Michael Andrew Experiments with Ketogenic Diet: GMM presented by SwimOutlet.com

Gold Medal Minute presented by SwimOutlet.com

Michael Andrew shocked us all with his swim in the 200 IM at the the Richmond Pro Swim dropping a 1:57.49. What some may not know is that heading into the meet, he’s been experimenting with the Ketogenic Diet. Eliminating carbs from your diet sounds brutal, but Michael does do things differently. It’ll be interesting to see how the diet works after the summer is over.

Michael swam the 200 IM in Richmond to prep for the event at the FINA Champions Series. In Guangzhou, China, however, it was his 3rd event of the session, and though he still collected $5k in prize money, he turned in a slow 2:04. I’m hoping he can turn it around at the FINA Champions Series in Indianapolis, May 31-June 1st, after getting the Guangzhou experience under his belt.


If Michael focuses on a fast 200 IM in Indy, what do you think he can go? I would love see Michael shave a few tenths, going 1:57.1-2, maybe even a 1:56.9. But who cares what I think… What do you think?

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This is a Gold Medal Media production presented by SwimOutlet.com. Host Gold Medal Mel Stewart is a 3-time Olympic medalist and the co-founder of SwimSwam.com, a Swimming News website.

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Not sure how this improves his endurance

The Screaming Viking!

pretty simple really. there are levels of fat adaptation that go beyond what we thought possible in the past. when an athlete eats a ketogenic diet, they gain increased ability to burn fat as fuel at higher intensities, thus conserving glucose for later in the race. This has been shown in at least one study. Many still think that this adaptation would only be beneficial in long distance races but I have argued the opposite for years.

Prison MIke

Could you tell us which study are you referring to? It sounds like an interesting read.

Ol' Longhorn
Michael Schwartz

Scrolling to the summary of the articles findings: It can be concluded that long-term, high fat diets may be favorable for aerobic endurance athletes, during the preparatory season, when a high volume and low to moderate intensity of training loads predominate in the training process. High volume training on a ketogenic diet increases fat metabolism during exercise, reduces body mass and fat content and decreases post exercise muscle damage. Low carbohydrate ketogenic diets decrease the ability to perform high intensity work, due to decreased glycogen muscle stores and the lower activity of glycolytic enzymes, which is evidenced by a lower LA concentration and a maximal work load during the last 15 min of the high intensity stage of the exercise… Read more »

Ol' Longhorn

The key is the time course. He’s always in the initial phases for this study (15 min). In fact, all competitive pool distances are basically within that time frame. The ketogenic diet did better during that early time frame.

I laid out why I think keto is optimal with USRPT in the Viking Manifesto… most studies done on keto are not set up to really test it properly yet. Longer endurance events typically are the focus in keto studies.


The science behind ketogenic diets is definitely not that well supported. Very controversial and not a ton of support behind it. But what do I know, I just work in medical research…


all innovations have to start somewhere….even if its not popular . Kuddos for Michael for trying new things .


Champions are usually ahead of the research curve, not the late adopters. It may be experimental, but that’s how you progress. Certainly Tim Shaw did not benefit from a carb-heavy diet….

Ol' Longhorn

As we’ve come to learn, however — across sports — the outlier champions were ahead of the research curve … on doping detection.

Ol' Longhorn

Over 100 Olympic medals have been stripped since 2004. Champions ahead of the curve. Until caught.


At worst, it doesnt seem to impact him negatively. (so far at least)


Didn’t medical research on the diet started in the early 20th century as treatment for epilepsy? However, I do understand that this is a relatively narrow and limited focus… I read a few articles about the diet since I wanted to give it a go last year. Anecdotally I can tell you that I felt great when I was on the diet, it was much easier to loose weight, and I felt I had more energy during the day. I did notice that I fatigued much faster during exercise, however, I looked into that issue and found that it was recommended that if you do HITT workouts that you should have a set range of carbs 30 minutes before and… Read more »

Steve Nolan

What’s your area of research?

The Screaming Viking!

then you should agree that more research always needs to be done and current science is never the final answer… the military is currently studying exogenous ketones and they are finding the same positive results they found in the UCONN Faster study

Easy E

This experiment can probably earn him a PhD from Liberty University.


Just being able to spell science gets you a PhD from Liberty.


So it’s “not well supported” AND “not a ton of support behind it” huh? You’re right, you do sound smart.


At the very least, Michael is giving us a look at how this kind of diet works for a particular type of swimmer with a particular type of physiology. I like that he’s trying new things and giving them all a solid honest try. And with more than a year before OTs, he’s got plenty of time for adjustments and even to do something else if it isn’t working for him. I wonder if they are doing any kind of measuring for results of any kind. And I wouldn’t expect the medical community to be too supportive of this kind of diet. It goes against everything they say usually. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is the wrong choice for Michael.… Read more »


I think others around world do race much more than Americans. Not saying good or bad. Katinka for example

Peter Manieri

Amazing 7 thumbs down on this straight up thread!
Says alot about the changing of the guard.
Andrew is way right in saying in person performance
is the pro brand.
He’s a good guy!

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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