Friday, February 27, 2015

Ketones, Inflammation, and Some Thoughts on Cholestrol

The article linked above is kind of important.  One of the points I make repeatedly in my manifesto is that in regard to the ketogenic diet, we are still in uncharted territory as there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered and there is a lot of important science that still has not been done.  (Even worse, there is a lot of science that has been done that just hasn't hit the mainstream as well though, too.  Check this book out to see a collection of it.)

In a part of the manifesto I spoke briefly on reduced inflammation with the ketogenic diet, I think with regard specifically to more and healthier mitochondria, but I remember I also linked out to the /r/keto subreddit, stating that reduced inflammation is one of the most common side effects brought up by new dieters.  Browse /r/keto for a while and you will see it come up in so many different ways it is astounding.

The ketogenic diet is being studied as a new possibility for the treatment of many diseases, mostly inflammation based, all the way from acne to arthritis, bipolar disorder to Alzheimers, and diabetes to atherosclerosis.  The link above says that Yale University has discovered a direct link between Beta-Hydroxybuterate, one of the prevalent ketone bodies, and inhibition of one of the components of what they call the "inflammasome."  Please take time to read the article at the link above.

This would explain a lot.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


THE VIKING MANIFESTO: Piecing Together a New Approach to Nutrition and Training for Swimmers from Scientific and Anecdotal Evidence.

Part 6: USRPT.  Duh.

Okay guys, it's time to add one more thing to the list of topics to avoid when you are drunk:  the list is now religion, politics, nutrition, your friend's mom, and USRPT.  That’s right SwimSwam commenters, I know which of you loudmouth regulars is playing that game where you take a shot every time Braden mentions Michael Andrew’s name in an article.  If the SwimSwam comments section was a bar, I know which of you guys I would want to party with.

Yup, in case you haven't already pieced it together, the Viking does Ultra-Short Race Pace Training.  What other type of training could I fit in with only 20-30 minutes, two or three times a week to swim?  

Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and don’t waste a lot of time training old-school when you could be doing USRPT.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

THE VIKING MANIFESTO Part 5: Muscle Fiber Types, Recruitment and Specificity

THE VIKING MANIFESTO: Piecing Together a New Approach to Nutrition and Training for Swimmers from Scientific and Anecdotal Evidence.
Part 5: Muscle Fiber Types, Recruitment and Specificity.

bullcrap meter.GIF
At this point, I hope my arguments are interesting enough that you want to read more, but I understand if you feel like this guy. It's a lot to take in.

In the last chapter we focused on energy metabolism within the muscle, paying particular attention to the idea that mitochondrial density, the utilization aspect of the supply vs. utilization argument, is supremely important, and that the ketogenic diet may enhance this metabolic adaptation in athletes.  This would open the door for the LCHF diet making a difference in swimming no matter the race distance.  Today, we are still on the topic of metabolism, but we will also be looking more at the supply side, as well as looking into how it applies to the concept of specificity, which should be at the heart of any athletic training, especially for a sport as training and technique intensive as swimming.

Monday, February 16, 2015

THE VIKING MANIFESTO Part 4: LCHF and Energy Metabolism Within the Muscle

THE VIKING MANIFESTO: Piecing Together a New Approach to Nutrition and Training for Swimmers from Scientific and Anecdotal Evidence.
Part 4:  LCHF and Energy Metabolism Within the Muscle

In part 3 I explained that while VO2 max may be important, focusing training on raising anaerobic threshold to maintain longer durations at high intensities that are close to VO2 max would probably yield more applicable results. I then presented research that implies that a low carbohydrate, high fat diet can help improve this aspect of aerobic conditioning, even in already extremely fit athletes, by making fat a more available and faster burning fuel.  Now I intend to show that the implications for adaptation to the LCHF diet go beyond long-distance swimming at low intensity levels.  

To do this, I must start with some of the perceived limitations to the LCHF diet and why they might not be limitations at all.  

