Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 38

Thread: Ketosis and Road Racing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Marin County, CA
    Posts
    1,196
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Ketosis and Road Racing

    I've been doing a lot of reading and investigation into training under a ketogenic state as a D3 racer doing 20-25 hours a week on the bike. In layman's terms, ketosis is the state in which the body utilizes its fat stores for all energy needs, forgoing glycogen stored in the liver/muscles and conversion of protein into glycogen (read: muscle wasting). Getting there usually requires fasting and/or a diet composed primarily of fat with moderate protein intake (eg 1.5g protein/kg of body mass and the rest of calories from fat - typically ~50g carbohydrate total).

    There's a lot of shit out there on the topic. Typical "I LOST NINETY POUNDS ON KETO" "OMFG FAD DIET" woowoo crap, so it's taken some weeding - but after looking at Ben Greenfield's (Ironman tri guy) information/research , and then diving deep into Dr. Peter Attia's (recreational cyclist/doctor/nutrition researcher who rides a shitton) findings I was intrigued. Attia was able to achieve a burn rate of 70/30 cho/fat at threshold. Before he was at 100% cho, which is where most people - including trained athletes - lie. That's crazy! If your standard road racer is able to sit at that kind of RQ (respiratory quotient) in a race, all things equal they will destroy the competition because their fuel take is 30% deeper - at least. At lower intensities he discovered similar shifts without power loss. The numbers are pretty nutty, especially considering for all intents and purposes Attia is a trained athlete and not a Joe off the couch seeing massive gains because they're horrifically unfit. Much of the training espoused by top-level coaches right now involves lots of endurance work at around 60% of threshold to do just this - increase power while under a fat-burning state to deepen the fuel tank. Here's Attia's more concise findings with actual VO2 test results: http://eatingacademy.com/how-a-low-c...ic-performance

    Now, of course, there's a downside that you're probably chanting in your head reading all of the above. You still need to go into glycolysis (glycogen/cho burn) to ignite intense superthreshold efforts (which tend to happen a lot in road racing), which means you NEED carbohydrates. Eating carbohydrate will spike insulin, pushing you out of ketosis, and back into the rollercoaster of glycogen burning instead of burning fat. Except not...Attia's findings were that moderate CHO intake during the "exercise window" (immediately before/during/after workouts) did not push him out of ketosis. As long as his body was semi-glycogen depleted, he was good. That said, his cho intake was pretty low, and he's quite open that he's NOT inducing nutritional ketosis for performance gains, but for health reasons (most studies show intense carbohydrate intake is bad for you etc), and so he noticed an overall performance drop of around 10%.

    I'm in the middle of doing some self-experimentation in ketosis with the idea of eating more CHO in the exercise window than Attia in an attempt to fuel glycolysis at high intensities without anaerobic performance loss. I'm about six days and 19 hours of training in, and haven't pushed higher than about 85% of threshold yet - mostly because everything I've read describes an initial feeling of energy loss and fogginess as your body shifts to using ketones for fuel (which I've confirmed using keto test strips) and off of glycogen. And yes, I've been a bit tired, but today I started to "come around", if that's what you can call it. Pretty interesting - I've noticed that my input variables (HR/RPE) are about 10% lower than my output wattage at 60-80% of threshold. That said, my intensity is totally flat, something I'm not shocked to discover. This is likely because my Sunday ride was fairly deep into energy loss territory (4300kcal or so) without a lot of cho recovery. Monday was a rest day with almost nil cho intake. Today I attempted to compensate by overeating cho in my exercise window, though not above the 1600kcal of glycogen or so that my body can retain. We'll see what my ketone levels look like tonight.

    I know a lot of fellow racers who will go into more of a starvation ketosis in the winter months during base or the offseason with a lot of fasted, low-intensity rides. They feel terrible on the bike without any intensity, but I think that's because it's more of a focused/extreme caloric reduction than anything. I've been pretty interested in what my body has been doing in the meantime. On non-ride mornings I've been having bulletproof coffee for breakfast (coffee with about 300kcal of fat blended in), and find myself content not eating until mid-afternoon without a strike of the horrible hanger that I'm so used to at about 11. In fact, the horrible hunger I was getting before when I didn't eat on a pretty exacting schedule has subsided. Of course, this is all for naught if power seriously suffers. I'll give it another 5-6 days and start reintroducing my normal threshold/superthreshold workouts in the next couple of days to see what happens.

    Anyone else have any experience with riding in a keto state, or know of anyone at a professional level who tried something along these lines? I'll keep posting my findings...I've already received a lot of flak, but I'm pretty sure there aren't many other folks out there with the gumption to give it a shot...I figure cycling is still a pretty bassackwards sport, plenty of room to find new and unconventional methods of getting faster that are still legal.
     

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Meriden CT
    Posts
    1,096
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    Thanks for the detailed insight into your program.

