From Freak to Geek: Targeted Ketogenesis, Exercise and the 4 Hour Body Slow Carb Diet

by Stephen

The 4 Hour Body slow-carb diet (despite what many people have said) is, or rather I should say can be, a ketogenic diet. I have documented this many times in my patient population using Tim’s protocols (i.e “The Five Golden Rules”).

In the most general terms, a ketogenic diet is any diet that causes ketone bodies to be produced by the liver, shifting the body’s metabolism away from glucose and toward fat utilization. More specifically, a ketogenic diet is one that restricts carbohydrates below a certan level (usually 100 grams per day), inducing a series of adaptations to take place.

Under ‘normal’ dietary conditions, the body runs on a mix of carbohydrates, protein and fat. When carbohydrates are removed from the diet, the body’s small stores (in the liver and muscle)  are quickly depleted. Consequently, the body is forced to find an alternative fuel to provide energy. One of these fuels is free fatty acids (FFA), which can be used by most tissues in the body.

The brain and the nervous system are unable to use FFA for fuel but can use ketone body’s. Your brain get’s these ketone bodies from breakdown of FFA in the liver. These ketone bodies then accumulate in the bloodstream and cause the metabolic state known as ketosis.

On a side note: It is a theory that it is the brains conversion to use of ketone bodies for fuel which accounts for the “state of euphoria” (for lack of a better term) that people feel while on a carbohydrate restricted diet.

Simultaneously there is a decrease in glucose utilization and production. Also there is a decrease in the breakdown of protein to be used for energy. Thus ketogenic diets are perfect for those attempting to lose body fat while sparing lean body mass.

As with any fat-loss diet, exercise will improve the success of the ketogenic diet. However many people who have been using the 4 Hour Body slow carb diet encounter a problem when trying to maintain a state of ketosis (with a diet devoid of carbohydrates) and sustain high-intensity exercise (*such as P90X).  Although low intensity exercise may be performed usually without problems.

For this reason, individuals who wish to use the 4 Hour Body slow-carb diet and perform high-intensity exercise must integrate carbohydrates without disrupting the effects of ketosis.

Although the 4 Hour Body slow-carb diet does alternate periods of ketogenic dieting with periods of high-carbohydrate consumption (the binge day) this “refilling” of the body’s muscle glycogen stores may not be enough to sustain a week long high intensity workout program. In this example I am thinking of a car that sometime around mid-week runs out of gas and is left puttering into the station for a weekend refueling.

This is not good for your automobile and is also not good for your body.

In Lyle McDonald’s wonderful book “The Ketogenic Diet” (which was recommended briefly in the 4HB)  he talks about the targeted ketogenic diet. Which basically say’s this:

  1. Individuals following the cyclical ketogenic diet (Tim’s slow-carb diet) who want to perform high intensity activity will absolutely have to consume carbs at some point around exercise. The only difference is that calories must be adjusted to account for the carbohydrates being consumed around training.
  2. The safest time to consume carbs, in terms of maintaining ketosis, is before a workout and ketosis should be reestablished soon after training. Depending on total training volume, 25-50 grams of carbohydrates taken 30-60 minutes prior to training seems to be a good amount. The type of carbohydrate is less critical for pre-workout carbs but quickly digested, high GI carbs seem to work best to avoid stomach upset.
  3. If more than 50 grams of carbohydrates must be consumed around training, it may bebeneficial to split the total amount, consuming half (25 grams) 30 minutes before training and the other half (25 grams) at the beginning (or during) of the workout.
  4. If post-workout carbohydrates are consumed, an additional 25-50 grams of glucose or glucose polymers are recommended. Fructose and sucrose should be avoided as they can refill liver glycogen and interrupt ketosis. Additionally protein can be added to the post-workout meal to help with recovery. Dietary fat should be avoided since it will slow digestion and could lead to fat storage when insulin levels are high.
  5. If post-workout carbohydrates are not consumed, taking in protein only can still enhance recovery as blood glucose and insulin should be slightly elevated from the consumption of pre-workout carbohydrates.

In my opinion (as an avid runner) this is the only way to successfully use the 4HB slow-carb diet and continue to train without “bonking”. The P90X routine (mentioned in our competition) is no different.  High intensity training requires glucose be readily available to be used for fuel. While “slow carbing” you are quickly burning your muscle and liver stores of glycogen and then you must convert fat to energy. This will not keep pace with your workout routine.

