This was posted in a seperate thread by Chevi elsewhere in the forum, but I figured it would be good to also include it here. So here it is:
In this article, I'm assuming fat loss with minimal muscle loss is your goal. While ketogenic diets can be effective for muscle gain with minimal fat, I don't feel they are optimal for this purpose, what is optimal for this goal is another article.
So, how do you set up this diet to lose that pudge? There are a few ways, but since it's me writing this article you're going to get my opinion of the best way to set it up.
OK, so give me the plan already...
The basic plan is this, days 1-5, conveniently days Monday - Friday (although the actual days don’t matter) are your ketogenic/low carb days, and Saturday and Sunday are your carb-load days. Nothing new there. Here's where I get a little different, on Monday and Tuesday in order to get into ketosis quicker your ratios will be different, with more fat and less protein and trace-no carbs. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday you will go to the usual 75% fat, 25% protein ketogenic ratios. So, the 5-day low carb phase would look like this, on a 2000-calorie diet:
Monday and Tuesday - 2000 calories, 190g of fat, 75g of protein, trace carbs.
Wednesday - Friday - 2000 calories, 165 fat, 125 protein, less than 30g of carbs.
Divide this intake over however meals you prefer, 3-6 meals is a good guideline. I eat 5.
On the carb-load days, I recommend eating more carbs on the first day than the second day due to the simple fact that glucose uptake is higher during the first 24 hours of carb-loading. The carb load will look like this, for a 200lb guy:
Saturday - 700g of carbs (high GI liquid carbs)
Sunday - 300g of carbs (low GI solid carbs)
The reasoning for the high GI liquid carbs on the first day is to get glucose into your muscles as fast as possible, and the lower GI carbs on the second day simply keeps glucose stores full and prevents or at worst minimizes spill-over into fat stores.
During the carb load fat should be kept very low (no more than 1/2g per pound of bodyweight), and protein should be kept to no more than 1g per pound of bodyweight, this will ensure that most if not all the glucose will go into your muscles (and liver) rather than be stored as fat. To get specific, less fat on day one, and more fat on day two would be optimal. Water intake should also be higher during this period, because of glucose bringing 4g of water/gram of glucose when stored, this will serve to further saturate muscle glycogen stores as well as potentially take advantage of the anabolic effects of cellular hydration. Try to get down at least a gallon, but I'd say just drink as much as you can handle.
If you have quite a bit of fat to lose and/or need to lose it faster, a 24-hour carb-load may be ideal. If this is your case, then simply push the depletion workout back to Saturday night or Sunday morning and carb-load from there, with primarily high GI carbs at first, then go to lower GI carbs later in the day.
What about supplements?
Supplements are very important on this diet; the necessary supplements are a multivitamin/mineral supplement to counter-act any nutrient deficiencies caused by the elimination of carbs. Fiber supplementation to keep things running nicely, a calcium/magnesium supplement, and while not necessary highly recommended free-radical scavengers and antioxidants such as N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC), vitamin C, vitamin E, Alpha lipoic acid during the carb load (ALA), and beta carotene. I recommend ALA during the carb load because of it's quite unique ability to allow more glucose to be stored in muscle. Other supplements I recommend are creatine (load during the first carb-up, 2 days of loading will result in equal saturation as does 5 days, so the carb-up is prime time to load), this will help against the muscle "flatness" that you will likely experience during the low carb days (due to glucose depletion, of course). Supplementing with potassium (400mg/day) will also help this. Other useful supplements would be an ECA stack (ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin) because of it's fat burning, nutrient partioning (meaning more nutrients go to muscle, less to fat), stimulating, appetite suppressing, and thermogenic/metabolism boosting effects. I also drink 3 cups of green tea daily during fat loss periods for it's anti-oxidant properties and the ability of EGCG to enhance fat loss. Further, glutamine may be of use for it's growth hormone releasing effect, as well as to prevent muscle catabolism due to low levels of glutamine in the muscle cell. If you need to get some protein somewhere, a simple protein powder could also be of use, although I'd rather eat steak and ground beef :-).
Training on a CKD is pretty simple, the basic idea is to train your entire body over Monday and Tuesday while you still have muscle glycogen from the carb-load to fuel your workout, and then deplete all muscle glucose on Friday prior to the carb load (the "depletion workout").
