Ask Coach Allan

(Complete legend) #61

But that’s the point. It’s giving you a figure, and people will believe it.

(Robert C) #62

You can see trends with that kind of scale (an absolute number should be from a DEXA scan). The most important thing is hydration. If you cut off all liquids at a consistent time the previous day - your scale will be much more accurate on a body fat % trend. Google will give you more details on how to optimize further but, consistent hydration is (by far) most important.


I have one of those scales as well, and I also regularly estimate using the Navy measurement method. The two methods vary by only a couple of percentage points for BF and my lean body mass is different by about 4 lbs. Given that I’m currently about 220 lb. and nearly 50% fat, I think that’s a reasonable margin of error. Just because it’s giving me a number, I don’t believe that it’s 100% accurate and I don’t need it to be.


I love your presence on here and your advice to everyone, but for those who are not familiar with the concept of going to failure, I just want to point out that the most prominent “bros” of this particular science are rather convincing:

Dr Doug McGuff author of Body By Science, the primary reference for super-slow resistance work to failure. This video is great overview on the importance of strength training in general
Dr Ted Naiman this is a short (18’) video that is a terrific primer on the importance of resistance work and the power of going to failure

Your muscle needs stimulus, as you said, and failure is an incredibly powerful stimulus. Since resistance work to failure is usually done very slowly, it’s also has a very low injury rate - there’s no momentum, which is where we generally hurt ourselves - and it’s extremely time-effective.

As you said, going to failure is not necessary! But I just want to make sure that folks who are new to exercise don’t dismiss it out of hand because of your comment.

(PSackmann) #65

I use the Navy method as well, and consider it to be a way to trend where my BF % is going. I know it’s not an absolute, but if it goes down I know I’m going in the right direction.

(Scott) #66

All I can say is at 15% BF I started to see abs and at 20% I started to see belly. So now I aim to be under 20% and in my opinion a useful tool. Until I cross check with another device I will never know how accurate it is but thats okay as long as it is showing the overall trend up or down accurately.

(Allan Misner) #67

I agree, there can be a place for training to failure. I interviewed Dr. McGuff for my podcast. One of the key takeaways from the book and my time with him was that the specialized equipment he used was a bigger factor than training to failure or the speed. His equipment provides a direct relational resistance.

That said, yes you can get good results training to failure. But very few people like failing at squats, leg presses, or bench presses unless they have a good spotter.

(Alec) #69

I am a runner. 55 yrs old. Overweight, but losing gradually though keto and IF. Goal is to do 5k parkrun as quick as I can. Current PB is 24.23.

Currently recovering fitness after a calf injury and some weight gain: rebuilding strength and fitness now, but it is very slow progress. Current race time 30 mins (it’s a long way back to PB-land!)

Current training plan:
M rest day
T speed workout, intervals of various lengths with equal recovery (30secs to 5mins) 6k total; speeds above or below current 5k race pace depending on interval length
W base run; slow (1.5 mins/k below current race pace); 6k
T base run; slow (1.5 mins/k below current race pace); 6k; sometimes miss this depending on how I feel
F rest day
S parkrun (5k time trial); usually run it hard; 5k
S long run; building long run up by 1k per week, currently at 11k, will probably max out at 15k

What do you think? Any suggestions for improvement?

(Allan Misner) #70

It could be one of a few different things:

  • Your electrolytes could be low, especially if you’re sweating a lot during your workouts. You may want to supplement to get some sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Also, make sure you’re staying hydrated.
  • It could be the beginnings of adrenal fatigue caused by overtraining. Have you tried taking a couple of days off for general recovery?
  • It could be that your glycogen stores are depleted. Many people who are highly active can tolerate more carbs. You could have some (like you said, 10 grams) and see if that helps. The 20 gram limit is just a general guideline, not a commandment. Experiment and see how your body reacts.

(Allan Misner) #71

Before we get too far down the rabbit hole, what was the cause of the calf injury?

Beyond that, I don’t see any strength or mobility work. It looks like a totally fine running program, but from my experience, stronger runners get fewer injuries and run faster.

(Alec) #72

I thought you might ask that! It was because I was an idiot and made a complete rookie mistake despite having 5 years recent running experience: I was coming back after about 8 weeks with low volume due to stress and overwork, thought I was bulletproof, and went from doing about 10k per week to doing a 45k week on holiday. What an idiot! At the end of that week I developed a torn calf which came on over a 10k run at the end of that week.

I am not generally injury prone. Prior to this I have had one slight hammie tear 4 years ago (another rookie overdoing it mistake), and one slight niggle in a hip a year ago. A bigger issue for me is that when I overtrain I get viruses, but this has not happened recently while I have been keto.

I don’t strength train, and it is something I often think about doing but never execute properly. I have recently bought the McGuff Body by Science book and was thinking of doing a Thursday short slow weight training session at a gym. I used to do body pump religiously but not done that for a decade or more.

