Fat adaptation

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Several months ago I read a book by New York Times bestselling author Christopher McDougall titled Natural Born Heroes. In his newest captivating and informative book,  McDougall travels to the Island of Crete, where he discovers the tools of the hero—natural movement, extraordinary endurance, and efficient nutrition. Crete being known for the birthplace of the classical Greek heroism that spawned the likes of Herakles and Odysseus. Within this book McDougall not only discusses the natural and useful movement of an athlete or hero, and key factors in endurance,  but also how efficient nutrition plays a part in strength, endurance and movement. More specifically, McDougall examines the diet of these "heroes" of Crete and also other endurance athletes, past and present. He discusses how we are taught or trained as runners that carbohydrates should be our primary source of fuel. He debates this topic and discusses "fat adaptation", the process of using fat as fuel instead. In the book he meets with 2 very influential people in the world of running and endurance sports, Dr. Tim Noakes and Phil Maffetone.

The foundation of "fat adaptation" is that fat is a better source of fuel as opposed to carbohydrate intake. Fat is a slower burning, more efficient form of fuel. McDougall gives examples of many athletes, including endurance athletes, who used the principles of fat adaptation and in the process, became better, more efficient athletes. For example he talks about an ultramarathoner *** who became fat-adapted and blew his previous times away. Not only did he become a faster runner, but his injuries improved. 

I have recently read many articles pertaining to this very topic. It is becoming a more popular practice among long distance runners. So I decided to give it a try myself. McDougall talks about this 2 week trial (as recommended by Phil Maffetone), where carbs and sugars are strictly avoided. According to his research, fat adaptation should theoretically lead to a more efficient runner, who is also less prone to injury. Since I am running with less intensity currently, because of the high summer heat and a nagging knee injury (that won't seem to go away!), I decided to give fat adaptation a try. While changing your dietary intake, you are also encouraged to do heart rate training. Heart rate should be kept at an aerobic threshold, and not any higher. I felt like this was the perfect thing for me to experiment with while I was running with less intensity. 

So here are my journal entries from the past 2 weeks, and how I did with my fat-adaptation experiment. MORE TO COME

 

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