Client Spotlight – Nat
The second lockdown might have chewed up a massive chunk of 2021, but that hasn’t stopped Nat from pulling off an incredible transformation since last December.
It’s been a simple but deadly cocktail of strength training and ketones, and she’s been able to consistently make strength gains in the gym, despite constantly being in a caloric deficit. Some people continue to laugh at the idea of putting on muscle and dropping fat at the same time, but there’s no reason one can’t achieve this during the first few years of serious training. Just as long as sleep and nutrition are set up to support the anabolic training window.
The String Cheese Diet
This website is essentially a never-ending conveyor belt of beef propaganda, and gives some the idea that I just put clients of beef and water. Nat’s not a red meat fan just yet, for various reasons, but I’ve still managed to pull her back from jumping into a plant-based diet.
While red meat is still the pinnacle of nutrition, the line doesn’t end there. Practically all animal-based foods are inherently healthy, contain the full range of amino acids, and a strong arsenal of essential vitamins and minerals. These foods trump the plant-based versions from all angles. Since beef isn’t on Nat’s menu, we just went all-in on salmon, mackerel, and string cheese.
Fatty fish in particular aren’t far behind beef in terms of nutritional quality, being stacked with crucial B vitamins, as well as a plentiful source of Omega 3. The only issues being the meat can still be too lean for a ketone-fuelled diet, and the potential for heavy metals and PCBs. The latter can be somewhat attenuated by seeking wild-caught salmon, and the former can be quickly redeemed with a generous addition of grass-fed butter.
Cheese on the other hand can be mildly addictive for its casomorphins, but it’s still a complete source of protein, rich in saturated fat, and generally free of sugar. To top that off, it’s flexible enough to be included in practically any recipe. Even as single-ingredient snacks for long stretches between meals. So for anyone who doesn’t suffer from lactose intolerance, cheese is a no-brainer.
Training On Keto
Once Nat got past those tricky few weeks of keto adaptation, training went from a grind to somewhat bearable. And once she went through a couple of months of ketosis, the door was wide open for steady strength gains. The hip thrust has continued to blow up after the end of the lockdown, jumping from 150kg to 180kg. I do tend to stick with the hip thrust as a measuring stick for glute strength, since it results in better muscle activation than the squat or deadlift.
Beyond stimulating the glutes, hip thrusts also benefit from reduced muscle damage. Being a key driver of hypertrophy, that might sound like a bad thing, but in this case, it frees up the lifter to increase training frequency. Simply put, a brutal session of hip thrusts won’t put you out of commission for too long. If you’re up for the challenge, you could easily fit it in 3-4 sessions over the week. Whereas if you were brave enough to try the same feat with squats or deadlifts, performance would likely crater by the last session.
The same logic follows with band exercises. They cause massive amounts of stimulation on the glutes, while creating little muscle damage, therefore allowing quick and easy recovery. I’ve been using plenty of both for Nat’s training, with the occasional arm session thrown in. Because we’re still looking for some symmetry.
Why Weight Training Is Non-Negotiable For Fat Loss
At the end of the day, strength training is a critical part of fat loss. Even if all that matters is the numbers bouncing up on the scale. Dramatic weight change won’t amount to much without having a winning strategy in place to keep that weight from rebounding back to its previous set point. Nothing achieves that strategy quite like assembling and retaining significant muscle mass. The metabolism whirs along, the hormones are kept happy, and the mirror rarely disappoints.
While a segment of the carnivore community appears to be taking on the diet with minimal attention to training, I see it as something one simply can’t afford to neglect. The diet itself puts you in a position where you can recover from whatever intensity you take on in the gym. Hard, heavy, energetic training is enabled by ancestrally consistent nutrition and a steady bedtime routine. If you’re going through the trouble of cutting out your favourite foods and staying in a prolonged deficit, then you might as well get yourself in the gym and latch onto a few barbells.⠀
As of now, Nat’s flying. Still dropping weight, still trimming up, still shunning the carbs. She’s been making steps into the modeling arena, taking on casting calls, and amassing a mighty portfolio. It’s just a case if avoiding complacency, and continuing to embrace the daily process that has already worked wonders.⠀
The Drop In Inches
Arm 15 ⏬ 13⠀
Waist 37 ⏬ 32.5⠀
Hips 49.5 ⏬ 46.5 ⠀
Thigh 28 ⏬ 26.5