Beta Red Fasting Fuel
by Daniel Matheny
This simple recipe is an example of how I try to help my athletes by applying scientific concepts to real-world applications. I developed this concoction by pushing my own limits. I’d gone too long between meals while engaging with athletes and wanted to get out for a lunch ride without bonking or eating a full meal. I've also utilized it when wanting to hit an 0-dark thirty training session before the family awakes while trying to get around spiking blood sugar immediately before training. I jokingly dubbed it “Bulletproof" Beta Red after the famous Bulletproof coffee from bio-hacker Dave Asprey.
Anyways my goals were: 1) to maintain lower blood sugar/insulin response, 2) reap ergogenic benefits of the Beta Red (1), 3) fuel upcoming training session, and at times 4) continuation of Low Carb-High Fat (LCHF) cycle (whether acute or chronic) (3).
A full disclaimer; I haven't gone to the trouble of measuring blood sugar before or after using this formula. While obviously required in a research setting, I opted for simplicity and trusted that the ingredients selected would fuel my workout. There are endless debates in the sports-science world around implementing all new methods that have mixed research, reviews, interventions and controls. However, when it comes to coaching methods, supplement use, exercise and nutrition protocols, etc, I opt to let the research point me in a direction from which I can then experiment to see what works for my clients and I in the real-world. Lab research, if it even exists, with controls and double blinds is great, but coaching sometimes can be cutting edge, as some things may work although we don’t have current research yet to back it. And if it works because of placebo, then hey I’ll take that too.
I thus developed this recipe to maintain a LCHF cycle while still gaining the benefits of Beta Red Pre-Workout Formula. I know that there are some carbohydrates in Beta Red, so the die-hard LCHF and Keto crowd will automatically throw up their flags, but my hope was that by combining it with a high-fat counterpart (MCT oil), the insulin response would be dulled. Since I drink this immediately prior to heading out the door to train, my physical activity also helps moderate the blood-sugar response.
With no further ado, here's the recipe.10 - 20 ounces water
1 - 2 scoops Beta Red Pre-Workout Formula
1 - 3 tablespoons MCT oil (careful because too much can cause digestive distress)
15-25g high-quality, vanilla protein powder - optional (I prefer grass-fed, low-heat whey protein)
Shake in a bottle and enjoy!
Simple, huh? But wait, the important part is the timing of use. This recipe is intended to be used before working in a fasted (overnight) or semi-fasted (several hours since last meal) state. Adding protein allows it to be more effective for recovery, as well as for a lower-carb beet juice loading cycle (as the latter has been shown to improve performance) (2). Brian's Intermittent Fasting Experience.
I use this recipe and recommend it to my athletes under the following conditions: 1) a morning interval session pre-breakfast, 2) a strength or long aerobic session pre-breakfast (usually with protein), 3) a late-morning-to-midday or late-afternoon (pre-dinner) session when you’ve had at least several hours since last meal (or are still fasted in the intermittent fasting case), 4) anytime post exercise as recovery and to maintain beet loading (with protein). The specifics of this application is the art of coaching and nutrient timing, so if you get it, you get it, and if not, read up or hire a qualified coach or nutritionist to help you dial it in.
Not following any of these scenarios? Then you don’t need to add anything to Beta Red. Just go ahead and mix in water as normal before intense training and racing.
- Domínguez, R., Maté-Muñoz, J. L., Cuenca, E., García-Fernández, P., Mata-Ordoñez, F., Lozano-Estevan, M. C., ... & Garnacho-Castaño, M. V. (2018). Effects of beetroot juice supplementation on intermittent high-intensity exercise efforts. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15(1), 2.
- Naomi M. Cermak, Martin J. Gibala, and Luc J.C. van Loon. (2012). Nitrate Supplementation’s Improvement of 10-km Time-Trial Performance in Trained Cyclists. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 22(1), 64-71.
- Volek, J., Noakes, T., Phinney, S., (2014) Rethinking fat as a fuel for endurance exercise. European Journal of Sport Science. 15(1):13-20.