Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Low Carbs High Fat, Ketogenic Diet and Training

*Posted in FB Group: 14th March 2018

This is a long post and it is technical.
It was very interesting when I watched the interview with Dr. Peter in the What he did is exactly what I had done on myself. Both of us were on the self-discovery path on how keto way of eating improve our sports performance, especially in the area of both aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
While I was doing my easy 10km run this morning, I was thinking how should I write this post for you guys. Before I continue to write, I would like to have the basic information right for everyone first.
IF: It means intermittent fasting. It means you don't eat for a certain period of time and eat within a window. I personally practise 18/6 on a daily basis. 18 hours of fasting, 6 hours window of eating. Can eat as much as you want. Must be Keto-complied. Some days higher in protein like yesterday and some days not.
Aerobic training: It means you train at a level not at your maximum heart rate. Or 70% to 80% of your VO2 Max. If you do low aerobic running, you should be able to have a decent chat with your running buddy along the way. Usually Aerobic training must be at least 60 mins and longer to start gaining positive effect on the body. It burns fat as fuel during exercise time but there is no post fat burning after effect. All endurance athletes train in this area. Aerobic training should be at 80% to 90% of the training regime to make the body fat adapted.
Anaerobic training: It means you train at a level you want to die. You cannot breath properly. You train at short burst at maximum HR or max VO2 Max. This is usually your HIIT or Interval training. Such training maximum is 30 mins not more than that. It is usually about 20 mins. They called it fat burner exercise. It does not burn fat during the exercise time but it burns during post exercise. If you are a sprinter, this training will give you what you need. But such training is glycogen highly dependent and athletes training in this area are tend to be glucose dependent. Not recommend for fat adapted body and it should be about 10% to 20% of the training regime.
When a fat adapted body train in this area, the pancreas will response by producing high insulin to counter the glucose/cortisol produced by both liver and adrenaline. HIIT/Interval training can cause addiction, especially to those who are addicted to the Adrenaline rush. Commercial gym use high adrenaline group exercise to attract people to join the gym. Workout like body combat, zumba and etc... they burn calories and can have high adrenaline.
VO2 Max: It is the measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense, or maximal exercise. It is measured as milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight (ml/kg/min). It is one factor that may help determine an athlete's capacity to perform sustained exercise.

Disclaimer: I'm not a Doc. Just sharing my passion.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Chasing LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) Losing fat? Water or Mass?

For this post, let's talk about losing fluid (water) or mass or both? In fact, when an individual is focusing on so-called weight lost, they tend to lose either ways or both. If they are doing detox, you will not be surprised the weight lost is due to releasing of toxins from the colon. Some people can be constipated for life and the built up in the pipe can be tremendous.

If you have not done detox before, try taking those off the shelves detox pills in the market. They can be quite effective in clearing the toxins in our colon. Once that is done, you won't be surprised you may have lost like 3kg to 5kg of weight with a flatter tummy. However, this is just one part of the equation and it is not the main topic of this post.

I want to focus on both fluid (water) and mass lost when an individual embark on a so-called weight lost or dieting journey. I want to stress again. Dieting is temporary, changing your habit is permanent. 

Fluid or water loss

It is common to hear someone that this weight lost program is effective. I had lost x number of kg in these few days... I will like wow!!! What have you lost? Is your tummy flatter? do you think you have lost water? Or you have lost your fat? Did you shit a lot or what? Because there are many factors to weight lost. 

It is very common for woman to have water retention issue. During dieting, this maybe one of the factors that is contributing to the weight lost. So how does one have water retention issue? There are many reasons. I will just name a few.
  1. Too much sodium or an imbalance between sodium and potassium
  2. A weak kidney. This is what Chinese medicine theory will state. In fact, people will real weak kidney will have water retention as well.
  3. Lack of exercise
  4. Hormonal changes
  5. Medication
  6. Pregnancy

The list will go on and on. 

