Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
7 May

Washboard Abs on a High-Fat Diet, No Ab Workouts and No Cardio?

Mark SissonApologies in advance for the self-serving nature of this post, but I felt that it was time to answer more specifically many of your questions about my own program and to use myself as an example of how the Primal Blueprint works if you integrate all the elements.

As many of you know, I am coming off a three month rehab from knee surgery. I’m about 95% healed now and can even do my “Indigenous Peoples Stretch” (a full unloaded squat) – a sure sign that all is well. Throughout this time, I have maintained my usual diet and have done whatever upper-body lifting I could manage that didn’t also require substantial leg involvement (pushups, pull-ups, dips, cable-work, etc). Despite my (or should I say “because of my”) high-fat diet and doing pretty much zero cardio over the past four months (including a fair amount of down time before the knee surgery) my weight, my lean mass and my body fat have all remained steady.

I went on a few days ago (great site to reveal the truth about what you eat) and entered what was a typical full day of eating for me. The results were pretty much as I expected: 2,458 calories, 58% of which was from fat; 165 grams of protein (1 gram per pound of body weight) and 114 grams of carbs. Now some might say that eating less than 2500 calories is too low for a moderately active man, but there are two points to make here. First, I am never really hungry. On this Primal Blueprint eating style, I eat when I want to and stop when I no longer feel hungry. Pretty simple. If I skip meals, I don’t get light-headed or famished. I don’t ever feel like I need more calories or that I am missing out on anything or “sacrificing” some guilty pleasure. I get plenty of protein to spare muscle and add to protein turnover. I get plenty of fat for fuel – sometimes 65% of daily calories. Second – and this goes to the heart of the Primal concept – when you eat fewer carbs, your body readily accesses dietary and stored fat for fuel. Even at 8% body fat, I still have 46,000 calories of stored fat, at least 25,000 of which is available to use as fuel at any time. Theoretically, you could walk 250 miles on that. It’s a beautiful thing when you direct gene expression to “want” to burn fat instead of always storing it. You certainly don’t need cardio to produce the full effect (you can if you want, within guidelines). As we often say here “80% of your results come from how you eat.” Conversely, eating more carbs drives up insulin, drives carbs towards fat storage, decreases fat-burning by prompting fat cells to hold on to stored fat and makes you hungrier for more carbs. I could burn some or most of all that off again by doing tons of cardio, but that only makes me hungrier for more carbs and perpetuates the cycle. It’s like digging a hole to put the ladder in to wash the basement windows.

The other point I want to make is that I don’t do abs. By that I mean I don’t specifically do an ab routine or ab classes as any part of my workouts. On the other hand, I pretty much work my abs all day long without specifically focusing on them. And that’s an important distinction. Grok probably had a wicked set of abs. He had to. Abs are the center of the human movement universe. They are part of today’s “core”, the fulcrum, the key in Chi. But you don’t necessarily need to do endless crunches, sit-ups, roman chairs, leg raises or other isolation moves to strengthen them. Sure, you can if you want, but I think the best way to work your abs is involve them in almost every other movement you do. Every time you do it. When you do pushups, you should tighten your abs hard, likewise when you do pull-ups, squats, lunges, curls – you name it. And working your abs doesn’t stop in the gym. When you sit at your desk, you should take that opportunity to tighten your abs (and by abs, we mean the whole complex: rectis and transverse abdominus, internal and external obliques, and pyrimidalis).

Tighten that belly as if you are going to be punched in the gut while blowing out the candles on your birthday cake. Hold it for 10, 20 or more seconds a few times every hour. Now do it while slightly tilted to one side. Now the other. For even better results and a stronger core, you would simultaneously contract your buttock muscles like you are trying to hold in the bean dinner you had at Barry’s last night. Do these short exercise bursts while you are driving to pick up the kids or when stuck in traffic. Hell, I do some of my best ab work bent over doing sprint work on the stationary bike. It’s really all about squeezing, tightening and trying to shorten the distance between your sternum and you pubic bone. This is all considered isometric work, but the abs respond extremely well to it. Eat right and those well-worked abs will show!

