Slow Carb Diet: Week 1 Update

Note: This post is part of the Fitness Experiment series. If you’re new here you should read this post for the background.

slow carb diet, slow carb, week, updateThe Slow Carb DietIt’s been one week since I started the slow carb diet and Tim Ferriss’ workout routine. I’ve never put myself on a restricted diet so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The Slow Carb Diet

After exchanging emails with Tim I’ve modified my goals a bit. Initially I wanted to gain weight and cut fat. These are opposing goals so I had to choose one or the other. I’ve decided to go with fat burning, at least for the first few weeks.

I made this choice for a couple reasons. 1) Gaining weight would require eating a ton of food. I’ve never gone on a diet before, so I figure maintaining my regular food consumption should be easier than cooking 4 huge meals a day. 2) The fat burning diet includes an “eat whatever you want” day. The spike in carbs keeps your body from adjusting to the reduced calorie intake and gives you a chance to satisfy your cravings. The opportunity to indulge myself is very appealing and should help me stick to the diet the rest of the week.

So far the transition has been relatively easy. I’ve actually been eating more than before. I’ve gone from two meals a day to three. Cutting out white carbs makes me hungrier, but I’ve actually noticed a small rise in energy.

The biggest change in my meals has been cutting out rice/pasta/macaroni and substituting black or pinto beans. I like beans a lot so I haven’t minded. Aside from that, the hardest part is avoiding sugar and the random free food that presents itself. It takes a bit of will power, but the diet is definitely sustainable.

The Workout

The workout routine is more intense than I expected. 4-7 sets doesn’t sound like much, but using the 5-5 cadence and going to absolute failure makes a huge difference. For example, when I used to do bench press I always let gravity do the work on the way down. With the 5-5 cadence, the way down is so slow that it requires a lot of effort to keep the bar in the air.

Going to absolute failure has also made my workouts more intense. I’m slightly worried that the stress could be a problem. Towards the end of my first workout, during the last rep of a shoulder press set, the back of my neck got really tight and I felt a bit light headed. I stopped, cooled down for a bit, and did one more set before finishing. Today, the same thing happened during my first set of dips and I decided to postpone the workout until tomorrow. I’ve never felt anything like this before. Has anyone experience anything similar? Hopefully this won’t keep happening, but I’m not going to push it.

Besides the workouts the only other exercise I’ve taken is pickup basketball. I’ve felt normal (though out of shape) energy levels while playing and the extra cardiovascular activity compliments the fat burning plan.

Results

After only one week there isn’t much to speak of but I’m very optimistic. I’d let you know about any weight change but there isn’t a scale in my apartment. I expect the results are minimal, probably 1-3 pounds. I definitely feel a bit leaner, especially around the abdomen, and my muscles have become more firm and toned. I’m looking forward to seeing the results develop in the coming weeks.

If anyone else is trying the diet or workout routine, please let us know how it’s going in the comments or on your own blog. Brion already posted his results to comment thread of the first post (at the bottom) and they seem similar to mine. Having more results to compare should help us all to optimize our programs.