Fasted Training, Fats and…Fiber?

Have you noticed that while a handful of raw almonds and a cup of berries made a great snack on that early  morning stroll you did with a friend, but when you tried the same snack right before a run, you found out the hard way that there was far too much fiber for a pre workout snack?

Further, are you feeling a bit confused about how to balance adding small amounts of fat into your fasted training regime?

Let’s take a quick peek at fiber content of some typically eaten fats on the Paleo diet.  Granted, nuts are meant to only be eaten on occasion, rather than as a go-to fat source, but we’ll include them nonetheless.

1 oz (28 grams) of each of these Paleo-friendly fats contain the corresponding amounts of dietary fiber:

  • Almonds 3.5 grams dietary fiber
  • Walnuts 1.9 grams dietary fiber
  • Avocado 1.75 grams dietary fiber
  • Coconut oil 0 grams dietary fiber
  • Olive oil 0 grams dietary fiber

It’s no wonder that almonds, with their higher fiber content, would be the least favorable choice for pre-run, when the heart rate is higher, more blood is diverted away from the gut in order to feed the skeletal muscles, leaving blood less available to digest the slow-emptying fiber.  (By the way, this is exactly why, when we’re not in the middle of exercising, we want to eat foods high in fiber!).

Coconut oil is a great option, even beyond olive oil, because it provides the only food source of medium chain triglycerides.

How much to take, and when?

That all depends.  If you’re in the process of conditioning your body to become more efficient at training in a fasted state, and are only doing so for a short time, you don’t need to add any fuel into the mix.  You may, however, want to try a little when you’re getting closer to the 90- 120 minute mark, but even then, don’t go overboard with it.  

Try a little, perhaps one tablespoon, and monitor how you’re feeling.

It’s not for everyone, but it’s worth trying as the only way we know what works best for each of us is to test, test and test again!

I find the Artisana brand quite handy as they sell single serve packets containing just one tablespoon of organic coconut oil, making them easy to take on the go.