High-fat diet, no cardio, no ab workouts. Talk about thumbing your nose at Conventional Wisdom!

Further Reading:

What is the Primal Blueprint?

My Knee is Killing Me… No, Really.

My Daily Salad

Are There Any Good Carbs?

What I Eat in a Day

My Weekly Workout Routine

My Sprint Routine Video

Chronic Cardio

Subscribe to Mark’s Daily Apple feeds

Sponsor note:
This post was brought to you by the Damage Control Master Formula, independently proven as the most comprehensive high-potency antioxidant multivitamin available anywhere. With the highest antioxidant per dollar value and a complete anti-aging, stress, and cognition profile, the Master Formula is truly the only multivitamin supplement you will ever need. Toss out the drawers full of dozens of different supplements with questionable potency and efficacy and experience the proven Damage Control difference!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Great post Mark! I too avoid most all strict ab work. I do throw in some L-sits and situps on the Glute-Ham Developer in my warmup (though GHD Situps are truly a hip flexor exercise), but not a specific exercise session. Between real lifts like deadlifts, all types of squats (front, back, overhead), pullups, sprinting, and maintaining proper posture, the abs get plenty of work. Amazingly, I too have defined abs on my high-fat diet. It’s a wonder we aren’t both dead.

    Scott Kustes
    Modern Forager

    Scott Kustes - Modern Forager wrote on May 7th, 2008
  2. WOW! Great Pic. Mark,you’re a picture of health and of total fitness! You also look like you’re in your 20’s. You’re the perfect example to us all to eat healthy and to exercise,it pays off!!!

    I did want to add that i tighten my abs when i ride my bicycle, which i’ve been doing alot of lately, that’s a fun way for me.

    What a beautiful view of your back yard, lovely scenery!

    Donna wrote on May 7th, 2008
  3. Great post Mark, and I don’t think it’s self serving at all. You’re showing the effectiveness of the paleo lifestyle, and providing a good example that will get people interested or motivated!

    I’m curious about your carb intake. Is that 117g including fiber, and if so, how much? What are the main sourceS? Veggies, fruit, or both? It’s hard to get beyond 40g eating JUST veggies, so I’m assuming there is some fruit, wine, and possibly dark chocolate in that mix…

    Keenan wrote on May 7th, 2008
  4. You are living proof of the Primal Blueprint. I’ve been strictly following your advice for about 6 months now. I started out at 215 lbs (6 feet tall). I am now done to 197, but have put muscle on. I cut out the carbs (down to about 200 grams a day tops), and have been following your workout routine of weight-bearing, sprints, low level aerobic. I’m even doing the daily salad (most days at least) something I never though I’d say. I don’t have those serious abs yet, but I’m on my way. More energy, less fat, more muscle… what’s not to love? Seriously?

    I wonder what the Barry guy has to say? Ha!

    TonyR wrote on May 7th, 2008
  5. Keenan,

    On that day, I had a ton of vegetables. I wanted to show that if you eat like our ancestors (tons of veggies) you still can’t get much past 100 grams of carbs. As I recall, throughout the day I had 4 cups of mixed greens, 1 cup cherry tomotatoes, 1 medium red bell pepper, 2 cups of steamed brussel sprouts, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, 1/2 cup of blueberries, and a few other minor salad veggies. I did have a 2 x 5 rye-crisp-type cracker (with cheese and a glass of red wine) as added carbs, otherwise I would have been right at 100. I will do a post later on the exact breakdown and an analysis of how it was nearly impossible for our ancestors to exceed 100 grams carbs a day unless they came into a fruit grove. The other point here, is that all my fiber comes from the real foods listed above. I have recently become opposed to taking fiber supplements.

    Mark Sisson wrote on May 7th, 2008
  6. Dang, my invite to Barry’s Bean Bash must have ended up in my spam folder. :-)

    Dave C. - DaveGetsFit wrote on May 7th, 2008
  7. Great post…as a picture is worth 1000 words. Amazing too that high fat diets are “muscle sparing” as they have nitrogen retention properties…so you can still gain muscle and lose fat on a higher % of fat diet. Funny how we all have enough fat to fuel energy for days….yet most people think they need a Gatorade after running for 15 minutes.