When an individual starting to diet, especially those dieting that advocates eating lots of greens, you may want to see your water retention issue been resolved. The reason is very simple. Assuming your past diet was full of sodium such food with MSG, saltish food and etc... Out of sudden you reduce your intake of sodium and increases other source of minerals such as potassium, your water retention issue will start to go away. If you are dehydrated, then it is a different issue.

If you are someone with weak kidney whether it is real or by Chinese medicine definition, then water retention is inevitable. It is a symptom of your body or your kidney not able to flush out the fluid from the body through urine. For such issue, then it requires medication attention. I will not explain further. If you suspect your water retention issue is due to this issue, please check yourself into hospital or see your family doctor ASAP.  End of story.

If you lack of exercise, then definitely you will start losing water. Assuming you exercise and you lost lots of fluid through sweat or urine, if not your body weight may stays the same.

So these are the common issues of water retention. Once you resolve it, your body weight will drop and you will be surprised how much water you are keeping in your body.

Just a word of advice. If you are the active type, always riding, running and doing some of exercise daily, you may be dehydrated. So there is a need for you to drink small amount of water regularly to get your body hydrated. This will increase your body weight but who cares. This is not important.

Losing Mass

Losing mass is a serious issue. You may lose mass due to losing calcium from the bone or muscles. A good example is old folks or people suffering from eating disorder AKA anorexia. Once you start losing body mass, a whole lot of other issues will into play. From osteoporosis to accelerated sarcopenia with aging. I'm not sure if there is such a thing as accelerated sarcopenia (muscle loss) with aging, once you start losing muscle mass, you will start to lose stamina. Once you start losing stamina, you will start to lose your habit to exercise. Furthermore, once you stop exercise, HGH (Human Growth Hormone), insulin growth factor and some other hormones will be of lower concentration in the body. This is not a good news.

Thus, you must exercise. Whether walk or a simple weight training exercise with a few reps is good for the body.


When someone said I had lost some weight, take a step back first. Ask yourself, is it water? fat or mass? The right question will determine the way you handle weight lost. Remember, dieting is temporary. Changing habit is permanent. Change your habit and the rest will follow through.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Everyone is chasing Low Carb High Fat diet

Nowadays, if you have friends who are health fanatic, you will hear something like "Low Carb High Fat" diet or "Keto Diet" or whatever it can be.

To me, dieting is temporary. Changing the way you eat and forming good habits are permanent. We need to understand what we want to achieve from the new habit. Everyone talks about I want to lose weight. I always question them. What actually are you trying to lose? The usual answer is I want to lose weight. But do you know weight is just a number. The question I will ask again is this. What are you trying to lose? This is a very fundamental question. If we don't get this right, we will be doing it wrong. Let's take a look at this.

There are three things that we can lose when we want to lose weight.

1) Fats
2) Fluid or water
3) Body mass such as muscles or bones.

Losing Fat

This is what everyone wants to do. I want to lose fat. So my next question will be. Which part? Overall body fat or tummy? Because the strategy to lose overall body fat and tummy fat is very different.

Losing overall body fat

Let's talk about overall body fat. Losing overall body fat is easy. If we use the 80/20 rules, you just need 20% effort to achieve this 80% result. How? Cut your calories intake. Exercise. Increase your saturated fat intake such as Omega 3 and reduce Omega 6/9 intake. Cut your carb (which gives you blood sugar) to control the release of insulin and increase your protein intake. Wow... magic will happen. You will start shrinking. You will see you will start wearing your old shirts again. Old pants again and etc... The strategy to reduce shirt size is to lose overall body fat. I have a friend who had a medical condition. He was overweight. What he did was straight forward. He started running 5km to 10km a day or every other day. He started to reduce his fat intake (although I don't recommend). He started to eat brown rice (since everyone said it is good) and etc... Within 6 months, he had shrunk tremendously. His cholesterol level was normalised and everyone who knows him was like wow!!!

I had a meal with him the other day. Although he runs everyday or every other day (I could see it from his Strava ), his fitness level had plateau. He said he want to lose more... So I asked him what do you actually want to use? End up we had a 3 hour lunch...  Of course business conversation is one of the topics.