    But it's not clear to me: what's your benchmark i.e., how are you measuring your performance improvement/degradation as your program progresses? Are you charting watts vs. ? on some graph? How about TT times on a course? It's not clear to me what performance benefit you're seeking but I'd be interested in what you were hoping to see.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Marin County, CA
    Posts
    1,196
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    My endgoal is threefold:

    Decrease bodyfat percentage from about 9% to 6% in a short timeframe.
    Decrease reliance on glycogen at higher intensities (though I admittedly have no good way of measuring this unless making a lab visit).
    Decrease possible insulin resistance, developed over time by my CHO-heavy diet thanks to a few years of racing. Theoretically.
     

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Willy, VIC
    Posts
    1,492
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    I'm assuming you know about Keiran Clarke's work at Oxford?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Fairfax, California
    Posts
    2,434
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    Didn't you train yourself into a hole previously by under-eating/over-training?
     

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Highland Park, IL
    Posts
    2,347
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    Heisenberg, I'm not anywhere near your level of seriousness on the bike, but I've been following Attia's work for a number of years and it works for me. One thing, I'm sure that you have noticed his use of Superstarch (very even-absorption version of corn starch), which is a proprietary product produced by a company called Generation UCan - Introduction to Superstarch – Part I - The Eating Academy | Peter Attia, M.D. The Eating Academy | Peter Attia, M.D.

    Like you, I never get hunger attacks or sugar drops like I used to pn a high cho diet, and I have found that I can use a superstarch-only feeding strategy no matter how long the ride. Since it is a concentrated cho source, I think it may be useful to fuel high-intensity efforts, so it might be worth trying (and I think it won't endanger your ketosis even if the product doesn't work for you).

    FYI, Attia also did a podcast on the Tim Ferris show where he discusses Superstarch as exercise fuel further.
    Andy Cohen

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Paris, Geneva
    Posts
    1,095
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    Very interesting. I've read some stuff about it.

    iirc it was considered as endurance intended diet "only", but actually study indeed shows that the body can become so efficient on fatty acids that you produce the same power even on shorter distance (3-5 min for example). Very interesting stuff is that the body starts burning fats from the start, not after 50 min wasting glycogen. Taking a shortcut, it would mean you still keep the glycogen "boost" for way longer right? I guess it's more complicated.

    Following that kind of diet, do you eat carbohydrates the couple days before races or absolutely zero?

    If I was still racing at decent level I'd definitely give it a try, but it would kill me because fresh bread and pastas are my guilty pleasures. Could have helped me to lose fat back in time when I had 13% bodyfat% in 1st cat.
     

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Fairfax, California
    Posts
    2,434
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    I call BS on all of Attias' stuff as it relates to racing.
    His ketosis is more about weight loss.
    The weight loss is responsible for his increased fitness- not the substrates of the diet.
    There is no research that shows that you can train your body to preferentially prefer fat as a fuel at high outputs.
    As output goes up, fat use as a fuel goes down, glycogen use goes up, and use of type II muscle fiber goes up.
     

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Posts
    59
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    I've been doing the restricted/low carb diet for about a year and a half off and on. Prior to last January I hadn't been riding on any kind of regular basis for a couple of years, had put on a bunch of weight. I'm convinced this is the way to go if you want to lose weight, but like heisenberg mentioned, you still are going to need glycolysis if you want to put in higher intensity efforts, racing or otherwise. Like others have said, I don't really buy into the use of keto unless all you're going to be doing is moderate intensity steady state efforts.

    Did the full on keto thing over the winter months this year, kept the intensity on the bike fairly low (max of lower Z3). Tried the TKD for some tempo interval work later on, power output was there, but I felt pretty miserable on the bike. Granted I was still well overweight to begin with, but I dropped about 15lbs over 4 months. IMO it's well worth a try if you're trying to lose weight during your base training.
    Lee

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Marin County, CA
    Posts
    1,196
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    Quote Originally Posted by boots2000 View Post
    Didn't you train yourself into a hole previously by under-eating/over-training?
    Yes! Though that was with more of a starvation approach. Simply not eating. Period. Really productive.

    Quote Originally Posted by dogrange View Post

    FYI, Attia also did a podcast on the Tim Ferris show where he discusses Superstarch as exercise fuel further.
    Funny you mention it - that's where I originally picked up on the idea. I've read his stuff on the Superstarch and it intrigues me. We'll see how this week goes before I give it a try.

    Quote Originally Posted by kentinmania View Post
    Very interesting. I've read some stuff about it.

    iirc it was considered as endurance intended diet "only", but actually study indeed shows that the body can become so efficient on fatty acids that you produce the same power even on shorter distance (3-5 min for example). Very interesting stuff is that the body starts burning fats from the start, not after 50 min wasting glycogen. Taking a shortcut, it would mean you still keep the glycogen "boost" for way longer right? I guess it's more complicated.

    Following that kind of diet, do you eat carbohydrates the couple days before races or absolutely zero?

    If I was still racing at decent level I'd definitely give it a try, but it would kill me because fresh bread and pastas are my guilty pleasures. Could have helped me to lose fat back in time when I had 13% bodyfat% in 1st cat.
    If I were leading into a stage race or bigger event, I'd probably start "loading" cho leading into the event, but preferably around exercise windows 1-3 days beforehand. Of course, this is all theoretical - I have no idea what kind of this approach will have on my fitness. This weekend will be telling with back-to-back harder days scheduled.