    Mike OD - Fitness Spotlight wrote on May 7th, 2008
  8. You look great Mark. O.K., I don’t feel bad now. I as well haven’t been able to do any cardio in 4 months. I eat a high fat diet and haven’t gained weight.

    Crystal wrote on May 7th, 2008
  9. I can’t see the picture from behind the firewall at work, but I’m sure it’s eye-popping based on the one in my Mark vs. Art vs. Barry webpage. I still have a lot of bodyfat to get rid of before my abs will even begin to make an appearance, but thinking about getting there prompts a question. When I reach my target weight of around 185, that will represent a 55+ pound loss. I can already see what appears to be some loose skin hanging around my waist. Will the skin eventually retract to form fitting?

    Dave C. - DaveGetsFit wrote on May 7th, 2008
  10. Mark, you look fantastic. I can only hope to look that good at 54.

    My only other comment would be to ask you to refrain from insinuating that a low carb diet is needed to achieve a lean and muscular body. I mean, that’s what you’re implying: here’s my body and this is how I eat. Correct me if I’m mistaken.

    A quick search of Google turns up literally hundreds of photos of body builders and figure competitors who are far leaner than even you who are consuming over 500 grams of carbohydrates each and every day.

    I’m sure Dave will attack me by pointing to my (much) less than perfect physique which seems to me to be missing the point. I’ve only been training for a little under a year.

    As I’ve said before, low carb diets are great for some people but not everyone needs a low carb diet to be lean and muscular. I encourage people to find out what works for their particular body type. Lots of folks will learn that they feel great eating lots of complex carbs, and have no trouble keeping off the fat.

    I’ll also say again that a higher carb diet creates a more anabolic environment that is more conducive to muscle building. Dave, read that two or three times so you understand that I’m not saying you can’t build muscle on low carbs.

    The reason I keep posting on these sorts of threads is because of Mark’s one-size fits all mentality. He does low carb and so should you! Baloney! Some should, some shouldn’t. There’s nothing inherently superior to one or the other. It depends on the person.

    Barry wrote on May 7th, 2008
    • Well, a few things come to mind. First, I tend to agree that straight low carb dieting is not the most anabolic. For strong anabolic effects without gaining fat, or even while losing fat, I tend to think the Anabolic Diet/BodyOpus is the best. I’m also suspicious that the 80/20 rule might end up having the same effect, especially since most people are creatures of habit and would tend to cheat on a cyclic basis.

      Myself, I try not to rely on 80/20 too much, at least while I need to lose a lot of weight, but I do limit fruit on weekdays to a piece after a workout or if I feel I need it, and then eat a good amount of fruit on weekends, usually enough to break ketosis. That way, I’m eating foods I’m sure are healthy, but also getting the effects of the anabolic diet.

      But, at the same time, what’s so great about gaining muscle? To me, fitness is about relative strength – that is, strength relative to your bodyweight. I want to be able to jump over things, pull myself over things – things I’d be likely to need to do in the real world. I lose those abilities if I focus myself on bodybuilding-style work. That kind of thing also takes away the benefits of whole-body workouts: metcon, usable strength, mobility, ability to use your body together in a functional way, and so on.

      I’d say you’d be better off not referring to bodybuilding pictures as your example. First, you’re looking at competition pictures, and they keep that condition for only a couple weeks. How do they get there? Mostly with low-carb diets, then some sugar the day of the show for vascularity. Also, you know, bodybuilders tend to use drugs. Plus, we have little evidence as to how they actually eat or train, all we have is those expensive catalogs called bodybuilding magazines.

      Finally, I’m curious about this idea that it all depends on the person. How, exactly, do two people differ, to cause them to need to eat differently? If it’s mainly a psychological claim about what people can stand, fine, I’m with you. But are you making a physical claim – that different people have different biochemistry and thus nutrition acts differently for them?

      Puzzled wrote on June 27th, 2011
  11. Mark,

    Great, thanks for the reply. Even eating fruit, nuts, wine, AND dark chocolate, i find it VERY difficult to get above 120g of total carb per day without switching to non-paleo foods. Once fiber is subtracted, my carb is almost always around 70-80g/day and I’m generally getting 2000-3000 calories per day (22yrold male student with a desk job).

