My first fat adapted cycling failure

(ianrobo) #81

OK the Media is a good starting point, testing enough and especially if not used to long climbs then those climbs have it all. I used to work in Cardiff so know these climbs very well and as good as anything like Alpine climbs that you can get in the UK !

The key to remeber with cycling is especially on climbs keep within lower zones as much as possible, so for HR that is for me between 145-170 bpm depending on gradient, if I see it go over 170 ease back and below 145 I put a bit more in.

Here is my Devil ride -

(Matt Routley) #82

Hi Ian,

I’ve only just seen this post otherwise i would’ve responded sooner. could i ask what zone that is you tend to cycle in? My maximum HR is about 175 so i’m currently keeping most of my training below 140 bpm while my body adapts to the new fuel source. I can currently manage about 2 hours before i start to see spots in front of my eyes and need to grab a banana which brings me back pretty quickly.

Also, if you dont mind me asking, could you recommend any websites / books / podcasts where i can get more information about becoming a fat adapted athlete?

Many thanks, Matt

(ianrobo) #83

Hi Matt, mainly I work in my Zone 2 HR but remeber MAF defines it as 180-age which for me means I do most of my rides under 135, like today

however I do some rides about but try and keep under MAF 70-80% of the time.

As for any reading/listening for fat adaption then google anything by Steve Phinney and Jeff Volek and especially this

Once I read this my whole world view changed !!

Then I would direct you to many podcasts esp

  • Episode 86 of 2KD for example :slight_smile:
  • Endurance Planet
  • Primal endurance (note Mark Sessions and Brad Kearns have gone very Keto recently)

Any talk by Steve Phinney, Jeff Volek and Tim Noakes on Youtube

Watch the two cereal Killer docs (I had to download them from pirate bay)

So I would ask you Matt, what are your aims, simply when I started I could ride and climb mountains but was heavy and always at the end felt shit ! then on a ride I met sup with a guy called Fidel who opened my eyes to all this and everything changed !!

(Matt Routley) #84

Wow, thanks for all the info mate I think that will come in really handy. I will listen to episode 86 of 2kd tonight :+1:

Respect to you for going out today… It’s horrible down in Poole and literally hasn’t stopped raining!

With regard to my aims in all this, I have been a long time strength trainer who frowned on anything remotely related to endurance until a friend took me out on one of his bikes a couple of years ago and I was hooked. I bought my own bike 6 months later and have been cycling for about 18 months now mainly just on social group rides but I am fairly competent.

I decided I wanted some challenges this year so I signed up for the etape but my main concern was the thought of consuming energy gels every 20 minutes on such long rides. That’s when I started researching for an alternative and found it was possible to become fat adapted.

I’ve been on less than 75g of carbs a day for one week now with majority of them coming from vegetables but it’s going to be a while for me to become a true fat burner as I still can’t break a 2 hour fasted ride without feeling the effects of hypoglycemia and needing a banana!

It’s my genuine intention to make this a lifestyle change so I’m researching heavily on ways to do it although from everything I’ve read so far it is still necessary to consume carbs on bike when ‘going deep’ on heavy climbs or fast sprints.


(ianrobo) #85

great stuff Matt and yes the issue is with gels which made my stomach really bad, so after 3 hours felt like I wanted toilet all the time !

Now like the ride today I rode that fasted and even much longer is min food …

thats the power but to get fat adaption be aware you will see a performance loss for a while but NOW is the right time to do this in the winter BUT I think you may have to cut the carbs down to 50g to ensure the fat burners really turned on.

(Matt Routley) #86

Yes I think you’re right, I’m listening to you on the podcast at the moment! I’m kinda going through a fuzzy phase at the moment as I’ve always been on high carb diets so I thought a little extra carbs would help but maybe I should just go full keto and get through it!

(ianrobo) #87

imho you take it as low as possible, get the adaption over and done with then release some back in if you want to. I do not believe in soft soaping people over this, do it and just get over those weeks to adapt then the power comes through

(Bob Williams) #88

Hi Mkellet, It sounds to me like you are envisioning that what you eat prior to riding is where you will get your fuel from. That may be the case when using glucose (carbs) for fuel but not when you are fat adapted. Instead the fuel is coming from previously stored fat energy. Also if this is the first time you attempted a distance ride without a pre-ride carb load these rides were more than likely primarily providing the fuel for that ride, particularly when ‘on the rivet’, ie g’vin er…Finally did you get a chance to accurately test your blood for ketones?

Good luck with the keto and keep the rubber side down.

(Greg Borchert) #89

I am also a passionate road cyclist, and I think I have a bit of a different take on it.

We all know that once fat adapted it is possible to sustain low to moderate (Zones 1 to 3) power output virtually forever while in ketosis. We also all know that endurance athletes who need to perform at high power output (Zones 4 and 5) in endurance events run into problems with a ketogenic diet. There is evidence, however, that this improves over time. See the graphs at: It takes many months of fat adaptation to get to the point where you can sustain higher power output burning fat. It’s possible that this continually improves over years.

