An Ironman diet and coconut oil are a pretty good fit.
A source of high quality fat is every bit as important as complex carbohydrates to endurance athletes.
Over the years I’ve always been on the look-out for a diet or diet supplement that would enhance my training and improve my race times.
It was almost by chance that I happened upon coconut oil and its use as a diet supplement. I was searching the internet one day and came across an article on the subject. I was intrigued and decided to give it a try.
I’ve always believed that I had no business writing about any diet unless I had tried it myself. To my way of thinking that’s the only way to pass on relevant, honest information to readers. As a result I’ve tried a variety of different diets and supplements over the years and coconut oil is one of them.
To be quite honest, I was just blown away by the results I experienced when I incorporated coconut oil into my training diet.
First a bit of science I was able to uncover about coconut oil.
Coconut oil is comprised of fatty acids called medium chain triglycerides or MCT’S. In nature, coconut oil has the largest concentration of these MCT’S outside of human breast milk. Vegetable oils, on the other hand, are made up primarily of long chain fatty acids or LCT’S.
For quite some time now scientific literature has claimed that LCT’S tend to produce fat in the body, while MCT’S promote what is called thermogenesis. Thermogenesis increases the body’s metabolism, producing energy.
This has been common knowledge in the animal feed business for years. It you feed animals vegetable oil, they gain weight and produce more fatty meat. If you feed them coconut oil, they will be very lean.
Tests on rats published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” concluded that MCT rats gained 15% less weight than rats fed LCT’S. The conclusion:
MCT diets result in decreased body fat related to increased metabolic rate and thermogenesis.
Similar tests were conducted on humans at Vanderbilt University in 1989 with the same basic results.
Regardless of scientific study result, I prefer to try these things on my own and see the results first hand.
Over twenty years of competition and numerous diets, the LEAST I ever weighed was 150-151 pounds. This was my competition weight. If I were to weigh myself on any given race morning, my weight would be in this range, give or take a pound. That all changed when I included coconut oil in my diet.
I weighed myself on the first day of the diet as I always did when I tried something new, and wouldn’t step on a scale again for one month. I live by this rule when trying something different in my diet. My start weight was as usual, 151 lbs.
I added 5 tablespoons of coconut oil per day to my meals. Usually when you buy coconut oil it will be solidified. I just leave mine at room temperature and in few days the whole container is liquefied. I don’t store it in the fridge because it will solidify again. If it’s solid, its easy enough to melt down into liquid form if you’re in a hurry.
I added it to my oatmeal in the morning, to my pasta and pasta sauce, and used it in smoothies. I always use olive oil in my salads and started adding 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to every salad. It’s an amazingly versatile product. You can easily come up with your own cooking uses for it.
When you use it in food its not an unpleasant taste and most of the time you won’t even know its there. Combine it with your food anyway you like, but aim for at least 5 tablespoons a day and stick with it. Like any diet, there’s really not much point even starting unless you’re committed to it.
Well, I did this for exactly one month. Then I stepped back on the scale. WOW! 143 pounds!
I was 7 pounds lower than I had been over the past 20 years! I couldn’t believe it. It should be noted that for the month I used coconut oil, I was in full Ironman training. Any diet you ever try should be done in conjunction with a fitness regimen. So I believe this is an ideal addition to any Ironman’s diet. Or ANY athlete’s diet for that matter.
A few things I noticed:
Along with losing weight, my energy level increased.
Even though I lost around 7 pounds, I seemed to have the same amount of over-all strength. This is crucial to an athlete. What makes some athletes so amazing is their strength to weight ratio. In other words, you can be a 120 pound woman, but be very strong for that weight. Take it a step further and imagine the consequences if you become 110 lbs and don’t lose any strength and have increased energy.
Imagine yourself running a marathon carrying a 10 pound bag of potatoes on your back. Now imagine running the same marathon without the bag of potatoes and more energy.
I truly believe that an Ironman diet and coconut oil are very compatible and can have a profound effect on training and racing results.
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