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EyeDentist, How Do You Train?


Haha, wrong poster. My bad.


Hey @EyeDentist, you mentioned quite awhile ago that a specific amino triggers an insulin release. If you were on a ketogenic diet, would it be beneficial to consume an appreciable amount of this amino prior to lifting?


Hey man. Are we talking a true ketogenic diet, ie, one in which the dieter’s metabolism has actually shifted into ketosis as proven by the presence of significant amounts of ketones in the blood or urine? Or (like many people) are you using ‘ketogenic’ as a synonym for ‘low carb’? (Question asked for informational purposes, not as a way to snidely impugn your knowledge regarding metabolism.)


Yes, true ketogenic diet. I haven’t tested my blood this go around to confirm, but I used to maintain BHB levels of 1.3-1.7.


How much protein do you consume? Were you consuming this much protein back when you were running those BHB levels? Also, do you keto constantly, or cyclically (ie, take periodic high-carb days)? Finally, in general terms, what is your lifting program–how many times/week, high-volume/low-volume, etc?


Typical macro break down is: 200F, 150P, 20C

Very similar, but I do recall frequently hitting slightly more of 100 grams[quote=“EyeDentist, post:586, topic:202740”]
Also, do you keto constantly, or cyclically

Cyclically. I will have a re-feed meal once every 2 weeks or so. Additionally, my birthday is at the end of the month, so I’ll probably come out for a few days for that.

Higher frequency/low volume. I usually lift 5 days a week, maybe 3 movements for a total of 15 sets.


Thanks. You pose a very interesting question, one that drove me to consult Dr. Google. Turned up some interesting info, some of which was found right here at home (ie, on TN).

With regard to spiking insulin, the amino acid I was referring to was leucine, one of the BCAAs. Here’s a relevant study on the exact question you asked:

“Diets with total protein intake >1.5 g·kg−1·d−1 and carbohydrate intake <150 g/d are effective for treatment of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and the Metabolic Syndrome. These diets improve body composition and enhance glycemic control. During weight loss, protein-rich diets reduce loss of lean tissue and increase loss of body fat. Specific mechanisms to explain each of these clinical outcomes remain to be fully elucidated. We propose that keys to understanding the relationship between dietary protein and carbohydrates are the relationships between the branched-chain amino acid leucine and insulin and glucose metabolism. Leucine is known to interact with the insulin signaling pathway to stimulate downstream signal control of protein synthesis, resulting in maintenance of muscle protein during periods of restricted energy intake. Leucine also appears to modulate insulin signaling and glucose use by skeletal muscle. Whereas total protein is important in providing substrates for gluconeogenesis, leucine appears to regulate oxidative use of glucose by skeletal muscle through stimulation of glucose recycling via the glucose-alanine cycle. These mechanisms produce protein sparing and provide a stable glucose environment with low insulin responses during energy-restricted periods.”


So based on this study, I would say the answer to your question is ‘yes’–consuming leucine in the peri-workout window would promote muscle protein synthesis, or (just as important) at least downregulate muscle catabolism.

On a related subject, I found in one of CT’s old articles an interesting suggestion re how cyclic-ketogenic dieters can exploit leucine’s insulin-enhancing effects. Check out the section (it’s near the end of the piece) entitled “Using a dirty bodybuilding trick”:


Great article, appreciate your efforts.

You seem knowledgeable with respect to keto - among many other things - and @dchris’s question piqued my interest/curiosity. Should fat truly be 75% of your diet to get into and to stay ketogenic?

I ask because I am in my second week and am realizing I am going to have to make more of an effort to get more fat and less protein if macros should truly be 75/20/5.



It’s true that, generally speaking, the less protein you eat, the more ‘keto’ you become. (Obviously, carbs are out no matter what.) Why? The issue is gluconeogenesis–conversion of protein into glucose. Absent dietary carbs, high levels of dietary protein seem to ramp up the gluconeogenesis metabolic pathways, which in turn keeps blood glucose levels a little higher, which in turn downregulates the ketogenic pathways.

So, in order to maximize fat loss on a ketogenic diet, that means one should eat almost nothing but fat, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. The problem: The brain requires some glucose to function–it can’t go ‘full keto’ (ie, rely solely upon ketone bodies for fuel). Thus, if no carbs are coming in, and there is little protein coming in, the body will cannibalize skeletal-muscle protein to serve as the substrate for the gluconeogenesis needed to produce enough glucose to keep the brain alive. And while Joe Average might not mind losing some muscle in order to shed his beer gut a little faster, Joe Weightlifter hates the prospect of losing any muscle. So going ‘full keto’ is probably not optimal for those of us who are trying to hang on to hard-won skeletal muscle.

So, how keto can a weightlifter safely (ie, without risking muscle mass) go? I’m not sure if anyone has answered this question empirically with regards to weightlifters (who usually have far more muscle mass than their body ‘wants’ to carry). I’m not a keto dieter myself, so can’t draw on my own experience. But if I did decide to go keto, I would do it thusly:

  1. Drop all carbs (duh)
  2. Set protein intake at around 1g/lb/d, and monitor my ketones via blood sticks. If I entered ketosis eating this much protein, great! I would leave my protein intake at that level.
  3. If after a couple of weeks my ketone levels were still too low, I would switch out some of the protein calories for fat calories, then re-assess blood ketone levels after a few more weeks. I would continue this process until I determined the highest level of protein intake I could have that would allow me to remain in ketosis.
  4. Finally, I would keep my weightlifting sessions short and heavy, in order to signal the body that the ‘excess’ skeletal muscle remained vitally important to my survival.

