Crossfit Athlete New to Bulletproof - very low energy

Hello, this may have been discussed before but I was unable to find it in the threads. Apologies for redundancy if so!

I have been doing Crossfit for over 3 years and am always looking for ways to better fuel my system, and Bulletproof coffee along with the protocol seemed like a great thing to try out. In short, how are you Crossfit athletes timing your carbohydrate intake as to not interfere with getting your systems to benefit the most from the grass fed butter and coffee induced keto state / intermittent fasting?

I am posting because I was wondering about carb timing for folks like myself who train early in the mornings (6 - 7 AM). I do Crossfit 4-5 mornings a week, and decided to give Bulletproof a try. Before this, I was doing Renaissance Periodization for a couple months but read about the Bulletproof protocol and realized I am probably not getting enough healthy fats. I did have great energy and strength gains while on the RP protocol, but I am looking to optimize performance as much as I can, and I know healthy fats were missing.

I have been following the Bulletproof protocol for 2 weeks, doing the coffee with grass fed butter each morning and keeping carbs low. I had one carb re-feed day last week but I think I am missing something, as I can feel my energy and strength dropping more and more each day. Benchmark things like rope climbs which are usually easy and fast for me, feel extremely hard and slow, as if I have gained 20 pounds. I just feel like I have no energy during my running sessions, rowing or anything that I can usually do quickly. Everything just feels like I am weighted down.

I know that athletes need to get their carbs in before and after a workout and am definitely feeling the consequences of not doing this for 2 weeks - newbie mistake I suppose. On the RP protocol I would eat 2 cups of rice, some eggs and veggies immediately after training and I felt great.... however I am wondering about the timing of this as it relates to the high amount of fat I drink in the coffee which would be right after my workout.

Thank you so much!


  • Thank you so much Jason for this. When listening to the Bulletproof audio book, I failed to realize that the author is talking to an audience that is not doing Crossfit heavily or at all, so I was following the protocol for people who do not need as many carbs, hence the energy crash. What I plan on doing now is following the first meal portion of the RP plan on training days and incorporate bulletproof coffee later on perhaps around lunch. Thanks again!

  • I understand that Jason Miller has trained a lot of people and so his experience is what it is, and given the likely volume of training that he has done over time that probably merits a lot of credibility. What concerns me though is anyone who states that something is a certain way for everyone. The body is complex, as is biochemistry. Every year scientist learn things that overturn prior theories, some of which have been held for years, or decades, or longer. Look at current views on brain plasticity compared to those 15 years ago -- a complete 180 -- same with genetics, which has been completely revolutionized by epigenetics.

    If you read the ketogenic diet literature (Dr. Attia, Dr. Phinney, Dr. Volek, Eric Berg, Dr. Walhs and many others), all of them say that the first few weeks in ketosis your performance will be terrible. In fact, they all say that for some people it takes even longer (perhaps if you're more insulin resistant or have other metabolic damage). For me, it took a few months. Dr. Phinney thinks that it can take up to 18 months or longer to become fully keto adapted but he thinks generally 2 week to a month for performance to ramp up.

    It's difficult to know what people mean by a ketogenic diet. 100% Canola oil is a ketogenic diet, and something to kill you quickly. I eat mainly vegetables, a lot of coconut oil and grass fed butter, avocados, nuts and seeds, salmon and sardines, eggs/cheese, fermented food, and limited amounts of grass fed meat. This diet has done everything right for me. I used to have massive sugar cravings - I never do now unless I'm under major stress at work. My skin conditions disappeared, my nails are incredibly hard now and they never chip (in 2016 they chipped 3 or 4 times per week). My HDL went up, trig's went down, HS-CRP dropped by over 100%, fatty liver disappeared, and my pre-diabetic state (106 fasting blood glucose to 72 or 74 most days now).

    My energy levels are effectively through the roof, better memory/cognitive performance (I am the General Counsel for a company in the Middle East and I notice this on a daily basis now). My lean muscles gains have improved, and I perform better at Crossfit style workouts, and that's without doing any carb cycling. Strangely, I find that weight loss has been okay on this diet but not fantastic -- I do it mainly for the health benefits and I might try another diet if I wanted dramatic weight loss (most people say it's the best diet for that).

    If I listened to all the people stating that muscle gains and athletic performance is severely impeded by a ketogenic diet I likely never would have started it. But, my experience has been very much the opposite. The only thing (like all of the above referenced doctors and scientific state) is that you absolutely need to take a lot of sea salt. I chew Himalayan salt crystals a few times a day and if I forget for 4 or 5 days then I suddenly notice that I feel weak and tired. - happens every time, and with workouts as well even well after the keto adapted state.

    Maybe you're have a very different experience that I did. However, my advice is to not let anyone tell you that carbs are essential for optimal performance even if it's anaerobic training -- let your own experience guide you. Tim Noakes used to say that carbs were essential for endurance running. After he developed Type 2 diabetes he eventual changed his mind and found that a ketogenic diet actually created superior performance. Keto adapted athletes use far less glycogen at any rate.

  • Here is one study that found just the opposite re: Crossfit (of course it must be wrong since it's physiologically not possible that a ketogenic diet can improve performance, right?):

    @Jason: My point is that all of this is very complicated and one person's results may be quite different from another's. For you, there seems to be only one approach notwithstanding the modest and growing number of people from all over the world who are sharing experiences completely to the contrary (and also experience completely consistent with your particular thesis). I'm glad you're so certain when many of the world's best scientific researchers think that it's a complicated series of issue based on biochemistry that we are just beginning to understand.

  • Jason HooperJason Hooper ✭✭✭
    edited June 2017

    In the later charts, we find that the control group was leaner going into the study with a reported fat mass of 21.59 as opposed to 24.9 in the low carb group, which is significant. The chart also shows that the low carb group lost 0.37 muscle while the control group gained 0.06.

    She says in the method section that the kcal values were equal, but I again looked at her data and she is way off. The control group was eating an average of 1746 kcals and the low carb group was eating 1580 kcals. This was a 300 kcal difference from the baseline information. Protein was not kept consistent as claimed averaging 80g in the control group and 91g in the low carb group. Now that I scroll down, there is a chart showing this on page 45.

    If I were on her committee, I would have brought up some of these issues for sure. I'm not sure why they didn't, or at the very least, ask her to rewrite it before passing her off. Unfortunately, that seems to be the current trend in academia: pass them along and keep taking their money. She writes in the preface:

    I would also like to thank my committee members Dr. Hasan Hamdan and Dr.
    Danielle Torisky. Dr. Hamdan, for putting up with my endless stats questions and always
    boosting my confidence in the statistical world after each meeting together.

    Either she didn't ask the right questions, or they didn't give her the right answers because she interprets the information incorrectly in many places of her methodology.

  • I don't think it will have too much of an impact in that regard. A graduate thesis isn't going to circulate (or index) as much as a major periodical.

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