I would highly recommend using targeted carbohydrate consumption as described above for the best success. You will still be able to maintain ketosis and burn fat (which is the goal)!

4 Hour Life Quick Tips:

  1. For every 2 sets performed during weight training, 5 grams of carbohydrate should be consumed to replenish the glycogen used.
  2. The method described above is for individuals who want to perform high intensity activity, which may or may not include weight training. If you are on the slow carb diet and using Occam’s Protocol you should not need to ingest extra carbohydrates in relation to your workout as long as you have a cheat day! which should allow for sufficient restoration of your body’s glycogen stores. 

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason June 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm


Not to question science, but my typical carbohydrate load on the slow-carb diet is around 276 grams, 60 of which seem to come from sugar. This doesn’t seem ketogenic at all. Am I doing something wrong?

Basically, I eat chicken, eggs, and lentils cooked with some olive oil. I get about 2000 calories. While it doesn’t raise insulin levels, I don’t see how it is ketogenic.

Maybe, again, I am missing the science or the method?


Stephen June 3, 2011 at 5:29 am

Honestly, prior to doing ketone testing among my patients using this diet I would have agreed 100% with both of you. I was equally surprised to see not just some ketones, but 40+ Ketones among the urine samples of several participants using the diet. This was not always the case though. On some visits they would test positive and on other visits they would test negative.

Actually you both made me realize I needed to change the beginning of the post from “is” a ketogenic diet to “can be” a ketogenic diet. Obviously this would be true though for the vast majority of reduced carbohydrate diets if you could keep carbohydrate consumption low: according to the data around 100 grams per day to be ketogenic.

Jason you said you were eating roughly 276 grams per day. And you said 60g come from sugar. Do you mean net carbs? As in total carbs minus the fiber content? Because if you do then this is the number you should be looking at and I think in this case you could be in a ketogenic range.
Most online calculators do the math wrong. I just placed a can of Bush’s best reduced sodium kidney beans into and it said ½ cup was 22g of carbs. But this is not the case when it comes to ketogenic diets. What we want is total carb (I am looking at the can) which is 22g minus the Fiber content which was 8g. This gives us 14g of net carbs, this is the number we should use.

Another thing that accounts for this is the fact that the carbs allowed in the diet are foods that are considered “low glycemic foods” that are often high in fiber. Because of fiber’s low digestibility, it provides little or no food energy and does not significantly impact glucose and insulin levels that is why we subtract it when calculating our daily carbs.
Jason, you brought up veggies, but ½ cup of broccoli has 2.2 grams of NET CARBS.
Also you really have to account for exercise. If you are performing high intensity exercise during the day you will likely use much of these available carbohydrates for fuel. Therefore despite taking in higher levels of NET CARBS you may still become ketogenic as you will likely burn quickly through these available carbs and then have to resort to the breakdown of free fatty acids for fuel. Hence the need for targeted carbohydrate consumption to assure your body has enough available glucose for high intensity training.

This is very important toward the end of the week as you become increasingly more deficient in liver and muscle stores of carbohydrates. It is only when these stores have been depleted that you will really be able to become ketogenic (at least that is what I understand).

We also have a machine testing unit at our clinic to test urine which may be more sensitive than the test strips, although I have not tested these side by side which I should. I assume that there is a threshold for blood ketones so that they will pass readily into the urine and be detected by test strips. I have tried to find this to no avail. I guess this could be confirmed by comparing blood tests to urine tests and seeing if there was a difference. I assume there are various levels of ketosis. I also am assuming that probably any carbohydrate restricted diet causes some form of FFA breakdown which accounts for its ability to provide such great results. Thus it may be ketogenic but just not at a detectable level to be seen in your urine.

The patients who reached the highest levels of ketones in their urine had the best weight loss.

Also the patients who exercised the most, or those that were diabetic and on Metformin (which I am sure is the reason they had ketones) had the highest levels in their urine.

Thank you guys for your great comments, I think this is an interesting topic. Just to note the induction phase in programs like Atkins is 20 grams of NET carbs per day, the maintenance phase I believe is around 60g. I found it interesting as well that Lyle McDonald in his book claims that 100 grams is ketogenic. I still believe this is very attainable on the 4 Hour Body diet. I also believe that ketogenic may not necessarily mean detectable on urine strips but: shifting the body’s metabolism away from glucose and toward fat utilization and in this case I think the 4 Hour Body Slow Carb diet fits the bill. It is (or can be) a ketogenic diet.

