Never Bonk and Eat all the Bacon You Want

I was wrong! For the last 25 years I thought I needed a large volume of carbohydrates in my diet to do any form of endurance exercise. Even my 80 year old grandfather laughed about how when he played football for The University of Virginia in the 1920’s “they didn’t know about carbohydrate loading and ate steak the night before a game”. Turns out my grandfather had the right plan (as long as there was a lot of fat on that steak and no potato with it).

I know it sounds crazy but you can eat as much fat as you want (because you can’t eat a lot of fat, it fills you up!) and teach your body to burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates! As long as you restrict your carb intake (usually less than 50 grams of carbs, a 12oz Coke has 42 grams!) you will also lose weight on this diet (or, if you already have a lean build, maintain you weight). The best thing, you can’t bonk! Even a lean professional endurance athlete has 100,000+ kcals of fat (energy to burn) vs. 2,000 kcals of carbohydrates*. * This way of eating is know as Low Carb High Fat (LCHF), The Keto Diet or in South Africa “Banting”.

Everyone who knows me can’t believe how much I eat! My nickname in college was tapeworm! When I raced cross country I ate over 6,000 calories a day (10,000 on big days), I ate more pasta than you have ever seen, then finished it with a half gallon of ice cream! Yet I weighed 167 pounds (at 6’3″) I now weigh 190 and people still think of me as being slim (must have been really skinny in my xc racing days!)! I had to eat a bar every 30-45 minutes on a ride! My breakfasts were legendary, 3 eggs, 3 pieces of bacon, a quarter of a cantaloupe with a big handful of almonds, 6-8 oz of yogurt with a cup or two of granola (and I would be starving by noon).

On the above diet, after eating that big breakfast, if I did a three hour ride from 9:00 until noon I would eat at least two Kate’s Real Food Bars (360 calories each) and one Clif Builders Bar (270 calories) and finish the ride at Milt’s with a burger, fries and LARGE milkshake.

I was the friend that annoyed friends on long rides! “Let’s keep going, my metabolism is kicking!” I would say after the shortest of breaks. Then I was the one begging friends for food, “I didn’t think this ride was going to take so long, anyone have a bar or some trail mix?”

Now I eat a breakfast consisting of three eggs (cooked in butter and bacon fat!), 4 pieces of bacon and half an avocado. Then I ride from 9am until noon and I just drink water on the ride (have now learned to drink an electrolyte drink)! When finished I have a smoothie and hamburger with a flax seed bun (made without wheat), avocado, tomato and I’m stuffed!

I tried the Atkins’s diet 18 years ago and leaned out until I had a six-pack for the first time in my life but I couldn’t ride more than 30 minutes without running out of energy! The missing ingredient was fat!

Now, this LCHF diet isn’t easy to do at first, there are hidden carbs in almost all prepackaged foods. You have to cook/make most of what you eat. Also, the first week of switching to this diet many people get the keto flu (you feel nauseous and lack energy for a few days to a week), to fight this you need to increase your intake of salt, magnesium and potassium.

It’s also not all bacon, all the time! You still need a lot of fiber, so eat your veggies!

I’m no expert on diet though so I am just speaking from my experience, the experience of a few friends, asking every doctor I meet and from what I have read. If you would like more information I have included quite a few links below (or simply search LCHF Diet and you will be astounded at the amount of information)! Research has proven this diet to be safe, sugar (carbs) are what cause people to become fat and other issues, not dietary fat! When the world went “low fat” obesity and diabetes skyrocketed!

Have you tired to eat this way? Are you currently eating this way? I would love to hear about your experiences or any questions you have! Please feel free to share this article with anyone you think would benefit from it.

Addition information:

This great video from Peter Attia explains Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) for athletes really well: has great films, Ceral Killer, That Sugar Film, Film: My Big Fat Diet, about Canadian First Nations Obesity, and written content. They will ask you to join but you can do it for free., full of great articles and 135 podcasts and

27 replies
  1. Dennis
    Dennis says:

    I’ve been eating LCHF for about 2 years now, with the same results you have! Nobody believes me though, so I’ve stopped telling people, unless they specifically ask about my diet. I’m not a power-house though, so it rarely comes up.

    • Gene
      Gene says:

      Yeah, people are understandably afraid of fat! All the low fat foods we have that are considered “health food”! Glad you are enjoying, no better way to tell people than leading by example!

  2. Mark Borman
    Mark Borman says:

    Yes, my wife and I have been eating this way for over 1 year and have the same fantastic experiences you stated. We also use UCAN to keep blood sugar stable and enhance steady energy from fat burn to further eliminate bonks and post-workout cravings.

    Mark Borman, BetterRide student alumnus

  3. Ethan
    Ethan says:

    Awesome Gene, you’ve hit the bacon on the nose. Sugar is the evil in foods! Make note thou that a lot of folks think of sugar as just that sugar that we pour out of the container, the nasty white stuff! But remember that sugar is pasta, bagels, bread, cookies, lots of processed foods and most carb based foods, carbs turn into sugar hence the obesity problem we have now. And the last thought on a very massive and complicated subject is the quality of food. Think of it in terms of crap in crap out. As best you can eat organic, eat grass fed, eat local and natural of course, eat more veggies than anything!
    A McDonald’s burger does not count as a good fat diet!

