BCAAS on Keto

BCAAs on Keto

Branch chain amino acids- A very common substance known fairly well in bro science and gym culture. BCAAs have been around for a long time and are commonly part of any hardcore gym goers supplement stack. A lot of people don’t really know much about these and yet spend hundreds of dollars and drink gallons of it a year. What does it really do? Is it good for a ketogenic athlete? There is a lot of mystery around BCAAs and there effect on fat adapted individuals.  Lets take a moment and break down what they are and how essential they are for us as human beings. 

BCAAs – What are they?

Branch chain amino acids are literally that. They are the chain amino acids , the ‘building blocks’ of muscle growth in our bodies. The three BCAAs are Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine These three branch chain amino acids are called such due to the fact that they are the only three amino acids with a branch hanging from the side. Together, they represent around 35–40% of all essential amino acids present in your body and 14–18% of those found in your muscles. BCAAs play several other roles in your body too. First, your body can use them as building blocks for protein and muscle. Leucine is thought to have the biggest impact on your body’s capacity to build muscle proteins. Isoleucine and valine are more effective at producing energy and regulating your blood sugar levels. Valine is also a great nitric oxide enhancer and can help create the ‘pump’ effect we see so often in the gym.

Do we need BCAAs?

In short, yes we do. As you read above, BCAAs make up of 35-40% of our amino acid profile. Whats also ironic is that all three of these amino acids are essential. This means that our body does not produce them and we have to get them from external sources. Surprisingly , BCAAs are a lot more common than you probably think. As most supplement companies would have you believe that you cant get an adequate amount with out drinking their state of the art powder, the truth is a lot more simple. Food! A diet built on whole foods gives you plenty of amino acids! Lets give an example – BEEF ( Leucine 3165mg per every 100g , Valine 1918mg per every 100g & Isoleucine .4g for every ounce (28g). If someone were to eat 1lb of beef a day they would intake up to 10g of Leucine! The recommended anabolic dose is only 3g! There are also many more strong sources such as – Parmesan, chicken, pork & pumpkin seeds! With all of these amazing whole food sources out there, it is safe to say that as long as you are eating a meat based- whole food diet, your on the right track. So what is the purpose of drinking BCAAs in the first place? If you are a carb based athlete and in the middle of a competition prep or cut, it could help significantly with maintaining more muscle mass. As far as ketogenic based athletes, there is not much research done on this subject. It has been shown that due to ketones muscle sparing properties, supplemental amino acids have little effect on fat adapted individuals if any at all. In fact, due to most amino acids spiking blood sugar, one could say that drinking them could be detrimental to over all muscle mass goals. I am currently doing an experiment of drinking 5g of pure leucine immediately after my workout.  Surprisingly, even though amino acids have been shown to spike blood sugar, leucine is the only ketogenic amino acid. This means that it is the only amino acid that can be converted into ketone bodies. That along with it playing a major role in protein synthesis, it shows a lot of promise to help with muscle growth for the fat based athlete. My N=1 experiment has just started so only time will what its effectiveness really is. 


So in conclusion we can sum it up in 6 basic points :

1. BCAAs are chained amino acids that make up almost half of our amino acid profile

2. They are essential and have to be ingested from an outside source.

3. A meal rich in meats and whole foods provides plenty of all BCAAs

4. Powders for the carb based athlete may be beneficial during an extreme calorie deficit. 

5. Due to ketones muscle sparing properties, amino acid supplements are not needed on a ketogenic diet. 

6. Leucine show potential promise to be a great aid in muscle building for the fat adapted individual.


Gluconeogenesis – Is it good on Keto?

Gluconeogenesis- Is it good on Keto?

Gluconeogenesis is a hot topic in the keto community right now. What exactly is it? Gluconeogenesis is your body's ability/process of taking non-carbohydrate sources of fuel and converting them into sugar. The biggest misconception about this process is that it is bad and it is triggered by excess protein. This is not necessarily true. In fact there are many sources your body uses for this process. Some of them include lactate, amino acids and even fatty acids. Here is a video going into depth about the process itself.  See, truth of the matter is that we are all experiencing gluconeogenesis right now! The following are three of the biggest reasons I believe that gluconeogenesis is a healthy and needed process on a ketogenic diet -   

