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Running While In Ketosis

Nutritional Ketosis (or: Why I Don't Eat Any Carbs. Ever.)

Nutritional Ketosis (or: Why I Don't Eat Any Carbs. Ever.)

So a few months ago I had a long talk with Mike Morton who is an elite ultrarunner and we chatted about a bunch of things but one stood out, nutritional ketosis. You can google it, but here is the short loosy-goosy scientific explanation. When you eat sugar/carbohydrates, your body converts this into stored energy in the form of glycogen in your muscles. This form of fuel is what you need to sprint, run up a flight of stairs or throw a baseball. Generally, you can only store enough glycogen in your muscles for about 3-4 hours of heavy use (running) which is A. why people carbo-load before marathons and B. why people 'bonk' at mile 20 of a marathon. 'Bonking' is what happens when your body runs out of glycogen and your brain (needing that energy) no longer has it. You go fuzzy and get really tired. Your body has run out of the primary fuel source it is used to using (sugar/carbs) and then goes into starvation mode, burning fats. Now, you can only store 3-4 hours of fuel in the form of glycogen in your muscles, but there is literally DAYS worth of fat energy stored in, well, your body fat. Your body has that (literally) for times of starvation. Most people know you can go a few weeks without eating any food (but you need water for the conversion) no problem. generally, in modern society we never have to tap this storage because there is plenty of food to go around. 20,000 ago people were not eating 3 square meals a day. Nor were they eating processed food, but I digress. So this 3-4 hour issue is a big deal for ultra runners like myself. When you are running for 18, 24, 30 hours at a shot you obviously have to be continually jamming carbs down your gullet to get enough calories (because your body has that pesky glycogen as a primary fuel source) which is not an easy feat. Continue reading >>

Runner Scared Of Ketosis... Are You For/against Ketosis?

Runner Scared Of Ketosis... Are You For/against Ketosis?

I'VE LITERALLY WRITTEN THIS QUESTION 3 TIMES AND IT ALWAYS ERASES. So, I'm gonna type it ONE MORE TIME. Here goes :| I'm wondering about this mythical, magical Ketosis unicorn. I'm a female collegiate cross country runner. I'm not looking for advice telling me I'm a member of the chronic cardio club and to stop running and exercising so much. Racing is my world. What I am looking for is advice on this creature of Ketosis. I've never experienced it, always been a little scared. Heard of people really messing themselves up dabbling in these waters. Is that even a possibility? Like, does the age-old adage of good / evil apply to Ketosis? Can I do it wrong? Basically, since this is my 4th time writing this over again, here???s a terrible nutshell of my background: Lifelong runner. Kicked my ass back in shape in college to join XC team, got underweight being a vegetarian,also got amenorrhea for 2 years, just recently got the rivers again this January (never been so happy looking in the toilet before) after going paleo for the past 1+ year (while also overeating and not being super strict..) gaining ~30 pounds up to 155lb. for a 5???8/5???9??? girl. So I???m now definitely over my racing weight. Besides cutting the crap and being strict paleo, I???ve dabbled with the idea of Ketosis to catalyze weight loss and get back on track. But I???m kind of afraid??? Questions for all you beautiful people: Anyone out there a real runner (not talking about momma piddlin??? a 4 mile jog) and have experience with Ketosis? Is it??? good??? or??? the Freddy Kruger of paleo? Can you do it wrong? Can I severely mess my body up traveling into the carbonyl cosmos, running on low-carb? Does low-carb + ???chronic cardio??? type of training = doom? If I do attempt it, how do I know how many non-car Continue reading >>

Does The Ketogenic Diet And Running Mix?

Does The Ketogenic Diet And Running Mix?