Also Read Jason’s Awesome blog at:


Justin June 1, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Hi Stephen,

I would also agree with the previous commenter that eating that many beans and veggies that SCD is not CKD.

Tim even says that in his blog post about SCD
“This is the only diet besides the rather extreme Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) that has produced veins across my abdomen, which is the last place I lose fat”

Take out the beans and reduce the veggies then I would call that CKD. I don’t do any pee test but I don’t think I was ever in ketosis when I used to eat beans.


Stephen June 3, 2011 at 5:44 am

Justin, thanks for the wonderful comment. I replied to it (in a mini novel) in the above. Also I need to give you a shout out, I checked out your blog and your progress has been amazing. You have inspired me to be a better man! If anybody is reading this and has not been to Justin’s Blog check our his progress and you may buy a second copy of the book:


DC July 18, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Hi, question… I eat very healthy am want to lose some fat so I started thw 4hb diet. I find that beans and lentals do not offer enough fiber….leading to bloated and irregular bowel movements. Is there anyway to overcome this w/out cheating… i.e. quiona or bran?


Stephen July 18, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Hi DC,

If you want my honest opinion I believe in an 80/20 principle (to use a bit of Tim Ferriss theory on life) as well with the 4HB diet. In other words if you stay 80% on the side of the good stuff and 20% on the side of everything else you will succeed.

And I say this after about 6 months of using this diet in my patient population. What I have found overall is that compliance with this diet is not very good in the long term. Therefore, I believe that tweaking it a bit here and there to suit your own dietary needs is not only OK, but in the long term appears to be more effective.

This is especially true if you are implementing an exercise routine into the meal plan, where some well placed starchy foods can be of benefit.

In fact since you mention quinoa this is actually referenced several times in the 4HB. Tim recommends it as part of Occam’s Protocol saying:

“The meal composition is nearly identical to the Slow-Carb Diet, as are the tenets, though we now add a starch such as brown rice or quinoa to the non-shake meals.”

Also, don’t forget to snack on those raw vegetables and drink plenty of water. As fiber intake is increased, the intake of beverages should also be increased, since fiber absorbs water.

Also if you are just starting the diet, give your body a 2 week adjustment period, it is very common to have vague GI discomfort that in my experience usually clears in 2-4 weeks. Also consider the addition of probiotics, even though these often CAUSE bloating at the beginning, dosing them every other day can be effective and may help to reduce your symptoms in the long run… let me know how it goes!

oh yeah, don’t forget to soak those black beans in water, this reduces flatulence-related substances like raffinose and can really help!


John June 6, 2012 at 8:37 pm

That’s an interesting idea and I feel I’ve solved the constipation issue through ingesting 4 tablespoons of psylium husk (24 grams) of fiber with a quart of water each night. This allows me to go extremely low carb 15-25 grams per day on a cyclical ketogenic diet without experiencing any constipation issues.


Xenon July 29, 2011 at 10:07 am

Do you even know what a high intensity training is? Please inform yourself before writing this nonsense. The TDK was designed to work for bodybuilders. “For every 2 sets performed during WEIGHT TRAINING, 5 grams of carbohydrate should be consumed to replenish the glycogen used.”. and immediately you write “The method described above is for individuals who want to perform high intensity activity, NOT WEIGHT TRAINING. ” Please use google and read about the difference between HIT and HIIT.


Stephen July 30, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Xenon you are absolutely right and I really do thank you for your comment. A bit harsh, but I am tough and it was well deserved. Because you are right, high intensity activity would include weight training. In the quick tips what I was really trying to say (which upon review was said very poorly) is that people using the CKD (which most of the time the 4HB diet doesn’t qualify as depending on total carb intake) will not need to use extra carbs while performing Occam’s Protocol. Which although is high intensity would not be enough to warrant extra carbohydrate intake for the average person attempting the protocol. They should be able to restore their glycogen during the recovery period on their cheat days as well as the moderate amount of carbs that they consume as part of the diet.

This was not well stated above! I will revise and update this post shortly. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. And as always if you would like to write me with a revision I will be happy to post it either at the beginning of this post or as a new entry. I do not want to present nonsense to anyone, especially well-intentioned people who may read this post.

Thanks for taking the time to let me know, I actually really appreciate it!!



