LCHF is one of the essential foundations to becoming a fat adapted athlete.
Fat adaptation is the metabolic reorchestration from a predominant fuel source of glucose to a predominant fuel source of fat. This is the normal, preferred metabolic state of the human. Before the food pyramid created the obesity epidemic, humans were in a constant yearly cycle of fat adaptation, based on factors such location, climate, season and food supply. Consider the following:
Fat adaptation means you can effectively burn stored fat for energy throughout the day. Even the leanest person who weighs 60kg with 10% body fat, has 6kg of fat or 6000g, which at 9 calories/gram is 54,000 calories to potentially access.
Fat adaptation also means you can rely more on fat for energy during exercise. This offers a glycogen sparing effect, so this fuel (carbohydrate stored in the muscle) is available to support high intensity exercise, where it is most required.
For endurance athletes, this is most significant. The inability to tap into fat reserves is what causes a ‘nutritional bonk’ or ‘hitting the wall’. If you’re an endurance athlete whose splits just get slower and slower during a marathon off the bike or ultra-marathon, you becoming fat adapted means you will never run out of fuel, and you will completely transform your endurance potential.
Listen to Steph's interview with 180 Nutrition below.