Results of 3 Weeks of Keto Triathlon Training

Results of 3 Weeks of Keto Triathlon Training

July 21, 2019 52 By William Morgan


– Morning, Trainiacs.
That was just a cruisy
little 2200-meter swim,
because I am all done.
Three weeks of keto triathlon
training adaptation.
Thank goodness.
Time to absorb that work.
There was a heck of a lot
learned in those three weeks.
It isn’t as easy as you expect.
Performance really changes,
and how to eat on it
was a challenge.
(energetic music)
All right Trainiacs, let’s
talk about the results
from three weeks of
keto triathlon training.
Let’s just, come on.
We’re gonna talk, stop showing your bum.
We’re gonna talk about this
in three separate parts.
The first being diet, the second being
the adaptation period, the keto flu,
how it actually felt going through it,
and the third part being performance.
How did I actually do on this keto diet?
So what we did was, for three weeks
we brought my carbs down
to under 50 grams per day.
And these are not keto carbs
that are like net carbs,
it doesn’t count things
like fiber or sweeteners.
This is carbs.
Straight up carbs.
From that standpoint, found
it very hard at the start
to actually keep my carbs under that.
There are carbs in everything
that you don’t realize.
Nut butters, peanut butter,
avocado have carbs in it.
So what I did was I ended up
using an app called Senza,
where you input all of your food,
and you can actually then
hook up with other people
and see what they’re eating.
So in my case, I looked
at what Dr. Dan Plews,
the guy that’s helping me
out with this, he’s eating.
And it starts giving you
a sense of how easy it is
to start racking up those carbs,
and how hard it is to
keep it under 50 grams.
What did I eat most days?
Well, I wanted to do this healthy.
So we’re not talking
about all the keto shakes
and this and that that are
all designed to be keto,
that are just Frankenfoods.
This is also meant to
be a healthy decision.
So it was a lot of natural foods.
We’re talking avocados, nut butters, eggs,
natural meats, things like that.
Now, vegans, you are going to
have a very, very tough time
with this.
If you decide to go at it
from the standpoint of being
an unhealthy keto athlete,
where you are having like,
the keto doughnuts and things like that,
maybe a little bit easier,
because those are made
with coconut flour, almond
flour, things like that.
But those are really processed foods,
and I think undoes a lot of the work
that you’re trying to do with keto.
Even though I would say
that it’s not necessarily
the healthiest decision,
especially for endurance athletes.
The reason that it’s
gonna be hard for vegans
is because, as I mentioned,
there are a lot of like,
trace carbs that add up
over the course of a day
when you’re eating a lot
as an endurance athlete.
Those nut butters, the
avocados, things like that.
To keep your carbs really, really low,
animal products is what I
found had to work the best.
So, natural pepperoni, natural bacon,
sardines, salmon salads.
And then I wouldn’t ever
seek to take in carbs,
I would just get these
hidden, trace carbs,
and magically, at the end of the day,
I would be bumping all the
way up to about 50 grams
of net carbs.
So it’s really quite hard to do,
especially if you’re looking at getting it
from natural sources.
As far as the keto flu
goes, the adaptation period,
this is like the dreaded period
that everyone hears about,
that the keto process
of getting adapted to it
is like hell.
And this is a period somewhere in between
about day four and seven or eight
that a lot of people report
they feel flu-like symptoms.
They feel sick.
They feel like they don’t have any energy.
They wanna do nothing but sleep.
Obviously, don’t really
want to go out and train.
I experienced some of these, not a ton.
As we found out with some of
the fat oxidation training,
my ability to oxidize
fat, use fat as fuel,
is actually quite high.
It’s about 1.2 grams per minute,
whereas a lot of people
that have been eating
a very carb-heavy diet,
or haven’t trained a lot
for years on end, might be
somewhere down around 0.4 grams
of carbs per minute.
This is going to end up resulting in,
when you lower your carbs down to nothing
and your body has to
then try to find glucose
for energy somewhere, it’s
not gonna be able to get it
from carbs, ’cause there
are no carbs coming in.
It’s not gonna be able to get it from fat,
because can’t actually access the fat.
So the body is starved of energy,
and this is where the keto flu comes in.
Because my fat oxidation
levels are a little bit higher,
I didn’t really feel a serious detriment.
I felt, instead, kind
of a low level of crap.
Day five, I did feel a
little bit of brain fog.
I started the coffee maker
without actually putting coffee
in it.
Just heated up water, came out.
Around the same time, I needed
to take a couple of naps.
And I just, I needed to
have like, a down day,
so I basically either
trained, recorded a video,
or stayed on the couch and,
actually that’s what I do
most days.
But I was even more lazy on those days.