I have dabbled in mobility work, but again poor execution. I am not a fan of stretching as I see the studies that conclude stretched runners actually get injured more.

But I get the difference between mobility and stretching. Any particular mobility regime you support/prefer?

Thanks for the feedback.

(Allan Misner) #73

BBS is a good book and his protocol works well.

I’d consider other functional lifts (something Dr. McGuff and John Little don’t agree with me). I feel this way because strength without power isn’t all that useful.

Mobility would really just be focused on the muscles what are tight. Especially if they are affecting your movement pattern and running gait.

(Edith) #75

I apologize for piping in on your thread @AllanMisner.

How long have you been following a ketogenic diet? If it has only been a few weeks, then that will explain why you are tiring from your workouts. It takes almost two months and for some people longer for their muscles to learn burn fat for fuel.

(Alec) #76

How would I know whether an area was tight? Is just my own opinion of what feels tight good enough? I often think my hips are neither flexible or strong, also my hammies often feel tightish, but not overly so. Or is it better to go get a review done by a physio?

(Jay Patten) #77


Thank you for taking time to answer all of these questions. We greatly appreciate it!

I have been keto for 16 months and I started strength training again about 5 weeks ago after I had met- and maintained- my weight goal.

I am no stranger to the gym or to strength training (10 year vet) but I have NEVER seen gains as quickly as I have had in the last month. My workouts are short- 30 minutes- but they are intense with very little rest in between sets and emphasis on good muscle contractions.

I have two questions for you.

First, for even better gains, should I be drinking a post workout keto protein shake, or is that just bro science? I normally eat OMAD, so there is a large span of time between working out and eating.

Second, I have noticed that my legs cramps are coming back 10x worse than ever before. I’m not new to keto so I am familiar with its diuretic effect and the need for additional electrolytes. What I can’t figure out is how much sodium, potassium and magnesium I should be taking now that I’m working out. How much potassium is too much when I’m urinating frequently? (I feel like that has a lot to do with it). Or maybe I need to get off of OMAD so that I can take electrolyte suppliments multiple times a day with food? (Instead of just after dinner, which used to work, but doesn’t any more).

(Edith) #80

How much electrolyte are you actually getting in your drops?

If you are not getting enough salt, everything else gets thrown out of whack. You need about 5g of sodium a day. I believe that’s almost 3 teaspoons of Himalayan salt, for example. For the amount of exercising you do, you may need even more salt than that.

(Jay Patten) #81

Yes, I do supplement magnesium, potassium and salt. Unfortunately my usual dosage is no longer working for me anymore, so I have increased all three. I’m just not not sure how high I should go. I am also taking Vali electrolyte salt capsules before and after my workout as well. It’s just strange to me how I had everything all under control but now since I’ve started strength training I’m all out of whack.

(Allan Misner) #82

A physical therapist or a trainer with corrective exercise specialization and experience could look at your movement and do an assessment. If you have a desk job, your hips and calves are likely tight. If you work on a keyboard, your chest may be as well.

One of the best self tests is to do an overhead squat and video yourself from front, side, and back. And then put your heels on 45 plates (or a 2 x 4) and video yourself doing an overhead squat from the side. Any compensations you make from a clean squat will tell you something is tight.

Feel free to PM me or email me at if you’d like to dive deeper on this.

(Allan Misner) #83

This is a great question. Yes, there is a minuscule value to consuming some protein (amino acids) during the “feeding window” after a workout. If you were a professional bodybuilder that could make a difference come contest time. For the rest of us, probably not. Your body is always breaking down protein in the body and therefore, there is always some available amino acids in circulation. You do need protein to build, but it is likely not that important when you consume them.

There are also many questions about how much protein your body can digest and use over a given period of time (per meal). I haven’t seen much science on this, but the general rule of thumb is 30 - 50 grams. I’ve had good results (as have some of my clients) building muscle while intermittent fasting. I generally believe eating throughout the day is the optimal way to gain muscle (as is overeating). So, it really is a trade off between how you want to eat OMAD or IF and optimizing your muscle mass gains.

Each time I go in for a blood lab, I have my sodium and potassium checked. I run on the low side so this is something I have to manage on a daily basis. Each of us is unique and there are many ways to get in your electrolytes. Next time you get a check up, I’d get the electrolytes checked. If they are good, then you might want to try some vitamin K and/or pickle juice (for on the spot relief).

Great approach to resistance training. No need to spend hours in the gym. Intensity and intention builds strong bodies.

(Ethan) #84

Due to aortic aneurism, I am not permitted to lift heavy weights anymore. I have been working out with the OYO Gym (, which I helped Kickstart. The workout is very different from what I used to do when I was a standard weightlifter with free weights. Now, a standard routine is 36 minutes of total exercise and about 4 minutes of breaks within. Instead of high-resistance, low reps, this is high reps at low weight. What are your thoughts on this type of exercise?