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Old 01-20-2010, 10:20 AM   #1
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CKD (Cyclical Ketogenic Diet) - does it work?

Has anybody here ever tried a CKD diet? Does it live up to the hype I have seen on some bodybuilding forums? Does it improve weightlifting workouts? Help build more muscle while reducing fat? Improve Testosterone levels?

I can't complain about Atkins, and how it has helped me lose fat and gain muscle while weightlifting, but I am curious if anybody felt a CKD diet gave them any edge over Atkins (or something similar)?
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:37 AM   #2
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Hey Matt,

These are from a couple of responses I posted I had in a different thread last week:

Carb cycling can be very effective, but can be tricky to do it right and can be disatrous for people who spiral out of control if they eat too many carbs. You have to be able to shut it on and off, and a lot of people who struggle with their weight just can't do that. The carb-up does provide a metabolic boost, but is not worth the risk for many low-carb dieters who can still make progress (albeit gradual) without it.

Fortunately, I'm able to use it as a tool. Once I drop a little more fat, I'll start carbing up for 36 hours every second or third weekend from Friday evening through Sunday morning, which sets me up in a glycogen-loaded state for my most difficult workout of the week on Sunday. It also works well socially.

I don't want to give you bad advice and set you back, but if you want to try it, my suggestion is to stay in induction for at least the standard two weeks before doing any kind of carb-up. You need to make sure you are past the initial glycogen-and-water dump and well into ketosis/fat burning before introducing any kind of carb-up, or you will just keep cyclically dumping the same pounds of glycogen and water.

What I do is really more of what's called a cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) as opposed to carb cycling. A lot of people who carb cycle never go into ketosis. They do something like: low/moderate/moderate/low/low/high/low over a 7-day period. I actually go back into ketosis for a period of time after the carb ups, which is what makes it a CKD.

There are "clean" carb-ups and "dirty" carb-ups. I've done both. Clean carb-ups usually include oatmeal, sweet potatos, brown rice, fruit, etc. Dirty carb-ups usually include all the carbage we know and love. The problem with dirty carb-ups is that most of that stuff isn't just carbs, but carb-and-fat bomb combinations, like doughnuts and piza. Ideally, in a CKD, fat should be kept to a minimum during the carb-up. Sort of a reverse diet where you eat high-carb/low-fat for the carb-up period.

If you intend to use it as more of a treat period as opposed to strategic glycogen loading, I suggest just eating whatever foods you normally enjoy as opposed to going out of your way to ingest a lot of carbs
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:50 AM   #3
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Thanks Stack. I assume that since you are doing CKD this way that you must be gaining some benefit/energy for your hardest workout of the week?

Anybody else out there try a CKD style diet?
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:50 AM   #4
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Hey Matt,

These are from a couple of responses I posted I had in a different thread last week:

Carb cycling can be very effective, but can be tricky to do it right and can be disatrous for people who spiral out of control if they eat too many carbs. You have to be able to shut it on and off, and a lot of people who struggle with their weight just can't do that. The carb-up does provide a metabolic boost, but is not worth the risk for many low-carb dieters who can still make progress (albeit gradual) without it.

Fortunately, I'm able to use it as a tool. Once I drop a little more fat, I'll start carbing up for 36 hours every second or third weekend from Friday evening through Sunday morning, which sets me up in a glycogen-loaded state for my most difficult workout of the week on Sunday. It also works well socially.

I don't want to give you bad advice and set you back, but if you want to try it, my suggestion is to stay in induction for at least the standard two weeks before doing any kind of carb-up. You need to make sure you are past the initial glycogen-and-water dump and well into ketosis/fat burning before introducing any kind of carb-up, or you will just keep cyclically dumping the same pounds of glycogen and water.

What I do is really more of what's called a cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) as opposed to carb cycling. A lot of people who carb cycle never go into ketosis. They do something like: low/moderate/moderate/low/low/high/low over a 7-day period. I actually go back into ketosis for a period of time after the carb ups, which is what makes it a CKD.