A few of the things that
I did notice significantly
that happened over the
course of the entire period
that let me know that
this isn’t necessarily
like an all around healthy thing is,
I was really stuffed up.
I had a lot of inflammation.
My body was quite sore.
My feet were quite sore.
I had my nose, was like cracking,
and I couldn’t breathe out
of it towards the end of it.
Because I’d just been so puffed up
and inflamed for so long,
that I wasn’t breathing quite right.
My HRV was lower, and it
was so low to the point
that during the last five days,
the Plews, he was basically laughing.
And he said yeah, this is part of it.
Basically every study he’s ever done
that showed what happens over the course
of a two to three week
keto adaptation period,
in the second or third week, all subjects
have an HRV rating, which is an indication
of how prepared your body is.
(claps)
Went in the tank.
And mine went in the tank.
My sleep was also off.
Some nights, I’d get
about five hours of sleep.
On a really good night,
I would get around seven
to eight hours sleep, and
I was very tossy and turny,
and the readings from the
Oura Ring weren’t very good.
So that then exasperated the difficulties
that I had with inflammation.
Because I wasn’t recovering a lot,
I also wasn’t feeling great.
And because I wasn’t feeling great,
I wasn’t recovering a lot.
It was this vicious cycle.
And by the end of it,
I was ready to be done.
I did have some painful hunger cravings
from about day seven to 15.
Like really, really hungry,
right here, just ravenous.
And that’s then related to a function
of the adaptation process.
When you want to do keto clean,
it actually, I found it actually hard
to get enough calories in.
Now, because I’m doing very
key training right now,
where I’m not intended
to under fuel myself,
I’m not supposed to be losing weight,
because when you’re losing weight,
it’s very hard for your body
to actually make adaptations
and gains.
So during this time, I was very conscious
to make sure that I took
my base metabolic rate.
Take about my body
weight, multiply it by 15,
add on the amount of calories
that you burn each day.
That’s about what you need to maintain
and potentially make some gains.
So I was really conscious
to stay around that.
And because of it, I didn’t
lose any weight on this.
That’s one thing to
really, really consider
with keto adaptation periods
for endurance training.
If it’s done well, it’s not
meant to lose weight for you.
That relates a lot to weight management.
I did not lose any weight on this,
and I was very conscious to do that,
because I am training to perform well.
I’m not training to be thin.
Those are kind of at odds with each other.
If you want to be very thin,
you have to restrict calories.
Unless you’re in a group of
about 5% of the population
that can eat a pile of fat
beyond what you’re burning
throughout the day, and still lose weight,
if you’re in that other
95% of the population,
odds are that to lose weight,
you’re going to have to
restrict calories.
And when you’re restricting calories
as an endurance athlete
that’s training hard,
you are not going to make progress,
and you’re potentially opening the door
for hormonal and sickness
issues, injury issues,
all of these things that
we are trying to avoid.
So my weight was completely stable.
I started right around
154 and a half pounds.
I ended right around
154 and a half pounds.
I did, however, have Easter dinner,
where I had two glasses of
wine and one plate of carbs.
I didn’t go crazy overboard,
but my system was so
inflamed and so delicate
and beat down at that
point, that the inflammation
and water retention
shot up, and I ended up
gaining about four pounds overnight
that took me four days to end up losing.
So these are all indications
that this keto period
is not necessarily extremely healthy.
That’s why it’s temporary.
So let’s get into performance.
How did I actually
perform throughout this?
A lot of people, when they
get onto a keto process,
they say, all right, because
you’re gonna lose your top end,
you’ve gotta do your
training really, really low
and bring your training volume down.
Instead, what we did was
we kept the training volume
fairly high.
We did three 15-hour, roughly, weeks.
But the vast majority of the training,
around 85% to 95% of it
was really low intensity.
Zones one and two.
But we had a couple of times each week
that we did (claps) really big intensity.
Why we did this is because
there’s so much stress
on the body with the keto diet itself,
we don’t wanna stress
the body too much more
by increasing the training intensity.
So we keep the volume fairly low and easy.
Why we have that really high day
is because studies show
that if you can have
just one stimulation of like,
really crazy intense efforts,
you can maintain some of the hormones
that keep that top end.
What did I experience?
Those crazy intense days, they sucked.
They really, really sucked.
I likened it to how
Harry Potter must’ve felt
when the Dementors were
trying to suck out his soul.
I thought I’d never be happy again.
And during those crazy intense periods,
for the first day, went okay.
Second day, awful.
By the end of the week, I was
able to hit about 120 watts
on the bike at peak effort.
So, I was able to maintain
some of those hard efforts,
but I wasn’t able to sustain it at all.
