Slow Lifting (3 of 4): Eating Protocol
Read Part 1 for more context on what slow lifting is and why you might want to use this exercise protocol. Read Part 2 for how to lift slowly during your weight training workouts.
Read the Primary Nutrition Changes section below for the high-level adjustments I made to my eating habits to support Slow Lifting. Read the Eating Protocol Details for more specifics and an example protein shake. Read the Sample Meal Plan for a day in the life of my stomach.
Primary Nutrition Changes
My guiding principles for eating during this time frame were:
- Low-carb for blood sugar control, fat-burning, mental clarity,
- More protein to aid muscle-building from the Slow Lift program
- More fat to create a caloric surplus. However, fat is the macronutrient I’d adjust up or down depending on whether I was stalling with lifts, hungry, gaining too much weight, etc.
- 1 or 2 cheat “periods” per week from 2 – 8 pm Saturday and/or Sunday
Eating Protocol Details
- I ate 50 – 100 grams of carbs per day. I decreased this from 100 – 200 g normally.
- I ate very little bread, rice, pasta, potatoes during the week.
- Most of my daily carbs came from bananas, blood oranges, heavy vegetables, Rx bars, and dark chocolate.
- I increased protein 25-50 g per day with an extra protein shake (ingredients below).
- This supported the muscle growth from the Slow Lift sessions, which were clearly stimulating muscle breakdown. The goal was to use the extra protein to help with recovery and growing stronger.
- I typically eat between .75 – 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. The 25-50 g increase kept me at closer to 1g per day. That’s 185g of protein since I weigh 185 pounds.
- I increased fat 25-50 g per day through almond butter, peanut butter, nuts, olive oil, etc.
- If I was hungry, I ate more fat. If I felt like my lifting progress was stalling from too few calories, I ate more fat. If I felt like I was gaining too much weight, I might have reduced fat but this never happened. Usually, the lack or presence of hunger pangs guides me in the right direction so I don’t overeat.
- I used intermittent fasting (IF) from 10 pm – 12 pm (14 hours) 1-3 days per week.
- This means I didn’t eat anything and only drank water and decaf coffee during this timeframe. Technically, the decaf coffee breaks the fast but I didn’t see this significantly impacting by improved insulin sensitivity the rest of the day.
- If you want to learn more about how IF works and the benefits, check out this Intermittent Fasting article from James Clear.
- On Saturday or Sunday afternoons, I typically eat whatever I want. I’d purposefully carb up to see how my body would react. Plus, eating croissants is fun. Specifically, my cheat days had 1 or 2 cheat “periods”, usually between 2 – 8 pm although Sunday’s dinner would always be a proper, nutritious meal. Breakfast was always fasting or clean eating (LINK).
- To limit the damage of high-carb eating during my cheat “periods”, I use several tactics.
- I normally start the Cheat Day binge after a hard workout like a Saturday morning EWOD (CrossFit Endurance Workout) – LINK.
- In mid-afternoon, I complete forty bodyweight Squats, Presses, and Pulls. Read this 5-Minute Bodyweight Exercise article for details on this habit.
- Later in the day I might just use isometric holds to trigger my muscles to suck up excess glucose from decadent desserts. If you haven’t performed isometric holds, think of squeezing your muscle as hard as possible like your biceps on a biceps curl or your quad on a leg extension. You can contract your muscles the same way standing up. Just squeeze. This is like a standing Pavel Plank.
Day After Protein Shake
- 8 oz Unsweetened Vanilla Coconut Milk
- 20-30 g Egg White Protein from TrueNutrition.com
- 3-4 tbsp Cacao Powder
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tbsp Flaxseeds or Chia Seeds
- 1/3 Banana
- 2-4 tbsp Peanut Butter
- 1-2 cups Greens (Spinach, Kale, Chard)
- 1-2 tbsp MCT Oil Powder
Sample Meal Plan
- Decaf espresso – La Colombe Monte Carlo or Mad Hat Las Serranias
- Protein Shake (on days after Slow Lift workout, otherwise I fasted)
- La Calombe, Mad Cap, or Intelligentsia Coffee – Espresso or French Press
- Cured Pepperoni
- Organic Cheese
- Sliced Peppers or Carrots
- Hummus or Guacamole
- Handful of Nuts
- Espresso – Again 😃
- Rx Bar
- Baked, Black Pepper, Turmeric Skin-On, Bone-In Chicken Thighs
- Salad or Arugula, Cheese, Pine Nuts, Red Onion, Olive Oil, and Lemon
- Siggi’s High-Fat Yogurt