Slow Carb Diet Update Month 3: The Conclusion, and Time to #STFU

This will be the third and final update on my experiment with the Slow Carb Diet (SCD).

This month, I lost only one pound. And I’m totally fine with that. Scratch that, I’m happy about it. Two reasons why:

For the month of March I was on the road literally half the month. 15 out of the first 28 days. Or as Sara who helps me with my travel commented, no more than 4 consecutive days in the same time zone. And they were the kind of trips that were not conducive to dieting… Think SXSW for five days, followed by 3 more conferences. I’m more than happy to have maintained and even dropped a pound after all that.

Second, I am happy with the results. I lost 23 pounds. Enough to make me feel great all the time and have to update my entire wardrobe, amongst other things. So it basically took 2 months for the SCD to help me drop most of my excess body fat, and is flexible enough to adapt to the most adverse travel schedule, which are just a few reasons that I continue to be a believer in it for anyone.

So what’s next?

I still want to drop a few pounds. And since I haven’t changed any variables besides diet, the next step is to experiment with changes in exercise. I feel ready to use my new, lighter body for some athletic purpose. Finally, I want to have another goal to shoot for that’s not just about the scale or body fat reading.

So… I signed up for a Spartan Race (learn more at www.spartanrace.com). I have 2 months to go.

I have begun to ramp up the volume of my usual HIT workouts, which I believe is the best way train for anything, and have begun running and testing some movements like burpees, box jumps and tire flips. I continue to eat SCD. So far I’m having a lot of fun and feeling very motivated. Nothing like a date to put it on the line to get you going!

Further updates to come on my training and progress. Until then, it’s time to #STFU (Spartan The F- Up!)

Some shots of me hosting tours of Undertone’s Future Proof Labs RV in Los Angeles, March 2014. Some shots of me hosting tours of Undertone’s Future Proof Labs RV in Los Angeles, March 2014. Some shots of me hosting tours of Undertone’s Future Proof Labs RV in Los Angeles, March 2014. Some shots of me hosting tours of Undertone’s Future Proof Labs RV in Los Angeles, March 2014.

Some shots of me hosting tours of Undertone’s Future Proof Labs RV in Los Angeles, March 2014.

A few photos from SXSW 2014. A few photos from SXSW 2014. A few photos from SXSW 2014. A few photos from SXSW 2014.

A few photos from SXSW 2014.

A fun little segment on whether our love of technology and social media is affecting real-world interactions.

Slow Carb Diet Update: Month 2

Month 2 on the slow carb diet (SCD) experiment is now in the books (here is my post after the first month). I lost an additional 6.8 pounds of bodyfat in February, bringing the total to 21.4 pounds.

I have made no changes in exercise or supplements (I’m not taking any), so all results continue to be from diet alone. It’s also been a fairly busy month at work for me, including travel, dinners, TV appearances, cocktail parties, etc. And I continue to progress as long as I stick to the program.

Fat loss is a relative thing. 20 pounds is a lot to some, not so much to others. For me 20 pounds means I dropped a pants size, my suits are much looser, I feel much better throughout the day and there is a very visible difference in my appearance. These pics are about a month apart:

Here is a typical day of eating:

Meal 1: 20g whey protein in water, coffee

Meal 2: Egg white, spinach, tomato and feta scramble (from a place near my office)

Meal 3: Burrito Bowl from Chipotle (chicken, black beans, vegetables, salsa, guacamole… no rice, no cheese)

Meal 4: Some kind of protein (steak, fish or chicken) and vegetable (easy to stick to if you are eating out)

I’ll drink espresso, black coffee and water throughout the day, have a coke zero at lunch and a glass or two of red wine at dinner at least a few times a week.

That’s it. Cheat days are Saturday and they seem to have no ill effect (other than making me sick and not want to look at non-SCD food for another week).

Generally I’m able to get 2 workouts a week in, one being focused on conditioning (lately it has been Tabata intervals on the Air Dyne) and core stability, the other a high-intensity strength workout where I use hammer strength and nautilus machines at a very slow repetition speed to muscular failure. Both of them are very intense but require little time.

There are three key reasons for why this has worked so well:

  1. I got started (don’t laugh - this tends to be the biggest issue for many).
  2. I stick to the rules no matter what (no matter where I am and what I am doing).
  3. It’s not really a diet anymore. It’s become the way I eat (and I feel so much better when eating this way that I don’t want to deviate).

I still have some bodyfat to lose, but since the program continues to work I am not going to change anything (although I am tempted to in an effort to get there faster. But  I know that there’s a good chance I will screw something up such as overtrain and lost muscle, so I am able to resist). When/if I do plateau, it will be easy to modify things.

Lots of travel next month, so it will be interesting to see what happens!

Body Transformations: 80% Diet, 20% Training?

The last post on my progress with the Slow Carb Diet (SCD) was one of the most popular ever on this blog. Since there is clear interest in body transformation I’ll try to write more on the topic.

First, an update: 6 weeks into the SCD and I am down 18.4 pounds of body fat. I am down under 200 pounds for the first time in years. I haven’t made any changes to the program and in fact dropped the supplements last week because I got tired of taking them. In addition, I was tested for the first time last week with a trip to a conference in Palm Springs. The subject of dieting on the road is a post within itself (maybe the next one), but I was able to manage just fine.