1. Glycogen stores

2. Brain fuel

3. Blood sugar levels

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Glycogen stores

If you love the feeling of looking filled out and big at the gym, you can thank gluconeogenesis for that if your a ketogenic athlete. When transitioning into a fat adapted individual, your body finds itself in an interesting situation. It has no carbs to fill glycogen for explosive exercise. So what does it do? Gluconeogenesis! Your body decides to open up this metabolic pathway and take lactate, amino acids and even fat and turn it into glucose to be stored for later use! Another amazing thing is your body's ability to become very proficient at using and storing glycogen as a fat adapted individual. In Dr. Ryan Lowerys podcast "What The Fat" , we learn during his episode with Craig Emmerich that our bodies are very efficient at creating and utilizing glycogen on a ketogenic diet. In one study they reference, fat adapted athletes and carbohydrate based athletes started off at different glycogen levels.  At the end of the exercise they had exactly the same amount remaining! In another study referenced, they found that ketogenic based athletes and carb based athletes restore glycogen levels at the same rate! Based off their findings, it is clear that your body not only needs glycogen but, in a fat adapted state, your body's ability to create it is efficient and safe. Here is a link to listen to the podcast

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Brain fuel & Blood sugar

Our brain needs glucose, to some degree. Specifically around 30% of your brain's fuel needs to come from glucose. If we are fat adapted individuals and generally only 1-5% of our daily intake is carbohydrates, where does our body get this fuel? It makes it itself! Our bodies ability to create its own means of providing itself specific fuel is amazing. One of the amazing things people first notice on a ketogenic diet is their bodies ability to stabilize blood sugar levels. Usually people only address the fact that there is typically no rise in blood sugar. However, few notice why there isn't a drop. This is a clear indicator that our body has an amazing ability to create homeostasis by creating its own amount of glucose needed to keep blood sugars at a steady number. Your body really is an amazing machine. 


Excess Protein?

In another podcast Dr. Lowery explains that our bodies have what we would consider a thermostat when it comes to the nutrients we take in. Too far to one side or the other and our bodies will adjust accordingly. Many fat adapted individuals I know can go as high as a 1:1 ratio of fat to protein (1 gram of fat to 1 gram of protein) and still be above 0.5 mmol in their blood ketone levels.  Now, is this most optimal? For some individuals including myself it is not. However, we can gather based off of the evidence that as long as your protein does not exceed your intake in fat, your body will stick to using fat as its primary fuel source and use the protein for secondary needs.

In Conclusion-

Your body has an amazing ability to use multiple sources of fuel to create glucose for itself

Gluceneogenesis has an important role in our body's ability to be fat adapted 

As long as protein is kept in check (keeping it at a 1:1 ratio or lower) Your body will prefer fat as its primary fuel source on a ketogenic diet. 

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Life Tips – Consistency

Consistency - The Key to Success 

“It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It's what we do with consistency.”
― Anthony Robbins

Consistency, a word that gets over looked a lot but at the same time is so vital to accomplishing our goals. Whether its weight loss goals, business goals or simply family health. Consistency is needed, the ability to do the right things over and over again the right way. I want this to blow your mind. By the time your done reading this, I hope you perceive your goals differently. I want to give you two analogies about consistency that will challenge the way you might look at the details. 

Details Matter 

Imagine with me, if you will, a painting. Starry night for example. Now, when you see this amazing piece of art, most see it for what it is , a starry night. I however take a much deeper look. Have you ever stopped and considered every stroke made in that painting? All the time put in thinking about the contrasts, the light colors, the dark colors. What about the curves, the different kind of strokes made over and over again? Vincent Van Gogh knew the details make the masterpiece. He knew the consistency needed to make the final piece of art come to life.  Its pointless to have a goal and not consider the small things it will take to get there. Weighing your food at every meal. Going through your morning checklist when you open up the shop. With Persistence hitting a goal is possible but without Consistency, you will not keep it. 

Understanding Growth

Being as I am a bodybuilder I want to talk about gaining muscle. Muscle growth is not made from going to the gym and having one workout and calling it a week. It takes work, A LOT of work. There is no once a week or choosing not to eat. It is an absolute grind that requires consistent effort. Notice as well that it's not just showing up, you have to be consistent with. The intensity, the eating and the muscle mind connection. I could go on and on about different little things that cause the final result. So many people want to sweat a little, do a weight that is heavy enough to make them gasp for air or maybe even scream a little. Are you willing to do that every day? Are you willing to throw an extreme level of intensity at your goals everyday? Are you willing to do it again and again and again regardless of whats going on around you? What are you willing to do to get your goals.  Results in life do not come from lottery tickets, that is luck. Results come from the grind. The willingness to put in the effort day in and day out regardless of how you feel or what is going on around you.

