Intermittent Fasting in Veterans?

I am 53 years old with a long history of cycling, running and swimming. I have just started the build period for this year. I tend to do some gravel races and Grand Fondos. Lately I have been experimenting with intermittent fasting on my days off (Monday and Friday) and the easy workout day on Wednesday. I am well aware that coach Chad and Nate promote a very high carb diet. This in my view is ok for younger riders who will have steady improvements in their FTP in years to come and are still sensitive to insulin.
For me age 53 I do not expect to see any significant improvements in FTP and training is as much about fun as it is about staying fit and maintaining my FTP. Furthermore I must think about my long term health and being a Medical Doctor myself I think a high carb diet is probably not the best choice for older people. Intermittend fasting has worked well in the first few weeks and I can hit all my numbers and intervals. I train first thing in the morning fasted and refuel afterwards with oat meal and some protein powder. On the easy days I fast after dinner the night before until lunchtime the following day (18 hours fast) and then eat plenty and only healthy food during a six hour window. I do not need to loose weight (176cm, 66kg)
I would be interesting to know if any TR users in my age group have experimented with such an approach.

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I’m 64 and came back to cycling in my late 40’s. Former gym rat so I’m a bit heaver than your average cyclist and train first thing in the morning after coffee. Been Paleo for the last few years. I go 16/8 with my food with a bit more protein than suggested for average Paleo diet.
Do not confuse LCHF with intermittent fasting. I have found that I can’t hit the power targets on longer high intensity workouts without fuel. Adding some fruit and potatoes back in has helped but I need a gel or something in my water bottle for anything over an hour that’s near or above threshold. Endurance rides of 2 or more hours I do with just water.
I try to keep my carbs as healthy as possible. No added sugar and few grains. For me, I need to fuel the intensity on the bike. I don’t race so there’s no need to worry about being topped off but my group of ageing gray beards is competitive so I do fuel the ride. (it always starts before my window opens)

If you are consistently hitting your power targets your ok, But if you start falling off. especially the week before the rest week you may consider add more carbs to your diet or a change in workout fueling.

You’re a doctor and think that eating plenty of carbs as an endurance athlete is not healthy?

Its a well known fact that doctors have very little nutrition training.

Anybody else open this wondering what being a Vet has to do with this? Besides being able to go too long without food and then eating stuff no other animal will touch?

I do intermediate – I eat dinner at 6pm. Don’t eat again until 7am.

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I’ll admit I thought the description meant military career and “why would that matter” until I read the post. Looks like they’re using the term as in an experienced person (not very young) of a skill/profession.

I’m 51 and do almost exactly the same thing though I do eat a ton of carbs on big days. But I am not really hungry in the morning so it’s easy to extend the fast to ~18 hours on a rest or easy day. I am a veterinarian fwiw so between us we can treat every animal on the planet.

I still hope for ftp increases though…

I am not a vet (animal doctor). Veterans referred to me being in the 50+ age category…English is not my first language so I am sorry if that came across a bit strange. I am an orthopaedic doctor

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Really? You have?

I see a lot of obese young participants and running and cycling races. And the US has the second highest obesity rate in the World. That is not from eating avocados and grass fed filet steaks.

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That’s not quiet what was said. Just that carb heavy diets favor younger athletes. We masters have to rejig our macros. Like everything else our metabolism shifts with age. There is ample data out there on this. Insulin sensitivity is the driving factor in carbs, obviously, but protein synthesis also takes a big hit as we age. Nothing radical in such stuff is there?

The fasting thing may just be a reflection of the fact that our RMR also tanks as we age. So we have to eat less or get heavier.

I’m not a doctor.

Yes. I agree. I read quite a bit around the topic. There are some people saying that 50+ doing lots of exercise could do intermittent fasting for 2-4 days a week on easy days. One caveat is that these ‘experts’ are not qualified professionals. There are no proper studies out on this but I am sure some clever scientists are already working on it. I am continuing with my experiment. Time will tell.

Indeed. I have read a bit on this too. Rather than fasting I prefer to just use calorie deficits on easy and rest days. I went LCHF too, but I am rethinking that. Not for performance reasons rather some health stuff. The initial health gains seem to have reversed. Maybe I should ‘periodize’ the LCHF :grinning:.

Yes. There might be some value to taking most of the carbs in the evening. But I guess it depends whether you do your hard sessions in the morning or afternoon

I’m 60-61kg and 5’7" tall with a ramp test FTP of 298W at present - I train 5 days/week and have 2 days off now I am in build - did an extra 90min gym session when doing base. I do about 8-10hours/week and eat a ton of carbs - big bowl of porridge am, lots of toast/baked potatoes/rice etc…even on days off. I would find it impossible to fuel O/U, VO2, SS and threshold workouts if I had fasted days…even days I don’t train - I struggle to maintain my weight anyway. That said I don’t use any gels/energy drinks in workouts - even 2 hour turbo SS/4 hour group rides. I don’t think fasting is the way to go - just train hard and also I’m 51 - 52 in August and an ex runner - I have grown my FTP from 236W to 298W in the last 18 months on TR - I am still looking to get faster now I just ride…hoping for a 300+FTP next time I test - we’re not old yet! :smiley:

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The bit in bold tells you everything you need to know. People are desperate for a magic bullet, but there simply isn’t one. Don’t eat too much, eat mostly plants. Obesity and metabolic diseases result from over consuming calories. When calories are equal, there is no science that points to low carb being better for weight loss than a diet high in carbs. There is no science that points to intermittent fasting being better than any other way of eating. The mechanism for weight loss and health is always the same. Keep your calories in check! I’m 44, 9% BF and I eat a ton of carbs.
Going beyond body composition and general health, if you want to train hard and be fast on your bike, you have to eat enough carbs. The scientific evidence is overwhelming. It’s not even worth discussing anymore. There’s some evidence that older people should increase their protein intake in order to preserve muscle mass, but you’ve still got to eat your carbs.