Going into ketosis intermittently?

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  • #10130

    Ketogenic diet is hard to adhere to and after being on it for a while I decided to go a bit more lax. I would like to know which option would be better to follow in terms of physical performance:

    1. Go low carb (~100g/day) and always try to hit the 100g carb limit without going into ketosis.
    2. Go low carb (~100g/day) while also having full-on keto days (<20g carbs).
    3. Just go full keto for maximum fat-adaptation gains. (if the person is willing to sacrifice convenience)

    What I am concerned is that without full fat adaptation dipping into ketosis on some days would not give any benefits and actually hinder performance. Is it either all-out keto or no keto at all (forcing yourself to eat a certain amount of carbs such that it does not happen)? Or is there the middle ground between the two strategies (#2)?


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    Anonymous on #10135

    When Scott J. first started helping me with my training, I asked a too-specific question about deadlifts and maximum strength. He quickly identified the problem and said something similar to:

    “Your goal is to become a faster skimo racer. It isn’t to perfect your deadlift or maximum strength. You only need enough strength to make you better at your event. You’re not trying to compete in deadlifts.”

    Your keto question reminded me of that because it seems overly specific. Is your goal really to discover your maximum fat adaptation regardless of how it affects your other athletic abilities? Or is it to increase your fat adaptation in general to support your sport?

    To that end, I think the answer may be: 4) Improve fat adaptation in general while pursuing less marginal, more low-hanging fruit.

    All three of the original options seem pretty extreme. 100g of CHO is not much at all, and 20g sounds crazy-low. I think that little CHO will hamper other types of training.

    Rather than try and perfect fat adaptation exclusively, it may be more productive to optimize other training elements in concert. Before zeroing in on the ideal recipe for a marginal strategy, I would ask:

    • Have I maximized the amount of easy volume that my life constraints will permit?
    • Are my recovery strategies prioritized and effective?
    • Is my training intelligently polarized? Do I have the right mix of low- and high-intensity for my event?
    • Do I have a solid base of strength in my program?
    • Do my technical skills easily exceed the demands of my goal event?

    Only after all of those are “yes” would I start zeroing in on strategies that are, at best, going to help squeeze out the last single-digit gains in performance.

    tomasaiduk on #10261

    I know exactly what you mean by “overanalysing” and a day after writing the question I did not really expected an answer since I understood that I’m going too deep into small details.

    Regarding 20g, I am at the moment eating less than that and my endurance performance did not drop when I was consuming carbs, I can actually go for longer and food cravings disappeared. The reason why I was asking this question was essentially “How to get the benefits of keto (i.e. maximum fat adaptation) without doing a ketogenic diet”. As it was mentioned in a couple of posts here, the diet is too strict for most people to adhere too and even the biggest diet advocates that are into endurance sports seem to drop the diet after a while, despite it producing excellent results. I guess not being able to eat a cookie that your daughter made requires a person to re-evaluate his priorities in life.

    However, I would not say that a ketogenic diet is “squeezing the last few percent”, in my head at least it can be a game changer in performance since people claim that they become “bonk-proof”, which is what TFNA is striving for, right?

    Anyway, I am just exploring eating strategies that would enable me to be bonk-proof and be able to go for long durations without any food.

    Anonymous on #10303

    Becoming bonk-proof may also make you speed-proof. I don’t think it’s a worthwhile goal in and of itself. It depends on the duration of your activity and how fast you want to do it.

    If it’s an all-day event at relatively slow speeds, then being bonk-proof may be an advantage. But even on game day, you’d still want to carb up to maximize your speed.

    Train on fat. Race on carbs.

    On the other hand, if it’s more intense (like a skimo race), being bonk-proof is less important. You’d want fat adaptation as high as necessary to narrow the gap between AeT and AnT. But you’d also want to make sure you can consume a lot of carbohydrate per hour without having gut issues.

    It depends what you’re training for.

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