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Henrik Wist

Make that n=3. I've made good experiences with a LCHF diet based on the paleo idea. I haven't seen any negative effect on endurance or performance during my runs (up to half-marathons so far), in contrary, especially on the bike, I've never had a major bonk since eliminating carbs.

Also, since adopting that diet I've lost 3kg (from 67kg to 64kg at 176cm height).

Kasper Sørensen

Has this changed anything in terms of what you take in as post workout meals?

Maybe the question is: What do you eat/drink after a 3-4 hour ride where you've only had water?


Joe, thanks for this post. I too have been following Noakes' posts recently and I have read the Paleo Diet for Athletes. I have been experimenting with this approach to eating for the last couple weeks and I have to agree with you. I had a TSS of 800 last week and I felt great. I changed my pre-ride meal to a 3-egg omelet with bacon and leeks. I have had plenty of energy on 2-3 hour rides with hard efforts and I don't get hungry or abnormally fatigued. I'm dropping weight at a rate of 1-2 lbs. per week. Like you, I am not doing a lot of racing right now, so it is hard to tell how that would influence things. I do think experience and research will continue to support this approach. As always, thanks for putting this information out there!

Joe Friel

Kasper Sørensen--After a long or high intensity ride I'll rebuild glycogen stores. This is the only time I take in sugar. Could be a sports drink or other recovery product. High glycemic food would work here as well.


Joe, water during and high GI after for recovery. I am a believer in that. Question is what do you use before a ride ? Low, Med, High GI ? And do you intake based on a % of calories you estimate to burn on a ride ? I usually dont have much time before a swim bike or ride so I go with high GI b4 and after and water during.

Joe Friel

Brasilianmafia--My rides are typically in the morning, so I eat a high fat breakfast an hour or two prior. I never count calories any more or even try to gauge how much I might burn. I just eat until satisfied.


Joe, Thanks for the info. One question; any suggestions for a quick way to have a low carb breakfast? Right now I have Cheerios with Soy every morning. Probably out of convenience more than anything. The omelet idea sounds great but under a time crunch I am wondering how to have that quick LCHF breakfast?

Joe Friel

JeffBowers9--Yes, it always seems to be breakfast that gives anyone thinking of changing their diet away from high carb the most difficulty. When I made the switch to Paleo many years ago I came to realize that you didn't have to eat anything out of the ordinary first thing in the morning. It could be leftovers from the previous day's meals, or something you prepare right then. For me now, if it's not leftovers, then it's commonly eggs (scrambled, boiled, omelette, etc), grilled turkey breast, bacon, vegetables. Usually along with a cup or two of coffee using coconut milk as a creamer. At first it was difficult to make this change as I had become used to eating other stuff. And to prepare a meal does take a bit more time than simply pulling a box of cereal off the shelf. That could well be the stumbling block for athletes with very busy lives. I keep a bowl of hardboiled eggs in the fridge for those days in my life.


Joe, when you say "low carb, high fat," can you give an idea of what percentages of your calories come from carbs, fat and protein?

I ask because I might be doing LCHF already, because it tastes good! Some bonehead dietitians would consider a 40/30/30 diet to be LCHF.

Joe Friel

D--I really don't know numbers. I just eat a lot of fat and protein and very little carb. My guess is C 10-15%, P 20-25%, F 60-70%.

Christopher Kelly


Understanding hormones is key, for that I'd highly recommend It Starts With Food. http://www.amazon.com/Starts-Food-Discover-Unexpected-ebook/dp/B008C20TDG/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1375988914&sr=8-1&keywords=it+starts+with+food

Noake's Waterlogged has also been huge for me this season. No more upset stomachs from over consuming sports drink and lugging excess weight uphill.

Kevin Sheen

I'm curious if you personally had blood work done before and after. Particularly HDL/LDL / Triglycerides?

Joe Friel

Kevin Sheen--No. And never again.

