April 21, 2014

Coconut Oil Benefits for Workout

Chocolate Coconut Banana Protein Shake with coconut oil
Click for recipe.

Coconut Oil Benefits for Workout:

Using Coconut Oil in Fitness, Training, Body Building, Weight Lifting, Cardio Exercises, Running, and Athletics

by Brian and Marianita Shilhavy

When we first started publishing the truth about coconut oil on the Internet 10 years ago, we started an online discussion group to facilitate people’s experiences about coconut oil. The archives still exist today in our Coconut Diet Forums. One common response we were getting from people who were beginning to use coconut oil in their diet, was that although they were not seeing a lot of weight loss, their clothes were fitting better! Here are some examples:

I haven’t seen a big weight loss, but my clothes fit better and I know adding an exercise program will impact the weight. Val – (Coconut Diet Forums)

I just learned about coconut oil in October. For quite some time I had been trying to lose a few pounds. I wasn’t really overweight but I wasn’t as slim as I had been. Eating carefully wasn’t working and I thought that this was certainly worth trying. I immediately bought some Virgin Coconut Oil. I started with one tablespoon a day, then two, and now about three. I cook my eggs in it in the morning and, since I had already stopped using either sugar or artificial sweetener in my tea, I found it gave the tea a little flavor–so I put it in that too. And, while it took a little getting used to with the eggs, I immediately loved it when I fried fish, hamburger, or steak in it for dinner. Within three weeks, I saw that while I had only actually lost two pounds, I looked as though I had lost much more. My waist was definitely smaller and my jeans fit great. Don’t even ask me why because I do not know. I stopped worrying about the weight because I realized that weight was not really my goal. My goal was to look slimmer and that’s what happened. Still, I have now lost a couple more pounds. So, if you’re looking better, try not to worry about the pounds. They will take care of themselves. Nikolina – (Coconut Diet Forums)

Well it didn’t take long for the fitness crowds to figure out that one could consume coconut oil and lose fat but not muscle mass. We started seeing testimonies from those who work out, including runners, body builders, etc. like this one:

Last year I was measured at 10.5% body fat. Last month, I hiked up my consumption [of Virgin Coconut Oil] from 4 tbsp /day to 6 tbsp/day. At the same time, I limited my carb intake at dinnertime. In a few weeks time, my bodyweight increased by about 4lbs. but body fat decreased to 9.6% – I did not change my workout intensity or frequency. My trainer is wondering what the heck am I taking (chest and thigh measurements increased). It blows ‘em away when I say that I take Virgin Coconut Oil straight up. MG – (Coconut Diet Forums)

Besides thermogenesis, another reason why coconut oil promotes leaner bodies without always reducing weight is its ketogenic effect. Ketones are high energy fuel that nourish the brain. Our body can produce ketones from stored fat while fasting or in starvation, but they can also be produced by converting medium chain fatty acids in certain foods. In a fasting state, the body’s use of ketones for energy prevents muscle loss. Coconut oil is nature’s richest source of these medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). The high-fat ketogenic diet has been used for years for certain forms of childhood epilepsy, and the diet’s use is now turning to Alzheimer’s and other diseases as well. (See article here.) I think we will see much more research on this in the future, and that it will more than likely uncover more evidence of how coconut oil can help keep our bodies lean without reducing muscle mass.

The other main benefit athletes are finding in coconut oil is increased energy and endurance, due to the thermogenesis effect of the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil. This is a great benefit to non-athletes as well! Here are some testimonies to this effect:

Is anyone else experiencing sustained energy for working out from coconut oil? I am a 5/6 day a week exerciser-running, elliptical and weights-and I have never had the sustained energy I feel now. It seems like I can run and run and run now, whereas pre-coconut oil, I would really slow down/lose steam after about 20 mins cardio. Melissa – (Coconut Diet Forums)

I’m not a biochemist, but I am an athlete. Personally, I eat tons of coconut and my energy level on long workouts is better than ever. Ryan (Coconut Diet Forums)

