Monday, November 26, 2012

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff - Road trip edition

It was great to get home to Mississippi and see all of my family, however as the saying goes there's no place like home, and I'm glad to be back in the confines of my cave.

Since I'm running a keto diet/carbnite eating while I was traveling was not very difficult.  However, since for some reason this shit really interests people I will go over how I ate and what I did to stay on my diet.

It's a 12 hour drive home for me, and with three kids in the car I do not drive all the way through.  I generally stop about halfway and we stay for the night.  So I will give you a run down of my eating on the way there, while I was there, and on the way back.

Day 1 Driving - 
I ended up stopping at a Ruby Tuesday's.  They have a salad bar so I ate a big salad with lettuce, cucumbers, bacon, and sunflower seeds with just a little bit of ranch.

For my fat and protein I ordered the dry rub ribs (you don't want sauce) in a full rack, with a grilled chicken breast.  I also had the grilled zucchini as a side.

You are going to notice a pattern of doing this...that is, ordering the grilled chicken breast along with the fatty meat.  This is because generally the fatty meat is fattier than it is protein rich, so I always throw in a clean protein source with the fatty source to either even that out, or get in more protein.

I ate this meal pretty late in the evening, so once we got to our destination a few hours later I just took a shower and went to bed.

Day 2 - Driving 

The next morning I realized I didn't have any heavy cream for my coffee, so I ended up driving to (literally) 4 different truck stops to see if they had whipping cream (Tiff told me laughingly "no truck stop is going to have whipping cream, Paul!").  Of course they didn't, so I just had coffee with sweetener.

On the drive we stopped at a Stuckey's that was just north of Memphis on 55 south.  I opened the door to the bathroom and my first thought was that the Angel of Death had killed 72 people with a urine cyclone.  Let me tell you, the smell of piss and death was so strong that I literally stammered back when I opened that door.  I don't think this bathroom had been cleaned one single time since that store had opened, and I'm pretty positive it was opened by the wives of confederate soldiers.

As I exited the pisser, red faced from holding my breath as I pissed, I ventured over to a glass rack that contained some swords and knives.  Not just any ol swords and knives though.  They had knives that only a deranged serial killer could love.  For example......

should have purchased!

.....yes, they literally had the Cobra serial killer knife.  I was amazed.  So much so, that I almost bought it.  It was only $22.  More than that, I wish I had gotten a picture of this case because the other knives in it were just as ridiculous.

We stopped to eat lunch a few hours later.  This would be my first meal.  It was at a Western Sizzlin, and let me tell you what was ATROCIOUS.  It looked like the cleaning crew had been on strike for I dunno....they never had a cleaning crew.  If the service was a blowjob, it would have been from a gold star lesbian.

I had about 4 pieces of baked chicken with the skin on it (three dark meat, and one breast).  I also had another big salad.

I called my dad to tell him we would be there around 3 P.M. or so (this was around 12 I believe) and asked him if he had anything to cook.  My dad is a great cook, so he told me he'd have a roast ready for me with some green beans.  Perfect.

Upon arriving that was what I ate.  I also went to the store and got some heavy cream and ran by the GNC to pick u some ISO-100 since I had left my powder at home (you always leave something right?).

That evening Tiff and I went to Ruby Tuesday's (it was right by the hotel, I'm not in love with this place) and I did my same order from the previous evening.  Ribs and chicken breast.  I also had a shot of peach Vodka because I needed it from the drive and from being around 19 family members.  I love my family, but you know how it is.

The next morning, which was Thanksgiving day, I was able to finally have my coffee and cream so I had that all morning for the most part.  At lunch I did Turkey of course, with a mix of light and dark meat and lots of different veggies.  A few hours later I just repeated this meal.

That evening most of the food was gone, and it had gotten late.  It was Thanksgiving day so nothing was open except this one gas station.  So I grabbed some more almonds and some beef jerkey.  Tiff and I did a bodyweight leg workout in the hotel room then I downed three scoops of whey in water with some almonds and beef jerkey.  This meal was terrible and yucky as fuck.

