Don't Call Him The 'Keto Guy' - An Interview With Lyle McDonald.

Lyle McDonald is the authority on sports nutrition and more specifically low-carbohydrate dieting. Lyle recently took the time to tell me about his current training, life and the sport he loves. Read on for more...
If you have been around weight training for very long, you have probably heard of Lyle McDonald. A few years ago, he conducted an experiment on himself based on the Body Opus program by Dan Duchaine, and went onto make a name for himself with his book The Ketogenic Diet which established him as an authority on sports nutrition and specifically low-carbohydrate dieting. He probably knows more about low-carb dieting than anyone, but please don't call him the "Keto Guy".

What you may not know is that he is also a serious speed skater with designs on competing in the Olympics. Lyle recently took the time to tell me about his current training, life and the sport he loves.


[ DW ] Lyle, thanks for agreeing to do this interview.

    [ LM ] Thanks for asking.


[ DW ] Tell me about what you have been doing recently.

    [ LM ] Training, training and more training. I published two new books, The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook and The Guide to Flexible Dieting earlier this year, but except for that it's been full time training and wasting time on my web site, www.bodyrecomposition.com.

    At some point, I'll probably start a new book project, I'm always working on stuff in my head and doing research and stuff but getting it written down takes a while; everybody tells me that I should write something about training and give the diet stuff a rest.

    They are probably right. But I am very lazy. Except for training.


[ DW ] How did a guy who is know in the strength and bodybuilding world as a diet/nutrition expert get involved in skating?

    [ LM ] Actually, that's backwards. During college, I was involved in cycling and gymnastics (and of course, weight lifting) and got into in-line skating because all of my friends were into it; we played roller hockey on top of the parking structures and a few friends and I would go jump and ride stairs and do other testosterone induced stupidity.

    I really took to it and skated everywhere. Los Angeles was great for that, it's one big block of concrete. I'd skate around hours each day, I loved being on my skates. Still do although I rarely get to just tool around on my street skates right now.

    If you've ever had the misfortune of hearing various extreme athletes turn into gibbering retards when they talk about the purity and flow of their sport, and how it lets them feel free and blah, blah, blah; well, when I'm on my street skates just headed down the road skating, I am that gibbering retard.

    Anyhow, in the early 90's, races started showing up and I did a couple of 10k races with a cycling buddy. I even entered the Orange County Marathon on my crappy 4 wheel street skates (they let us race with the wheelchair athletes; those guys are amazing).

    At the same time, I was getting my major in kinesiology and started to become interested in the science of human performance. I had been researching the claims made in supplement ads in magazines and getting involved in a competitive sport just spurred me on.

    I continued competing (on better equipment) as an inline skater through my mid 20's (this was the mid 90's). Since I was never a naturally talented athlete (up until high school I was a fat little nerd, now I'm not fat anymore), I was always looking for ways to improve performance.

    I was a fat little nerd,
    now I'm not fat anymore.

    That meant studying training, nutrition, supplements, you name it; if I thought it could help my skating, I wanted to learn about it. Even in college and afterwards, I always had this idea of getting into ice speed skating but really had no opportunities. None that I was aware of anyhow.

    But, then, my chronic overtraining and OCD caught up with me and I simply burnt myself out on the training. 10-15 hours on the bike per week, skating workouts, interval workouts, weight room workouts. I was fried. So I retired for a bunch of years and futilely pursued powerlifting and bodybuilding, activities that I am simply not suited for.

    About that time was when I published my first book The Ketogenic Diet which was what had really driven me (because of a convoluted story involving a failed co-authorship) to really learn about nutritional biochemistry. That would have been 1996 and I had been living in Austin for about a year after moving from Nashville.

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    So, now fast forward to 2003, I'm in Austin basically doing nothing with my life. I had written two more books by that point and was just training without much purpose and living off of book sales, training a couple of female powerlifters.

    Of course, I was still a voracious student of performance training and nutrition and I finally decided to screw strength sports. I enjoy competing, my training is more focused with a specific goal, and I was never going to be more than mediocre in PL.

