Keto, IF, Fasted Training & The Road to TABR '19

Hey everyone! I just finished up SS Base - HV 1 and started SS Base - HV 2. I’m pretty happy with the results. I started TR 6 weeks ago at the heaviest point in my life and doing the least riding I have ever done since I was a kid as well.

A quick little riding history:

  • Bike commuter my entire life until last year when I bought my first car (at 31 years old) because my new job demanded it.
  • I have never competed, but I have toured the west coast and across the US via the Trans Am.
  • I have done a little bit of bike courier work in Seattle which led to century length rides all over Seattle becoming the norm.
  • Rode a Surly LHT most of my life until I finally saved up for my first real road bike, a Canyon Endurace SL 8.0 Di2. Changed my world and led to a lot more riding.

I have been drawn to ultra endurance races for the last couple years and I am kitting the Canyon out for the Trans Am Bike Race. 4200 miles self-supported from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia.

So! Here are my starting stats:

Height: 6’5 (195cm)
Weight: 265lb (120kg)
FTP: 236w
Goal Weight: 200lb

I had played with fasting / keto before and saw results but did not stick with it and had hit my all time high weight. It’s probably not ideal, but having the race goal in my headlights has helped keep me focused and disciplined.

So the steps I took were:

  • I started with a 3 day water fast to help kickstart ketosis. This was before starting the TR Plan.
  • From there I started a OMAD style intermittent fasting regime, which meant eating only one meal around dinner time. I wanted to keep my calorie intake pretty restricted (about 1500 a day), so I started tracking my calories which is a lot easier when you only eat once a day.
  • I ate lots of greens and as much whole natural food as possible. This usually ended up being a big ass salad in a mixing bowl every night. Trying to shovel in 1500 calories with a decent amount of protein is actually pretty tough even for a guy that likes to eat.
  • 90% of my workouts are in the morning and around 12 hours fasted.
  • I have been supplementing with Vitamin D, Fish Oil, and L-Glutamine mainly. Sometimes I’ll throw in amino acids and/or creatine if I’m feeling particularly depleted.

First thing I will say. Training sweet spot fasted is TOUGH! I don’t think I have actually been able to complete a 2 hour work-out yet. I have been okay with this though, because my main goal at the moment is dropping weight. It is probably not an ideal situation trying to train for this race and lose a considerable amount of weight at the same time, but here are my results after SS Base - HV 1:

Weight: 238lb (108kg)
FTP: 274w

Pretty big jump in FTP! I’m a little nervous for what tomorrow will bring with the training starting back up again. I’m hoping to drop to about 225-230lb by the end of SS Base - HV 2. I will probably switch to a more cyclic keto diet at that point with a little bit more carbs before a couple of hard training days.

I will be updating this after SS Base - HV 2. I have paid my dues and am on the roster for TABR '19 so there is no turning back now. All of this training makes me feel like all of this work is the hard part and the race will be my reward. Anyone else feel this way about training for your A race?

Let me know if you have any questions, suggestions, or ideas! Is there anything I should have included to give a better overall picture of what I am doing?

5 Likes

Not sure how I missed this post earlier this month, but wishing you the best. Keto, weightloss and endurance-sports are match made in heaven. For performance, there is a transition period in the 4-8 week range where you just won’t be able to sustain your previous effort. You should be on the other side of it by now and hopefully find sweetspot is feeling easier. I’m 3 years on keto now and find 88-90% to be a breeze. Most of my workouts end up fasted, and I’ve even started racing fasted (cx; spoiler, my results improved). It’s the high intensity stuff that’s hard to get back, but that may not be a big focus for you. Anyway, my biggest piece of advice is to get on top of your sodium intake. I found that a half tsp or so before workouts (especially long high volume plan ones) is game changer.

3 Likes

Maybe not… https://cyclingmagazine.ca/sections/healthnutrition/keto-diet-may-damage-bone-health-in-endurance-athletes-study-shows/

1 Like

Interesting, though to be honest I’m wary of any study using surrogate endpoints like this (especially bone studies). It’s not like they measured bone density (which isn’t evena good measure of bone strength), or show long term increased risk of fracture. I think the authors are pretty clear, though… this decides nothing, and rather suggests more research should be done to see if there actually is a bone risk. It could be these are totally normal changes based on what they were eating (and who knows what any of them were eating… there are really bad ways to do low-carb/keto just like any other diet).

1 Like

This is an interesting article. I like to skim these studies. After a little diving, the study results were from about 25 “world-class” race walkers. (30 actually, but some results were disqualified) Now, I know very little about this discipline other than you have to keep one foot on the ground at all time and it generally uses more upper body strength.

The athletes were on a typical keto diet (which I could not find specifics) for a “strenuous” 3.5 weeks of exercise. Data collected in a fasted state in the mornings.

The study references a bunch of earlier studies and doesn’t seem to show any work other than data collection and a conclusion based on said data.

I couldn’t find the type of exercise they were doing. Maybe someone more intrepid in study diving could, but I wonder if any weightlifting was included in this process. Could the keto diet completely negate the bone health gains from weight lifting? Cycling is even more low impact than race walking, but as of late, most cyclists I know include or suggest some form of weight bearing exercises to, at minimum, maintain strength.

Not to discredit their findings in any way. They state themselves that this is all just a data driven hypothesis and they hope further, more specific studies, could be funded.

Side note, as I realize I didn’t update this as much as I intended:

For myself personally, I had the best results (weight loss AND ftp gain) from an OMAD style diet consisting of a giant mixing bowl of greens, chicken, and an egg or two. Other ingredients varied based on what we had around the house/garden. Also, lots of black coffee! I kept the fat relatively in check most of the time. I just ate a vast amount of veggies.

I went from 220 ftp to around 280 in a 3-4 month period and dropped 50 pounds. Went from 265 to 215-20.

My race went well for the first 3 days. Multiple firsts for me. First double century and first 10k ft of climbing in a day. In the end I had to drop out due to knee pain, but I’m planning a comeback in 2021!

19-25km @ 75% vo2max I would assume they were doing some other kind of training, but maybe not.

1 Like