Diet advice on website vs. book

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  • #6811

    I’ve recently purchased and begun the 24-week mountaineering plan for an upcoming climb of Denali in June. Coming from a powerlifting/HIIT background, I’m acutely interested in the concept of fat adaptation, and have read pretty much all of the articles that you’ve written on it on UA.

    In the book, however, there’s a spot that seemingly conflicts with the fasted morning workouts that you recommend online:

    (pp 292-93): “A big breakfast with a lot of calories from all three sources is the best way to fuel a big day. If it’s been more than two hours since breakfast, eat a simple-carb pre-workout snack twenty minutes before you begin in order to top up your glycogen stores.”

    (pp 290-291): “Eating simple-carbohydrate rich foods such as energy gels, energy bars, or candy bars before or during training or alpine climbing impacts your ability to burn stored fat as a fuel and negatively affects long-duration, low-intensity performance.”

    Can you help me deconflict this? The latter seems to be more in line with the concept of fat adaptation. At least in the transitioning phase, all aerobic workouts are done at or below AeT. Is the statement on 292-93 related to later training above AeT, or do you recommend eating a big breakfast on the “Hike on Hilly Terrain” 2-3 hr workout days found in the transition mesocycle?

    Side note– I tapped out on the introductory AeT nosebreathing test at 160 bpm and 7:45 min/mile pace. Not trying to blow wind up my you-know-what, but the test really changed my perspective on what *hard* actually was.

Posted In: Nutrition

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    benjamin.connel on #6818

    A little commentary on my side note… I’ve seen and talked to a couple of other people who have done the AeT and it seems like my results (160 bpm and 7:45 min/mile run) are massively off. I held my breathing through my nose up to that point, but my breaths were definitely shorter and more labored. I’d love your thoughts on this too!

    Scott Johnston on #6872


    In the sections of the book you are quoting there is no mention of fat adaptation training. Those recommendations were meant to ensure adequate energy supplies for long or difficult workouts such as big day of alpine climbing. They are not designed to enhance fat adaptation so I don’t see where the conflict is.
    If you want to train to become more fat adapted then use the recommendations you read on the UA site. If you are heading out for the Nose in a day or a sub 10 hour ascent of the North Face of the Eiger then I suggest you fuel up. Two different feeding strategies for 2 different outcomes.

    A common adage is: “Train on fat but race on carbs”


    benjamin.connel on #6873

    Understood… thank you!!

    Scott Johnston on #6874


    I’m not sure what you are asking here so I will try to answer.

    “Massively off”? Ok, that’s possible but what are you basing this statement on? Do you think this too high of a HR and pace or to low and slow?

    Ventilatory markers like ‘nose breathing’ or ‘conversational pace’ or ‘rate and depth’ show strong correlation to the aerobic threshold. A strong correlation means an r*2 (r squared) of more than about 0.8. If you are not familiar with statistics this would mean that if compare two sets of data, like AeT (as determined in a lab) with a ventilatory field test the data sets would agree 80% of the time. A good correlation does not mean that there will be a perfect correlation for every person under every circumstance. Me make clear on our articles in testing that while we have seen, in hundreds of tests where we compare ventilation to blood lactate, a good correlation. However some people, especially those with a history of high intensity training and thus a low aerobic capacity don’t fit into this model. I can’t explain why and have asked several exercise scientists why this would be. None of them know either.

    If you think your numbers are massively off, based on other information or other perceptions of exertion then by all means do not use this ventilation marker. For you the only answer I know of is to get either a blood lactate test or a full metabolic profile test.


    benjamin.connel on #7140


    I wanted to close the loop on this after I was able to get my metabolic testing completed.

    I felt that the results of my nose-breathing test were “massively off” because a friend of mine is also doing your training program. I’m of the opinion that he’s in better aerobic shape than I am, yet the base at which I couldn’t breathe through my nose anymore (~7:45 min/mile) was much higher than his.

    I just got my results back, and have a VO2 of 45 mL/kg/min, an AeT of around 107 bpm, and a metabolic fuel crossover right around 105 bpm as well. Given my history of HIIT and low aerobic capacity, it seems like I fit the profile that you mentioned that dont respond to the nose breathing test.

    tl;dr– I’ve got a lot of work to do!!!

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    benjamin.connel on #7143

    *pace not base

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