Low carb when doing lots of exercising - possible?

(14 Posts)
welshweasel Fri 30-Aug-13 19:41:44

I'm seriously considering joining the next bootcamp. I need to lose about 10kg and also need to break my sugar addiction. I did a low carb diet many years ago and it worked brilliantly and I felt amazing after the first few days. However, at that time I wasn't doing any exercise. Now I train at least 6 times a week and I'm not sure how this will work with low carb.

I know I can fuel well before and after on protein and fat but what about during exercise? I usually use gels/energy bars/energy drink and I'm not sure what I could substitute that with. Anyone got any ideas? It's the only thing that's stopping me from going for it!

pootlebug Fri 30-Aug-13 20:16:31

How long are you exercising for at a time?

On the whole low carb makes you feel less hungry - once you get used to it. I know a lot of people who follow a Paleo diet refuel post workout with sweet potato / banana etc and that seems quite acceptable, but not needed before or during. Might be different if you're doing Ironman triathlons or something though.

welshweasel Fri 30-Aug-13 20:51:49

Hmm well the Ironman is not til next year but we're talking regularly running for over 90mins/cycling over 2 hours. I just can't seem to find any info about whether that sort of exercise is possible without quick release carbs. If its not, then I guess there is no point doing low carb the rest of the time. But I really want to!

LordEmsworth Fri 30-Aug-13 21:36:17

I think you might have to try and see how you get on. Runner's World had an article last month/recently about exactly this, the claim was that if your body hasn't adapted to be used to carbs then you don't need the carbs during your workout. So it suggested refuelling with starchy carbs after your workout but that you wouldn't need them before/during. It does say it's a controversial theory, though!

www.runnersworld.co.uk/nutrition/have-carbs-had-their-chips/9822.html

But if you try it and struggle, you might have to compromise to get your best performance - I would have thought that the post-exercise window when carbs just get burned up would be effective, so you might find it's possible to do both?

Like Lordemsworth I have read recently, not in runners world though, that more often now, endurance athletes eat a low carb diet and perform just fine. The key, though, is to eat low carb consistently, so that your body becomes used to it and 'fat adapted', which means it relies on fat for energy rather than carbs. That way, they never end up 'bonking' because to reach that point you would have to run out of body fat completely...pretty unlikely grin.

Oh, also, anecdotally, DH is a cycling fiend and we were on holiday recently in the French Alps, where the Tour de France usually does its mountain stage. DH's friend, who is quite fit, but doesn't really do much cycling, joined him for a ride one day. It was a gruelling three hours, almost 2.5 of which was climbing very big mountains smile. He managed it just fine.

I am really interested in nutrition/exercise and happened to get into a chat with this guy later and it turns out that since about 18 months ago he has been staunchly low carb. He had no idea of the stuff in my post above but definitely agreed that he didn't struggle at all energy wise. Very interesting stuff smile. I'd be fascinated to hear how you get on if you try it OP.

Capitola Thu 05-Sep-13 22:28:12

I am really interested in this too as I love low carbing as a way of eating, but I always give up after about 3 weeks because of the exercise issue.

I train several times a week, a couple of which involve running, but I find that I have no stamina when I've been low carbing. It's like running through treacle.

Really annoying, as I feel if it weren't for this - I could low carb always.

Capitola have a read of this article. Might help you. I really rate this guy's approach to exercise and diet, you can sign up for his regular articles if you are interested. He advocates clean eating (low carb) and 3-4 short training sessions per week comprising resistance training and high intensity intervals. It certainly looks like it works for him and his wife wink.

And here is the article about low carbing and endurance sports....

oohdaddypig Thu 05-Sep-13 22:46:13

I think it depends on the individual and how they convert protein and fat to energy. I think some can be very low carb and exercise to a high level.

Personally, I feel horrendous if I don't eat moderate level of carbs when exercising to a high intensity. I am lean with a high metabolic rate. I stick to white potato and white rice ie no gluten.

There is a lot online about it with lots of paleo folk agreeing some carbs, even moderate carbs, are necessary for many people.

And you get to eat baked potato with butter smile

Absolutely oohdaddy, there can't be just one way that suits everyone, individuals need to experiment to see how their bodies react to different WOE's - the same is true of exercise.

I low carb and run/exercise daily although not to your standard OP

However marks daily apple is a good site with lots of info

oohdaddypig Fri 06-Sep-13 09:33:45

The best stuff on the whole issue of low carbs I have seen is a guy called paul jaminet on perfecthealthdiet.com. He explains that often low carb can work quite well for a while - even with exercise - but that in the longer term it can make people quite sick. Dry eyes, lack of mucus, gut issues.

I am convinced now that moderate carb (but no grains,gluten) makes more sense

Fwiw I try to eat 60-100g of carbs a day most days and I get on fine with grains, but avoid pasta, potatoes, pastry/white bread. I also exercise 5-6 days a week not for extended periods but high intensity (heavy weight training and HIIT sessions or kickboxing). Works fine for me.

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