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  1. #1
    Mr. O's Avatar
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    Fat Adapted

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    Ok, so I'm on day 3 of my fat adaptation process. I'm almost zero carb and I'm going to be under 50 carbs/day for the next 3-4 weeks to jump start the process.

    My question is on exercise. I realize that I need to go long and slow and stay in my aerobic zone, but should I be exercising at all during this 3-4 week transformation process? My goal is to be a fat adapted endurance athlete within a few months. Do I need a heart rate monitor? Should I ride my bike fasted to help with the process?

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    primalrob's Avatar
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    yep. exercise away. 2-3 days of lifting heavy things, 1 day of sprinting, and 3-5 hours of moving slowly throughout the week. no need for a heartrate monitor. if you can talk while sprinting, you're not working hard enough; if you can't talk while moving slowly, you're working to hard.

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    If you are sprinting and lifting heavy on such low carbs and so early on in the transition, you may have a really really hard time. What I did was slow way down on my exercise. I went for leisurely 2-3 mile walks every day at lunch and hiking in the mountains on weekends. I found that I was much slower hiking in the mountains than usual. I used to be at the front of the pack but now was at the back and kind of struggling. Eventually once I got truly adapted I was back up front again. I really loved the ability to go for a strenuous hike totally fasted (with the exception of some coffee.)
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Current squat: 170 x 3. Current Deadlift: 220 x 3

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    Annlee's Avatar
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    My Personal Nutrition Journey The Eating Academy | Peter Attia, M.D.

    A multipart series - but lots of lessons learned in it.

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    if you're going to cut carbs like that (and i think it's overkill anyway, but you may as well try it for yourself!), just listen to your body you may find that you can only do so much in terms of exercise at that point. if you're bonking, back off. if you feel good, keep going.

  6. #6
    Fiji's Avatar
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    Everyone is different but I think you've gotten some good advice here. My two cents based on my experience, if you're going that low on carbs, stay away from prolonged aerobic exercise. Walking and hiking are probably fine but you may need to increase the carbs a bit after sprinting or heavy lifting (I'm talking 100-200g here depending on your size). The worst thing you could possibly do is engage in the kind of sustained aerobic activity that would necessitate a heart monitor and do it over prolonged periods of time on low carb. That is just an express road to glycogen depletion and believe me, you so don't want to be there- you'll be miserable, have zero energy or stamina, sleep will suffer, you'll get mad sugar cravings, overeat and generally be a really unpleasant individual to be around.

  7. #7
    Primal Bill's Avatar
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    I have depleted my glycogen stores in the past through very low carb eating and exercise. It's a horrible feeling. Does anyone know how long it takes the body to replenish stores through gluconeogenesis if u keep carbs low? Does ur body get better at it? Do people who are fat adapted replenish stores quicker over time?

  8. #8
    Fiji's Avatar
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    OP, I just noticed you said your goal is to become a fat adapted endurance athlete? I presume that means your primary goal is not fat loss? If that is the case, why do you need to go VLC? I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't think it's possible to be an endurance athlete and be VLC. Either you go VLC for fat loss, jump start the process or fix metabolic issues and give up endurance training or you up the carbs and continue endurance training. Something's got to give or your poor body will. Really, I believe if you don't have a ton of weight to lose or some kind of health problem, there's no need to be consistently under 50g carbs per day.

    See below for Mark's blog entry on marathon training in the "primal" way for some guidance (note that Mark's low threshold for carbs is 150g per day):

    How to Train for a Marathon | Mark's Daily Apple

    How to Fuel a Marathon | Mark's Daily Apple
    Last edited by Fiji; 07-17-2012 at 08:34 PM.

  9. #9
    Mr. O's Avatar
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    My desire to become a fat adapated endurance athlete comes from reading "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Peformance" by Steve Phinney and Jeff Volek. In terms of my low carbs now, it really is more weight loss issues. I probably have about 50 pounds that I need to lose. Once there, though, I plan on training and racing in long distance events with fat as a primary fuel source. I certainly realize that this can be done on higher carbs.......50 to 150 for example. My original question really was in regard to initially training my body to use fat for energy instead of sugar. I'm on day 4 right now of very little carbs - probably about 10 yesterday. I feel absolutely fine, but I haven't done any aerobic activity the last 3 days. I'm going to start today, however, with a slow run (almost a fast walk). That will be the tough part. In the past, I would pick a distance and then race against my previous times on that distance or simply want to get done quickly so I can do something else. This will be a change for sure.

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    I'm female and I have raced in ultra races for years, as a fat-adapted beast. I did not ascribe to fuelling with sugar during ultra long races (no gels, sugary treats, candies etc etc). I was careful to ensure I was taking in the proper amount of electrolytes and salt (especially in hotter temps/climates).

    I also trained my body to eat whole foods WHILE training -- this was very helpful for very long training days. For instance, I would ride my bike on an indoor trainer and eat my dinner while on my bike. So long as effort was moderate to steady, my body adapted to eating and digesting.....this came in especially helpful when I raced Ironman and ultra running (100 mile run).

    Everybody responds differently, but this is what worked for me.

    At the time of my ultra racing I was 37 - 44 yrs old, 144lbs, 17% body fat.

    Cheers,
    ----------------------------------------
    F, 48, 5'10"
    Start Date: 25-06-12 @ 161lbs
    Goal Reached: 30-09-12 @ 143lb. Now bouncing between 145lb - 149lb. I'd like less bounce and more consistency :-)

    Started Cross Fit 20.12.12 ---- Can't wait to submit my success story on the 1st anniversary of starting primal.

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