Timothy Afonso September 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

Hello, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Opera, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, excellent blog!


Stephen September 11, 2011 at 9:13 am


Thank you for letting me know this, I really appreciate it! Quick question (if you have the time to reply) what version of IE are you using? On IE 9 it appeared to be showing up OK. Although I just re-sized the main reading panel yesterday and I am wondering if this is causing the error… Again thanks so much. I am going to re-size it back right now. I would love it if you could tell me if this seems to work now on your machine.. Again, thanks so much.



Meera February 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Hi Stephen,

I’m currently training for a marathon and just started the SCD. I did my long run the day after cheat day, but have a mid-week medium run (8-10 miles) that I’m not sure how to handle. Do you have any tips? Maybe it’s all psychological but I can’t imagine running over ~60 minutes without a carb buffer!


Stephen February 5, 2013 at 7:16 pm

As a runner myself I think this varies greatly from person to person.

I can often start an 8-10 mile run on an overnight fast with a small mid-run carbohydrate after 1 hour (otherwise I bonk). For most doing endurance training such as a full marathon training plan I would recommend maintaining some carbs in your diet. Many recommend a 20-30 g carbohydrate load pre-run and then a post run carb. But then again I think this depends on your individual needs as you will see below.

In the morning your glycogen stores should be full, they will deplete themselves during the run, and that is why there is a 30 minute “grace period” that is a sweet spot for post-run fueling. Most of these carbohydrates will not be stored as fat as they will be used to replenish your post-run glycogen stores. It is during this time I often refuel with carbs. It will not effect your diet and you will feel much, much better.

Again depending on the length of your run, you may need a small mid-run carbohydrate… this will not negatively impact your scd.

If you don’t already, I would definitely take a listen to the “Marathon Training Academy” podcast. It is a wonderful support during marathon training, and is fun for long runs. They are full of great info and they just had a wonderful interview with Ben Greenfield in their last episode.

Let me know how it goes.



Meera February 6, 2013 at 8:53 am

Thanks for the response, Stephen! So I trusted the system, had my habitual morning cup of brown rice protein sludge (powder+water=yum) and headed out to run. Ran seven progressive miles and finished really strong! This might actually be the best average pace I’ve maintained for over five miles in a row. Then ran to do groceries, where Think Thin bars were on sale. Those claim 0g sugar but about 20g other carbs so I figured they’d decently replenish those glycogen stores :) Greenfield’s podcast was pretty helpful, too!


Alissa February 7, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Hi Stephen,

I’m also a runner and just started the SCD. In your opinion, what is the best mid-run carb you consume to keep you from fading during a 8-12 mi run? Also, is it normal to feel “flu-like” during the first week of the diet?



Stephen February 7, 2013 at 3:03 pm

This is absolutely a personal choice. Many people spend a lot of money on gels and “bars” from specialty companies such as Hammer Nutrition. For me I keep it simple. Believe it or not during my last two half marathons I took a breakfast bar and stuffed it in my shorts. It doesn’t seem to upset my stomach and it tastes perfect to me mid run. The only advice I can give you is to experiment a little and find what works best for you. You want to make sure you have this down before you run an event as this is not a good place to experiment.

As far as feeling “flu-like” are you sure you don’t have the flu? I have seen a billion cases in the clinic the last two weeks? But, yes, I think it is normal to feel a bit tired (and possibly achy) starting slow carb, I have heard others report this as well. Hang in there though, these things always pass after the first several weeks and you will be happy you stayed the course!! Also, if you are keeping up your normal running routine make sure you are getting “enough” carbs, I think if you are doing 8-12 mile training runs on a very low carb diet this can actually be bad… and eating a post run carb might make you feel a lot better and shouldn’t effect your diet.



Matt January 19, 2015 at 8:57 am

“Keto flu” is common. Increased salt and electrolytes seem to help.


Stephen January 19, 2015 at 4:40 pm

Thanks Matt, that’s good advice.

– Stephen


Alissa February 8, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Thanks! You definitely answered my questions. I’ve increased my carb intake on days I have long runs and it helps tremendously and I’m still losing weight. I know I don’t have the flu because everyday I feel less fatigued as I’m assuming my body is getting used to the diet. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t the only one! Thanks again.


Phantasm September 9, 2013 at 9:02 pm

I’m at around 25%BF 175lbs 5’9″ Male.

I’ve been stuck at this weight for a while now.