I recently had an Active Metabolic + V02 Max Test, and after being fat adapted for two months my results showed a dropoff in my body’s ability to burn fat for fuel once I approached maximum heart rate. I burned 94% fat through Zone 1, 76% fat through Zone 2, 50% fat through Zone 3, but only about 20% fat in Zone 4. I am going to retest in three months and gauge any improvement. My sense, though, is that the longer I remain ketogenic and improve my fat adaptation, the better this will get.

(ianrobo) #90

correct Greg it will but thats what you want to only use Glycogen at the very end of your power range. Because for endurance athletes whether pro or amateur we will do most of our work in Zone 2/3 and if we get that up to 80% fat burning, then bingo ! can take some time as I have found but I can do 6 hour rides fasted and up climbs, surely that proof ?

(Greg Borchert) #91

Thanks for your insight. I love the way keto makes me feel but I have had some concerns with sustained efforts. I live in Colorado and uphill is the norm. I have been low carb for twenty years but usually did gels and such on rides. I went full keto January 1 of this year so this will be my first summer riding in ketosis.

(ianrobo) #92

OK so my key question Greg is how long can you do a fasted ride. I can point you towards some of mine on Strava !

I presume you use HR but also power meter ? the key if climbing is of course high cadence, low gears and a steady sustainable rhythm and since you go into Amber/red you are using up those valuable calories in your muscles !

(Greg Borchert) #93

Nice to connect! I’m not sure how long I can do a fasted ride yet as it’s early season. I probably won’t do a challenging long distance ride until early June. Right now I’m working with a trainer and have a daily workout routine, focused on resistance training with balanced cardio and selected spin classes. I’m excited about that as I am seeing results. I saw my bodyfat drop from 20.7% to 17.7% in three months on keto (January 1 to March 31), at the same time that I improved my skeletal muscle mass and lost 13 pounds overall. I’m looking for sub 15% bodyfat by June 1, with increased muscle mass. I’m 67 years old and decided that I needed to change things up as I was getting slower in the mountains.
I’d love to connect on Strava where I’m simply Greg Borchert. Unlike other years, I don’t have much up yet for 2018. I used to ride 5,000+ miles a year consistently while living in Texas up to 2012. In 2017 I was just north of 3,000 outside, though also rode Zwift inside a lot and didn’t post that to Strava. I only post my outside stuff. In 2016 I was 3,500+ miles outside, and in 2015 4,000+ miles outside. So you can see the trend. But, I’m not so sure I care much about racking up miles any longer. I do what I do for fun, and also there’s so much other stuff to do in Colorado. I discovered backpacking, snowshoeing, hiking, backcountry skiing, etc., so it’s not just about the bike anymore.
And yes, I know all about high cadence spinning. I am pretty much an expert, that is I build up my own bikes, build my own wheels, etc. I measure power with a Quarg SRAM Red DZero crankset, so can see my power balance on both sides. My new carbon road disc bike is right at 15 pounds all in. I switched from a 53/39 in the front to a 52/36. I tried a compact (50/34) but hated it as I lost too much speed on the flats. I run an 11 speed 11/32 on the back, so I can spin at 36-32.

(ianrobo) #94

Not much different here then as in my climbing bike my lowest gear is 34-29 BUT I rarely use that now and only for anything over 10% !!

(ianrobo) #95

As usual in these discussions it is about targets ? Mine is to go longer but faster at lower HR levels and thus entered a 405km audax in the mountains I just think MAF is the way as get that spot on then rides where you wNt effort it becomes easier with large aerobic base

(Greg Borchert) #96

Wow. 405km is more than I would want to do. I would say that 100km is a perfect day on the bike for me. I do some century (100 mile) rides each year, but I have found that I enjoy them less and less. Also, Leonard Zinn’s story has frightened me; A lot of cyclists I ride with think that more is always better. I used to think that way but now have my doubts.

I admire though and think you are right that going longer, faster at lower HR levels is a noble goal. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and perspective.

(ianrobo) #97

and that stress on heart is why I went MAF as I got older - now 46 !

(Greg Borchert) #98

46! You’re a kid! Nice connecting on Strava. I ride in Boulder, Colorado, and in Aspen, Colorado. Beautiful places. I have never ridden in England except on Zwift.

(ianrobo) #99

You have the best bit and esp clear mountain air !

(david czech) #100

HMMMM, not sure what to think of my inability to ride well after a couple of weeks of keto-dieting.

I had been riding only a little compared to most who I’ve seen posting here. My rides consisting of mostly flat approximately 7-10 miles each way commuting.

When I tried a little 16 miler with only a 250ft (OOPS, 250meters!!!) maximum height in between, I STRUGGLED MIGHTILY in the climbs.

I had been thinking this was just an indication of poor conditioning, but maybe I can push some of the blame to my body not being able to properly utilize the MCT oil that was the only fuel I had supplied it with that day…