How Much Fat Should Athletes Eat?

EndurElite Chief Endurance Officer Matt Mosman discusses dietary fat myths, why eating enough fat is critical, and how much you should be eating on a daily basis as a runner, cyclist, or other endurance athlete.

Video Transcription:

Good morning, EndurElite family of fast. Matt Mossman, the supplement and nutrition guru here today to talk to you about dietary fat. Now, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, people thought that fat was the devil. They said, "It would make you fat, it's gonna cause coronary heart disease, it's gonna cause cardiovascular disease, and all these other problems that are just..." It's gonna be the end of the world.

Is Fat Really Bad For You?

Now, recent research has proven that eating adequate amounts of fat in the diet or even really high amounts of fat in the diet really have no negative effect or will cause these diseases that people once thought that it would. And, in fact, I'd argue that not giving you enough fat in your diet probably has more negative consequences and just because fat plays so many essential roles in the body.

Why Fat Is An Essential Macronutrient For Endurance Athletes

It helps with hormone regulation especially the regulation of sex hormones. It helps carry fat-soluble vitamins. It plays critical roles in the brain, the nervous system, and our vision, huge component of the structure and function of every cell, and the list goes on and on and on and on and on.

How Much Fat Should I Be Eating As A Runner Or Cyclist?

So, this really begs the question how much fat should I be consuming on a daily basis as an endurance athlete? Now, this is a little bit of a tricky question to answer. We're gonna look at this a little different way first. As an endurance athlete, I would be giving you at least 20% of my total daily calories from fat. And the reason being is if you don't, it could have some negative consequences to all those things I just mentioned as far as the functions of fat in the body.

So, at least 20% of total daily calories from fat. Now, you can go all the way up to like 70% of total daily calories from fat and that would be like a ketogenic diet, but, you know, that's info for another video. So my recommendation as an endurance athlete is if you're getting 20 to 40% of your total daily calories from fat, that's gonna be the sweet spot. Now, you may be saying, "40% of my total daily calories from fat?" And I would say, "Mm-hmm.". And the reason being is there's actually some cool research out there that has shown that endurance athletes who adhere to a higher fat diet for a period of time can actually notice some performance improvements.

What About Studies On Fat And Endurance Athletes?

In one study, the researchers took two groups. The first group they had to follow a regular kind of higher carbohydrate diet, a little bit lower fat and moderate amounts of protein. This other group, the researchers had the endurance athletes stick to a diet where 38% of the total calories were coming from fat. And the researchers did their researchy type things. They ran these runners and they measured performance improvements over the course of, I think, it was like a couple weeks. And they noticed that during harder training blocks, the endurance athletes who had higher amounts of fat in their diet actually performed better than the typical high carbohydrate group. Now, this was a smaller study. We didn't go on for that long of a period of time and I don't know if I'd always adhere to like a higher fat diet like this. But during harder training blocks, because fat is more calorically dense, it may be a little bit easier to get your calories by eating a higher fat diet and you may notice some improvements in performance.

So, let's wrap this all up in a nice little package and deliver it to you. Three main points. Fat is not bad for you. Fat plays many essential roles in the body and if you're eating Sunday breakfast, and you're having some pancakes and bacon, feel free to go ahead, and grab that next piece of bacon because, honestly, it's not gonna kill you. In fact, taste delicious. Nama-nama-nama in my tumma-tumma-tumma.

So, that is it for today, my endurance friends. If you have a fat-fearing friend, you share this video with them. If you want more information like this, head over to the Endur Elite blog at Check out our new YouTube channel. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, get social with us. And until next time my endurance friends. Stay fueled, stay focused, and stay fast.