I used to eat 400 grams of carbs per day but now I only eat 150 grams of carbs per day. So relatively speaking, I eat low carb.
But some people eat less than 50 grams of carbs per day. So relative to them, do I eat high carb? And is that bad?
Rather than getting caught up in terminology that means different things to different people, what if we put our energy into finding out what works best for our own bodies?
Here’s what I use for determining what’s working well for my body. I aim to score 100 percent (all yeses) on this 3-question quiz.
- Do I look good?
- Do I feel well?
- Do I perform well?
A couple of years ago I experimented with very low carb as an endurance athlete. I heard it could help me burn fat, spare glycogen, and run faster marathons and half marathons. Made sense, so I gave it the old college try.
I was already low carb in the sense that I ate 150 grams of carbs from only quality sources (vegetables, fruit, sweet potatoes, quinoa, wild rice, and dark chocolate). I dropped it down to 50 grams, trained for and raced several half and full marathons, and re-took my quiz.
- Do I look good? Yep.
- Do I feel well? Yep.
- Do I perform well? Hell no!
My race times plummeted. It took me longer to recover from hard training sessions. And my hemoglobin and ferritin numbers were far from desirable.
Despite a sincere effort, going that low carb was incongruent with my goals as an endurance athlete. Since adding back quality carbs totalling ~150 grams per day, I’m performing well again in workouts and races.
Do I think some people can perform well in endurance sports on a very low carb diet? Of course. But I wasn’t one of them. So I did what was right for me.
And I encourage you to do what is right for you, too.
Your body is always speaking to you. The question is are you willing to listen and act on the feedback you receive?
Now I want to hear from you. Do you look good, feel well, and perform well? If not, what actions are you committed to in order to have a different experience? Please share your concrete action steps in the comments below.