Ironman & Fat Consumption
There are a couple components to this answer. But first, congratulations on being a fat adapted athlete! You have a massive advantage over everyone else.
On Board Fuel
Carbohydrate dependent athletes have about 2,000 calories of energy on board via glycogen. A fat adapted athlete has about 40,000 calories of energy on board in the form of stored body fat.
These 40,000 calories are unaccessible to the carb dependent athlete, partially because carbs increase insulin which inhibits glucagon, a hormone responsible for releasing stored body fat.
This is one of the major points in Jeff Volek’s, PhD and Stephen Phinney’s, MD/PhD book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. I highly recommend this book for anyone seeking performance without carbs.
Athletes typically like the ketogenic diet for performance. Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Ray Allen, Tom Brady, and others use the ketogenic diet to dominate their opponents.
When on a ketogenic diet your body produces ketones, which are used immediately for energy – this decreases the need for refueling at regular intervals.
If refueling is necessary, fats are excellent because the body processes fats more efficiently than carbohydrates. They can be used immediately in their natural state to fuel your mitochondria (the energy powerhouse of your cells).
Turning carbohydrates into energy is a multistep process that includes converting into glucose and burned like sugar – much less efficient.
Omega 3 fats have been shown to improve cognition, performance, and muscle recovery.
Here are a couple links that explain more about the relationship because fats, performance, and muscle recovery.
That Sneaky Powerade
Does Powerade Zero with zero calories or carbs break a fast?
Yes, I’m afraid so. Powerade Zero contains “natural flavors” and “sucralose.”
Unfortunately, companies like to hide dirty things inside whatever their definition of “natural flavors” is. You can be sure there is some type of sweetener in there.
In addition, anything ending is -lose is basically a sugar. And since sugars are a carbohydrate, your body will end it’s fast and begin using those for energy.
That being said, I drink Bulletproof coffee every morning with butter and MCT oil. None of these ingredients will break a fast, but they will satiate you so you can continue fasting without hunger.
Butter won’t break your fast because it won’t cause an insulin response, which is what brings fasting to a halt.
MCT oil (medium chain triglyceride) will jumpstart ketone production. Ketones are a source of energy that the liver produces when no other energy source is available.
Butter and MCT oil allow you give your body energy, stave off hunger, and continue fasting.
Is it possible to build “some” lean upper body muscle mass, with some basic, moderately intense body weight and resistance band workouts, with a lot of protein supplements and calories?
Hmmm. I think I have to go with no on this one. I’m not a fan of easy workouts. Here’s why:
There are three types of muscle fibers, and moderate effort won’t be enough to engage and deplete all three types. They work together, but have different purposes. Think of them like this:
- The first type is like an elephant.
- The second type is like an ox.
- The third type is like a bulldog.
Assuming you’re using a high intensity strength training technique (and you should be!) you’ll be performing one single set of an exercise with the goal of reaching absolute muscle in 60–90 seconds.
When you lift something, your muscle fibers are recruited in a specific order. After you start to lift, the elephant type jumps in first because it can last the longest.
Once the elephant type starts to tire, the ox type jumps in to help out. But the ox doesn’t have quite as much longevity as the elephant type.
When the ox gets tired, the bulldog jumps in and works very hard for a short amount of time before it tires out.
If you reach absolute muscle failure within 60–90 seconds, you’ll have depleted all three types – a very efficient workout.
As such, I don’t believe easy workouts can stimulate any useful muscle growth. Under moderate effort, there may not be a reason for the ox or bulldog types to jump in and help out.
If you’re interested in doing a 19:45 full body workout once a week, here’s a little additional information. I’ve been doing this for about a year with great results. So if it’s the time investment your worried about, this may help out.
All the best,
Don’t forget to submit your question below. I’m looking forward to meeting you.