I've posted several times in the past about how I've really struggled to manipulate body composition for performance. Previously even a moderate calorie deficit made me feel very weak and trashed my performance/mood so I could never stick with it long enough to see any effect. I'd been trying various methods over the last 6 years without any significant shift and always feeling rubbish and losing power. I've also done significant periods of cardio with no effect other than up-regulation of hunger/calorie intake.
I'd mostly given up on this and accepted having a sub-optimal body composition but decided to have a proper go at low carb/high fat this summer to see if it was any different to previous efforts on a healthy mixed diet. I decided to allow for up to 100g carbs per day (previous average was more like 300g) and directly replace the carbs with fats primarily from animal sources i.e. meat/fish/eggs/dairy. Based on the reading I'd done this seemed like the most likely successful approach considering my main issues always seemed to come down to satiety and penduluming energy levels. I ate a 500kcal deficit from my previous maintenance of 3000kcal. Protein intake remained the same at around 120g/day.
Long story short - within a couple of days my hunger signalling massively down-regulated and has stayed that way ever since aside from a few days where I've eaten a lot more carbs in a row. It was such an extreme shift that I went from always being hungry every two hours to sometimes forgetting to eat because I wasn't feeling hungry at all. My energy levels felt extremely stable and I no longer felt the need to snack every 20-30 minutes whilst climbing. My energy levels were also much better on big alpine days with limited food availability. This was and remains the biggest positive for me because I finally feel free from the constant energy dips that I've experienced for all of my adult life since the age of 14. I mainly ate my carbs in the form of fruits/berries in the hours before climbing and this seemed to work really well for providing good power levels.
The other big shift was obviously weight and body comp - within 10 weeks I've dropped 5kg body fat from ~23% to ~17% and 83kg to 78kg at 173cm. This has honestly been so effortless that it almost feels anticlimactic. Naturally this has had a significant effect on performance and my power, endurance and finger strength on small holds feel hugely improved. I also noticed less recovery time was necessary between sessions. Here's a comparative picture:
Apologies for the intimate camera staring.
Anyway, I thought this might be interesting for those on here who've had a similar experience with diet and body comp. My weight is continuing to steadily shift downwards and based on percentages I'd imagine I'll drop around another 5kg before stabilising - we'll see how that goes but it makes sense based on height/age and aiming for 10-12% body fat.
Obviously this is pretty game changing in terms of climbing performance so I'm frickin psyched. However it's also made abundantly clear to me how weight loss can become an addictive thing due to the performance gains - I'd never experienced anything like this kind of progression in such a short time frame. It's intoxicating. I've got a lot more understanding now for those athletes who've ended up tipping off the wrong side of the healthy weight scale.