In the past carbohydrates have always been considered as the only source or energy in sports. However, fat is so much better alternative. Our body can only store very limited amount of glucose as glycogen in muscles and liver. Regular exercise increases this capacity but still, this energy will not last long, only a few hours even with a top athlete. Fats stores last a lot longer. Once the glycogen stores have been used however, it is not possible for the body to convert into burning fat instead just like that. The reason for this is that the body is not adapted to burn fat, it cannot do it. For ketoadapted people, people whose bodies have been adapted to burn fat due to their diet, this works naturally. Their muscles have “learned” how to use fat as energy. They don’t need to rely on limited glycogen, but they have almost unlimited energy stores in fat. There is no need for any carbohydrates before, during or after exercise. Low carb diet together with exercise burns fat efficiently, but also grows muscles. This has been found in many studies.
Using fat as energy during exercise requires lipase enzyme. Lipase is very sensitive to many hormones, most importantly insulin. Insulin prevents the activation of lipase and fat cannot be used as energy. Because carbohydrates cause insulin levels to rise, they also prevent the use of fat for energy, so forget about the sugary sports drinks. The only way to make it easy for our body to burn fat for energy during exercise is low carb and ketogenic diet. When ketoadapted, blood sugar stayed very balanced and does not fluctuate causing unwanted symptoms. Ketoadaptation also protects the body from the oxidative stress caused by exercising. During ketosis there are much less oxygen radicals compared to when burning sugar. Ketosis also increases the production of the body’s own antioxidants. Ketosis reduces inflammation caused by stress of exercise and any possible muscle damage and tenderness.
When living a healthy lifestyle, food and nutrition is absolutely the most important thing. You cannot stay healthy or lose weight without a healthy diet. You cannot undo the damages caused by bad diet with exercise. However, exercise is important in keeping you fit and in reducing stress. It can also support your weight loss when combined with low carb diet. Actually, low carb diet, together with exercise has been found to be extremely affective in metabolic illness. We are not talking about just any exercise. The small research we have made on this subject shown that HIIT High Intensity Interval Training) is something worth trying. We have found it extremely affective in my family.
The idea of HIIT is to repeat a certain movement with a different intensity so that fast interval is followed by a slow interval. You start with a slow movement and continue with maximum speed or weight which continues only 20-30 seconds. After that you return to slow movement again to calm your pulse and breathing. There are 5-7 fast intervals during a single exercise and the duration of a single exercise should not exceed 20 minutes. I normally do these intervals during a brisk walk. I have learned to repeat a fast 30 second interval every other minute, for example during uneven minutes 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 when I run with my maximum speed. This can also be done easily with an exercise bike. This is a short, very effective exercise. Do not continue it for two long as then your cortisole levels will start to rise (stress) which is not good. Yes, too much exercise is just as bad as too little.
I have read about recommendations that HIIT should not be done more than twice a week, and no more than 15-20 minutes at the time, to maximise the benefits. Rest is just as important as exercise in HIIT and too much training can lead to problems.
For me and my family, HIIT has been extremely effective, combined with low carb diet. It makes you feels great and very fit. I am very pleased that I have found HIIT, and very surprised about the massive health benefits that this type of training has. This doesn’t take much of your time during the day either which is great. When going through much of the information I managed to find about HIIT, I was quite shocked to find how harmful exercising too much can actually be. 4-6 30 second sprints are actually just as effective as a 90-120 minute aerobic training. It is already known how long distance running harmful if done regularly, and any exercise done for too long causes stress in the body which, as we know is not healthy.