Training through a Whole30?

In an effort to clean up my diet a bit (plus to show some spousal support) I’m going to be completing the Whole30 plan in January, while also finishing off the last 4 weeks of the Sweet Spot Base High Volume. Base season seems like the right / reasonable time to do this, good way for me to try to balance out health and performance. My plan is mostly just to up the starchy carbs and healthy fats a ton to keep the training load high - but curious if (a) anyone has any valuable tips from the past and (b) if anyone is also doing a Whole30 in the new year. Thanks!

What is Whole30?

Essentially, meat, fruit, vegetables, nuts but not peanuts. No dairy, no grains, no added sugar.

The no grains got to me. It’s hard when training.

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Yeah back in 2012 I was coming off a year of no riding due to an injury. While in PT I just ate lean and clean and very little booze. So, no bread, chip (white carbs) lots of fruit and veg with lean meats. I lost 15lbs all the while doing only 15 minutes on a stationary bike warming up before PT which was 3x/week.

Once I started riding again, however, I slowly gained weight as it was impossible to ride the amount I was riding and not eat more starchy carbs. I’ve gained it all back and while my diet is still reasonably whole food, I drink way too much and don’t control portion size much at all.

Yikes, does that mean no oats and rice!? :thinking:

Ummm…is that drink portion size or food? :dizzy_face::rofl:

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Unfortunately, both::wine_glass::clown_face:


Don’t mean to be critical but have your properly researched that whole30 plan? It looks properly extreme and there doesn’t appear to be any firm scientific basis for removing some of the food groups in there, and it doesn’t appear to prohibit things like bacon, sausage and other processed meats?

Whole 30 does not allow any ‘processed’ food including sausage or bacon. If the sausage was just ground pork with allowed spices mixed in it would be allowed. BTW - I will be the first one to tell you the word ‘processed’ doesn’t really mean anything.

As I understand it the purpose of whole 30 is to reset your relationship with food and determine if there are any foods that you are sensitive to.

I am also trying it for spousal support. It does allow potatoes. Meat, potatoes and vegetables for a month doesn’t seem that crazy to me.

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FWIW: My daughter did Whole30 prior to her wedding in the fall of 2017 and has done it about 3x since (she’s doing it now again). She tells our family that what it does is “cleans out her system”, making her feel healthy and describes it as a reset (she is very fit and eats well regardless so IMO no reset necessary). However, I would describe her gym workouts that she does during Whole30 (about 4-5x/wk) as similar in intensity to our endurance rides, not SS or higher. When I discussed with her my need for carbs for our workouts, she said that she would not advise Whole30 while doing so.

Bottom line @KatuskaMTB : I would advise to choose between spousal support and TR SS workouts, but not both simultaneously. Obviously, an alternative would be to do Whole30 with your spouse and take 30days off from TR Base SS training and just do some endurance riding during this period.

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From my limited understanding and research it appears that both are allowed if they don’t contain sugar, there are even lists of ‘whole 30’ approves bacon and sausages.

I didn’t call it crazy, just extreme! :wink: And again the lack of scientific evidence shown to support some of the exclusions would concern me, after all what has a chick pea ever done to anyone :slight_smile:

I’m not trying to be negative about laudable attempts to improve diet, Just sounding a note of caution over startingbthis one withoutvdoung some research, for the OP I would suggest that there are better diets that allow you to continue training and build a sustainable base for long term diet improvement

Good suggestion, think that’s likely where I will land. January here I come!

Definitely agree that there are better long-term/sustainable diets; the Whole30 is specifically not for that (by their design) it’s a 30-day elimination diet (with explicit goal of reintroduction) to determine any low-grade food sensitivities / food crutches. For me the main goal is finally kicking my sugar cravings, I’m a sight to behold around a dessert table…


I have been cutting out refined sugar where I can and also reduced alcohol intake. I am not on a diet but I have cut out cake, yoghurt, biscuits and other things that contain large amounts of sugar. I am working to be at less than 32g per day. I will still have a ready meal and bread etc.

I have now lost about 10 lbs in around 12 weeks. I am so pleased with myself.
The other oddity I have noticed is that my resting HR has dropped from about 58 (taken many times over the last year) to 49-51 in the last couple of weeks. No idea if that is related to cutting alcohol and sugar.

