The “New” Endurance Fuel


On page 64 of the July/August 2016 issue of Men’s Health is an article entitled The New Endurance Fuel by Brett Israel. It is not on line yet – but – is worth reading.

The article tells the story of Zach Bitter, an endurance athlete who sought a way around the “Bonking” which commonly occurs after two hours of intense exercise when a person’s glycogen stores are depleted. It is a tale of finding and adapting to a Ketogenic Diet and becoming fat adapted. Zach Bitter found significant success once he was Fat Adapted.

Absolutely nothing new in this Article – other than it is sandwiched in between lots of carb heavy recipes and stories. 

In research from Ohio State, elite ultramarathoners and Ironman distance triathletes who consumed very few carbs burned more than twice as much fat during prolonged exercise as high-carb athletes did.

“Research from Ohio State” referenced without footnoting. Guess whose research – Dr. Jeff Volek. I’ve previously written about his books:

  1. Jeff Volek, Stephen Phinney. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. Beyond Obesity, April 2012. 162 pages.
  2. Jeff Volek, Stephen Phinney. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living. Beyond Obesity, May 2011. 302 pages.
  3. Westman, E.C., S.D. Phinney, and J.S. Volek. The New Atkins for a New You. Fireside, New York, NY, March 2, 2010.
  4. Volek, J. and Campbell A. The Men’s Health TNT Diet. Targeted Nutrition Tactics. Rodale Books, Rodale Books Emmaus, PA, Oct 2, 2007.

Since one of his books was a Men’s Health publication, I’m surprised they didn’t reference him. 

Another book that sings the same song is: What The Fat? Sports Performance: Leaner, Fitter, Faster on Low-Carb Healthy Fat. Schofield, Grant; Zinn, Caryn; Rodger, Craig. The Real Food Publishing Company Limited, 2015. 

This Article defines a Ketogenic Diet as 80% fat, 15% protein and  5% Carbs. Men’s Heath Nutrition advisor, Mike Roussell, Ph.D. recommends that an endurance athlete allow for an eight week period to become fully fat adapted prior to entering an event. No quarrel there.

The article also credits a Ketogenic Diet with enhancing weight loss, helping to fight cancer and improving memory in the elderly.

In attempting to be fair, the author included this quote:

I haven’t yet seen evidence that the ketogenic diet provides a superior approach,” says Louise Burke, Ph.D., of the Australian Sports Commission.

Still, Zach Bitter remains supportive. “I believe a ketogenic diet has allowed me to train harder.”


I found this on one of the news gathering services: Can You Trick Your Body into Burning More Fat? By Tia Ghose, Senior Writer | August 11, 2016 11:20am, published on the Live Science site.

I am not going to provide a synopsis of the article – only to say that it is the expected flip side. I did find it interesting that both articles quoted Louise Burke.

In some of the most definitive work on this subject, Louise Burke, an exercise physiologist at the Australian Institute of Sport, and her colleagues conducted a study of low-carbohydrate and high-carbohydrate diets for elite race walkers. Her work has found that low-carb diets reduced performance.

Elite Race Walkers – the operative word is “race.” Check out the book – What The Fat? Sports Performance: Leaner, Fitter, Faster on Low-Carb Healthy Fat, referenced above. The authors present a significant argument for integrating a ketogenic diet with a carb boost for races. Their thesis presents one of the most balance approaches on this subject.

Beyond that, low-carb diets are often difficult to follow. Consuming no carbs means no fruits, veggies or whole grains, Manore said. One of the competitive race walkers in Burke’s study took to eating sticks of butter, according to a recent interview.

Yep – no whole grains – or at least very limited amounts – but no veggies  – huh? I’ve never eaten more veggies since starting to eat this way. No fruit – a half truth – limited fruits – intelligently eaten.

“Most athletes hate it. They can’t stay on it. They don’t feel good,” Manore said. “It’s just not practical.”

Hmmm – I can stay on it, feel great and find it a very practical way to eat my veggies and selective fruits. 


TNT Plan A and the Protein Conundrum

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The entire Protein issue is a head buster. Seriously. The suggested amounts are all over the place. The US RDA is about 46 for an adult woman and 56 grams for an adult male. But – check out this calculation at LiveStrong.

There is also the fact that a portion of protein and particularly excess protein is converted into the equivalent of carbs – glycogen – by the process called glycogenolysis.

How much protein – a question mark. There are those that do blood tests to establish their personal levels – which change with age, activity and maybe even the alignment of the stars and the planets. OK – that was tongue in check.

So – back to Plan A.

