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If you’ve ever found yourself crawling through mud while a barbed wire matrix hovers inches above your body, or clawing your way up an angled wall, struggling for grip while covered in sweat, it’s safe to say that you aren’t afraid of a little experimentation. Spartans are able to do what they do because they reject the norm and thrive on change and challenges. That willingness to push beyond the ordinary extends to all aspects of life—including diet.
So it’s no wonder that Spartans have found success going keto. At its core, keto is a powerful way to change how your body fuels itself. The goal is to burn stored fat for fuel instead of glycogen, the byproduct of eating carbs. Cutting your carb intake down to about 20 grams a day forces your metabolism into ketosis or the switch to fat burning. And cutting carbs vigilantly for three meals a day is tough, you can recognize benefits by swapping your standard breakfast, lunch or dinner for a keto-friendly meal that’s low carb, high in fat and has a fair amount of protein, says Phil Catudal, NASM-CPT, an author, celebrity trainer, and physique transformation specialist in L.A. This “keto light” approach can help you maximize performance and control weight. The simplest way to go keto one meal a day? Use a meal delivery service that sends delicious heat-and-eat dishes right to your doorstep, like our official Spartan meal plan, Fresh Meal Plan. You can sign up to enjoy as few as 6 meals a week—including faves like Coconut Banana Breakfast Bread, Southwest Chicken Fajitas and Korean BBQ Beef—making it outrageously easy to try keto-light. Dig in, and realize these benefits.
3 Major Benefits of Going Keto for OCR Racers
Benefit #1: Perform at Your Peak
This once-a-day approach is technically called “carb cycling” and it’s a strategy long used by elite athletes to maximize performance. “Carb cycling is an easy way to manage and manipulate energy and performance,” says Catudal. Eat more carbs at your pre-workout breakfast, for instance, and fewer at dinner. Because you need strength, power, and endurance as an OCR athlete, adjusting your carb intake throughout the day can help your body optimize its glycogen stores, plus control insulin (for better metabolic health) and cortisol levels (for less inflammation).
Benefit #2: Control Your Weight and Energy
Carb cycling can also keep your weight in check. “By keeping overall calories low enough to be in a deficit, but manipulating when you get carbs, you can lose weight while maintaining strength and performance,” Catudel says. You can manage your available energy. “Carbs get stored in muscles as glycogen for the first available source of energy to be used. Other carbs are burned off, excess ones stored as fat,” he says. When you eat most of your carbs before a workout, whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you can reach peak energy output. Add the rest of your carbs in after an intense workout and you can recover cellular energy and boost other vital body functions. You alternate carb-heavy and carb-light meals with zero mental math work by signing up for Fresh Meal Plan. FMP offers a variety of meal types (traditional, paleo and vegan, too) with macros clearly listed so you can easily pick which meals you need for before workouts or a race, after vigorous activity, and on off days.
Benefit #3: You Can Still Love Your Carbs
Controlling when you eat carbs, instead of drastically cutting them out, is a great way to relearn your relationship to the starchy stuff. “If you do it right, carb cycling is a completely sustainable lifestyle,” says Catudal. This flexibility makes it much easier to manage portions and stick to your diet strategy, rather than blacklisting foods only to binge on them later. “You’ll be more successful and feel better,” he says. Want to start cycling the simple way? Sign up at Fresh Meal Plan now!