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Low carb lacto-paleo and running

by (1373)
Updated about 14 hours ago
Created August 21, 2011 at 2:54 PM

I am a distance runner and cyclist, and have been keeping under 100 grams of net carbs (veggies add alot of fiber) for probably about a month now. I slowly phased out from about 200-150 grams per day to 100 grams per day...I became bored of potatoes. There are only so many combinations of postworkout potato, avocado, and meat. I haven't felt a decrease in my performance, even though I added p90x (touted to burn glycogen like nobody's business, burns enough glycogen to warrant 40g of sugar in a recovery drink postworkout). I've never tested for ketosis but when I wake up in the morning and during a bike ride, my breath starts to smell absolutely horrid. My sweat also smells worse after a run compared to after a hike. Sorry for the dirty details but I want solid answers so need to give solid evidence.

Despite pseudo-maybe-ketosis and endurance work, I haven't lost anything but water weight. I actually gained a little more muscle (2lbs) after doing probably 500 pushup variations one day followed by 500 one legged squats and lunges the next. P90x is kind of a home butt-whipping in preparation for joining a crossfit box and getting my butt whipped by other people.

This is a rambly post but here's the question: Do I need more carbs? If my performance has not suffered, are they really necessary for us heavy duty "glucose machines": endurance athletes and weight(ish) lifters? I'll start this question and add more info if needed later on. Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson have jump started me pondering this question as Mark knows alot about endurance and Robb's paleo podcasts refer to circuit trainers (crossfitters) and their carb needs.

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1373 · August 23, 2011 at 10:13 PM

I started dropping carbs after I began to garner less satisfaction from eating potatoes as eating chunks of meat and veggies, and as my net carbs fell to under one hundred I noticed better endurance in athletic activities. I suppose maybe I'm keeping my heart rate too low on bike rides and runs to really tap into glycogen stores. Makes sense because my runs are at a 6-7 mph pace or slower, with bike rides never really topping 11 mph. The improvement in anaerobic weightish training is weird, though.

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12847 · August 21, 2011 at 4:05 PM

If you have no weight loss goals I wouldn't restrict carbs especially at your training load and the fact that you actually may want to gain

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1373 · August 21, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Oh, no weight loss for me! I'm 103 at 5"2' and perfectly happy with gaining some more "protective karate fat" as my not so lean, not so paleo friends like to call theirs. I just like to see what performance enhancing things I can do. Thanks for ze input :) I suppose I didn't get bored of potatoes, I just gravitated away from them. My body stopped needing them? If you're on potatoes try one topped with pesto (homemade if you eschew dairy), ahi tuna steaks, and spinach. Italian food without the gluten!

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2 Answers

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1724 · August 22, 2011 at 1:10 PM

I am with Cliff, I noticed a real drop in performance when I was too low carb <100gr. I think I generally eat 125-200gr per day, mostly vegetables and fruit. I usually try to eat sweet potatoes the night before a long run. But I'm not working out nearly at your level. I'm just prepping for a marathon.

I do think the bad smell is a common side effect of ketosis.

But if you don't need to lose weight, what is your purpose/intention for eating low carb? As an endurance athlete, I'd definitely recommend you try upping the carbs a bit and see if it changes your performance. Remember, self-experimentation is the game!

7255a87872b75e6f691d84dca769b87e
1373 · August 23, 2011 at 10:13 PM

I started dropping carbs after I began to garner less satisfaction from eating potatoes as eating chunks of meat and veggies, and as my net carbs fell to under one hundred I noticed better endurance in athletic activities. I suppose maybe I'm keeping my heart rate too low on bike rides and runs to really tap into glycogen stores. Makes sense because my runs are at a 6-7 mph pace or slower, with bike rides never really topping 11 mph. The improvement in anaerobic weightish training is weird, though.

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12847 · August 21, 2011 at 3:08 PM

It probably depends on the individual. I personally notice pretty significant performance declines if I under eat on carbs or in general but I burn a pretty absurd amount of calories.

If you are feeling good I would stick to what your doing, if weight doesn't start to come off soon maybe try to tweak some variables(more carbs, less/more exercise etc.)

p.s. I personally don't get how potatoes could get boring, I could easily live on nothing but spuds, butter and salt :)

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12847 · August 21, 2011 at 4:05 PM

If you have no weight loss goals I wouldn't restrict carbs especially at your training load and the fact that you actually may want to gain

7255a87872b75e6f691d84dca769b87e
1373 · August 21, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Oh, no weight loss for me! I'm 103 at 5"2' and perfectly happy with gaining some more "protective karate fat" as my not so lean, not so paleo friends like to call theirs. I just like to see what performance enhancing things I can do. Thanks for ze input :) I suppose I didn't get bored of potatoes, I just gravitated away from them. My body stopped needing them? If you're on potatoes try one topped with pesto (homemade if you eschew dairy), ahi tuna steaks, and spinach. Italian food without the gluten!

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