Are you tired of racing and having your fuelling strategy hold you back from your performance potential?
You trained well, everything went great leading up to your goal event and then it all fell apart in the race because your 'fueling was off'. Don't let this happen to you again.
I've coached people to over 1400 Ironman races and 1000s of other endurance events over the last 28 years and regularly have my clients go over everything they did re fuelling and hydration in a race. I have decades of data to draw on to come up with what works for a majority of people in a majority of situations.
My wife Michelle is a perfect example.
Before I started helping her with her fueling she would try to ingest 280-300 calories an hour in an Ironman. It never worked out and her runs were always a death march. 26 miles of a bloated belly and no energy.
Now she only needs to ingest about 60-70 calories an hour and she never has digestive issues. Her speed has increased 15% and her recovery has improved dramatically.
How can you get there too??
Most endurance athletes are locked onto the belief that they just need carbohydrates for energy.
Carbohydrates certainly work for performance but I've found over the years that just relying on carbs/glycogen creates a host of issues associated with that performance benefit.
Problems with burning sugars/carbs/glycogen as your primary fuel source include...
-glycogen supply in your muscles and liver is limited
-hard to refuel (enough) in a race and avoid digestive upset
-generally higher heart rate
-spikes and valleys in your energy thru an event
-more fatigue and aches while training/racing
-hard to stay steady mentally
-slower recovery after events
-overfuelling (easy to do) results in excess body fat storage and a lowered strength to weight ratio, and ultimately lower performance.
Accessing Fat for fuel though has some key benefits...
-fat supplies are effectively unlimited
-lower effective heart rate at a certain performance level
-better mental and physical state when racing
-sustained power without energy spikes or crashes
-almost non-existent digestive issues
-leaner body type and better power to weight ratio (better performance)
Before we talk about specifics of how to get to that fat burning state, let's talk about Fuelling Strategy to ensure this all works well and you don't keep pulling yourself out of the fat burning zone.
I like to keep things very simple when it comes to fuelling (what you ingest during a race/training).
Here's what has worked for me and 1000s of others over the years....
Keep your water, salt and fuel source separate so you can adapt the mixture as you need to. Different intensities, humidity, temperature, physical (you might have a bug or be getting or are sick) and even mental (anxiety for example) health conditions etc all change what you can handle on a given day. What works one day won't work as well another. Being able to easily and quickly adjust this on the fly is extremely important.
Have water - pretty simple and straightforward.
Carry an electrolyte replacement. I like Base Salts (by Base Performance) as a fast acting source. Ground pink Himalayan sea salt works great too. I also recommend you find a good electrolyte/salt capsule (a blend actually of sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium) in order to get a higher amount of electrolytes into your system. There are many options out there so find what works for you.
Fuel. I recommend you use a product like UCan (www.generationucan.com) in either plain, tropical orange or cranberry/raspberry (these flavors are all free of artificial sweeteners). I used to use gels or carbopro when I was using carbs for fuel but these will pull you out of that fat burning state.
Once you know what you're going to use then you need to use those products often in training. Your goal is to find out what your lower limit is and what your upper limit is for each of these three parameters.
Lower limit is the amount you absolutely need to maintain your goal pace.
Your Upper limit is the amount you can handle without getting sick.
Your strategy is to put yourself somewhere in the middle of those two amounts to ensure you've got the energy to maintain your pace but aren't getting too much in that it will cause you to shut down digestively and or get sick.
Getting this right takes trial and error. We can chat about it if you want some direction.
I've been using and recommending a whole food supplement and recovery meal program (Isagenix) to my clients and friends since 2007. I've helped 1000s of people get amazing performance and or health results with these products and systems...
The Isagenix Advantage video https://vimeo.com/294656185
Isagenix is easily the best healthy nutrition system that also dramatically increases performance that I've come across.
At it's essence it's a ketogenic program as it's built around getting your body into ketosis thru cellular cleansing/fasting days. Outside of those days are whole food based bioavailable nutritional supplements and products.
That's actually the big problem with a normal ketogenic diet - there's very little focus on nutrition. By adding Isagenix supplements into your routine you are able to ensure a greater micronutrient input (without the calories associated with 'trying' to get that all from food.
Keep in mind training breaks your body down. Training is just the potential for performance improvement. How well and how fast you recover is what actually dictates what you get out of your training.
Below I outline a strategy using Isagenix to make a Keto program healthy and effective and how to maintain fat burning/access benefits going forward without having to follow a truly ketogenic diet (unless you want to).
You can go thru a regular Isagenix program (30 Day system for example), not be in ketosis all the time and you'll get great health and performance results. You can take a longer approach and gradually increase your training duration and intensity during the fasting/cleansing days and this will work well. However, if you want to lock those results in faster and become an even better fat burning machine then following a ketogenic lifestyle program while using specific Isagenix products for nutritional support (and better results) will get you there faster.
The first two weeks of following a ketogenic diet though are tough and usually a good time to relax your training. I like to tell people to lower their expectation for performance during this adaptation phase. If you try to train too hard or push it too much you'll pop yourself out of the adaptation AND you'll likely cave on your eating goals, eating too much (of the wrong things) and ruin the process. Dial the training back so you can better focus on what you're trying to do.
