|February 26, 2024

How MCT Oil Can Power Your Workout

By Alison Moodie
Reviewed for Scientific Accuracy

How MCT Oil Can Power Your Workout

  • Just a tablespoon or two of MCT oil can help you exercise harder, and for longer.
  • Not only that, it jumpstarts your metabolism, accelerating weight loss.
  • Find out all the ways that MCT oil can power your workout, and how to use it before exercising.
  • For a high-quality brand, try Brain Octane oil. The new packaging means no drips, and the flip cap makes it easy to use on-the-go. Throw it in your gym bag so you always have it on hand for a quick energy boost.

Maybe you already add MCT oil to your coffee for its brain-boosting, satiating benefits. Here’s another reason to have this multitasking fat in heavy rotation — MCT oil can add power to your workout. Just a tablespoon or two can help you exercise harder, and for longer. Not only that, it accelerates weight loss. Sounds like a better deal than a sugar-laden sports drink, right? Read on to learn why MCT oil makes the perfect workout buddy.

Related: Fun Ways to Exercise: 23 Unconventional Workout Ideas

How MCT oil boosts your workout

1. Instant energy

Woman putting on headphones getting ready for a run

There are short, medium, and long-chain fatty acids (aka triglycerides). Your body digests medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) more easily and rapidly than long-chain triglycerides (like the fat found in olive oil, for example). That’s because MCTs aren’t digested in your stomach. Instead, they go straight to your liver, which quickly turns the fat into molecules called ketones, an alternative source of fuel. Ketones start powering your body and your mind within minutes, minus the energy crashes that come from glucose-rich carbs.

Ketones also help your brain produce more mitochondria, the battery packs in all your cells. This gives your muscles the energy they need for a kickass workout. [1]

Learn more about how ketones energize your body here.

2. Increases endurance

woman running up trail by the water

Studies show that MCT oil can help you exercise for longer and improve stamina.[2]

In one study, recreational athletes who ate foods containing small amounts of MCT for two weeks could do longer sessions of high-intensity workouts than people who ate long-chain triglyceride (LCT) foods.[3]

Another study found that mice fed MCTs swam for longer than mice that ate LCTs. The study looked at both mice trained in swimming and beginners; MCT oil increased endurance for both the newbies and the more experienced swimmers.

Related: Finding the Best MCT Oil to Power Everything You Want to Do 

3. Suppresses appetite

Hands around stomach with a brain icon overlaid

The healthy fat in MCT oil is satiating and keeps the “hangries” at bay so you can focus on your workout without any distracting cravings. MCT oil raises ketones, and ketones influence your hormones that control appetite. Ketones suppress ghrelin — your hunger hormone — and increase cholecystokinin (CCK), which signals to your brain when you’ve eaten enough.

Burning ketones also keeps your blood sugar stable. When your metabolism is in fat-burning mode, your brain won’t start to panic when you get hungry. Instead, your body can dip into its fat stores for energy, so you don’t experience the same energy highs and lows you get from eating carbs.

The beauty of MCT oil is that it creates a background level of ketones — up to 0.7 millimoles per liter. A blood ketone level measuring 0.5 is enough to suppress appetite.[4]

4. Jumpstarts fat-burning

MCT oil doesn’t just give you an energy boost: It also jumpstarts your metabolism, accelerating fat-burning.[5][6]

Dominic D’Agostino, Ph.D, assistant professor at the College of Medicine Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology at the University of South Florida, explains how MCT drives weight loss in a Bulletproof Radio () podcast.

“The mitochondria are basically the little organelles that are burning fat in your cells and you’ve enhanced the number of mitochondria and their ability to oxidize fat for energy,” he says.

Related: MCT Oil and Keto: How to Boost Ketones With Quality Fats

How to use MCT oil before a workout

hands pouring Bulletproof Brain Octane oil into teaspoon measurement

Drink 1-2 tablespoons of MCT oil, 15-20 minutes before a workout.

The great thing about MCT oil is that you can use it in just about anything. High-quality brands like Brain Octane oil are flavorless and odorless, so you can mix it into your favorite drink or drizzle it over food without affecting the taste. Try stirring it into your Bulletproof Coffee, or if you prefer eating a full meal before working out, drizzle it over this keto hamburger salad.

Throw a bottle of Brain Octane oil in your gym bag so you always have it with you for a pre-workout boost. The new packaging means no-drips, and the flip cap makes it easy to use on-the-go. Your muscles — and your waistline — will thank you.

Read next: MCT Oil Benefits: 6 Science-Backed Reason to Use MCT

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