The ketogenic diet is based on high fat intake followed by very low carbohydrate intake. This diet goes against what has been preached for decades. Common knowledge since the 1950’s has boasted that carbohydrates are the way to go, and that fat is bad for your health. In the same breath, this common knowledge blames high fat diets for obesity and diabetes – despite the glaring evidence that shows that sugar is to blame. Peoples of the first world have been expanding their waistlines ever since fast food and pop drinks loaded with sugar have been brought to the market. Being a relatively new diet (in the sense of mass adoption), there is still much research to be done on it. However, the research that has been done is looking very promising. The University of Michigan has done a study (Third Exposure to a Reduced Carbohydrate Meal Lowers Evening Postprandial Insulin and GIP Responses and HOMA-IR Estimate of Insulin Resistance) that showed that by having three low carbohydrate meals per day, insulin resistance is reduced by at least 30%. This is fantastic news for those with diabetes or prediabetes – but how does this diet apply to runners? Don’t Runners Need Carbohydrates? The entire goal of the ketogenic diet is to switch to using fats as an energy source. We’ve all been told to carb-load pre-race, or to make sure to eat as much carb-rich foods when training to make sure to have ample energy. By using fats instead, this goes completely against that idea. The fact of the matter is that certain muscle fibers depend on carbohydrates to function at maximum performance – the fast twitch muscles. When applying this to running, we need to keep in mind the two energy systems we have in place. The aerobic side and the anaerobic side. On the first end, we have the slo Continue reading >>

Ketogenic Diet: Running On Ketones

Ketogenic Diet: Running On Ketones

It is official I am in Ketosis! I have been in ketosis for two days now. When I say that, I have been on a low carb diet since October 5th – exactly one month. I eased into it because first I was a bit concerned about health issues related to Keto and second it has been the first time I changed what I actually ate. So I guess it was closer to an Atkins diet for the first month. I might have been in Ketosis earlier, but according to my ketone tests, I was always borderline or trace to low. For the last two days, I have had solidly moderate ketone levels, which is awesome. I have done tons of research on the keto diet since I started, but have a ways to go. I am certainly not worried anymore and I think it is a good move for me. On top of that, I am enjoying it! Now I think I would have transitioned faster, but three weeks ago I strained my ham running intervals and had only run once since today. Which leads to today . . . It was the first day running while in ketosis. Considering, I have only been in ketosis for two days, I think my run went very well. I maintained a 9:17 average pace for over 8.5 miles, which is definitely not my fastest pace, but ain’t bad considering I only ate a combined 350 calories for both breakfast and lunch. AND on top of that, it was only a total of two net grams of carbs prior to the run – all day. I did not plan to do this, it is just how it worked out. There are no achievements on this run! In terms of weight, I lost a pound a day for the first eight days on a low carb diet. I would guess this is typical for starting a new diet, considering I ate what ever I wanted prior to that. Then I was stable for the next five days. On the 13th day, I dropped another three pounds and maintained that for another twelve days with a few hiccups. On t Continue reading >>

Can Eating More Fat Make You A Better Runner?

Can Eating More Fat Make You A Better Runner?

Low carbs means no bread—not even the nutty, whole-grain kind—no pasta, and very little fruit. Serge Seidlitz “I just want to stand here a minute,” I say, pausing in front of a gleaming bakery case. I’m three weeks into training for a marathon. I’m also on a controversial low-carb, high-fat diet, and despite the fact that every proponent has assured me I’d lose my desire for sweets after a week or two, I am enraptured by the carrot cakes on display at our local Costco. “Do we need Brussels sprouts?” my husband asks. I can’t hear him over the depraved screams of my sweet tooth. I stare lustfully at the puck-shaped pillow of cake and wonder how the hell I’m going to make it through 13 more weeks of this. Stupid marathon, I think as I woefully push my cart toward the produce section. Stupid diet. Fat-adapted running is an emerging philosophy in the long-distance running community. Some runners—especially ultradistance athletes— are trying low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets in an attempt to teach their bodies to use fat for fuel. The theory is that since the human body can store more fat than carbohydrates, by becoming “fat adapted,” you’ll be able to go farther faster. A few pro runners, like 2:31:29 marathoner Zach Bitter, have switched to LCHF diets. Others modify the approach to run low on carbs only occasionally: Ryan Bolton, who coaches elites in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has his athletes doing fasted long runs up to 20 miles with the idea that this will help them boost their ability to metabolize fat. The LCHF diet calls for 50 to 70 percent of calories to come from fat, up to 20 percent from protein, up to 20 percent from vegetables, and just five percent from fruits and starches. That ratio is in stark contrast to the kind of traditional di Continue reading >>

