To get lean, one of my best tricks is to run a keto. I love to have a light caloric surplus that makes me gain mass very slowly while providing a good level of energy, but once in a while, I need to lean out a little otherwise ill get too fat.
In addition, typically, just before the summer I desire to get a little leaner than usual, enough to see my abs. You know, being lean in the summer when it’s hot just feels great.
However, the problem with dieting is that, if it gets too long, your caloric deficit will eventually bring your testosterone down and you will start losing muscle and feel miserable.
For that reason, I like to keep it short and efficient, and that’s where the Ketogenic diet comes in.
The ketogenic diet has been used to stay lean in the bodybuilding circles for a while now and it is also used for medicinal propose by those who suffer from epilepsy.
What is a keto?
The ketogenic diet is without any doubt one of the best strategies you can use to burn fat while maintaining muscle mass and can also be combined with intermittent fasting for results that are even more dramatic.
Basically, it is a high fat, medium protein, very low carbs diet.
For most people glucose is the basic element your body needs to produce energy. The easiest way to for your body to get glucose is to break down the carbs that you eat.
Now, what happens when there are no more carbs?
Well, your body will start breaking down fat to make ketone.
Yes, ketone can also be used as an efficient energy source!
Now, you are starting to see where I am going with this right?
Why the keto diet so great?
Once your body is already geared to be in fat burning mode (ketosis), as soon as you run out of food it will dig right into your own fat reserves.
Normally when you cut down the calories you would always feel hungry, right?
A thing that really makes your days, even more difficult. That happens when your insulin is done clearing up your bloodstream from all remaining glucose.
Even, if you have some fat reserve, there is a delay before your body can switch to the fat burning mode and access it.
During this delay, you will feel hungry, low energy, have a foggy mind, and can even experience some mild headache.
But, when you are on a keto, you won’t feel this, because your system is already in fat burning mode. You will just feel a good steady level of energy all day long.
Also, an interesting thing with the keto is that a diet high in fats/cholesterols is great to promote a healthy level of testosterone and since we are about to cut down the calories in order to lose weight, it will prevent your testosterone from plummeting too much. In turn, this will help you to burn fat faster while preserving your muscle mass.
A strong muscle mass is key to burn fat fast, it not the time to waste it.
How long should I run my keto?
It has been proven to be healthy to run a keto for long periods of times. Inuit’s living in the polar north where on a ketogenic diet most of the year as they only consumed fatty fish and other animal products.
The only problem is, we live in a society where those delicious processed carbs are just everywhere.
Especially, when you are on a keto you cannot have a day without someone trying to give you a fucking donut.
You become a carbs magnet or something… it’s unreal.
Hey buddy, we’re going to eat some fries from the chip truck, come one lets us go, it is on me today!
I swear this will happen all the time when you are on a keto.
So, for sanity reason, I do 10 days keto run followed by a carb load and that a couple times in a row. This technique is called CKD / Cyclic Ketogenic Diet. Not only better for your sanity but when you switch back to carbs, your body starts to freak-out and your metabolism goes into overdrive, allowing you to burn even more fat later on.
Here is the 2-week diet pattern:
- 10 days Keto, 400 Calories under maintenance. (I take about 2 days before it really kicks in.)
- 1 day, Carb load. Mainly Carbs day 400 Calories above maintenance. Spaghetti, bread, rice, potato…
- 3-day regular diet, 300 Calories under maintenance.
Start cycle again.
But if you think you’re tough enough, you can just run the keto for one month straight.
What to eat on a keto
Like, I said before, the ketogenic diet is a fat based diet. A good 70% of your caloric intake should come fat, around 25% from protein and no more than 5% from carbs.
Careful, you should calculate your calorie intake at first because 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories contrary to only 3 calories per gram for the carbs. Thus, the volume of food that you will eat will be significantly smaller.
You should mostly use Saturated fat, which is in a solid state around 70F or 20C degree. Butter, all animal fat, and coconut oil are the best.
By the way, if you still believe that animal saturated fats are unhealthy is the time that you update your knowledge. This is bad information based on the ‘Lipid hypothesis’ which has been proven to be bad science and debunked much time. Actually, this shit hypothesis is the root probably one of the major causes of this obesity and sickness epidemic that spread around the world since the 80s.
Anyway, the king of the saturated fat for the keto is the MCT, (Medium-chain triglycerides) and that because this kind of fat can be turned into energy really easily. They are ideal, especially in the first few days of your keto in order to help your body switch into fat burning mode faster.
You find them in coconut oil, and there is also some MCT product on sale conceived for that purpose.
Anything that could be cooked in butter can also be cooked in coconut oil instead.
My wife uses coconut oil to cook fried chicken and I am telling you it is awesome!
Just after the saturated fats, you can add also some Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA aka omega 9), those are found in avocado and olive oil. You can also find them in nuts. But, be careful they often go together with carbs.
The omega3 from fish oil are also excellent, unfortunately, they are more difficult to find. Surly fatty fish like sardine and salmon are excellent keto food.
Here is a list of the best food to eat on a keto.
- Meat: Pork, beef, chicken, goat, lamb, turkey, veal… (The fatter the better, bacon time all right!)
- Fish: Salmon, sardines, trout, catfish, tuna, cod, haddock… (The fatter the better)
- Fruits: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, avocado. (In small quantity berries are perfect)
- Vegetables: Broccoli, asparagus, cucumber, lettuce… (Greens are very low in calories, so you can get a few, do not forget to put butter or cheese on them!)
- Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, cashew, walnuts, sunflower… (In small quantity, watch out the carbs)
- Dairy Products: Cheese, Greek yogurt, sour cream, heavy cream. (The fatter the better)
- Fats and Oils: Coconut oil, butter, olive oil, avocado oil, almond oil, flaxseed oil, sesame oil.
- Flavoring: Spices, mayonnaise.
- Coffee: Caffeine has been shown in studies to increase the production of ketones while on such diet.
Menu on a keto
Let’s take a look at what a menu could look like;
- Breakfast: 3 Egg Omelet with bacon, spiced as you wish, you can add mushrooms or spinach and cook it in coconut oil.
- KetoCoffee: Coffee with a big piece of coconut oil / MTC oil. A good tablespoon, make it really fat, you can also drop some butter on top of that… Some call it a fat bomb!
- Lunch: Ground beef and cheese, with some mayo and a small salad. Kind of a burger without bread.
- Dinner: Baked salmon with broccoli. Make a simple butter-based sauce with lemon juice, garlic, salt pepper.
- Bedtime snake: Handful of Cashew
It’s not that complicated, and I am telling you, with a diet like that you will burn fat like a furnace.
If it does not work properly, it is most likely because one of the three following reasons:
- Your caloric intake is too high. You still need to be around 400 calories under your baseline. Fat is very caloric, grab an app like MyFitnessPal, and punch in what you eat. Monitor those calories for a few days and readjust as needed.
- You do not eat enough fat. This is not a high protein diet; it is a high-fat diet.
- You eat too many carbs. Your body is not able to switch into ketosis. Get more MTC (coconut oil) and reduce those carbs close to zero.
On this, if you want to be lean and be able to maintain it long term, you need to follow a good training program that aims at making you stronger. A big muscle mass is like a big engine, it consumes a lot of fuel. A couple of Big-Mac once in a while or some fried chicken will never make you fat if your muscles are always starving for more food.
Stay focused, stay strong!