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TOPIC: Runners eating low carb

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May 20, 2012 10:05 PM
Im having a really hard time losing and people have said to cut back the carbs. I did for 2 days and I've had two horrible runs. My legs felt like lead. Can a runner (45-50) miles per week really eat low carb? Someone help! I really want to lose and part of me believes calories are what matter, but it isn't seeming to work because I DO eat at a deficit and work out a lot - in addition to the running.

Any advice? I'm so frustrated and confused
May 20, 2012 10:08 PM
I recently cut a ton of carbs out of my diet and I must say, the first 2-3 days were HORRIBLE! But after that, things got much better. Muscle cramping, soreness, fatigue, lethargy... but as time went on, my energy balanced out, muscle soreness/cramping went away. If you're going to go for a run, it is a good idea to have something with a little bit of carbs beforehand. That should help out a little during your run. :)

take care and good luck!

Amberella
May 20, 2012 10:14 PM
Depends on how long each run is. But if you're running 45- 50 miles per week, you're going to need to get fuel from somewhere. I hope it's not going to be extra muscle the fills in for the normal carbohydrate fuel.
May 20, 2012 10:16 PM
So what should I eat? My runs are usually at least 8 miles and that's an easy day.
May 20, 2012 10:17 PM
I still eat high carb (in the form of high fiber whole grains, legumes, etc.), but I've cut highly processed carbs and refined sugars way down. Haven't had any trouble with weight or blood sugar. I do feel better with less processed junk and refined sugars. I think it would totally suck to live low carb, though, but that is just my preference. Interested in hearing from more low carb runners.
May 20, 2012 10:19 PM
I personally can't. In fact, I have trouble running properly in just a calorie deficit without cutting carbs, I have to have a couple prep meals before I run on a certain schedule.

I think runner's world has a forum for people who do it, but your performance may suffer, and you absolutely don't need to cut carbs to lose weight unless you have a medical reason
  9684357
May 20, 2012 10:21 PM
I'm hypothyroid and only been on meds 3 weeks. From what I've heard, with a slow thyroid cutting carbs can help a lot with weight. I love running too much to do this if my runs will be miserable.
May 20, 2012 10:23 PM
Oh and if you are running that much, I bet calories are your problem, not carbs.

1) Go to fat2fitradio.com and calculate your BMR and tell me. Is your job sedentary?
2) What is your height and weight?
3) What is your calorie goal and do you eat back exercise calories?
4) If you eat back all or some of your exercise calories, how do you estimate them? HRM? app?
5) How many days a week do you run, and do you lift at all?
  9684357
May 20, 2012 10:24 PM
You could always just run a week-long experiment where you reduce your current carb intake by 50%, and track the results (or by some other percentage). Cut out simple sugars, and stick with complex carbs that will refuel your glycogen levels.
May 20, 2012 10:24 PM
Bumping because I'm interested to hear from people who've tried it.

OP- Are you going all the way to ketosis low-carb? Or just low-er carb?
  20711900
May 20, 2012 10:29 PM
QUOTE:

OP- Are you going all the way to ketosis low-carb? Or just low-er carb?


Good distinction.
May 20, 2012 10:31 PM
QUOTE:

I'm hypothyroid and only been on meds 3 weeks. From what I've heard, with a slow thyroid cutting carbs can help a lot with weight. I love running too much to do this if my runs will be miserable.


I just looked into it, and hypothyroid can mean your BMR is up to 30% lower than for an "average" person. I didn't find this at a particularly reliable source though, so it may be wrong. If this is the case, you may just have to cut calories a little more than the "average" person
  9684357
May 20, 2012 10:38 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

I'm hypothyroid and only been on meds 3 weeks. From what I've heard, with a slow thyroid cutting carbs can help a lot with weight. I love running too much to do this if my runs will be miserable.


I just looked into it, and hypothyroid can mean your BMR is up to 30% lower than for an "average" person. I didn't find this at a particularly reliable source though, so it may be wrong. If this is the case, you may just have to cut calories a little more than the "average" person


This is about right- I'm going through the same thing right now trying to figure out my real BMR with hypothyroid. To be honest, it sucks. I found out that the local university to me does metabolic rate testing using a metabolic cart, and they do it on the public for $125. I haven't quite decided whether to spend the money to get a concrete answer on this yet. I've gotten the same feedback about cutting carbs, but frankly I don't want to. (Gaah I know!) So I'm trying to figure out the calorie approach.
  20711900
May 20, 2012 10:55 PM
I had the same problem, I love to run but want to lose weight as well. The only way I tend to lose weight quickly is while on a low carb diet.What I do now, is cycle my carbs, so that on my long run days (any run more than 60 mins) I up my carb intake and on my workout runs (tempo, hill, speed work usually under 45 mins) I make sure I have a protein shake 30 mins before hand. I find the amino acids keep me going and I can keep my intensity high. My long run is in the evening and that morning and for lunch I have high carb meals. (complex carbs). My shorter workouts are generally in the mornings and i follow that up with carb/protein meal within 90 mins of finishing it. All in all I have 3 moderate carb days, 3 low carb days and 1 high carb day. Not a nutritionist or anything, but this is what works for me. have lost 4% body fat and improved my 5K times :)
May 21, 2012 4:42 AM
I'd bonk like crazy on the calories you are eating. Maybe eating more calories would help your body with loss? You need the fuel for your runs.....
May 21, 2012 4:50 AM
I'm amazed that someone eating an avg of 1200 Cals a day is able to run that many miles a week - dumfounded that you have a problem losing weight.

