Note: Obviously I don’t think PhDs are try-hards or greedy. I respect the hell out of them and what they do to increase our knowledge about the world. I poked fun because I liked the introduction to my article being framed that way. If you were offended, well, lighten up.
I really think PhDs are try-hards. Sure, doing research in order to gain more knowledge about the world to try and save it from the assholes that is the human race is admirable, praise-worthy even.
I like research and science. It’s cool and every second that my mind is occupied with something other than training and sex, I consider a small victory for my pre-frontal cortex. You know the part of your brain responsible for all your decision-making, the “executive branch” if you will. For now, I’ll overlook the fact that most humans are an emotional wreck and their hindbrain will hijack their behavior far before the little angel on their shoulder has time to tell them to not do something stupid like request a song on the Dalilia show for your ex girlfriend as a 34 year old man (no joke, heard it the other day).
Anyways, back to my beef with PhDs. They’re greedy. They want two prestigious laboratories all to themselves.
Two? Yes, two.
I don’t have a PhD nor will I ever; yet, my CV is pages long with a litany of completed experiments. I run the most prestigious lab in the world and I didn’t even have to kiss some advisor’s ass to get into it. I can run an infinite amount of experiments and my only limiting factor is time. There are no rules, no compliance issues, and certainly no shortage of test subjects.
My body is my laboratory. As humans, we are all blessed with one and whether you are conscious of it or not, we continually run experiments testing our own physiology on a daily basis. While the frat star tries to see how many days his body can handle being black-out before it shuts down, the average American continually runs fad diet after fad diet hoping for a miracle. There are test subject(s), procedures, data sets, and even conclusions to be drawn if you’re consciously aware of what’s happening.
I’ve run a few noteworthy experiments in my day. How strong can I get and how much dysfunction can I cause by max effort squatting 21 days in a row. How many drunk 1-arm pushups can I do in the middle of a street in Boston (35 if you’re wondering). How many times can I bang my girlfriends call before she sends the SWAT team to find out my whereabouts. You get the idea.
These next two weeks are time for a new experiment. If you haven’t lost yourself and become enthralled in my exceedingly long introduction, you probably would have remembered why you clicked on the link in the first place. You saw shredded and two weeks and your brain’s dopamine receptors probably got high.
It’s an extreme goal, one that I’m certainly prepared to suffer for. You see shredded and lean are two entirely different entities. While certainly not enough, there are a lot of lean people out there. Few are shredded, which I constitute to being anything under 8% body fat. I’m lean and quite honestly there hasn’t been a day in my life that I haven’t been able to see my abs. Cue the genetics card that people are so quick to play.
I am undertaking this experiment for several reasons:
1) I’m a vain bastard sometimes and want to look damn good on a beach in the Caribbean in two weeks
2) I want to get cat-calls from other girls and make my girlfriend jealous. You know, the stuff every good boyfriend aspires for. You may think I’m kidding but…
3) I want to push the limits of physiology, see how much stress the human body can adapt to, and see how lean I can get in an extremely short amount of time
If I may say so myself, I think they are all admirable goals, in line with every other researcher trying to genetically grow meat so we have some supply come 2050. It’s a cool Ted Talk, check it out.
A Fair Warning
Extreme goals call for extreme measures. What I am going to attempt cannot be sustained nor should be attempted over the long term. Your body is smarter than you are. Like I’ve said on numerous occasions, it is a survival machine and it’s going to fight you every step of the way in giving up its body fat stores. The leaner you are, the more stout the opponent. Trying to utilize these methods over the long term is like trying to stop George Foreman before he met Ali in “The Rumble in the Jungle.” You’re going to fail miserably and not get as lean as you desire. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s examine my protocol…
Dietary Basics 101
I’m going to be implementing intermittent fasting (leangains style), meaning fasting for 16 hours with an 8 hour eating window.
Intermittent fasting increases catecholamine release. Catecholamines are the primary activators and increase the activity of hormone sensitive lipase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down the stored trigylcerides in your cells.
I’m going to have a near ~1000 calorie deficit on all days, training and rest. It’s a large caloric deficit, one that I am only able to undertake because of the short duration of my diet. As a general rule of thumb, the shorter the diet, the more extreme the measures can be.
Because of my caloric deficit, I’m going to increase my protein intake to 250 grams per day (about 1.25 x Lean Body Mass (LBM)) in order to avoid any catabolic muscle loss.
On days that I do nothing but cardio, my carb intake will be zero. Yes, zero. Insulin is the primary inactivator of hormone sensitive lipase. When there is an increase in insulin, you can be assured that your body is no longer utilizing your fat stores for energy. I’m going to keep insulin as low as possible by having two meals that day. One medium sized protein intake to break the fast and then a huge meal at night.
