The Truth: Low Carb vs Slow Carb
I write to you today at the end of an experiment.
Ready to present the results. However, I’m a little worried about what it might do.
You see, for the last 2 weeks, I have been experimenting, and yes, some of that has been in forms other than slow carb, or even Four Hour Body recommendations.
I have strayed away, in the pursuit of more knowledge, and more results!
So, it’s today, that I solemnly declare that I have ‘cheated’ on the Four Hour Body.. with a mistress know to many: low carb. But why?
Why would I do something so stupid, so crazy, and yet seemingly so intriguing and new at the same time? Simple. I started getting a little ache in my stomach a few weeks back, and then it became a bigger ache. It came with a lot of meals, and then I started really feeling averse to beans, then it was chicken. I couldn’t even buy them in the grocery store. Weird! But it sounded very familiar to other stories I’ve read. So I decided it was time for a change. Time for something different. I have been reading a lot lately, about some of the more impressive physiques that are seen around Hollywood, around the movies, and TV shows, and also reading on other websites that feature oodles of nutrition and training advice. It’s a big wide world out there, let me tell you. And so, to my experiment, my stray off the slow carb path.
Here goes…. It all started out simply enough – dropping a bean meal here and there, and then within a few days, I was totally involved in the low carb mentality. I was using a modified version, that sees carbs added in pre-workout, and post workout, to replenish stores. As I was training with 2 rest days in between (with my as-yet-unrevealed-mystery-taining-regime), this meant 1 carby afternoon, and 2.5 low carb days on a cycle. Seemed to make sense. On the low carb days, I would add gobs of peanut butter, nuts and leave in some animal fats (like no draining ground beef), and sticking with my 8 eggs a day routine. Add to that the addition of much more salad, in the form of greens, peppers and most things water based (avoiding starchy and sweet vegetables), and I thought I had a solid plan.
Things seemed to go really well at first. I had been a little frustrated with a weight plateau that was lasting into it’s 2nd week, so I really wanted to try to shake things up a little. I kept a careful eye on things, and paid very close attention to a number of factors:
- Energy level
- Fat level
- Sleep quality
- Sleep duration
- Muscle soreness/stiffness
- Performance at the gym
- Mood and attitude
- Clarity and focus
And let’s remember, this is fresh off the calendar.. I was doing this last week, and the week before that. So, to the results:
- Energy level – first week really good. Second week, definitely started feeling a little less like doing a lot, however I found burst of energy came from nowhere.
- Weight – didn’t change ( a good thing, as I was dreading a reduction) – so no gains.
- Fat level – Little appreciable difference. Went up a little.
- Sleep quality – Very good, as on slow carb and variations.
- Sleep duration – Long sleeps, feeling lethargic getting up. *Midnight snacks required often at 4am.
- Muscle soreness/stiffness – Progressively not fading away like it should. Later last week had a sensation of a ‘deep ache’ that isn’t like a rebuilding, it’s like a
- Performance at the gym – As of today, almost managed less reps on same weights as last week.
- Mood and attitude – Somewhat depressed at times. A little less than eager to take initiative.
- Clarity and focus – Some things just seemed to take a long time. I felt quite scattered at times.
There are some keys that stand out to me:
- I was getting more sleep than usual, yet felt more tired.
- My muscles, considering the amount of sleep I was getting, didn’t seem to be recovering as fast as usual.
- I had to eat much more often and it was harder to stick to a routine.
- It became more and more inconvenient to get in enough calories over the day, and enough protein.
- With lethargy, came all sorts of wasted pieces of time where I didn’t know whether to eat more, or just take a rest.
- I didn’t lose any fat in 2 weeks, where I had plenty of sleep (more than usual), did my regular workouts, and had a couple of other moderate activities (but nothing close to overtraining).
- Whether by coincidence, or by cause, my hayfever was actually quite a bit worse across this time period, but the seasonality of my part of the world really hasn’t changed significantly in the last 2 weeks (we’re still dragging through a late spring most days).
So, it’s done. As of tonight, it is finished. I did a workout today, felt muscles that I didn’t like, and made my decision.
As if they were conspiring to come and find me, I have seen no less than 2 photographic documentaries of individual progress on slow carb, over a number of months in the last 24 hours. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I am a believe in universal energy, and the law of attraction, and though this may a little on the light hearted side.. slow carb has come and found me, right when I was asking ‘what regime should I use to cut my body fat lower, over the next 100 days?’ I have also seen the photos Tim posted about the lady who went from 155lbs to 155lbs, and was eating over 3000 calories a day.. and its quite a transformation.
Again, this has convinced me of two things:
- Slow carb, with it’s beans and protein is a really solid base to continual body development, whereas I felt like my body was breaking down on low carb
- Calories really aren’t the big factor everyone thinks they are. Think about thermogenics, think about muscle, quality of food, health, less stress, and everything else, and then you have an accurate picture – the human body is complex.
So this time, I have a different approach. Though Occam’s Protocol is focussed on gaining muscle as fast as possible, I have also read plenty on slow carb and see 12% bodyfat being quoted for post-workout carbs. That is, if you are above that mark (for a man), then don’t have any. This suggests to me that there are some variations, or a grey area in between pure slow carb, and Occam’s (with its rice and quinoa), which I think I will aim for. I didn’t like the rice every day, and didn’t feel it was doing good things for me.
So I plan to attack slow carb again, maintaining gym workouts not unlike Occam’s Protocol, and only include protein shakes made with milk around workouts. Other than that, I will look at snacks in between meals, so I don’t have to consume massive quantities of food to bring in my target of 2800 -3200 calories per day.
Last but not least, it pains me, but, I think to make further progress I will be logging food into DailyBurn, at least for a week, as I reset all of my ‘gut vibes’ on food, and what and how much looks right, as this low carb thing has really fiddled with my eyes and my ability to gauge what’s a good-sized meal.
Have you experimented away from the Four Hour Body? Maybe in workouts, not in diet? Share your ideas and results below in a comment! I read every one of them.
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