The keto diet‘s working very well. I’m feeling markedly better. Hunger is much less of a problem than it was before. My energy actually isn’t too bad, even with the expected tired stretches as my body exhausted its glycogen stores and adapted to ketone use. Not to mention, after my weight (despite a clean consistent calorie deficit) stubbornly refused to budge for months after climbing to the low 180’s… it promptly began a steady everyday slide downward and is now in the high 170’s for the first time since May, continuing to slide downward by a fraction of a pound every day.
Admittedly, ongoing sleep problems (terminal insomnia) and hunger pangs (the two were somewhat related) were my main motivation for trying keto in the first place, and it’s helped both a great deal. The earliest I wake up now is 3:00am-ish, and that’s still after a fair better amount of sleep compared to before. Often I wake up closer to 4:00am, definitely good enough. Even if a bit generally tired later in the day, I don’t feel sleep deprived at all, and have no trouble getting to sleep around 9pm.
Another obvious effect: Keto dramatically simplified my grocery shopping and meal planning. I eat a lot of beef, which isn’t cheap on the surface. But when the meat and eggs are most of what I need, I’m not buying anything other than brussels sprouts for side dishes. My daily food expenses actually got cheaper . I got take out a couple of occasional times during the early transition, but now I’ve locked into a consistent at-home diet.
The only carbohydrate food I have most days are the brussels sprouts I have at dinner or at work, and much of that is insoluble fiber.
There’s another key change I made last month: I got a 2nd gym membership, at a gym right near my work. Super convenient, and on weekdays I just commute there in the morning, work out, then go a block to work and park. Instead of the afternoon rush hour, I go back to that gym after work for a 2nd brief recovery workout, stretch etc, then commute home with the traffic having calmed down a bit.
This has helped a lot with training consistency, and has also cut costs for me on coffee as I’m just drinking the coffee at work instead of going out for it in the morning.
I’ve settled into a food, exercise, work routine that’s felt great and has been very easy to follow.
In the morning, unless I’m totally resting from exercise that morning (in which case I usually fast until lunch), I’ll poach a combo of a jumbo egg and about two eggs worth of egg whites in the morning, eating that before leaving. If I know I’m going to do a lot that day, and I’m up early enough, I may bake a salmon fillet and eat that instead. But usually it’s eggs.
I’ll go straight to the gym and, unless I do strength training that day, do an hour of easy cardio, then stretch and go to work. I’ve done the spin bike a lot, but also dabble with the ARC Trainer. I can also just walk on the treadmill if I want a super easy morning.
If I strength train first (and that’s always first when applicable), I do 45 minutes cardio afterward. Eventually I’ll see how doing a bit of running feels, maybe start with a bit of running until I hit high zone 2 then switch to other cardio for the rest of the hour.
But this is working very well, and I always get to work afterward feeling pretty good.
I eat the same wild tuna and sardines during the workday, one at lunch and one mid-afternoon. On busier days I’ll also have brussels sprouts at lunch. I put more coconut oil in my hot water and mix in more collagen peptides. I used to do plenty of walking and little runs on work breaks, but now I’ve cut down to a simple 20 minute walk at lunch, maybe a little 15 minute walk on break in the morning. I save my energy for the workouts.
I also switched to marine collagen from regular collagen, after learning that the regular stuff contains a good quantity of various metals, while the slightly pricier marine collagen is much closer to clear. It’s a much finer powder, and more than regular collagen it can kick-up like dust if you’re not careful handling it.
After work I go back to the gym and do easier cardio than in the morning. The gym has good rowing machines and I’ve gone to those, though I could also ride the spin bike or treadmill walk if desired. I stretch again afterward, then commute back home. This is more so to avoid the peak of the rush hour than because I need the work, though the extra cardio has felt good, and I imagine it’s beneficial after sitting all day at work.
Once Vegas cools down I’ll resume running outdoors. While I’m going to stick to the 21 Day Cycle pattern for the above-mentioned cardio and strength training, I’m leaning more and more towards a traditional weekly schedule for runs, three dedicated days a week with a weekly long run.
These runs will still be in the evenings after work, for now. My preferred park locations open at 7am, I don’t want to have run-ins with Parks and Rec over parking at 6am, plus managing time and stretching is a lot easier at the gym than outdoors, and the parks aren’t as close to work.
My concern is how I’ll sleep once I go back to moderate late day workouts. They can interfere with your sleep, and though I’ve slept better I haven’t been working out more than 20-30 minutes in the evenings. But my sleep quality and consistency has improved a great deal with keto, and the hope is I’ll continue to sleep fine after those 45-90 minute sunset runs. If I have to build on doing the runs in the morning instead, then fine. But again, the gym environment in the morning is important, so they’d have to be on the treadmill. This has drawbacks and advantages.
Based on the reading I’ve done this summer as well as my own experience, as well as logistics required for the runs, I plan to do my weekday runs Tuesday and Thursday evening, with the long run being Saturday or Sunday depending on not just logistics but how my body responds overall:
Do I feel better going long Sunday, going back to work the next day, then having a run the next day? Do I get up early and ready to run on Saturday morning after the workweek ends? Do I need that weekend off day after a long run? How I respond will mostly dictate where in the weekend that long run goes, though logistics often will push it around anyway. For example, maintaining the 21 day cycle, a strength workout falling on Saturday will probably require I do the long run Sunday.
Speaking of strength training, the new gym has far more variety in equipment than Planet Fitness. Also, though it gets a good crowd in the mornings, it’s fairly easy to get my Full Fourteen in during mornings.
If keto has had one clear effect on my fitness, it’s that bench presses and other lifts got harder at the same weight. This is almost certainly because of glycogen depletion and those muscles still transitioning to fat/ketone driven fueling.
I paused all my weight/rep progressions anyway when I started at this gym, while getting used to the new equipment and layout. I restarted my progression at new weights once I got the hang of it, and I’ll take it from there. If any of my lifts flat-line at a given weight for weeks or months, it’s no big deal right now.
Since I’m still ramping up long run workouts, diet and workout routines on weekends remain a work in progress. I mapped out workable diet plans for both the long and total rest days, and need to see how keto and my energy handle the longer workouts. I had during the first week cycled some carbs around these long workouts, but I went net-carb-cold turkey mid-last-week (15-20g net per day) and feel real good in that state. So I need to give the long workouts a shot and react to that.
I’m running several 10Ks this next month, all on consecutive weekends. I’ll probably treat these as supported workouts, strong steady efforts, and then run the last 2-3 miles of each depending on how I feel.
That is all for now. So far, so good.