Resistance Training Experiment – Findings

As discussed earlier, this experiment is near and dear to me. And I must say, it did not disappoint…

Below I have expandable sections with the text from the prior posts that detail this experiment.


My Hypothesis (Posted September 4th)

My Hypothesis

I hypothesize resistance training reduces LDL cholesterol due to higher endocytosis of LDL particles by non-hepatic tissues, this includes skeletal muscle for growth and repair.


Study Design (Posted September 4th)

Study Design

From August 27th to September 10th (16 days), I will have the following routine:

  • Meal Plan:
    • Around 10 AM: Nathan’s Uncured All-Beef Hotdogs, two ounces of Colby
    • Around 3 PM: Four hard boiled eggs, four ounces of Colby Jack cheese
    • Around 8 PM: Three hard boiled eggs, four ounces of Colby Jack cheese
  • Activity/Exercise:
    • I will be standing at my desk through working hours
    • I will be walking around 2.5 miles per day in the afternoon, generally between 3pm and 8pm
  • I will be traveling and doing errands outside the house as little as possible to control for confounders
  • Daily testing:
    • Morning glucose, BHB, weight, blood pressure readings
    • Around 10 AM glucose and lipid readings
    • Morning lipid readings from the day of the intervention (Sept 5th) until the end of the experiment (Sept 10th)
  • Blood draws:
    • Each blood draw will include Apolipoprotein A-1, Apolipoprotein B, C-Reactive Protein, Cardiac, CBC With Differential/Platelet, Comp. Metabolic Panel (14), Fatty Acids, Free (Nonester), Ferritin, Serum, Glucagon, IGF-1, Insulin and C-Peptide, Serum, Lipid Panel, Lp(a), Lp-PLA2 Activity, NMR LipoProfile, Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha
    • The first blood draw will take place on September 5th just before the intervention
    • The second blood draw will take place after one of two conditions, whichever comes first:
      • The morning lipid reading shows a drop of more than 10% for LDL cholesterol against run-up baseline (if on a Sunday, to be carried over to the following Monday) or
      • The last day of the experiment is reached


Intervention (Posted September 4th)


I will engage in a workout session with a Vibration Plate Power Plus. I will be working all upper body with the intent to become as sore as is reasonable without risk of injury. I will keep track of all time allotments and settings for data and potential reproducibility.

This will be performed:

  1. On Wednesday, September 5th at approximately 9 AM
  2. On Sunday, September 9th at approximately 9 AM


Design Additions (posted September 14th)

Design Amendment to Add an Extra Phase

The Face of Tired

As if this writing (Thursday night, Sept 13th), my cholesterol is below the baseline of the washout period (August 29st-Sept 5th). The mean average of TC and LDL-C during this run-up period are 382 and 314 respectively. [Note: these levels are higher due to the baseline diet being around 500 calories lower than my typical, ad libitum keto diet.]

I’m awaiting the baseline to return to this roughly this level before “triggering” another intervention of another intense workout. I figure a 3% offset should be sufficient. Thus, if either the TC comes to or above 370 (97% of 382) or LDL-C comes to or above 305 (97% of 315) for the 10am reading, then I’ll initiate the intervention on the following day.

Change to Intended Exercise Regime

While I had set up my vibration plate machine for exercise in the hopes I could fully quantify it for perfect replication, I quickly found out that I couldn’t easily do a full upper body workout to the degree I was seeking and that it was taking a bit of time working with the operation of it. Thus I altered the intervention phases as follows:

Intervention Phase I: Completed four exercises on the vibration plate for 20 minutes. Completed half of a free exercise video on YouTube for 15 minutes. Played 20 minutes of Knockout League for PSVR (Lots of rapid arm swinging, variety of motion), one lap around my block with a 500ml water bottle in each hand.

Intervention Phase II: Went to a nearby gym and had 5 minutes of warmup cardio, then 45 minutes on various upper body weights with extra emphasis on the arms and chest. I did another 15 minutes on the vibration plate afterward.

Change to Diet to Add More Salt

As many who follow me already know, I consume a lot of salt in my normal keto diet, usually targeting about 10g a day (no, that’s not a typo). At the beginning of the washout phase, I was consuming roughly 5g with my meals on top of a Sports Salts supplement of 1.5 servings at the 10am meal.

Alas, this was not enough. I began experiencing leg cramps a couple days in and so added an additional teaspoon (6g) of pink salt to water each day and this resolved the issues.



Staying Consistent Throughout

Here’s a straightforward graphic to illustrate my every day food… (additional water not shown)

A sample of my walking records are here on the right…

But so you know, this is actually wrong. I didn’t average 4.5 miles of walking each day, not even close. However, I don’t mind if the iOS devices are wrong so long as it is consistent in its magnitude of overestimation so I can at least see if my pattern is proving stable.

