Balancing training performace and weight loss

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  • #22452


    Just to get my main question out of the way first, is there any general consensus on the best way to approach weight loss while training so as to not avoid burnout/injury/hampering performance?

    I’ve had really good success in the past using a cyclic keto diet for weight loss (after gaining a bunch of weight after I started working night shift and stopped hiking I lost 100 lbs with diet alone and then lost another 30 over one summer getting ready for a 130 mile backpacking trip). I was able to handle 20+ mile days backpacking in the Olympics/Cascades while keeping carbs to less than 20g/day without even coming close to bonking but I’m wary of trying to do that following the plan laid out in TftNA. I have no problem doing fasted workouts but I’m not sure how to eat afterwards to recover well without overdoing it. I know I’ve seen the 50/25/25 ratio recommended a lot so would the best approach be to just stick to that ratio daily (keeping the Zone 1/2 fasted) and cut back on calories on the easier days? I feel like years of keto have made me a little carb-phobic which was fine as a weekday couch potato that went hiking on the weekends but maybe not so much with 5-6 days a week of training.

    I’m about 20 weeks into training for a Rainier attempt in early July and guessing I’m about 30-40 lbs overweight currently (male, 5’11”, ~200lbs). I’m definitely not going to hit my goal weight before my trip but whatever I can lose without burning out will obviously make the trip easier. Long term I’m planning on taking a month off after Rainier and then I’ll start training for a 50k next spring. I’m planning on doing a nutrition consultation to help get as light as possible for that in a smart way.

    Thanks for any advice.

Posted In: Nutrition

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    Anonymous on #22470


    It sounds like you are well fat adapted now. If you have had good luck with the keto diet for weight loss in the past then you can probably do it again now. Much of your training has been and will be in the low aerobic zones which will be fueled mainly by fat. You can try the weighted uphill ME workouts on this low/no carb diet and see how it impacts your recovery. I don’t think our training plans demand an increase in carbs. But just monitor your recovery and adjust by increasing carbs a bit if you feel like the revery is not fast enough.


    Dane on #22472

    Thanks for the reply Scott. I think I’m getting a little paranoid about doing something wrong this close to my trip. I’ll try going back to a keto diet and feel things out from there.

    Thatcher Kelley on #28438

    I’m new to UA website, but read TFTNA when it first came out and am now reading UA. Great stuff!

    I’m in a similar position to Dane. In 2015 I lost 110lbs on keto. I didn’t exercise much at first. 6 months in I started running and training more intensely. Ever since then I’ve generally bounced back and forth in small amounts of being keto and not. I’ve also gone in and out of regular training and fitness with winter and spring ski mountaineering being my peaks. And summers I get sloppy.

    Right now I find myself in a place where I’ve gained 30lbs since my last peak. I started training again after about 4-5 months of inactivity and am also starting my keto diet again after eating like a glutton for 4-5 months.

    The first time I lost weight I was very gradual in adding in hikes and training. This time around I’ve hit the ground running. I’m finding that my heart rate is always high. My resting rate is high and I can’t hardly get above walking pace without getting past zone 2. I did a hike before jumping in the diet and I felt fine. I did a hike 1 week into the diet and was sooo slow with a very high heart rate.

    Every workout I feel like I’m in a constant state of bonk. I remember in 2015 after a month or two of diet I felt so good on hikes and runs. Never booked, burned fat very well.

    I understand that there will be some loss in fitness advancement if I’m trying to shed pounds quickly. However I’m wondering if there is a strategy to get myself the energy I need for z1/2 runs and hikes without hampering the diet much. I also don’t want to just carb load for my workouts because I want to eventually become nicely fat-adapted

    Alternatively, it’s been only 2 weeks since I started the diet. Should I just keep doing what I’m doing and in a couple more weeks I’ll become more fat-adapted?

    Anyways any resource people could point me to regarding diet/weight loss/low carb while endurance mountain training would be helpful.

    And my defense of keto and why I’m doing it now is because I’ve personally had wild success and have kept the weight off by intermittently staying low carb. So it’s a method I personally trust and have success with. So that’s why I’m doing it again. Just this time I’m also trying to get my body ready for ski touring season.

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