    So I decided to go back to the one thing I had been good at in a previous life: in-line skate racing. My final season of skating I had placed either top 10 overall or top 3 age group in every race, I was just short of making that jump to the next level of performance.

    I was vaguely aware that my technique had been poor when I was an inliner (coaches, who knew from skating coaches?) so I was determined to fix that. I did a lot of general CV conditioning like bike, Stairmaster, even some running and worked on my technique. For a while, I dropped strength training as it was interfering with my skate training.

    In the summer of 2004, I was dating a girl but still thinking about the ice. I was 34 and just had an itch. So I started doing some digging on the net, happened across some ice speed skating boots that were on closeout and didn't cost an arm and a leg. So I picked them up 'just in case' (meaning I'd already made up my mind on some level).

    It was also turning out that inline skating had moved almost exclusively to marathons, the 10k's I used to and wanted to skate really weren't being contested anymore because it wasn't financially viable for the promoters. And I didn't want to skate that far.

    Then I found that the Salt Lake City Utah Oval had an introduction to Long Track Ice camp at the end of that summer. I figured, you know, I've wanted to try the ice for 10 years now, I'm going. Just to say that I did it. So I did, the story of my camp experience (it was me, as the lone 34 year old new guy and 6 8-10 year olds who had been skating for a couple of years) is it's own story.


    Salt Lake City Utah Oval.

    I suffered a lot, learned a lot, but it planted a bug. It also pointed out to me how much more strength it takes on the ice than on inlines. I got back in the weight room as soon as I got back to Austin.

    As well, reading Derek Parra's book (he's an ex-inliner who switched to ice and is currently training to make his second Olympic team at the age of 35) told me that it might be possible, you know, to make something happen.

    Fast forwards a few weeks and I break up with the girlfriend, best thing that could have happened to me. I think about it and think about it and decide "You know, I'm not getting any younger and I have nothing keeping me in Austin, I'm gonna go for it." Go for what?

    I'm gonna pack up my life, move to Salt Lake City Utah and pursue this, try to make a National or Olympic team. Because even if I fail miserably, I knew that if I didn't go for it, I'd look back 10 years from now and wonder "What if."

    Trying and failing was much better of a choice than regretting and not knowing. I jumped headfirst into training, weight room, technical drills, walking every night with a weighted vest (ended up being wonderful GPP). Usually 3 sessions per day, one weight or cardio session, a technical session, and the vest walking. This ended up giving me a tremendous base for the skate training to follow.

    It took me a month to wrap stuff up in Austin, I packed up the U-haul and moved my life to Salt Lake City. Got me a starter ice blade, got a club ice punch card and a gym membership and got to work.

    I ended up training by myself initially because I was disappointed in the Oval program. Just focusing on technique and drills on the ice and spending a pile of time in the weight room trying to bring my maximal strength back up as rapidly as possible.

    Thankfully, I only had to maintain my aerobic base. But it was a brutal program, 6 days per week, 2-3 sessions per day. Purely short-term mind you. I was lifting 4 days/week, legs on all 4, jumping twice per week, on the ice 3X/week and aerobic maintenance 3X/week and short technical sessions in the early afternoon.


    Click Image To Enlarge.
    I Was Lifting 4 Days A Week.

    I didn't, and still don't, find most ice speed skaters to be friendly, I think it's that same elitist prick gene you find in cycling. Even after a month of skating club ice, I think I had talked to one person. But that one person knew this guy, an uber-coach, who was hanging around the rink.

    I introduced myself, he gave me some tips, I took him out to dinner and picked his brains for 2 hours. Now, I'm not the kind of guy to accept advice from many people, I'm too much of a know-it-all bozo, especially to put my training in someone else's hands.

    But this guy blew me away, he was like me, except his mind was dedicated to one thing: speed skating. I hired him that night and he started training me.

    So everything sort of came together at once. I had skated for nearly 10 years and just loved it.

    Then I burnt out and got into heavy weight training and pursued a sport which I was decidedly mediocre at, then decided to go back to skating and rebuilt my endurance base but the inline circuit wasn't where I wanted it to be, found some skates, found a camp, had nothing else going on and didn't want to regret it down the road and made my move.