    Fiber supplements really don’t seem to do much in the absence of healthy gut flora, fat, and water, especially once you’ve got about 20-30g already. My personal experience: they irritate my stomach and cause all sorts of trouble. I do take probiotics, though, because I’ve had my appendix removed and so I have nothing to regulate the healthy bacteria in my gut =\

    Keenan wrote on May 7th, 2008
  12. Hey look, I was right. Dave’s comparing my physique to Mark’s.

    That makes sense. Why don’t we compare Dave’s physique to Jay Cutler’s?

    What? That doesn’t make any sense? Oh, right.. Dave hasn’t been lifting weights and eating right for the past 15 years. Sorry, my mistake.

    Dave, when you are ready to make rational criticisms and draw reasonable comparisons, you let me know.

    Barry wrote on May 7th, 2008
  13. Barry:

    You’re failing to take into account total health as well as effort vs output. Yes, you can eat a high-carb diet and be lean, but it will require HOURS of effort to burn off all of that glucose. Marathon runners are rarely fat, but they certainly aren’t healthy.

    You’re also forgetting that bodybuilders “cut up” prior to a competition, and they do this, generally, with a ketogenic diet or something very close to it.

    You must also consider that the ingestion and use of carbohydrate (ANY carbohydrate) by the body creates AGEs (Advanced Glycation Endproducts) that can be harmful to the body and create inflammation, glycation crosslinking, and all sorts of other problems. Yes, you can be lean, but you won’t be healthy.

    You mention an “anabolic” environment, presumably because insulin is an anabolic hormone and bodybuilders see this as necessary for growth. If your insulin sensitivity is good (as it will be on a low carb diet) your body will appropriately partition nutrients to muscles and create and anabolic environment while you eat. Time in the gym should be catabolic, and your goal should be to release insulin’s antagonist: growth hormone.

    The bodybuilding idea of maintaining ramped up insulin levels to “stay anabolic” is just wrong.

    Keenan wrote on May 7th, 2008
  14. My only other comment would be to ask you to refrain from insinuating that a low carb diet is needed to achieve a lean and muscular body. I mean, that’s what you’re implying: here’s my body and this is how I eat. Correct me if I’m mistaken.

    With hesitation, I jump in again. No, Barry. The point is that YOU came in here saying that you can’t have a full, muscular, developed physique (not your exact words but I don’t have time to look ’em up) without eating a lot of carbs. All this shows is that you CAN have a great physique on low carbs and get the other health benefits that come with eating the way Mark proposes. In this case, the muscle is a by-product of the process…not the ultimate goal. The goal is a long, healthy life and that is what this blog is all about.

    Dave C. - DaveGetsFit wrote on May 7th, 2008
  15. Sorry Dave, I NEVER said that or anything even close to that. Also, I submit to you that you can be healthy and still enjoy complex carbohydrates and even the occasional refined junk food treat.

    Keenan, you’re just flat out wrong. Do you know what an “ectomorph” is? Perhaps you’ve heard them called “hard gainers”.

    There are lots of people who can eat tons of carbs, even refined garbage, and not do ANY exercise, and they never get fat. These people struggle to put on even a little bit of muscle.

    Again, it’s different for everyone. Some people get fat, and fast, on a high carb diet. Others don’t.

    Finally, saying that the “bodybuilding idea” regarding insuling is wrong is obviously wrong, since body builders get MASSIVE by eating lots of carbohydrates.

    I’d suggest you go find Layne Norton on and debate him. He’s a Ph.D. and a natural pro body builder and he too agrees that low carb is not optimal for building mass.

    Barry wrote on May 7th, 2008
  16. Barry-

    Again with your bodybuilding talk. Just as Keenan and Dave are saying, even if it is true that a high-carb diet is the best environment for building unnatural (and difficult to maintain) amounts of muscle it isn’t the best environment for overall health. Just as Keenan pointed out, this health program is about seeing results without spending hours upon hours in the gym. It is a sustainable lifestyle designed for optimum health and longevity. Lean muscle mass, amongst other numerous health benefits, is a byproduct.

