DIARY: Weekend ketosis (ups and downs)

My disappointment was enormous as I drew my third blood sample Friday night and my ketone level came in at 0.1 mMol/l – back where I started! My blood sugar was not particularly high at 6.5 mMol/l (lower than the day before with a high ketone level). I took another test on Day 4 and luckily it was back up to 0.2 mMol/l – two steps forward, three back and one forward again!

Weight is down from 68.2 to 67.4 kg and body-fat has dropped from 8.8% to 8.3%  (410 grams lost). My Salter MiBody weight should not be taken as gospel but I also seem to have lost 230g of muscle (muscle % up from 45.6% to 45.8%).

Blood pressure was 129/77 at a seated pulse of 53 which puts systolic in the “prehypertension category” (I’m not concerned, I had a busy day) with 77 being normal.

Why did the ketone level drop?

I looked over my food intake for the day and the likely sources of this are:

  • Hidden sugar content in some vanilla essence I used for taste
  • Having berries twice (the berries contain 6g of carbs per 100g, so a serving of 50g is recommended depending on how much other carbs you take in)

The truth is probably just that I managed to accumulate over 50g of carbs without noticing and will have to be more careful in the remaining days. I slept in and woke with a slight head-ache but otherwise alert (rather than heavy-headed). Sunday  morning was even better, despite a late night working I woke without any sluggishness and very little hunger.

I am going to reduce my tests to every 3-4 days now so I don’t go insane tracking minute variations. “The art and science of low carbohydrate performance” clearly states 2-3 weeks are the minimum to ketone levels back to the “golden range” between 2 and 5 mMol/l and it can take longer.

What’s with the broth?

For those who have been wondering about the broth I drink this is a recommendation from the “Art and science of low carb performance”. When the we restrict carbohydrates our bodies switch from retaining salt to rapidly excreting it. Most of the initial weight loss (first 2 weeks) therefore comes primarily from salt and water loss – then the real fat loss begins.

Symptoms to look out for is head-aches and constipation. The authors of “Art and science” recommend taking a cup of broth within the hour before exercise during the adaptation phase.

Performance in workouts and recovery

On both days I took a short 20 minutes nap after the workouts. The very heavy meals had me sluggish after the tough sessions although I could have gone without the sleep but it’s something that makes a huge difference to recovery so I like to take naps whenever I can (which is rarely as I work through most weekends).

During each of my two runs, my paces were not amazing but I got through the runs without any problems. After 50 minutes of the ninety minute run on Sunday I felt a wave of mental fatigue especially for the last 2 kilometre climb but I still completed the 13.5km loop in 2 minutes faster than last week and added another 10 minutes to the end.

So far my experience is not very different from the early days of Lydiard training where I began my endurance runs on an empty stomach to maximise fat adaptation. Until I can get blood ketone levels above 2 mMol/l I don’t expect to see any marked improvement. The greatest positive: most of the day I am very alert and as I write this I feel particularly mentally fresh.

Menu plans day 3 and 4

Day 3

Workout: 24 minutes programming run (6x4 min run, 30 sec drill), 12 minutes 30/30 (30 sec hardish/30 sec steady), 24 minutes programming run (6x4 min run, 30 sec drill)

  • Pre-breakfast:
    • Berry smoothie (blueberries, strawberries, cream, coconut milk, Xylitol)
    • 1 cup of chicken broth
    • 2 cups of cream chai tea (chai tea leaves, cinnamon, cream, butter and coconut oil)
  • Snack:
    • Handful of nuts and glass of coconut milk straight after workout
    • Glass of water with apple cider vinegar
  • Breakfast (post-workout, almost lunch!):
    • 3 gluten free sausage
    • 2 fried eggs
    • Cream spinach with garlic and onions
    • Lambs lettuce with olive oil
    • Bernaise sauce (3 egg yolks, butter, lemon juice, paprika, estragon, white vine vinegar, cream)
  • Dinner:
    • Iceberg lettuce with mince sauce from the day before
  • Snack (pre-sleep)
    • Cup of beef broth

Day 4

Workout: 90 minutes hilly trail run (morning) and “100 squats workout” (evening)

  • Preworkout:
    • Mocca smoothie (frozen coffee ice cubes from day before, cream, coconut milk, unsweetened almond milk, Xylitol, 1 teaspoon dark cocoa, cinnamon)
    • Two cups of black tea
  • Post-workout
    • Handful of nuts and 150ml of Kara coconut drink (in car)
    • Berry smoothie (blackberries, strawberries, cream, coconut milk, unsweetened almond milk, olive oil, chia/raspberry seeds)
    • Salmon fillet, 2 gluten free sausages, 2 poached eggs, fried and cooked asparagus, garlic and avocado
  • Snack:
    • Coffee and brick of 99% dark chocolate
    • 1 glass of water with apple cider vinegar
  • Dinner:
    • Green curry
      • Pork sausages (found to my despair that I had let my chicken fillets go off! Pork sausage was all the remained and this makes you think of Theon Greyjoy, I feel with you!)
      • Kale, onions, garlic, asparagus, courgette, peppers, celery
      • Green curry paste
      • Cream and coconut milk
      • Olive oil and butter
      • Salt, pepper, garlic salt, ginger
    • Bed-time:
      • Cup of broth

What’s next?

To avoid this series become repetitive I’ll write a summary of how I fare next week Thursday or so but it may be delayed as we have a busy week coming up with a demonstration of the “Masters of Running” approach in Cloverhill Prison Wednesday evening before the last workshop of the year in Leinster takes place this coming weekend.