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Question on fat adaptation to improve endurance running, with a few variables

Answered on October 31, 2013
Created October 29, 2013 at 8:15 PM

Hi, this is a question with a few variables. I'm starting to train for my 2nd marathon (if you want to comment on how I shouldn't be doing chronic cardio please don't), and I'm trying to learn from what I did there to do it better. I had been eating Paleo before I started my training for my last one, but gave up, because I was finding it too hard. This time, I want to maintain it, and I'm reading Paleo Diet for Athletes to help me there. In hindsight I can see that I was almost burning almost completely sugars as I think most of my training was at too high a heart rate. That would explain why I would be craving carbs.

I'm trying to train my body to be fat adapted so that I can be more efficient, drop body fat, and cause less stress to the body. At the moment I'm doing HR training to stay down in my aerobic zone, and it feels very slow at the moment but I know it's what I need to do. I've been reading about lower carb or ketogenic diets, and I know they can be done effectively even with endurance sport. Many ultra-runners thrive on a ketogenic diet, as they train their bodies to run for hours on their fat stores. My question is, do I need to go right down to ketosis (less than 50g carbs) to train my body to become fat adapted?

I also have Hashimotos hypothyroidism. I'm on a natural thyroid extract which has me feeling really good now and my test results exactly where they should be.

This week I have dropped my carbs to about 60g or less, and I'm eating plenty of good fats to make up for that. I'm feeling totally fine at this point.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on October 30, 2013
at 11:54 PM

i have heard people say, that if you can fast with ease, then you are fat adapted. kinda makes sense, ie. if you can easily go without food for say 16hrs, with no cravings/hunger/feeling tired etc it would say to me that your body has no problem accessing & burning body fat for energy.

...hangry is another good term, if you get hangry (hungry angry) if you do not eat every few hours, then you are Not fat adaped

D41ce736cfc4e7362093793f579f846b

(45)

on October 29, 2013
at 08:53 PM

I'm looking for advice on whether this approach may work, or if I'm barking up the wrong tree. Sorry if it comes across as having made my mind up. As far as my training at the moment, yes, but the diet side to go with it I'm simply testing out, which is why I'm looking for advice.

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6 Answers

0
62fafa8cb15af7c562fa8c270f7b6174

on October 31, 2013
at 09:08 PM

High fat diet in ketosis sounds ideal for LH training. I doubt you can benefit without ketosis. I began running while fasted on the bulletproof coffee plan and have had a fairly successful experience becoming 'fat adapted'. That is 100g carbs, fasting from carbs and protein for 16 hours or more, having 1000 calories of butter, coconut oil and MCT oil 3 hours before running. My run was typically only 12-14 hours into the fasting period. It was very tough for a few months. At first I would have zero energy, and a second wind, and zero energy, and a third wind, etc. Now I can get a nice steady forever pace going fueled by fat alone, for what its worth. I probably have much less agressive goals than you. Anyway, I suggest the bulletproof approach using intermittent fasting, grassfed butter and MCT oil for ketosis. You can blend it with any hot beverage, coffee, tea, chai, etc. and get the benefits.

0
Medium avatar

on October 30, 2013
at 10:27 PM

The book "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance" has a lot of good info. I know many triathletes today follow this. The kindle book is $6. The authors did a lot of research on low carb performance. It is cool how that works.

0
D41ce736cfc4e7362093793f579f846b

on October 30, 2013
at 08:29 PM

How will I know when I'm becoming fat adapted?

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on October 30, 2013
at 11:54 PM

i have heard people say, that if you can fast with ease, then you are fat adapted. kinda makes sense, ie. if you can easily go without food for say 16hrs, with no cravings/hunger/feeling tired etc it would say to me that your body has no problem accessing & burning body fat for energy.

...hangry is another good term, if you get hangry (hungry angry) if you do not eat every few hours, then you are Not fat adaped

0
37cc142fbb183f2758ef723a192e7a9d

(1353)

on October 30, 2013
at 03:30 PM

I run less than you and often eat 150 carbs some days, yet can burn fat for energy if I want. For instance I eat under 50 grams some rest days yet still bike to work and feel energetic. I wouldn't worry too much about it if I were you. Most healthy people who don't gorge on carbs can burn both. The body is designed to.

0
E95808f00eeebde919f7351a9423d23b

on October 30, 2013
at 02:32 PM

Because you burn so many carbs running, your probably in ketosis already =D

I'm an endurance athlete as well and have found that I can stay consistently in ketosis eating a decent amount of carbs a day, roughly around 100g daily. Eating low carb in comparison to your other macros is great and will continue to help you to become more metabolically efficient . Up your carbs though if you start to feel not quite yourself for a few days of training in a row.

0
Medium avatar

(238)

on October 29, 2013
at 08:51 PM

Seems like you have made your own case for what you want and precluded us from telling you not to do it. So my second response (tossed the first one) would be to give it a try in small increments. More fat, less carbs and run. If it is sustainable keep testing to find the best spot. I can't imagine you are going to find very many others with your exact set of circumstances to guide you along.

D41ce736cfc4e7362093793f579f846b

(45)

on October 29, 2013
at 08:53 PM

I'm looking for advice on whether this approach may work, or if I'm barking up the wrong tree. Sorry if it comes across as having made my mind up. As far as my training at the moment, yes, but the diet side to go with it I'm simply testing out, which is why I'm looking for advice.

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