When I started this blog I was fairly certain that no one would read it. And positive no one would take on this lifestyle based off of my blog. Luckily I was wrong on both points, so I'll keep writing. Before getting into performance stuff this week, a few notes on comments I have received from some of you.
If you are a female starting this lifestyle, I suggest you listen to one or both of these podcasts. I'm not a female so you can find better info here:
Patience is key. Give this lifestyle one month and you should know by then if it is working for you or it is not. If your body composition and/or weight are improving in one month, keep at it. It is not for everyone, but you have to give it time and it will suck for a while.
Also, although I asked you to download myfitnesspal app, don't count calories. The app is for tracking percentages of fat, protein, and carbs not calories in this case. If you try to start this lifestyle at the same time you are limiting calories, your life is really going to suck.
Now onto performance. A few of you are getting into your third week on this plan and are starting to kick your training back up. I'm only going to discuss endurance training here and some limited strength training based on my own experiences. There are about 1,000 different opinions on this subject but I'm going to tell you what has worked for me and several others. I'll do this in question answer format to make it a little more simple.
Q: What do I eat before my workout?
A: I prefer to go into a long run with a fairly light stomach (I don't get hungry anymore, but this would be a hungry state prior to OFM). So I try to eat dinner late afternoon the day before my run. And I don't do a lot different at that meal. If I am going really long, over 4 hours, I will up my carb intake very slightly at that meal. Maybe a MAX of 100g carbs the day before and all those carbs are covered in fat (butter, sour cream, etc). I don't drink coffee either, unrelated to OFM, so I just have a few glasses of water before I start my run in the morning.
Q: What do I eat while I'm running?
A: So we started the run pretty well fasted. It makes me feel light and quick. Just before my run I'll have a VESPA JR (see below for discount code). Then I will run the first two hours with just water and S! Caps. After 2 hours your fat burning fire is going full speed and you have a little more flex on what you eat. I'll hit a VESPA concentrate every 2.5 hours after the start. Then I have best luck mixing in Generation UCAN (see resources page). UCAN is a super starch that provides you the benefits of carb energy without spiking your insulin. So you are getting the good without killing your fat burning fire.
Q: I can't survive on UCAN alone, what else can I eat?
A: After the first few hours, eat what you ate before on runs that you enjoyed. Don't be too concerned with carbs as they will be more additive than really hurt your fat burning once you have been running several hours. You are going to be eating A LOT less than you used to eating on your long runs, so you don't have to worry as much about getting an upset stomach. I do like cheese sticks, cashews, and bacon for some reason. I'll even carry a few gels incase I really need a kick (after you are fully adapted, a gel will give you a serious jumpstart for a few minutes).
Q: I'm getting really dehydrated, what's going on?
A: Remember all that water you peed out the first week you were on the diet? Your body doesn't have that anymore to use as a buffer when you screw up your hydration strategy. For me, this means drinking a lot more water than I was used to. It also means taking a lot more S!Caps than I used to. Just really stay on top of your hydration and don't get behind if you can help it. This is the one thing that put the hurting on me when I first started the diet.
Q: So this is good for running slow, what about speed work or strength work?
A: Someone told me, "You will know this diet is working when you get done with your speed work and you feel like you want to do more." I thought, no sh*t...because I hate speed work and usually feel like crap after. Although this is the slowest thing to come back after the transition, once fully adapted it improved at the same rate as my long slow runs. Same with strength training. I was CrossFitting when I started the diet, I ended up taking a few weeks off during my transition phase but then really enjoyed it after I was adapted and my energy levels were so much higher.
Q: What do I eat post-workout?
A: You are going to find that the more/longer you run or workout the more your hunger is suppressed. In fact you almost feel more full even though you have burned a ton of calories. So instead of killing that whole pizza and pitch of beer when you get done, you will probably just want to eat a regular OFM meal (be really strict on the carbs) or something a little smaller. It usually takes me about 2-3 hours to feel like eating and then it doesn't take too much to fill me up. If you are looking to lose some weight this is a great time to do it since you are not hungry anyway.
Hopefully this gets you down the road for a few runs. That first time that you run 4-6-8 hours on only water and salt AND you still have great energy you will be pretty excited. It's a moment when you think, why have I not done this before!
