Ian S

First whole30 and struggling

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After some advice on fueling for workouts.  I'm just coming to the end of my first week and no issues with the diet other than when I climb onto the bike.  

I'm in base training currently, which for me is 2/3 times a week on the turbo doing sweet spot intervals (around 8/10 of maximal effort) and then a long ride on the Sunday.  My experiences so far;

-first ride on the turbo I had to abort halfway through as I couldn't hold the intensity needed, I finished the hour session by dropping the intensity down to around 4/10's.

- second workout, I had tracked carb intake over the next day and managed to hit 3.65gramme/kg (sweet potatoes and bananas might get dull....).  Managed to get through my hour holding the intervals

- third workout, crashed and burned on the intervals again, ended up finishing by dropping the intensity

- long ride (3 hours) today, had focussed on fuelling the day before, again hitting 3.65grammes/kg.  Was fine for the first 90 minutes but really struggled for the last 90.  Where I ride is hilly and I ride in a group, so you need to up the intensity on the hills.  I found I could limp along at 4 or 5/10's quite happily but couldn't hold maximal efforts on the hills.  This one hurt

 

So I'm trying to work out my options at the moment, I think they are;

- Accept that this month is going to be low intensity, which won't do much for my training plan but the benefit is I get more fat adapted.  In which case how long does that process take to run its course?

- Compromise on the Whole30 plan during workouts and use sugar to fuel me.  Stick to the principles outside of exercise but pay more attention to pre-exercise fuelling so I'm not going in low

- Find a high GI whole 30 compliant energy source to use during workouts (I've hunted but can't see much other than very ripe bananas)

 

Any advice on whether there are better options or whether I'm missing something?  Thanks

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I think for most people it takes about a week and a half to two weeks to get fat adapted, and then their workouts are back to normal or even better than before. 

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Hey Ian - I think the answer lies mostly lies in your goals. If you're looking to maximize performance and health is a secondary concern, then fueling with "unapproved" food around workouts may be OK to you (see Whole30 Sonja's story), but if you're looking to make health the primary concern, even just for this period, I would mostly look to back off the intensity for the 30 day period, accept that you're going to be doing lower quality workouts, and really get back in touch with your understanding of how your body tolerates different foods.

As for fat adaptation - that will only take you so far. Fat adaptation is certainly useful and a real thing, but even high level fat adapted ultrarunners who are performance focused (Zach Bitter, Timothy Olson) or LCHF triathletes (Dan Plews just set the age-group record at Ironman world champs) supplement with a good dose of carbs during their key workouts and races. And people argue this is even more true for cycling, where the fuel usage is MUCH higher than it is in running. 

Good luck!

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