Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fighter Focus Diet: Is the Slow Carb Diet the BEST diet for fighters?

I don’t need to tell you how important dieting is for any sport, especially when there’s a chance that you might not have enough energy left to block a hay-maker in the last round.

I have been now been on this diet for 8 weeks now and think it’s one of the best diets out there for both being functional and fairly simple. Its called the Slow Carb Diet and it has been known as a variation of both the Atkins diet (Atkins Official Website) and the Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (CKD on Wikipedia), which was popularized by Dean Karnazes , the crazy awesome guy who ran 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states.

My Results
I have had so much fun testing the limits of both my body and my mind with this diet. By making sure that I would be disciplined and stick to the diet to the “T” I wanted to test the diets limits and essentially run a small-scale experiment on myself. This diet has been touted as an easy fat burner and muscle builder diet. Issue was I was fine at my weight of 135 lbs. What I wanted were the ancillary benefits of the diet, become healthier and see if it would have any effects on my body fat content or muscle development.

Executive Summary:
There are really only four components to the slow carb diet as I have come to know it by Tim Ferriss , author of the Four Hour Work Week.

Key Issues:
1. Avoid white carbohydrates- bread, potatoes, pasta, tortillas and anything breaded
2. Create meals using the same few ingredients:
a. Proteins- Grass fed beef, pork, chicken and fish
b. Legumes- red, black, kidney, lima beans
c. Veggies – frozen and fresh
3. Don’t drink calories- try to avoid
4. Take one day per week off- carbo load, calorie spike, binge day, whatever you decide to call it, eat whatever you want, as much as you want, this day is the key to speeding your metabolism for the week.

1. Avoid white carbohydrates- the following is a list of items that you may NOT eat
a. Pasta
b. Bread- be careful with this one. Just because it says whole wheat doesn’t mean it isn’t a white carb. Many bakers use white flour and enrich it with molasses or some kind of sugar to give it the brownish color- So I say stay away from the breads all together.
c. Fried foods- they will usually either be coated with flour or batter made from flour or with seasoned bread crumbs
d. Rice
e. Cereal
f. Potatoes
g. Sweet Potatoes are also out, they contain a bit of sugar and are full of starch
h. Corn- beware don’t buy the frozen mixed veggies if it includes the corn.
i. WAIT! Only time you can eat white carbs is after an intense resistance-training workout
2. Create meals using the same few ingredients. So what can you eat? The following is a list of items that you MAY eat:
a. Proteins
i. Egg Whites for breakfast
ii. Grass fed beef- let them eat grass, its good for them and good for you
iii. Free Range Chicken- healthier and will force you to buy more local products
iv. Pork- organic if you can find it, if not, then oh well
v. Fish- can get expensive but for a once in a while meal it isn’t bad
b. Legumes
i. All the beans you can eat
c. Vegetables- some of my faves but feel free to explore
i. Spinach- I am a huge spinach fan, its chock full of vitamins like, vitamin a, beta carotene, folate, vitamin c, vitamin e, vitamin k, some calcium, iron and some protein. You can use fresh or frozen.
ii. Zucchini- its low in calories and contains folate, vitamin a, potassium which is known to prevent most muscle cramps and manganese.
iii. Broccoli- known for its high amounts of vitamin C and fiber
iv. Most all other vegetables are also ok, just be careful with corn
3. Don’t drink calories- try to avoid drinking meals
a. No soda, unless sugar free
b. Juice
c. Smoothies
d. Try to avoid drink milk in large quantities
4. Last but not least the carbo load day:
a. Eat everything in site
b. I weigh in at about 135 normal/walking and can easily hit 147 by the end of my carbo load day, coming down back to about 140 by mid next day

My Experience with the diet
- Incredibly simple instructions to follow
- I usually prepare everything much like a catering hall on Sunday afternoon for the whole week. When I first started I was a mess, cooking, braising, boiling for hours on end. I know have it down to a science, usually done in less that 2 hours with prep. I then store in a Tupperware and split out during the week.
- Cooking it yourself helps you control what you put into it. I have a family history of heart disease, so whenever possible I NEVER cook with any added salt. I do have enough spices to create amazing dishes without salt, cant even tell.
- Cost effective. I use Fresh Direct, they are a great food delivery service that works online. You create an account, order all your food, veggies, meats, deli cuts, anything, and they deliver it to your door. Its awesome and I highly recommend it. It saves me money, time and headaches
- I have become a part time baker on carb spike day and really appreciate the amount of time it takes to cook and bake.
- Carb spike day gives me something to look forward to.
- I must stress how easy this diet is to follow.
- I have been doing this diet for over 2 months and it is no longer a diet, its just how I eat. My wife is on it too, and even though she eats oatmeal for breakfast and cheats all along the week, she has benefited from the diet as well.

- I start craving my Saturday carb spike starting Tuesday by browsing the food network recipes.
- Beans are gassy. Its no secret. So is broccoli and most fibrous healthy veggies. What I do to counter act this is as follows. Before EVERY meal I drink about 20 ounces of water, I then eat about one pound of food and follow it up with about 10 more ounces (size of a cup of joe) and a generic gas-ex chewable tablet. That usually helps out a lot.
- If you follow the water drinking routine above, you will be going to the bathroom often. Im sure the people at work are wondering what is wrong with that guy. But its ok, the results are worth it.
- This diet is so simple and almost radical, that I believe that even most health-care practitioners (MDs, RNs, NPs) are not really up to speed on the benefits because it wasn’t taught during their academic schooling. I find it very hard for me to describe the calorie spike day with out getting a cringe of sorts and suggestions for a “better” diet. I will be going to the doctor soon for my annual check up and will keep you posted for all the numbers.
- Not really too many negative things to say. If you have any more negatives please add. Would also love to hear of your dieting experiences/nightmares

Love this and will continue to stay on this diet until science, doctor’s blood tests prove otherwise.

Since starting this diet I have activated my dormant inner-chef and have started developing some of my own recipes with no added salt, and keeping a few other things that a fighter needs in consideration, so in short, recipes to follow.


  1. Awesome Post!

    Good Luck on your first fight!!!!!

  2. maybe i should give it a shot! excellent post - Ali