I am looking for more rowing partners to join me via an online-row1community of people that row using the Concept 2 Rower. There is a team event starting next month and I simply do not have enough buddies to form the 10 person team required to participate. Maybe you would consider joining me?  You can either get your own rower, or you can use a Concept 2 Rower at your local gym.  You just need to download the ErgData App and sign up for a web account at Concept 2

Rowing is a great way to workout both the upper body, legs and core muscles.  It is also perfect for people looking for a low impact exercise.  It definitely abuses the joints less.  I knew I enjoyed rowing, because in the past I used it as a short warm-up at the gym.


I just started rowing seriously this month. I love the way my body feels and the clarity it brings my mind after a good work-out.  I am usually pretty active, but usually avoid strenuous activity.  With rowing I can row moderately, but throw in a rigorous interval as desired.  Short bursts of high energy expenditure make me feel more energized and leave me with better mental clarity afterwards.  My understanding is that such interval training also creates prolonged fat-burning (up to 36 hours) after the workout.  That benefit is realized with interval training as short as 12 minutes.  Pretty cool.

The challenges at the Concept 2 website have been very motivating as well.  As a result of the Dog Days of Summer Challenge and the Rowolympics I earned the “silver medal” and clocked in 132 km in my first month!  It would be fun to participate in the September 15th – October 15th 2016 Team Challenge.  Join me!

Getting into ketosis

I thought getting into ketosis would be a snap.  You burn fat; you make ketones; your body eats the ketones.  Simple.  Or so I thought when I started the ketogenic diet.  I explained earlier how I started a ketogenic diet on a whim and then after nine days decided it wasn’t for me.

As I started to transition off the diet, I was left wondering if I’d even made it to ketosis.  To answer that question, I decided to order a ketone meter, go back on the diet for a day or two and see if I was ketotic.

Saturday morning I took my first fasting measurement.  It was 0.2 mmol/L.  This would be a typical level for a non-ketotic state.  Since Friday I ate 132g of net carbs this was expected.  However, since I had been eating low carbs for a week, I figured if I dropped down to 20 grams carbs I would test ketotic (>0.5) in the morning.

Wrong again.  Saturday was a strenuous day on the farm and despite eating only 19g carbs I was only 0.3 Sunday morning.  I was shocked!  I was so surprised I tested it twice.  “So much for that doctorate in physiology,” I thought.

After some thought, I decided my body was really good making sugar out of what was available and was resistant to producing ketones.  This is when I started paying more attention to the protein I was eating.  Proteins as well as carbohydrates can be easily converted into sugar.  Indeed even glycerol, the backbone of fats, is used to make sugar.

On Tuesday (morning of day 4) I hit a ketone level of 0.5, the minimum required to claim a successful ketotic diet.  I ran out of blood test strips that day (This was only supposed to take a couple days, so I only ordered 10.), but was able to continue monitoring using urinary strips.  I estimate I fluctuated around 0.5 the next couple days and when I was able to test my blood again on Friday it was only 0.4.  So not a solid ketosis yet.

I went online looking for more information and learned that not only was it not simple to induce ketogenesis, it also took at least three weeks to become keto-adapted.  Geez, I though just getting into ketosis would be enough, but apparently the body doesn’t use the ketones efficiently until later.

It took me a week from when I restarted the diet to reach a solid ketosis.  During that time, I continued to focus on lowering my protein to about 60 grams/day and keeping my net carbs around 24 grams.  My ketone levels on day eight were 0.6, day nine: 1.1, and day ten: 0.9.nutrition

Keto-adaptation is my next target.

Luckily, there is a way to measure keto-adaptation.  Once the body becomes efficient at using ketones as fuel, the urinary excretion will decrease and may completely disappear.  It is recommended that one give a ketogenic diet at least one month, since this is the typical length it takes to adapt.


Ketone Meter

When I first investigated measuring ketones to determine if I was in ketosis I discovered people use two methods:  blood measurements and urine measurements.  I started with the blood measurements because it was more accurate, but then purchased the urinary strips because they are much less expensive.

Urine Measurements


  • Test Strips are inexpensive ($0.07 per test)
  • Useful when starting the ketotic diet as they can be used to determine if ketosis has started or not.


  • Results do not accurately reflect blood ketones levels (see below).
  • As a person becomes keto-adapted, the types of ketones the body makes will change and the urine test only detects acetoacetic acid.  It is possible for someone to have no detectable urinary ketones and still be in ketosis.

keto-meterBlood Measurements



  • One has to stick their finger to draw blood for the test.
  • Expensive!  Test strips for the best meters can cost $5 a test.  I picked the Nova Max Meter because the Ketone Test Strips for that model can be purchased for less than $2 a test.  It also tests glucose. Those are only $0.20 per test.


Correlations between blood and urine measurements

These values are based on one research study measuring urine and blood in people at the emergency room with suspected ketoacidosis.

Urine ketones scored as + (1.5mmol/L) = blood ketone 0.5 mmol/L (0.1–0.9)

Urine ketones scored as ++ (4.0mmol/L) = blood ketone 0.7 mmol/l (0.2–1.8)

Urine ketones scored as +++   (8.0mmol/L) =  blood ketone 3 mmol/l (1.4–5.2)