As some of you may be following, I have completely changed my dietary habits beginning last October moving from a vegetarian eating plan to being a carnivore again, after 10 years. You can check my old blog posts for the quantitative proof of my heightened metabolic efficiency and improved blood lipids but I wanted to write a short post on how this has affected my performance.
I employed a controlled carbohydrate eating plan which significantly improved both my metabolic efficiency and blood lipids but that was during a time in late 2012 when I wasn't training too much. I consistently ate 60-80 grams of carbohydrate per day, moderate protein and higher fat (roughly 60% of my total daily calories). Since then, I have been training with more intensity getting ready for my short course triathlon season. With this, I have strategically placed more carbohydrate in my plan as it correlates with my training load and objectives (this is called nutrition periodization). While I have surpassed 80 grams of carbohydrate on some days preparing for higher quality training or racing, I have never gone above 120 grams in one day (if you recall, many believe the body and brain need a minimum of 130 grams per day to function properly).
I believe myself to be living proof that a controlled carbohydrate daily nutrition plan can be employed in a non-long course endurance athlete's plan. I have competed in two sprint triathlons so far and my performances have exceeded my expectations. My body weight remains unchanged since March, my functional threshold power has increased by 30 watts in the past 8 weeks and my running velocity threshold is on par for being faster than it was last year. At this time last year, I could only manage holding roughly 6:15 per minute per mile pace for a 5k off the bike. Last weekend, I was able to hold 6:01 averages.
What does all of this mean? Well, you can read between the lines but between my experiment of employing a controlled, yet strategic carbohydrate nutrition plan for short course triathlon training/racing along with my colleague, Dina Griffin (Sport Dietitian at Fuel4mance) who is utilizing this same approach in her Ironman training, I do believe we are beginning to not only understand a bit more of what the body is capable of but we are also chipping away at many sports nutrition fallacies (such as ingesting a ridiculous amount of carbohydrates) that are becoming a thing of the past.
Stay tuned as Dina and I continue our experimentation and be sure to keep up with Dina's blog as she will be providing some great updates on a handful of athletes whom she is working with in terms of their metabolic efficiency and performance.
Until next time...