The Extra-Fat Experiment


I like fat. A lot. I typically go through a pound of aged cheddar a week. I just ate a homemade, grass-fed bacon cheeseburger. I like fat. A Lot.

I like carbs. I typically drink a liter of chocolate milk from Jersey cows after my workout. I’m about to enjoy a local blonde ale. I like carbs.

So what does the latter have to do with the former and how am I going to use both to improve my body composition and test a few new supplements? Trek on, fair reader.

Carbs get a bad rap, in my opinion. I think they serve a great purpose as a tool for creating an anabolic environment in hard training athletes. I think most individuals who are over-fat/obese looking to lose weight would be wise to avoid them as I explained here. When you’re lean and your insulin sensitivity is drastically improved, you can get away with more carbs. When you’ve earned them after a great workout, they become a fantastic ally. The trouble is that most people take “eat carbs after a hard workout” as “gorge on carbs after a walk around the block.” It’s not unlike those damn Subway ads from a few years back: people doing dumb shit under the guise of it being “ok” because they ate Subway, only substitute “Subway” with “workout.” It increases insulin sensitivity, doesn’t make you a garbage disposal or create an unlimited ceiling for caloric intake. But I digress.

Understand also that I’ve lost large amounts of fat on both high carb and high fat diets, simply because I tracked my caloric intake. However, I know my tendency is to go batshit crazy eating carbs just to feel filled up, so I’m going to use carbs and supplemented great fat in a 3 month experiment I’m calling Targeted Paleolithic Diet, or TPD for those who love acronyms. Regardless, low carb on non-training days, lots of tasty carbs on days in which I train. Alan Aragon calls this culking, Martin Berkhan centers his Leangains approach around this, Rob Fargin’s NHE diet is centered on this…if you’re trying to gain muscle and keep fat low, you’re going to have to go cyclic and use insulin to your advantage.

That said, what about the fats? Since reading the work of Richard over at Free The Animal, I’ve taken even more to tasty fats. In my case, this means lots of cheese and lots of cream. For this experiment, I’ve added a few more to the equation, the ones with the most research pegging them as assisting in speeding up fat loss. So what the hell am I taking?

Coconut Oil

Since fat makes up the majority of my calories on my non-workout days, the medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) hugely present in coconut oil provide me with a fast, even energy. Coconut oil also possess immune boosting and HDL raising tendencies that I appreciate, if only from a “here are my cholesterol numbers. Be jealous” perspective. They also make my shakes much more tasty.


Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) was touted with the old standard of “miracle fat loss supplement” a number of years back. It’s not. It helps, but it’s not a miracle. There are studies showing that 3.4 grams/day contributes to a reduction in body fat. There are also studies indicating that certain isomers of CLA (specifically trans-10 cis-12) increase oxidative stress and increase insulin resistance. I’m lean and low carb most of the time, naturally increasing my insulin sensitivity, and most of my carbs come post-workout when I’m maximally insulin sensitive. I’m not worried, especially because of my next addition.

Sesamin Extract

Sesamin extract doesn’t get much love, and I think a lot of this has to do with how people use the stuff. It’s a lignan, not a fat, but it functions much like a “super” fish oil. Instead of rattling off 35 study links, I’ll just link you to the write up about the stuff. What I was referring to earlier about how people take it is that, as reported from message boards, people were super-dosing the stuff in an effort to keep any fat from being stored. Some of these polypharmacological, adventurous types found that really high doses killed their libido. I’m keeping my dose right in the mid-range for the supplement.

Krill Oil

The new king shit in the world of fatty acid supplements, Krill supposedly imparts fish oil benefits on a lower dose. In reality, you combine krill with a lower dose of fish oil and get the best of both worlds. Krill has astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant that can actually cross the blood brain barrier, meaning it is helpful for the eyes, brain, and CNS as far as reducing oxidative stress. The price has come down considerably, as more quality sources have come to market. I’m using RPN’s Krillipid.

So those are what I added to my diet. In told, this is my daily “Super Fatty Fat Fat Lipid Love” supplement doses:

  • Fish Oil: 4 grams/day (A staple of mine, reduced because of the sesamin and krill)
  • Vitamin D3: 4000iu/day (Also a staple)
  • Sesamin: 1500mg/day
  • Coconut Oil: 2-3 tbsp/day, or about 39 grams of fat
  • Krill: 1 gram (non-workout days), 500mg (workout days)
  • CLA: 3 grams/day

So what’s the bloody point?!

Well, fat loss and cholesterol improvement. My cholesterol numbers were fine before but I’d like to push them into the realm of jaw dropping. And the fat loss? Well, I’d like to lose 6lbs over the length of the 3 month experiment while gaining strength, getting below 10% bf according to calipers and bioelectric measurements. Do I think the fats are going to make that happen? No, no of course not. The minor deficit I end up in over the course of the week is going to ignite that. Do I think they’ll maximize my efforts? Absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

So, fair readers, what nutty experiments have you tried on your way to improved health and performance?

55″ Box Jump – A Video

I’ve been working on my vertical leap more and more, training toward a 40″ vertical leap goal. We’re inching, literally, along and here’s an example of improvement (the still shows the vid sideways, but it plays normal. Strange, I know):

If this doesn’t get me onto Conditioning Research, I don’t know what will!

Training Temperance Revisited: Novelty Without ADD

I know a few trainees in need of these.
I know a few trainees in need of these.

Last year a wrote a post about making haste slowly, basically about accepting the fact that past the pure newbie stage of any activity, gains slow, which often stifles motivation. While that post was just a short blurb about an idyllic, rational, stoic world, the truth is that trainees have a hard time sticking to a routine for an extended period of time. But that’s really the most important part of the equation for long term gains. Let’s talk about some ways of keeping a program novel without being a 21st century ADD, zero-progress basket case. Continue reading

Interview: JC of JCD Fitness

JC...extra studly.
JC...extra studly.

This is a first for me and I sure hope you enjoy it. I wanted to add a certain level of insight that a dialogue can allow for that a long-winded article doesn’t. JC’s blog, JCDFitness, is a voice of common sense for younger guys starting off on their fitness adventure.  On top of that, JC is the dude who designed my new banner, which I think is pretty bad ass.  I wanted to dig into JC’s brain for some perspective on a variety of topics. Continue reading