NUTRITION

Keto Diet

In the never-ending battle against fat, many people rely on the ketogenic diet (aka the keto diet) to fight the bulge. The theory behind the keto diet is that an extreme reduction in carbohydrate intake stimulates ketosis and forces the body to use fatty acids for fuel instead of glucose. This article will highlight some of the key points of the keto diet and outline a strategy for an athlete attempting to lower his or her body fat level.

The Keto Basics

The only way to reach ketosis is by significantly reducing carbohydrate intake to a near-zero level. At this point, the body will convert fat into fatty acids, which will later be converted to ketones in the liver. Ketones are then used as a main source of energy to fuel the brain, daily activities and all bodily functions. A person on a standard keto diet relies strictly on fat and protein for his or her daily nutritional intake. One modified keto diet that has been designed with bodybuilders and athletes in mind is the Body Opus Diet.

[^ top]

The Body Opus Diet

In the first stage of the Body Opus diet, a precise amount of protein and fat is consumed at a level that is below the caloric intake needed to sustain and maintain the body. This aims to achieve fat loss while maintaining muscle tissue. The second stage of the regiment reintroduces carbohydrates at much higher than normal levels to stimulate glucose deposition in muscle cells as well as rapid recovery. This helps ensure muscle-tissue maintenance. The Body Opus diet was originally introduced by Dan Duchaine, one of bodybuilding’s most respected gurus. This nutritional strategy has been successfully used again and again to achieve extremely low body fat levels while maintaining competitive level physiques.

[^ top]

Balancing Micronutrients for the Keto Diet

For athletes, the structure of the Body Opus Diet is what gives it a significant advantage over a typical keto diet. It is designed to maintain maximum amount of muscle tissue while significantly reducing body fat. The first consideration for the Body Opus Diet is striking the right balance with protein levels. An athlete should be consuming 0.8 grams of protein for each pound of body weight. For example, a 200-pound bodybuilder should be consuming 160 grams of protein per day. This may seem like a low amount for the average bodybuilder, but it is necessary as a large amount of protein will create an environment that makes going into ketosis much more difficult. This is because excessive amounts of protein, or the amount over and above the daily requirements to maintain a positive nitrogen balance, will be converted to glucose through a process known as the glucose-alanine cycle. The cycle is a process by which the amino acid alanine is transported to the liver for conversion into glucose. One hundred grams of protein can be converted to 58 grams of glucose. If that same 200-pound bodybuilder consumed 260 grams of protein, which isn’t an overly excessive amount for a serious weight lifter, his body would likely generate 58 grams of glucose. This added glucose would be enough to keep the bodybuilder out of ketosis, which could spoil his goals.

The main objective of the initial stage of the diet is to shift the energy metabolism away from carbohydrates and towards fat. The only sure way to do it is to maintain just the right amount of protein, reduce carbohydrates and increase dietary fat. Dietary fat can come from various sources; one that is recommended is coconut oil because 66 percent of it is composed of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Most fats in our foods are long chain triglycerides (LCTs). The problem with LCTs is that the process to convert them into usable energy is very long and complex. MCTs don’t suffer from this problem as the liver can directly metabolize them, allowing their energy quickly to be released quickly. This is similar to carbohydrates. Burning MCTs creates lots of ketones and turns the human body into a fat-burning machine. Supplementing with either MCT oil or coconut oil can increase the rate in which the body reaches ketosis, and the person would quickly feel much the same as he or she would on a regular lower carb diet. That 200-pound bodybuilder should be aiming for 150 to 175 grams of dietary fat to maintain 2000 to 2200 calories per day to optimize his body fat reduction.

[^ top]

The Re-Carb Phase

This phase is your reward for being carb-free for five days. As mentioned before, during the first five days of this diet (e.g., Monday to Friday), as few carbs as possible have been consumed. During this new phase, the carbs are reintroduced into the nutritional plan to help the body refuel and recover from training and to recharge the athlete’s mental focus. There are two different approaches to re-carbing. The first is to start on Friday night and go until midday Sunday. The other is to start Saturday morning and finish Sunday evening. Both work, and the choice is solely a personal preference.

