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Keto for Strongman [Article, Free download]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Oct 9, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Keto for Strongman

Keto for Strongman

Strongman competitors need to get huge. Otherwise, they will have a hard time moving big objects successfully and be at a disadvantage to the competition. Therefore it doesn't help to cut out an entire type of macros. Generally dieting for strongman is more about getting bigger and Cramming more calories in, rather than less.
Download 5 free batch cooking plans

Keto batch cook

By clicking the button above you can get free access to my free batch cooking plans for keto which I have developed together with my wife. I usually take out 4 hours of my weekend to get the food ready for the entire week for us. There is also one pregnancy-friendly batch cook included as my wife craved the carbs when the little one was growing inside of her. Definitely recommend getting into the habit of batch cooking to save money and time. Also gets you some brownie points at home. The plans should save you a month of research and trial and error. Always consult with your doctor first whether you can eat the foods in the diet you are changing too.  

Overview of Keto 

The keto diet is a relatively new trend which has its roots in the successful treatment of patients with seizures. While this effect seems quite proven other claimed positive effects of the diet like slowing down cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes are still being investigated and the body of long term studies to support these claims still has to grow. 
The basic idea of the Ketogenic diet, or short keto diet, is to replace the carbohydrates in your diet through fat. By this, you want to achieve that your body switches into a state where the preferred source of energy is fat instead of carbohydrates. The effect is that your body becomes a fat-burning machine and you lose weight at the places where you normally store surplus fat. 
To get into Ketosis on a daily basis is very hard. Depending on the diet you are on the usual recommendation is to stay under 20g of carbohydrates to achieve this. You only look at a big of crisps the wrong way and you are already over that threshold. Eating one apple will also have the same effect. Therefore there are different approaches to the diet of which some make it more palatable than others. 
The standard Ketogenic diet divides your macronutrients in 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. Calculate whatever the recommended daily intake is based on your gender, age, height, and weight and distribute the calories on the macros accordingly. This version of the diet is very hard to maintain without changing your lifestyle completely and saying no often when food is offered at social occasions. 
Another take on the keto diet is the cyclical Ketogenic diet. Here you stick to the diet for five days and allow for more carbohydrates on two days of the week. You might as well call it the “I am allowed treats at the weekend” keto diet. 
Another version of the keto diet is the high protein keto diet. Here you apply a split of 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbohydrates. This is a version which might be favored by anyone who wants to build muscle. 
Things which you can eat on the keto diet
  • Meat 
  • Fish
  • Eggs 
  • Butter 
  • Cream 
  • Cheese
  • Nuts 
  • Olive oil 
  • Coconut oil 
  • Avocado 
  • Green vegetable 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Peppers 
  • Small amount of berries 
Things which you can’t eat 
  • Soda 
  • Fruit juice 
  • Smoothies 
  • Cake
  • Ice cream 
  • Candy 
  • Wheat 
  • Rice 
  • Pasta
  • Cereal
  • Fruit 
  • Peas
  • Beans 
  • Cereal
  • Lentils 
  • Chickpeas
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Parsnips 
  • Sauces 
  • Vegetable oil 
  • Mayonnaise 
  • Alcohol 

Pros of the Keto diet 

Keto is said to have positive effects on the following diseases: 
  • Diabetes 
  • Low blood sugar 
  • Epilepsy
  • Alzheimer’s 
  • Cancer 
I am no doctor so consult with your specialist for your specific case before deciding to go on the Ketogenic diet. The body of evidence for epilepsy seems to be strong while I always take the claimed benefits for diets to help with cancer and heart disease with a grain of salt before there is a lot of evidence to support it. If you want to sell a diet you have a way easier time if you claim it slows down cancer. So almost any leaflet of diet spinners claims this. What I can say is that I did see a marked improvement in my wife’s fibromyalgia symptoms when we stuck to the keto diet
What I can also vouch for is that the keto diet helped us to lose weight before our wedding. I went down by 7kg in 2 months and see wedding pictures look fabulous. I won’t talk about my wife’s weight because a wise man just simply does not. What you have to keep in mind is that any diet will work if you stick to it and there is quite a large body of evidence to support that. The weight loss is usually closer tied to the awareness how much food is eaten and a concerted effort to control it rather than the types of food themselves. 
Another benefit of the keto diet is that you can still eat fat. 
Steak? No problem. 
Berries with cream? Yes, sir, here we go. 
Platter of cheese? Bring it on 
If you like meat a lot and want to do a diet, keto is a great option. 
As you eat air of fat there is also a very low risk for you to eat too little calories. Fat is very highly condensed energy which comes in a high calorie per gram count. So eating a lot of fat will get you to your daily calorie prescription fairly fast. This is an area where vegetarians can really struggle without taking supplements. You have to eat a lot of cabbage to make it to 2000 calories. Not so much if you put a nice cream sauce on it. 