Would be interested to hear other’s thoughts on this topic.


Peter Attia has some interesting vids on ketosis on youtube that are worth checking out if y’all are interested


Great response, much appreciated.

So, 75% fats makes it pretty difficult to get 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. I should start with the 1 gram per pound and try to get the rest from fats and see if I get into keto. If I don’t, drop the protein and check again. Once I am solidly in keto, leave the protein as high as possible.

If that is correct, no need to confirm. If I misunderstood, can you set me straight?

Also, do you agree that pee sticks aren’t the most efficient means of determining ketosis and that I should invest in a blood monitor if I’m going to get serious about keto?

FWIW, I’ve been around 130-200 grams of protein (pretty wide range), and between 50-70% fat for the last two weeks and feel like I can tell when I’m ketogenic; I get thirsty and have a bump in energy when I am, I crave sweets when I am not.

I also IF 16/8 and I have less hunger when I’m ketogenic. This is all anecdotal of course, and could of course be a placebo effect, but it seems to be working for now. Not sure how long I’ll stay on it.



Yogs, great contribution, love this guy.

@EyeDentist, Attia is a great resource, and I will do my own research rather than making you work. If you feel so inclined, I would love to hear your answers to my questions above, but I will be digging into this on my own with the resource Yogi provided.

To me this is fascinating since my father is morbidly obese and Type 2 diabetic. I would love to find a way to help him get off insulin and lose some weight.



Thanks for this. I’m a tad embarrassed I didn’t search search this site. I had just recalled our previous non-political correspondence. :wink:


That’s what I would do, yes.

I do.

Yeah, a lot of experienced keto dieters report being able to tell when they’re in ketosis.

If he fails keto, consider bariatric surgery. It can be a lifesaver (literally) for people in your father’s condition.


@EyeDentist What is your opinion on high reps (above 15) for the natural bodybuilder?


I think they have there place, for sure. I like to do high-rep (15+), not-to-failure, short-rest-interval work first, to pump the target muscle full of blood and get its tendons ready for heavier work. Next I move on to the main movement for the muscle–4-6 sets of 8-12 reps, close to positive failure on each sets (and past it on the last set via forced reps, drop sets, rest-pause, etc), longer rest breaks. The final movement involves stretching the muscle under moderate tension (12-15 rep range), for 4 sets.

So yeah, I think high-rep work has its place. That said, in my opinion the optimum growth-inducing rep-range–the one I would work in if I had to pick only one range–is 8-12. Someone once said that BBing fundamentally comes down to getting stronger in the 8-12 rep range. I think that’s a pretty good encapsulation.


Do you ramp up on those four sets or work with a certain weight within the rep range?


For both the four initial activation sets and the four stretching sets at the end, the weight used is entirely a matter of ‘feel.’ As for the 4-6 heavy sets of the main movement, I like the reverse-pyramid approach–do warm-up sets as needed, then jump to the heaviest weight you can use for 8-12 reps. Over the course of the sets, drop the weight as needed to stay in-range.


Figure that this might have been addressed earlier in the thread but wondering your diet thoughts for someone that needs to work out in the AM. I coach HS baseball and our season begins shortly so after school lifting is not an option once we get going. My maintenance level cals are right around 2800-2900 or so at 200lbs currently.

Currently 2 weeks into V-Diet for February with the goal of getting to around 192ish(mainly because I’m nuts and wanted to see if I can stick to it) but will be looking to do something very similar to you, in terms of cutting/maintenance level work. Would love to hear your thoughts.


Hey, thanks for stopping by. I don’t know how you morning-workout guys (and gals) do it! I have to be awake for hours before I can even think about lifting.

That said, here’s what I suggest:

  1. Take a hit (20-30 g) of simple carbs + hydrolyzed protein (again, 20-30 g) shortly before lifting. If you’re big into volume-training and your sessions last significantly over an hour, I would repeat the carbs/protein hit about halfway through the workout.
  2. Eat clean carbs + lean protein for your next meals, through the mid-late afternoon. Make sure to hit your protein goal by the end of this period.
  3. After that, switch to nibbling on natty PB until bedtime. Eat just enough to stave off starvation. (If you’re feeling fat-and-happy at bedtime, you ate too much PB.) If you like coffee, drink it (decaf is fine) in the evenings along with the PB (coffee really takes the edge off of hunger in my experience).

So basically, we’re shifting the start-time of your low-insulin period to mid-late afternoon, rather than bedtime.

As I see it, the toughest aspect of this set-up will be dinner. I assume you have a family, and it’s gonna be tough to watch them eat fun stuff you can’t have. Make sure you plan ahead and save some of your PB cals so you can at least sit at the table and eat with them (assuming your family typically eats dinner together).

If you decide to try this, be sure to check back later and let us know how it works for you (from both bodyfat-loss and psychological-stress standpoints).