    32Simon wrote on May 7th, 2008
  17. I’d also like to get some more information on this supposed diet our “ancestors” ate.

    Now, I can buy the idea that they ate lots of fat and protein, but vegetables?

    I like vegetables as much as the next guy, but I seriously doubt that the same primitive people who were chasing animals down with spears were also busy growing spinach and broccoli. At best they were eating wild berries, and some wild tubers.

    I confess my ignorance in anthropology, however, so I would love to know where this idea that our ancestors were big vegetable eaters comes from.

    I’ve also done a little digging into this whole idea of primal eating, paleo diets, etc. and found that there’s quite a lot of criticism of this idea in academia amongst those who specialize in anthropology and dietary anthropology.

    Here’s a book that apparently takes a fairly dim view of the idea that there is even such a thing as a “paleolithic” diet.

    Barry wrote on May 7th, 2008
    • “Substantiating this theory, the editors’ ultimate objective, requires an extensive exploration of early hominid diets, which comprises the bulk of the book (and is a wonderful read), followed by a demonstration of the ill effects of divergence from this diet.”

      Wrong book perhaps?

      Vince wrote on July 7th, 2010
  18. Simon, I am not saying that everyone should aspire to build massive amounts of muscle!

    I’m simply pointing out that you don’t have to eat a low carb diet to enjoy a great physique, nor do you have to spend “hours and hours” in the gym.

    Additionally, I’d like you to submit actual proof that eating a diet high in complex carbohydrates is bad for your health.

    Is eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates bad for your health? Without a doubt.

    Please, show me some science that proves, or even presents compelling evidence, that eating oatmeal, brown rice, poatoes – e.g. WHOLE FOOD carbohydrates, is going to harm a healthy (e.g. non-diabetic) person’s health.

    Barry wrote on May 7th, 2008
    • Hello Barry,

      I would recommend to you that you watch the following documentary:

      The original idea is a little off topic from this line of posts, but more towards the middle and end they start to get into the difference between low-carb and high carb. They even have some very interesting interviews with some scientists to show the difference.

      Ana wrote on January 15th, 2011
  19. Barry,

    You must differentiate between muscle and mass. Yes, you can put on *mass* with a high-carb diet, and then when you want to clean it up to actually show off the muscle you gained, you’ll have to cut up and lose all the excess fat.

    You completely ignored what I mentioned about health consequences. Yes, keeping insulin levels high all day will keep you “anabolic”, but you’ll be insulin resistant eventually and start suffering disorders of carbohydrate metabolism. Yes, you can fuel your high insulin levels and mass-growth via high carbs and might not get fat, but you won’t be *healthy* and that is they key.

    Bodybuilders only look good when they are ripped, pumped, oiled, and prepped for a contest, if at all.

    Of course all the things you mention *work* for bodybuilding; if they didn’t work no one would do them. That does not inherently make them healthy, sustainable, or beneficial for anything except bodybuilding.

    Keenan wrote on May 7th, 2008
  20. Barry wrote:
    “Please, show me some science that proves, or even presents compelling evidence, that eating oatmeal, brown rice, poatoes – e.g. WHOLE FOOD carbohydrates, is going to harm a healthy (e.g. non-diabetic) person’s health.”

    You forgot already, but I mentioned AGEs:

    And a baked potato spikes your blood sugar faster than jelly beans.

    Sugar is sugar is sugar. The only difference between complex and simple carbs is the speed at which it is converted to glucose in your body and then eventually stored as glycogen. This process always requires insulin and will therefore always raise insulin levels and blunt sensitivity if ingestion is chronic.

    Keenan wrote on May 7th, 2008
  21. I remember this article from awhile back:
    May shed some light on the debate…

    32Simon wrote on May 7th, 2008
  22. Sorry Dave, I NEVER said that or anything even close to that.

