Could eating more fat help you go the distance? Some studies show that the ketogenic diet for endurance athletes could help support fat burning as a source of energy. We’ve partnered with EAS® Myoplex® to get you the information you need on the keto diet.
Runners have long relied on carbs for fuel, slurping sugary gels mid-marathon and carb-loading the night before a big race. What if we told you that instead of your energy gel, you can slurp nut butter packets, and instead of a post-workout shake you can drink EAS Myoplex? We’re here to help you explore the idea that replacing your usual carbs with fats might be more beneficial to your endurance and performance. The ketogenic diet for endurance athletes could be the key to more energy and more fat burn.
The Ohio State University performed a study on endurance athletes, comparing 10 participants following a high carb diet with 10 fat-adapted athletes eating minimal carbs and following a ketogenic diet breakdown. The results were clear: those following a ketogenic diet and therefore using fat for fuel burned more than twice as much fat as their high-carb counterparts, and their performance was just as good.
So what is the ketogenic diet? A ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein and very low carb diet. It is set up (depending on your goals) with your calories coming from approximately 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. This can be tweaked depending on your activity level or what feels right for your body. The goal of eating high fat and low carbs is to bring your body to a state of ketosis. Ketosis is when your body reaches a state where it is deprived of glycogen (which is energy that comes from carbs) and it begins burning fat for energy instead. Since glucose is only stored in limited amounts in the body, you have just that – limited amounts. When the glucose is all burned out, you’ll “hit a wall” or begin to fatigue.
When depending on ketones and fat as fuel, you have a much larger supply of energy, which can effectively prevent you from hitting that wall. But getting to this state of ketosis doesn’t happen in a day – it can take about 3 to 5 weeks to adapt. To become keto-adapted requires a lot of discipline, so you’ll have to take a rain check on those cheat meals for a while.
Dave Scott, a six-time IRONMAN® world champion and a big proponent of the ketogenic diet who shares tips here, shares, “As I’ve become keto adapted, I’ve noticed that my hunger signals are more in check, likely as a result of no longer having the insulin surges that follow a carbohydrate-rich meal or snack. I feel that I have a better pulse on when I’m really hungry compared to my previous way of eating in which I always felt hungry and my satiety signal was never really, well, satisfied.”
Sound interesting? Here is a sample meal plan to give you an idea of what a keto diet for endurance athletes looks like. To get the full recipes, download the EAS Keto Endurance Guide!
The diet can be difficult to get the right ratio of fat in your diet when embarking on a keto diet for endurance athletes. That’s why EAS developed a convenient shake, Myoplex Ketogenic, to provide you with an all-in-one meal replacement that provides you with the macros you need, and to make your life a whole lot easier. Eating foods high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbohydrates is the foundation of a ketogenic meal plan, so sip on EAS Myoplex Keto for any easy and delicious meal.