Losing visceral fat

You  may have lost overall body fat, you may not have lost your visceral fat. This is what we call skinny fat. You look skinny but actually, you are fat internally. This is called the deep fat wrapping your major organs. To lose this fat is a different ball game.

To lose this fat, you need to have new habits. Stick to it and take it slowly. The first sign of visceral fat is tummy fat. If you can reduce your tummy fat, you will be reducing visceral fat in the body. Tummy fat is affected by both insulin and adrenaline from our body. I do not want to go into the details. In a nutshell, insulin tells the muscle, liver and fat cells to take up blood sugar so that our blood sugar level in the body is normalised. Because of this function, it tells the body to stop burning its fat stores and instead, absorb some of the fatty acids and glucose in the blood and turn them into more body fat. So remember this. The more insulin you have flowing in your blood, then more fat will be manufactured in your body. So this is something you don't want.

Let's talk about this hormone called Adrenaline. Adrenaline is a hormone secreted by the Adrenal glands. It is called the flight and fight hormone because it is produced when we are excited or when we are under stress or we are in an extreme dangerous situation. This hormone is secreted to get us ready to save ourselves from a dangerous situation. Our blood circulation increases, our breathing becomes more rapid  and our heart beats faster.  Our muscles contracted faster too. We are getting ready to sprint out of a dangerous situation.

If we always in a stress environment, we will start experiencing adrenal fatigue. That means we will feel tired when we wake up. We need coffee or some strong caffeinated stuff to kick start our day. We are addicted to sweet stuff. If you always like to eat sweet stuff, this is also a symptom of someone having adrenal related issue. This in turn spike the insulin level in the body. That means cannot lose fat.

Let's talk about another hormone called Cortisol. Adrenaline is related to heart and Cortisol is related to fat cells, liver and pancreas. When Cortisol is released, it increases the glucose levels in the body and get it ready for the body to use. It stop other systems such as digestion and immune system from functioning properly. And increase in glucose levels also mean there will be an increase blood sugar levels. An increase in blood sugar levels means there will be an increase insulin too. This also means the body cannot burn fat. The accumulation of extra calories due to eating more than you need coupled with stress hormones flowing around, this is where you start accumulating visceral fat or tummy fat.

Actually to lose tummy fat is straight forward, but to form the habit to lose it is tough to many folks.

1) Lead a simpler life. Leading a simpler life means it reduces stress. The less stress you have, the less stress-related hormones you have flowing in your body. I know this is tough. It is up to you. Ask yourself. Do you need to keep up with your neighbours? Or ??? The less stress you have, the better you will be.
2) Control your free flow of insulin the body. Anything that is free flow is bad. Just like buffet, free flow of soft drinks. Now that is a killer. Production of insulin is all about the level of blood sugar in the body. If we reduce the blood sugar levels, we reduce the insulin needed in the body. Cut the carb to almost as little as possible. Increase both protein and fat intake. Protein will still spike insulin but not a lot. Fat does really not spike insulin (I'm simplifying it) because it does not increase blood sugar level. So it makes sense we should eat more fat, medium protein and low to zero carb. But you still must eat your vegetables like those with leaves and flowers. Nothing under the soil.
3) Exercise is key to lose tummy fat but only relaxing exercise helps. If you do interval or VO2 Max kind of exercise, you will lose overall body fat but no that tummy fat. The best way to lose tummy fat is to take a walk. Walk faster than your normal walking pace but slower than your running pace. Walk at least an hour not counting the number of steps and you will see tremendous results. If you do it daily, you will see your tummy becoming smaller and smaller.

In my next post, I will talk about point 2 and 3. That is losing water and muscle mass and vice versa.

The New Me

The year of 2018. I should see major changes in myself. Last year, I started to participate multi-sports events such as Duathlon.

