The Fat-Adapted Athlete

Exercise and fitness have always been really important to me.Ā  It’s my naturalĀ antidepressant!Ā  So, naturally, I wanted to discover how and why my ketogenic diet may affect my fitness abilities….

Mommy Athlete!

Your body can only store so much glycogen.Ā  Often marathon runners “hit a wall” after burning through their stored glycogen.Ā  They often take sport gels and drinks so they can keep going (and not collapse…!).Ā  It’s the body’s preferred method of fuel, though there is a finite amount of what the body can store in the muscles and liver.Ā  Once it’s gone, it’s gone.Ā  However, if you are a fat-adapted athlete you have almost unlimited energy you can tap into.Ā  Even a very lean person with 10% body fat has about 54,000 calories of energy stored in the form of body fat- which he can easily access.

If you are an athelte in ketosis, you have literal days of easily accessed energy…. Versus two hours as a sugar burning athlete.Ā Ā fat adapted athlete

What is really interesting is that in a state of ketosis you stay in your fat burning zone longer and burn much more body fat-Ā 230% more body fatĀ  than you would on a high-carb diet.Ā  You stay in the fat burning zone up to 75% of your VO2 max, as opposed to under 50%.Ā  Which means you can work out harder before you get into an aerobic zone.

This really mimics my own experience.Ā  I’ll be working out really hard but I’ll stay inĀ a fat-burning zone, at the same level exertion that used to leave me huffing and puffing.Ā  I’m burning fat as opposed to glucose.

I’ve also noticed it took time to transition.Ā  When I first started I really paced myself, so I wouldn’t place undue stress on my body.Ā  A little stress is good, and forces adaptation.Ā  A lot of stress is bad and causes too much inflammation.Ā  The article above states that it takes athletes at least 5 weeks to fully transition into being efficient, fat-burning athletes.Ā  It is a huge metabolic overhaul, after all!Ā  I saw that too.Ā  I had less stamina and explosive power the first 2-3 weeks.Ā  When I would push past 75% VO2 (perceived exertion) my body didĀ not like it.Ā  I got dizzy and even nauseous.Ā  Though I am now about where I was before in terms of VO2 max.Ā  I know this because I like to push myself to the limit with HIIT and Tabata style workouts.Ā  I saw an initial hit to my cardio power and endurance but that has leveled out.Ā  Workouts are even starting to feel easier!

If you’re an athlete and worried about a decrease in your performance, do some research and stick it out.Ā  The decrease is temporary and you’ll come back stronger than ever!

Image result for arnold thumbs up
How many push-ups can Chuck do?Ā  Ā  All of them.



“Fun” Bio-Hacks

Ok guys, if there’s one thing that attracts my interest it’s the idea of being able to “hack” into our biology to improve our health at the cellular level.Ā  I’m really interested in preserving and even improving vitality and health with age.

You could say that the source of our life force; our energy and youth is theĀ mitochondria locked in our cells.Ā  They convert calories from food, heat from the sun and oxygen into energy, specifically the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP).Ā  Like a tiny powerplant powering our bodies at the cellular level.Ā  Anything we can do to improve our mitochondrial function is going to improve our health, vitality and even extend our lifespan!

One reason I’ve chosen the ketogenic diet is because it isĀ fantasticĀ for mitochondrial function.Ā  Burning fat is a far cleaner process than burning carbs.Ā  Anytime you are using glucose for energy, there is going to be glycation.Ā  Glycation=free radicals.Ā  Free radicals= aging, disease, decreased mitochondrial function.Ā  A high carb diet is going toĀ accelerate aging at the cellular level.Ā  Even if those carbs are coming from fruit or whole grains.Ā  It’s all glucose to your body.Ā  When you get into a state of ketosis your body is utilizing fat in place of glucose.Ā  It’s an easy (ish…) way to dramatically slow the aging process.Ā Ā Ketosis and mitochondria

Another bio-hack is exposure to extreme temperatures.Ā  It’s getting outside your comfort zone, literally.Ā  We really like to be warm and comfortable in temperature controlled environments, don’t we?Ā  But we could be missing out on the bio-boost we get from exposure to cold and even heat.Ā  You can get crazy healthĀ benefitsĀ from even just blasting yourself with cold water in the shower.Ā  Better immunity, increased circulation, improved body composition… Like these Siberian youngsters who play in the snow in swimsuits and never get sick.Ā 1112

If you don’t have access to the tundra but still want to be hearty like a Siberian kid- you can get similar benefits from blasting yourself with cold water in your own shower.Ā  It’s going to be unpleasant (understatement!) but it becomes easier with time.Ā  It’s a “fun” and simple bio-hack that anyone can take advantage of.

Another “fun”….Ā 1113 biohack is short bouts of extreme exercise.Ā  Like 10-20 minutes of all out work that makes you feel like you might puke or pass out.

This tells your body that the weak mitochondria can just show themselves the door because they don’t have what it takes.Ā  Weaker ones die to be replaced by beefier mitochondria.Ā  It’s an intense shock to your system that will lead to forced adaptationĀ to halt aging (woohoo!) at that cellular level.Ā  If you’re one that goes running or thinks you need an hour for exercise to count, consider the benefits of a HIIT or tabata style workout.Ā  You can accomplish more in far less time!

One more pleasurable hack is using a sauna, especially after exercise.Ā  A 20 minute sauna can dramatically increaseĀ youth-boosting human growth hormoneĀ by 140%.Ā  Plus it’s a great way to have awkward conversations with sweaty strangers…

But anyways, hack on, people.Ā Ā 1114