I’m already bracing myself for the inevitable backlash of self-proclaimed experts who will share their own anecdotal stories about how it’s possible to maximize performance (and burn more fat!) on a sustained, low-carb diet plan.
Bully for you and your experiences, I wish you well.
What I’m here to tell you is that for most athletes, most of the time, a very low carb diet is going to be a performance killer.
It All Starts With Goals
First I think it’s very important to talk about goals and how different goals make a big difference to an athlete’s most effective nutrition plan. Let’s look at Lebron James, for instance.
He made waves in 2014 when he leaned out significantly, dropping an estimated 20 or 30 pounds and chalking it up to a “no carb” diet.
Hey, if it’s good for Lebron, it should be good for the rest of us, right?
Maybe – if your goal is specifically to lean out and drop a few pounds. You see, Lebron followed his purported “no carb” diet (which is actually a misnomer) since fruits and veggies have carbs in them, but whatever during the off-season.
Not during pre-season or while in season, when back-to-back practices and games are more likely to zap glycogen stores and lead to impaired performance on a low carb diet.
Goals impact nutrition needs. Whether your goal is to lean out, or to get faster, or to get stronger or to go longer, you may have to adjust your nutrition plan to achieve said goal.
Pretending this isn’t true, or pretending there’s always one answer or one solution leads to an absurd amount of misinformation about performance nutrition.