Sarah Quesen

Thank you for this blog post. I adapted a LCHF diet last fall after being constantly frustrated trying to maintain my weight while training for long events. I have never felt better -- no GI issues and have been fueling my long rides with a handful of nuts and salt and my long runs on just salt and water. A number of athletes have told me that it is "impossible" to go long without carb loading but that has not been my experience.

Michael Levy

Joe, if it's true that your "body has adapted to using more fat for fuel thus sparing glycogen," doesn't it seem likely that during a long, sub-threshold race you could take a bunch of carbs and improve performance relative to pre-adaptation? Is there no science on that?

Joe Friel

Michael Levy--That would imply that fat was not adequate in providing fuel for a subthreshold effort. That's not the case at all.

Olja Bregar

I'm currently eating low fat, high protein diet with a lot of vegetables and moderate carb intake. I'm planning an IM Cozumel race (1st of December) and have to loose 5 kg (11 lbs) until then. Would you recomend to go LCHF or to watch my calories intake and be very very hungry (which I have a lot of trouble with and as a result have some binges). Thank you for your response.

Howard Lask

I am following LCHF myself with good results. Out of interest why do you avoid dairy and red meat? I have lots of yoghurt, cheese, cream, butter....


Hi Joe, my experience with low carb has been fantastic. As a pre-diabetic, my recent fasting blood tests have been awesome and I managed to finish my first IM only consuming 1800 calories and no GI distress. I probably consume more calories than Volek recommends to still benefiting from LCHF eating.
Some of your readers asked about breakfast ideas, here is my 'muesli' creation: http://braziliangunner.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/super-nutty-muesli.html

Hailey Manning

Hi Joe- For those adopting this diet but will still consume carb during race day, do you think that this will interfere with the weight loss efforts? I was gluten free and recently began to eat very little grain and increase the fat, but didn't see much results and wonder if it is due to me not stickling to it 100% and so the LCHF effect never kicks in?

Mark Richardson

In a few months I will be 50. I recently suffered some acute knee pain in my meniscus while backpacking. I discovered that in addition to my acute injury I have significant osteoarthritis in my knees (and likely elsewhere) too. Since then I have been investigating diets that help reduce inflammation. The high omega-3 fats associated with the Paleo diet are good for reducing inflammation, but it seems that fruit is a great source of anti-inflammatory nutrients. Can you recommend any reading that will help me learn to combine LCHF and a anti-inflammation diet with restricted fruit consumption?

Lisa Wei-haas

Fascinating post, and particularly relevant to me, as I've recently been researching and experimenting with fasted training and low carb/high fat fueling plans to address a similar post middle-age weight creep issue. I've been involved in endurance sports for over 20 years, and find myself with a body that is now a bit too efficient; increasing my weekly training hours (i'm averaging 20 per week) is neither practical not adequate in controlling weight gain brought about by hormone declines. Adding high intensity intervals has produced minimal success. This summer however, I've dropped 5kg in 7 weeks, using a lower carb/higher fat eating plan. As a longtime non-carnivore, though, it's difficult to implement a strictly ketogenic diet such as that recommended by Phinney et al. I'm competing in my 30th iron distance triathlon in two weeks, and am planning to give a higher fat, low carb fueling plan a go (admittedly with some trepidation!). Are you familiar with the research of Louise Burke? I found this recent interview with her thought provoking: http://www.inigomujika.com/en/2013/08/interviews-with-the-elite-louise-m-burke-i-am-always-suspicious-when-new-dietary-crazes-hit/3026. There is just not a lot of data out there for those of us who have doing endurance sports consistently for 20+ years, and hoping to keep going strong for 20 more--your writings are greatly appreciated!

Bill Lehman

Joe, you say "seldom eat grains" so that would include brown rice, quinoa, etc - What types of foods have you been substituting for those?

Joe Friel

Howard Lask--I don't "avoid" dairy and red meat. Just not inclined to eat much of them. The only foods I avoid are man-made oils and grains.

Joe Friel

Lisa--Yes, I saw that interview. It's going to be a while until we know more about a high fat vs a high carb diet and performance from sport science. Nearly all of the studies of HF have used subjects who were chronically adapted to HC and eat HF for only a few days before testing.

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