Distance Running On A Ketogenic Diet

Distance Running On A Ketogenic Diet

Ketogenic dieting and long distance running can go together on the journey of losing fat effectively. People often think a ketogenic diet doesn’t mix with high-intensity exercise (HIIT) and running, so let’s see how you can combine them for better effect. The ketogenic diet was originally used for treating epilepsy and other neurologic illnesses.(1)(2) What is Keto To put it simply, a keto diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein while reducing carbohydrate consumption. It triggers ketones which are released into the body and used for fuel. Your body enters into a ketosis state. A typical day you will look to eat foods totaling 75% fat, 20% protein, and a lowly 5% carbs. It doesn’t need to be precise since it varies from the person. For more check out our keto food list. It’s since become popular again in the last few years. Nowadays it’s in its full bloom because of its excellent effects and results. Athletes and regular people found the diet easy to implement and exceedingly efficient regarding more energy and building lean muscle mass. At its core, this diet minimizes carbs, and you consume fats and more fats. Eating a high-fat diet in the long term puts the body in a so-called state of ketosis. Ketosis is a state where the liver takes the proteins and fats and then uses them to create molecules called ketone bodies. When the body produces ketone bodies, it gains significant amounts of sustainable energy that athletes use for training. Because it takes fat and reproduces them in energy, the keto diet can also help you lose more excess fat while eating great foods containing fats and oils. A ketogenic diet is based on nutrition that tends to increase energy levels and reduce body fat. Whether or not it helps build a lean muscle mass the jury is still out. With a Continue reading >>

The Top 10 Mistakes Low-carb Athletes Make And 5 Keto Recipes For Active People.

The Top 10 Mistakes Low-carb Athletes Make And 5 Keto Recipes For Active People.

OK, here’s the deal – I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: an extremely high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet is not for everyone. But since ketones are a preferred fuel for the heart and the diaphragm, and because a state of ketosis can give you extreme focus and cognitive performance during difficult mental tasks, a ketogenic diet can be extremely useful for endurance athletes like triathletes, distance swimmers, cyclists, marathoners, ultra-runners, etc. Problem is, there aren’t a ton of resources out there about how highly active people can actually get into a state of ketosis without… A) chugging coconut oil and MCT oil all day long, which (trust me, I’ve tried) gets boring really, really fast; or B) experiencing some pretty extreme nutrient deficiencies from a ketogenic diet gone wrong – nutrient deficiencies that really get magnified when you combine them with crazy high levels of physical activity. So in this article, author, triathlete, and ketogenic expert extraordinaire Patricia Daly is going to fill you in on how to do things the right way. Patricia just finished writing an amazing book called “Practical Keto Meal Plans For Endurance Athletes: Tips, Tricks And How To’s For Optimizing Performance Using A High Fat, Low Carb Meal Plan“, and she’s a wealth of information on this topic. Take it away, Patricia. ————————————– Maybe the title of this article scares you a little bit… …after all, if there’s so much that can “go wrong” with the ketogenic and low carb lifestyle, is it worth all the effort? Or do you think you will never “get there” and achieve nutritional ketosis because there seem to so many stumbling blocks in your way, like talk about thyroid damage, lack of energy or extreme dietary Continue reading >>