I’ve been on P90x for 3 weeks and have lost a couple of inches.

Is this stall because I’m not taking in enough carbs?

I basically eat the scd, tuna etc. and have a weekly binge.

Tim mentions NOXplode in his book. I have NOXplode but it does have maltodextrin. I have NO pills and have noticed that I start out very strong on the P90x weight days and then it peters out really fast. Eg. Pushups on the second round go to like half!

What about the non “training” day exercises like yoga and plyometrics. Is the scd more in line with those kinds of training days?

I’m not a fitness person by any stretch and would like to gain the coordination that P90x can teach. But, would it be better for me to just trim down to 12%BF then hit the Occam’s protocol?

When I did the SCD a few years ago I lost about 60lbs of fat in about 2 months. It stalled because I decided to go vegan for a bit.

Any suggestions would be awesome.


Stephen September 12, 2013 at 7:56 am

1. I’ve been stuck at this weight for a while now. I’ve been on P90x for 3 weeks and have lost a couple of inches. Is this stall because I’m not taking in enough carbs?

– “Stalls” happen for a variety of reasons, although 3 weeks is not enough time in my opinion to be considered a “stall”. Especially when starting a training program like P90X. In this case I would aim to stick with a 3-6 month training plan and stick to The Slow Carb Diet. You may very well want to add in 25 grams or so of post workout carbohydrate (I usually do) and consider INCREASING your meal frequency. I personally like a 5x per day meal plan which includes 2 snacks. One snack should be a post workout shake here is a recipe I like:

Protein shake recipe:
1. Use 1 scoop of a low carbohydrate rice protein powder (carbs < 2 grams per serving)
Recommended brand: Nutribiotic Rice Protein Powder (Chocolate or vanilla)
2. 6 – 8 ounces of unsweetened coconut or almond milk
Recommended brand
So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk
Pacific Unsweetened Almond Milk
Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Milk

Also make sure you are not overdoing it. Stress can cause an increase in cortisol which can make it hard to lose weight.

2. What about the non “training” day exercises like yoga and plyometrics. Is the scd more in line with those kinds of training days?

YES! In fact I think exercises like yoga and plyometrics could be the only exercise one could do and still be in great shape. Really depends on your goals.

3. I’m not a fitness person by any stretch and would like to gain the coordination that P90x can teach. But, would it be better for me to just trim down to 12%BF then hit the Occam’s protocol?

I have seen great results with P90X that have made me a believer. The only problem I see is that many people do not maintain the benefits once they stop. This could mean that P90X is too much… My sister lost over 100 lbs and part of this was a 6 months stint of P90X. I have never done the program simply because I don't like working out inside and prefer cross training with biking, swimming, running, tennis, etc. I just love being outside. So my advice is to do what you enjoy doing. You really can't go wrong. Many of the benefits from exercise are the mental benefits.

Occam's protocol is awesome! I think it is a great home-base for weight training. I have been doing it for over 2 years and would never go back to anything else. Just whatever you do, don't give up on a plan. Stick with it for enough time to give it a real trial. p90X can teach you a lot about different exercises and expose you to new routines so in this way it is often quite good. But don't overdue it, and consider increasing your meal frequency, and yes it is OK to add some post workout carb!

– Stephen


Chris September 12, 2013 at 11:52 am

so the 25-50g carbs before a high intensity workout…is that total carbs or net carbs?

also, staying under 100g carbs for the day…that is total carbs or net carbs?



Stephen September 12, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Thank you Chris, I always speak in terms of Net Carbs, but I should specify this in the post, thank you for pointing this out.

– Stephen


leah January 28, 2014 at 11:00 am

I have been on SCD for about a month now. i am vegetarian which has made it tricky but i keep my faux meats extremely minimal and rely on egg whites, beans and veggies mostly. The first week I lost 2 lbs but I have actually been GAINING weight since. I work out every day (alternating and/or pairing Hot Power Yoga, Hot Sculpt Yoga, Spinning, and Running). Now I am sure that some of this gain is muscular but, as a woman who’s already quite strong, I would much prefer to be losing the fat my muscles are coated in! Do you have any advice? I know the 4HB book recommends minimal workouts but this is what I enjoy and are among my favorite hobbies. I am terrified by the idea of not working out.


Stephen January 28, 2014 at 11:57 pm

Hi Leah,

Whatever you do don’t stop working out. If you enjoy it, it is stress relieving and something you look foreword to doing, then it is a healthy habit.