Thursday, February 12, 2015

THE VIKING MANIFESTO Part 3: LCHF and Aerobic Capacity

THE VIKING MANIFESTO: Piecing Together a New Approach to Nutrition and Training for Swimmers from Scientific and Anecdotal Evidence.
Part 3:  LCHF and Aerobic Capacity

In part 1 I gave you a summary of some general nutrition advice that seems to contradict most of what we have been taught all our lives.  In part 2 I laid out some of the science of swim training in relation to the energy zone descriptions recommended by USA Swimming.  This time, it starts to become about how a low-carb, high-fat LCHF diet matters to you, the swimmer or swim coach.  

Yup, this is kind of what researching for my manifesto felt like.

When I first started burrowing down the rabbit hole on this topic I saw unbelievable pictures of overweight and obese people who said they had tried everything and this was the first thing that ever worked to help them lose weight and keep it off.  I saw a lot of posts from body-builders who claimed they could gain muscle and get lean by eating fat.  I saw a lot of pictures of bro's from the gym showing off their progress and heard lots of stories about how everyone else at the gym (as well as their doctors) thought they were idiots until the progress in body composition and lipid profiles were obvious. The anecdotal evidence was overwhelming, and the science they presented and dissected was fascinating.

Interesting Stats at Complete Nutrition

A couple of my athletes have been stopping by a place called Complete Nutrition lately, which seems to be a place that focuses on supplements and meal replacement products for the bodybuilding crowd.  Both of these athletes are beyond high school age and it is nice to see them taking an interest in nutrition.  They have been asking me a lot of questions and bringing up things they are learning as they read up on it.

I got curious about visiting the store because one of those swimmers has been checking in there to get detailed stats on his body composition.  He was actually able to tell me how much his body fat percentage had improved and exactly what his lean mass is.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

THE VIKING MANIFESTO Part 2: Energy Systems and Swim Training 101

THE VIKING MANIFESTO: Piecing Together a New Approach to Nutrition and Training for Swimmers from Scientific and Anecdotal Evidence.
Part 2:  Energy Systems and Swim Training 101

Butter up that bacon and listen good… Viking is here to teach ya a little about fuel.

This post covers the three energy systems that contribute to the different intensities of athletic movement and how those relate to swim training.  I feel that while most coaches probably have a pretty good grasp on this topic, not all readers are coaches, and it never hurts to have a refresher.  Hopefully this helps us all to follow some of the ideas I am trying to get across throughout this multi-part series. Please understand that this is a simplified rundown on the complex science behind energy systems and training zones.  If you want more detail on the info I am summarizing here, there is more in-depth information available at the links throughout the article below. Much of the info here is cut, pasted and paraphrased from the links throughout the article.

Monday, February 9, 2015

THE VIKING MANIFESTO Part 1: The New Science of Healthy Eating

THE VIKING MANIFESTO: Piecing Together a New Approach to Nutrition and Training for Swimmers from Scientific and Anecdotal Evidence.
Part 1:  The New Science of Healthy Eating

Nutrition can often be like politics and religion. People tend to dig their heels in and stand up for their long held beliefs even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Sometimes they don’t even know how they first formed those beliefs. Unfortunately in America, when it comes to nutrition, much of our base knowledge stems from advertising.  

Feel free to add nutrition to the list of things you shouldn't talk about when you're drunk. I am not drunk right now but you might think I am when you hear me out. I came here to tell you that the standard nutrition advice you have heard all your life might just be completely wrong. The 60-70% carbohydrate, low-fat ideal is something that I have hardly heard anyone question in my thirty years of swimming, so I am taking it on with a few posts at SwimSwam along with more at the blog I share with Chris DeSantis, The Swim Brief.  A lot of what I will have to say here will be speculation based on things I have read, but all I can ask is that you follow along and form your own opinion as we go. I understand that I am not a world-class swimmer and I would qualify as merely a mediocre high school and club coach at best so it is hard to consider me any kind of an expert.  I also understand that I am not a nutritionist, and I am aware that many of the links I will direct you to are blogs and such, but if you follow them you will find all the science you need.  I can also direct you to more if you have questions.  This has become a passion of mine, as it was the launching pad for an unexpected and surprisingly successful comeback to swimming in my forties that would not have happened if I had never changed my relationship with food. I hope you can keep an open mind and follow me as I present the other side of the story regarding advances in the science of training and nutrition.