About The Ketologist
My name is Chris Irvin and I am a nutrition researcher, writer, and educator. I hold a Master’s Degree in Exercise and Nutrition Science and am currently the education manager for Perfect Keto. If you want to learn more about my background and what I’m about, keep reading!
Nutrition, health, and fitness have always been passions of mine. As a kid, I was big into sports, especially basketball. As I was finishing up middle school, I was a skinny and pretty nerdy looking kid that wasn’t too bad at shooting the ball. However, I knew that as I entered high school, I needed to get bigger if I was going to be able to compete. This was the first thing that turned me to fitness.
As I entered high school, I started lifting weights and eating as much food as I could to help put on some weight. Based on what my diet was, it’s safe to say I wasn’t passionate about nutrition yet, but I was growing so it worked at the time. After my freshman year of high school, I shot up 6 inches and went from 5’ 6” to 6’. Then after my sophomore year, I shot up another 2-3 inches. While this growth was great in theory for basketball, it made my goal of getting bigger even harder. So, I just continued to eat.
I remember the rest of my high school career consisted of lifting weights and eating every second I could. Two breakfasts, a full meal or snack between every class, lunch, a pre-practice meal, dinner, and snacks until bedtime. Of course, not all the foods I was eating were the most optimal for health or performance but when you are a skinny high school kid with a ravenous appetite, you can get away with it.
Despite this, when I graduated high school, I was 6 foot 3 inches and weighed a measly 175 pounds. I was going on to play small college basketball and I had some work to do. My first semester of college, I took a nutrition class that served as my first introduction to the world of nutrition. Looking back, the information I learned in this class was very outdated and incorrect, but what it did was teach me that what you put in your body impacts the way your body functions. This led me to start following a more paleo style diet while in college. This approach, combined with me finally making it through puberty, led to some muscle gain over the course of my college career, which made a big impact on my physical performance. During my time in undergrad, my emphasis was much more on exercise science, but I had begun to see the impact nutrition has on so many factors of human performance.
When I graduated college, my goal was to become a professional strength and conditioning coach in the NBA. I set out to achieve this by taking a job as a youth, high school, and collegiate strength and conditioning coach at a small gym in central Illinois. During this time, I was still training myself and never lost the goal of trying to put on more size. The problem was that I had gotten away from nutrition and was back on eating whatever I could to put weight on, even if it wasn’t good weight.
While I was working my first job after college, I was introduced to the world of bodybuilding by a co-worker of mine who had recently competed in a physique competition. I thought it was a pretty interesting sport and after my roommate told me that I couldn’t be that disciplined with my diet (probably because we were “bulking” by eating pizza every night), my competitiveness got the best of me and I decided to sign up for a competition myself.
At this time, I was still very naive in my understanding of nutrition, so I had that coworker who had experience in preparing for a show give me a hand. Over the course of twelve weeks, I stayed disciplined to my programmed macros, I worked out, I did cardio, and it worked. I got shredded. I also developed a mild eating disorder, hormonal complications, I was weak, and was way skinnier than I ever want to be again. Safe to say that competition was my one and only.
The diet I was following at this time was not an optimal approach for health or a healthy relationship with food, but it did work and while I regret actually putting my body through this, it did light a passion for nutrition in me that forced me to change my career path. Later that year, I turned down an opportunity to get my master’s in kinesiology and instead moved down to Tampa, Florida to get a master’s in exercise and nutrition science.
Right before starting grad school, I attended a conference that Dr. Dominic D’Agostino and Dr. Jeff Volek were speaking at. At the time I had no idea who they were or what keto was. I had no idea I was listening to two of the most influential people in the keto research community. After hearing them speak about keto, my block headedness told me that keto is a great diet for weight loss but since I wasn’t looking for weight loss, I didn’t put much thought into the diet.
Once I started grad school, my first sports nutrition class talked more about the ketogenic diet and I was immediately intrigued by the physiological changes that occurred on the diet and how this could relate to human performance. This drove me to start helping in the university sports science lab conduring research on keto for human performance, which was an incredible experience that allowed me to test different keto approaches in relatively well-trained college athletes and students. This first-hand experience taught me so much. I spent my first semester diving into the research and consuming as much info as I could.
Halfway through my graduate schooling I picked up a book called Tripping Over the Truth by Travis Christofferson. This book is an incredible account of the history of cancer research, treatment, our misunderstandings, and how metabolic based treatments, such as a ketogenic diet, could be used in the treatment of cancer. This was my first real introduction into the therapeutic potential of a ketogenic diet, and I was hooked. I was so passionate about this topic that I went on a six-month sprint of reading every single cancer paper I could find. During this time, I was fortunate enough to get connected to Dr. Angela Poff, who had recently published an incredible dissertation on the use of keto and other metabolic based treatments for cancer. Lucky for me, there were extra hands needed in the lab she worked in at the University of Southern Florida and I was able to come in and learn directly from brilliant educators like her, Dr. Shannon Kesl, and soon to be doctor Andrew Koutnik.
This lab was a little different from what I was used to because the subjects were animals and not humans; an incredble experience that allowed me to gain a better understanding of what the academic world of research looks like. The doctors in this lab taught me so much and I got to be a part of some really cutting-edge research, an opportunity I will forever feel grateful for.
After spending a few months in this lab, I started to realize that while my passion was definitely keto for therapeutics, I enjoyed reading and writing a lot more than I did conducting research. During this time, I became very disappointed that there were so many rock star researchers out there, like the ones I was learning from, who had research that was either not accessible to the general population or not as easily understood. This is when I decided to set out on a mission to do my part to help educate the masses on the various potentials of the ketogenic diet and highlight the research from these incredible scientists. This is how The Ketologist brand was born.
During my time in grad school I began to see a keto industry growing. I was in big support of this industry growing because I think a strong industry can support good research but with so many companies coming on the scene just trying to make a buck, I became discouraged and kept my distance. After spending a couple years doing research and developing content about keto, I decided to start looking more into the keto industry because I wanted to bring more research and education into the industry. Fortunately, Perfect Keto was looking for someone to improve research and education within there company, something they were already doing very well! I was already a big fan of Dr. Anthony Gustin and the quality products he was making at Perfect Keto so it ended up making a great fit.
Now I am focusing on continuing to learn and educate the masses on the ketogenic diet through The Ketologist and Perfect Keto! Over the last four years, since being introduced to keto, I have had my own dietary journey. When I first started keto, I had no idea what I was doing, but over the last few years I have continued to learn from experimenting on myself and working to help others optimize their ketogenic diet. In research, if you are humble, you will have your opinion on certain topics changed frequently, and I have and will continue to have. I hope you guys enjoy my content and if you find it useful, please share it with someone!