The Muscle-Building Time Zone

The Nutrition Tactic: Workout Nutrition

The Benefits:

  • Dramatically accelerates muscle growth
  • Speeds workout recovery

When You’ll Use This Tactic: From 60 minutes before you lift weights to 30 minutes after your training session.

What You’ll Eat: Depending on your goals (i.e. faster fat loss or more muscle), you’ll either eat a snack of protein — such as a protein shake or some tuna — or a snack that contains both protein and carbohydrates, like a turkey sandwich.

Why It Works: Resistance training primes your muscles to grow — all you have to do is feed them. So you’ll always include protein during this time, since this nutrient provides the raw materials for muscle growth, without inhibiting your ability to burn fat. And if you’re okay with temporarily slowing fat loss, you can also down a hefty dose of carbohydrates, which will boost muscle-growth even more.

Protein Only

(TNT Plans A and C)

Prepare a protein shake (mixed with water) that provides a blend of at least 40 grams of whey and casein protein. When choosing a product, look for one that contains both whey and casein protein, and which has only small amounts of carbs and fat.

Drink half of the beverage 30-45 minutes before your workout; drink the other half immediately after your workout.

Eat a Fat-Burning Time Zone meal or snack that contains high-quality protein within 30 minutes to an hour after your training session. (Your snack could be another 20 to 40-gram protein shake.)

Add that up – and what you get is easily 40-8o grams of protein around exercise. This leaves – maybe another 40-60 grams for the rest of the day. That is – 30 grams a meal.or 3-6 ounces of meat at each meal.

If you check out the suggested recipes – you will find that – 3 ounces or so is approximately what’s called for. 

Check out the various “pages” listed to the right – I’ve been bouncing around the protein issue for years. Me – now – well – I have reduced my exercise protein to maybe 20 grams mixed into my morning coffee prior to working out. After the workout – I have breakfast with easily another 25 grams mixed into a high fat meal.

I wish there was an easy formula without sticking myself and drawing blood.

Any suggestions?

9 Years of eating Very Low Carb High Fat – Impact on Cholesterol Levels

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It is over 9 years since I started eating Very Low Carb High Fat and to a very large degree – damnably close to a full on Ketogenic Diet. Some Myths that are constantly thrown at us:

Myth: You can not sustain this type of eating for any length of time.

False: 9 years and 3 months with out any real problem.

Myth: Eating High Fat including an abundance of Saturated Fats will lead to out of control Cholesterol levels.

False: Had my latest blood test – this time in the Doc’s office – forgot to fast. Ah well.

Total Cholesterol
Below 200 mg/dL Desirable…………………………………………. 196
LDL Cholesterol
Below 100 mg/dL Optimal for people at risk of heart disease
100-129 mg/dL Near optimal………………………………………… 81
HDL Cholesterol
60 mg/dL and above Best ……………………………………………..92  (has been as high as 119)
Below 150 mg/dL Desirable………………………………………….. 114 (usually <50 but I did not fast)
Triglycerides/HDL – Best if <=3 …………………………………….1.24

Myth: Only eat a limited number of eggs a week – Maybe one a day and increase the volume with egg whites.

False: I average >2 eggs per day every day for the past 9 years

Myth: Eating too much protein will negatively effect your kidneys.

False: I average 140 grams of protein a day. This is not high for someone my size and activity level – but double the RDA. The Doc looked at the various lab tests and pronounced my kidneys to be in great condition.

Myth: You can’t get all of your necessary vitamins, nourishment and fiber without eating fruit and carbs.

False: The person who said that – doesn’t come close to eating the amount of vegetables I eat.

The Doc looked at the results – including my blood pressure 118/66 – and said: “I have patients who would kill for these numbers.”

Enough Said!

Spiral Vegetable Slicers


I finally broke down and bought a Spiral Vegetable Slicer. You know  the ones – they supposedly turn zucchini into a veggie mock pasta. Intriguing. 

The prices ranges from over a hundred dollars to less than twenty. I spent $17.33 including tax on mine at Bed Bath & Beyond – the Veggetti Pro. We are not talking about a heavy duty product that is going to last a lifetime. But – worth the price.

Once that was in the car – we took a trip to the food store and picked up a couple of nice sized zucchinis. That gave us the mock pasta – what to put on it – that was the next question. Right above the zucchinis was a package of fresh Basil Leaves. Yeah – way to go – Pesto Sauce!

Once I got home – it was time to play. First washed the machine and glanced quickly through the booklet. Set the machine up. Washed the zucchinis and cut their ends off. Hmmmm – didn’t fit. Had to cut them in half to fit the machine. No problem.

Started turning the handle and – out came the veggie pasta. Did two large Zucchinis and set the pile aside.