Before you initiate the re-carb phase, a special de-carb workout should be completed to deplete any glucose that still might be remaining in the muscle cells and stimulate future glucose uptake while maximizing insulin sensitivity. The workout should be circuit-style training, with medium weights allowing for a smooth work tempo of 1-0-1 (one second lowering, a zero-second pause, and one second lifting). All major body parts, such as quads, hamstrings, back, chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, traps and calves, should be exercised. Each body part has to be part of the giant circuit comprising 10 to 12 exercises. A three-minute rest should be taken after each circuit, and the circuit should be repeated four or five times. This should take no longer than 45 to 60 minutes, at which point you can start re-carbing. The first three or four meals should comprise fast-absorbing carbs and proteins. Whey protein isolate or hydrolyzed caseinate will work great when combined with simple sugars such as maltodextrin or rice cakes. In fact, any type of low-fat cereal also works. If you choose caseinate as a protein source, it must be hydrolyzed to increase the speed of protein absorption. Also, fat intake must be limited to ensure fast absorption of nutrients. As one progresses through the re-carb process, the simple carbs must be reduced, and starchy and fibrous carbs must take their place. The first day of re-carb should include 400 to 500 grams of carbs, with a reduction to 200 to 300 grams for the second day. This amount will vary from person to person and will require some level of experimentation, as all people have different sensitivity levels to insulin. The higher the insulin sensitivity, the more carbohydrates a person will be able to consume without spilling over and regaining lost body fat. So please exercise some caution here: Start at a lower level and build up if you are tolerating the carbs well.

[^ top]

Supplements

As with all bodybuilding, smart supplementation will help. A good multivitamin and branched-chain amino acids such as AGENT•M should be taken in the morning as well as after training. This also includes a good creatine source such as PURPLE•K and a good fat burner such as SUB•Q, and MCT oil and flaxseed oil will assist with the fat-intake requirements. Potential benefit could come from glucose-disposal agents such as R-ALA (alpha-lipoic acid), which will potentially assist with reaching ketosis faster. As a bonus, R-ALA is also a very good antioxidant.

[^ top]

Diet Sample

Here is a sample keto diet layout for a 200-pound athlete:

Meal 1

Protein (g) Fat (g)
3 whole omega-egg omelet 18 18
30 g cheese 7 9
2 tsp. butter 8
Total 25 35

Meal 2

Protein (g) Fat (g)
1 chicken breast 30 2
20 g coconut oil 20
Total 30 22

Meal 3

Protein (g) Fat (g)
4 whole omega-eggs 18 18
30 g cheese 7 9
2 tsp. butter 8
Total 25 35

Meal 4

Protein (g) Fat (g)
160 g steak 30 22
10 mL flaxseed oil 10
Total 30 32

Meal 5 – after training

Protein (g) Fat (g)
35 g whey protein 30
15 mL flaxseed oil 15
Total 30 15

Meal 6

Protein (g) Fat (g)
110 g steak 20 14
10 mL flaxseed oil 10
Total 20 24
Protein Fat
TOTAL Nutrient Count: 160 g 163 g
TOTAL Caloric Count (2,107 cal/day): 640 cal 1,467 cal
[^ top]

Conclusion

The keto diet is a great weapon against excessive body fat, and, if applied correctly, it will work fast and transform anyone into a muscular athlete or ripped competitor. This type of diet is not recommended as an everyday nutritional plan; however, in the short term, it will help people achieve ripped physiques. Plus, it’s an easy-to-follow system that you can stick to because of the re-carb reward waiting at the end of the week. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get ripped.

[^ top]

← Older Post | Newer Post →

SIGN UP NOW!




/