For Monday and Tuesday's workout you can split the body in two (upper/lower works nice), or as I personally prefer just train the entire body on Monday. The reason I prefer to train the entire body on Monday is primarily just to get it over with, and also to make sure I'm not sore during the depletion workout. Your training on these days should be basic, compound exercise-based, heavy weight training with the goal to keep or perhaps build strength and size. My workout looks like this (although you can change your workout as you see fit, stick to the basic principles):
Monday - Full Body
Superset: DB Press: 5x6-10
Leg ext/leg curl superset: 2x6-10
Shoulder Press: 3x6-10
Barbell Curl: 3x6-10
Skull Crusher: 3x6-10
Hanging leg raise: 2x6-10
After this workout I'm pretty much dead, then I usually eat my first meal (I do this workout before my first meal to make sure I burn as much muscle glucose as possible) and go on to do 20 minutes or so of cardiovascular exercise.
For the depletion workout, first you have to take yourself out of ketosis by eating about 50g of carbs, specifically fruit (or pure fructose) because fructose preferentially saturates liver glycogen which is the fastest way to get out of ketosis. The reason is that when in ketosis ketones are the preferred source of fuel, so if you perform this workout while in ketosis you won't further deplete muscle glycogen rather you will just burn ketones. By taking yourself out of ketosis for this workout you will deplete intra-muscular glucose to the greatest degree possible, which in turn allows for maximal glycogen resynthesis (and local insulin sensitivity will be increased in every muscle, further increasing the effectiveness of the carb-load). The depletion workout is not meant to damage muscle fibers, just to deplete glucose, so heavy weight and training to or even near failure is not needed and is actually detrimental (you have to train again in 2 days). 15-20 (with a relatively fast, yet controlled rep cadence) reps per set are good, using your 25-30-rep maximum and obviously stopping well short of failure. Your depletion workout should cover the entire body in a circuit fashion, as shown below:
Stiff Leg Deadlift: 1x15-20
Barbell Row: 1x15-20
Bench Press: 1x15-20
Pull Down: 1x15-20
Leg extension: 1x15-20
Leg Curl: 1x15-20
Tricep press: 1x15-20
Barbell Curl: 1x15-20
Calf Raise: 1x15-20
Repeat this entire circuit until your strength drops quite a bit, at this point you are glucose depleted (you'll know when you're done) and begin the carb load as explained above. Again, the specifics of this workout can be changed as you feel like, but stick to the basic principles.
While in ketosis you will burn more fat during your cardio, but muscle loss is also a concern. I recommend you perform 20-30 minutes of moderate-high intensity cardio (stay aerobic) 2-3 days, 4 days maximum per week. Less cardio is needed during a ketogenic diet because of the fuel efficiency of ketones versus fat (9 cal vs. 7 cal); so more fat is burned in less time.
Dealing with cravings
Carb cravings are going to happen, but you can do some things to help. First, a carb-suppressant is in order. In my opinion, the supplement 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is the best (legal) stuff on the market for this purpose. Just don't exceed 100mg daily. An ECA stack will also help a bit here, and stocking up on sugar free snacks isn't a bad idea either. Be careful of diet sodas, though, as the citric acid has been reported to kick some people out of ketosis. Personally this wasn't the case for me, and it would take quite a bit, but it's a possibility. Sugar free jello and pudding is fine, aspartame or other artificial sweeteners will not kick you out of ketosis. Just drinking a lot of water and eating a lot of filling things such as lettuce, for example, will keep your stomach full and help with appetite suppression. The high fat intake required also serves this purpose.
While I think the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet is a very effective and safe method of losing fat and retaining hard-earned muscle mass, it is not the best option for everyone, and certainly isn't necessary. As mentioned previously, if your job or other activities require a significant amount of mental acuity, since it may take up to 2 weeks for the brain to adapt to using ketones as fuel, this diet may not be a good idea. But, when it's all said and done, I think a CKD is a very good choice for going about getting rid of that fat we all hate so much. Now go lose that fat, and look out for my next article on building muscle with minimal fat gain...or don't.