Regaining FTP, HR change, Salt requirement, 15% faster


(glover Bailie) #1

I hope my journey can help those who have not regained their pre-keto power.

In 2013 I sat watching Ride London gutted that I was not taking part and only owning mountain bikes. With a few others I decided to get involved and bought a road bike, a power meter and signed up to the 2014 Marmotte.
2014 Again I tried low carb, lost some weight but I struggled with cycling and power and went back to carbs.

  1. Marmotte 9.44 official time Av 164w 144Hr
  2. Ride London (shortened) 3.54 official time Av 190w 160Hr
  3. Max FTP 275
  4. Race weight 82kg

2015 Repeat but with less success

  1. Marmotte DNF (was 35-42 degrees)
  2. Ride London 5.07 official time Av 165w 154Hr
  3. Dragon Ride 9.25 Official time Av 156w HR monitor broke
  4. Max FTP 262
  5. Race weight 84kg

2016 I pressed ahead again but Simon reminded me about salt and I re-read (Art and Science of low carb performance, electrolyte section). I started having a pint of water and 2 grams of salt before my rides. I pushed on and my power can back and some. In addition, I could train more as my recovery seemed better and my weight was lower. Unfortunately, in September I fell off the wagon again.

  1. Marmotte 7.59 official time Av 174w 159Hr
  2. Ride London 4.20 official time Av194w 157Hr
  3. Dragon Ride 8.39 official time Av 165w 154Hr
  4. Max FTP 295
  5. Race weight 71kg

2017 Unfortunately I had to start again but I had the confidence of 2016 to push me through. I set myself a goal to stay Keto all year and not falter, I started a blog but work became too busy and I stopped the blog and the pattern continued, in September I faltered again.

  1. I did not enter Marmotte
  2. Ride London 4.20 official time Av198w HR monitor flat
  3. Dragon Ride 8.29 official time Av171 151Hr
  4. Max FTP 306
  5. Race weight 74kg

Pre-loading with water and salt certainly seemed to be a big turning point for me in getting my power back as part of my adaptation process. With respect to heart rate my lactic threshold (not as measure in a lab) moved from 164 to 173 and my keto race times where over 15% faster!!

What's going on with my HR
(mark whittaker) #2

This is very interesting thank you!

I would love to learn more detail about your methodology of training and racing in ketosis. I am a month into ketosis and am still struggling to get power back. I am starting to notice some return but still nowhere near where I used to be. my biggest power loss seems to be with any climb longer than a few hundred yards.

How far in advance of a training ride do you drink 2gm of salt?
What do you drink during ride and how often?

what about pre, during, and post nutrition?, did you train fasted?
what other supplements did you use?

Did you ever implement any carbs into training or racing while in “ketosis” I have heard of this but still confuses be because that should kick you out of ketosis right and then when carbs are gone you bonk since no ketosis? (my idiots understanding of how it might work)

Sorry I am still new to this and sort of lost trying to find my way.
So any advice you can give would be very welcomed.

(glover Bailie) #3

Hi Mark certainly I am an little busy right now so maybe a day or two otherwise happy to speak to you on the phone over the weekend.

That said stick with it 6 weeks starts to be better 3 months massive advantage. I did a blog wasn’t great but has to stop for work pressure. Will dig out the link and send to you.

I had an amazing year last year unfortunately this year not going so well for other reasons.


(ianrobo) #4

a couple of things here, you did the Marmotte in 7.44 - WOW did it twice - as a carb - 11:01 and last year as keto 09:02 and I thought I was good !!

Salt is key on how I changed and as repeated elsewhere did De Ronde in 7 and half hours fasted and 200km

(glover Bailie) #5

Hi Yes I did it in 7 hour 59 mins,(not 44) I was on for about 10 mins quicker but the Alpe was tough I could’nt speak or stand for about 20mins(until after a non low carb beer), but what a feeling I was targeting 8.46 for gold as I was 45 years old.

I have been experimenting with Keto for several years but 2016/2017 it really worked for me. My FTP went from 250 (carb) back to about 200/220 during adaption then up to 305 by last summer. The recovery and amount I could cycle was amazing.

I have experimented with eating, oil/fat/nut butters I could’nt digest whilst riding. I basically would ride on an empty stomach, having 1.5 pints of water and salt as I left home, I would start drinking after 60-90 mins depending on condition. Any thing under 3ish hour I would’nt eat depending on intensity, otherwise I would eat half a cliff bar an hour. Going up the Alpe of MM I had a couple of gels too, anything to keep going. I would add salt to water or take more salt/magnesium during long rides.

