A Review of the Velocity Diet 3.5
I, much like the rest of the western world put on some weight over Christmas. January 1st has always been as good a day as any to get started with losing some.
For better or worse I have had a 'tradition' of slightly unusual New Years resolution diets. Usually my approach to diet and excercise is highly functional, health conscious and natural and I would always advocate this type of mentality.
However I hate to dismiss anything out of hand and there are far too many different diets out there to choose from. For my NY16 push I decided to go with the Velocity Diet promoted by the bodybuilding, supplement and on occasion pro steroid use website T-nation.
I first read about it from Dan John, a very experienced coach who I admire greatly. Usually his writing and advise is extremely sensible and practical and neither word suits the V-diet. This made me curious as to what the hell was so great about it.
I was sceptical because the 'diet' involves fairly little food. The original diet was nearly 100% protein supplements and a single solid meal a week. The creator has since re written the diet to allow a single 500kcal meal every single day made up of a lean protein, vegitable and carb. In addition you get four 50g protein shakes and a bunch of fish oil capsules.
The author said the diet was designed as a 'psychological makeover' to reset your food habits and preferences. This sounded like a plan so I decided to give it a shot. I will confess here I did not purchase the supplements from T-nation and their biotest brand as they are seriously expensive. I ordered the closest match I could find from the ever reliable Myprotein.
- 4 evenly spaced out 50g slow digesting protein shakes.
- lots of fish oil with every shake.
- A single 500kcal meal a day. Very clean eating.
- Four days a week.
- Three fairly simple days of weight training.
- One high intensity interval training session
- Lots of NEPA (non excercise physical activity)
The program was sound. Simple and quick to perform. Find a weight you can lift 8 times only, rest 45 seconds, lift again for more reps, rest again, lift again, rest again and so on until 40 reps are hit. Simple and a nice way of balancing out your workload.
A reasonably heavy weight that gets harder and harder to lift as the time goes on. Oh, and every week you drop 5 seconds rest without changing the weight.
All biggish lifts, but pretty simple program that didn't take long. This was a good thing as I was pretty burned out at times. I didn't do the HIIT as suggested but I was doing several Les Mills Grit classes. Sorry not sorry.
I very much expected to lose weight. I didn't expect it to be easy or pleasent but defiantly wanted to see results.
While I DID plan to finish I assumed the low calories and poor nutrition would make me suffer sooner rather than later.
I expected to crave crap throughout as I usually do when my calories fall a bit low.
It started off easy. I drank my shakes and waited for my meal in the evening. I'm a veteran of the Warrior Diet so going all day on minimal anything is nothing new. If anything the artificially sweetened protein supplement made me hungrier than if I had just not bothered. Pretty easy all told.
I was suprised when I started weighing food how little 500kcal looks like when it's rice and protein. I started having a lot of beans and vegitables to keep the quantity up.
The training left me so sore. I usually stick to long rest, low reps and lots of volume so this was not unexpected. There was lots of limping.
By the end of the week I was really craving macaroni cheese.
232.2ld Down 7.2ld in 7 days.
Can't hate the drop in weight. I was thirsty and using the bathroom a lot so I'm sure mostly water but still rather not carry it.
I hit my stride this week. Shakes got drank, fish oil got eaten and my evening meals got larger thanks to more beans less rice and a lot more broccoli and cabbage.
The training was still really tough to recover from despite being relatively easy to perform.
I caught myself googling 'best burgers in Edinburgh' so I can safely say I had cravings. One burger had a macaroni cheese fritter on it...
226.8ld Down 12.6ld in 14 days.
Really starting to struggle now. I'm missing shakes and drinking way more coffee than I should be. I have issues with caffeine addiction and tolerance so this was not a good development. My energy isn't high but my strength and fitness are still there more or less.
I'm very much at peace with the size and makeup of my evening meals. I have learnt to stretch 500kcal out to a respectable meal. Motivation was running low. I will finish but I've stopped enjoying the experiment.
I had my first break from the diet this week, a banana and yogurt after my meal. I had done a hard Grit session and I felt like I had the flu. No energy, low mood and generally awful.
On low carb diets with lower protein higher fat you begin to produce ketones which fuel your brain and this isn't an issue. With this diet the high protein must have stopped that happening. The banana sorted me right out and I was still feeling good for the next day.
The take home lesson is that carbs are great but the quantities you NEED are relatively tiny and borderline zero when fat is the main fuel source.
All I'm craving now is a bigger portion of vegitables and meat. Nothing fancy or bad. Parsnips and a nice roast something... Anything really. A few evening meals were a little too large. Not a 'cheat' but not measured to a razor sharp five-zero-zero calories.
Im also tired of the barbell and machine movements. I miss kettlebells. My shoulders are tight and my neck hurts. I want my swings and get ups back.
222.6ld Down 16.8ld in 21 days.
The lower compliance has showed on the scales. Still down but a far more modest drop.
This last week has been the toughest and honestly just as wobbly in compliance. I missed shakes here and there and my evening meals often went over the calorie line.
Training happened but it wasn't exactly my finest hour. There was a lot of Grit this week and it's wearing on me.
By the end of this week I was absolutely finished with chocolate protein powder. I've decided to call it Soylent Brown from now on and will want nothing to do with it for awhile. I'd rather just fast until I get my dinner after the 28th is done.
Despite all this my motivation to train is there, just the energy to go hard isn't. I gave it a shot and got the workouts done.
All I'm craving now is Brazil nuts which I don't like. Go figure.
Results and Review
After just abandoning the shakes and fasting for the last two days I'm done. 22lb in 28 days. Job done. I expect that to bounce up a few pounds once I carb up a bit but the picture shows a pretty clear change.
Well that was as awful as I expected but seriously productive weight wise. Under no circumstances could this have been maintained for any longer. Arguably 28 days was still too long. I might consider it again as a 2 week thing but otherwise it's a nope.
High protein low fat low carb low calorie is not the easiest choice of macros to stick to.
On the side of the 'psychological makeover' claim, I am not craving anything except chicken, vegitables and some Brazil nuts. The thought of eating anything processed or overly sweet or artificial would make me sick. I have no idea yet if this is going to continue but I have defiantly got a different mindset on eating now.
I certainly don't NEED anything like as many calories as I thought I did and don't need to try so hard to bulk out my meals. Hunger was never an issue for a moment after the first three days despite everything.
Anyway, this diet "works" but you would need to be very disciplined to finish it and then go back to a good eating plan afterwards. It has taught me I don't need to eat anything like as much as I thought.
I would find it hard to recomend as it teaches very little about healthy eating and any sustainable plan. If on the other hand you are doing okay with a simple diet and wanted to crank up the progress for a few weeks then it's certainly a way you could go.
Anyway I'm gong to get back to practicing what I preach now. Look after your health, look after your body and follow what nature intended for you.