Sometimes you read things like body transformations or bodybuilding programs are 80% diet, 20% training or some other percentage. My old bodybuilding mentor Mike Mentzer (RIP) used to make fun of these proclamations, saying that they imply that if you just eat right, you can get 80% of the results of a program.

The SCD program has challenged thinking a bit for me. I haven’t changed my training at all, yet I am rapidly losing body fat and maintaining lean body mass. In fact my training is so minimal (but intense) that you can write them on an index card. You can attribute 100% of my results to diet.

I’m sure that high intensity training is helping to maintain lean body mass. It also could be that getting the last 10 pounds off will require some changes in training. But based on this experiment with the SCD, I think that the old bodybuilding lore rings true after all.

That, and “white carbs” are downright evil.

This week I appeared on Fox Business News after Twitter’s recent earnings report to discuss their advertising prospects and how the business compares to Facebook. I believe that Twitter has a bright future for two reasons: 1) they are clear that they need to simplify the service to make Twitter more universally appealing to new users and 2) they have already proven they can drive significant revenue.

Peyton

I will be pulling for Peyton Manning (and the Broncos by extension, but really Peyton) today during SuperBowl 48.

Having had a very similar cervical spine surgery to address complications due to the exact same condition (severe spinal stenosis), oddly enough at the same time in 2011 and at the same age, I can tell you this. You are never the same after that surgery and you feel that metal in your neck all day, every day. That this man came back and is delivering the performance he is (note that I did not say, “playing the same”, because he is not, everything is different now) at age 37 is beyond incredible. It is impossible, it’s superhuman.

He was a big inspiration to me in getting back into shape this year. Today you will be watching one of the toughest and most determined athletes of our generation at QB.

How I Lost 15 Pounds of Bodyfat in 1 Month Using the Slow Carb Diet

For the last month or so I have been experimenting with the Slow-Carb Diet (SCD) from Tim Ferris’ book The Four Hour Body. In that time I lost 15 pounds of bodyfat (14.6 to be exact). This post is about how I did it.

I started tinkering with the program in mid-December but really only got strict during the beginning of the year. Most of the weight came off in the last month. The SCD program is pretty simple. The four core principles are:

  • Eat nothing white (breads, pasta, cereal, etc.).
  • Eat the same few meals over and over (ideally consisting of a protein, vegetable and legume in each).
  • Don’t drink calories.
  • Take one day off the diet per week.

Some key points about the results of the program:

  • I did not change my workouts at all, so all of the fat loss can be attributed to the diet.
  • Workouts themselves were brief, infrequent (2x/week) and simple, focused on high intensity strength training and intervals for conditioning.
  • 100% of the weight was fat loss, as measured by an Escali bio impedence scale. In addition, key performance indicators in my strength workouts (namely, better performance with the same resistance) showed I actually got stronger during the past month. You can’t get stronger when you are losing muscle. This is huge - you want to keep every ounce of muscle you can to boost your metabolism and a million other reasons - but it’s very easy to lose it on a diet.

As far as the diet itself, here are some thoughts:

  • It is very easy to stick to once you get used to it. I only had a couple of instances where I was really hungry or had low energy. I seemed to naturally figure out the right quantities and combinations of foods that worked over time.
  • It’s a very easy diet to stick to when you eat out a lot like I do. Generally breakfast and lunch are from the same places near my office (lunch is often from Chipotle - a burrito bowl with no rice).
  • I didn’t have legumes every meal - generally only at lunch, and a few times a week at dinner.
  • I didn’t eat a large breakfast upon waking, rather I drank a protein shake with 25 grams of protein and then had a larger real food breakfast (egg whites and veggie omelet) a couple of hours later.
  • I used the PAGG stack (using individual supplements I bought at GNC, not the formula from the link) that the book recommends, but honestly I am not sure how much it contributed to the results.
  • The diet day-off is a nice change of pace but it makes me sick every time. I don’t even do a day off, I do one or two meals. I do it only to break up the monotony of the diet and for the metabolism boost.
  • Hardest part? Eliminating dairy, particularly from my morning coffee, but honestly I got used to that pretty quickly, too (I use cinnamon instead of creamer now).

What’s next?

  • I definitely have more to lose so I will be sticking with the program for the foreseeable future. The fact that it’s easy and has become more of a lifestyle than a diet really helps.
  • It’ll be tested in a few weeks when travel picks up for work. That will be interesting to see.
  • I may try to experiment with increasing the volume of my workouts to see what effect, if any, that has.

I appeared on Fox Business News this week to discuss whether Facebook is losing its “cool”. My view, and this has become apparent when listening to Zuckerberg and seeing how the platform is evolving, is that Facebook doesn’t want to be “cool”. Facebook wants to be useful and necessary to grow to a billion users and connect them globally.

That said, Facebook absolutely needs to keep younger users engaged. The growth in teen usage on other platforms like Snapchat, WhatsApp and Twitter can’t be denied. Look for Facebook to continue to pursue acquisitions (see: Instagram) and products to offer more utility over the next year.