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[ DW ] Tell me about the sport of skating in general.

    [ LM ] What I'm training for now is ice speed skating which, as the name suggests is speed skating done on a big block of ice. It has three primary disciplines:

    People are probably most familiar with short-track speed skating which is done on a standard ice hockey oval and a 111m track. In short-track, there are multiple skaters on the track and the first guy across wins. There are usually a number of qualifying heats leading up to a single final with so many skaters per round advancing.

    It's fairly exciting, a lot of falls, and it's a lot of passing and tactics; so you might actually see it on TV. Apollo Anton Ohno really popularized short-track after the last Olympics. The sport has taken off because of Ohno and the fact that it can be done on a typical ice hockey rink. It's just more accessible.

    Apollo Anton Ohno:
    A short track speedskater, Ohno won gold in the 1500 meters at the 2002 Winter Olympics. (The win was controversial; Ohno moved up to first after South Korean Kim Dong-Sung was disqualified.)

    He also won silver in the 1000 meters at Salt Lake City. Ohno was already something of a star: his youth, mixed ethnic heritage, signature "soul patch" chin whiskers and fast-moving sport had made him a 21st-century favorite with teen fans and the media.

    What I do is long-track ice speed skating which is done on a 400 meter oval (same size as a running track). So imagine the track running around a football field, that's how big the oval I skate on is. This really limits the sport as there are only a few ovals (and only two indoor) in the United States.

    It's a tough sport to get into because, if there's not a long-track oval nearby, you are out of luck. If you don't happen to live where the oval is, you have to really want to do it badly to pack up your life and move to where the facility is located. A lot of skaters start skating short-track and switch at some later date.

    There has been an increasing number of inliners making the switch as a few have shown some success.

    Derek Parra switched 8 years ago and set a World Record in the 1500m, Chad Hedrick was the top inliners in the world and won the World Championships in ice after only a year and a half of ice training (note that he played ice hockey from a young age so he knew how to move on the ice).

    Other inliners such as KC Boutiette (who's name I most certainly misspelled) and a few others have successfully made the switch. Just as many have tried to make the switch, become disillusioned with the lack of immediate results and given up.

    Derek Parra:
    In 1984 Derek began roller skating and by 1996 he had become the most decorated athlete in the history of the sport. As an inliner he was a three-time national champion, two-time overall World Champion, two-time World record holder (1500m and 42K) and earned eighteen individual gold medals.

    He was the most decorated athlete at 1995 Pan-Am Games winning 5 gold, 2 silver and a bronze medal. He had everything but an Olympic Medal. So in 1996, he switched from inlines to ice skates to chase after that medal. Just two years later he earned a spot on the 1998 US Olympic Team.

    Derek is also the first-ever Mexican American to compete in, and medal, in the Olympic Winter Games.

    Chad Hedrick:
    A 50-time World Champion in inline skating, Hedrick began speedskating in 2002...gold medalist in inline skating in 10,000-meter road, 20,000-meter elimination, 10,000-meter points race and men's 10,000-meter relay at 1995 Pan American Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina...also won silver medal in men's inline marathon (42 km) and bronze medals in men's 500 meters and 20,000-meter elimination race.

    KC Boutiette:
    KC Boutiette (born April 11, 1970) is an American speed skater from Tacoma, Washington. He was first of the wave of inline speed skaters who made the transition from inline to ice in order to have a shot at going to the Olympics.

    Among American speed skaters, Boutiette's story is half legendary. In 1993, he showed up at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, looking to gain a berth on the team that would be sent to the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. Although he had been a champion inline speed skater for years, Boutiette at that time had no ice speed skating experience at all. Nevertheless, within a few months he made the team.

    Although Boutiette has never won an Olympic medal, he demonstrated to other American inline speed skaters that the opportunity was there if they would give it a shot. Three of those who did, Derek Parra, Jennifer Rodriguez (now Boutiette's wife), and Joey Cheek, won five medals at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    In any event, long-track has two primary disciplines.