    You most certainly did. I can’t find the comments in the archived files but you said “a full, robust and muscular physique is achieved when glycogen stores are full, and glycogen stores are full when you are eating plenty of carbohydrates.” And that’s an exact quote because I copied it to my website. Again, my beef with you isn’t about what carb eaters CAN DO, it’s with your assertions about what low-carb eater’s CAN’T DO. There are some of Mark’s positions that are certainly open to debate, but this ain’t one of them. The pictures prove you can look great on low carbs. Lee Haney he ain’t–but I’d take it in a heart beat!!

    Dave C. - DaveGetsFit wrote on May 7th, 2008
  23. Here you go Dave C. I remember it well…

    32Simon wrote on May 7th, 2008
  24. Mark,

    Is their a way for us to see your daily meal plan. I’m having a difficult time getting to 2500 cals per day.

    Tee wrote on May 7th, 2008
  25. Tee-

    We plan on publishing Mark’s meal plan soon. Check back within the next couple weeks.

    Thanks for the wonderful comments to Tee and everyone else!

    Aaron wrote on May 7th, 2008
  26. Dave C and Keenan,
    There used to be this wonderful tv show I enjoyed many years ago. I remember one of the great lines;
    Don’t engage….if you no fight….there is no fight to be fought”



    tatsujin wrote on May 7th, 2008
  27. “When I reach my target weight of around 185, that will represent a 55+ pound loss. I can already see what appears to be some loose skin hanging around my waist. Will the skin eventually retract to form fitting?”


    I think that answer will vary depending on a number of factors like age, diet, genetics, etc. Your skin will probably retract a bit, but it only works to a point and if you have stretch marks, you’re pretty much stuck with those.

    After my own 130lb or so weight loss, my skin has actually done a good deal of retracting. Some strength training has helped, and switching from unusually low-fat eating to consuming a lot more of the stuff has done wonders for my skin texture and resilience as well.

    Clothed, most people can’t tell that I’d ever carried around the extra weight, but there are areas where I’d lost comparatively a great deal more body fat than others — places where stretch marks have been a big problem now are areas where I visibly have excess skin.

    I’d imagine that in your case, since you’re not trying to drop as much mass as I did, that you probably won’t have the skin problems I’m having. Going by my own experience, the presence or absence of fat-related stretch marks will serve as a good indicator of where you might experience this.

    All the best to you, it sounds like you’re doing a great job. :)

    L wrote on May 7th, 2008
  28. Your 54 and your ripped!! You’re better than Jack Lalanie!

    I detest ab excercises, but alot of the work I do requires lifting, pulling, pushing and sometimes climbing and running. I’m sad to say my 20th b-day is next month and I have along way to go to be fit like you

    Steve wrote on May 7th, 2008
  29. Mark, that is awesome!

    By the way, what was your fiber grams for the day? I’m sure it was quite high! Way to go. :)

    Elizabeth wrote on May 7th, 2008
  30. Mark,

    What are your reasons for being opposed to fiber supplements?

    I usually have a loaded teaspoon of milled flax and fenugreek seed in the morning and some days ill have psyllium husk too. I dunno if it really does anything – but it makes me feel like Im ‘cleanising’…

    Showbuzz wrote on May 7th, 2008
  31. Simon: Thanks for the link.

    L: I appreciate the response. I lost 55 pounds once before (back in ’75 when I first went to Thailand) and I didn’t have a problem then. I was just a little concern looking in the mirror last night, and all I could picture was Adam Sandler in “Click” :-)

    Marc: As a 19 year veteran of Usenet, I’ve typed “Please don’t feed the trolls” numerous times. I know better but sometimes I just can’t help myself!!

    DaveC wrote on May 7th, 2008
  32. Mark may chime in on his fiber intake and his take on fiber in general, but here is a good place to start:

    Aaron wrote on May 7th, 2008
  33. So I get this e-mail from Aaron saying, “Come and look at Mark’s abs.” Quel provocative! Don’t tell my husband I said that.

    Migraineur wrote on May 8th, 2008
  34. He asked me too (not that there’s anything wrong with that)> :-)

    Dave C. - DaveGetsFit wrote on May 8th, 2008
  35. Keenan, your assertion that eating a diet high in complex carbohydrates will result in insulin resistance is complete and total hogwash.