I have been taking a tablespoon of coconut oil three times daily with meals. Taking the oil with my meals seems to give me a “full feeling” a lot faster. My sweet tooth has practically vanished—and this is from someone who should have bought stock in Hershey’s long ago! Ironically, facilitating weight loss was my main reason for trying the coconut oil diet, but with all the wonderful benefits I am experiencing, the weight loss aspect almost seems like an afterthought. About three days into the routine, I had an energy rush on a Saturday morning that kept me going until well after lunch. I can’t believe how much I got done that day! My mental state of mind seemed to be much sharper. I was able to focus on the tasks at hand without getting sidetracked. I was not exhausted at the end of running my errands, which included traipsing around a huge mall. It seemed like I was practically running, rather than the leisurely walking that was formerly my habit. In addition to my energy level, my mood has been very stable—no up and down mood swings—even with the onset of PMS! Theresa (Coconut Diet Forums)

A study done in Japan compared the effects of consuming long chain fatty acids or medium chain fatty acids (found in coconut oil) on the endurance of athletes: “Effect of ingestion of medium-chain triacylglycerols on moderate- and high-intensity exercise in recreational athletes.” Their conclusion: “Our data suggest that short-term ingestion of food containing a small amount of MCT suppresses the increase in blood lactate concentration and RPE (rating of perceived exertion) during moderate-intensity exercise and extends the duration of subsequent high-intensity exercise, at levels higher than those achieved by ingestion of LCT-containing food.”

More and more bloggers in the fitness world are beginning to write about the positive experiences of coconut oil in fitness training. With all the scandals of banned substance abuse for performance enhancement going on in professional sports, we truly hope that professional athletes will also discover the benefits of using natural foods such as coconut oil as well. On Twitter this morning Alfred Ball, a Personal Trainer and Registered Kinesiologist in Canada, tweeted about his recent blog post describing how he “got unstuck from using coffee as a short-term energy source” by switching to coconut oil. Mr. Ball runs his own fitness center at the Steve Nash Fitness World in North Vancouver. You can read his interesting blog post here.

Another interesting blog post uncovered by Twitter came from the “THE SHAMROCK RUNNING CLUB’S BLOG” entitled: “Soybean Oil vs Coconut Oil” by Josef Brandenburg. Mr. Brandenbury is apparently a Personal Trainer in the Washington D.C. area. He tackles head on the conventional dietary theories that saturated fats are bad for human nutrition, and that polyunsaturated fats are good. He reportedly took two groups of overweight women, and gave one group 30 ml of soybean oil and one group 30 ml of coconut oil. Neither group knew which oil they were getting. After 12 weeks, here are the results he recorded:

In 12 weeks both groups will have lost a similar amount of scale weight, but the soy oil group dropped no belly fat. None. While the coconut oil – all saturated fat – dropped a lot of belly fat. So, just 2 tbsp of soy oil is a powerful enough stimulus to stop all belly fat loss. What’s more is that the soy oil group’s total cholesterol went up, and their “bad” cholesterol (LDL) went up, and their “good” cholesterol (HDL) when down; while the coconut oil group had exactly the opposite – positive – results.

You can read the blog post here.

So if you are making an effort to exercise or work out more, don’t forget to eat your coconut oil! If you are an athlete, don’t be fooled by performance enhancing drugs and the side effects that go along with them! Natural foods like coconut oil work much better without the side effects.

Gluten Free Chocolate Coconut Protein Bites coconut oil benefits for workout Photo

Chocolate Coconut Protein Bites
Click for Recipe.


About the authors: Unlike many people who write about coconut oil by simply reading about it, Brian and Marianita Shilhavy actually lived in a coconut producing area of the Philippines for several years. Marianita Jader Shilhavy grew up on a coconut plantation in the Philippines and in a culture that consumed significant amounts of coconut fat in their diet. She later went on to earn her degree in nutrition and worked as a nutritionist in the Philippines. Brian Shilhavy also lived in the Philippines for several years with Marianita and their 3 children observing firsthand the differences between the diet and health of the younger generation and those of Marianita’s parents’ generation still consuming a traditional diet. This led to years of studying Philippine nutrition and dietary patterns first hand while living in a rural farming community in the Philippines. They are authors of the best-selling book: Virgin Coconut Oil: How it has changed people’s lives and how it can change yours!

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