As you go thru the process you'll feel your body get better and better at accessing fat for fuel. You're effectively forcing your body to burn fat for fuel by slowly, with little to no carbohydrate/glycogen available for energy, increasing your duration and then intensity of workouts. See below for the specific protocol to use to make this work faster and more effectively.
If you do Isagenix normally you'll pop yourself out of ketosis thru those initial weeks of trying to get under 20g net carbs a day. The shakes (16g net carbs) are meal replacements and legally have to have a certain amount of carbohydrates in them. This is great for health and energy but not great for getting your body into ketosis in those initial two weeks of 20g carbs. However, the IsaPro whey protein concentrate is low carb and high protein and is great for getting into ketosis.
Strive for your macro profile of 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrates.
Add in the Isagenix supplements to support your health....
Isa Products to get in order of importance for 30 days…
-IsaPro Whey Protein 4 canisters
-Complete Essentials daily pack. Standard should be fine, with Isagenesis would be great).
-Omega Fatty Acid capsules 3 bottles
-IsaGreens or IsaFruits powder
-Cleanse for Life 2 bottles
-Content Essential Oil, amazing for controlling hunger etc
-Natural Accelerator capsules
-Isagenix Coffee 2 bags
Contact me for info on how to get started with Isagenix and how to specifically use these products thru your program. Or visit www.bentleycoaching.isagenix.com for access to my site.
A Summary of Your IsaKetogenix Strategy
For 2 weeks train easy and keep your net carbs under 20g per day.
Use the IsaPro shakes a couple of times a day and eat keto friendly meals around that. About 5% carbs, 25% protein, 70% fat.
After the first 2 weeks you can increase your net carbs to 50g a day and stay in ketosis for the most part. Depending on where you are in your journey thru this you can/may want to ingest more carbs during your training and not have them count towards your total for the day. It's a journey - you don't need to rush to get there. Ideally though keep it to the goals.
Here you can add in the IsaLean shake options and some other key Isagenix products that are amazing for recovery and performance.
Doing so will really lock in the Fat Adaptation strategy I'll discuss next.
You are effectively forcing your body to use fat by burning thru glycogen stores during your workouts. You're doing this primarily on cleanse days but also in general by doing as many of your workouts in a fasted state. That keeps you consistently fat burning bit by bit to really lock in your results. The more you do this the faster you'll be able to increase your workout duration and then intensity. Don't hesitate to get those carbs in ideally after your workouts as replenishing muscle glycogen isn't something you want to avoid; just don't overdo it.
Specific Cleansing and Training Schedule ...
First of all, reduce your expectation for performance. Focus on the keto plan, not your training. As you get thru this and adapt to the process of accessing fat for fuel you can increase your duration and intensity of workouts.
Ensure you're using the Isagenix nutritional supplements to keep healthy and ensure maximum recovery.
In weeks 3 and 4 do two fasting/cleansing days (ex Monday and Tuesday each week) and start to aerobically train thru them in order get your body burning thru glycogen and tapping into those stored fat reserves.
A week later do another 2 fasting/cleansing days and train a bit longer and harder, forcing your system to tap into more fat for fuel over carbs.
Initially do these fasting days during the week when your workouts are likely shorter. If you would normally train hard on those workouts you may need to dial the intensity down a bit. Longterm you'll get more benefits from doing this than you would from just training hard for those workouts.
These cleanse day workouts can be a swim, bike , run, weights etc. Keep it aerobic and easy at first and let your body adapt. Do that again the second day. It's ok if you don't necessarily feel great, you're adapting to the process of accessing fat for fuel.
Take a break from fasting days for a couple of weeks as you continue to eat a (more or less) keto diet and do your training ideally in a fasted state each morning. Then every 6 weeks or so do another 2 fasting/cleanse days. As you continue on your fasting and training program it would be ideal to do your fasting days on the weekend when you're likely to be doing your longer base building workouts. During these days increase the duration and over time the intensity of your workout to force your body to go after fat at increasingly higher intensities for longer periods of time. We find bike rides are best to lock this process in as it's easy to coast along for a bit if you overdo it. But swimming or running certainly works too.
You should see that over 3-4 months or so you'll become quite adept at accessing fat for fuel over carbohydrates. Of course this process is better to do when you're a ways out from any big races where you aren't trying to go really hard to get race ready.
Referring back to the UCan energy/fuel source. Once you've adapted to the fat burning and can go for longer workouts without any fuel you'll want to bring that energy source in in order to get your speed up to another level. We like UCan as it keeps you in that fat burning state but provides the extra energy needed to take your speed to another level. Specifically, if you take about a scoop or two 90-120minutes before the workout and then again about half a scoop every 30minutes or so during the workout then that's a good input. Play around with what works for you though based on the limits you found that we discussed earlier.
Couple these eating and fuelling strategies with efficiency work that you can find on this page....
and an effective training plan/schedule (if you're looking for help)....
and your potential for performance improvement can effectively keep up with your goals.
Good Training and Great Racing.
Be safe out there.
Contact me to get specific about your own plans and strategy.