You probably have seen one those before and after shots of fitness geeks marketing their magic regimes and products? – They appear fat in before and completely ripped in the after shots.
I’m going to be honest with you… I also sometimes think about getting fat for the sake of proving a point. Without up-selling any magic potions, though. And that’s where the idea came for a quick, easy yet effective experiment.
You see, part of my hustle is coaching people on the effects specific macronutrients have on their bodies. For example, do you know what effect increasing healthy fat consumption and decreasing sugar intake will do to your body? A whopping sixpack? – Sure. But what would happen if I’d do the opposite?
That’s exactly where I spend the last couple of weeks. During this time I’ve been visiting my family and sorting out business commitments, which meant eating like an average person would eat. I applied the principles of common dietary guidelines (see detailed split below) to see what will happen. Expectedly, I didn’t get fat, but rather close to an average.
Ladies and gents, without further ado, here are the results and variables for this experiment:
Body recomposition: Two weeks is enough to slow down fat metabolism and gain perhaps couple of pounds of sheer weight. However, majority of it would be water weight caused by inflammation. Now two weeks is also enough to start body recomposition (where muscle is catabolised and replaced by fat – or vice versa). Given that my weight count didn’t increase it’s safe to assume that’s exactly what happened here.
Inflammation: As you can see in the after shot – I’m much more puffy. This is not entirely fat. Some of it is, however majority if water weight due to carbohydrates wreaking havoc and acting as inflammatory agents. This can be easily observed in:
- Puffy nipples and chest area
- Less vascular arms
- Puffy shoulder insertion points
- Swollen and rounder face (this is hard to tell in the photos)
- Increased waist size and gut inflammation
The latter is most prominent indicator that shit’s about to go down.
During just 2 weeks of this regime my posture changed too – the gut with internal organs swelling from excess carb intake protruded forward. This is a common side effect that majority of people live all their lives with!
Energy and other intangibles: Carb increase makes daily life much more sluggish. Firstly, afternoon energy dips become the norm, brain fogs part of the problem solving efforts, however most importantly I feel less driven to hustle. Being zoned out and numb does wonders for emotional intelligence though – it’s easier to not feel as anxious or stressed in situations that would usually put one on their toes. It also means more coasting though. This is the reason why I opt for ketogenic diets when needed to engage my brain to full capacity – low carb positive side effects can make anyone 2x more alert and focused.
An increase of carbs in the diet: from less than 100g a day (low carb, but not fully ketogenic) to the average male recommended value of 281 to 406g of carbohydrates a day.
Now average male here represents a person who burns around 2,500kcal daily. Knowing that my expenditure is at least 3,500-4,500kcal (depended on the training schedule) it’s safe to say I’d be expected to eat event more carbohydrate.
By the common dietary guidelines carb intake should add up to 45-65% of daily calories. My intake however was much lower (around 40%), as that would result at some occasions result in having to eat buckets of fruit or cake daily! On the contrary my carbohydrate choices for this experiment were all what common folk consider ‘healthy’: bananas, apples, berries etc.
Reduction of dietary fat intake: To make space for all the sugar from carb increase I had to sacrifice fat intake. No more butter coffees, extra avocado, soaking the lunch in olive oil etc.
What remained the same:
Conditions of capture: I think this is essential to note. Photos were captured with the same pose, lightning, body readiness, time of day (both captured in the evenings) etc.
Training regime: As prior to the 2 week carb ‘transformation’, my activity levels remained the same. This can be summed up with: 30-40 miles a week of running, few hours of strength and conditioning training as well as coaching. In total: 7-10 hours of physical training a week.
Daily step count (based on my Fenix 3): 18,000-23,000 steps daily.
Caloric expenditure: 3,500-4,500kcal burned daily. The higher caloric mark is reached when having 2 workouts per day (e.g. AM Run, PM Strength training/coaching).
Weight: In the photos it seems like I got fatter – I did, however my weight remained the same: 81-81.5kg. Minor fluctuation occurred (.5kg) that captures inflammation induced water weight add up.
Other habits: Cold showers, box breathing, meditation etc. remained the same.
There are a few ending points I’d like to touch before clicking the publish button:
Firstly, I’m looking forward to blood test results to compare the results on the deeper level. What’s clear seeing just the visual side of transformation is that inflammation like that will have negative impact to the key health markers. Presumably triglyceride levels.
If there’s just one key thing you should take out of this article is that carbs are not your friend. Never will be. Overabundance in sugar helps people get fat, as well as more susceptible to metabolic diseases. Inflamed gut like the one in the after shot is a key indicator of my insulin resistance. If you get the same (very common) side effects, you’re in the same boat too. If you remember from my previous posts – insulin resistance is a natural sign of cell ageing and problems to come in the long run: think heart, fatty liver, diabetes and even cancer.
And that’s why I do what I do.
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