    Quote Originally Posted by boots2000 View Post
    I call BS on all of Attias' stuff as it relates to racing.
    His ketosis is more about weight loss.
    The weight loss is responsible for his increased fitness- not the substrates of the diet.
    There is no research that shows that you can train your body to preferentially prefer fat as a fuel at high outputs.
    As output goes up, fat use as a fuel goes down, glycogen use goes up, and use of type II muscle fiber goes up.
    Yeah, I took the weight loss into account, but he didn't lose that much weight - I still think there's some validity to the gains he made at higher intensity. There's plenty of studies on training in "endurance" state to boost fat burning, though little about nutrition and shifting fuel sources at intensity.

    I'm really interested in ketone esters as well...would be nice to find some to give a try coupled with standard CHO intake.
     

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Highland Park, IL
    Posts
    2,347
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    Cool, I am curious to see how the Superstarch works for a really competitive rider (versus me and my putzing around), so keep me posted if you try it.
    Andy Cohen

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    The Mitten
    Posts
    1,012
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    i saw the bulletproof coffee thing mentioned. I was doing this 4-5 days/week for about a month or two. It's delicious and really curbs the appetite - but it spiked the hell out of my blood pressure. A few weeks off it and things went back to normal for me. YMMV.
     

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Fairfax, California
    Posts
    2,434
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    He lost 25 lb.- That is not a lot of weight?
    I still think you are dealing with Broscience here.
    It does work for some for weight loss. It does not work for cycling performance.
    However, if someone can lose enough weight without messing up other things (hormones, etc) It may boost their cycling.
    But that is because they went from a relatively fat person to a relatively thin person. Not because their body "learned" how to prefer fat as a fuel.
    Didn't Tom Danielson claim the same nonsense? Eskimo blood that relied purely on Carbs?
     

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Larkspur, CA
    Posts
    6,446
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    Quote Originally Posted by boots2000 View Post
    I still think you are dealing with Broscience here.
    did someone say "BroScience"????



    BTW Ketosis make you smell.
    ***Instagram***
    my name is Houston

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Fairfax, California
    Posts
    2,434
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    Right- Get Tim Ferris and Ben Greenfield in there.
    They are the kings of Broscience.
    But at least they try things on themselves-
     

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Marin County, CA
    Posts
    1,196
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    Quote Originally Posted by boots2000 View Post
    Right- Get Tim Ferris and Ben Greenfield in there.
    They are the kings of Broscience.
    But at least they try things on themselves-
    Ha, the BROSCIENCE is my favorite SCIENCE. Occasionally there are kernels of truth.

    Anyway, my ride today was awful. All other variables are good - rest, hydration, etc. Save some sort of infection or rapid blood value decline, the finger is pointed squarely at diet (note - I've been continuing to use First Endurance multivitamin and beta-alanine supplements). Seems downing CHO during the exercise window is not enough to keep glycogen optimal. I simply could not even hit power levels that I normally can - in terms of sheer wattage, I cannot hold anything above mid-tempo for any serious amount of time. Today I could push my normal endurance wattage without trouble, but it wasn't what I'd call enjoyable.

    I'll give it another day to see if things change, but I have my doubts. On the upside, I've ditched about 4lbs of bodyfat.
     

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Paris, Geneva
    Posts
    1,095
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    It's too early to give up mate. Although I understand you can't allow yourself to screw your races for the next 3 weeks.
    Your metabolism must be adapting but not yet being efficient. Unless it's full of crap like B2000 said
     

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    SLC
    Posts
    741
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    image.jpg

    I've only known you to eat like shit when you ride. What if you had a go at actually eating quality food? Hint: Big Hunk and Rockstar are not food.
     

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Puyallup, WA
    Posts
    3,096
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    Quote Originally Posted by ned View Post
    Hint: Big Hunk and Rockstar are not food.
    Good GAWD! That's some good advice right there. Geez. Mt Dew and Snickers all the way, man! And if you feel the need to go all healthy and shit, make it Snickers Dark.
    DT

    http://www.mjolnircycles.com/

    Some are born to move the world to live their fantasies...

    "the fun outweighs the suck, and the suck hasn't killed me yet." -- chasea

    "Sometimes, as good as it feels to speak out, silence is the only way to rise above the morass. The high road is generally a quiet route." -- echelon_john

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Clemson SC
    Posts
    2,102
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Ketosis and Road Racing

    nate, do you read asker jeukendrup's blog?

    Jeukendrup - Trusted sports nutrition advice & exercise science news

    san millan also posts a lot of worthwhile stuff

    https://twitter.com/doctorinigo
    Robert Kendrick


    my small corner of the poetry world:

    http://robertleekendrick.net

Similar Threads

  1. In-line brake levers on road racing bike?
    By jt10000 in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 03-13-2015, 01:42 PM
  2. Road racing Worlds [spoilers]
    By sk_tle in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 71
    Last Post: 09-30-2014, 12:07 AM
  3. Paying it forward - Zanconato Racing hits the road
    By zank in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 70
    Last Post: 06-10-2013, 08:02 PM
  4. Replies: 26
    Last Post: 02-26-2012, 05:45 PM

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •