I have chosen a new label. It's for when people ask a certain set of questions about sport, what I do in my spare time etc. I've been rubbish about giving a straight answer in the past, but now I have found a label that I like at the moment, and can explain in 3-4 words or 3-4 hours I'm happy about that.
I've been a high fat/low carb athlete for 18 months.
This is my nutrition profile from yesterday, when I did a 6.5 mile easy run:-
Breakfast: - 2x eggs scrambled with double cream, dollop of cream cheese, 1/2 an avocado
Lunch:- lettuce, baby plum tomatoes, walnuts, leftover roast chicken (with skin), chopped chorizo, olive oil
Dinner:- pan-fried aubergine slices in coconut oil, interleaved with slices of goats cheese, with steamed asparagus and butter; followed by frozen strawberries blended with double cream and vanilla essence
This is a normal day for me. Though the absolute kcals intake is of little interest, the absolute weight of carb is. It's artifically low as I don't record the cups of tea with milk I have, but that adds maybe another 5-8g carb in the day - totalling 19-22g carb on a typical day. The difficult days are when I drink wine as that really ramps up the carbs but I'm OK with that in moderation. The 7.5 Fruit & Veg is the number of "portions" of fruit and veg for the day.(*)
Though I find it hard to think of myself as an athlete (it's for fun, not my job, and I'm not exceptionally good at it) I have gotten over the fact that actually I am one. The high fat/low carb bit is something I've followed for 18 months and there were a good few reasons for it (gaining a little weight, stomach issues during an Ironman, technical capabilities of bike handling, not having any appreciable sweet-tooth) and I'm very much comfortable with that having spent a reasonable amount of effort reading and researching around the subject.
Being a fat burner to the extent that I am, mainly through genetics and day-to-day diet, I am in a great position to do endurance sports of a length that even people who do what is socially accepted to be a blimmin' long way (e.g. marathons & Ironmans) think is a long way. And it appears that my fuel-burning engine is very well suited to going as long as I can practically manage. The work I have to put in is obviously being strong, controlled and trained enough to be able to run that long without breaking myself fundamentally at the musculoskeletal level. So that's what I'm focussing on now.
I've already enjoyed a few experiments in Ultra running without using carbohydrates as fuel. And I have a good set of loose rules that I understand pretty well at the distances I've covered so far to be able to know what effort levels I can cover those distances at and relate in the amount of carbohydrate I'd need to put back in (if any) in order to be able to maintain that effort level from a metabolic energy point of view.
What's really really positive for me right now is that my running coach is bought-in and totally OK with this stuff. I've handed him the data I got from the two metabolic assessments I had, plus the calculations I did with the data. He's got first-hand experience of highly-performant ultra runners who don't take in much fuel during a race. And he's an advocate of real food over "sports nutrition".
Very happy with this indeed.
Now I just need to find a few races to target later this year so I can carry on proving the low-carb point more quickly than I have in the past.
Watch this space!
* - Many anti high-fat diet skeptics believe that a high fat diet means what was popularised with the initial phase of Atkins; bacon, eggs, chops, cheese and low to zero veg. The point with Atkins was that that was an initial phase only and the end game involved a *lot* of vegetables, just not starchy ones. I eat a lot of vegetables!