    The first is pack style where 4-8 skaters are on the ice at once. As with short-track, there's a lot of tactics, pacing, drafting, etc. First guy across the line wins, it's very simple. I don't do that style of skating although it's actually a lot like the inline racing I used to do.

    You get big pace lines, skaters work together, it often comes down to a final sprint. But you also have to worry about someone falling in front of you or tripping, stuff that doesn't interest me right now.

    The second is Olympic Long-track skating which is what's contested at the Olympics. In it 2 skaters are on the ice at a time. But while they are technically racing one another (you at least have to beat your pair to win the event), they are really racing the clock.

    Distances raced include the 500m (the sprint), 1000m, 1500m, 3000m (primarily for women), 5000m, and 10,000m. That last one is 25 laps.

    Starting position can vary slightly depending on whether you start on the inner or outer lane and skaters change from the inner to outer lane on every backstretch to equalize the distance. But all that matters is who has the best time overall.

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    So you might have 15 pairs of skaters (30 total) skating a given distance. And the winner is just the guy with the fastest time.

    Honestly, watching Olympic long-track is dull as dirt unless you're Dutch or Norwegian (they eat that stuff up). Imagine watching a NASCAR style race with 2 cars on the track at a time, best time wins, and no crashing or chance of anything catching fire (skaters only metaphorically blow up or crash and burn).

    Or look at it from the skater's perspective, you can skate the race of your life, and might now know for another 30 minutes where you're going to place, until everybody else has skated and you see where you rank. It's not like other sports, or short-track or pack style where first guy across the line wins, period.

    On the one hand, it's a very pure sport, its man against the clock. If you get tripped or interfered with by the other skater, you can petition for a re-skate.

    There is only a tiny amount of drafting (as you cross lanes) and no tactics other than your own sense of pacing and 'go fast, turn left'. On the other, it's boring as hell to watch and not tremendously exciting to do.

    Within Olympic long-track, you find either sprint specialists, who race the 500m and 1000m or all around skaters (who race 500m, 1500m, 5000m, and 10,000m; women race a 3k and 5k instead of a 5k and 10k).

    The sprint guys race each distance twice, so they get to skate one starting inner and one starting outer (there are slight advantages to each) and are scored based on their cumulative times (I think, I'm not a sprinter). All-arounders are ranked according to a mathematical formula that weights the distances (essentially).

    It's complex, confusing - I'm not entirely sure I could explain it and this interview is boring enough already!

    There are also single distance events where you only race a single distance, some skaters focus on one or the other. This is especially true in an Olympic year since they don't have an all around competition at the Olympics, medals are handed out for single distances only.

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    Right now my coach is preparing me as an all-arounder although my favorite distance so far is the 1500m. I must be a masochist because the 1500m is recognized as the most painful of all events. It's like the 800m in track running, short enough that you have to go almost all out but long enough to really hurt.

    Which is actually why I like it, it's just slightly slower than the full sprints (so I can settle into a nice rhythm) but at only 3.5 laps, by the time it really starts to hurt, you're done.

    Contrast that to a 5k (12.5 laps) where, if you blow up early in the race, you're gonna suffer for the rest of it. You might have to skate 7-8 laps in misery. At least the 1500m is over sooner.

    There are also marathon competitions, some of which are done indoors (yawn, it's like 70-100 laps) but most are done outdoors on very large lakes or the canals. Over in Europe they race 100 and 200km races along the frozen canals.


[ DW ] What is your training like these days?

    [ LM ] Skating may be one of, if not the, most unique sports I've come across from a physiological perspective, not to mention that you couldn't come up with something more biomechanically screwy if you try.

    It is truly strange. I had originally conceptualized it as an endurance sport, but it's really not.

    For an all around skater, you have races which may last from 35-40 seconds (the 500m) up to 12-14 minutes (the 10k). Most of the distances are in what physiologists call 'The Mystery Zone" which is about 2-6 minutes. They are long enough that it isn't pure sprinting, but short enough that you need a lot of power.

