Time for an update
Seeing as it’s been a month and more since I wrapped up the minicut, I figured it was time for an update. Things have leveled out since then, and I might have to accept that I’m not breaking 95kg without bringing a serious amount of carbs back to the table.
That’s just how it goes for hard-gainers. Cutting comes easy, but piling on the pounds becomes a slog once you get past the honeymoon phase. It needs time, dedication, and a whole lot of shoveling in food past the point of no return.
The mini cut took me from 95kg down to 87kg, and after getting a smooth ride back up to 93kg without needing much beyond workout carbs, I was butting against the same wall. The appetite got smoked, sleep took a turn for the worse, and my brain wasn’t quite the same. So I’ve decided to ease off the gas, in more ways than just bringing down the calories. I’m keeping it keto, and aiming to amplify the zen.
Here’s a brief look at the changes I made to my carnivore regime.
- No more carb cycling (I was previously having white rice every three days)
- No more sleep tracking (To see whether the low sleep scores were stressing me out)
- No more scale tracking (Apart from a status check last week)
- Adding exercise tracking (To keep my eyes on the ball)
- Adding back Betaine HCL (For improving fat digestion)
- Adding back Modafinil (Was a little suspicious before that it was wrecking sleep)
As of last week, my weight is back down to a steady 91.5kg. No rice, no carbs beyond a 30-50g dose of cluster dextrin in my workout drink. I’ve also brought modafinil back into the regime for some extra kick. The switch-up has been promising so far.
The Mental Pump
Even with the inclusion of white rice, I’m still very much low carb. But there’s always a noticeable difference when I drop things far enough to reach ketosis. I start wondering why I don’t just spend all my time here.
The ketone buzz has helped me zero in my focus, further amplified by the addition of modafinil, which I haven’t really covered apart from a throwaway line in my Apex Brain Guide. Modafinil is a pharmaceutical, not-quite-carnivore supplement that improves focus and energy by reducing dopamine reuptake. Think cocaine, but much less potent, far longer-lasting, and without any of the nasty withdrawals.
I don’t have any issue with taking supplements on carnivore, as long as they’re potent, and don’t mess up the adaptations of the diet itself. It’s about gaining an extra 10% on top of an already-optimised machine. The goal is to get to 110%, not scrape through to 100%.
Sleep is noticeably better, apart from the odd night where I wake up at 3 am. But that’s just an unavoidable part of following a diet that’s all cortisol and very little serotonin. You get hyped up, sometimes at the most inconvenient of times. That being said, I still tend to feel plenty of energy on days where I get up a little early.
I’m doubling down on amplifying the zen, just so that I can keep attacking my business on all fronts. By which I mean, sitting in a quiet room, dreaming up my next tweet. I’ve cut down drastically on social media use for anything other than posting things tangentially related to the apex lifestyle. I don’t game so much. I’m doing my best to avoid binging on the latest fantasy drama.
All this is effectively a light dopamine detox, slowly but steadily pulling my monkey brain away from sources of instant gratification. There’s no better motivator than boredom, and I’m hoping to capitalise on that.
As for ketosis itself, it does wonders for mellowing me out, dampening that subtle tinge of anxiety that usually follows me around. Thanks to the raising of GABA and lowering of glutamate, amongst other signals, my neurochemistry feels a lot more balanced.
The therapeutic potential of ketosis can pass under the radar, since it isn’t quite as flashy as the prospect of melting off blubber. But personally, this is where the diet makes bank. If it comes at the cost of a few points of anabolic potential, then so be it.
My Carnivore Minicut
I haven’t quite gone for the zero carb version, since I’ve kept a 30-50 gram serving of cyclic dextrin for the training window. I’ve previously spent many years using dextrose for my workout drinks, but I’ve picked up cyclic dextrin for its high molecular weight and low osmolarity. This basically means a quick passage through the stomach, and a sustained release without a jarring insulin spike. There’s even some cause to think that it has a special effect in attenuating the stress hormone response. In any case, it gives me an extra bit of ammunition for the session, while also replenishing glycogen stores, which can still be a problem when you’re fat-adapted. Head to my article ‘6 Reasons To Bring Carbs Back To Carnivore’, if you want the explanation.
Beforehand, I was also including a portion of white rice every third day, as a low toxicity carb that could further attenuate glycogen depletion while also combating the potential cortisol overload.
I’d been getting mild hypos after particularly intense sessions, which made me think that carb cycling was necessary. At some point, I’d need that white rice to stop the shakes. But having taken the carbs and gone back to a sustained spell of ketosis, the hypos are nonexistent. No matter how hard I train. For whatever reason, glucose control appears to be better on ketogenic zero carb as opposed to occasionally-ketogenic low carb.
That’s not the only perk of going keto. My joints are also feeling far better, and I’ve been on the verge of getting crocked. The knees would flare up the moment I started squatting, and I had a significant injury to the lower back while maxing out on the deadlifts. I’ve been on the brink of needing a deload. Luckily, ketosis has given me a new lease on life. The aches and pains are still there, they’re just dulled out.
As for my actual performance on the weights, I haven’t had any complaints. There is a slight decrease in explosive power through the nerfs being applied to the glutamate pathway, as well as the drop in water weight. But that’s been marginal, and it’s more than balanced out by sharper recovery both in and out of sessions. I’ve been having zero problems bouncing back from intense workouts, despite the minuscule amount of carbs.
It’s probably down to the fact that I’ve already spent considerable time in ketosis, with plenty of fasted training thrown in there. My body is pretty fat-adapted at this point, and that’s certainly helped with attenuating glycogen depletion, as well as raising the bar for fat-fuelled exercise. The trick that pulls everything together, seems to be sustained ketosis. When I begin carb-cycling, the potency of fats dissipate, and I find myself having no option but to throw in more carbs to keep my blood sugars in check. This all makes perfect sense within the context of biochemistry. Carbs are the preferred fuel as long as you’re eating carbs. The more you use them, the more you’ll be reliant on them. Take them out for long enough, and the body will be more than happy to get back to thriving in its evolutionary metabolic state. Ketosis.
As of now, my deadlift is hovering around 250kg, the squat is at 180kg, and the bench is at 150kg. Pretty much right on par with my all-time bests, which came before I smashed my back and wrecked my knees. So with the restorative powers of carnivore, I’m hoping to start posting some PBs in the coming weeks. While I’ve dropped some water weight since taking out the rice, I’m not going to shift to cutting anytime soon. I’m determined to show the crowd just how jacked one can get on a carnivore diet. The bulk must go on.