How heavy are you? How much more do you have to lose? What's been your progress thus far? Has it stalled? How many cals are those runs burning? What do you mean when you say "am having trouble losing".

If you can provide some more information you may get more considered suggestions.
May 21, 2012 5:36 AM
I am low carb (usually between 20 and 40 net per day) and I run approximately 40 a week. I think someone else mentioned the number of calories might be the problem and I agree with that. When i first started doing low carb I had low calories and it was a chore to get a good 8 mile run in. I upped my calories and have been tons better.

The first I'd say 2 weeks I did low carb my runs were not that great. I do a carb up on one weekend day usually every other week. Sometimes weekly if I've run a lot and did a lot of strength training that week.
May 21, 2012 5:59 AM
Just looked at your diary - you are not eating enough!! Seriously, looks like you are netting under 1000 alot. Your body is going to hang onto every pound just to survive. Check out the eat more weigh less group and myriads of other threads on the subject. Stop starving yourself - you'll feel better, your runs will be much better, and you will start losing again.
  11955398
May 21, 2012 7:08 AM
Definitely not ketosis type low carb. I was just trying to keep carbs under 100 grams. I've never worried about carbs before and I noticed a difference.
SJB- I'm 155 and 5'10.5" :) I'm definitely not overweight, but I was always 140 until about a year ago when my weight suddenly shot up, which I realize now was probably due to my thyroid.
I think 1200 calories is ridiculously low, but I was eating 1700-1800 and feeling extremely full and started to get nervous I was gaining. Actually, 1200 when I was eating low carb days was easy because the protein I eat is low calories. However, with carbs 1200 is easy to get to and to get over.
I have not lost a pound in a month. I'm very frustrated. I will increase my calories because I agree that is part of the problem, however, should I still try to cut carbs to under 100g? A sports dietitican recommended over 250 g for optimal performance.
I am very active so I need the energy and also hate feeling like I'm crawling through runs.

Thanks everyone! Appreciate the input so much.
May 21, 2012 7:12 AM
No point in low carb or fasted cardio til you hit low body fat (18% for women, 10% for men). Focus on your caloric deficit, protein intake, and nutrition and do weight training til you get there.
May 21, 2012 9:05 AM
You do not need to eat a high carb diet to be a long distance runner. After 2-6 weeks of adaptation, during exercise your body will make up for the lack of available glucose by fueling the brain with mostly ketones, and fueling the muscles with mostly fat. Sure, your anaerobic performance will decrease, but since most long distance runners do mostly moderate paced runs, it should not be an issue for you. You may want to consider occasional carb refeeds because on race days, it will largely benefit you to carb-load for maximum performance.
Edited by grinch031 On May 21, 2012 9:05 AM
May 21, 2012 9:09 AM
QUOTE:

Just looked at your diary - you are not eating enough!! Seriously, looks like you are netting under 1000 alot. Your body is going to hang onto every pound just to survive. Check out the eat more weigh less group and myriads of other threads on the subject. Stop starving yourself - you'll feel better, your runs will be much better, and you will start losing again.


Yeah if someone is eating so little calories, it won't make a difference if its high or low carb, they will feel lethargic during runs.
May 21, 2012 1:01 PM
So how do I find that balance of eating enough to make running enjoyable again while losing weight vs. eating too much so that I gain weight? I'm really stuck and unfortunately I do think my thyroid is to blame because this has never been an issue for me before. But shouldn't my medication be making my metabolic rate "normal"?

Grinch- Why does it take about 2 weeks for the body to adapt? Should I still try to run during that time? I increased carbs yesterday and today I still felt horrible. I did a run which should be extremely easy for me and I had to stop several times to catch my breath. This is not normal!!
May 21, 2012 1:11 PM
I am not an expert, but you body will kick into survival mode and hang onto everything. Your body will also start to utilize other resources to maintain your activities such as muscle and bone. 100 net carbs is not really a low carb diet. Especailly if the 100 carbs are all bad carbs.
May 21, 2012 1:19 PM
QUOTE:

So how do I find that balance of eating enough to make running enjoyable again while losing weight vs. eating too much so that I gain weight? I'm really stuck and unfortunately I do think my thyroid is to blame because this has never been an issue for me before. But shouldn't my medication be making my metabolic rate "normal" ?


In theory, it's supposed to. In reality for many people with thyroid problems it's never quite "normal". Even when it stabilizes and comes back as normal on the tests, it doesn't necessarily work the same as a person without thyroid issues. This is not true for everyone, some people find a medication that works for them and are perfectly fine with it the rest of their lives. Others of us struggle. I consider it a learning disability for my weight loss- it's a problem that I can overcome, but I know that I will always have to work a little harder and get less impressive results than a person that doesn't have thyroid issues. I haven't figured out the right numbers for me yet- I've gained quite a bit of weight in the past couple years while never overeating (compared to a healthy person). To get the balance right takes time and experimentation, and when I got frustrated and gave up trying to figure it out, I packed on the lbs- with "normal" tests.
  20711900

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