There are "clean" carb-ups and "dirty" carb-ups. I've done both. Clean carb-ups usually include oatmeal, sweet potatos, brown rice, fruit, etc. Dirty carb-ups usually include all the carbage we know and love. The problem with dirty carb-ups is that most of that stuff isn't just carbs, but carb-and-fat bomb combinations, like doughnuts and piza. Ideally, in a CKD, fat should be kept to a minimum during the carb-up. Sort of a reverse diet where you eat high-carb/low-fat for the carb-up period.

If you intend to use it as more of a treat period as opposed to strategic glycogen loading, I suggest just eating whatever foods you normally enjoy as opposed to going out of your way to ingest a lot of carbs
.
Great advice!

Marc McManus does this as do many body builders.

It did not work for me but I am quite insulin/metabolically resistant.

Lyle McDonald has written some great CKD plans that I have seen work first hand.

Also, Built, a.k.a. MariAnne Anderson has a structured plan that works very well for both men and women. She lost the weight with Atkins and began carb cycling as a way to bulk then cut and so on. The article is called Carb Cycling Made Easy.

Good luck with it if you decide to do it!
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:53 AM   #5
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Hey Matt,

These are from a couple of responses I posted I had in a different thread last week:

Carb cycling can be very effective, but can be tricky to do it right and can be disatrous for people who spiral out of control if they eat too many carbs. You have to be able to shut it on and off, and a lot of people who struggle with their weight just can't do that. The carb-up does provide a metabolic boost, but is not worth the risk for many low-carb dieters who can still make progress (albeit gradual) without it.

Fortunately, I'm able to use it as a tool. Once I drop a little more fat, I'll start carbing up for 36 hours every second or third weekend from Friday evening through Sunday morning, which sets me up in a glycogen-loaded state for my most difficult workout of the week on Sunday. It also works well socially.

I don't want to give you bad advice and set you back, but if you want to try it, my suggestion is to stay in induction for at least the standard two weeks before doing any kind of carb-up. You need to make sure you are past the initial glycogen-and-water dump and well into ketosis/fat burning before introducing any kind of carb-up, or you will just keep cyclically dumping the same pounds of glycogen and water.

What I do is really more of what's called a cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) as opposed to carb cycling. A lot of people who carb cycle never go into ketosis. They do something like: low/moderate/moderate/low/low/high/low over a 7-day period. I actually go back into ketosis for a period of time after the carb ups, which is what makes it a CKD.

There are "clean" carb-ups and "dirty" carb-ups. I've done both. Clean carb-ups usually include oatmeal, sweet potatos, brown rice, fruit, etc. Dirty carb-ups usually include all the carbage we know and love. The problem with dirty carb-ups is that most of that stuff isn't just carbs, but carb-and-fat bomb combinations, like doughnuts and piza. Ideally, in a CKD, fat should be kept to a minimum during the carb-up. Sort of a reverse diet where you eat high-carb/low-fat for the carb-up period.

If you intend to use it as more of a treat period as opposed to strategic glycogen loading, I suggest just eating whatever foods you normally enjoy as opposed to going out of your way to ingest a lot of carbs
.
I agree! This is great advise!!

Like 2b I can't do it because I am too metabolically challenged and can't handle much in the way of even "clean" carbs. I think this is something everyone has to try for themselves.
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:58 AM   #6
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Matt, I began a version of CKD (TKD) about a year after trying Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle.

I wanted to learn to eat a clean balance of HEALTHY CARBS, controlled, timed for my workouts when I needed them most. Cycling carbs as needed. It has allowed me to drop my body fat to 16% and to be in the best shape of my life at 49 years old. I was not able to accomplish this challenge with Atkins style of eating alone.

It is a VERY DISCIPLINED way of eating, and it does not work for those who are not willing to put in the work in training. (Shouldnt be a problem for you from the looks of your pics) It requires tracking, learning to trust your body's signals, timing your carbs, eating clean/healthy carbs. CKD is a form of carb cycling as STackdiesel mentions.

