944: Zach Bitter Is An Ultramarathon World Champion Fueled By LCHF

944: Zach Bitter Is An Ultramarathon World Champion Fueled By LCHF

Ketogenic ultra marathon runner Zach Bitter is our guest today in Episode 944 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show.”

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There’s this common perception in the athletic world that in order to fuel your exercise performance, you must load up on high amounts of carbohydrates. But in recent years, a new trend has emerged where long-distance runners are turning to a low-carb, high-fat, ketogenic diet to give them a longer, more steady source of energy during their races. We previously shared an interview with Western States 100-mile Endurance Run record holder Timothy Allen Olson in 2013 discussing how switching to an LCHF approach improved his race-day symptoms and endurance issues. Today we present another ultra marathon runner named Zach Bitter who has competed in 24 events and holds the 12 Hour World Record, 100 mile American Record, and 200k American Record. Additionally, he’s a two time National Champion (50 mile road 2012, and 100k road 2014) as well as a member of USA’s 2014 100k World Championship Team, which won gold in Doha, Qatar and placed 6th overall.

Listen in to hear Jimmy and Zach discuss how we was always active growing up, why ultra running became appealing to him, his old 60-70% carbohydrate endurance diet prior to discovering LCHF, the negative things he noticed in his health, including sleep, water retention, and gut health issues, the positive changes he saw when he shifted to a more ketogenic approach, what his keto-adaptation period was like, how he was used to running in a fasted state during his training prior to going full-on ketogenic, how his macronutrient ratio shifted from pre-LCHF to now, how he never really ate a lot of bread in his diet, what he says to people who believe a high-carb, grain-free approach would give him good results, why he loves using coconut-based products as his primary source of fat, the perception that people think he’s eating meat non-stop (but he doesn’t because it’s too much protein), his testing at Dr. Jeff Volek’s lab helping him fine-tune his diet, how your macronutrient intake will likely change the longer your body becomes used to being fat-adapted, the wide variability of carbohydrate intake according to the individual, how improving his sleep and other lifestyle factors helped improve his performance, how his cholesterol markers all markedly improved eating LCHF, how much his inflammation levels have come done, what race day looks like for him in his diet, the wasp extract from the VESPA Power Products company that he uses for endurance over long distances (a ketone booster!), why he doesn’t really use much gels during races anymore, the banana chips cooked in coconut oil that help him keep good fats and a bit of carbohydrates for fuel, whether he’s ever used other exogenous sources of ketones like ketone esters, how to find the right balance of fat and carbohydrates that enable an endurance athlete to compete well, why running faster races like a 5k doesn’t necessarily mean needing higher carb consumption, and a whole lot more. If you are someone interested in the relationship between low-carb nutrition and endurance races, then you won’t want to miss what Zach has to share in this interview.

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LINKS MENTIONED IN EPISODE 944
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Zach Bitter bio
Zach’s athletic accomplishments
Zach Bitter’s blog
Zach’s media appearances
Zach Bitter on Twitter
Zach Bitter on Facebook
– RELATED PODCAST: The LLVLC Show #642: Ultramarathon Runner Timothy Olson Thrives On A Low-Carb Diet