I did find myself getting anxious for the walk each day. As tedious constants go from one moment to the next, this was always the activity I most looked forward to each day. There were a number of times I wanted to tack on another mile or two.

Sleep Activity

I do want to make note that I haven’t slept for a typical length in a long time, usually averaging five to six hours a night for the last half a year or so. This was true throughout this experiment as well. The only exception was the very last night when it was over and I managed to knock out seven hours. (Probably not a coincidence)

Total and LDL Cholesterol Dropped Following Intervention

First, let’s look at 10am readings and the corresponding pattern shown:

This was taken just before my 10am “feeding” each morning.

These markers mostly represent a single data point. But on “key” days, opted to do several in a row for additional redundancy (such as on the morning following each intervention day) and averaged the result together.

NOTE: In the interest of full disclosure, there was one data point which was excluded due to a poor release from the capillary tube which unsurprisingly resulted in an oddly super low reading relative to the others. However, I’ll be including it anyway in the final raw data spreadsheet for reference which I’ll be releasing in a later post (probably Part II)

As it happened, on the day of the first intervention and thereafter, I decided to add lipid readings from my CardioChek following my other post-wake up measurements (glucose, BHB, weight/composition, and BP). I’ll include those here:

And finally, I decided to do one more chart where I averaged both the morning and 10am readings:

Needless to say, I really, really love these graphs! All that robotic, tedious living from day-to-day really paid off in a big way.

Of course, both Interventions have an almost perfect curvature downward, then upward. I joked to my wife, “these actually look too good. They’re going to think it is fake!” (Of course, I literally have every picture of every CardioChek screen timestamped and in the cloud, so feel free to audit me. 🙂 )

A Morning Triglyceride Spike

If you look closely at triglycerides from both time periods (the morning/wake up vs the 10am readings), you’ll notice an interesting bump. Let’s isolate the morning readings in yellow and the 10am readings in orange:

As you can see, my TGs following that 9/9 intervention was especially high when I woke up, but dropped substantially back to baseline by 10am.

When did I wake up? Well, I always try to make it a rule to take my readings within a half hour of being “fully awake”. Pretty much it’s the first thing I do when I get up — but I’ll concede I often check my phone for a little bit before leaving the bed itself. So the CC times taken each of those mornings were 6:41am, 6:55am, and 6:56am, respectively. Thus, I had about a 3 hour gap between the morning and 10am readings those days.

I’ve had two other occasions where I observed both a morning and 10am reading: The Capstone and Added Sugar Experiments. But this temporary spike was not observed in either one. In fact, my triglycerides very, very rarely climb into the triple digits in the first place, particularly on a very low carb, ketogenic diet.

As my second intervention led to more and longer-lasting soreness given I took to the weights and hammered it out at a gym, I expected a bit more intensive repair. More repair => more LDL needed => more VLDL secretion => more overall TG detected… and cleared rapidly?

This is some good stuff!

Glucose vs Ketones


Here we break the numbers out to a chart:

So my ketones hovered between 1.2 to 1.5 fairly reliably until I hit the first intervention and boom — 2.1 to 2.5 until the 14th, right about when my LDL started to come back up from it’s low of the second intervention.

Not-Quite-Final Thoughts

Without question, this experiment has been very challenging to execute, as all very long experiments typically are. That said, this certainly one of my favorites of all time.

For one, I had been putting off all resistance training for “the next few months” for over two years as I suspected it would impact my lipids. So it was a can I kept kicking down the road while focusing on the set of experiments at hand. Yes, I already had hints I might be right from my marathon training, but how sure could I be?

Moreover, this gives considerable evidence to the pattern I’ve speculated on this entire time as to why many keto bodybuilders will have lower LDL-C/-P than their runner/yoga/cardio counterparts. Can I be sure this is mostly muscle tissue endocytosis? Certainly not. But for me, this is the best evidence I’ve been able to generate to date to demonstrate that possibility.

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Rob Hanna
5 years ago

Awesome stuff, Dave! Endocytosis… now I’ve got much more to learn. Again…

5 years ago

Thank you.

Sven Braem
Sven Braem
5 years ago

Could the higher morning trig be related to the dawn phenomenon? Cortisol is raised in the morning, it doesn’t just causes the release of glucose but also trigs.

Sven Braem
Sven Braem
5 years ago
Reply to  Dave

The reason I brought up the dawn phenomenon is because of the difference between the morning and 10 am readings. Could it also be that the endocytosis is primarily taking part during the night when the body tries to perform the repair and upon waking lowers this repair? Energy needs to be preserved for our activities throughout the day.
One other point I noticed is that, at least with the second intervention, ketones and triglycerides follow trend. Since we are talking about an energy system, it would make sense that there is an overall increased need for energy. Raw material (fatty acids, cholesterol) to build/repair cells but also energy (fatty acids, ketones, glucose) to process the raw material and construct new material. Also I bet your body adapted to becoming more glucose sparing since the glucose didn’t really drop below 90 but it was definitely pushed down to stay at that level. This is just my interpretation but given the rise in ketones and fatty acids, slightly pressed glucose. Very interesting stuff!