    Add to that the fact that every glide on the skate has a prolonged isometric phase where you're just gliding, with a knee angle of 90-110 degrees. So there is this huge isometric strength (and strength endurance) component to hold the proper position. Then you get a weight drop/hip transfer and a push explosively to the side, into another glide.

    A typical stroke lasts a second of which .8 second is gliding and .2 seconds is pushing as hard as you can. Oh yeah, all of this is being done with a rounded back and your hips tucked under you. And despite the forward movement, you push sideways against the ice which is horribly unnatural from a movement standpoint.

    Turns are their own bit of nastiness as your left leg comes underneath you and your right pushes to the side.

    All done while you turn your shoulders out of the corner and lean your hips in, doing a controlled fall to let centrifugal force accelerate you. Skaters get horrible strength imbalances (and most have low back problems) from the asymmetry of the sport.

    What Is Centrifugal Force?
    A force that tends to move objects away from the center in a system undergoing circular motion. Centrifugal force keeps the water in a whirling bucket from spilling or throws a rider in a car against the door when the car goes around a sharp curve.

    As well, ideally you are supposed to relax on the straight-aways and really work the corners (where you pick up a lot of speed). So within any given lap, there is an interval nature where you go hard in the turns, relax on the straights, go hard in the turns.

    The sport is insanely technical and, frankly, most of my training has been on technique, especially last year and this summer. Relatively speaking, inlining is so much easier. On inline skates, you have these big rubber wheels on high friction pavement, you can get away with a lot of ugly stuff and do ok.

    On the ice, we are on a 1.1 mm blade on ice, the tiniest imperfections in your technique slow you down drastically. Technical skaters have really come to the forefront (compared to the mass monsters of yesteryear) as indoor ovals came into the sport.

    No longer did you have to be an Eric Heiden with 32 inch thighs because you were pushing on crappy ice against a headwind.

    A lot of littler guys with amazing technique (but with power to back it up) are winning the races. My coach, thankfully, is a technical and training master.

    He's spent 20 years dissecting every aspects of the stroke and turn (starts are their own nightmare since you start out running on the ice and transition into skating with a glide), I'm not sure all but a few actually skate up to his standards, even the top guys, although I intend to be one of them before it's all over.

    Sometimes being obsessive-compulsive isn't a bad thing!

    In any event, the sport requires a fine balance between: strength, power, technique and endurance. And it's a fine balance indeed especially that strength and endurance balance.

    Luckily, coming out of years in the weight room, I had a lot of raw strength. And the 1.5 years or so I spent rebuilding my endurance base gave me a hell of an endurance base.

    Where I'm really lacking is in technique and specific conditioning for skating. I also have to get over being scared out of my mind on the ice (finally happening this season) because I tense up.

    There is also this subjective thing called 'ice feel' that takes time to develop. Usually athletes who come to skating late do best if they come from another ice sport, coach had a female figure skater who made an Olympic team.

    Hockey players do well after they break bad hockey habits and, as I mentioned, Chad Hedrick played ice hockey for years in addition to being the dominant inline skater for literally years; he knows how to push a skate into the ice. I do not.

    There is something about learning to move on ice and apply your force into it properly that takes time and can't really be taught, skaters may train for years and never quite get it. My coach has told me that sometimes it just happens, during a workout even.

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    Skater is on the ice and suddenly he can look at them and go "Ok, now they are world class." I have no idea when that's going to happen for me, I'm hoping next Tuesday or so.

    My coach is a big believer in keeping us fresh, especially for technical reasons, he never wants us skating on tired legs because we will pick up/reinforce bad habits. At the same time, there's almost no such thing as a low-intensity skate workout. If you bend your knees to the proper angle, lactate will go above the magic 4 mmol/l.

    So almost all of our training ends up being high intensity. It's just a matter of how high intensity and you can make some adjustments with the distance you skate and rest intervals. So repeat 250m skates where you come in for technical feedback are far different than 3 lap race pace efforts.

    His ideal schedule, which we are more or less following, is to train every other day but twice per day, with the intervening days off. Because of the 7 day week, we end up training Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat with two sessions on each day.

