Review of Guy Gone Keto

Guy Gone Keto by Thom King is an excellent book and a must read for anyone who is seriously considering adopting the keto lifestyle. Whether you are interested in losing weight or just want to optimize your daily food intake, the keto lifestyle is a viable option, and Thom definitely breaks down the science behind keto into easily understood terms. Thom is the founder and CEO of Steviva Brands, and is well-versed in natural foods and has an extensive background in food science and “bio-hacking”, so he knows what he’s talking about.

I was able to read this book in one sitting on a weekend afternoon and found it amusing and well-written. I love how Thom adds his personal experiences to really underscore the fact that a keto lifestyle can transform your body and your life if you commit to it. He also includes a whole collection of keto recipes so that you can infuse variety into your new keto regimen. He includes recommendations on what supplements to purchase so you aren’t in the dark about what to get.

Thom King also has an expansive line of Guy Gone Keto products, including MCT Oil, Steak Sauce, BBQ Sauce, Ketchup, Teriyaki Sauce, Thai Chili Sauce, and KetoseSweet+. You can check out the line here:

https://shop.guygoneketo.com/

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Why We Crave Bad Foods

Most of us have certain food cravings, and for some of us, those cravings can be frequent and incredibly strong. Scientists have determined that there is a biological basis for food cravings, so those cravings may be next to impossible to avoid. First of all, our prehistoric ancestors had to deal with a very limited supply of calorie dense food because they had to hunt for it. They constantly dealt with a feast or famine lifestyle, a stark contrast to modern times, in which plenty of food is readily available.

Programmed To Crave

The prehistoric human brain would respond to a sudden caloric intake by releasing serotonin and dopamine, both of which created a sense of well-being. This release of brain chemicals also occurs in modern humans. In addition, meals which are high in fat and sugar result in decreased production of stress-related hormones.

The bottom line is that our brains are programmed to crave and seek foods which are high in calories, fat, carbs and salt, just like our ancestors, who rarely had meat protein, and only after a successful hunt. It’s no surprise that fatty, caloric foods are associated with feelings of contentment, especially since we tend to have more cravings when we are anxious or under stress.

According to research from the Monell Chemical Senses Center, three regions of the brain (hippocampus, caudate and insula) light up when a subject craves a certain food. In another study, by Adam Drewnowski, PhD, when pleasure-sensing opiate receptors in the brain were blocked, subjects no longer craved sugary or high fat foods.

How To Control Cravings

Though carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap in recent years, it is the combination of carbohydrates with fat and salt that appears to be the winning combination for foods which spark cravings. Prime examples are pizza, French fries, and macaroni and cheese.

Individuals who have a greater degree of willpower are usually best off with having a small serving of the food they crave, which satisfies the craving. However, some people lack the ability to control the desire to indulge in cravings, and tend to binge on decadent foods. In such cases, the best thing to do is to avoid stocking those foods entirely.

I’m Smaller Than I Think

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I have never been overweight a single day in my life, but since everything is relative, and since there is tremendous pressure on fitness models and competitors to be extremely lean, I definitely experience fat days. You know those days when you just feel fluffy, bloated, tubby, like a stuffed sausage? Yep, I have those days too. However, I guess I am retaining less water, mostly due to following a pretty clean food regimen, and as a result have been awarded with a tighter appearance. My measurements are still the same, yet a bunch of people have asked me if I lost weight, and will tell me I look tiny.

I got confirmation of my tiny dimensions lately when I tried on two different articles of clothing in my closet. One item was a pair of jean leggings from Hue which I had purchased in a size Small, based on online reviews which suggested that someone with my dimensions (5’5″ tall, 120 pounds, 24 inch waist, 34 inch hips) would fit better into a Small than an X-Small. Much to my surprise, I put on the leggings, and they were so baggy on me that they looked ridiculous on me. Then I tried on an old pair of MEK Denim jeans in a 24 which I had avoided because I assumed that I wouldn’t be able to wear them. Instead, they fit like a glove. I had almost gotten rid of those expensive jeans because I thought they didn’t fit me anymore!

I realize that my immersion in the world of fitness has made me more neurotic about having more of an off-season body, but the truth is that my off-season appearance is actually quite acceptable. I admit that the increasing laxity of my skin has caused me a certain degree of distress. However, even though the half-century mark looms several months away, I am making every effort to give myself credit for looking pretty damned good for my age.