Long-distance Running On A Low-carb, High-fat Diet

Long-distance Running On A Low-carb, High-fat Diet

Humans are natural endurance athletes. While the concept of “carb loading,” or the use of sports drinks and gels in endurance events are increasingly popular, human physiology is perfectly set up to use fat as a fuel for endurance exercise. Olaf Sorensen, seen here in the blue shirt, is a 40-year-old long-distance runner who will be running a marathon soon. What’s unique about his upcoming endeavor is that, first, his goal for this event is to beat his grandfather’s Olympic qualifying time of 2 hours and 40 minutes. But what is particularly unique about Olaf’s plan is that he plans to accomplish this feat on a high-fat, extremely low-carb diet. He will essentially demonstrate to the world that being in a state of ketosis (burning fat as opposed to carbohydrates) is an extremely efficient human adaptation permitting long stretches of efficient physical activity. Olaf does a lot of his running either barefoot or with minimal footwear, again emulating our forebears. I really appreciated his instructions when we ran together. But while I’m definitely dialed in on the keto adaptation part of the story, I’ll likely stick with my running shoes. We will be following Olaf’s progress and will soon provide information about the movie being made about this incredible athlete. For more on applying this lifestyle, read my blog post on how to balance your intake of fat, protein, and carbs. UPDATE: In May 2017 I had the chance to catch up with Olaf and see how he’s doing. Read Next Continue reading >>

How The Ketogenic Diet Affects Running Performance

How The Ketogenic Diet Affects Running Performance

Ketogenic diets are on the rise among runners who hope to lose weight or teach their bodies to use fat as fuel. But a new study in Nutrition & Metabolism suggests that following a ketogenic diet may actually hinder your athletic performance. So what’s the truth about this diet and why does it have so much hype? Related: The Beginner’s Guide to the Ketogenic Diet What is a ketogenic diet? For decades, scientists and nutritionists have promoted carbohydrates as the main fuel source for exercise. We know that high carbohydrate diets increase the amount of glycogen stored in the liver and muscle, which improves endurance performance. Yet many athletes and scientists have recognized that the body is full of fat stores, and they wonder if we can tap into those stores for fuel. The major drawback is that it takes longer and requires more energy to utilize fat instead of stored carbohydrates. Still, many scientists are exploring this possibility by feeding athletes a high fat and low carbohydrate diet to observe changes in metabolism and performance. Recreational athletes are now trying this technique in the hope of burning fat and losing weight. The amount of fat one eats on a ketogenic diet varies, but the range is typically 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein and 5 percent carbs. To put that into perspective, a woman eating 1,800 calories a day would eat 150 grams of fat, 90 grams of protein and 22 grams of carbs. That’s a drastic shift from the typical carb-heavy runners diet. What does the research say? A recent study looked at the effects of the ketogenic diet on physical fitness, body composition and fat metabolism in healthy adults. Forty-two healthy people with an average age of 37 followed a ketogenic diet for six weeks. Seventy-two percent of their calories came Continue reading >>

Ketogenic Dieting 101: How To Use Fat As Fuel

Ketogenic Dieting 101: How To Use Fat As Fuel

Eating fat to burn fat sounds contradictory, if not nuts, right? The world is full of people who are fat because of high-fat diets, so why would a fit person want to follow suit? I'm not talking about stuffing your face full of peanut butter cups. I'm talking about following a ketogenic diet—or, put simply, a high-fat, moderate-protein, carbohydrate-restricted diet designed to make the body burn fat for fuel. Bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts, and researchers alike have found that such diets are an effective fat-loss tool. In fact, studies have shown that ketogenic diets induce numerous favorable metabolic and physiological changes, including weight loss, less oxidative stress, improved body composition, reduced inflammation, and increased insulin sensitivity.[1-4] That being said, what does the science surrounding ketogenic diets have to say about individuals looking to run faster or farther, jump higher, or improve other aspects of sports performance? Shouldn't athletes be swilling Gatorade before, during, and after their events instead of adopting a high-fat, restricted-carbohydrate diet? Not necessarily. Ketogenic diets have become increasingly popular among athletes ranging from Olympic competitors to endurance runners, with good reason. Let's take a closer look at the science. What Exactly Is A Ketogenic Diet, Anyway? Ketogenic diets are very high-fat, moderate-protein, carbohydrate-restricted diets.[5] The exact breakdown of the diet varies between individuals, but a general profile may reflect 70-75 percent fat, 15-20 percent protein, and only 5-10 percent carbohydrate. So, you're probably thinking, all I need to do then is watch out for the carbs, right? Not exactly. Ketogenic diets are not the same as high-protein, carbohydrate-restricted diets. I often hear Continue reading >>