One thing Tim recommends in the 4HB, which I also think is very important, is not to focus on body weight but on body fat percentage. When we were tracking ourselves regularly each month we had the greatest results when we focused on body fat and waist circumference as a metric, even though we did see fluctuations in weight it was simply the act of caliper testing and body fat analysis that provided the most motivation. This is when everyone in our group had the greatest fat loss. We stopped tracking one year ago and some of the participants in my “4HB study group” gained the weight back. I wonder what would have happened had we continued to perform caliper testing? If you haven’t already I would start taking body fat measurements and use the scale as part of your overall tracking.

Another thing I would say is not to focus on individual data points but on trends. Take a piece of paper or create an excel spreadsheet to begin tracking your body weight month by month to see if you can identify a trend. I would say 50 percent of my patient population will see no weight loss or even weight gain like yourself in the first month. This seems to be more pronounced with women which I cannot fully explain, although this may have to do with your menstrual cycle which can cause up to 10 pounds of fluctuation from week to week, so make sure you weigh during the same time each month.

Sounds like you have the dieting portion down pack! Don’t give up and hang in there. I am sure in no time you will start to see real results, but it is still quite early!



Mike January 29, 2014 at 12:51 am

I personally figured out that the eggs kept me at a plateau for months. I ditched the eggs and the weight loss has started again.

As for exercise. Intermittent exercise does seem to do a lot more for fat loss and body resculpting.

Search for 4 hour body weight loss stalls when on P90x … etc.
Mine came to dead halt when I started the intensity of P90x.

Checkout bulletproof exec, there’s more information there and it’s very four hour body like.

In the book, Tim does mention a lady that had a stall until she started to do a refeed (cheat) day.

As far as faux meats are concerned, just stick to beans, lentils and legumes for your protein.

Just some food for thought.


Stephen January 29, 2014 at 11:45 pm

Great answer Mike, Thanks!


solomani May 17, 2015 at 7:38 am

Eggs stuffed up your weight loss? If so what did you do or just skipped breakfast?


leah January 29, 2014 at 4:51 am

Thanks Stephen,
Unfortunately I dont have a way to measure body fat. I am concerned with the muscle gain but i am going to start replacing some high-intensity cardio with lower intensity and see if i can manipulate a change. I’ve been able to keep the 40 lbs I lost in my early 20s off with diet and exercise for 10 years so it’s hard to read the scale when it says I weigh more than I have since 2001! I will take your advice though and keep at it for at least another month. I have been tracking my weight but stopped recently due to these gains (it’s discouraging)


Stephen January 30, 2014 at 12:20 am

You can buy a cheap pair of body fat calipers online and ask a friend to help with your measurements. The first time we did our own measurements it seemed both “odd” and difficult as I had never done this and was really confused. But after a couple sessions it became systematic and kind of fun. Body fat testing can be done with a digital scale (although less accurate) such as the “Withings” scale which will also automatically graph trends. They sell several other handheld devices which are simple to use and measure body impedance, but I still would recommend buying a pair of calipers and learning to do measurements just for the experience of it. It’s one of the biggest recommendations Tim makes in the book and for very good reasons, so make the leap and give it a try.

Also, a 2 month plan is just not enough to know if you will have success with slow carb. Committing to a lifestyle change takes time and belief in the process. We live in a culture where we are conditioned to expect big results fast and when they don’t happen we are onto the next big thing. I know, because I have to resist the urger to jump ship often when I don’t see results right away. But, if you let yourself go all in and commit to a 6 month trial I think you will give your body the time it needs to reset and make a truly noticeable difference.



corrin tochelli April 9, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Hello, I was wondering how i go about leaving a comment for you to answer me on the slow carb diet..i am a runner training for a half marathon and a full marathon in the fall and have questions about some things. thanks


Stephen April 12, 2015 at 3:15 am

Hi Corrin,

Feel free to leave your question here in the comments section, I answer all comments on the blog and I prefer it to email as it helps out other readers as well.



Corrin April 13, 2015 at 5:49 pm

I had some questions on following the 4 hb scd..I also am a runner and recently did a half marathon this weekend and will be training for a full which will be in the fall..I feel way better without having the grains and fruit and just having beans lean protein and veggies with healthy fats 6 days a week and the cheat day I’m not sure do you just have a cheat meal? Or is it have whatever you want and feel like that day? I also am concerned when I’m training for the full if this eating plan will be ok being I won’t be eating fruits or grains just beans veggies and proteins with healthy fats except for cheat day which will be the day I do my long run.