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@Jonnyboy Yes, it does allow bacon (perhaps sausages as well), as long as there is no sugar. My daughter was over our house yesterday for a family brunch. My wife had to search specialty stores to find bacon without sugar for her W30 diet.

What’s important to recognize about W30, is that despite being called a diet, it is really just a 30 day food restriction plan with the goal of giving a person a chance to reset their nutritional habits. It is not meant to be a long term plan, although clearly it has the potential for people having done it to consider how much sugar, for example, we consume in processed foods (see Matt Fitzgerald, “The Endurance Diet” for more on this).

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Day 7 of whole 30. I did tunborra last Friday, CrossFit Monday and Geiger Tuesday. I completed both TrainerRoad workouts successfuly but I was a little disappointed in my CrossFit workout. I do miss having a carbohydrate drink during workouts.

I had to take a year of taking a year off of racing for work and gained 20 pounds. Mostly stemming from work stress and bad eating and drinking habits.

I started riding again in Nov 2018 and then started Whole30 on Jan 1, aligning it exactly to a build phase. The first week was doable without much of a hitch. The ramp test I took on the first day recorded an increase of FTP of 6% after doing a sweet spot base plan in Nov and Dec 2018. I’m below my numbers from the time before my time off, but it’s a nice improvement.

Onto the second week of the build plan and I’m having trouble getting through workouts, specifically today, I couldn’t complete 2/4’s of the over-unders of Fang Mountain +1. I’m probably not getting enough of my calories from carbs to keep my glycogen stores primed for a threshold and VO2 workouts. I feel very flat and have the feeling of being “hangry” after workouts.

I’m going to see if I can increase my carb intake by eating potatoes with every meal (allowed by the program) and stick with the build phase for the remainder of this week. I have my doubts. If all else fails, I may go back to a sweet spot base plan (or maybe just some tempo rides) until the end of this month.

The nice thing is that on this program, I am feeling better during the day, not tired as I am normally am after lunch, I’m full after a meal, and I’ve lost 8 pounds already. I’m sure this will tail-off as I understand you lose the most at the beginning of a diet, but it’s at least getting me back to where I once was.

Would love to hear more about your experience of training during this time.

@KatuskaMTB Sweet potatoes, yams, beets and the like will keep you fueled.

I’m curious as to why people think they need so many carbs to perform 1 hour trainer rides. We aren’t talking about doing 15-20 hours a week of training here. Yes I understand you have a higher glycogen burn with SS/LT/Vo2 work compared to riding in base but I think there is significant value in fueling for your workouts. Meaning that in my experience I might eat 150 calories of carbs (oats) in my afternoon snack around 2-3pm and then perform my workouts around 4-5pm. I don’t need to be eating carbs every other meal of the day to be topped up to complete workouts.
Yes, when you start eating less carbs it make take a week or two of transition but after that I would think most people are okay.

For me it has been very successful to keep my carb intake to around 200 calories a day and only as a consequence of it being included in other foods I eat like some fruits. The rest is some sort of meat and the rest is vegetables. I’ve got to the leanest I’ve ever been and power stayed the same. Racing MTB and Cyclocross during that time. Just because it works for me doesn’t mean that works for everyone but I do think that most people eat far too many carbs and are way to focused on them for doing short trainer rides.

I’m on day six and starting to feel a bit better. Doing W30 at the recommendation of my doctor in order to try to identify any reactionary foods in light of persistent sinus infections. Surgery is currently on the table, but the doctor wants to make sure we identify potential triggers first so I am working on diet and getting my allergy meds in order so if I end up having surgery, it will hopefully be a one time event.

Perhaps it was the binging of sugar for the past 30 days, but on day 3 I could only get through 40 minutes of Pettit and that was with knocking the intensity down starting at 20 minutes until I finished at 50%. Yesterday I completed Pettit with a little struggle and today I felt relatively normal doing Pettit again (today it was on my plan SSB2 - wk 1). We’ll see how Ebbetts goes tomorrow but I am at least starting to feel closer to normal at this point. I never felt too bad outside of trying to workout, but I do feel pretty hungry most the time and the first two nights I could hardly sleep. Those issues are getting better as well.

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