There is a new variation on the theme called Sleep-low. Flying in the face of the classic advice by trainers that athletes should indulge heavily with carbs in preparation for endurance races.


We’ve reported on various Low Carb Gurus advocating Ketosis so that your body relies upon its huge stores of fat rather than its limited supplies of glycogen. One of the best books on this is “What The Fat? Sports Performance: Leaner, Fitter, Faster on Low-Carb Healthy Fat,” Schofield, Grant; Zinn, Caryn; Rodger, Craig (2015-12-02). The Real Food Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.

Now comes another view point – or variation on the theme.

So researchers at the French National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance in Paris and other institutions began to wonder about the possibilities of modified forms of low-carb diets, and specifically about what scientists call “sleeping low.”

With a “sleep-low” sports diet, an athlete skips carbohydrates at dinner. In the morning, his or her body should have low reserves of the macronutrient, and any ensuing workouts would force the body to turn to fat, its most abundant fuel.

The following is the link to the abstract of the study, in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. I love the title to the study 

Enhanced Endurance Performance by Periodization of Carbohydrate Intake: “Sleep Low” Strategy

21 competitive triathletes where broken into two groups. Both ate the same total amount of Carbs each day, except one group spread their eating out over the entire day while the other consumed their Carbs for breakfast and lunch but not for dinner.

At the same time, all of the athletes also began a new training program. In the afternoon, both groups completed a draining, intense interval-training session, designed to increase fitness and deplete the body’s carbohydrate stores. The members of the control group then replenished their carbohydrates at dinner; the sleep-low group did not.

The next morning, before breakfast, the volunteers pedaled for an hour at a moderate pace on stationary bicycles. By this time, the sleep-low group was running on carbohydrate fumes and body fat.

This cycle continued for three weeks. The result – the sleep-low group improved by 3% while the other group did not. Also, the sleep-low group lost body fat while – again – the others did not.

This is just one type of Carb cycling. Based on the research by Drs. Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney in the Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. As well as “What The Fat? Sports Performance” we would expect this result and possibly a better one of the athletes were truly Keto Adapted.