I am going to backload all my carb intake, no matter what time of day I train. I do this for a couple reasons.
1) I want to keep insulin as low as possible during the day
2) I want to ensure restful sleep. Ever have trouble sleeping on a low carb diet? Carb intake leads to serotonin production which equates to a restful night sleep. By backloading my carbs at night, I ensure adequate serotonin production and induce a shift to my parasympathetic nervous system when I want to optimize the greatest recovery tool the human organism has: sleep
Much of my fat intake is going to be saturated fat from coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and grass-fed beef. I need to optimize my cell’s physiology in order to facilitate greater levels of fat loss. Adequate saturated fat intake will ensure this as your body thrives on it. Further, medium chain triglycerides are not reesterified and are more easily transported into the mitochondria for energy usage.
I will have one refeed day. Because the duration of my diet is short I typically wouldn’t utilize a refeed but I have a wedding tomorrow and I’m not about to be cupping spinach levels in the corner at a wedding, so I’m going to chalk up whatever happens tomorrow as a refeed day. Call me uncommitted.
I am going to do something almost everyday with only two days completely off in the two week span.
I am going to utilize four metabolic type workouts, written by Show Me Strength’s own Chad Rodgers. Two upper body workouts and two lower body workouts. I’m going to do something different for both, however.
In the morning of my upper body workouts, I’m going to walk for a half-hour. Because of my fast, my body will be utilizing nearly 100% fatty acids for energy, making it prime time to get some fasted aerobic work in. Typically, it wouldn’t matter if I had a long time to get shredded, but time is of the essence and every gram of fat counts. Following my upper body workout (which will be performed in the fasted state), I am going to go on a jog afterwards.
Why you may ask?
Though high intensity exercise uses glucose (from liver and muscle glycogen) as its primary substrate, there is a large pool of fatty acids released into the bloodstream shortly upon completion. That’s cool but why the jog after? Because if I just went on my merry way and headed home after the workout, the fatty acids would be reesterred and pulled back into the fat cells, equating to a missed opportunity. Because aerobic exercise utilizes fatty acid as it’s primary substrate, my jog post workout is going to burn that pool of fatty acids off.
Lower body days are going to look a bit different. In the morning, I’m going to utilize the interval training protocols found in Lyle McDonald’s Stubborn Bodyfat Solution. In the afternoon, I’m going to perform a lower body oriented metabolic workout. It’s going to be miserable and I’m going to suffer. Oh well, fight on.
On the other two days, I’m going to go on a morning jog because of the same physiological principles governing my decision to wake up and walk.
Brutal? Yes. Incredibly physiological efficient? Let’s just say I’m not going to fail because my science is wrong.
I’m going to keep using the basics: Amazing Grass, fish oil (going to up my dose to 10 grams), and Vitamin D, except I’m going to add one: Yohimbine HCL.
Yohimbine combined with caffeine in the fasted state is going to turn my body into a fat-burning machine. First, the basics…remember the role catecholamines play in fat loss? Well, caffeine is a thermogenic that increases the release of catecholamines. More catecholamines equals more hormone sensitive lipase equals more girls cat calling you on the beach. It’s science.
Yohimbine’s mechanism of action is a little more complex. Because I’m already lean, my target is getting rid of stubborn fat. To keep it simple, alpha receptors act as brakes for fat loss while beta receptors act as accelerators (thanks Lyle McDonald and Martin Berkhan). Problem is that stubborn fat has a lot more alpha receptors compared to beta receptors, making it a whole lot more difficult to lose. Yohimbine is an alpha receptor antagonist meaning that it blocks its effect. Utilizing yohimbine in the morning during my fasted cardio and interval training will ensure that losing stubborn body fat is an efficient process.
This is going to work. The science is too bulletproof for it not to work. The question that I’m most interested in is how much fat can the human body lose in a short amount of time. This isn’t going to be one of those lose 14 lbs in 10 days of water weight gimmicks that informercials try and sell you.
I want true physiological fat loss and it’s a question that I’m eagerly looking forward to answer. Sure, I could look up study after study and try and get some educated guess as to what the possibilities are but to be quite honest that’s boring as hell. I’d rather suffer through blood, sweat, and tears in my own laboratory than spend my time twiddling my thumbs on a keyboard. In my lab, the experimental possibilities are infinite, the only limitations are my mind and will.
I earn my PhD everyday of my life.
P.S. Chad and I are mad scientists always tinkering with variables to produce the most badass body possible. Check out our coaching page for more information.