TUCSON PERSONAL TRAINING CENTER

Should I Try The Keto Diet?

Personal Training in Tucson - The Protocol Strength & Conditioning, Llc

By: Jerry Trubman, Owner and Founder

Today’s post comes directly from a question asked by a student of ours. Their name and situation has been obscured to protect the innocent. Perhaps I’ve just been at this for too long… being a proud gym rat for over 20 years, I’ve seen diet and exercise fads come and go, and come, and go, and come, and go...

With that said, I’d like to take a moment to share a principle-based approach that will not only help answer the question above, but will also help tackle questions that are similar to it… so the next time your hairdresser recommends that you try a trendy new diet, you’ll have a better idea on how to proceed.

One of the most powerful components of our training system is progression. Call me biased, but I think we do a pretty good job meeting folks where they are, and teaching them the skills they need to progress to the next level. If a 50-year-old woman who never exercised a day in her life came in and wanted to strength train, no highly-skilled trainer in their right mind would attempt to kill her on the first session (I know this happens sometimes, hence the reason for quantifying it with “highly-skilled” and “right mind”). We would never think to put an advanced workout in front of her and say, “Here, try this. Let’s just see what happens!”

If you disagree with anything in that last paragraph, stop reading now. The rest won’t make any sense.

Instead we create levels that include logical progressions. For example, level one could be to teach the basic movement patterns involved in performing the lift… let’s say a squat pattern. Next, level 2 would move on to loading this movement pattern with light loads. We need time for our bodies to burn this new movement into our muscle memory in order to start to attain some degree of proficiency, so level 3 would be to add weight slowly as the skill of squatting increases. Let’s also say, for the sake of the example, that level 10 would be the ability to perform a barbell back squat with two-times your bodyweight loaded on the bar (may sound lofty, but is actually quite common in serious gyms).  

Skipping steps here would be stupid at best, and dangerous at worst. 

This gradual progression sounds pretty reasonable so far, right? Well then, why is it that we do this with nutrition ALL THE TIME?!?

I see level 1 dieters try level 10 nutrition plans that, despite their best efforts, they simply cannot follow. I see people debate various diets online in fight-to-the-death duels, yet we all know that an inferior diet that is well-adhered to will provide better results than a superior diet that is not.

So, when someone asks me if they should try XYZ trendy new diet, all my ears hear is, “Hey Jerry, I’m a level 1 dieter, but I want to try this level 10 diet. What are your thoughts?”

Well, my thoughts are that if you are still trying to figure out how to drink enough water and eat enough vegetables, this trendy new diet may just be a recipe for failure. Josh Hillis, author of Fat Loss Happens on Monday and blogger at www.losestubbornfat.com says that in order to be successful at this diet thing, you need to rig the game so you can win. Most trendy diets are designed to do the opposite. They don’t care if you lose or gain weight, they care if you buy their books/products.

Since we’re talking about it, anything that has you doing something crazy for a short amount of time (juice cleanses, fasts, anything distributed through multi-level marketing, etc.) is nothing more than a way to have you lose a small amount of water-weight, only to gain it right back as soon as normal eating patterns return. The human body is approximately 70% water; manipulating it is pretty easy. Athletes who compete in sports with weight classes do it all the time. Click here for a rather amusing video for more information.

“But Jerry, I’m just using this keto diet to kick start my new diet!”

You’re not kick-starting anything… you’re just losing 5 pounds of water because of the lack of carbs. The only thing you are losing is money that could be spent on better long-term eating habits.

On the other side of the spectrum, let’s say you’re a level 7 dieter looking for level 8. Awesome! My suggestion here is to get a coach that is proficient at meeting you at level 7 and taking you to level 8 (be careful, many are only used to working with beginners). I’m not one of those coaches, but they are out there. Come talk to me when you’re ready to learn how to get stronger…

Regardless of what level you currently are, working with a coach and trying different things for yourself is the way to go. It’s true that, biologically speaking, we are more similar than we are different. There are commonalities that we should all follow, but there many other factors to consider (age, sex, genetics, current bodyfat levels, activity levels, etc.). There are so many things that would color how we should eat that it is virtually impossible to find a specific diet book/program that fits you personally.

This Ted Talk called “What is the best diet for humans?” is a great example of what I’m talking about here. If you’ve been asking yourself this question, this video will be the best 19 minutes of your day.

Oh, and if this post was too farsighted and you’ve skipped to the bottom to read the summary, here is it:

“Should I try the keto diet?”

No. The keto diet is unsustainable long-term for 99% of the people who try it.

Until next time,

Jerry Trubman is a coach, clinician, author, blogger, and powerlifting state champion. With over two decades of of lifting experience, he has devoted himself to seeking out better answers, and distilling them into practical programs that produce great results. Jerry has coached "Team Protocol" to 4 National Powerlifting Championships in the 100% Raw federation. He writes the internationally-read blog, “The Healthy Addiction” and lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife Marie and dog Sadie. To subscribe to his blog, click here.

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