It has dawned on me that more recently, the Low Carb Revolution is becoming a reality. Wherever you look on the web, whether it be websites or social media, you can easily find something on the low carb/ketogenic lifestyle.
As many people are discovering, the low carb diet is nothing new. It’s not a fad, as it’s been around for pretty much the beginning of time.
In fact, I was first exposed to low carb strategies for weight/fat loss in the mid 1990’s. In 1995 I went to my first bodybuilding contest. Not to complete, but as a spectator. It was the Golds Gym Ironman Naturally Bodybuilding competition. I remember it like yesterday, because it was my first bodybuilding contest I attended, and the one that motivated me to compete in my first contest the following year. The trophy for the overall winner of the contest was a beautiful Excalibur style sword, which I really wanted to win. Sure, I could have went out and bought one, but it would be much better earned.
After that contest I decided to come back the following year as a competitor. At that point, at the age of 21, I had already been training off and on for over 10 years, and consistently for about 2 years. It was time to see the results of all the training. I say, “see the results” for a very specific reason, because I donʻt naturally have a super fast metabolism, and am not naturally lean. So though I had been training for quite some time, I donʻt think it would have been super obvious if you were to catch me on the street. So how was I going to get into contest condition? To stand on stage in my underwear, and actually look like a bodybuilder? Luckily, the contest was not for another year, so I had some time.
Over the next 8-9 months I trained hard to put on whatever extra muscle my body would allow. I also started talking to all the bodybuilder’s in the gym. Some were natural, and some were not, but they all had pretty much one thing in common, the contest diet. They all followed a low carb diet. Almost everyone I talked to had the same strategy. Low carbs for 2-4 days, followed by a high carb day, then repeat the cycle over and over, until you are shredded. There were also those who would eat complex carbs earlier during the day, then stop eating then at a certain time. Overall, they all drastically reduced consumption of carbohydrates.
Keep in mind, this was back in the 90’s. You couldn’t just Google, “how to get ripped.” Or look for your favorite YouTube video on the subject. In fact, I had already spent over 10 years reading bodybuilding & fitness books and magazines, and had never come across the secret to getting ripped. At that time it was almost like a secret code, or secret handshake. Either you knew how to do it, or you didn’t.
That is actually the very reason I titled my book, which is now available on Amazon, The Best Kept Secrets to Weight Loss Fitness & Building Muscle, because at that time it was pretty much a secret within the bodybuilding community.
I was fortunate that there were a number of good local bodybuilder’s in the gym I was training at in Hawaii. Both Chris Faildo, who I’d say is one of the best Natural Bodybuilder’s of all time, and Clifton Torres, who was one of Hawaii’s first IFBB Pro’s, were just a couple of the competitors in the gym at that period.
So I took the knowledge I acquired from the competitors I knew and used the same low carb strategies.
In 1996 I went back to the newly named Hawaii Natural Bodybuilding Championship and won my weight class, and was in the best shape of my life. After the contest, I did as many competitors do, I began eating all the carbs again, and started packing on weight. This was largely due to the concept that carbs were needed to build muscle, and that eating low carbs as a lifestyle was not healthy.
It was not until 2003 that I would set foot on stage again. It was also in 2003, that I came across Dr. Atkins book, New Diet Revolution. I read the entire book from cover to cover, and was convinced that low carbs was the way to go. However, at that time it was still a very controversial diet, and still is a bit today. Although, with many more new studies being done on the Low Carb/Ketogenic lifestyle, it’s acceptance is certainly growing in numbers with the mainstream public.
These days you hear the terms LCHF (Low Carb High Fat), Keto (Ketogenic), & Paleo, tossed around as if it’s some new-found diet fad. I still just refer to it as a Low Carb diet, because that’s the basis of it.
In the last 5 years more and more research and studies have been done on the low carb diet, and more and more evidence is pointing to the long-term health benefits of it. It’s no longer being viewed as just a quick fix, contest preparation strategy, but a strategy to live a healthier lifestyle.
You can find a detailed outline of exactly what I did, and what I ate to drop over 40 lbs. for my very first bodybuilding contest, using low carb strategies in my book, The Best Kept Secrets to Weight Loss Fitness & Building Muscle, now available on Amazon.