As endurance athletes, we always try to push boundaries to achieve our time and distance goals. Training and diet are two very important parameters that determines an athlete’s success. I have never paid attention to my diet in past but after failing miserably in my first road 100K, I decided to work on my diet. Inspired by some big names like Zach Bitter, Timothy Olson and Anthony Kunkel, I decided to go on High Fat Low Carb (HFLC) also known as Ketogenic diet. I started this diet on July 22, 2018 and still enjoying the high fat journey. Here are the 4 things that have happened to me after being on this diet.
- My energy level is consistent
Being a carb eater, my energy level during the day has always been like a wave, Up when I have lot of carbs and down when that carb has been used up by my body. Most importantly, my energy used to be low after a run and super low after a long run of 16 miles or longer. Things have really changed since I started restricting carbs in my diet. My energy level during the day is consistent and a run makes it even better. Longer run gives some soreness but tiredness after the Saturday run has almost disappeared.
2. I don’t feel hungry all the time
When my Italian friend told me that he feels hungry just after 2 hours of eating daal (lentils) and rice (mainly carbs), I thought he was joking. I started running and my body’s demand for more energy increased, I started feeling the same way. A diet that contains 80% carbohydrates kept my hunger at bay only for couple of hours and I was craving for more food all the time. Ketogenic diet did wonder in keeping me satiated and I am not hungry even though I am running more miles than before.
3. I have lost weight
I can totally attest the fact that Ketogenic diet helps in losing the extra pounds. Since I started running I lost some weight even on being on the regular high carb diet. The weight lose however plateaued and it didn’t drop below 174 pounds ( me eating as much as I want and eating whatever I want). Thanks to high fat diet I am staying below 160 pounds. One may argue that this is happening because I am running more miles now. True but I have ran this many miles in past and my weight never came down to 160 pounds. This might have been partly because more miles were forcing me to eat more carbs. Things are not the same anymore.
4. My endurance performance has improved
As I mentioned earlier in this post that I had a terrible race when I attempted my first road 100k in madcity ultra. I felt really tired after first 50k and had hard time to finish the race. That was my pivotal point of changing my diet. It took me another two months after the race to try ketogenic diet. I kept my carb really low (less than 50g) in the very first month and then became a bit liberal (100g per day) as my volume went up leading up to 100k world championship in Croatia. I was honored to be a part of Indian National Team. I had the race of my life when I ran 100K negative splits in the race. My energy level was constant starting from 1k till the end of the race. I will definitely attribute this to my high fat low carb diet. There is also a research study performed on elite ultra endurance runners. The study concluded that long term keto-adapted helped enhances the fat oxidation. Click here to read the research paper.
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