    The other days are completely off or for light active recovery work (like light spinning on the bike). On average, I get in one light spin and the other two days are completely off to eat and play on the internet, since I'm just too exhausted to do anything else.

    Skaters don't actually train on the ice year round. Up until the advent of indoor ovals, skaters were typically faced with 6-8 months of dry land training. This included running, cycling, and a million and one dry land imitation drills to improve conditioning and technique when you couldn't skate.

    Skaters got very creative because they had to keep themselves occupied/interested for many months of training until the ice was ready. Now, it's not so bad since indoor ice is available around July. Our racing season ends in April.

    We did exclusively dry land training for 3 months during the summer, from the middle of April on. This included bike rides, weights, and either technical inline skating or a continuous dry land endurance workout alternating skating imitation drills with spinning on the bike.

    My coach has found that getting on the ice too early makes skaters go flat. Mentally, it's just a grind skating in an oval on big block of ice for too long. So even though ice was available early, we didn't skate on it.

    Currently we are fully into ice training. I skate every training day, in the earlier session and this usually means 3+ hours at the oval. I do a full one-hour warm-up with off ice drills and then 2 hours on the ice, then a cool down. The second session of each day is for general conditioning.

    2 days/week are in the weight room, 2 days per week are on the bike. Currently one weight workout is for power, one is for max strength (a schedule I suggested to him); on the bike we have one interval workout and one easy spin. We also do jumping drills twice per week as part of the weight room workout.

    On the ice, he takes a basic multi-tier approach to training, we currently have one sprint day, one anaerobic interval day, one tempo (race pace) day and one endurance day. Drills or technical work are always included as part of the warm-up both off ice and on.

    Additionally, my coach is willing to change the workout on the spur of the moment. If we look exhausted or flat, he'll change a hard workout into a technical workout. Volume is adjusted on the fly, he's about maximum quality and proper technical skating. He sees no point in sacrificing technique to do more work.

    On days when I have had technical aspects of skating clicking in during warm-up drills, he has foregone the normal workout so I could consolidate the improvement by continuing to work on it.

    I think that's why he's such a good coach, he has an overall plan but he's never a slave to it, he always lets what he's seeing us do on the ice, or what we're reporting to him factor into things.

    Racing starts in just over a month and Olympic trials are at the end of December, right after Christmas so I have about 4 months to qualify (you simply have to go faster than a specific qualifying time in a given distance).

    There will be 3 more months of racing after that, as above, the racing season end in April, then a short transition phase, then straight back to dry land training.


[ DW ] What are your goals in the sport?

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    [ LM ] When I originally moved up here, I figured this was a short term thing ('cuz S.L.C. sucks!), make the 2006 Olympic team (or not), and then leave. It wasn't a very realistic plan and I had severely underestimated the technical requirements of this sport.

    At this point, I will be happy (and a bit lucky) to qualify for the Olympic trials. Coach thinks I have an outside shot; with the speed that my technique is shaping up on the ice, I'm more and more optimistic.

    If anyone can get me there, my coach can; he's that good. And he's done it before, taken skaters from scratch to high levels in under 2 years. It' actually turning out that my previous inlining has been more of a hindrance than a help, it mainly just instilled lots of bad habits that I'm having to break.

    For a year-and-a-half that would be an amazing accomplishment. Making the team, frankly, would take a miracle (of either the religious or pharmaceutical variety). Even if I don't make it, I will still be satisfied knowing I came up here and gave it my all.

    But my coach has told me that many of his skaters, who often have come to him with equally unrealistic time schedules, would have really taken off had they stuck around another year. Most didn't, it was Olympics or bust.

    But there is a full world cup circuit, a national team, etc. It would seem silly to me to get to the end of this season, if I'm right on the verge of breaking through, to quit. At this point, I'm probably in it at least through this season and the next. Beyond that, I can't say. But really, what else do I have to do with my life?

