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I'm sure the lowcarb approach has come up before, but I have been working at it and found that it is very effective if done consistently and with the modifications
that weightlifters need vs simplistic approaches like Atkins etc. I am on the version called cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) for a while now. (there is a support group called "lowcarb-l", see http://www.solid.net/lowcarb/ for info on how to get on...Lyle McDonald is the reigning guru and I'm using a special workout of his to maximize the CKD's best features) and have gone from about 17% to 9.9% bf now in about 4 months. I'm losing about 1/2% of body fat per week but my overall body weight is slightly edging up as I am replacing fat with lean mass. I'm now 186 at 6'1", 58 years old, so there's hope for us over-the-hill gang in the fat dept.! My goal is about 5% body fat.
It's super important to know what your body fat is, but not necessarily in terms of percent. I use a very accurate $30 skinfold caliper and hardly ever convert skinfold
measurements to body fat %. Don't use the $20 "Accu-Measure" caliper...worthless junk! Get the SlimGuide for about $30. Electrical impedence and infrared bodyfat measurements (like chiropractors give away at my gym to get business) are very inaccurate for me. I get incredibly wild readings from them, like 22.5% at 9 am and 5% at 3 pm the same day! Use water immersion or, second best, skinfolds.) I just watch the measurements get steadily smaller at the 4 places I check each week. (McDonald has a skinfold measurement page at the URL above that's helpful.) Without this information, the scale will lie to you and make you feel you are getting nowhere, or losing ground, sometimes when you may be making good progress! I can get up to 4# different readings at different times of the day, depending on water intake!
A 62-year-old Australian guy wrote a letter to the editor of the current issue of Ironman
Magazine. He's been on lowcarb for many years, works out, is stronger than his 26-year-old son, and is below 10% body fat. Interesting reading...he cites studies of eskimos before white people came, who lived on the ultimate high-fat, high-protein, low-carb diet. Great longevity, no heart problems, no tooth decay... Atkins is inaccurate about how much you can eat. He wants to sell a book that is *simple* to use and overdoes it.
I try to keep my calorie intake at about 13 x body weight (this is a Basic Metabolic Rate calculation) (for me that's about 2400 cals per day), *at least* 50% of which should be from *fat* (I use cheese a lot to bring up the fat content) and one gram of protein per pound of body
weight. Carbs should stay below 30 grams and no sugars except at carbup, of course. One time I cut calories and increased cardio to speed up fat loss...zingo, my metabolism shut down and fat loss came to a standstill! (Good thing I was keeping skinfold records!) I went back to a BMR of 13 dropped the extra cardio (I was doing 1000 extra calories per day rollerblading in addition to 40 mins on the exercycle after my workouts) and zingo...fat loss began again!
You can over-exercise in the aerobics dept.! In order to sustain that extra aerobic load, I should have upped my BMR factor to 15 or 16! But then the results would have been much the same, so why bother? Unless you have to do the extra exercise anyway, like if you need to walk a big dog over a hilly trail for an hour or so each day! Happy lifting!