    Aside from the fact that the complexity of the carbohydrates will ensure that insulin does not have to be excreted in large amounts to remove glucose from the blood, the very fact that we are exercising improves insulin sensitivity.

    Dave, you’re right I did say what you quote me as saying, but that’s not what you said I said before. I did say, and I stand by the statement that you achieve a full, robust and muscular physique when your glycogen stores are full. Note that I did NOT say you cannot achieve a full, robust and muscular physique otherwise. I should have been more explicit because your muscles will appear FULLER when glycogen stores are full.

    Besides, Mark is apparently eating 114 grams of carbs which is enough to keep him from being totally depleted.

    You should see if you can find someone with round, full looking muscles who is in ketosis (which Mark is obviously not). I think you’ll have a hard time with that.

    Barry wrote on May 8th, 2008
  36. Oh, and Dave I have never said anything about what low carb dieters CAN’T do. I’ve only been pointing out what those who eat a diet high in complex carbohydrates can do BETTER.

    As I’ve said before, not everyone’s priority is building muscle and that’s fine.

    FYI, my wife is currently doing a ketogenic diet so I certainly see the value in low carb eating.

    Barry wrote on May 8th, 2008
  37. Keenan, a baked potato will only spike blood sugar if eaten ALONE.

    NOBODY eats a baked potato alone. They eat it with a steak, with butter, with sour cream.. you know, things that SLOW digestion and make the GI totally irrelevant.

    Thanks for the link on AGEs I will do some more reading up on the topic.

    Barry wrote on May 8th, 2008
  38. Kennan, from the wiki page on AGE it says that it results from the consumption of fructose and galactose.

    Have you stopped eating fruit? As for galactose that’s primarily from milk.

    Sorry but that doesn’t really cover all the other complex carbs. At best it appears you have a good case for a diet devoid of fruit (which is stupid) and milk (I’m actually contemplating cutting dairy for other reasons).

    Anyway thanks for sharing!

    Barry wrote on May 8th, 2008
  39. Have I entered some type of alternate reality, where people who aren’t in shape and know nothing about Paleolithic nutrition (Barry) are telling others they need to learn more about high-carb diets?

    Mike McCombs wrote on May 8th, 2008
  40. Ok Barry, one last comment.

    I have two pictures of me and two stories. The first was taken in 2005 at age 20 after I finished a big bulking session. I had spent the previous 4 years working out like a bodybuilder. I ate little to no sugar, only “complex” carbs (brown rice, baked/sweet potatoes, wheat bread, etc) and followed typical bodybuilding low-fat high-carb diet. I worked out 4-5 times/week, did steady state cardio (swimming, usually), etc. This picture is here:
    Around this time, I started developing severe anxiety and panic attacks, both of which are disorders of serotonin regulation. Serotonin is largely affected by insulin and messed up serotonin often goes hand in hand with insulin resistance. You can barely tell from the picture that I had substantial musculature, because it is so covered by fat. I weighed about 175lbs and I could bench 240 and squat 300. Not bad, but not great either. A week after this picture was taken, I had appendicitis and then an appendectomy,followed by the mother of all panic attacks. For over a month, I was completely incapacitated and could only sleep for 1-2 hours each night. After months of trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with me, I stumbled upon the Paleo diet on Art DeVany’s website. I dropped the “complex carbs”, upped my fat consumption, worked out less, and did less cardio.

    After only 2 years of this, here’s a second picture taken a few months ago at age 22: . I weighed about 160 in the 2nd picture, and my lifts are the same as when I was 175, except that I have more power and control of them now. Panic attacks are non-existent because my insulin levels are low and regular, keeping my serotonin levels low and regular. There is much, much more to the paleo lifestyle and diet then “getting big”; it’s about physical and mental health, sustainability, and quality of life.

    That being said, I applaud your personal efforts and success at weight loss. From what is on your website, you have made great progress and you should be very proud of yourself! Your reading list isn’t that far off from mine either. Seriously, how awesome was Road to Serfdom?

    Mark, sorry to hog your comments!

    Keenan wrote on May 8th, 2008
    • Wow, Keenan, that’s some amazing progress.

      Brad wrote on March 21st, 2010

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2016 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!