Stephen April 13, 2015 at 8:17 pm

Hi Corrin, for a great resource on training and low carb diets I am a huge fan of Ben Greenfield. He has a podcast and a website and as a professional triathlete he has a lot of experience. I used to listen to his podcast regularly but have fallen off a bit, he answers questions from users as well: Also, I love the husband and wife team at marathon training academy, they have been talking about this a bit as well recently on their podcast. (I especially love to listen to their podcast on long-run days)

Personally, I don’t like cheat days, and prefer several “cheat meals” spaced throughout the week. Tim’s version of cheat day is to eat anything you want all day, which some people like. I think it is user preference. I find it doesn’t fit my training or lifestyle.

As far as training and slow carb are concerned, your body will learn to utilize fats and protein very efficiently over time, many endurance athletes are converting to this type of diet. That being said, some professionals still recommend consuming about 25 grams of carbs per hour of exercise. I have experimented with both and find if I am doing long endurance workouts I bonk without a bit of a snack. So I mix things up a bit. I will often simply eat a breakfast bar at the hour mark and then something again at the 2 hour mark etc. etc. Not much, just a bit for energy.

Hope that helps some,



Corrin April 15, 2015 at 4:46 pm

Yes this does help a bit..I’m just wondering if eating beans let’s say 2 x per day 1/2 cup each meal along with lean protein and veggies with healthy fats is good for long distance training? I was reading somewhere where they said it wasn’t because of the fiber..It seems the first few months of following the 4hb scd I saw results now I’m not seeing as much and I’m still eating the same only thing that has changed were my cheat days the past 3 months I’ve been having some unhealthy things like chocolate and sweets along with carbs for that day..since cheat day is to shock your body with an overload of calories to burn more fat in the longrun right or wrong? It’s confusing to me. I feel better not having the grains but the diet doesn’t seem to be fitting into my lifestyle as far as I feel like I have to plan when my cheat day will be according to what is going on in my social life and training..I just want a meal plan that is simple but will maintain my weight while training as well. Any suggestions or feedback on this? Help lol


mike April 16, 2015 at 8:46 pm

Hi Corrin,

Tim’s admitted that there is a built-in stall to scd (as well as bfl and really all 12 week body recomp systems) within 12 weeks. Best thing to do is to change up your routine every four weeks.

In the book Tim also mentions lefleur (obama arms section) might go nuts on one cheat day and then moderate the other 3 in the month.

Tim also doesn’t recommend too much exercise, and since the launch of the book is actually not a fan of long distance running. If you like it for fun, have at it, but if you’re doing it for body recomp, it may be what’s holding back.

Dave Asprey (bulletproof coffee), Tim, myself and many others have developed food allergies due to not cycling types of proteins. We literally can’t eat eggs anymore.

After the initial 12 week recomp, take some time to reset. No supplements, no boosters etc.

Personally, I’d skip the grains. If you have a candida growth, six days is not long enough to kill those buggers, and the cheat day just fuels them.

Try an all fat fast for five days to get into real ketosis and get the scale moving again.

Good luck



Corrin April 17, 2015 at 6:24 pm

Hi mike,

Do you agree with having 1 cheat day per week and is it just 2 cheat meals or whatever you feel like that day? What do you mean by not cycling types of proteins? And when you say skip the grains do you mean on cheat day as well? Also what do you mean by an all fat fast for five days? Thanks



Pete November 16, 2015 at 10:58 am

Hey Stephen,
I am 21 years old and my goal is to become as ripped and healthy overall as I possibly can. I have done a good amount of research on both keto diets and the SCD. Most keto diets include around 75% fats but this doesn’t appear so in the SCD. As a matter of fact there isn’t too much talk about fat consumption in the SCD. I’m interested in both diets and want to choose one and stick to it. What’s your best advice for me?
I appreciate your insight,
Thanks in advance!


Stephen December 12, 2015 at 11:19 pm

Great question Pete, I think the SCD is much more “user friendly” and sustainable for the long run, the truth is you could do both by choosing to cycle in and out of ketosis.. You can test and refine to suit the diet to best fit your lifestyle and needs in any given situation. They compliment each other extremely well.

– Stephen


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