I no longer live in waist trimmers in order to squeeze out subcutaneous water and shrink me down. I am well aware of the fact that an excessive degree of body dysmorphia exists within the fitness community, which is the inevitable result of constant pressure to look almost superhuman, with defined muscles, ripped abs, and unnaturally low body fat. Though I adore that look, I am also tired of having every square millimeter of my body scrutinized.

By no means am I saying that I am giving up on being as fit as I can possibly be, but I will no longer allow myself to feel as if I am out of shape or huge when I can fit into a size 24 jean!

Nutrient Timing

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If you are at all interested in optimal fitness, you need to be aware of what nutrients your body needs in order to build muscle and metabolize fat as well as optimize performance. This is better known as nutrient timing. Proper timing of the foods you eat will support hormone function and promote a lean and muscular physique, while eating the wrong foods at the wrong time will trigger fat deposition, loss of muscle, and longer post-workout recovery times.

When nutrient timing comes into play, the goal is to shift body composition so that fat loss and muscle gain are optimized and glycogen stores are maximized. Such shifts have long-standing health benefits which can effectively prevent development of major diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. One caveat is that consuming excessive amounts of food will result in fat gain regardless of nutrient timing.

During training days, you should consume higher amounts of protein and carbohydrate and decrease your fat intake. The general rule is to consume about 1 to 2 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight, with most of your carbs consumed post-workout. On your rest days, you should consume higher fat and protein while dropping your carb intake to about 0.5 grams per pound body weight. The rationale behind this is that you want to encourage higher insulin levels post-workout, but lower insulin levels at all other times.

You may want to bump up your carbohydrate intake a bit throughout the day if you are looking to gain muscle, since insulin stimulates growth or anabolism. You can also ingest carbs throughout the day if you are already lean and just want to maintain. However, if you are looking to lose body fat, you need to consume most of your carbs during and post-exercise, and consume mainly protein and fat during all other times.

What Happens When You Skip Meals

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You might be under the impression that skipping meals benefits you since you aren’t taking in calories constantly. Well, I’ve got news for you. By skipping meals, you are putting the brakes on your metabolism. Think of it this way. When a fire is burning in a fireplace, the intensity of the fire dies down dramatically when there are only embers and no logs on the pile. Skipping meals has the same effect. What makes it even worse is that, since the metabolism is now extremely sluggish, when you finally DO eat something, your body can’t break down the food as efficiently, and more of it ends up being stored as fat.

If you skip meals, you probably suffer to some extent from malnutrition, since you aren’t consuming sufficient nutrients throughout the course of the day. Chronic malnutrition can trigger the development and progression of a multitude of diseases. The sharp drops in blood sugar which occur as a result of skipped meals cause an increase in insulin resistance, which can result in the development of diabetes.

When you consider how much of a negative health impact skipping meals has, why would you ever do it?

Menopausal Weight Gain

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Menopause can really break a woman’s spirit, for countless reasons. Her ability to reproduce comes to a screeching halt, her nether regions may start to resemble an arid climate, hot flashes may make her feel like she is spontaneously combusting, and she may have mood swings that would make the Tazmanian Devil look like a calm little bugger in comparison. But it’s the weight gain which often upsets menopausal women the most. Menopausal women will notice that if they drop their caloric intake, weight won’t drop at all, even though it may have easily melted off in the past.

That’s because the plummeting levels of progesterone and estrogen also adversely affect a woman’s ability to mobilize fat. Cortisol levels can go unchecked as a result of the low levels of progesterone and estrogen, and any extra calories will end up getting stored as fat. If a menopausal woman is at a caloric deficit, the switch flips in favor of burning muscle instead of turning to the storage fat she so desperately wants to incinerate. This is especially true for the adipose (fat) tissue around the midsection, because cortisol is notorious for padding that area with extra fat, resulting in an ever expanding belly. Another unfortunate consequence of cortisol is that levels will rise dramatically with prolonged intense exercise. The key is to have more abbreviated, yet still intense, exercise sessions so that the cortisol release is also accompanied by a boost in HGH and testosterone, thus conferring a protective effect on muscle.

Basically, the WORST thing you can do if you are in the midst of menopausal hell and struggling with weight gain is to engage in lengthy gym sessions. That might work for a 20 year old, but it can be devastating for a 50 year old. If you are a gym rat like me, you can still train up to six days per week (that’s how frequently I train), but keep your sessions intense but relatively short, between 30 to 60 minutes. If you train beyond that time window, the excess cortisol release will only trigger your body to cling to fat.