I'm going to tell you something I tell my clients. If you are not willing to put in the day to day effort, you do not really want it. Do you want to know what it takes to achieve your goals? Your ability to push past barriers, to set schedules and follow through or to follow your macros to the gram. The willingness to stick to your plan no matter what is going on around you. Can you be consistent ? Do the little things matter to you? What are you willing to do over and over and over again to get what you want ? 

“One bulb at a time. There was no other way to do it. No shortcuts--simply loving the slow process of planting. Loving the work as it unfolded. Loving an achievement that grew slowly and bloomed for only three weeks each year.” 
― Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards, The Daffodill Principle

Jonathan Shane - DSK Coach

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Deeper State Carnivore – My Keto – Carnivore Experiment

Keto & Carnivore , two words used a lot in the same group of friends. While sometimes being vastly different, when put together can become something else all together. This is what I set to find out, if combining the deeper state keto high fat protocol and a meat only diet would yield results.  I was pleasantly surprised by this experience and in this post I want to share my findings with you. We will cover both what I ate and the results of this 20 day experiment, both the mental and physical aspects. 

Keto - ​Carnivore Food

Being that I am a certified foodie, making this creative wasn't so hard. The diet was made up of your basic high fat cuts of meat (pork belly , 80/20 ground beef, short ribs & rib-eye).  The photo above is a highlight of this 20 day meal plan as it was by far the best thing I ate. What you are captivated by is what I call the Carnivore Burger. Two 1/2 lb patties with goat cheese between my creation, the carnivore biscuit. You can find the recipe to the biscuit on this Instagram  link. Oh and in case your wondering, yes it is 100% meat. I played with my protein threshold a little and to my surprise it was a little higher than the standard DSK ratios (probably due to the lack of carbs). So during the experiment my ratios stayed roughly around 77%fat , 23% protein & 0% carbs. A good tip for volume if you want to give it a go is when making ground beef, pour it in into a bowl of beef broth. Take my word for it, it is very satisfying.  Week two I re-introduced eggs and butter and that was a very smooth transition without any adverse effects. I am currently going into week four and have re-introduced goat cheese and sheep milk yogurt. So far I tolerate these two things just fine. The only tip I would give is to make sure you start with nothing but meat, salt and water and add things one at a time to assess your tolerance. You would be surprised what kind of food sensitives surface when doing this type of diet.  I personally really enjoy it. I crave meat all the time now, so nothing makes me bounce around more than the though of a medium-rare steak. YUM! 


In case you are wondering, no I did not expect to get extremely leaned out during this time frame. The fact that over the 20 day period I increased my daily caloric intake by 400 calories would make it obnoxious to make such a claim. However, the results were still very awesome! Over the 20 days I lost a total of about 10 lbs. Keep in mind that I just got off a show prep and was stuffing my face so I am 100% positive a lot of that was just built up junk. That is the point though! Look at the photo above, specifically the dip in the mid-abdominal area over the 20 day period. To me that is a clear indication of reduced gut bloat, inflammation and water retention. 

As I said before I just got off prep and if anyone one of you have experienced that, the sweet cravings can be bad. Which leads me to my next point, physiologically this is the strongest I have felt towards my food control since 6 weeks out from my show. It has blown my mind how well it reset my hormones & my mental state when it came to my relationship with food.

Finally, I want to talk about the strength improvements. Coming off a show you are very weak, its almost hard to explain. The first 14 days nothing changed, I was seeing slow increase just due to my body getting fed better and so on. Then this week something amazing happened! I was stronger on all my core lifts! To be specific I even dead lifted 405 LBS!! That was a really big deal to me for no other reason except the fact that i have not been able to do that for over a year. To be able to do it 10 weeks post- show just solidifies to me two things.

1. You don't need carbs to gain muscle

​2. Red meat and muscle gain have a strong correlation.


​Over all this was an amazing experience for me. It helped me not only record data for my Deeper State Carnivore Protocol but in the process I-

1. Reduced inflammation and over all bloat

​2. Got control over my eating and cravings

3. Hit new PR's with out ANY CARBS

So if you want to give keto - carnivore a shot , I say give it the old college try. Whats the worst that could happen? You have to eat butter covered steaks for a couple weeks. Sounds like a pretty awesome time to me!

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