.82g/lb could be a pretty good figure, so I start there. At a fearsome ~130lb, this puts me nicely into the 100g/day region. Setting carbs around 50g/day for rest days (on the edge of ketosis and a realistic level to include intake from vegetables) and 100g for workout days (currently cutting - I usually go higher when bulking), this leaves around 400 cals (rest days) and 700 cals (workout days) to fill with fats.

Thus, I'm eating lots of whole eggs (fried in butter or poached), salmon, burgers etc. and almost nothing in the way of starches or sugars.

Feeling great and melting the fat off, although it never happens as fast as you want it to! (I want a six-pack NOW damnit!).

Also, check out another blog - Mark's Daily Apple. This is another guy with his head screwed on.

I also stumbled across another cool post here, which conforms to my belief (confirmation bias?) in the LeanGains principle - eating in the evening is a Good Thing.

If I find the time or the enthusiasm, I'll post some blood work results after dropping my carb intake and increasing my fat (mainly from saturated fat - I avoid trans fats like the plague and treat PUFAs i much the same way - i.e. no vegetable oil, except olive oil, hemp and a little flax).

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Brilliant and entertaining nutritional blog...

I recently came across a fantastic blog about science and nutrition by a UK vet called Peter. He basically dissects nutritional research papers to determine if they are well-controlled or not. For example, most "high fat" diet research papers are flawed in one of the following ways:

1) Using trans fats (e.g. hydrogenated vegetable oils) as the source of fat.
2) Including 20% of calories from sugar (as glucose / sucrose / fructose)
3) Poor controls
4) Poor models (e.g. gene knockout mice that may or may not represent anything like human metabolism)
5) Biased assumptions leading to apparent "paradoxical" results rather than assessing the results with an open mind and considering that other models may be incorrect.

I highly recommend the blog, but it's perhaps a little heavy on the science jargon for those without a background in biology. Give it a go and see what you think:


I've gone through read every post and it's convinced me to at least give the ideas a try. I've reduced my carbohydrate intake again (I've already found the benefits of reduced carbohydrate, particularly sugar) and have increased my fat intake from butter, eggs, cream and cheese (I've always loved dairy and fortunately I'm not lactose intolerant). Interestingly, I've also reduced my vegetable intake (fruit intake has been almost zero apart from blueberries for some time anyway). So far, I'm up to around 50% of calories from fat and feeling great:

1) Increased libido.
2) Increased sensitivity to alcohol (this could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your point of view, but I've found it beneficial for my single glass of red wine in the evenings).
3) Higher calorie intake for the same bodyweight. I'm actually trying to gain weight (i.e. muscle mass from increased weight-lifting) and finding it more difficult on a higher fat / lower carb diet).
4) Better compatibility with LeanGains (i.e. the intermittent fasting I've posted about before). I find it easier to consume the large amount of calories in a short space of time if they are from fats.
5) Less desire to eat carbohydrates.

I still eat carbs, but only on lifting days to replenish the glycogen and encourage an insulin spike for muscle growth.

(I hope Peter doesn't mind me using one of his blog pictures as my post picture - if so, please let me know and I'll change it for something else, but this seemed very appropriate!).