If you have been following my blog covering the past 5 1/2 years I have been on an OFM diet, you know that Peter Defty was one of the driving forces that got me started eating low carb/high fat and coached me to a fitness state I never thought was possible for me. The following video, featuring Peter, is one of the best explanations of how fat adaptation works in athletes (I watched it 3 times!). If you are just now jumping on the keto train, this is a must-watch video to understand how your body is working and using the fuel you are giving it. They cover a huge range of topics and Peter does a great job of breaking very complex subjects down into more simple terms.
13:00 ketones vs beta oxidation (an excellent primer on beta oxidation- much more coming on this very soon from Peter)
19:00 restoring glucose stores without taking in carbs & making glucose from fat
20:00 LDL cholesterol as energy packs (this is a newer subject that I am really looking forward to diving into)
22:00 strategic carbs (not all carbs are bad, even if you are 'keto')
24:00 need for aerobic exercise (building a base for your best athletic performance)
28:00 myth of salt and blood pressure
28:30 using carbs on keto diet
30:00 stress effects (as important as diet and sleep, in my opinion)
35:00 science studies vs real world
37:00 more detail on LDL
40:00 whole animal concept and portions
43:00 vegan or plant based diets (how to make it work on OFM)
44:00 winter is coming (how are the short days/long nights changing our bodies)
46:00 alcohol (holiday season is here, can I drink at parties?)
47:00 Vespa (I'm a huge fan of Vespa, Peter explains what it is and how it is helping athletes)
Normally I would try to write on these subjects myself. But in the article sampled here and linked at the bottom, Peter Defty (the man who coached me through my transition to using fat as fuel), breaks down some flaws seen in resent articles highlighted by the national press. Why are these articles highlights? Because companies like Pepsi, Coke and Gatorade, who push drinks loaded with sugar, have a combined advertising budget over half a BILLION dollars! What pays for media?....Advertising.
Sample from Peter's article: Ms. Clark questions the sustainability of a fat-adapted diet by saying: “No pasta, no potato, no birthday cake, no fun…..” How fun are metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance/diabetes, heart disease, Celiacs/IBS/Crohn’s, GI issues, bonking or cancer relative to giving up some pasta, bread, potatoes and birthday cake?
Clearly Peter and I are big believers in OFM and not huge fans of pasta, potatoes and birthday cake. Why? Because we have seen OFM work over and over again for a wide variety of people. Is it the perfect diet for everyone? No. But Peter sums it all up well at the end of his article.
OFM is not a “fad”. OFM is a holistic program to getting the body back to using fat as the principal fuel source for aerobic metabolism, the way evolution shaped humans. This approach is based upon science and real world results athletes who have adopted OFM are achieving. We won’t “tell” you our system is better but do invite you to investigate for yourself how getting your body back to burning “fat as fuel” will make you a better, stronger and healthier athlete not to mention when you do use carbohydrates they will work much better than they do in the world advocated by the high carb “experts”.
When I started this blog I was fairly certain that no one would read it. And positive no one would take on this lifestyle based off of my blog. Luckily I was wrong on both points, so I'll keep writing. Before getting into performance stuff this week, a few notes on comments I have received from some of you.
If you are a female starting this lifestyle, I suggest you listen to one or both of these podcasts. I'm not a female so you can find better info here:
Patience is key. Give this lifestyle one month and you should know by then if it is working for you or it is not. If your body composition and/or weight are improving in one month, keep at it. It is not for everyone, but you have to give it time and it will suck for a while.
Also, although I asked you to download myfitnesspal app, don't count calories. The app is for tracking percentages of fat, protein, and carbs not calories in this case. If you try to start this lifestyle at the same time you are limiting calories, your life is really going to suck.
Now onto performance. A few of you are getting into your third week on this plan and are starting to kick your training back up. I'm only going to discuss endurance training here and some limited strength training based on my own experiences. There are about 1,000 different opinions on this subject but I'm going to tell you what has worked for me and several others. I'll do this in question answer format to make it a little more simple.
Q: What do I eat before my workout?
A: I prefer to go into a long run with a fairly light stomach (I don't get hungry anymore, but this would be a hungry state prior to OFM). So I try to eat dinner late afternoon the day before my run. And I don't do a lot different at that meal. If I am going really long, over 4 hours, I will up my carb intake very slightly at that meal. Maybe a MAX of 100g carbs the day before and all those carbs are covered in fat (butter, sour cream, etc). I don't drink coffee either, unrelated to OFM, so I just have a few glasses of water before I start my run in the morning.
Q: What do I eat while I'm running?
A: So we started the run pretty well fasted. It makes me feel light and quick. Just before my run I'll have a VESPA JR (see below for discount code). Then I will run the first two hours with just water and S! Caps. After 2 hours your fat burning fire is going full speed and you have a little more flex on what you eat. I'll hit a VESPA concentrate every 2.5 hours after the start. Then I have best luck mixing in Generation UCAN (see resources page). UCAN is a super starch that provides you the benefits of carb energy without spiking your insulin. So you are getting the good without killing your fat burning fire.
Q: I can't survive on UCAN alone, what else can I eat?
A: After the first few hours, eat what you ate before on runs that you enjoyed. Don't be too concerned with carbs as they will be more additive than really hurt your fat burning once you have been running several hours. You are going to be eating A LOT less than you used to eating on your long runs, so you don't have to worry as much about getting an upset stomach. I do like cheese sticks, cashews, and bacon for some reason. I'll even carry a few gels incase I really need a kick (after you are fully adapted, a gel will give you a serious jumpstart for a few minutes).
Q: I'm getting really dehydrated, what's going on?
A: Remember all that water you peed out the first week you were on the diet? Your body doesn't have that anymore to use as a buffer when you screw up your hydration strategy. For me, this means drinking a lot more water than I was used to. It also means taking a lot more S!Caps than I used to. Just really stay on top of your hydration and don't get behind if you can help it. This is the one thing that put the hurting on me when I first started the diet.
Q: So this is good for running slow, what about speed work or strength work?
A: Someone told me, "You will know this diet is working when you get done with your speed work and you feel like you want to do more." I thought, no sh*t...because I hate speed work and usually feel like crap after. Although this is the slowest thing to come back after the transition, once fully adapted it improved at the same rate as my long slow runs. Same with strength training. I was CrossFitting when I started the diet, I ended up taking a few weeks off during my transition phase but then really enjoyed it after I was adapted and my energy levels were so much higher.
Q: What do I eat post-workout?
A: You are going to find that the more/longer you run or workout the more your hunger is suppressed. In fact you almost feel more full even though you have burned a ton of calories. So instead of killing that whole pizza and pitch of beer when you get done, you will probably just want to eat a regular OFM meal (be really strict on the carbs) or something a little smaller. It usually takes me about 2-3 hours to feel like eating and then it doesn't take too much to fill me up. If you are looking to lose some weight this is a great time to do it since you are not hungry anyway.
Hopefully this gets you down the road for a few runs. That first time that you run 4-6-8 hours on only water and salt AND you still have great energy you will be pretty excited. It's a moment when you think, why have I not done this before!