Well it appears my first blog struck a cord with quite a few people. I didn't even know 8 people read it, but I have had at least 8 friends tell me this past week that they are going to start the diet in the near future. And then they suggested I write a 'getting started' blog. I'm going to tell you some resources you can use, what to buy at the store, and why you will hate me the first week.
First a disclaimer- I'm not a Dr or dietitian or anything of the such. You can jump right into this just reading my blog and figure it out (odds are you will not die, but I not making any promises). But I would highly suggest reading at least The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance (see Resources page) before starting the diet. I see several of you have already ordered the book, which I made $.36 total off of for all 4 books ordered (it might take a while to make back the $100 invested in this site so far - but if it helps those 1 of you it's all worth it). The following are my thoughts/experiences only and I probably forgot a lot of shit. If you have something seriously wrong with your body then you might want to see a Dr before you change everything up.
In addition to buying AND READING the book (it's a quick read), I suggest you download MyFitnessPal on your iPhone or tablet or whatever you carry all the time. You are going to use this app to track your carbs/fat the first month or until you get confident in your carb counting ability. You can use anything to track your carbs/fat but that is what I used.
Now that you have the tools, you need some food. If you are serious you are going to purge your house of carbs, just like a recovering alcoholic gets rid of the booze when they quit. Don't worry all your carb eating friends will love the gifts of pasta, bread, and all that stuff. Just look at the labels, if they have more than about 20 carbs a serving, donate it. Then you are going to go to the grocery store and stock up for your first week. If you are vegetarian or vegan or some other special diet already, you are just going to have to figure it out. *Note: Yes veggies have carbs but you are still going to eat them. If you only eat meat and cheese- don't come crying to me if you don't poop for a week....or ever again.
So the point of this grocery list and those meals is taking you to the core of the plan. 1) Keep your total carbs for the day below 50 grams. 2) Get around 60-70% of your calories from fat. If you don't do anything else at all- do those two things! Now here is how your are going to make this happen.
You are going cold turkey. There is no in between where you gradually cut out the carbs. The day you start you are going to hit those two goals above and your are going to do that for a month straight. None of this cheat day stuff (for now). Although its going to be rough, there is science and stuff that says this is the best way.
The first few days your are not going to be happy with me. Sorry, it will get better. You are going to be tired, irritable, and generally feel like crap. Your body was addicted to sugar (carbs=sugar)-you are in sugar withdrawal you addict. The other thing that is going to happen is you are going to be peeing like you have been out drinking all night. This is your body getting rid of all the water stored with those carbs in your body. That initial water weight loss might be 5lbs, but it's only water.
If you are working out, you do need to cut that back a little. 25% workout effort the first week, 50% the second week, 75% the third week, then back to 100% the fourth week. Some people can do more, some less but that was a good guide for me. Also if you are working out remember to hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate. All that water you peed out, isn't there when you workout now. Also I'd suggest taking an S! Cap or salt supplement. This will limit your lightheadedness. If you are getting cramps, get some slow release magnesium (you can order this on the www.vespapower.com site).
When you get that craving for carbs (you will) have a cheese stick. Whatever you do, don't give up these first few weeks. I promise the reward at the end is worth it. This month I'm also going to ask you to give up booze for the most part. You can have your 50g carbs however you want (8 glasses dry red wine or 4 lite beers) but your body would appreciate it if you had those in the form of something with nutrition value instead. If you have to have a drink, you know to be social and stuff, I suggest vodka and soda with a lime. As time goes on you become super sensitive to sweets and you will find all that high sugar liquor/soda does not taste good anymore. (Except Guinness....that shit always tastes good!)
Here's the bottom line. Keep your carbs under 50g a day and start eating a ton of fat. You will feel gross, especially if you have been on one of the low-fat/be hungry diets. And you are probably going to feel like shit for a few days or weeks depending on how sugar addicted you are. This is the entry fee for a life where you enjoy eggs and bacon for breakfast, a ribeye for lunch, and some fatty beef ribs for dinner like I did today AND you lose weight AND you workout for hours with huge amount of energy. But we will get more into the benefits next blog...someone remind me when it's time to write that. Your comments are welcome (unless you are going to be an jerk). Especially comment if you just started on the diet!