5 years ago

That’s some discipline. Way to go Dave. These N 1 ‘s are turning all we were taught, upside down. This is what big, food and pharma should be doing. But no $$ In keeping us healthy. Thankfully we have you as our Guinea pig!

Tom M
Tom M
5 years ago

Great stuff…..I’m wondering if your work here might explain something I experienced this week. I’m an active 65 YO who’s been ketogenic for a couple of years and more carnivore the last 6 months or so. I had some bloodwork done last week….within an hour of completing 2 hours of vigorous tennis. Not quite HIIT but quite the workout. My TG’s came in at 117 (81 in May 2018), when they more typically run 59 to 85. Wondering if the pre-lab exercise explains the jump?

Other values with May 2018 results in parenthesis:
TC = 341 (387)
HDL-C=58 (64)
LDL-C=260 (307)
ApoB=188 (200)
ApoA1=1.21 (1.22)
FBG=89 (79)
Fasting Insulin (3.3 (2.4)
hs-CRP=2.66 (2.43)

Keep up the good work and I’m happy to continue my Patreon monthly pledge!

4 years ago
Reply to  Dave

Hey Dave, did you? If so, what was the result? (Also, weights or HIIT or cardio?) Thanks.

5 years ago

what is dangerous is not quantity of fats, but quality of foods …
… from the frying pan into the fire !

5 years ago

More outstanding work!

Terry Ritter
5 years ago


Great work, again. Any thoughts on the TG morning and 10AM values from the 17th?

Triglyceride Carryover – A Possible Game Changer » Cholesterol Code

[…] TG above 100 after having just awoken, was for three days following the second intervention of the Resistance Training Experiment — even then, that was almost 100 mg/dL lower than this […]

Thoughts on Shawn Baker’s Labs » Cholesterol Code

[…] LDL-C and LDL-P are both on the lower end for a low carber who is as lean and fit as Dr Baker is. I suspect this is due to his emphasis on resistance training, which can reduce LDL scores due to a higher rate of use for muscle repair. [UPDATE: Since writing this article, I’ve since done an experiment that specifically tested this resistance training-induced LDL lowering effect.] […]

Christian Nicholas
Christian Nicholas
2 years ago

Hi, Dave, good morning from Toronto, Canada. I truly appreciate your information. I would like to know if the results that took place in your body would be similar for anyone? I ask because as we all know everyone is different. Because I have seen videos on Youtube in which Erythritol had zero effect on some people’s blood sugar, but on another person there was a little rise.
My A1C was at 5.9 this past February 20/ 2021 and I weighed 192lbs. I have been doing intermittent fasting (18/6) and low carb eating, and I have lost about 20 pounds between February 2021 to date. Honestly I feel great. I will go do another blood test on the august 20/2021, and I am kind of expecting my cholesterol to be a little higher, because my doctor did tell me in February that it was a little high. I’m really hoping that my A1C is lower

Siobhan Huggins
Siobhan Huggins(@siobhanh)
2 years ago

Hi Christian –
N=1 (e.g. single subject) experiments like this aren’t really intended to be the end-all-be-all.
Instead, it’s usually following up on an observation – in Dave himself, in other people, or following up on something proposed in the research.
In this case, it came about because it was observed that those would have been expected to have a LMHR profile didn’t, and the way they diverged was that their LDL was slightly lower than might have been expected otherwise. Another pattern noticed was that these people tended to be the “ketogains” type – resistance training, heavy lifting, etc as opposed to runners or swimmers, etc.
So Dave put together the experiment to see if the resistance training/type of exercise was the reason for the slightly different profile. In this case, it did appear to be the case that an effect was seen in response to the exercise.

The benefit of these types of n=1s is that, typically, a single person can do them pretty easily (if they’re willing to put the effort, time, and dedication in) so they can be replicated in others. This has been done with the cholesterol drop protocol many, many, times for example – and that started out as an n=1 as well.

This isn’t to say this effect will *always* happen, given that other factors can influence lipids as well (diet composition, amount and intensity of exercise, body composition, etc) but rather to explore a pattern that kept popping up to see if a mechanism for it could be found.

2 years ago

Dave, this is great, can’t believe I’m just now finding it. I’m preparing to try the Feldman Protocol for the first time, and meet the LMHR cutoffs in my first bloodwork since moving to HFLC about 7 months ago. I also generally do resistance exercise 4x/wk. Do you recommend that I discontinue it during some or all of the experiment?

Siobhan Huggins
Siobhan Huggins(@siobhanh)
2 years ago
Reply to  Brady

Hi Brady,
From what we’ve seen in ourselves and others, exercise during the protocol is a potential confounder so besides low intensity stuff (e.g. walking) it’s generally recommended to skip for the duration of the protocol.

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