My life is an experiment. Some experiments lead to success, others to complete failure. Sometimes it is hard to use yourself for an experiment and instead of moving forward to go one step back. Despite this, every experience gives you information – you know what works and what does not. You know how your body reacts in a particular situation and what to do at a certain time.
For several years I have dedicated myself to experimenting how eating and training interact. How the quantity of carbohydrates, fats and proteins affects the organism and in what way these proportions are linked to the level of physical activity.
I try to challenge the conventional opinion and show that there are other ways to achieve your goals. Very often, they are even easier and more pleasant than the conventional ones.
My critics claim that you can’t “load” aerobic activity when fats are the preferred body fuel. I have trained swimming and continue to do so, even though I do not compete. I dare to claim that I have more power and that I am much robust than I was when there were more carbohydrates in my diet.
This Saturday I took part in the 100 km Vitosha bike competition (find out more about the event HERE). Before the competition I received a lot of advice by friends – cyclists. They told me to take honey, sugar, chocolate, waffles, gels and all other sorts of food to use as fuel along the way.
Despite everything, I decided to take the responsibility and even if my choice had prevented me from reaching the final line, even if my body had failed, I would do the experiment.
When fats are the preferred body fuel, the body works with them. Thus it is stupid to change everything that you have thought your body before or during the race.
The race was a success for me. I out came my own expectations and what’s more – it was not so hard. During the race my muscles didn’t cramp, nor did I feel big exhaustion. Quite the opposite!
What food did I take for the race?
I prepared a smoothie with avocado and cocoa milk (see the recipe HERE)
It contained 1 banana, 200 ml cocoa milk and 1 avocado.
What is the nutritious value?
Cocoa milk – 200 ml. Contains 420 calories of which 40 gr. of fats, 5 gr. carbohydrates and 3 gr. protein
Avocado – for approximately 250 gr. Contains around 500 calories of which around 50 gr. fats, 6 gr. carbohydrates and 6 gr. protein
Banana – for approximately 150 gr. Contains around 140 calories of which 35 gr. carbohydrates, 0.5 gr, fats and 1.7 gr. protein
My smoothie contained around 1100 calories of which 90 gr. fats, 46 gr. carbohydrates and 11 gr. protein.
These are 61% fats: 31% carbohydrates:9%protein
For breakfast I had an omelette made of 2 eggs, ½ avocado and a tomato.
For the race I took the smoothie, one peach and a pork steak with a carrot.
Along the way I made one stop to eat the steak (somewhere after the 60th kilometer)
On the 40th kilometer I drank a part of the smoothie and on the 60th – the other part of it.
That was the food I ate for the day.
I had enough energy and didn’t eat honey, gel or chocolate at all.
One good man put chocolates in the pocket of my bag and they are still there.
Unlike me, many of the other contestants took out gels and dates as early as the 20th kilometer.
When you eat more carbohydrates, you feel the need of external energy more
often. Otherwise you feel exhaustion caused by the peaks and drops of the blood sugar.
When you consume more fats and the body uses fats for energy (read HERE), this allows you to turn to your own fats when subjected to severe physical exercise.
Of course I do not say that today you should stop consuming carbohydrates and go to a competition tomorrow, where to consume mainly fats.
Adapting to fats takes time (see how to cope with the adaptation HERE). The complete adaptation takes 6 months! It is quite normal when you change your way of eating to have moments when you feel the lack of energy and a slight drop in achievements. This happens because your body is still not adapted. But after that you find that you have more energy and that you do not undergo rapid bursts of energy followed by drops; that you can go without food for a long time and still be at your prime.
Ben Greenfield is an example of a competitor in triathlon whose diet consists of more fats, and still his achievements are notable.
However, only a man who has tried, knows what I am talking about. If you are a professional athlete I do not push you to cut the level of carbohydrates to the minimum, but just to reduce it in the expense of fats. In this way you will reduce also the consumption of grains (see how they can harm you), sugar and fructose, which all have a negative effect on the body. Only a healthy body can reach a peak in its physical abilities. Test this way of eating and you will find that you have energy without having stomach problems and drastic changes in the energy level:
What is more – the recovery is much faster!
I am not a professional and 100 km by bike are not little. However, the next day I was in perfect condition. The competition took place on Saturday and on Monday I was in the gym, giving my best with the weights.
If you do more aerobic trainings or have severe physical activity every day, I do not force you to cut down on carbohydrates completely. Cut down on them at the expense of fats. Substitute grains (HERE) and sugar you consume with root fruit/vegetables. In that case the sweet potatoes (for which I will write soon) are the perfect choice. Don’t be scared to challenge the conventional belief and to experiment. You may be fascinated!