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Low carb, paleo eater Tim Olson wins the Western States 100 with a record-breaking time
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By Brian Abram
From Columbia, SC
Aug 21, 2012
Brian Abram, leading pitch 2 of Dinkus Dog on the South Side of Looking Glass.  Kyle Sox is belaying.

www.meandmydiabetes.com/2012/08/11/western-states-100-low-ca>>>

In the comments, he says he ate one gel an hour (15 hour race) to run 100 miles in a record breaking time.


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By coppolillo
Aug 21, 2012

so the question is, would he have gone faster had he eaten more/different stuff? interesting....cool post......


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Aug 21, 2012

Doesn't the fact that he had to rely on a steady stream on carbs during his race, despite his claim to be "low carb, paleo" kind of emphasize that the whole low-carb/paleo thing is a joke WRT to endurnace/stamina events? That's what it says to me. YMMV.

They try to make some thing out of him eating less calories than "normal" people running the race, but we already know there is a max rate of uptake via gastric emptying etc that runs about 100-200 cal/hr anyway.

It's also pretty telling that the article you link, when asked "what did Olson eat during the race" and "what did the other racers eat" ..

"And what DID he eat?

STEVE PHINNEY: I wouldnít tell you the details even if I knew because itís confidential research information. "


"What did other racers eat?

STEVE PHINNEY: We really canít say."


What a joke.


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By matt davies
Aug 21, 2012

Lucky Charms. Don't eat the purple horseshoes, they are too high in leprechaughns.


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By Phillip Morris
From Flavor Country
Aug 21, 2012
1234

I'm probably getting the details wrong, but hey its the internet...

Will S, you are right, there is a time limiting factor on the amount of calories your body can obtain from food. If you are running a long duration endurance event you must rely on stored energy: glycogen or fat. Our bodies store a limited amount of glycogen in the liver and muscle, an comparatively unlimited amount of energy in our fat.

The point is that a low carbohydrate diet will train your body to more efficiently use fat to fuel low intensity efforts. So an ultra endurance athlete's performance won't be limited by the amount of food they can process during the race. Hence the endurance athlete is better able to avoid depleting stored glycogen and hitting the wall.

Interesting series of blog posts that outlines the changes in metabolism with low carb diet

However, from my experience, low carb/high fat is not the best strategy for climbers, we operate too much in the anaerobic areas to make effective use of this strategy. I get an obscene amount of muscle cramping when I've been excessively low carbing.


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By slim
Administrator
Aug 21, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

since when is gel part of the paleo diet?


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Aug 21, 2012

Phillip Morris wrote:
The point is that a low carbohydrate diet will train your body to more efficiently use fat to fuel low intensity efforts. So an ultra endurance athlete's performance won't be limited by the amount of food they can process during the race.



I understand the intended point. And I'm sure if your intended events were long-endurance things like tris/ultras/etc, you could train to use more fat and less glycogen. But my contention is, it hasn't been demonstrated in that article, which is more of a rah-rah paleo thing than any kind of actual useful information.

The blog posts you linked are more interesting, but again without knowing the protocol for how this gent is measuring his % use of various energy sources (what he is calling a "F.U.E.L. test"), I personally don't put much stock in it beyond a random anecdotal account.

For my own needs, it's irrelvant anyway. I don't slog up alpine peaks, run ultras, or bike more than an hour at a stretch. My climbing is not filled with aerobic "base" level cruising. And while I do enjoy bacon, I like a pastry now and then too.

My own diet probabaly looks a lot like the "zone" diet, although that's not what I set out to model. I'm also a little cranky the last day or two, so cut me some slack on my tone.


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By Philip Lutz
From Akron/Oberlin, Ohio
Aug 21, 2012
Fun jump move to start Reckless Abandon, Summersville Lake.

This article doesn't seem to be anything about paleo eating besides the fact that most paleo eaters are focused on having a limited number of carbs in their diet mostly from vegetables and some fruit.

