In this two-minute video, Eating for Fat Loss vs Performance, Dr Jade Teta of Metabolic Effect does an excellent job of describing the distinction between eating for fat loss and eating for athletic performance.
- Performance Diet = High carb-to-protein ratio with low fats and low fiber
- Fat-Loss Diet = Low carb-to-protein ratio, medium fats, and high fiber (THE OPPOSITE)
As endurance athletes, we often tell ourselves “I need to carbo-load, bring on the white rice!” or “I ran 18 miles today, I can eat anything I want!”, or “Gatorade, bagels and spaghetti every day — I’m in training mode!”. Yes, loading up on carbs the day or even week before the race is shown to help performance in that race. However, in MY personal experience, when I eat this way any more than that one day or one week before the race, my body fat goes through the roof, I feel bloated and puffy, and I tank my performance.
Too much junk in the trunk makes me run “heavy” like I’m literally towing a caboose. No bueno.
If you can maintain a healthy body fat while eating a performance diet (like my Dad!) that’s cool. However, if you are like me and have a tendency to put on unwanted body fat even when (or especially when) endurance training, try eating for fat loss even during the training period. You just might find that you’ll hit the race lighter, happier and even faster.
Here’s my experience:
- In 2011, while on the performance diet, I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in 1:13:04, after training my brains out
- In 2012, I overtrained and injured my hamstring —couldn’t race, started eating for fat loss
- In 2013, after six months on the fat-loss diet, I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 miler again — but this time did it in 1:09:46 — not gonna say I didn’t train… but really I didn’t train :)
For more fat-loss tips, check out Metabolic Effect »