“Mind your electrolytes. If you are feeling weak or lightheaded, if you get a headache, or you just feel ‘off’, this is likely due to electrolyte imbalance. Try adding a ¼ – ½ teaspoon of salt to a glass of water with lemon juice and see if that helps. You want to make sure you are getting 4.5 grams of sodium, 300-400 mg of magnesium, and 1-2 grams of potassium each day on top of your normal food.”
Holy shit balls I thought to myself. I thought all this time my pounding headaches were due to not enough calories/carbs. But like most things when analysed under a microscope and with some time to reflect, this makes sense. I do sweat a bunch and with sweat/water loss, comes electrolyte loss. Another crazy thing is that I’ve been taking electrolyte supplement pills (magnesium, potassium, calcium, and zinc) but I was only taking them on quality/hard days with a bunch of calories and carbs. I just assumed the calories/carbs were the reason I didn’t life bonk at 12 pm.
As with most things, I slowly started experimenting and biohacking myself. Example – Before most training sessions I took 2 electrolyte pills (Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium), and 1 zinc pill. I would continue my 16 Hour fast for another 5 hours after cycling for 1 hour at a moderate pace. All was good.
Then I did the same thing after a 30 min moderate – hard swim. All was good.
Then I the big scary one. I attempted this electrolyte tablet cocktail after a 50 min moderate run fasted and I didn’t eat until 4 hours later. Sure enough… no more midday bonks!
It’s very satisfying to be able to fast 15-16hr on most days (4 days a week) now versus just 2 days. I still consume carbs/protein right after my quality/hard sessions so I have the best chance of recovery.
Thoughts for the Future
What you think you knew of your body might not be what it actually is capable of or needs at the current state of your fitness.
I’m looking forward to Mark’s follow-up article that focuses more on intense/elite athletes that train hard and want to stay in Keto. I just assumed they didn’t mix, but from what I’m reading, it is possible, you just have to carb cycle throughout the week depending on intensities, genetics, history, and objectives.
If you want to try intermittent fasting, any other “extreme” diet while training or just generally need help with changing your fitness and health habits, I am offering one on one coaching sessions for a limited time and only have a few slots! Email me – firstname.lastname@example.org to say hello and find out more.
Links & Learnings
- Daren Lake – Getting Healthy, Staying Fit, and Using Data to Create Habits that Last a Lifetime (part 1)
- Ben Greenfield – Low Carb Athlete
- Mark Sisson’s- Primal Blueprint