My Low Carb Experiment (12/1)

By: Arthur Anderson

A few months ago I thought I would try a low carb way of eating.  So I started with roughly a 50g/day carb diet, while still maintaining my protein intake and I didn’t pay too much attention to the fats.  Also I stopped adding supplements to my diet.  It seemed to be working okay for the first week or so, I wasn’t hungry and I was only eating 2-3 times per day.  Then I began to notice that I was getting less energetic towards my crossfit workouts and I wasn’t performing as well.   It couldn’t be the diet, right?  I was certainly getting enough protein.  Then I had my yearly blood test and wellness checkup and wasn’t as good as it was in the past, higher cholesterol, higher TSH, weight gain and higher blood pressure; this led to more frustration but I still wasn’t making the connection that maybe it was my diet.

Then about a month ago I stumbled across a podcast by Chris Masterjohn, a PhD in nutritional science, it was about carbohydrates and diet.  There is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate, like there is with protein, fats, vitamins and minerals, so your body has the capacity to make carbohydrates through a process called gluconeogenesis (the production of glucose).  Okay I knew that and that’s what I thought I was doing with my low carb diet.  But this is what I didn’t know, the process of gluconeogenesis can only take place by increasing stress hormones, specifically Cortisol which then leads to inflammation and the robbing of energy from other processes like antioxidant support, and nutrient recycling.

Your body stores glycogen (glucose) in the liver and the skeletal muscles.  The liver holds about 90g of glycogen and the muscles between 200 – 300g.  The liver’s job is to keep blood sugar normalized.  So in addition to the stress from gluconeogenesis I was also causing liver stress, I was robbing glycogen from the liver to normalize my blood sugar that was in turn being used by my muscles.  I had created a vicious circle for myself that explained many of the issues I was having.

I have raised my carb intake to about 150 – 200g/day and I am trying to eat 4-5 times/day so that I get enough calories.  I feel great and have started crushing my workouts again.  So circling back to the meaning of a low carb diet; it means providing just enough carbohydrates that doesn’t put stress on your body, but not so much that you are continually causing insulin spikes.  The couch potato can get away with 50g/day, a 5-day a week crossfitter may need 200g/day or more.


Group Class Workout

Warm Up:

20/15 calorie on a machine, 20 air squats, 20 hollow rocks, 20 banded good mornings, 20 scorpions, 10 stretch lunges

Finish with: 1 minute banded hamstring distraction, 20 PVC pass throughs


Strength: Deadlift

Welded: 6×3 at 70-75% (every 1:15)

Welded Lean: No strength





shoulder to overhead (95#/65#)

kettlebell swings (53#/35#)

calorie row

*18 minute time cap


Welded Lean:

Air Assault Bike

20 minutes of 30 seconds of work/30 seconds of rest

Rest 2 Minutes

Ski Erg

20 minutes of 30 seconds of work/30 seconds of rest

*80-85% effort


Mobility of the Day: Glute Smash (pg. 300)

Improves: Lower back and hip pain, “knee out” position