Carb Counters - fueling workout on lower carb diet?

03-13-2013, 08:05 PM
Hi all,

I'm new to 3FC, joined about 2 weeks ago and have been following the Insulin Resistance Diet (it's a book, look it up on amazon if you're interested). Basically, carbs are moderated and always linked and balanced with protein. So a meal has no more than 30 g carbs and 14 g protein, and a snack has half of that (15 g carb, 7 g protein). It's working pretty well and seems sustainable and I've lost five pounds (:carrot:) but there is one thing I need to trouble shoot.

I have been a runner for about three years, not super consistent or hard-core, but I've completed several 5ks and a 4 mile race. I'd say my average pace is like a twelve minute mile. Also, I live in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, so also navigating hills. I've also been known to treadmill it when weather isn't good. :running:

Anyway, I enjoy running but since I've gone out on my new eating plan I feel like my gas tank is on empty! Today I did a 5k (not a race, just a workout) and my time was miserable. I know carbs provide energy for workouts. So how do folks who try to keep carbs down fuel their workouts? Should I plan to consume extra carbs before a workout (like a banana, or something)? I don't want to overdo and slow my weight loss, but I definitely am not going to be able to keep up my running at this rate. Any suggestions? Thanks everybody!

03-16-2013, 11:50 AM
"The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance" by Jeff S. Volek, PhD, RD and Stephen D. Phinney, MD, PhD.... might be worth taking a look at... Also "The Paleo Diet for Athletes" by Loren Cordain, PhD and Joe Friel, MS might have some practical tips that you could use without actually having to go "paleo"...

03-17-2013, 07:38 AM
I have been low carbing for a week now and I also noticed after about 2 days my running took a total nose dive. I went from really enjoying it to finding it utterly horrible and my times and distances really suffering. I am doing about 20g total carbs a day though, so it really is quite low atm.

Since the weathers also been pretty rubbish here I decided I would try out swimming. For some reason, I feel great doing this! So I've basically switched my workout from running to swimming to accommodate low carb.

In the future I will definitely start having something more suitable for running in the morning beforehand, but I'm happy doing this for now.

03-17-2013, 08:59 AM
Most sources say that you need carbs before a cardio workout and a carb/protein carbo after. I know it breaks the IR Diet rule of "always link carbs with protein" but you do need the carbs before a run (or other cardio). Just plan a carb/protein snack, and divide the carbs between before and after. When I was low carbing and running a few years ago, my go-to plan was 1/2 a medium banana before and cottage cheese & fruit after.

03-17-2013, 02:06 PM
It is possible to become keto-adapted and fuel your workouts in that state... I run 40 miles a week following a low carb, ketogenic plan... I've also been incorporating IF (intermittent fasting) into my plan as well and have been doing runs of up to an hour or so in a "fasted" state with really good results...

I used to always think that I "needed" carbohydrate before my runs, but I've found that I do just find without them now that I've made the decision to pursue this way of training... It does take a period of adaptation though... and it definitely takes some more planning on my part... But for me it just fits in better with my overall whole way of eating now...

03-21-2013, 12:27 PM
I hope I can get my weight down to the point where my knees let me run. That must be a great feeling. In my opinion TripSwitch has hit the nail on the head.

03-23-2013, 02:42 PM
Just wanted to warn you that if you have issues with hypoglycemia, you'll want to be careful with TripSwitch's advice. NOT that I'm saying she's wrong. I just know from personal experience, as a hypoglycemic, that not eating before exercise can lead to not-so-good things. I passed out at the gym once because I tried exercising without eating beforehand. I didn't have any of the usual warning symptoms. My blood sugar just plummeted and I hit the floor. They called the rescue squad and everything. Major embarrassment...and very scarey!

03-23-2013, 03:12 PM
I have also been experimenting with exercise in a fasted state...and I love it... a little lifting, dance, and walking. Being in ketosis (very low carb) is the key here. The theory is that if you have no carbs in your gas tank,your body goes to using fat stores for energy which gives you a very high bonking threshold. Of course if you have any medical conditions, this may not be the way to go.

03-24-2013, 11:37 AM
I used to think I couldn't do low carb and exercise at the same time, but after doing low carb for so long I find I can still workout with the same intensity as I did before.

I think the key is to not push yourself too soon when you first go low carb, I usually give myself a week or two of buffer time to get used to it and then I go back to working out.

03-26-2013, 08:26 PM
Thanks everybody for your input!

03-27-2013, 02:35 AM
Your diet needs to be high in fat for fuel when you are doing low carb, otherwise you run into the problem you are now having. Start including organic coconut oil and olive oil. Coconut oil can be taken straight from the spoon and it tastes nice.