1 carb load in 20 days
The next morning was the day we had reserved a banquet room in the hotel for both of our families to have Thanksgiving together (it was obviously booked for the day before).  So we got up early, and had coffee and went and found a gym.  Snap Fitness was the place, and they had a sign on the front door that said they opened at 11:30 that day, even though it was a 24/7 facility.  That means, 24/7 to members with a card.  So we knocked on the door and a dude let us in, even though that same sign reads "members do not let guests in for any reason".

Pretty awesome.

There was a sign in sheet at the front desk so I asked the rebel's name who let us in, and I wrote us in as his guest.  Hur hur hur.

The biggest db's they had were the 100's so I warmed up and hit those for a set of 25 on db bench, which could be a PR, however I don't always keep up with reps that high or weights that light anymore.  I probably just haven't ventured past the 20 rep mark with these as a default so consider it a PR via boredom.

At lunch I loaded up on white meat turkey and ham.  Three plates worth.  However this was to be my carb up day and the real prize was the lemon cake my dad had made for me, and I planned on eating half of it.  I also grabbed what was left of the coconut cream pie, and a slice of triple chocolate cake.

I waited around until 4 P.M. to get busy on that shit, and I went through it pretty easily.  Since I still had another cheat meal for the day, at around 8 P.M. I rode over to the store and did my usual ritual of eating copious amounts of M&M's.  I also threw in a cookies n cream bar.  Why, I have no clue.  It was atrocious.  I think my thinking of "lean protein with the fatty protein" crossed over into my carb loading thinking.

"Lots of dark chocolate, so get some white chocolate too".

That's all I can think.

The next morning I did my usual coffee with cream and then said good bye to everyone, which for me takes a long time because I love my family so much and I hug them for about 2 hours.  So I didn't get around to eating until around 2:30 or so.  So I got in a long fast, which is fine, and then we stopped at a Cracker Barrel, who just happens to have a low carb menu.  I ordered the ribeye with green beans and a salad.

That evening we stopped off at this town and I actually did not want to stop to eat, so I rolled through KFC and grabbed a big bucket of chicken for Tiff and the girls, which I ate ZERO of.  Mainly because they were out of the grilled chicken, and I mostly detest fried chicken.  Not to mention that a piece of extra crispy has a whopping 17 carbs in it.  Yes I know, I could have peeled off the skin.  Did you miss the part where I wrote that I mostly detest fried chicken?

So I had a shake and almonds.  No biggie, it did the job.  Later that evening I stopped at a Texas Roadhouse, got the girls some dessert and I did the ribs and chicken thing again (I realize now this seemed to be a very constant meal on this trip).  I had a salad as well, because you know, veggies are important.

I didn't eat again until the next morning, which was at a Bob Evan's at around 10:30 or so.  I did the Farmer's Market omelette with two pieces of sausage patties, then headed home.  I had planned on stopping once more to eat however about 90 miles out from the house we ended up stuck in a traffic jam where we didn't move for over an hour.  So by the time we got the car moving again, I did not feel like stopping and just wanted to get home.  When we arrived I ordered a full rack of Chili's dry rub ribs with (drum roll) a chicken breast.

So as you can see, I never deviated from my diet regardless of circumstance or situation.  I can't ever figure out for the life of me, why or how people fret over these things or can't decide if they will or won't train on vacation.

1.  There is always a way to train on vacation if you so desire.  I honestly can't stand the "I'm going on vacation, how will I train....blah blah blah"

I've been on lots of vacations, and never missed out on training because of it.  I generally just get it in and don't worry about a "program".  So I've never been able to figure out why I even get a fucking question about training on vacation.  Either you do, or you don't.  If you do, I've been all over the world, and there's a gym even in the smallest and shittiest of places.  If there isn't (I've never been to a town that didn't have one nearby somewhere!) you can do bodyweight work.  Why, that's really hard to figure out, isn't it?