In my opinion, possessing the ability to efficiently burn fat in your body is one of the most important aspects to one's health. Even if you consider yourself an athlete who does mainly anaerobic activity (bouldering/powerful sport climbing/futuristic crazy trad climbing), it is to your advantage to have a fat-adapted metabolism because when your body is not giving maximal effort and using its stored carbs it should be saving those stored carbs and burning fat for energy. Just think about the approach to a crag. If you burn all the energy from the oatmeal you ate for breakfast and maybe cut into some of your stored glycogen on your approach, how are you going to make a hard redpoint effort? (as opposed to just aerobically burning fat until the moment your body kicks in and says ya i need that extra boost from carbs).

Any athlete knows that they must fuel their body intelligently to perform well (even climbers that always focus on being light need energy to grip a hold). And articles like these that are more about performance nutrition science than paleo eating somewhat disgust me because it sends many mixed messages when they like to throw in that he was a paleo eater yet they won't tell you what he ate. I consider myself a paleo eater, and do not consider myself a low carb eater (most of the time).

Paleo is about eating things least toxic to the body.
Low Carb is about eating things to make the body's metabolism fat-adapted.

It is total BS that they won't say what he ate because I bet it wasn't paleo and it was probably high in sugar. Sustaining any kind of anaerobic effort is very unlikely without carbs unless this guy is not human.


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Aug 21, 2012
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

matt davies wrote:
Lucky Charms. Don't eat the purple horseshoes, they are too high in leprechaughns.


Now that is dietary advice you can believe.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Aug 21, 2012

Philip Lutz wrote:
it is to your advantage to have a fat-adapted metabolism because when your body is not giving maximal effort and using its stored carbs it should be saving those stored carbs and burning fat for energy.



It seems to me that you and others making this type of argument are in an "all or nothing" mindset. We already burn fat as a prime fuel source during low exertion activities, whether you on a typical western diet, or a "low carb" eater. And you may be able to adapt to using a higher proportion of fat by going low carb (and it may have other health benefits as well), but there is also a drawback that I haven't seen these people mention..you store less glycogen. So your window for higher intensity efforts is smaller.

In my mind, that tradeoff of less glycogen storage is not worth the ability to burn marginally more % of fat during the lower effort work. But again, I'm not blasting up 5k of vert on an approach and then trying to climb 15 pitches of hard stuff either.


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By Jason N.
From Grand Junction
Aug 21, 2012
Indy pass

Will S wrote:
It seems to me that you and others making this type of argument are in an "all or nothing" mindset. We already burn fat as a prime fuel source during low exertion activities, whether you on a typical western diet, or a "low carb" eater. And you may be able to adapt to using a higher proportion of fat by going low carb (and it may have other health benefits as well), but there is also a drawback that I haven't seen these people mention..you store less glycogen. So your window for higher intensity efforts is smaller. In my mind, that tradeoff of less glycogen storage is not worth the ability to burn marginally more % of fat during the lower effort work. But again, I'm not blasting up 5k of vert on an approach and then trying to climb 15 pitches of hard stuff either.


Isn't there some finite limit of glycogen that your muscles can store? I'm thinking you could consume enough carbs to meet that limit, while still eating way less carbs than the typical Westerner does. Also, I always thought paleo wasn't against carbs per se, but more against grains. By eliminating grains from the diet you drastically reduce most people's carb intake, but that's a secondary effect.


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By Philip Lutz
From Akron/Oberlin, Ohio
Aug 21, 2012
Fun jump move to start Reckless Abandon, Summersville Lake.

Will S wrote:
It seems to me that you and others making this type of argument are in an "all or nothing" mindset. We already burn fat as a prime fuel source during low exertion activities, whether you on a typical western diet, or a "low carb" eater. And you may be able to adapt to using a higher proportion of fat by going low carb (and it may have other health benefits as well), but there is also a drawback that I haven't seen these people mention..you store less glycogen. So your window for higher intensity efforts is smaller. In my mind, that tradeoff of less glycogen storage is not worth the ability to burn marginally more % of fat during the lower effort work. But again, I'm not blasting up 5k of vert on an approach and then trying to climb 15 pitches of hard stuff either.


Let me make this clear, I am not in the "all or nothing mindset" when it comes to fat-burning metabolism, and I do understand where you are coming from because many people are.

