Chris uses a low-carb, ketogenic diet to maintain strength and general fitness while aging. He notices a big improvement in his focus, mood, and energy levels. In short, a keto diet keeps him thriving!
After bodybuilding on a low fat diet for years, he is now confident that healthy fats have an essential and fundamental place in the human diet.
I hope you as inspired as I am after reading Chris’ story!
Please introduce yourself briefly with your name, general location, age, height, and current weight.
Hello, my name is Chris Ryman. I’m from Woodstock, Virginia, about 1.5 hours west of Washington DC. I’m 5’8” and currently 160 pounds, lifting 5 days per week. My first 12 months on Keto I went from 191 to 138 pounds.
I am cutting now again to get leaner, staying keto and feeling great. My calories weren’t as restricted the past few months; you CAN GAIN WEIGHT on keto.
How long have you followed a keto diet?
I’ve been Keto for nearly 2 years, I began November 1, 2018.
How did you hear about keto and a low carb approach?
Local friends who had been doing it for a few years. Their continued success was enough to convince me.
Like many, I was skeptical. I lift weights and “ya gotta have carbs to train”, right?
WRONG. I now know better.
What was your first impression about cutting out grains, starches, and even most fruits?
No fear. For over a decade (years ago) I competed in drug-free bodybuilding. I ALWAYS went low carb when dieting for shows to get lean. Not fully keto but low carb. BUT, between contests, we always added carbs back in. Oats, potatoes, etc. – the typical bodybuilding carbs.
And? I’d always put 30-40 pounds on in the months following a contest. Madness.
What made you want to try this WOE for yourself? Where were you coming from at the time?
I no longer compete but I do wish to maintain strength and muscle, good fitness as I age (I’m 48 now). And once again I found myself 191 pounds and “fluffy”. I saw my keto friends and how their entire lives were better. Better energy, focus, ideal body weight, moods, everything. They were THRIVING. I wanted a piece of that.
Was the beginning hard? Were there any unexpected challenges or side effects?
For me, it wasn’t very difficult. For 10 years I dieted 6 months at a time for shows where I ate “for fuel”, not enjoyment.
But keto? Keto was different.
Instead of a dry plain chicken breast and broccoli, my meals were now eggs and steak. Filling and delicious food!!!
Did any symptoms get worse before they got better?
I learned early on to supplement with sodium, potassium and magnesium to cover my bases. And I did not limit my fat intake until I was deeper adapted when I felt my hunger pretty much go away. Those tips from others made the beginning actually pretty easy for me.
Where did your motivation to keep going come from?
The first YouTube informational videos I started watching were by Primal Edge Health (Tristan Haggard), KetoSavage (Robert Sikes, natural keto bodybuilder), Ketogains, and Dr. Ken Berry. I soaked up every video I could find.
How long until you saw results? What is your marker of “healing”?
Even without killing myself on tons of cardio, I lost about 40 pounds in my first 14-15 weeks. During that time I was rarely hungry. Cravings for the usual starches went away in 2-3 weeks.
I noticed that even after a “big” keto meal I was no longer sleepy after eating like I was when I ate carb meals before keto.
My joint aches were pretty much gone. My thinking was much more clear. I no longer wanted a nap after lunch anymore.
We get so accustomed to feeling bad, we don’t know really what it’s like to feel AMAZING.
Were your family and friends supportive of your choices?
They went with it. They saw me with protein shakes and broccoli for years, so I ate weird to them anyway.
What other diets have you followed, how long were you on them, and what were the results?
The typical Bro, bodybuilding diets with 300 grams of protein a day, 50-100 grams of carbs, and 20 grams of fat. (WAY TOO LOW IN FAT). I got lean for competition but felt absolutely horrible. I hated it. I looked like a Greek statue but barely had enough energy to stand up, let alone flex on stage.
What did you use to eat before trying keto?
Protein shakes, chicken, steak, egg whites, oats, potatoes, plus the weekly cheat pizza or two (when not dieting hard).
Do you track macros or calories?
Year-round? Mostly. When trying to get really lean? ALWAYS. If one never knows how much they eat they have no reference of what to adjust from.
Do you supplement with anything?
Currently, I use a scoop of whey protein and a small serving of MCT oil with creatine before lifting weights. Other than that it’s just real food. It’s rare but I’ll occasionally have a protein shake if I’ve just missed the boat on being prepared. But it’s very rare.
Do you ever miss a specific food, meal, or texture?
Not really. Pizza is my favorite food. EVER. But I make my own now with a crust made from either crushed pork rinds or cauliflower (if I’m not on a serious lean out cut).
Do you practice fasting or OMAD?
Fasting has proven to be a great tool for healing eczema. I used to do 1-3 day long water fasts but now I simply skip breakfast and limit my evening food intake to create a semi-intermittent-fasting effect.
Some days have only 1 meal but usually, I eat twice.
What does a typical day of eating look like for you? What did you eat today?
1 Scoop whey protein isolate
10 grams MCT oil and 5 g creatine
5 to 6 am – weight training
7:30-8:00 am: 4oz lean beef, 4 whole eggs
5pm: usually the same as my 8am. If I want a cup or two of veggies I’ll have them here.
Usually at 130 grams protein, 10 grams carbs and 80-100 grams of fat per day.
This is for cutting. For maintenance or gaining, it’s all the same but I add more butter and coconut oil to the meat to increase calories and fat. Upwards of 130-150 grams of fat a day during maintenance/gaining.
My LEAN MASS is about 130 pounds.
I cook in bulk and typically eat the same foods most of the time. Simplicity and preparation are key to success on any diet.
I drive a tractor-trailer locally so I eat a lot of cold beef from a crock pot and hard boiled eggs. I don’t even need a microwave. Simple and filling, full of protein, fat, and nutrients.
Do you practice fasting or OMAD?
I did my first year. OMAD. Loved it, and had great success.
I loved getting to eat one big, satisfying meal for dinner. But I now have half of my day’s food within a few hours after lifting weights. I’m hoping it helps with muscle recovery. But I liked OMAD so well I may do it again in the future. I occasionally do OMAD on non-lifting days if I’m busy and it’s no big deal. My body, my hunger is so satisfied that I CAN go all day and not dream of food.
Would you recommend a keto diet to someone else and why?
I recommend it to everyone. At 48 years old I’ve never felt better and I’m no longer a slave to food.
What would you say to someone 2 weeks into a keto diet who is having a hard time?
Be patient. YOU are worth it.
Pay attention to those electrolytes.
Don’t limit your fat so much in the beginning. Eat as much fat as it takes to calm your hunger and give you energy. You can dial that back later if you want faster fat loss. Just not too low.
Once you’re adapted you’ll have high energy, high focus and less hunger.
Making life changes is hard. Being sick and overweight is hard. Pick your hard.
If someone wants to learn more about your health journey or contact you, where is the best place for them to go?
My email: ryman72 live.com
Are you ready to try animal-based nutrition for yourself?