In the previous article, we saw what a ketogenic diet is and being in ketosis. On this occasion, we will see their adaptations for athletes, and more specifically, if a ketogenic diet for climbers can serve.
- TKD DIRECTED KETOGENIC DIET (TARGETED KETOGENIC DIET)
- CKD CYCLING KETOGENIC DIET FOR ROCK CLIMBING
- MY PRACTICAL CASE WITH THE KETOGENIC DIET
- CONDITIONS OF THE KETOGENIC DIET
- TRANSITION TO THE KETOGENIC STATE
- GENETIC PREDISPOSITION
- WEIGHT LOSS WITH THE KETOGENIC DIET
- THE BEST KETOGENIC DIET
- HOW LONG DO YOU HAVE TO BE IN KETOSIS
- GLUCOLYTIC CLIMBING AND LOSS OF PERFORMANCE
If you did not read the previous article explaining what the ketogenic diet is, I recommend you start there. Today we will get more into the matter, and I will tell you about my case study.
TKD DIRECTED KETOGENIC DIET (TARGETED KETOGENIC DIET)
The TKD is aimed at athletes. It is a variable of the ketogenic diet. What the difference is that they usually include between 15-50g of carbohydrates half an hour before training. Although it is normal for them to be quickly assimilated, I would bet on some fruit.
The TKD directed ketogenic diet includes carbohydrates before training.
In this way, you feel the energy needed to face the session. The problem is that fan climber sessions usually extend over time. Read this article to calculate the calories burned by climbing.
CKD CYCLING KETOGENIC DIET FOR ROCK CLIMBING
This is the approach that I have tried. It consists of doing carbohydrate refills, synchronized with our rock outings. Starting the day before, to arrive with the glycogen reserves to the fullest.
The diet is something personal. Find out what works for you.
That is if on Saturday you plan to go climbing, on Friday you start introducing hydrates after training or at dinner.
On Saturday, at breakfast time, you have two options:
- You can also have carbohydrates of slow assimilation, along with some protein, to accompany you during the day. In both meals, you will have to reduce fat consumption concerning how you have been doing. To avoid losing calories, rebalance macros by raising carbohydrates to 50-70, reducing fat. The amount of protein will remain constant.
- If you prefer, you can opt for a breakfast of protein and fat. In this case, you would start introducing carbohydrates once you started climbing.
I have tried both possibilities, and I have done well. So decide what works best for you. You already know that diet, like training, is entirely personal. What works for another does not have to serve you.
ROAD CLIMBING DAY
During the rock day, between sticks and climbs, you can consume fruits, which will give you quick energy. In this way, you will make sure you enjoy your trip to the rock. Depending on the length of the day, you will enter the right amount of food. I am writing this article in winter. The days are short, and after a good breakfast, I endure with pecking until we have just climbed.
Long summer days may require a consistent lunch at noon if you intend to climb all day. After this, a little nap and reheat.
If the next day, you will climb again, repeat the play. If not, return to ketosis (although I am aware that many of you will do it after the beer of rigour, if you intend to lose weight I recommend that you save it).
THE DAYS OF ROCODROME
However, during the days you don’t go out to rock, try to stay in ketosis. Although once adapted, you will not feel a lack of power; you may suffer at first. But think it is a stage. Just as we train strength and endurance, it is also good to train metabolic flexibility.
Be patient, and give yourself time to adapt. “Train Low. Climb High. “That is, the idea is to train with low reserves, but go out to the rock with glycogen tanks to the fullest.
It is exciting for climbers to make refills of carbohydrates, synchronized with our rock outings.
A couple of tablespoons of coconut oil(yes, you are reading well) before training is helpful. Its fats give you fast energy, helping you to enter ketosis. Many people throw it into coffee, receiving the name of Bulletproof coffee. You can also butter it.
The creatine supplementation will also help in these hard steps to block or board campus. Also, it will improve your recovery between different training sessions.
MY PRACTICAL CASE WITH THE KETOGENIC DIET
With the cyclic version of the diet, in my case, I lost 5 kg in 3 weeks. Although as I said, a couple should correspond to the muscle glycogen water. I felt so good that, of the three weeks I had planned to try it, I ended it by extending it one more.
From there, my weight stabilized. Since my idea was not to keep going down, it seemed fine. I was already at a good weight.
It should also be borne in mind that when I weighed before I started, it was in Christmas, a time of the feast. And obviously, it considered more than usual.
The best thing is that it was very bearable. I felt excellent without hunger or lack of energy. Although I didn’t think that typical carbohydrate energy rises, once I started training, the power appeared.
With the carbohydrate refills discussed above, you will also avoid reducing your basal metabolism. This is what usually happens with conventional hypocaloric diets. Hence the “rebound effect .” It is another great advantage of this approach to weight loss.
Of course, if you do not intend to lose weight, and the only thing that interests you is to train your metabolic flexibility, this version of the ketogenic diet also works for you. Just make sure you consume the right level of calories. A great idea will be if you combine it with aerobic capacity workouts.
CONSULTATIONS OF THE KETOGENIC DIET
The ketogenic diet can be as enjoyable as it is, but it has a big problem: it is not adherent. That is, it is perfect for some time, but it is not sustainable. Pretending to always be in ketosis, apart from unnatural, can be difficult. Of course, I speak in my case.
The first thing is to have to keep pointing out what you eat all the time. Going over 25g of net carbohydrates is simple. So be prepared to go with an App pointing out everything you eat. Having tried some, including MyFitnessPal, I recommend Cronometer. The reason, apart from the best accuracy of its database, is that you can configure it to tell you the net carbohydrates. This makes the job much more comfortable. Yes, it is in English.
