Bonking and GI Distress are not Normal
A lot of athletes seem to think that bonking and GI issues are a “normal” part of endurance racing. This is not the case! These are not normal, infact when you know why they happen you can race without these challenges.
Why Do You Bonk and have GI Distress
Whether you have summer races, or are initiating training for a fall event the heat creates, a vicious cycle many endurance athletes know well in the form of Bonking and GI challenges. This is because your body is not meant to consume a lot of calories and physically perform at the same time. . . and here is why . . . blood resource allocation.
You see when the temperature rises so do the demands to thermoregulate. The higher the heat index, the more your body shunts blood from your muscles to the skin surface with a percentage of that blood plasma being lost in the form of sweat to prevent you from overheating.
However, at the same time, this requires a sharp downregulation of blood to your GI tract, which limits your digestion. Your GI tract is essentially on sleep mode during exercise in warm to hot temperatures. Even before GI challenges make themselves evident, the lack of blood flow combined with significant intake of calories cause an immense amount of oxidative stress to the villi of the epithelium, which are the cell structures lining your GI tract.
This is why GI issues get worse over time when you are trying to perform better by increasing your calories. Add to this the hormonal shifts which make you every more dependent upon carbohydrate based energy sources and you have a downward health and performance spiral. . .
So How Can You Eliminate Bonking and GI Distress
There is a much better way, one aligned with your evolutionary heritage. By optimizing fat metabolism, you reduce your dependence on external fuel sources thus reducing your risk of GI issues. And this is where we can help. For over two decades we’ve been pioneering and innovating metabolic health and performance by focusing on developing the energy substrate your body is meant to harness for aerobic energy . . . fat.
Our work led to the FASTER Study, a breakthrough study which demonstrated that Humans are capable of burning a lot more fat and at much higher intensities than the science previous to FASTER suggested.
The problem was FASTER limited itself to focusing on the ketogenic diet aspects as THE reason for the performance top fat adapted athletes were achieving. We have gone beyond FASTER and now have data showing athletes are capable of metabolizing over 1.5 grams of fat per minute right up to their VO2 Max!
As you can see from the graph this fundamentally changes the fueling equation eliminating the need for massive amounts of external carbohydrates thus minimizing the risk of GI issues. More importantly, this and other data from our metabolic testing corroborates our premise that Nature shaped us to harness body fat as our principal aerobic energy source, a premise which runs contrary to modern science.
As a sponsor of the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run I’ve spent the past 5 days focused around this epic journey across the Sierra Nevada from Squaw Valley to Auburn. My admittedly biased takeaway from Western States Week was that bonking and GI issues were the central topics, whether it was in our conversations at the Expo, with runner crews during the race on Saturday and Sunday or the post race reason why a particular runner failed to perform to their potential.
Conversely, those who were fat adapted and/or using Vespa, were able to navigate the distance, elevation, terrain and heat with steady energy and little to no GI challenges. We even had one runner incorporate Vespa into their race without testing it in training and here is what he and his pacer have to say in an impromptu video…..If you want more information you can find out more in this free report “Conquering the Terrible 3”, click here to download and get started on your first steps toward experiencing Metabolic Freedom.