  1. Meta-sprint
  2. Tri-factor
  3. City60
  4. Singapore International Duathlon
I participated in OCBC Cycle too. 

Training include running 3 to 4 times a week. One of the days will be either cycle follow by a run or vice versa. Waking up in the early morning like 4 to 4:30am is no joke. Same as weekend. Waking up around 4:30am as well to start riding at 5 to 5:30am. One side effect of waking up or having not enough sleep put tremendous stress on the Adrenaline glands. 

It is common for athletes to experience Adrenal fatigue. We love pain because we push ourselves to reach the next new PR (personal record). We took pain with pride. No pain no gain. And yet, many of us ignore the damage it does to the body. As much as we push ourselves, we need to accept the fact that rest is crucial too. With rest, the body gets enough time to repair and build new muscles and etc... Of course, we need raw materials for recovery too.

So what do we need? Protein is key. It is especially critical for post recovery during the first 30 minutes after exercise. Depending on the exercise that you had done, whether it is Aerobic or Anaerobic will also determine how are you going to do your recovery.

I will talk about Aerobic and Anaerobic exercise and recovery in my next post.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

4th Change: The Start of Wearing Made to Measure Pants 5 years ago

What gives me enough confidence to take bulletproof was wearing my made to measure pants that were made 5 years ago. My tummy started to flatten and I continuously burnt fat. How do I know? You can always buy a ketone stick to test your urine.

What is more interesting is that I started to wear S size shirt instead of M. I had shrunk from L to M and then to S. I used to hover around 76kg to 80kg but nowadays, I hover around 75kg. Fat percentage is around 20%.

My colleagues around me had noticed how much weight I had lost. I have also started to recycle my clothes. Letting go my size L & M shirts.

Nowadays, I don't really take bulletproof coffee per se. Instead, I will ensure drinking a cup of black coffee with a piece of butter. Whether I'm at a cafe or a coffeeshop. A long black with a piece of butter is a must.

I will share with you about the 5th change in my next post.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

3rd Change: Starting the journey with Bulletproof Coffee

3rd Change. The day I started incorporating butter into my coffee...

Yup. A lot of people around me were stunned with this new habit of mine. Although a few friends know what I'm doing, many don't know what is that. It is called Bulletproof coffee. You guys can google it. It is out there.

So what is my first hand experience with Bulletproof?

1) It totally remove my dependency on sugar. The need to have cup of teh in the late afternoon. The need to have a cake after a meal. The need to have something sweet. It is all gone.

2) The need to have a large portion during a meal. This is gone for some reasons. The body started to tell you when to stop.

3) The increase in mental capacity and energy level.

4) You never look at fat the way you used to look at it.

I don't worry about oily or fatty food these days. However, there was still a problem, which I will share later.

I drink at least once a day with my coffee with butter. If at home, I will use aeropress to make my bulletproof coffee. Mix with grass fed butter from Anchor and coconut oil. If not, I will request long black with butter from the cafe to have my "Bulletproof" coffee.

Because of this coffee habit, I started to lose a lot of fats with little change in weight. I did lose a bit of weight but I started to lose fat. My cloth size started to shrink and this is a good news. I started to wear pants that were made to measure 5 or 6 years ago. Amazing...

Shall end here. Will share the next change.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

2nd Change: Coconut Oil Pulling in the morning

After taking coconut oil before sleep, the next thing that I did was coconut oil pulling. Something that my colleague mentioned to me. I thought to myself, hey why not give it a try?

I read online on the many benefits of coconut oil pulling. Basically, just have some coconut oil in your mouth first thing in the morning. And before doing that, have a cup of water. I always do that in the morning. Drinking water first thing in the morning helps to activate the organs.

So why do I want to do it? One of the benefits stated that it will help to grow back the gums. To me, that is wonderful. Hence, I started to do it daily and miracle happened. A bit of gum start to grow back. And when I first started the pulling, I kept on having phlegm coming out from my throat. I don't know why.

Then came one day, it stopped. And since then, I believe coconut oil pulling helps to improve my health.

Will share the next change. It is my journey with Bulletproof coffee.

BTW, when you do coconut pulling, you don't need to use toothpaste to brush your teeth. Just brush it with the coconut oil on your teeth. It feels clean.