    It wouldn't surprise me, and my coach and I (who are also good friends and hang out and discuss training theory and such endlessly) have joked that we'll probably end up coaching together. He's probably ended up learning as much cutting edge physiology from me as I have skating from him, we make a complimentary pair.


[ DW ] After you meet your skating goals, what are your plans?

    [ LM ] I wanna be a fireman. Or an astronaut. Or maybe a baseball player.


[ DW ] Where would someone who is interested in learning about skating begin looking?

    [ LM ] Well, thanks to the intranets, it's as easy as putting in speed skating into a search engine and there are some good informational sources around. Tangentially, I find it hard to remember how I actually found anything before the existence of the net.

    What Does Tangentially Mean?
    Of, relating to, or moving along or in the direction of a tangent.

    Well, What Does Tangent Mean?
    On a sudden digression or change of course, as in "The professor's hard to follow; he's always off on a tangent." This phrase often occurs in the idioms "fly off" or "go off on a tangent", as in "The witness was convincing until he went off on a tangent."

    This expression alludes to the geometric tangentâ€"a line or curve that touches but does not intersect with another line or curve.

    In any event, probably the most comprehensive set of links for speed skating is Caroline's Speed skating Links page.

    The Utah Olympic Oval page can be found here.

    There's even a cool virtual QuickTime tour you can take to see just how monstrous this thing is that I skate on. To put it into perspective, the long-track oval surrounds two standard ice hockey rinks in the infield with room to spare.

    The Petit Ice Center in Wisconsin is the other indoor oval in the US.

    The official site of US Speed skating is here.

    There are a few book resources out there. Probably the most comprehensive is Barry Publow's Speed on Skates which deals with both inline and ice speed skating.

    It's not a huge sport here in the U.S. - there are maybe 2,000 total skaters, so there's not a lot of English language stuff written.


[ DW ] The Ketogenic Diet is considered the definitive work on low-carb dieting. What is The Ultimate Diet 2.0?

    [ LM ] The UD2 is an updated version of the original Ultimate Diet that Duchaine and Zumpano put out back in the 80's (the old-timers/historians of the sport may remember it). Dan talks about it briefly in Body Opus.

    It was the proto cyclical ketogenic diet, using a 10 day cycle with 3 different styles of training (pump training, high intensity training, and power training) and 3 different styles of eating (low-carb, high carb, 'normal' dieting).

    As I'll mention again below, I always had some issues with Dan's Body Opus diet, in terms of the way that the training was structured. Looking back at the original Ultimate diet, I thought it made more sense.

    In Redeveloping It, I Wanted To:

    1. Bring the physiology up to date
    2. Make it into a 7 instead of 10 day cycle since that's how most people's lives run.

    I had to use a shoehorn to accomplish 'B', making it all fit into 7 days wasn't easy and I spent months tweaking it with myself as the test dieter. Thankfully, some improvements in physiology (for example, how long it takes to carb-load) made it a bit easier.


[ DW ] Who can benefit from it?

    [ LM ] The UD2 is for lean individuals (15% or lower for males, 22% or lower for females) who need to lean out further while maintaining or even gaining lean body mass.

    I also included variations on the UD2 for lean endurance or other athletes faced with the need to lose body fat without losing performance. You can also tweak the calorie levels and training to use it for mass gains with minimal fat gains.


[ DW ] How did you arrive at the program in UD2?

    [ LM ] Well, I'd be lying if I didn't say that I used the original Ultimate Diet as a template.

    As I mentioned above, the Body Opus training program where you did tension stuff during the low-carb phase (when you're not maximally anabolic) and the depletion prior to the carb-load (when you will be anabolic) made more sense to me.

    In the big Ketogenic Diet book, I suggested either switching the training (depletion first, tension second) or doing tension at both ends.

    The UD2 takes that a step further. You start out with depletion training to maximize the fat loss phase and set yourself up for glycogen compensation.

    You use a short medium rep (6-8) tension workout to kickoff the carb load and ramp up processes involved in growth, and follow that with a power workout (3-5 reps) for maximal tension stimulus when glycogen is full and carbs are above maintenance (so you're anabolic).