Also, the guys fretting that they will lose strength while on vacation if they don't train, well you're retarded.  Unless your vacation is like a month and a half long.  Stop being OCD and either take that week off, or just enjoy doing something fun in the gym you find.  Training should always be fun anyway.  If you're someplace nice, get a pump and walk around on the beach for a while.  These are not difficult things to figure out, so these particular questions always make me go "errrr?".

2.  There's food everywhere!  My wife has to follow a very specific diet because of a medical condition and she never has any problems eating on the road or on vacation.  If you eat low fat, it's not hard to eat low fat.  If you are eating keto, you eat fat and protein.  That's not hard either.  So I also cannot figure out why people have questions about how to eat when they go on vacation either.  Either break your diet and just eat whatever, or stay on your diet and make choices about what to eat.  Again, this is not hard, and I'm also befuddled that people send me "vacation eating and training questions".

I will probably carb load this week instead of going the 10 days again twice (though I am thinking about it).  The reason I went 10 days the first time is because of the prep phase, and because I wanted to be able to eat carbs on Thanksgiving.  So I didn't want to eat carbs a few days before Thanksgiving.  So I just went 10 days twice.  No biggie.

Plan accordingly, or just wing it, and don't make a big deal of these things.  A week isn't going to set you back much, if any at all.  I was still able to enjoy my trip and do everything I wanted to do, while never getting off my diet and still got in two productive training sessions.  This stuff isn't complicated.


  1. Hey Paul. What are your thoughts on meet day eating to keep the energy levels up over 8-10 hours?

    1. Just eat your normal foods. Don't try to introduce something new into your diet on meet day. That's a bad idea.

  2. Paul, I have also been doing carb nite, but I am having trouble finding the best way to maximize conditioning without draining myself too much. I am not doing heavy lifting since I am on post surgery recovery and just training with lighter weights and progressing slowly to where I was. i was doing 3 intervals/ wk and if I could 1 or 2 steady state walks. Do you think its best to switch to just one interval and 3 walks when doing carb nite or just stay as is since I am not doing heavy lifting?

    1. I think it's best to just rest and add in a little walking as you start to recover.

      I also wouldn't be doing carbnite while recovery from surgery. I'd eat carbs since your body is trying to heal and recovery and carbs are the fastest source of energy.

  3. Hey Paul. I have been following your progress on the low carb diet and you seem to be progressing on it better than I did. When I did a low carb diet - actually Jamie's predator diet - I lost fat, retained my muscle mass, and retained my one rep max strength. However, I noticed a significant drop off in my 5 rep max, and my ability to recover sufficiently for the next set also suffered significantly. This interfered a lot with my training (I had been on starting strength program). I felt gassed all the time, and as a result kept skipping workouts.

    So my question is, have you noticed any decrease in your ferocity around the gym/your ability to pump out reps whilst on keto? Further, would you have any idea what I might have been missing in my keto diet that was interfering with my strength?

    Fyi: I was eating a lot of calories from fat and protein, as Jamie instructed. Followed his diet outline properly. I am also natty and have been training properly for strength for just under a year.

    1. At first? Yes. No doubt. Since then, as I have become more fat adapted, no. I have hit rep PR's in stiff legs, db bench twice, and press behind the neck. Those were medium to high rep ranges too.

      What I find now, is that after that 1 big set I don't have a ton left over. Energy starts to wane quite a bit. Before I became more fat adapted, I found the same as you. That once I started a set, I felt all of my energy drop off at about 3-4 reps, and I would REALLY tank. Since then, I have recovered and feel fine.

      The issue is you have to up the fats even more than you think, and get the carbs as close to zero as possible.

      If you have only been strength training for a year I absolutely DO NOT recommend this kind of diet.

