Low Carb High Fat (ketogenic) and HRM

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Willie

First Post
First a little background, then the question:
  • I'm 6' tall and weigh 180 pounds
  • I'm 52 years old and on a low dose of BP Rx
  • I've been working S&S for a little over a year and started using the HRM about 2 months ago on the swings (using the 24kg bell)
  • HRM progress was very good, having built up to 10 sets of 9 -- time varied between 15 and 18 minutes, and never exceeded my max
  • A week before Thanksgiving my cardiologist put me on a Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diet because he believes that if I can get a few more pounds off, I can ditch the BP meds (and get rid of some stubborn belly fat).
  • I've lost about 4 pounds in 2 1/2 weeks.
  • Since starting this new way of eating, when doing swings my heart rate spikes much quicker and is much slower to come back down. I've had to back off on the reps to 7 and I'm taking longer between sets.
Has anyone else had this type of experience? Is this normal? Is my body just taking time to adjust to burning fat instead of carbs? Any advice (other than ditch the diet, or ditch the doctor)l
 
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Statia

Level 2 Valued Member
Hi Willie,

I did the keto diet a couple of years ago and it really does work well when you want to lose weight.

Your body will be in 'keto' if you're eating less than 50g of carbs a day, which is a very small amount of carbs. Would you say that this is where you're at and if so, how long? Your body takes time to adjust to this new way of working and I would suggest that is why you're seeing the heart rate spiking.

Did your Dr give you any ancillary advice with the diet in terms of avoiding 'low carb flu' and keeping your salt levels maintained?
 

Willie63

Level 1 Valued Member
Thanks for the reply, Statia. Yes, I'm probably in ketosis all (or most) of the time - I believe my carb intake is in the 20mg to 30mg range right now. I've been on the diet for 3 weeks now. I'll start adding back some grains and fruit a little at a time in the next couple of weeks.

The doc warned me about the "flu" but I didn't experience very badly -- just drank some broth and all was well.
 

slnm

Level 1 Valued Member
Hi Willie,

Welcome to the community!

I can't speak to why your heart rate spikes and drops slower while on keto. It's definitely something to research and discuss with your cardiologist. I do however, have a thought, based on personal experience and LOTS of experimenting with diets and with healing several of my own health issues without drugs. If you have stubborn fat that isn't responding to a calorie deficit combined with exercise then your body is out of whack. The premise of the ketogenic diet is that the body can burn fat for fuel instead of primarily burning sugar and that that greatly lessens the insulin effect and one drops body fat. But, if your body could burn good carbs (i.e. not refined junk carbs) then you wouldn't have stubborn fat or high blood sugar. My beef with low-carb diets (pun intended) is that they basically say "your body doesn't burn carbs very well so let's avoid them rather than trying to fix the body."

I was able to lose 25 pounds in 2 1/2 months to get to a good target weight (although I now need to rebuild muscle) with a diet that is probably 60-70% carbs. I mostly eat beans and millet with some vegetables, some fat and some meat. I have had ZERO processed food in the last three months. I keep my portions moderate in size, and I don't snack. I don't have blood sugar issues. In fact, I can easily skip meals. When I did the keto diet I was also never hungry but I lost muscle mass too quickly. I lost weight but my body shape never changed. This time around I lost some muscle but my body is more solid even without much weight training in the recent past. The reason this diet is working for me when past ones didn't is because I pay attention to soaking the beans before cooking, I add spices to every meal to help them to digest well, and I drink herbal teas to help my digestion. Also, this diet is basically an elimination diet. I'm just now starting to test foods that some people react to (eggs, dairy, gluten, nuts, nightshades, ...) By avoiding these potential triggers for three months my body got to do a reset and the weight came off with no effort. I fixed my body's digestion of carbs rather than run from them.

While I do believe that people can perform quite well on a keto diet I'm not convinced that heavy lifters can do well on keto. So, if you ever got into heavy explosive Olympic lifts you might be in trouble.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I sincerely hope you find the diet that works for you and that you resolve the heart rate issue.

Sol
 

ali

Level 7 Valued Member
I'll start adding back some grains
and

Also, this diet is basically an elimination diet. I'm just now starting to test foods that some people react to (eggs, dairy, gluten, nuts, nightshades, ...) By avoiding these potential triggers for three months my body got to do a reset and the weight came off with no effort. I fixed my body's digestion of carbs rather than run from them.
By doing what sinm mentions I accidently discovered/realised I had a gluten intolerance. It took me a while, ie many months of denial and pondering the issue, as then being in my late 40s figured I should have worked that out long ago! Once the penny dropped, my health improved quite significantly. If I'm honest, I had thought all the fuss over gluten was another crazy neurotic fad thing. As a pizza fan I was a bit narked that I couldn't down a heli pad with pepperoni once in a while. But I did. And always paid the price. I thought I would just live with the occassional glutenous nosh up now and then, the odd biscuit here and there, the odd pie and cake, bit of late night toast and croissants for breakfast but no. Far from feeling sorry for myself I just eat extra veg and a bit more and extra meat and some more meat to make up for the loss of bread. It's really no loss at all! Being gluten free removes most - actually think about - of all the poor food choices. So if you have been grain free for a while and think about introducing it back into your diet, monitor yourself for any reactions. You may have a reaction but like me not immediately consider it to be down to gluten. No more pizza and beer for me, just steak and red wine!

