Training, Racing & LCHF Fueling For Skating And Endurance Sports
Cereal Killers 1 was a 2013 documentary-film made by Donal O’Neill, in which he turned the food pyramid upside down and rejected the “prudent diet” in favour of a well-formulated ketogenic diet, under the supervision of Prof. Tim Noakes. Noakes is infamously filmed ripping out the nutrition section from his seminal book “Lore Of Running” while professing “I wrote this.. and it’s all rubbish.. I no longer believe this…”
During the course of the film we see Donal explaining why he is doing what he is, shopping at the local food market, flipping some burgers, chewing on bags of madacemias, cooking everything in butter and coconut oil, talking it over with his physicians, doing some short bursts of Primal-style HIITs, and contemplating the implications of what he is discovering.
The thing that is atypical for Cereal Killers is that, outwardly, Donal is far from your classic overweight, carbohydrate-resistant, middle of the road civilian. He’s a guy who’s already pretty lean and in good shape, so outwardly doesn’t have a great deal to gain from this. However, it’s pointed out at the start of the film that his father, a similarly outwardly healthy man, suffered from acute coronary disease, and this was one of the main driving factors behind his experiment.
At the end of the film, as will be of no surprised to well-educated keto proponents, Donal comes up smelling of roses, improving his body composition, and his biomarkers. Noakes remarks: “Your blood results are sensational.. and I would love to have these myself.” He also manages to break some of his own PRs in pullups (or something) despite no increase (or even a reduction) in exercise. Health AND Fitness – double-threat guy. He’s sold. We’re sold. LCHF works. Badabing!
Fast forward some 18 months, and Cereal Killers 2: Run On Fat raises the stakes, taking a leap into the world of LCHF as cornerstone of sporting performance. Now, hopefully because you are reading this blog it won’t come as a shock to you that a high-fat diet be a great weapon in turning you into an endurance animal… this is exactly the film’s premise – it sets out to show all the advantages of being a “fat-adapted” athlete.
Donal is still there as master of ceremonies, but the narrative shifts from his own adventures in high-fat to the story of Sami & Meredith Inkinen on their Fat Chance Row. Sami’s a fat-adapted IronMan amateur world champion, but only went down this path after his traditional high-carb diet made him pre-diabetic. The badass couple embark on a self-supported 2,400 mile row from San Francisco to Hawaii, each of them expending the equivalent of 2 (running) marathons a day.. for 48 days straight. Let me repeat, this is SELF-SUPPORTED – they don’t get supplies or any support crew interaction, it’s just them, and whatever supplies they take with them, and their ability to keep rowing, and rowing, and rowing…
If you think LCHF and fat-adaption is just of interest to endurance athletes, then think again. In fleshing out the whole LCHF story, CK2 gives us a glimpse of how LCHF has been adopted by elite sportsmen from many sports… and NOT just of the endurance and ultra-endurance type. Many members of the Aussie cricket team (recently crowned world champions), and high profile NBA stars like LeBron James are leading the way on using a high-fat diet to improve performance and, very importantly, extend their careers.
Talking heads include the returning Prof Tim Noakes, and Peter Brukner. Sami Inkinen’s Fat Chance Row is planned in close collaboration of Stephen Phinney, who is the very highest authority on LCHF for athletes, and there is a brief allude to the FASTER study which he has been involved in. Ultra runners Zach Bitter & Tim Olson get a quick mention for being badass fat-adapted athletes.
CK2 is an entertaining film, and considerably educational if you are not familiar with the high-fat concepts that are presented. It’s doesn’t ever get too scientific or technical – so instead of talking about things like RQ and fat oxidation, rather it just shows Sami stating “I have tripled my fat burning.” and shows as few charts from Sami’s blog posts. This makes it accessible and understandable for anyone to watch, but personally I would not have minded a bit more in-depth explanation of some of the testing protocols. Still, can’t really criticize the film for that – it’s a great way to spend an hour as you follow the wave-riding highs and the crashing lows with Sami, Donal, and their high-fat friends.