One thing he said that I didn't quite understand:

Quote:
The problem with dirty carb-ups is that most of that stuff isn't just carbs, but carb-and-fat bomb combinations, like doughnuts and piza. Ideally, in a CKD, fat should be kept to a minimum during the carb-up. Sort of a reverse diet where you eat high-carb/low-fat for the carb-up period.
Whether doing TKD or a carb up (in my current carb rotations), I always keep my fat very low on the carb up days. I do not eat crappy carbs. I clean healthy carbs, strategically chosen to refill glycogen quickly and fuel my energy for my best performance during workouts.

On low days I eat higher protein and fat, higher carb, typical "Atkins" style. The rotations give me a lot of freedom, despite the requisite discipline.

There is a thread started by Btinc in the Low Carb Challenges Board. I can look it up if you're interested.



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Old 01-20-2010, 12:15 PM   #7
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Matt,

I do get a substantial performance benefit from the carb-up. Refilling glycogen and the resulting fluid volume in the muscle cells has a big impact on my lifting and bodyweight exercises (as it should since those are primarily anaerobic/glycolitic energy system actvities). Of course, your scale weight will go back up temporarily, but that's not what guys like me (and you, I suspect) really care about. We care about body composition.

I find that if I start the CKD too early, or start carbing up too frequently too early, I just get stuck in that cycle of dumping the glycogen and water weight. The original CKD (depending on who you ask) was Dr. Mario D. Pasquale's Anabolic Diet, which was VLC ketogenic for 5 days with a 2-day carb-up. I was never quite able to make that work effectively. I prefer a 36-hour carb-up every other weekend (once I've initially dropped a good amount of fat through an extended induction period).

I generally do two very hard full-body workouts a week and active recovery/mobility work on the other days. After a few CKD cycles, I want to experiment with the TKD - targeted ketogenic diet - where you carb-up before and after the primary workouts.
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:18 PM   #8
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It is a VERY DISCIPLINED way of eating, and it does not work for those who are not willing to put in the work in training. (Shouldnt be a problem for you from the looks of your pics)
Thank you! I take this as a terrific compliment.


Quote:
There is a thread started by Btinc in the Low Carb Challenges Board. I can look it up if you're interested.
I'll try to look for this too - but if you find it, can you post the link here? Thanks!
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:20 PM   #9
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Watch Me - I didn't see your post discussing the TKD prior to my last one. Outstanding post.

What I meant to convey in that statement is exactly what you said. Dirty carb-ups are just binges. I apologize for any ambiguity.
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:23 PM   #10
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Of course, your scale weight will go back up temporarily, but that's not what guys like me (and you, I suspect) really care about. We care about body composition.
Very true.

Thanks again Stack - I'll have to keep track of your posts. I'll be watching closely to see if you have success with the TKD or if you end up sticking with a CKD carb-up every other weekend.
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:24 PM   #11
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Watch Me - I didn't see your post discussing the TKD prior to my last one. Outstanding post.

What I meant to convey in that statement is exactly what you said. Dirty carb-ups are just binges. I apologize for any ambiguity.
Stack, (love that!), no need to apologize. I think I just read it wrong. The way I read it was to imply that fat should be kept to a minimum only in CKD, not in other forms of carb up diets. I just read it wrong.

I realize now that you meant: keep fat low on carb up days, regardless of the approach.

Got it.
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:25 PM   #12
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Thank you! I take this as a terrific compliment.




I'll try to look for this too - but if you find it, can you post the link here? Thanks!
I'd be happy too.
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:26 PM   #13
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Matt,

You should join us on the guys' thread at Boot Camp Charlie (in the Low Carb Challenges Section). There's a lot of good guys over there.

-Stack
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:28 PM   #14
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Here it is, Matt. If you're interested.

Fat loss with ketogenic: cyclical & targeted ketogenic w/weight training
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:41 PM   #15
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Matt,

You should join us on the guys' thread at Boot Camp Charlie (in the Low Carb Challenges Section). There's a lot of good guys over there.

-Stack
Thanks - I just joined.
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:52 PM   #16
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Also, Lisa and Minnas, thank you for the positive feedback. I enjoy reading both of your posts as well.
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:20 PM   #17
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Also, Lisa and Minnas, thank you for the positive feedback. I enjoy reading both of your posts as well.
Me too. Thank you everybody for posting.
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:24 PM   #18
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You're welcome. I am jealous of all of you that can carb cycle. It has so many advantages. I keep praying I will someday but anytime I have added back carbs even in small increments I am so fatigued. If anyone knows the cure for that I am open to hearing it!

