The HVMN Ketone project Part 3: The Experiment

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Welcome to part 3 of our experiment with using to the HVMN Ketones. In part two, we talked about the science and why you might want to experiment with ketones. In this installment, we are going to go deeper into the potential benefits of supplementing with ketones. And put this to the test.

During my first test back in August, I found that ketone supplementation worked really well for Ironman efforts. I had steadier energy at slightly higher power efforts with less sugar (77-80% FTP versus 72-75% FTP).  This makes sense. Exogenous ketones–at least theoretically–allow you to spare glycogen stores by putting you into a ketogenic state without having to go on a ketogenic diet. And you can still eat carbs (smaller amounts though) to keep those stores high during exercise bouts like an Ironman.

Taking this one step further, supplementing with ketones might allow me to burn more fat at higher efforts when I would typically be burning a higher ratio of carbs to fat. Without ketones, when going at threshold, I might be burning 80% carbs and 20% fats. With ketones, I might be going more 70% to 30% where that 30% is actually ketones, which are faster acting and more efficient fuel compared to using fat stores. (Please note those percentages are just examples.)

So let’s put this to the test: will supplementing with ketones allow you to hold a higher effort for longer? As I mentioned before, it works at 80% threshold. But what if I picked that up to closer to around threshold? Impossible? We will find out….

To test this, I have created what I call the “Tetris Brick”–4 hours of a variety of efforts all around threshold going between the Vasa SwimErg and my bike trainer as follows: 4 rounds of

  1. 1000 meters on the Vasa SwimErg as four rounds of 50m hard above threshold followed by 200m cruise. This should take me roughly 17 min.
  2. 45 min on TrainerRoad doing the “Deerhorn -4” workout which consists of two rounds of 4 x 4 minutes at 92-94% FTP within which there are two 30 second surges above threshold thrown in the mix.

Screenshot 2019-02-13 06.26.02

I  designed this test to be very glycolytic.  It includes surges over threshold to keep things interesting and simulate high-intensity racing like cycling, road racing, and standard triathlons where you have to surge to bridge gaps or increase power over hills.

If I am sparing glycogen, then I should be able to keep going throughout without fading (or fading as much). If I do fade, it will certainly show in the power on the SwimErg at the beginning of each round or on those surges during the ride. I will be testing my ketone levels every hour on the hour before the bike and the swim. I will take an HVMN ketone at the start and then half way through and supplement with my normal fuel throughout based on feel.

Whether I die or thrive, everything is going to be recorded and vlogged so stay tuned for that. If I do die mid-workout, I have asked my wife to get my ketone levels for science before calling the medics.

And finally, here’s the video:

For more information about HVMN ketones click here:

For more information about the science behind ketones and ketone esters, including research papers, see part 2.

Coach Chris, Tri Swim Coach

***Note: HVMN sent me a kit of the Ketone esters to test and do this experiment. I paid for any tariffs or shipping fees. And all future product purchase will be on my own dime. They did not influence the design of the test or the outcomes of the test.***