It was also difficult for me to cover macros without going over protein. It is challenging to reach more than 300g of fat without consuming more than 130g of protein. A great help is to use sauces and oils rich in fat, and very low or zero in protein and carb.
The ketogenic diet is poorly adherent.
This can be an excellent exercise to be aware of our diet. But having to do it every day, in the end, it tires. Although it is true that, after some time, the most accustomed people to this feeding protocol will be able to do without this app and calculate it by eye. If you endure long enough, you will also do it.
Also, the fact that it is quite antisocial. Of course, you can’t drink a glass of wine. And the human being is, above all, a social nature. However, I admit to having gone to a barbecue without skipping the percentages.
And if you usually eat from a daily menu, it will be difficult for you to reach the macros although I have verified that it is possible. Pulling meat/fish and salads, and rebalancing the fats at dinner.
TRANSITION TO THE KETOGENIC STATE
When starting a ketogenic diet, there is a period of adaptation. First, you will lose a couple of kilos very fast. They are equivalent to stored water with muscle glycogen. These will recover with the change of diet or some carbohydrate refill.
Due to this loss of water, the consumption of minerals, such as magnesium and sodium (sea salt or Himalayan salt) should be increased. If you see that you get cramps or headache, this lack of sodium is the cause. It can also be essential to supplement with electrolytes, especially climbing in summer.
“Train Low. Climb High.”
It is normal to feel weak in the first few days. These can vary from 2-5 days, which is normal, to 2-3 weeks. Depending on your metabolic flexibility, and how adapted you are to the use of fats as energy, you will feel good sooner or later.
Neil Gresham doing psychobloc in Halong Bay – Photo: Lukasz Warzecha
However, there is the option that you do not feel right. Your genes can predispose you both positively and negatively. Just as there are people who are not doing a vegetarian diet, the same happens with ketogenic diets.
The bacterial microbiota can also be critical. This will take a while to change according to your new foods. Many studies currently name it as the second brain, due to its enormous influence on our body and mood.
If you don’t adapt, consult a professional. Perhaps for your case, other nutritional approaches are better.
WEIGHT LOSS WITH THE KETOGENIC DIET
Everything seems to indicate that to lose weight, and the ketogenic diet is a better option than a “conventional diet”:
- You will not go hungry.
- You will improve metabolic flexibility.
- Fats are very palatable. That is, the meals you will make will be delicious. Forget the typical bland chicken with salad.
- And although both can lead to lower performance, once adapted to the ketogenic diet, you will not feel lacking in energy.
THE BEST KETOGENIC DIET
Like all macro-based diets, these can be done better or worse. It is not the same to get spinach carbohydrates than a piece of bread. The proteins of a Whey bag that of an excellent bluefish. And the fats of the avocado that of some fried nuts of kit. And with all these examples one could be in ketosis.
Prioritize nutritional density and increase salt intake.
Therefore, follow the following guidelines:
- Fats are very low in nutritional density. To counteract, prioritize green leafy vegetables. Also, you can eat more without going over carbohydrates.
- The source of protein varies. The more fat will help you to reach the macros. The bowels are the richest in nutrients. Bluefish also provides many quality fats.
- Look for “good fats”: Avocado, olives, omega 3, … Avoid “trans” fats and those from vegetable oils or seeds.
- The egg will appear as a great ally. A superfood, very economical and versatile as you can see in this post about the consumption of eggs.
- Special attention deserves coconut oil, a medium-chain triglyceride that, in addition to providing rapid energy, helps to enter ketosis.
- The dairy also will serve to reach a minimum of fat: cheeses, butter or yoghurts. Of course, no light.
- Increase salt intake with meals. The magnesium supplementation is also convenient.
- The heavy sauces and olive oil will also help to meet the macros.
If you dare, there are lots of books and publications with recipes and approaches on the subject. I especially recommend the FitnessRevolucionario.com website. Its author, Marcos Vázquez, is passionate about this topic and offers a lot of updated information.
HOW LONG DO YOU HAVE TO BE IN KETOSIS
It will depend on each case:
- If it’s your first time, it will take you a week to adapt. Unless you have already practised intermittent fasting.
- To lose weight, you should lengthen it over time.
- If what you want to train metabolic flexibility, synchronizing it with your environment can be exciting: 2 or 3 weeks after Christmas, to cure all excesses. Or the weeks of discharge between the mesocycles.
Some people feel so good in ketosis that they maintain the diet over time indefinitely. In my case, I prefer variability. And as in winter, it can be a healthy state, in summer what the body asks for is fresh fruit. Although it is true that with the adaptation of the cyclic version and the recharges of hydrates, it would not be so challenging to lengthen it in time.
GLUCOLYTIC CLIMBING AND LOSS OF PERFORMANCE
When you reincorporate carbohydrates, you feel that you float.
In my case, I do not see the performance affected in a type of aerobic efforts. Nor is there enough time to replenish glycogen. That is, to do bouldering or strength training with good breaks and few repetitions, it would not affect performance.
However, in more glycolytic efforts such as sport climbing or resistance training, I do notice. For those cases, I think that the ketogenic diet affects performance.
Although it is true that after these sessions of suffering, once I reincorporate carbohydrates, I feel that I float. The body learns to optimize them better, and it shows.
Throughout our evolution, it would be reasonable to other moments in and out of ketosis. As well as periods of hunger and forced fasting, along with others of an abundance of food. And it is that variability and change will make us stronger, as this paper indicates.
If you are afraid of lowering performance, plant it as part of the training. When you finish it, in addition to improving your metabolic flexibility, you will float without those lost kilos. Remember that the strength in climbing is relative to weight. That is, it will grow both by increasing it and reducing the latter.
And you, have you tried the ketogenic diet? Does it work for you to climb? Do you keep it in time, or do you do periods?
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