By the way, it's refreshing to see some lifters posting in the main lobby. I need to check out those threads over there cause you all speak my language!
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:46 PM   #19
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You're welcome. I am jealous of all of you that can carb cycle.
Yeah, this does seem enviable, but it sounds like these clean carb-ups aren't my definition of fun. Although I haven't researched it much, it sounds like for a clean carb-up for CKD and TKD it will probably be things like oatmeal, rice, pasta, with lean protein foods... I'm not a big fan of the aforementioned carbs. It would be more enjoyable for me to carb up with pizza and ice cream.

I'll have to research this A LOT more before I touch carb cycling or a structured CDK or TKD diet. I'm not unhappy with my lifting results with Atkins - usually staying below 40 carbs a day.
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:00 PM   #20
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Yeah, this does seem enviable, but it sounds like these clean carb-ups aren't my definition of fun. Although I haven't researched it much, it sounds like for a clean carb-up for CKD and TKD it will probably be things like oatmeal, rice, pasta, with lean protein foods... I'm not a big fan of the aforementioned carbs. It would be more enjoyable for me to carb up with pizza and ice cream.

I'll have to research this A LOT more before I touch carb cycling or a structured CDK or TKD diet. I'm not unhappy with my lifting results with Atkins - usually staying below 40 carbs a day.

How long have you been on Atkins and lifting? You may need to cut (lose body fat) before you bulk (add muscle).

Did you read Marc McManus' site...he does this with awesome results. And I don't think his carb ups are as clean as most. He talks about going to the pub (he's a brit) and eating what he feels like, etc. He begins his carb up Friday's at 6pm and resumes LC Sundays at 6pm, a clear 48 hour window. Check out Lyle McDonald too there is loads of info on the net.

I hope Ileen (Inactic) chimes in here she knows way more than I although she does not do Atkins she eats moderate carbs. But her results are stunning to say the least.
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:06 PM   #21
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Check out Lyle McDonald's forum and articles. He addresses questions like yours and his articles are excellent. A word of warning about his forum-they don't hold back and tell it like it is-especially at the Monkey Island Forum. You can post a pic of yourself on the forum and he & other fitness trainers will guesstimate your body fat percentage and can advise you based on your goals. Alan Aragon also has a great site.
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:07 PM   #22
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Check out Lyle McDonald's forum and articles. He addresses questions like yours and his articles are excellent. A word of warning about his forum-they don't hold back and tell it like it is-especially at the Monkey Island Forum. You can post a pic of yourself on the forum and he & other fitness trainers will guesstimate your body fat percentage and can advise you based on your goals. Alan Aragon also has a great site.
Oh this true...very tough room over there. Be warned!
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:21 PM   #23
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How long have you been on Atkins and lifting? You may need to cut (lose body fat) before you bulk (add muscle).
I've been on Atkins since May 2009, lifting again since about November.

I've cut fat and gained muscle at the same time - very well so far with Atkins. I'm already back up to a maximum bench press of 250 lbs (which is about where I was when I quit lifting a few years back), and making huge increases in deadlifts, etc. My muscles are growing in visible size too. My fat is still being reduced, but I think it is very slow right now, and harder to measure since the scale stays about the same while I'm gaining muscle and losing fat.

I have to admit that I have had at least 6 days in the past few months where I have gone off plan for anywhere from 1 meal to a whole day - so I may have inadvertently been carb cycling and gaining some benefit.

I do have a desire to get more cut, get more muscle, and lose more fat - and I've had some energy concerns lately (but it doesn't help that I'm up at 4:20 AM on work days and trying to keep up with 3 kids at home).

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Old 01-20-2010, 02:24 PM   #24
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Check out the Ultimate Diet 2.0 by McDonald. Many on a fitness forum I post on have had great success leaning out by following this particular diet with the goal of then bulking.
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:29 PM   #25
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Matt,

You are a wise man. One thing I keep trying to learn (or practice, I should say) is to leave well enough alone. The road from "good enough" to "optimal" is fraught with peril. Especially with information overload from the internet.