Menopausal women also experience an increase in carbohydrate sensitivity, which means that carbohydrate-rich meals which they used to be able to consume in their younger years without much consequence will suddenly wreak havoc on that waistline. The extra carbs settle in for a long and uninvited stay in the midsection and end up making women miserable. Because of this, dietary shifts need to be implemented in which the intake of starches and grains is dramatically reduced, while the consumption of more lean protein and green vegetables is increased. I also strongly recommend supplementing the diet with digestive enzymes and probiotics to optimize gut health and digestion of different foods.

The Mind Of A Competitor

Oh, to be a competitor in the world of bodybuilding. It is empowering, exhilarating, inspiring, stressful, challenging and at times heartbreaking. A fascinating psychology exists in this world which can best be described by listing some of the quirks competitors have.

Ripped versus “Fat”:

First of all, competitors develop a bizarre love-hate relationship with their bodies in which they marvel at their bodies when they are lean and muscular and in contest shape, but will curse their bodies when they are the slightest bit mushy or fluffy. Competitors live in a world in which the bar is set VERY high. Competitors will see themselves as fat when others see an amazing body and will say so. Competitors will always believe that the more ripped and lean they are, the better they are. While this is a necessary component of contest prep, it plays games with a person’s self-esteem because it is a constant battle to reach or remain at the pinnacle of leanness and muscularity.

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Overtraining:

Some competitors will overtrain in an effort to get their bodies dialed in, without considering the inevitable damage they are doing to their bodies. Yes, we are warriors, and yes, it can be a great thing to push through, but with too much training, the law of diminishing returns kicks in. I completely relate to the principle of training constantly for a big contest because I have done it many times. I have endured double training and double cardio sessions which at times had me in the gym for five hours at a time. I have sustained injuries in my foot, ankle, knee, shoulder and forearm and continued my training because a big event was looming around the corner. Was it smart to train through injuries? No, but at the time I couldn’t imagine slowing down or stopping just because of a silly injury. This is the very thing I now scold clients about. No contest is worth hurting yourself!

“A judge told me I suck!”

Another thing that competitors have a habit of doing is worrying about what judges say and taking criticism hard. Competitors need to remember that bodybuilding, to a considerable degree, is a subjective sport, and if you are going to allow a judge to rip you apart and kill your spirit, then you probably shouldn’t be competing at all. The word of one judge is exactly that. Now if you speak to a bunch of judges and people in the sport who know what the ideal for the division you compete in is, and they all tell you the same thing, then you can probably assume that what they are all telling you is constructive criticism which you can then use as a reference when you make adjustments to your training program. That way, you will address certain weaknesses without throwing in the towel.

Money drain:

Bodybuilding is a VERY expensive sport. When you tally up the cost of food, supplements, coaching, competition apparel, spray tanning, accessories, hair styling and makeup application, travel expenses, and entry fees, the financial load can be immense. Competitors will often go broke, scraping up whatever money they have to make the dream of competing happen. This is not a poor man’s sport! That is why I tell competitors to establish a budget and be judicious about which events they want to do and what they can afford to do. I also advise competitors to seek out sponsors to help out with the enormous costs of competing. It is not unusual to see competitors forgo other hobbies and vacations in an effort to gather enough funds to support their competing habit.

Food Porn:

As a competitor who used to dream about food, I completely understand the fantasizing which occurs in competitors when on a contest prep meal plan. Contest prep meals are usually bland as a result of how clean they are, and some meal plans are so restrictive that one may eat only two food items throughout the day, such as chicken and asparagus. It’s only human nature to rebel against this type of meal plan after a while, because it is quite a chore to adhere to it every single day with no treats and no cheats. It is a normal occurrence for competitors to discuss what foods they plan to eat post-contest. What’s also interesting is that some competitors will become so rigid and so fearful of backlash from their coaches that they will only have a quasi-cheat meal post contest, then return to the same rigid eating plan they were on before. Other competitors may go off the deep end, eating everything in sight for days or weeks, only to deal with considerable rebound.

Conclusion:

Those of us who compete are indeed a strange breed. We are disciplined, driven and focused. I am fine with our quirks and accept them as part of the sport.