Cons of the Keto Diet 

As with every diet, the biggest con is that you are depriving yourself of an entire component in your diet, carbohydrates. If there is no medical reason to reign this intake in, the risk-reward might be a little of. If your main goal is weight loss this can also be achieved, and maybe even easier is you don’t have to change your cooking, by taking control of your portions, cutting out desserts and alcohol. 
There are also claims that the higher intake of fat makes it more likely for you to get kidney stones. Your gut health might also be negatively impacted. 
A big personal downside to the keto diet for me is that it becomes very hard to have a proper side to your main meal. Most side dishes have a lot of carbohydrates in them so you end up only eating the meat and cheese. This went so far for my wife and me that we needed to take a break. It also doesn’t really work when your pregnant. 

Alternatives to the Keto diet 

There are alternatives to the keto diet if you don’t find this appealing. Some of them are: 
The low-fat diet was the trend which was based on studies that a high intake of fat would lead to cardiac arrest and other problems in your blood system. With the surge of the keto diet, these studies are being contested. Still, for decades, low fat was the way to go when you were on a diet. What food producers did not tell you was that they still wanted their products to taste nice so that you keep eating them. Things usually taste nice when they either have fat or sugar in them. When you combine both in a cake it is extra delicious. As food producers couldn’t add fat they opted for sugar. 
If you like sweet things you can try juicing. Juicing is a diet where you only take in food in liquid form in the form of juices. As with every diet, the idea is to cut out certain foods to make you lose weight and be healthier. The main effect is that you switch from stuffing anything in front of you in your mouth to making More deliberate decisions. 
Weight watchers or slimming world are dieting concepts where foods are being attributed points. For each day you get a certain number of points which you can use up. It doesn’t matter what you eat, as long as you don’t go over your daily allowance of points. You can even bank your points and budget for a week. Once a week or month you will meet with your local group to be held accountable for progress. My wife tried it and I went to one of the meetings with her. She didn’t stick long to it. To be honest, me and my wife usually like to do our own thing. For someone who likes to meet with other people to talk about their struggles on a regular basis this concept might be more appealing. There are many examples where weight watchers worked. Again, this is back to portion control, if your goal is weight loss. 


Strongman competitions are probably as old as humankind itself. The basic principle is to move something that is very heavy and hard to carry from a to b or as often as possible. That’s it. Still, strongman competitions command huge popularity to this day and it is all about the big guys. 
Usual events in a strongman competition are
  • Tractor / Lordy pulls 
  • Lifting stones 
  • Flipping cars or tires 
  • Holding something up for time 
  • Lifting a very heavy while standing on a platform 
  • Car deadlifts 
  • Throwing heavy objects as high or far as possible 
And anything else the event coordinators come up with that looks spectacular and requires a lot of strength. The most insane one I have seen was pulling a container crane. 

Pros of Strongman

If you are into lifting the heaviest things possible this is your playground. There are no restrictions on size or body shape. The competitions are not standardized so you never fully know what is coming your way. Strongman will combine all different types of strength like grip strength, maximum strength and strength endurance. Compared to teamsports the injury risk is lower and you can also train without meeting up with others. 

Cons of Strongman

To be successful in Strongman it helps to be big. Not big like the guy you know from down the street. I mean massively big weighing 120kg plus and standing 6 feet plus tall. If you don’t bring that to the table you will have a hard time to become a professional in the sport. Based on this also do not keep your hope too high for scoring in the endurance department. Strongman is generally not known to win the 100m sprint or marathons. 

Alternatives to Strongman

Alternatives to strongman training are:
Lumberjacking can be an option if you like to work with wood and training outside. The sport requires skill, stamina, and endurance. Especially if you want to become world-class at something and you are not humongous in body size this can be an interesting alternative to Strongman Training.  The downsides are a higher injury risk, bigger space requirements and higher investment in equipment. 
If you live somewhere where there are more green fields than wood and you don’t want to pull cars the high land games might be something to look into. You also get to dress up and learn more about Celtic history. 
If you want to be on your college’s team or win some Olympic medals you are probably better off throwing some heavy objects very far. This might be shot out, hammer or disc throwing. 

Keto for Strongman

Any diet which restricts intake of certain foods is probably not the best choice for Strongman competitors. One of the main jobs of Strongmen is to eat. To get as big as Brian Shaw or Thor you need to eat a lot of calories. Cutting out pasta, rice, and potatoes entirely doesn't necessarily help to achieve this important goal.

Topics: Keto