I wrote a blog for a little while about getting back into ketois, its pretty dull but it may help. Give it 12 weeks, keep riding its hard and you want to give up but then it will come back and your mates will be amazed, particularly when you leave for a 4 hour ride on water and smash them.


I have had a nightmare this year and only just getting back on the bike… back to square 1 12kg heavier and unfit :frowning:

All the best let me know if you have any questions.

(ianrobo) #6

I was aiming for gold as well but could not cut enough time on the Alpe and took the galibier too easy on retrospect !

can not get to your blog though

(glover Bailie) #7

Not sure I needed the https, try this

As I said a bit dull but I note my bloods etc

(Richard Dort) #8

What kind of salt, amnd how much? Thank you.

(glover Bailie) #9

I use Himalayan rock salt as there are no fillers and a good couple of grams I would also salt water for long rides.

(Sebastien Szczepaniak) #10

Hey guys -

Fascinating to read the thread.
Started Keto 5 weeks back and I am horrified with my current performance on the bike, thread gives me so many insights (and courage/energy to keep going Keto).
Few numbers and specifics. 45-year old, experienced cyclist coming from a triathlon background.
75 kg, FTP 290 before going Keto (do not want to test it right now to be honest)… did few races in the past (etape du tour, few gran fondos…) but biggest one when I trained like hell was Haute Route Alps 2017 where I finished in the top 50… pick of my career :slight_smile:

Back to the future and where I stand now… was in pretty good shape before starting Keto, mostly training on Zwift these days (leaving in Switzerland and it’s real winter here…) but I saw my power output drastically dropped since I started Keto one month ago, with my HR jumping off the board (like 10 to 15 beats above normal level at endurance speed… although I could speak and breath like it was in the normal range). But biggest issue is my power output, barely getting to 2.5 w/kg at endurance level and feeling like I was above 4 w/kg… pathetic.

I usually get electrolytes in my bottle when training so did that although during latest rides but started to feel crampy anyway so I guess I should put 2 tabs instead of one… do you take electrolytes outside of your rides also? what should be the right quantity per day?

More perspective and insights so much appreciated fellow riders… thx a lot beforehand

(Bunny) #11

Adding Apple Cider Vinegar ACV, like a couple of table spoons to that bottle along with your electrolytes might help because it helps your body hold onto potassium?

More Athletes Than Ever Are on the Juice: Why You Should Be Too

ACV while fasting
(Sebastien Szczepaniak) #13

@atomicspacebunny Thx a lot!

(glover Bailie) #14


For me I found that in keto I need to take salt on anyway to stop cramps and cold hands etc.

I would take a daily magnesium and sodium salt. I would also use low Sal the potassium based salt.

I would always take a couple of grams of salt before a ride.

I had done keto on and off from 2005 and it really does take a good 10-12 weeks for me to come back to full power.

I would do mostly base work with some digs while transitioning.

Then it’s easier to do fasted rides then I would be back to keeping up with my mates to I was really improving.

That said I found turbo work a nightmare when on keto.

Sadly I’ve been unwell and unable to ride for the last 2 years and coincidentally I just restarted my keto journey again yesterday.

I really believe in keto for me doing endurance events. The issue I have is if I fall of the wagon I get easily hooked on sugar again.

Let me know if you have any other questions


(Sebastien Szczepaniak) #15

Thx a lot @gloverb - very interesting perspective, thx for sharing.

Do you believe that adding salt to my electrolyte tab I’m putting in my bottle would be necessary? wouldn’t it be a bit too much?

Do you have any idea turbo rides have been worth on Keto than carb? or just turbo sessions being a nightmare anyway? :slight_smile:

So if it took you 10-12 weeks to gain back power, I am just in the middle of that and should not worry too much I assume

Thx again

(glover Bailie) #16

Hi personally I would add salt to tabs and carry salt too, in keto kidneys don’t retain salt.

Lots about it on diet dr.

Didn’t bother with turbo in keto, might just be me, I was riding a lot.

Don’t stress, try and do some longer rides fasted it will come back.

Good luck

(Sebastien Szczepaniak) #17

Hi fellow keto riders -

Quick update after today’s ride… sort of getting back on track SUPER slowly… basically increased my power output by 10 watts for the same (high) HR vs previous turbo sessions.
No feeling of abnormal pain or short breath though… and a nice feeling of constant power that could last longer than usual… maybe first positive signs of adaptation?!?
Let’s see