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Sunday, November 25, 2018

My Long Slow Fat Adaption

When you listen to guys like Dr. Timothy Noakes, they talk about the notion of being "fat adapted".

The idea is if you restrict carbs, your body starts to use fat as its primary fuel.  This is backed up in studies - at the end of carb-restricted training periods, the fad adapted athletes burn 2.5 times as much fat for fuel, and they do this from the very start of their activity.

Here are my experiment runs...

Run 1.  20km, 6:30/km.  Bonked bad.  3 weeks into IF.

Run 2.  21.1km  6:09/km.  Better.  Almost 2 months of IF, 2 weeks of HFLC (sporadic).

Run 3.  21.1km  5:52/km.  Much better.  Almost 3 months of IF, using HFLC more regularly.  Felt strong and comfortable.

The really interesting thing about Run 3 is that I was actually 16h fasted and consumed zero calories during the run.  I had nothing but black coffee and water for 16 hours, plus another 2 hours of running.

In fact, I had biked the day before for 1.5h (water only), and had eaten HFLC the rest of the day.  So I hadn't had any kind of significant carb for almost 2 days, and had even burnt off some of what I would have had stored on that bike ride.

I find this all remarkable. It's exactly what Noakes predicts, but it still goes against so much orthodoxy.  I was kind of sure it would fail.  I'm shocked.

Questions still remain

Am I able to perform better than I did as a high carb athlete?  Sure I can get through a 21.1km long slow run, but can I push the pace?

Can I actually go longer?  How much longer?

Is the weight loss permanent?  (I'm down about 10lbs so far, give or take).  Or like most calorie restricted diets, will it come back, and bring friends?

I also still have some questions about "high fat, low carb" vs fasting - the athletes seem to be doing HFLC and I can't find much about fasted athletes.  I'm guessing it's because they're generally not overweight to start with, so fasting doesn't really enter the equation.  My main question: does it matter during activities if the fat I'm burning is coming from my (ample) stores rather than from food I just ate??  I'm still trying to find the answer to that.

From Experiment to Lifestyle Change

I'm making this permanent.  Even if my performance were to suffer (and I'm not sure yet if that's the case, but if) I am meeting my real goals.  I'm losing weight.  I feel great.  My mood is great, even.  I'm able to do the activities I love. 

To the moon, Alice!

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