|Not doing a show so this is the best you get.|
Overview and how it went
This process was 7 months long and really took me out of my comfort zone. I started in the middle of October 2021 and ended in the middle of May 2022.
The goal was to see how lean I could get while following Rob Sikes' (@ketosavage) Ketogenic Body Building Show Prep protocol. https://ketosavage.com/
His protocol is much more fat-focused than mine. My protocol would be to keep my protein above 1.25g per pound of lean mass (200g) and to drop my fat to as low as 75g depending on how aggressive I wanted to be. I have successfully used this method to reach 8% body fat. I never felt hungry or like I was in a restrictive mindset. The only downside I had doing this was a general lack of energy and being lethargic throughout the day.
The process with Rob started with high fat, like 220g...🤯and right off the bat, I knew I needed to mentally prepare to do things differently. It was also low protein at first. He had me at 110g of protein early on.
Over the next few months, Rob had me lower my fat and increase my protein. In January, they caught up with each other at 165g each. We continued the adjustments until early February when we were seeing how far I could go with the protein before I hit what Robert calls a protein threshold. I never really had the effect of bloating, brain fog, or inflammation that Rob talks about at the protein threshold, but we needed to start cutting before it got too late. At 140g fat and 185g protein, we started the cut.
From early February to mid-May We dropped my fat and protein to 135g fat and 110g protein. Sometime in late March, I started feeling deprived, hungry, and struggling with avoiding snacks and overeating in the evenings. Rob was good at keeping me accountable with regular weigh-ins (which I could have been more consistent at) and we chatted via the Slack App a few times a week.
💥🤮🤧🤒 Wouldn't you know it, right at the end of the cut I go on a trip and come home with a bug that pretty much knocks me on my butt the last 2 weeks. I couldn't workout and eating was up and down the whole time. I haven't been able to get a solid body comp scan with all the inflammation, lack of sleep, and no exercise in almost two weeks. Even with no scan, I can tell you that visually, I am at one of the leanest points in my life. When I followed my own protocol to get to 8% I never had definition in my inner thighs where I could see adductors and veins. My VMO was never that visible. Right now, my legs look sculpted. I'm easily at 8% body fat.
I kept my workouts simple. I did mostly traditional splits with some other stuff mixed in. I like the additional variation of Max Effort and Dynamic Effort days on top of the usual high volume hypertrophy stuff.
I also have a CrossFit background so there were some GPP days and Olympic lifting thrown in as well to keep me on my toes.
I didn't do a lot of cardio. Once or twice a week I would do a 10-20 minute interval with 3 or 4 exercises but that's about the most I did to get my heart rate up.
Towards the end of the cut, I noticed a significant decrease in my ability to recover and needed to drop the intensity and volume down a lot. this was hard because I am way more performance-oriented than aesthetically focused. Losing performance in the pursuit of a certain look has never been something I enjoyed.
As you can see I lost about 20 pounds of total weight with over half of that coming directly from body fat. My Body Fat % dropped 6% and my BMR maintained at basically the same rate even with the 20-pound weight loss.
The numbers for May are better than they show. I am still in the middle of fighting through whatever bug this is and there is zero chance I'm still running above 10% body fat.
Can you do a cut without losing muscle, even on a higher fat and lower protein protocol? I'd say the answer is Yes, without a doubt.
What I learned.
1. I will never compete in bodybuilding. I have no desire to be solely focused on how I look. I do care how I look and I definitely have things I want to work on. I can't however, use that as motivation to put in the level of effort needed using this methodology.
2. I do not like losing size to get lean. This is one of the main reasons I went carnivore. The next phase is to get big. I'll go over what that plan is in another post.
3. There are many ways to skin this cat. In all cases, getting lean is a process of reducing fuel intake. The secret to long-term success is doing it without completely trashing your hormones or giving yourself an eating disorder.
Rob protocol works. It's a solid method that has a much healthier outcome while achieving the same goals as traditional bodybuilding methods. It's given me some ideas I can use in my methods and I will definitely use this experience to help improve myself as a coach.
The goal was to get as low a body fat % as I could while experiencing a new method of body recomposition.