    Basically the UD2 combines a short maximal fat loss/catabolic phase with a short maximal muscle gain/anabolic phase, roughly 4 days fat loss, 3 days anabolism give or take.


[ DW ] What is the "PSMF" that your "Rapid Fat Loss Handbook" book talks about and who is that book geared toward?

    [ LM ] PSMF stands for Protein Sparing Modified Fast, which is a type of diet that has been used for decades to treat extreme obesity.

    It came out of research into fasting which, while it caused monstrous weight gains, sacrificed lean body/muscle mass. The PSMF was an attempt to spare protein in the context of a fast.

    Basically, it ends up being an all protein, very low-calorie diet with some veggies, water and a vitamin/mineral pill. But it causes just exceptional fat and weight (a distinction I make in chapter 1 of the book) losses.

    For larger individuals, fat losses of 1/2-2/3rds of a pound per day are achievable. Smaller folks/most women will get somewhat less than that.

    I took that and modified it, adding essential fatty acids (fish oils ideally, flax is a second string substitute) and really emphasizing vegetable intake.

    As well, to make it more applicable for different individuals, I have folks set protein intake based on starting body fat percentage and activity levels.

    Basically, the fatter people are, the less protein they end up needing (being fat is protein sparing itself) and the leaner, the more protein they need. Folks lifting weights or doing aerobics also modify their protein intake.

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    This allows it to be used as a crash diet by anyone although I spell out what I think are some specific circumstances in the front of the book where I think it might be appropriate.

    I want to make that clear, I'm not writing about it as anything but a short-term kind of solution or advocating it as an across the board kind of approach. It's a specific diet that is only applicable under very specific circumstances.

    Bodybuilders who are behind on their contest preparation, athletes who need to drop fat very rapidly for a contest, folks with some special event (wedding, reunion) or even to kick start a more moderate diet; those are some of the possible applications.

    If you're not in that situation, I'd rather see folks go with a more long-term, moderate approach to dieting.

    The role of exercise in weight/fat loss and the diet is discussed and I have a whole chapter on the Ephedrine/Caffeine stack and metabolic slowdown.

    I also added the possibility of free meals (single cheat meals), refeeds, and even a full 2 week diet break (exactly what it sounds like) for people who are doing multiple cycles of the diet.

    How long to stay on the diet and what combination of free meals, refeeds and diet breaks depends, again, on starting body fat and activity level.

    There is also a 4-5 chapter section (which took me the longest to figure out) which addresses moving back to maintenance eating as well as how to move into a more traditional, moderate deficit diet, from the PSMF.


[ DW ] What other books and products do you offer?

    [ LM ] Well, there's the big Ketogenic Diet book and the Ultimate Diet 2.0 which you already mentioned, and the Rapid Fat Loss Handbook which describes the PSMF.

    A little booklet that almost nobody knows about is something I wrote about a drug called bromocriptine. It actually ended up being more of a treatise on bodyweight regulation but dopamine agonists (such as bromo) appear to fit into some of the system.

    Finally is the other book I released with the PSMF booklet called Guide to Flexible Dieting.

    It's almost sort of but not quite a companion piece to the PSMF book and deals with the topic of free meals, refeeds and full diet breaks, along with the data looking at flexible versus rigid dieting and how being too rigid about your diet can end up predisposing you towards failure in the long run.

    It also contains the same 4-5 chapter at the end dealing with moving to maintenance after the diet is over. Writing those chapters was a nightmare, I was putting them to good use. I'm sure they'll turn up in another project as well.

    Beyond that, nothing. People keep bugging me to do online consulting but it's really a hassle/nearly impossible to train someone from a distance without seeing what they are doing.

    I mean everybody swears that they train hard and that their form is great but you and I both know better; neither is likely to be the case.

    So, for now it will probably be more book projects. Maybe something about training, or I've been finishing up work on a stubborn fat loss diet and exercise protocol to help get rid of that last little bit of stubborn body fat.


[ DW ] Lyle, thanks for taking the time to do the interview and I wish you the best of luck on the ice and off.

    [ LM ] Thanks Dave.

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