How I Fueled For Running 19 Miles On A High-fat Diet

How I Fueled For Running 19 Miles On A High-fat Diet

Most runners have been taught to load up on carbs before a run. What you eat before a run can greatly affect your performance—it’s simple science, right? After spending some time trying to understand the role food plays in running a marathon, I took on a high-fat ketogenic diet. And let me tell you, it was a doozy. I decided that I was going to change to the ketogenic diet and see how that helped me in my journey to lose weight. I knew my body didn’t do well when I ate a lot of carbs, so trying a high-fat diet seemed it may work better for me. Going ‘keto’ seemed perfect for what I was looking for. A lot of people hear the term “train gain” (when a runner gains weight while training), and I was the number one example of that. Whenever I would begin training for runs and adding more miles to my days, my body weight increased. A ketogenic diet, which comprises only eating 5 percent of carbs a day, seemed like the golden ticket. However, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. The Begining Of My High-Fat Diet The first week on the diet was a nightmare. I was exhausted every day from the lack of carbs I was eating, and the cravings were unreal. I never knew I could crave pasta so heavily until I stopped eating carbs completely. My day would comprise waking up, going to work, and laying in bed if it wasn’t a run day. I was that tired. I was grumpy all the time, especially at the gym and before a run. My training included running twice a week for 30 minutes and increasing my miles on the weekend. My weekday runs were challenging. I put a lot of my energy into making sure I was on track with the diet. I pushed and kept telling myself I could do it, and the 30 minutes flew by. When it came time for my weekend run, I was drained. Between training for my challenge ru Continue reading >>

Should Endurance Athletes Go Keto? Ketosis And Ketogenic Diets For Endurance Athletes

Should Endurance Athletes Go Keto? Ketosis And Ketogenic Diets For Endurance Athletes

When it comes to weight loss and endurance performance, dietary ketosis is the strategy everyone is asking about this year. On the surface, ketosis or a ketogenic diet offers everything an endurance athlete could dream of: endless energy, freedom from bonking, and an efficient pathway to weight loss. The diet has been all over mainstream magazines, it’s the subject of several new books, and the supplement companies have already jumped in with new products and a ton of marketing dollars. So, is it time for cyclists, triathletes, and runners to go Keto? First, a refresher course on what a ketogenic diet is. To achieve dietary or nutritional ketosis you need to severely restrict carbohydrate intake (fewer than 50 grams of CHO/day) so the body transitions to using ketones for fueling muscles and the brain. Ketones are produced from fat, which is why nutritional ketosis is so appealing to sedentary people as a weight loss solution. It’s appealing to athletes because we have a virtually unlimited reserve of fat calories to pull from but can only store 1600-2000 calories worth of carbohydrate in muscles, blood, and the liver. An athlete fueled by ketones would be theoretically “bonk-proof”, since bonking is the result of running low on blood glucose. [blog_promo promo_categories=”coaching” ids=”” /] Dietary ketosis for athletes is one of the most hotly contested subjects right now. Proponents point to the metabolic advantage of relying on fat instead of carbohydrate, and critics point out the physiological limitations of eliminating carbohydrate as a fuel for performance. You’ll find bias in both groups, either because scientists and coaches (including me) have been in the high-carbohydrate camp for many years, or because there’s a lot of money to be made b Continue reading >>

