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The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance Paperback – April 1, 2012
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About the Author
Steve Phinney is a physician-scientist who has spent 35 years studying diet, exercise, fatty acids, and inflammation. He has held academic positions at the Universities of Vermont, Minnesota, and California at Davis, as well as leadership positions at Monsanto, Galileo Laboratories, and Efficas. Dr. Phinney has published over 70 papers and several patents. He received his MD from Stanford University, his PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from MIT, and post-doctoral training at the University of Vermont and Harvard.
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I am not a high performance athlete, by any means, and though this book is geared toward athletes, it has a lot of valuable information that can be applied even if your idea of a "marathon" is a 20 minute jog - or just getting up in the morning! I found out as I read this book, that the same authors have another offering: "The art and science of low carbohydrate living" which might have been a better starting point. I plan to read that one next.
The book does occasionally feel like it presumes a background in biology or human anatomy, which had me running to google a few times, but personally, I would much prefer a challenging read than some fluff that doesn't contain a lot of information. While the scientific detail might be a bit boring for those with less of a thirst for knowledge (AKA, non-nerds) I personally really appreciated the attention to detail and willingness to delve into the nitty gritty.
I will also say, on behalf of the diet, that it has had an incredible impact on my life. I have suffered with chronic fatigue and pain since I was a teenager, I was exhausted and achy all the time and was barely able to keep up with basic day-to-day activities. After so long being sick, I had given up hope of improving, and had merely learned to accept that I'd never be able to function as well as a "normal" person. About two months ago I decided to try a low-carb diet. I didn't expect any medical miracles, I just wanted to get in shape for bikini season. The first two weeks were horrible. I could barely move and just floundered around the house all day. After that though, I suddenly had more energy than I have in years. I am able to function while only sleeping 7-8 hours a night (before I needed 10 or so!), I actually enjoy exercising because it doesn't feel like my heart is going to explode, and I can actually do things without crashing for hours after. I finally have my life back and it's completely amazing.
I can't say that everyone will have the same experience, of course, maybe some of you will just lose a few pounds, or for others, it won't help at all, but it's absolutely worth a shot!
Reading this book was enlightening! The authors studied athletes who were fully fat adapted! And those athletes were matching and then passing their previous abilities! Most studies that show the keto diet as poor for athletes, are testing individuals who are just switching to keto and not fully fat adopted (which takes at least 6 weeks and maybe up to 6 months). Since reading this book, I've gone keto and after and inital dip in energy as my body adapted... I'm right back to where I was a month ago. Only now I do a ride without any calories! And I don't feel like I need to take a nap afterwards. So cool! If you're considering keto and you're an athlete, you owe it to yourself to read this book.
Their companion volume The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable gave me the best possible practical guide and scientific justifcation for pursuing a low-carb lifestyle, and gave me the confidence to reduce my HbA1c from 10.2% to 4.5% (a properly non-diabetic number).
However, as a keen runner training for a half-marathon, I had still had significant concerns about attempting endurance events without resorting to carbohydrate fuelling that would disrupt my ketosis and aggravate my diabetes. Despite many hours trawling the internet I couldn't find much quality advice on ketosis and athletic perfomance, and had many questions relating to "liver-dumping" and the necessity for pre and post exercise fuelling. This book answered every question and I devoured it in a single sitting.
After adopting their advice (as predicted) I ran two of the worst 5k races of my life, followed by rapid improvements week by week, which eventually led to me knocking almost 2 minutes off my 5k PB. I can't wait to run my first carb-free half marathon later this year.
It's too easy to say that a book changed your life, but in this case both the "Art and Science Books" have fundamentally impacted my health and my athletic performance.
Very highly recommended.
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I would recommend reading their other publishing first: The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living
I can only repeat what I've said about the book listed above.
Having been interested in the topic of "how does food intake relate to physical health and optimum body chemistry" for more than a quarter of a century now (Yes! 28 years+ to date, to be precise!) both my husband Gordon Kay and I would without hesitation recommend this book (and its twin!) since following the preachings and lessons therein has led to a total change of our eating habits with amazing results to both of us. We thought we were already in "pretty good nick" (something which was confirmed by a full medical with full blood works during the summer of 2013) but we decided to switch to the "ketogenic Diet" for at least 6 months to see what it would do to our bodies and our wellbeing in general. All we can say from a personal point of view - and I do speak for my husband too - is that we have never felt healthier! Considering that we were already on top of the world before, I suppose that's put us now out there, in the stratosphere-of-good-health!
Although perhaps a trifle "scientific" for the ordinary lay-person, the book perfectly complements its companion, and for anybody who is interested in a more technical explanation behind it all, the book will be a didactic eye-opener.
With all the material that is nowadays availabe to help us on the way to optimum health, the teachings in these books have most certainly had a tremendous impact on our wellbeing and anyone seriously considering a change of lifestyle toward improved wellbeing can only benefit from them.
Smiles, Emm :) :)
Illustrator of Provost: The Unfinished Manuscript
Secondly, I strongly believe that there is benefit to athletes. I am a Type 1 diabetic (and avid cyclist) and therefore very sensitive to the role carbohydrates play in sporting endurance. I know all about "bonking" (as both cyclists and T1 diabetics do!). On a carb restricted diet, I feel better, and can maintain exertion for longer. I believe strongly that this is due to a decreased reliance on carbohydrates for energy stores.
This book has opened a new world of training and endurance for me. I strongly recommend it!
Every serious athlete should have a read
this book, though, explain why some things happen and how they happen. It can be a bit technical at some points and can easily lose a reader that has now or low knowledge about keto in general, but that is exactly why it makes it so good.