All of the 50s and hard 100s
that I was doing in the pool,
they were tremendously slow.
Bonus however, was that
the low intensity stuff,
the long run, the long rides,
the steady endurance stuff,
it felt like I could go all day.
I did a run yesterday with Kim,
where she rode beside me,
and at the end of an hour and 50 minutes,
it felt basically the
same as at minute five.
So what are the key takeaways to this?
Well, really, I’ve got three.
Number one, this is not meant
to be a long-term thing.
Why we’ve done this three
week keto adaptation period
is to basically force my
body to learn how to burn fat
as fuel, and it does that
in a state of training,
paired with carb deprivation.
If we maintain the training and we say,
all right, we’ve gotta train.
We’re gonna train day after day,
and we’re gonna do it for three weeks,
but you don’t get to have any carbs,
the body is going to figure out
how to burn something else as fuel.
And as long as we keep
that intensity fairly low,
which encourages using fat as fuel,
the body’s going to become
better at using fat as fuel.
And the reason that we don’t
want to this long-term is,
frankly, because it’s not
necessarily terribly healthy
for the vast majority of the population.
Endurance athletes can also
get a lot of the benefits
of a keto diet at around 100
to 150 grams of carbs per day
because we burn off so much.
Likewise, with fasting.
Whereas, a lot of people,
if they’re not active
need a 16 to 18 hour fast
to get some of the autophagy benefits
and things like that, we can
do it with about 12 hours
because we are burning
off so much of our carbs.
So it’s a tool, it’s not a lifestyle.
And it’s what Dan Plews recommends,
it’s what all the athletes
who are trained by him
recommend, this is what
is recommended in the
What the Fat book.
This is a temporary process.
And if we think about how humans evolved,
where keto is a thing that can be useful
and can be helpful, it
evolved because cavemen
had periods of starvation
and then periods of gluttony,
where they ate a lot.
They weren’t just constantly
in a state of deprivation.
So they would sometimes
be in keto, sometimes not.
And that’s the point of this.
Use it as a tool, not as
an all the time thing.
Second thing is that this is
not about high performance.
The stories and Instagram
videos that you see
where you’ve got weightlifters
that are putting out
personal best, crushing huge dead lifts
and things like that
after a period of keto,
they’re not actually
showing the results of keto,
because it’s a different system.
Those really intense videos that you see,
they tap into what’s called
the Alactic energy system.
And that’s essentially just
like, raw, gritty power
that doesn’t access the
glycogen in your muscles
really at all.
It’s just going off of ATP.
And you can fake that
without needing any carbs,
without needing much calories,
while being in a state of ketosis.
But for all of us high performing athletes
that do something that lasts
longer than 10 seconds,
we aren’t going to perform as well.
The idea is that you use keto as a tool,
you train with low carbs,
but you have to also
train yourself to function
at a high level with high carbs.
So it’s about train low, race high.
And the third thing is that
this is not for everyone.
Every single diet has a bell curve,
where there are people who
will react a certain way
that is fairly predictable
right in the middle.
There are certain people
who will react amazingly
over on the end.
But there are a good amount of people
that won’t react very
well over on the side.
My mom, for instance.
She tried to do keto a couple months ago.
She actually gained about
10 pounds and felt awful
for the month that she did it.
This is actually one of the demographics
that tends not to do well.
Older ladies, around
the age that menopause
will start, be setting in,
have a very high likelihood
of this not doing very well for them.
People who it will work well for
tend to be more hormonally stable.
People who aren’t yet quite active.
So we’re talking males that are overweight
that haven’t yet adopted a training plan
that is very intense.
People like me will see
some results from it,
might not do so well on it.
The chunk in the middle
however, will probably
see some mixed results.
Some will do better, some will do worse.
But there’s somewhere around
40% to 60% of the population
that will see some benefits from it.
On the very far end, there is
a good chunk of the population
that will do extremely well
on severe carb depletion.
But those are the
exceptions, not the norm.
So I’d love to tell you that
this is as black and white as,
everyone should be keto, keto is great,
and you just need to
eat keto all the time.
That would be simple, but
dieting is not that simple
when you start getting to
the extremes like this.
And I think that the right
approach is done temporarily,
coming in and out of things like keto,
with a lot of background
information on when, how, and why
to apply it, and with the
right people helping you,
because there are a lot of
nuances that can be missed
that can lead to some severe problems
if it’s not done properly.
Now, with all that said,
the best place to go
and find out about that
start on this process
is traithlontaren.com/theplews,
where that’s a starter pack
for Dan Plews, that he’s
put together with me,
to help get people, at least
started in the right track
for lower carb, higher
fat, and utilizing keto
in the right way.
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