Ultramarathon fueling: Race Day (Antelope Canyon 55K – 2019)
-4x Ample K (keto) Meal + Chia Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Bitter Melon Extract, Beta Alanine, Essential Amino Acids, Cordyceps Mushroom, and UCAN Superstarch (approx 800 calories/drink, or 3,200 total calories)
– HVMN Ketone esters
• The Ample base is 600 calories and is loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats (coconut, macadamia, sunflower, chia), organic greens (wheatgrass, barley, chlorella), protein (grass fed whey, egg whites, pea), fiber (tapioca, acacia, chicory), and probiotics, while restricting inflammatory omega 6’s. I’ve been taking Ample for the past year and a half, as my first meal every day at 10 or 11AM (I intermittent fast between 4PM-10AM on most weekdays). They’re currently raising money on Republic in the form of a SAFE that will convert to Preferred Shares at a discount (I invested in them).
• I use Generation UCAN superstarch (or Glycofuse) as my source of slow burning carbs. I stay away from GU gels and other insulin spiking foods as a rule, whether I’m racing or not. I, like 25% of the worlds population, carry the APOE4 gene which predisposes me to Alzheimer’s (aka type 3 diabetes). Probably the best avoidance of degenerative brain disease comes from not constantly flooding my system with sugar. UCAN provides a slow releasing carb that won’t come with the dreaded crash that has athletes rushing for their next GU packet.
• Finally, I take HVMN ketone esters as a direct source of ketones that I can take while also consuming carbs. A typical keto diet is so strict on restricting carbs because carbs trigger an insulin release, which stops fat burning. Then begins the carb cravings, sugar addiction/crashes, and, over the long term, insulin resistance. So a typical keto diet, as originally prescribed as a medical treatment, has people consuming next to no carbohydrates to force the body into ketosis.
After testing my ketones with a blood monitor last year, I realized I could get into ketosis with higher than recommended levels of carbs just by being more active. So I already upped my carb intake in training, but like to supplement with ketone esters during race day, shooting my ketone levels to 5mmol within an hour, higher than I ever could get otherwise (and way more effective than ketone salts or MCT oils/Caprylic Acid).
HVMN esters are highly expensive, though, at $33/serving and taste like nail polish, lol. So I saved them for an ultra. I mainly use them for my brain – while the body needs to use up all glycogen before switching to ketones, the brain will always prefer ketones as a fuel source.
Results: Honestly, that was all overkill. If anything, I felt overfueled and probably didn’t need all of those calories. At mile 21, I felt energized and downed a whole Ample drink and ran then felt it swishing around in my stomach and had to stop.
I love the strategy of going with the drinks as it takes me a good 2 hours to digest actual food before running without side effects. But I probably didn’t need 4 and should have drank them in thirds rather than entire bottles. UCAN seems to work well, and I had stable energy levels throughout. The ketone esters keep me mentally sharp throughout the race.
Recommended reads: “Genius Foods” by Max Lugavere and “Food: What the Heck Should I Eat” by Dr. Mark Hyman, MD. Max began his journey into nutrition and brain health when his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Dr. Mark Hyman is a self described Pegan (Paleo/Vegan) out of the Cleveland Clinic.