Now for the Pesto. I read a couple of dozen different recipes including the one in this month’s Men’s Health magazine (June 2016). Yep – that is what got my mind a go’n.

 Here is what I did.


2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts – I used almond flour – could not find pine nuts.
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil – divide
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese – I used Parmesan cheese.


Combine the basil, garlic and nuts in a food processor or blender and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper. I needed to add the entire 2/3 cup and about 1/4 cup water to make it spin. Used a blender – may have gone better with the food processor. Once smooth – I set it aside.

Now – to make the dish. Poured about 1/3 cup olive oil into a pan and heated to medium. (This was were the other 1/3 of a cup was to be used.) Dumped the Veggies in and continued to toss. This was a mistake – on two counts. First – I should have cut the pile with a knife to shorten the length of the zucchini spirals. Second – Should have used a bigger pot – possible a Wok. Still worked OK. Did not want to over cook the veggie – just a couple of minutes to take away the raw flavor.

Dumped the Pesto Sauce on the zucchini and continued tossing until fully coated. Then slid the contents in a large bowl and served it. This was lunch.


The Spiral Slicer is a great little invention – just don’t over pay.

The Pesto sauce is not difficult to make and is a 100% Plan A – VLCHF – Keto friendly sauce. Now I need to find one off-the-shelf to make life easier.

Good Advice

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A number of months ago, I got together for lunch with a guy who has been a member of a Charity Board with me. We go back probably close to 20 years now. The luncheon was scheduled because he was recovering from recent hip replacement surgery and was curious as to how my recovery went. Turns out we had the same Surgeon. He for his original work and me for the revision.

He had recently retired and our discussion ranged over many topics. He had started his career some 40 years earlier as a dietitian, and spent many years in that function within health care facilities. He ended his career as the head administrator of a large health care facility.

Eventually our discussion hit upon my weight loss. I explained the concept and referred him to the TNT Diet book by Jeff Volek and Adam Campbell. He was interested but – given his background- skeptical.

I did not hear from him for many months. The other day, I saw him and his wife.

“I have to thank you for the Good Advice. I’ve lost 30 pounds and my blood work and health have never been better.” His wife chimed in that she had lost 20 pounds.

He never got past Plan A, the basic VLCHF ketogenic diet. Said he loved eating like this and saw no need to mix it up. The guy was smiling from ear-to-ear. I asked what his physician said. He indicated that although the guy did not agree with the concept, he said “just keep doing what you are doing.”

What is interesting about the way in which the TNT Diet implements its eating plan is that it does not define how much you should eat. – Except – and this is the catch. – If you follow the suggested food lists and recipes, you will end up eating very low carb <50 grams per day, normal protein of probably 120 grams and the balance – healthy fats which means – not vegetable oils except olive. Saturated Fats are fine.

As with almost any diet, vegetables are the key – 4-5 servings a day of non-starchy veggies.

What Veggies. Here is the link to the Veggie list I put together on this Blog.

And – here is a great article that I came across this past week entitled: 21 Best Veggies for a Low-Carb Diet

And that was good advice, good advice
Good advice costs nothing and it’s worth the price
I’ll re model you, if you’ll only listen to my good advice.

Back To Basics – TNT Diet

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It has been over 7 years since I started following the TNT Diet – the Diet that started it all – at least for me. I think it is time to go back to the basics and see how this plan has held up since it was first launched in the November 2007 issue of Men’s Health magazine.

There is a treasure trove of information on the Internet Archive

Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, and more.

Luckily for us, the original information is saved and published HERE, in this extraordinary internet resource.

My plan is to review each of the 5 plans that comprise the TNT Diet and look at how they have stood the test of time

My next post – Plan A all the way.

A Picture

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Just a short personal story.

Each Friday morning, I have a business networking breakfast meeting. I’ve been a part of this group for the past 15-16 years.  I joined just after it was founded.  Most of the original members have “turned over.” There are only a few of us still in the group. Out of 30 – maybe 5. Most of the rest have never seen me at my heaviest.

This past Friday, I was drinking my coffee when one guy comes running up to me. “Jane has a picture of the group from 2003. I can’t believe how heavy you were.”

I swallowed hard. As much as I enjoy talking about my weight loss, those pictures tend to be an embarrassment. They remind me just how out of control my eating was.

I watched as the group picture went around the room. So many people pointed to the same spot in the picture and then looked over at me. 

When I finally saw the picture, I was surprised how young I looked. It was some 12 years ago. Yes – I was noticeably fat – but – still – a younger man. 

We live in a digital world. Pictures of our past – never fade away. Nor should they. Good or bad – it is who we were – and what made us the person we are today.

My Two Year Anniversary Pictures – tell my story in words and Pictures.


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