Low Carb Diets And Running

Low Carb Diets And Running

Nutritionist Christine Bailey looks at whether a low carb diet can help you lose weight while still fuelling your runs Staying energized, enjoying your runs and losing weight can be a big ask for anyone who enjoys exercise. Low-carbohydrate diets are increasingly popular if you’re looking to lose weight but can they also work for you when you’re running regularly? The body prefers to obtain its fuel (sugar) first from easy-to-access stores in your liver and muscle in the form of glycogen. High-intensity exercise will quickly use up these glycogen stores and your body will pump out stress hormones, such as cortisol, to initiate gluconeogenesis – a process of making sugar to provide additional fuel. When glycogen stores run low, your body is also able to use fat stores as an energy source but the intensity or pace that you’re able to maintain can be affected. This isn’t a problem if you’re tackling a low-intensity workout or gentle run, but may be a concern if you’re looking to maximise performance and speed. Over time, your body can become more efficient at burning fat for energy, which can favour endurance running rather than high-intensity running or sprint work. Carbohydrates are also important after exercise. Following a workout, your body needs to replenish glycogen stores to speed up your recovery. The more effective your recovery, the better able you are to train the next day, keep energy levels high, repair damaged muscles and tissue, maintain muscle and lose fat. Many studies demonstrate that lower-carbohydrate eating can help you to lose weight and improve a range of health markers such as blood pressure and belly fat. Low-carb diets are significantly more effective than higher-carbohydrate, lower-fat diets for weight loss. They help control hunge Continue reading >>

Runners - All You Need To Know About Ketosis And Fat Adaptation

Runners - All You Need To Know About Ketosis And Fat Adaptation

Many runners have been convinced that they need carbohydrates to fuel for their endurance conquests, but a new question has been circulating in the ultra running community: “Can a high fat diet also be a high performance diet?” More elite runners are emerging with claims that fat burning, ketosis, enables them to run more efficiently than their carb-dependent peers. With all the fad-diet advice flooding the mainstream, it is essential to understand how specific fuels are metabolized in the body and what current research is saying. When training and competing in ultra marathons, proper fuel can be a huge part of your success. Whether you are consuming carbohydrates or fat, your body will find a way to convert those fuels into energy so you can endure for long distances. Carbohydrate is the body’s go-to fuel source. Carbs are quickly and easily converted to glycogen and stored in your cells. When you need energy, your body can rapidly convert glycogen to glucose and release it into your bloodstream to burn. Ketosis occurs when your body is not consuming enough carbohydrates to meet your energy needs, and as an adaptation process, it begins burning fat instead. There are many proposed benefits of being in ketosis on long runs. Runners state that they don’t experience the dramatic energy spikes and crashes that accompany using high-sugar (high carb) sport supplements, such as gels, bars, and sports drinks. This is due to the fact that fat is a smooth burning fuel, that does not instigate a sugar-insulin cycle. Additionally, even a very lean athlete has around 30,000 calories of fat stored. Compare that to the approximately 2,000 calories of carbohydrate stored in the body. Just by acknowledging the greater storage capacity of fat, you can see why it is a desirable f Continue reading >>

Take Your Training To The Next Level With Ketosis

Take Your Training To The Next Level With Ketosis

One of the most popular critiques of a ketogenic diet – a diet that’s high in fat and low in carbs – is that it isn’t good for athletes. The argument is usually that you need carbs to produce glycogen, a stored form of sugar that fuels your muscles. As a result, most doctors and trainers suggest high-carb diets for athletes. If you’ve been working out while eating Bulletproof, Paleo, keto, or any other variation on a high-fat, low-carb diet, here’s some good news: brand new research shows that you not only don’t need carbs for athletic performance, you can actually gain an advantage if you cut them out. Let’s talk about how ketosis can kick your athletic performance into a higher gear. Why you don’t need carbs to train hard A groundbreaking new study out of UConn found that low-carb endurance athletes perform just as well as high-carb endurance athletes, if not better. The results challenge nearly 50 years of research saying the opposite. Until now, most studies have concluded that you top out at around 10% of energy recruited from fat [1] and for the rest you rely mostly on glycogen, a form of sugar stored in your muscles and liver. That’s the main reason high-carb diets have been the standard for athletes for so many years. With a low-carb diet, your glycogen stores empty quickly, you run out of fuel, and you start breaking down your muscles for energy. Right? Well, maybe not. If you teach your body to prefer fat for fuel you can work out intensely without any problems, according to this new study. The paper’s authors measured the performance of ultra-endurance runners who regularly run upwards of 100 miles. Here’s how they set it up: Half of the participants ate low-carb (<20% of calories from carbs) for 6 months The other half ate high-carb ( Continue reading >>

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