Thursday, August 21, 2014

Targeted Keto Diet experiment

My menu is pretty clean and "whole-food", and my weight is not a problem. When I diet, it's for either adding lean mass or cutting to a weight class. I added 14lb over the winter, and as an experiment in getting lean, I started a ketogenic diet this month. In ketosis since Aug 07, I'm 6lbs lighter and down 1in off my belt.

Ketotic metabolism tends to benefit endurance work more than high-intensity work. Runners may train well in keto but need sugar gels during a long race for steep terrain. (see this blog) There are even subgroups of the keto community dedicated to the challenge of building strength and mass on either the Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) or the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD).

I had strength work scheduled yesterday, so I had a banana (27g carbs) and some caffeine before the 6am workout. A protein shake (10g carbs) and some almond bread (~20g carbs, 4x that in fats) for breakfast, and I was testing trace ketones at 10am, 0-5mg/dL. I ate carb-free the rest of the day
and tested 40mg/dL after dinner, a successful recovery.

The TKD plan generally carb-loads 5-6 hours before strength work, easy for 5pm at Planet Fitness like the rest of the world. My 30min lead time is a bare minimum, so I will experiment with a bedtime snack a couple nights a week. I may be able to tune this to wake up in trace keto, full of glycogen and water, and burn it off by 10:00. That would be awesome.

P.S. CKD works well for weight lifters in need of blood sugar control or fat reduction. 5 days in keto, ending with a depletion workout, and 1-2 days hi-carb/low-fat for glycogen recovery. I love the idea as a long-term meal plan, but that's not exactly my training focus. I would be better served by the ability to strip and reload glycogen and get back into aerobic keto on demand, like between weigh-in and flight at a weekend meet. I will have to test my 10' scores a few times with and without a carb load the night before. I'm not sure whether just remaining in keto would be better.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Hardest Thing

The hardest thing about pushing 45 in a few days is that I don't heal and rest like I used to. My training is going pretty well, by most measures. I'm even dieting, 2 weeks in keto now and visibly leaner. But my dial is simply out of spare numbers. I don't sleep regularly enough to even just swing clubs and run a mile on my "off" mornings. I actually miss running. That was a hard-fought victory, years of work, lost to a stupid bruise.

There are two principles I've been unable to get away from over these years. First, I do really well training 4 days a week. Any more scheduled 6am work, regardless how trivial, tends to cost me elsewhere. I managed 5 days for a period of about a month, and it ran me ragged.

Second, something Dan John writes about athletes for whom training is supplementary to a sport: train strength in the gym, train conditioning in the sport. I do really well doing strength and mobility twice a week and KB sport twice a week. It's not ideal competition prep, but it keeps me healthy.

I finished two good sets of Long Cycle today without tearing anything, followed by presses and squats and swings. It felt "right", the right mix of technique and strength and a good pump at the end. It wasn't an hour of dedicated sport work, but it also wasn't bleeding all over the platform. It was more like the Phase 1 GPP of most any KB sport training program, but Phase 1 suits me well. Especially in recovery - from injury, from sleep deprivation, from mental strain - GPP is for the athlete instead of the sport. It lets me sleep at night and get up from a chair without going "uhhhnnn". There must be an acceptance for Quadrant II performance and Phase 1 training.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summer Milestones

This summer has been a reboot of sorts. In broad terms, I've been trying to add time and volume to all aspects of my training before intensity. I haven't lifted the 24s yet, but I have met a few milestones.

I walked and briefly jogged 45min yesterda, trying to commit to walking and Indian clubs on my off days for recovery. I'm reading a lot of reasons for long, aerobic training that sit lower in the foundation than raw performance, most prominently to promote actual recovery. The hard part is resisting the urge to push and cause more stuff to recover from.
My kettlebell clean and jerk technique was modified in late Spring, with new contact points on my hands. I am dealing with blisters where I've never had years of calluses before, but I've met a few of my scheduled goals along the way.
  • MSIC score with 2x16kg (before this change, but again since)
  • 1,000 reps with 2x16kg to ingrain the new technique
  • raised my 2x16kg PR by 6 reps (10%)
So, my lightweight numbers have gone up significantly. I've just resumed 2x20kg training, and I'm 1-2rpm faster than before in 2-3min intervals. I'm cutting the fat I put on over years of strength focus; hello, keto. My 20kg PR is only 3 reps below the MSIC score in the next lower weight class, should I cut a few pounds. I may reach that by month's end, and that number on my wall would be a sight for sore eyes.

P.S. There's an interesting dilemma about KB training and running. People who follow tradition and lift in the sport style do it alongside running for recovery and for cardio development. People who follow the more recent fitness styles often use KBs instead of running, calling running dangerous and decrying "the dishonor of cardio" in all its forms. It intrigues me that a self-professed hardcore, pseudo-military school of training would disavow running with such passion when the actual military does not.