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Return of the Hack

My experiment with increasing my carb intake has been somewhat of a success. Still a work in progress, but it’s already seen some ups and downs. A bit of background: I’ve been unwittingly eating a low-carb diet, about 60g a day, and usually under 30g on non-workout days. Combined with heavy lifting 3 days a week, my theory was that the chronic calorie and carb deficit was putting my body under much undue physiologic stress, forcing me to retain the extra fat I’m trying to lose.

Intervention: I’m trying to eat an extra 1-1.5 pounds (90-140 carb grams / 360-560 calories) of root veggies a day, while keeping all the rest of my intake the same. Also, my microwave has a potato-cooker setting, so my meal’s ready in 6-7 minutes. Add to this the fact that you can top a baked potato with *anything*. Even chili. Picture coming soon. How has it worked? Depends on the goal.

Aesthetics – I feel a tiny bit leaner. It’s probably too early to tell. I think I can see a bit more muscle definition, and my weight is about the same with 0.5-1% body fat decrease in a week. Then again, I’m using a very error-prone measuring system (the Virgin Health Miles station at my hospital, which puts me at 185.4 lbs and a body fat of 15.6-17.2% on three individual measurements.)

Strength – To be determined. I can certainly lift my girlfriend overhead with a lot more ease than last week. My first lift of Round 3 of the Wendler 5-3-1 program was earlier today, and I squatted 230lb x 10reps, which is a bit better than last month, and correlates to a theoretical 1RM of 305. Theoretically. I’m still pretty certain I’d freak out with anything more than 285 on me and re-enact my famous “let go of the bar, grab on to the squat cage with both hands, and let the barbell roll down my back” squat bail technique. It’s not pretty. Not as bad as this, but close.

Also (not as cool as “coffee-bacon-barbell”, but lovable nonetheless:)

Asthma – An astute research scrutinizer may call this a case of confounding factors, but I’ve been wheezing on and off for the past 4 days (about 9-10 puffs overall), all starting with a weekend of moving stuff into my girlfriend’s new apartment (lots of exposure to dust and a little bit of cat hair) and continuing with a delicious paella dinner that same night. I don’t want to blame the rice outright, but it’s on notice. Strike two. Weirdly enough, I did drink a couple beers (okay, *six* beers) last Thursday at a fundraiser and didn’t feel the least bit wonky afterwards. Maybe the fermenting helps alleviate some of the anti-nutrient effect of the grain. Now *that’s* a stretch. It’s bad for you, but it makes you feel good. Put it on the “special occasions” list with cupcakes and my mom’s chick-pea fudge.

All in all, a victory for clean starches and root veggies. It may not be right for everyone’s lifestyle, but I think it is for mine. I work my muscles hard, hence they need glycogen, hence I need to eat carbs. The end.

Next time: good fats and bad fats, and how to make them over 60% of your caloric intake. It’s not that easy, Perfect Health Diet.

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