    2. I've been Keto for over a year now with a cheat day every week or so. I recently found out about the predator diet and carb nite diet and have made some small changes with the new information. My advice for recovery is high dosages of l-glutamine and magnesium. I'm natural too and I found that without the large doses of l-glutamine, my recovery was balls. The recommended dosage is 5g but I take anywhere from 15-20g 3 times daily. Any excess will be converted to gasparic acid anyhow and help you reach a deeper state of sleep. I also take 2 triple strength magnesium tablets after 4pm each day. If you still have trouble with recovery I recommend you look into getting a night recovery supplement like ronnie colemans resurrect pm. I also agree with Paul that you fat levels need to be a lot higher than you would imagine. On a "traditional" keto diet the fat intake is higher than the protein intake. Almonds, macademia nuts and lots of goats cheese is usually how I remedy this. I also cook everything in shitloads of olive oil and butter. Works great for me, hope that helped somewhat. P.s. A good multi like animal pak or macro greens seems to help somewhat as well.

    3. l-glutamine has been proven to be pretty much useless.

    4. After an exhaustive search on pubmed it seems you are correct, there is no link in recent studies to suggest that glutamine helps with recovery. Thanks for that. One less thing I have to buy. Go figure, you learn something new every day.

  4. Sorry I was not more specific. Its been 5 months since my surgery and I ate carbs for 4 months and then I started carb nite 2 wks ago and it has been working alright. I think I will up the carbs again in 2 weeks since I will try to increase the intensity in my lifting. It has been a difficult journey since it was an abdominal surgery, but when I get better Im gonna jump into your SPCC challenge right away. Thanks for answering.

    1. Good luck! I personally think that doing no carb/super low carb takes a lot of playing with to find that sweet spot.

  5. Paul,

    Where are you getting all the extra fats from without being full all the time is there a trick?


    1. For whatever reason, this kind of eating actually leaves me hungry most of the time. Fats have never held me over very well actually. I'm not sure why people tell you to eat more fat not to be hungry. I can eat ribs or a large ribeye and be starving in an hour.

  6. Awesome write-up, Paul.
    I actually think keto diets are easier to follow regardless of where you are. I mean, you can eat meat/eggs and a salad pretty much anywhere.

    1. Yup. You can still pretty much eat low fat too, however it does make things a little trickier.

  7. Paul,

    How many kids you got? I have three myself and I couldn't imagine that long of a drive. Also, what does it say about my life when I enjoy reading about your thanksgiving trip as much as I enjoy your training advice?

    Thanks as always and I'm glad you and your family traveled safe.

    1. I have three girls. They are actually really good, but after about 6-7 hours they get really cranky.

    2. I live 600 miles from my nearest relative and, after several years of long trips like this, my daughter has mastered the art of staying up late the night before so that she can sleep the whole way through.

  8. How many "wow you're huge!" comments do you get every family gathering?

  9. You know, this time it was just my mom. But someone asked me in wal-mart if I was Ryback? I think that's right. He wanted to know if I was a WWE rassler named that. I said no, but I should have said yes and signed an auto.

    1. I get a lot of Stone Cold comments when I have the beard shaved down to a goatee, but a couple weeks ago I was in Walmart and this dude spent a good 10-15 minutes stalking and staring at me. He finally decides to make a beeline for me and I started worrying I was gonna have to get in some shit in the middle of Walmart because, 1) he was even bigger than me, and 2) I wasn't carrying. I'm calling upon my combat training from 16 years ago when he says, "Hey man, I just have to know. Are you Stone Cold?" He said I had the look, the size, and even the walk down, and he was hoping for an autograph. After my nerves settled, I felt a little flattered...

  10. Hey Paul when/why did you decide to five low/no carb a try?
    I thought on the recent CnB and posts you thought you had found what worked best for you.
    Did Kiefer convince you??/

    1. My normal diet is already low carb. It's just that I'm not afraid of carbs.

      I explained (many times now) I am doing this again because I felt like in retrospect I didn't do it correctly the first time, and I wanted to give it another shot to more accurately determine how well it would work for me.