Sure there are more defined dietary protocols to follow for an elimination type of experiment rather than how I did it: the trial and error, ad hoc, drunken tomfoolery method of scientific analysis. Was it the gluten, the beer, the wine or my dodgy cooking that has led to me feeling and being like this? I didn't pay particular attention to the many variables so I chose another option: was it the gluten, the tequila, the vodka or my wife's dodgy cooking? And so on.....eventually I nailed it, it was indeed the gluten.....and therefore the beer too. I'd say you are in an ideal situation to test out the gluten hypothesis on you, probably not advisable to do it the way I did it!!
 

Al Ciampa

Level 8 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
First a little background, then the question:
  • I'm 6' tall and weigh 180 pounds
  • I'm 52 years old and on a low dose of BP Rx
  • I've been working S&S for a little over a year and started using the HRM about 2 months ago on the swings (using the 24kg bell)
  • HRM progress was very good, having built up to 10 sets of 9 -- time varied between 15 and 18 minutes, and never exceeded my max
  • A week before Thanksgiving my cardiologist put me on a Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diet because he believes that if I can get a few more pounds off, I can ditch the BP meds (and get rid of some stubborn belly fat).
  • I've lost about 4 pounds in 2 1/2 weeks.
  • Since starting this new way of eating, when doing swings my heart rate spikes much quicker and is much slower to come back down. I've had to back off on the reps to 7 and I'm taking longer between sets.
Has anyone else had this type of experience? Is this normal? Is my body just taking time to adjust to burning fat instead of carbs? Any advice (other than ditch the diet, or ditch the doctor)l
You are lucky that you are under the care of a physician who thinks out of the box.

I don't know your case, or what you are actually eating, but something to discuss with your doc is eating 50-100g of starch on the evenings of your heavier training days. You might actually find quicker progress if you play with this general recommendation.

In the interim, 10g of BCAA 30min prior to training might help control your HR better.

As to the reason your HR is higher, it is likely complex and also set in the context of your current state of adaptation, but, removing all sugars from the diet (<30g/day) will cause less efficient energy use in all but low-intensity activities. Moreover, in more intense work (like a set of 9 swings) you will have a larger deficit between ATP use and the rate of ATP production, arguably resulting in a lower pH level. I am not sure...
 

Willie

First Post
Al, thank you for your response. I purchased BCAA this morning and will incorporate next week. Thank you for the recommendation.

Regarding the starch -- I train first thing in the morning. Is your suggestion to eat the starch grams in the evenings AFTER the heavy days, or in the evenings BEFORE the heavy days?

Thanks, again ~
 

Al Ciampa

Level 8 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
@Willie, the evening of a training day only.

Do not worry about the prior evening, or carb-loading, etc. Now, if you are training two swing sessions on back to back mornings, then you will obviously be eating starches the night before the second... but this is not the point.

Moreover, you also might find that a weekly, more intense 2-hand swing session can be worthwhile to add to your training.... getting to your metabolic goal quicker, so the speak. 3-5 sets of heavy (for you) 2-h swings with 3-5min rest in between. Do 25-30 swings each set.

NO MORE THAN ONCE PER WEEK, and sometimes, skip a week. This is "training", and not a bootcamp beatdown, so let's be intelligent about it. More is not better.

You're welcome! Very glad to help, especially when it is a health concern.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Welcome to StrongFirst!

Hi there, this thread is really very interesting. Well, can anyone please elaborate on elimination diet????
The concept is simple enough - you eliminate everything but a couple of foods that almost no one is allergic to - that's your starting point. Then you slowly add foods back in, one at a time, to look for allergic or other bad reactions.

-S-
 

Statia

Level 2 Valued Member
Then you slowly add foods back in, one at a time, to look for allergic or other bad reactions.
Interestingly I was watching a HRV webinar yesterday (I posted it on here in the "other" forum) and they were discussing the possibilities that your HRV reading may drop when your body is trying to deal with a food which causes a negative reaction to your body. Personally, I have a bad reaction to potato starches and sometimes I'll eat a few fries or such, so it'll be interesting to see how my HRV score is the day following.
 

Natosha Winters

First Post
Welcome to StrongFirst!

The concept is simple enough - you eliminate everything but a couple of foods that almost no one is allergic to - that's your starting point. Then you slowly add foods back in, one at a time, to look for allergic or other bad reactions.

-S-
When we add those allergic foods back, don't they cause any allergy then after?
 

Henningb

Level 3 Valued Member
The logic is to reintroduce allergens one by one in a 72 hours window while you are still on the elimination diet.
 

Statia

Level 2 Valued Member
When we add those allergic foods back, don't they cause any allergy then after?
Yes they do, that's the objective. When you add a food back in and you get a reaction, you know which food it is so you can then eliminate it from your diet entirely.

The elmination diet allows you to identify foods which you are intolerant of.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Statia explained it correctly - just to amplify: When you're on a normal diet, you might not feel well due to a food intolerance, but because we all eat a mix of foods, it can be nearly impossible to tell exactly which food is causing the problem. The purpose of the elimination diet is to feel good while eating a minimum of types of food, then monitor how you feel as you add in _each_ _additional_ type of food. You are trying to find, and to confirm for yourself, that a certain food bothers you. Once you've found the problem foods, you can go back to a normal diet but minus the food or foods that caused you problems, and you should still feel good.

-S-
 
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