Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Keto-adaptation (the evolution of self experimentation)

This is what I'm currently reading and after listening to podcast interviews with Jeff Volek, Stephen Phinney, Peter Attia and Tim Noakes I've decided to experiment with a nutritional ketogenic diet and endurance training.

I've had many discussions with endurance athletes from all nutritional disciplines and it's always ended with "show me an athlete that has success following a low carb approach". I searched around the internet and studied some of the published research and didn't come across much.

Often the diet is associated with training and racing at low intensity levels (60-70% VO2 max) but I'm interested to see if I can apply this nutritional approach to an athlete that is interested in finishing near the top of ultra-distance races.

When I embarked on my 30 day Primal Challenge back in 2008 I questioned whether an athlete could perform while ingesting lower levels of carbohydrates than the typically recommended endurance diet and my results concluded that I could not only run well but I could run at an intensity which gave me my first sub 3 hour marathon and a smashing run over a 90km trail where I set the fastest known time.

Email exchanges and blog posts from Mark's Daily Apple even suggested that we could adapt to a high fat/low carbohydrate diet to achieve additional athletic performance gains. Being a person that likes to do things a little differently to the conventional I've always been interested to see if this was possible. I've decided NOW is the time.

What I hope to get out of this experiment is to see if there are any benefits to athletic performance in being in nutritional ketosis - reduced lactate production, increased recovery, reduced inflammation, increased fat utilisation, etc.

My plan is to journal my progress for at least 30 days starting tomorrow.

I've got myself one of these so I'll be able to track my blood ketone levels.


Jeff Lisson said...

Good luck with your experiment. I'm interested in your results.

By the way, Mike Morton eats a ketogenic diet, and recently won the a Rocky Raccoon 100 and the next week won another 100 in course record time.

Primal Runner said...

Thanks Jeff.

Mike Morton is definitely an inspiration. I didn't know he eats a ketogenic diet so that's interesting.

After listening to him on Marathon Talk his training sounds very similar to mine when I'm focusing on the longer races.

I'm even tempted to have a go at the 24hr event.

SKA Runner said...

Yea . . . I am hooked and have been on a Keto diet for 116 days now. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

“see if there are any benefits to athletic performance in being in nutritional ketosis”, I will probably eat this way for the rest of my life minus two days during winter hollidays.

We just started a website http://www.runketo.com/ and we are actively talking about keto endurance issues.

Or contact me personally . . . http://www.skarunner.com/

Evan said...

I'm following a paleo/limited carb diet while training for ultramarathons and am regionally competitve. Tim Olson set last year's Western States record whilst following a low-carb diet.

Primal Runner said...

Evan: I've read and listened to interviews with Tim Olsen and his approach is exactly how I've run and raced ultras in the past. Paleo diet, fasted long runs, minimal gels during racing...

Jeff: I haven't seen any references about Mike Morton's ketogenic diet. Can you provide any?

SKA Runner: Thanks for the link. I'll check it out. How do you find training at higher intensities while in keto? Do you modify training or diet to run at higher intensities or do you stick to the pure endurance method? From what I've read recently there seems to be a drop in performance at higher percentages of VO2 both in the short and long term. All the reference studies that I've read only support lower intensity improvements with keto adaptation.

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