    • Gene
      Gene says:

      Right on Ethan! I agree with everything you said! Sugar is also what feeds many diseases, it’s amazing and sad they we let companies like Coke, Red Bull, Pepsi, etc. advertise a drink filled with two physically addictive and horrible for you drugs! And we were raised to think fruit juice, wheat bread and most carbs are good for you!

      Funny, it’s easier herein South Africa to get grass fed, organic meats!

  4. Michael
    Michael says:

    This summer I was pushing 220lbs at 6’2″. Started working out harder, riding more and dropped 3 lbs…turns out some of the “recovery” shakes I was drinking was packing ALOT of calories. So I said, “forget this” and went on a low carb 6 week strict diet. No more than 20 carbs/day, no sweets, no alcohol. Lost 15 lbs in 6 weeks. Then I adjusted where I kept my carbs low during the week and pretty much ate what I want on the weekend – within moderation. Lost another 8 pounds and am sitting at 194. I found during my strict phase that I was running out of energy about an hour into the ride. Now I do not run out of energy at all. So, for me, this type of eating works.


  5. Rob Lawrence
    Rob Lawrence says:

    I have been “eating” this way now for about 5 years. The general health benefits are huge in the avoidance of crap carbs and the emphasis on unprocessed veggies fats and meats. I have far more energy, am nearly 40 lbs lighter and I feel better than when i was 30. And I am 60. 🙂

    • Gene
      Gene says:

      Hi Rob, Thanks for sharing your story. I’m 51 and feel better than 40, hopefully the longer I’m on this diet the more I will feel like 30!

  6. Colin Beach
    Colin Beach says:

    Great article! I have been eating more carbs, as a result of my sweat smelling like ammonia, which is apparently a byproduct of my body metabolizing amino acids. My wife says “make sure you’re eating the good carbs and not the bad white ones, and Omega 3 and 6 fats”. It’s been somewhat of a work in progress, and I’m realizing that it might take my body some time to adjust.
    Thanks for always writing and teaching us new things, Gene 🤙😁

    • Gene
      Gene says:

      Hi Colin, the goal is low carbs (as in less than 25 grams a day) and high fat! There are few if any “good carbs”. Please read the articles I have linked and prepare to be very skeptical until you try it! Do you know Lars Roming from Sedona? He has been on this diet for over a year and that man crushes it on a bike!

  7. Lifan
    Lifan says:

    There’s also a great book I read this year called, “The Big Fat Surprise.” It’s awesome and I would recommend it for the history it goes into about how Fat become such the villain.

    • Gene
      Gene says:

      Good read, amazing how so many people can’t see the correlation with when the US went “low fat” we had a huge spike in obesity!

  8. Rod Christiansen
    Rod Christiansen says:

    Hi Gene,

    I’ve been doing the Keto diet since June of 2017. I lost 25 lbs, increased my muscle strength as well as endurance. I race XC MTBike as a Clydesdale, I’m 6’5″ tall as well as CX in the Masters 45+ class. Right now, I’m at 220 lbs and working on being down to 210 LBS before MTBike racing starts in March of 2018.
    I’ve never felt or performed better even with some pretty severe muscle and ligament injuries.

  9. Bill
    Bill says:

    Great article! I’ve been eating keto for 5 years. Wish I learned how to eat like this (healthy) when I was younger.

  10. Lucia
    Lucia says:

    I am sorta there with this. Has anyone been able to use the can for on the bike/run ok? When i use it before its goopey and sometimes hard to get down. Is there a secret for longer racing? I go back to gu’s and feel terrible by the end of the race.

  11. John Harri
    John Harri says:

    I decided to try the Leadville 100 in my early 60s so I hired a professional coach, He immediately convinced me to go to the diet described in Gene’s article. I was skeptical, but I did it. Like Gene I can now ride long periods of time, using only my electrolyte drink for calories. Interestingly, a year after starting it my total cholesterol had dropped 30 and my HDL had gone up 20. So, not only had I become a fat burner, but I also had a better cardiovascular blood profile.

  12. Bill Andrews
    Bill Andrews says:

    I agree 100% but I’m one of those that can eat anything non-stop and never gain weight. Unless it’s too much beer.
    Speaking of beer, that was part of my marathon training diet along with tons of pasta. Here’s the secret: You have to load up on carbs at least 2-3 days ahead if you want the full effect from them. A couple nights before a race I would eat a pound of pasta and down a couple pitchers of beer. (not anymore though) I had a 6 mile kick that felt unreal. It’s true that fat is good because the carbs you’ve stored will burn this up at high exertion levels. (over 85 bpm heart rate) What I’ve found regarding diets is that the worrying about what to eat is worse than just eating. Stress is the real enemy. The same basic rules apply: Get a good sleep, eat lots of greens, no hankie-panky and no dairy products 24 before a race. Other than that, eat whatever truly satisfies your hunger. Referred by Mountain Biking Over Fifty : Kenny Dunn

  13. Brad Fackrell
    Brad Fackrell says:

    I teach all my athlete patients to do this. (Most non-athletes don’t have the motivation to do it) Primal Endurance is also a great resource. I can easily now do 3-5 hour rides with no breakfast and no carbs. Eating more fat and less carbs.


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