That being said, if you choose to do so after more research, you can probably get away with, and even benefit from, a dirty carb-up (more appropriately called what they really are - planned cheat days). The calorie load will still boost your metabolism and upregulate leptin and thyroid activity. Your glycogen stores won't refill as quickly and efficiently because absorption will be blunted by the fat content of the carbage, but it'll get there. You just have to be able to shut it down when it's time to shut it down, but you strike me as someone who can do that.

When in doubt, "don't fix it if ain't broke" is probably the best advice.
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:39 PM   #26
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Matt,

You are a wise man. One thing I keep trying to learn (or practice, I should say) is to leave well enough alone. The road from "good enough" to "optimal" is fraught with peril. Especially with information overload from the internet.

That being said, if you choose to do so after more research, you can probably get away with, and even benefit from, a dirty carb-up (more appropriately called what they really are - planned cheat days). The calorie load will still boost your metabolism and upregulate leptin and thyroid activity. Your glycogen stores won't refill as quickly and efficiently because absorption will be blunted by the fat content of the carbage, but it'll get there. You just have to be able to shut it down when it's time to shut it down, but you strike me as someone who can do that.

When in doubt, "don't fix it if ain't broke" is probably the best advice.
What he said! ^^^^

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I've been on Atkins since May 2009, lifting again since about November.

I've cut fat and gained muscle at the same time - very well so far with Atkins. I'm already back up to a maximum bench press of 250 lbs (which is about where I was when I quit lifting a few years back), and making huge increases in deadlifts, etc. My muscles are growing in visible size too. My fat is still being reduced, but I think it is very slow right now, and harder to measure since the scale stays about the same while I'm gaining muscle and losing fat.

I have to admit that I have had at least 6 days in the past few months where I have gone off plan for anywhere from 1 meal to a whole day - so I may have inadvertently been carb cycling and gaining some benefit.

I do have a desire to get more cut, get more muscle, and lose more fat - and I've had some energy concerns lately (but it doesn't help that I'm up at 4:20 AM on work days and trying to keep up with 3 kids at home).
Patience, Grasshopper, it sounds like you are doing well. Marc McManus claims it is possible to cut and bulk at once and by his pics…he ain’t lying!
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:42 PM   #27
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"Culking" is a hot topic on many fitness forums today and has many viewpoints. Makes for interesing reading.
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Old 09-16-2010, 05:57 PM   #28
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Matt, I began a version of CKD (TKD) about a year after trying Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle.

I wanted to learn to eat a clean balance of HEALTHY CARBS, controlled, timed for my workouts when I needed them most. Cycling carbs as needed. It has allowed me to drop my body fat to 16% and to be in the best shape of my life at 49 years old. I was not able to accomplish this challenge with Atkins style of eating alone.

It is a VERY DISCIPLINED way of eating, and it does not work for those who are not willing to put in the work in training. (Shouldnt be a problem for you from the looks of your pics) It requires tracking, learning to trust your body's signals, timing your carbs, eating clean/healthy carbs. CKD is a form of carb cycling as STackdiesel mentions.

One thing he said that I didn't quite understand:



Whether doing TKD or a carb up (in my current carb rotations), I always keep my fat very low on the carb up days. I do not eat crappy carbs. I clean healthy carbs, strategically chosen to refill glycogen quickly and fuel my energy for my best performance during workouts.

On low days I eat higher protein and fat, higher carb, typical "Atkins" style. The rotations give me a lot of freedom, despite the requisite discipline.

There is a thread started by Btinc in the Low Carb Challenges Board. I can look it up if you're interested.



Hey Watch me Shrink...I was just curious...since you have tried BFFM and CKD, which diet do you think is faster and more effective? With teh CKD diet, was it mainly fat lost or was it water and mucle? I have the BFFM and I was about to try it but I have always been debating with CKD and BFFM and since you have tried both, you are the perfect person to ask
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Old 09-16-2010, 06:52 PM   #29
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Thanks for this post, it's a good summary that I've looking for, and something I'd like to keep as a dieting technique in my back pocket if I go into weight loss purgatory for an extended period.
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