Totally agree you will have less glycogen if you don't consume carbs.

Personally, I have been experimenting with my diet for the last year or two and have noticed that if I don't consume enough carbs, I tire quickly on repeated hard redpoints and/or cannot move as powerfully. I almost always consume a carb-rich meal with protein after a hard workout and/or a full day of climbing outside (usually something with sweet potato, bananas, sometimes white rice, or even if I want something sweeter I add honey or other fruit, but I avoid your standard grains that some believe are causing many health problems).

What I believe is unnecessary is for people to constantly to be snacking on carbs to maintain correct blood sugar levels. Most healthy active people don't worry about this and are usually somewhat fat adapted whether they know it or not. For me, I usually eat less carbs on rest days just because from what I have read the majority of glycogen storage occurs right after working out. Also, I usually eat less carbs in the morning of a day of climbing just because I don't think it would make that much of a difference in my performance if I had more carbs in my system and eating something like eggs would keep me more satisfied.

From what I can tell, I feel great from what I have been eating and my climbing has been improving. I am always looking to improve on what I am doing. Everyone is different and should find out what is best for them. Not to "be a jerk" to anyone (just want to share my experience) I was a vegetarian for probably 3-4 months, and I didn't get any better at climbing, felt weaker, and also was the only time I ever had elbow tendonosis pain.


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By Philip Lutz
From Akron/Oberlin, Ohio
Aug 21, 2012
Fun jump move to start Reckless Abandon, Summersville Lake.

Jason N. wrote:
Isn't there some finite limit of glycogen that your muscles can store? I'm thinking you could consume enough carbs to meet that limit, while still eating way less carbs than the typical Westerner does. Also, I always thought paleo wasn't against carbs per se, but more against grains. By eliminating grains from the diet you drastically reduce most people's carb intake, but that's a secondary effect.


Yes. This is my understanding of how the body works. From what I read/heard your body can only store around 2000 calories of energy of glycogen in your liver and muscles. But, obviously if you don't consume many carbs this will constantly be depleted. Though, I also read that the body can synthesize a small amount of some form of sugar if it is depeleted of carbs, but that is going off on a tangent.

In my opinion the typical western diet does contain too many carbs. Not enough QUALITY fat and protein. Also, not enough quality carbs (vegetables anyone?).

Grains are the question. They allowed for the human population to explode in the last 10,000 years and have a steady supply of food.


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By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
Aug 22, 2012
Get down from there! <br /> <br />May 2013 <br />Photo by Duc

Philip Lutz wrote:
Even if you consider yourself an athlete who does mainly anaerobic activity (bouldering/powerful sport climbing/futuristic crazy trad climbing), it is to your advantage to have a fat-adapted metabolism because when your body is not giving maximal effort and using its stored carbs it should be saving those stored carbs and burning fat for energy.

It is not necessary to eat a low carb diet in order to burn fat when you are not in an anaerobic state. Your body will naturally burn fat as the preferred fuel source then anyway. (as someone else said but it bears repeating)

Philip Lutz wrote:
Just think about the approach to a crag. If you burn all the energy from the oatmeal you ate for breakfast and maybe cut into some of your stored glycogen on your approach, how are you going to make a hard redpoint effort? (as opposed to just aerobically burning fat until the moment your body kicks in and says ya i need that extra boost from carbs).

It's not that clear cut. For one thing, NO ONE burns fat and only fat, regardless of what you do. We are always burning a ratio of carbohydrate to fat, even when sleeping. However, you are correct that a high fat diet will lead to a higher rate of fat metabolism, but I do not know if this means you will spare glycogen better during all intensities of exercise.

Also, there are ways to ingest glucose to help boost blood sugar levels for anaerobic bouts later. But the notion that you can somehow completely spare your glycogen stores just ain't so.

By the way, the more highly trained you are, the better your body burns fat and the more it spares carbohydrate at high exercise intensities.


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By Dave Bn
From Fort Collins, CO
Aug 22, 2012
Dreamweaver

I eat paleo so one day when I grow up, I can live to be 35 just like the cavemen.


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