What a control day looks like in pictures – with a bit of a twist


Control days are a central piece of the Science Lab which helps people through the difficult spots as they transition to more of a “performance based” way of eating.  It costs $4.95 a month and frankly I don’t think anyone out there supports their literature at a better cost than that.

This was the original article on Control days that inspired this post.

One thing I didn’t want to do on this day was go extremely low calorie and so I actually pushed it a bit on the oil and butter.  I wanted to make sure everyone knew that I wasn’t extremely restricting my calories to get the result I was looking to get.  The basic idea of control days is pretty simple, you use the days you eat carbohydrates so you are building most of the time and you use days where you are relying mostly on fats to keep those other days in line.  I refer to it as the path to an optimal life and as you can see this is most certainly not dieting.  I can’t think of too many people that wouldn’t want to be on this plan.  Also, it was pretty easy to do so it’s convenient.

Did it matter that it was done on a squat day? Maybe a bit but I didn’t do an excessive amount of work as it relates to what people that do Crossfit think is a lot, I mostly lifted heavy for my size and one rep max.

Let me also say that I loaded carbohydrates post workout in the morning.  Which is consistent with what I teach lean people who are trying to maintain mass to do.  Vitargo is one if not the best bulking agents out there, Mike T Nelson mentioned it in a post in the science lab and so I got some.  This is another example of the fact that loading carbohydrates is relatively flexible, while it depends on your goals a bit.  Your main goal is building most of the time because that is the most favorable way to lose body fat.

Honestly I am a little shocked at the result.  I don’t do what I consider to be the extreme version of control days, some authors recommend as low as 30g, I don’t.  There is no magic to 30 grams folks and the idea that being in
“ketosis” being vastly superior to a normal way of being is a myth.  As you can very clearly see I had roughly 8 ounces of carbohydrates in the gatorade, I don’t know the exact carbs but mixed with the Vitargo (which you can buy from Amazon using this link and it supports our site and content like this).  The only other carbs I had were in the coconut milk smoothie right before I went to bed, yet another myth smashed.

For the last myth I would like to direct you to this post about my cholesterol levels.  I get basically two kinds of people that are relatively new to this blog and don’t completely understand the theme of what we do here.  The first disdains carbohydrates and thinks their “sugar addiction” is the thing that is holding their fat loss goals down (it’s probably the opposite if you think of it because most of those people are craving energy density and food).  The other are the people that think I eat too much fat and that in the end it’s going to hurt me.  Secretly they want it to hurt me because they want the information from their crappy diet author to be right.  After all they have managed their weight using that model in a relatively restricted way and that approach mentally sucks at times.

So that brings me to myth number four we are talking about, folks the idea that there are good and bad foods needs to leave your brain.  Clearly you can see I am eating a lot of whole foods and if you want to call that Paleo I have no problem with you doing so but people get way too caught up in the mental head games of dieting for my taste.  My approach isn’t dieting as you can well see, I can’t tell you how many PhD’s I have had to explain the fact that you don’t need an extreme deficit to mobilize fat, in fact it’s that extreme deficit that causes you to maintain fat in the end.  Most leave convinced and certainly 130,000 people on Facebook do.  So that’s the last myth.

Let’s review the various myths.

1) The first myth is that is that being in Ketosis is vastly superior to just eating a moderate amount of carbohydrate as it relates to maintaining brain function (though Jay Griffin might argue the opposite given my failures at Karaoke last night, I am not going to go into the particulars but let me just say Jay is known to have extreme anatomy.  Katie Griffin is currently somewhere in the fetal position cracking up laughing.)

2) Eating carbohydrates at night is a convenient strategy that makes life more adaptable.  It is a guideline not a rule and if you think that is the only way to get lean it isn’t.  I realize this troubles some people that want a “standard recommendation” for everything.  The simple answer goes like this every single time, if you want to know if something works or not test it.  Plain and simple.  The idea that you are going to get fat testing a carbohydrate drink post workout is just silly when a good majority of the people I am talking to on a daily basis have a need for more energy dense options.

3) Myth number three is that fats kill you.  In the Crossfit community we embrace fats (it’s the carbs that I am still working with people on).  In my cholesterol post that I linked to not only did that illustrate that is better, it is actually the path to a better health profile.  For people that should be “mostly building” fats break down into the hormones our bodies need to aid growth.

3.5) Eating carbs before bed is bad for weight loss/fat loss.

4) Having a boogie man list of foods is not only silly it’s counter productive for a healthy way of eating from a mental standpoint.  Do I try to eat mostly foods that add to my health profile clearly I do.  For the people that are going to get hung up on the gatorade and Vitargo or the Hidden Valley Ranch (not to mention the Pufa’s in the omelet from the restaurant post workout) their view misses the over riding point.  That point is that healthy flexible cells are superior to any given food choice you might eat on a daily basis if the majority of what you eat addresses your micronutrient needs (vitamins).

5) Lastly you don’t need to eat with a calorie deficit for your body to function the way it wants to function.  With a high level of cell flexibility (also known as metabolic flexibility) you can eat optimal amounts for athletic performance (actually this works for all people but honestly those folks aren’t as easy to work with as active people).  That way of eating, relying on fats at rest and carbs for workouts (also known as activity) is in fact the path to optimal health.  Simply put:

Your workouts are meant to stimulate muscle activity in a way that causes maintenance in the worst case scenario and possibly adds some tissue in the best case scenario.  So therefore the idea of working out to “lose fat” is correct but it’s different than you think, as I am proving with this example you workout to build and you rest to lose fat.

Yesterday morning I weighed 166.8 pounds, this morning I weighed 164.4.  Folks, you really can’t get better cell flexibility than that.  I hope you guys like this post because I really liked writing it.


This was more weight than I was working with, it was actually my training partner, mostly I was doing doubles and singles at 235 pounds.  The only thing I didn’t picture was the Creatine I took.  I took four capsules of Con Cret, three before and one after.


This is Vitargo, it’s carbs yo.  It’s also glucose, so it’s sugar, it just happens to be an extremely efficient form of glucose.


The is one scoop of Vitargo and I actually only had half of the gatorade.  The Vitargo is 35g of glucose I am guessing the Gatorade was probably another 15 grams or so.


This is a four eggs omelet, certain people think that eggs are too insulinogenic too eat during the day.  That’s just silly and they taste great too.  Being that level of obsessive for most people is not a correct approach mentally.


This is the MCT Oil I cooked the brussel sprouts I ate in.  You can also get it from the Amazon link above and it supports our site.  It’s a great option for cooking.


10 ounce grass fed steak with a heaping helping of Kerrygold Grass Fed butter.  It was seasoned with salt and pepper.  My wife was mad that I didn’t get a wider shot to show you guys that we still have a lot of snow on the ground in Minnesnowta and it’s the middle of April.


Forgot to buy carrots to add a little color.  This has avocado, cauliflower, broccoli and Power Greens for the base (kale, spinach and chard).  FYI you can eat fibrous veggies anytime of the day on control days because you aren’t all that concerned about the blunting effect.


I put this on the salad because it makes it edible.

Brussel Sprouts

I quartered these and fried them in the MCT oil until they browned slightly.  Added salt for taste.


These are turkey bacon meatballs that were being served at a party I went to later in the evening.  It was mostly people from my gym so the snacks were pretty low carb as a general rule, other than the alcohol which I didn’t drink.  I only ate one, I was stuffed from dinner but they are really good.


Cherry coconut smoothie I had before bed.  I am going to go about 60g of carbs in this thing with light coconut milk from Trader Joe’s, this is the recipe.

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