Author: Rebecca Dent

Becoming a fat adapted athlete is fundamental to proper endurance training. In this article we will explain why the training itself is ultimately more important than your diet’s macronutrient distribution of fat, carbohydrates, and protein. We will also explore what training at a low carbohydrate availability means in practice. Finally we will help you understand what fat adaptation is and how to implement fasted training. The Benefits of Fat Adaptation to the Endurance Athlete Carbohydrates and fat are the primary fuel sources used by the muscles during endurance exercise. Broadly speaking three things will determine the contribution of each energy…

Read More

Nutrition strategies play an important role in your ability to train and perform well. They optimize training adaptations and aid recovery, helping you reach your full fitness potential. This is the second article in a series about nutrition and fat adaptation. Be sure to read the first, “Nutrition and Fat Adaptation,” as well as the third installment, “High-Fat Diets and Ultra-Endurance Performance.” It is important to highlight that this article is about the influence of specific dietary strategies on optimizing performance for endurance exercise and is not in relation to health. In the first article of this series, “Nutrition and Fat Adaptation,”…

Read More

As I’m writing this here in the Chamonix valley, we are 6 days in to a 15 day lockdown, only being allowed out for essential journeys and to exercise within 1-2km of our home. Apparently it takes around 10 days to adjust to being in isolation. For anyone who feels daunted by this prospect or is currently struggling to adapt to self isolation this article from two expert psychologists who work with those in extreme environments (such as astronauts, expeditions, solo explorers, polar scientists all whom choose to live in isolation) share some insights and practical tips on how to…

Read More

No one likes to be injured. But given the nature of the continuous repetitive movement required to train and take part in endurance sports, and the very often extreme environment these sports are undertaken in, the chances of an injury occurring are pretty high. In this article I will be referring to musculoskeletal injuries (skeletal muscle, bones, tendons, and ligaments) incurred as a result of physical activity. The role of nutrition strategies in injury can be both a preventive measure and an important part of the rehab process. There are specific nutrition strategies an athlete can follow after an injury…

Read More

Nutrition is a vital component of an athlete’s health and performance. As we age, there are foods and supplements we can take to prolong our performance. Often in my practice, I hear the echoing of “I’m getting old,” “It’s my age,” “You get to [insert age] and all of a sudden everything starts to go downhill.” Usually at this point my excitement sparks, knowing that emerging science is showing that we don’t necessarily have to succumb to the ticking of time and give in to the degenerative physiological effects that ensue. We can leverage some control. It is possible to…

Read More

One of our mantras at Uphill Athlete is that athletes engaged in events lasting more than a couple of hours should not leave the fat adaptation stone unturned. Training your muscles to make better use of fat for energy will yield significant performance advantages for all climbers, runners, and skiers. Some of the most pronounced are: The elimination of energy swings throughout the day. Improved recovery between intense efforts, both intraday and from day to day. Improved cognition and fine motor skills when fatigued, meaning improved safety. Reduced need for eating during multihour to multiday efforts, meaning lower pack weight.…

Read More

This article explores whether eating a low-carb, high-fat diet further enhances ultra-endurance performance beyond training, compared to a diet containing carbohydrates. For our purposes, I define ultra-endurance performance as any exercise lasting longer than 4 hours. This is Rebecca Dent’s third article in a series on nutrition and fat adaptation. Be sure to read the first, “Nutrition and Fat Adaptation,” as well as the second installment, “Nutrition Strategies to Maximize Fat Adaptation.” The Benefits of Fat Adaptation As described in the previous two articles, due to the body’s limited storage capacity for carbohydrates and abundant availability of fat to provide…

Read More

Hydration is key to performing well in endurance sports, in everything from mountain running to rock climbing. In Training for the New Alpinism, Steve House and Scott Johnston advocate starting climbing days well hydrated and carrying much less water than you might think necessary—certainly less than was considered normal at the time the the book was published. Their sound advice has changed the way many mountaineers hydrate. The simple fact is that the weight of water often limits how much a climber can carry. And with access to fluids often limited at high altitude, the problem is further exacerbated. In…

Read More

There is a simple way to implement training strategies to improve your fat adaptation. We have decades of experience with coaching endurance athletes to greater fat burning capabilities and hope to offer a simple path to your improved endurance performance without going to extremes in either diet or training. Extremes can be hazardous and are not necessary if you take a long-term, systematic approach. We have used the following simple prescriptions with many athletes over the years with good success in every case. Fat Adaptation Training Diet We provide the following simple guidelines for our athletes: Shift food intake away…

Read More

The popular press has been full of stories about fat adaptation, ketogenic diets, and fasted training. This has generated a great deal of debate and controversy and is portrayed as if something new has been discovered. With our decades of experience training fat-adapted endurance athletes, we hope to clear up some misconceptions and confusion. Fat Adaptation Is Nothing New Many of the loudest voices promoting ketogenic diets come from the strength and conditioning (S&C) world, which dominates the fitness information sphere. The S&C world is not geared toward, and in general is not interested in, endurance sports. After all, for…

Read More