As I write this my legs are shaking, I just finished my first 10K (6.2 miles) this morning. While that might be easy work for some of you, as a power athlete who trains Brazilian jiu jitsu 4-5 days a week, picking up endurance sports this summer has been a challenge. I like eating carbohydrates, of course I know the benefits of a ketogenic diet as well. As I finished my 10K I thought to myself…
“Would you have performed better if you were fat adapted”
After all, that’s what we hear about in the endurance community. You have to do keto because keto makes you fat adapted and being fat adapted gives you more energy.
(I wanted to feature hayrunshappy. Not sure how she eats but she clearly trains hard and loves America like I do. )
Or does it? All being “fat adapted” really means is that your body can use body fat, fatty acids, ketones and dietary fat more efficiently to help your energy levels during your training. Sadly, with all the ketogenic diet supplements on the market today, most people are not taking the time and following a plan similar to what I’m going to give you in order to get fat adapted for running and endurance sports
The main advantage of being fat adapted is that your body doesn’t need constant carbohydrate bumps to give you energy. You can use the slower and more efficient body fat and dietary fat to boost your energy during the day.
How To Get Fat Adapted
For starters you must be in a low insulin state. Yes, I’ve previously discussed how once you are in ketosis, you can eat 200-300 grams of carbohydrates to recover from training and state in ketosis but you need to become fat adapted first. When you are not eating carbohydrates, you are burning more fat which fuels your fat adaptation. When you burn fat you create more ketone bodies, So when you are going for a long run or competing in an endurance sport, you’ll be using body and dietary fat, ketone bodies, for energy.
The better your body uses fat for energy the more stored carbohydrates that your muscles can store for the quick finishes or fast pushes.
Your energy levels while fat adapted will also be better without blood sugar swings and you’ll generally need less food and have less cravings since your hunger hormones are more stable when you consume dietary fat.
Don’t over think fat adaptation, here’s two easy way to get fat adapted for your next run or endurance event fast
Seems pretty logical right? But it really isn’t. The more active and less body fat you have, the greater your ability to handle carbohydrates is. You can certainly use supplements like our omega-3 fish oil and glucose support to increase your carb tolerance. On days that you don’t train often, aim to consume no direct carbohydrates source, get your fat and protein in. On training days start with 100-200 grams of carbs.
Now when those carbs come out of your diet then you’ll want to eat a lot more dietary fat like sources such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, grass fed butter and game meat like bison and elk. Don’t go crazy thinking more is better, some more is better but not a ton. Keep your calories in check.
Fast and Exercise…Exercise Fasted
Both fasting and exercising will burn carbohydrates and allow you to tap into stored body fat to get fat adapted. But when you exercise, a few days per week, fasted, you’ll start tapping into body fat for energy. The goal is to increase insulin sensitivity so you can burn up your stored glycogen and get as fat adapted as possible.
(Another shoutout to @sophsmom1031 who knows that being in nature can be very healing.)
To fuel your running and endurance efforts, the best thing that you can do is go low carb, high fat and either fast or perform high intensity exercise. After a few weeks you’ll notice increased energy, mood, focus and energy.