Nutrition heresy

Marbles

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So, the ground for this thinking was layed as a teen reading T. E. Lawrence's Revolt in the Desert. He talked about how the Bedouin would eat a single massive meal before traveling 4 plus days without eating. Similarly, natives in the Amazon have been known to travel on foot without eating (Bruce Olsen's book Bruchko).

Many carnivores eat in a bolus pattern while traveling great distances between substantive meals (wolves, bears, big cats).

The biological system has a decent bit of plasticity to it, so we adapt to what we are exposed to.

All this leads me to a question. Has the orthodoxy of 3 meals a day and snacks to provide fuel for activities (pre/post workout, Etc.) left use a slave to food? If trying to break a speed record, sure suck down carbs continually. However, should we train to function on body stores of energy and be less dependent on having food available all the time?

I've not dug into the literature to see if this is supported with evidence, however I like being untethered from food. Granted, on a recent 26 mile run I had to get a snack at 18 miles. However, I was able to run 11 miles in the mountains (4500 ft of elevation gain) only carrying water and having only consumed 39 calories in the proceeding 12 hrs. This is a significant change from when I snacked all day long on a hike. I am not at a fitness level where I could meaningful compare times and experiment. However, I find the fact that my calculated VO2 Max on Garmin held level to be an indication that performance was not significantly degraded by not "fueling up" for the run, especially considering that this was only my second mountain run.
 
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B_Reynolds_AK

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Training our bodies to be fat adapted certainly has benefits for long endurance efforts.
Those people you mentioned were superbly capable of this.
When we rely on carbs and glycogen to perform, we are slaves to this metabolic process

For myself, I find that a combination of low carb intake, restricted feeding periods and training fasted makes a huge difference in how I perform in the mountains. While I won’t do this year round, as it’s not ideal for “bulking” periods, I’ll start into this sort of program around June, in order to perform my absolute best when the sheep opener comes in early August.


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*zap*

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I have no trouble eating all my food in an 8 hour window. Outside of that if I think I need fuel for strenuous activities I eat a cliff energy bar.
 

P Carter

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When training for ultras a few years back, I’d go up to 18 miles without food or water, starting fasted. (Out of necessity, not on purpose; My only time block was first thing in the morning so I’d roll out of bed and go.)

The human body is an amazing thing. All that said, I don’t think there’s anything magic about it—intermittent fast, or don’t; go keto, or don’t; eat veggies, or don’t. If you put in the workouts and get enough nutrition, writ large, you’ll be healthy. Otherwise you won’t.

All things considered, it makes sense to me to just eat a well-rounded diet, heavy on Whole Foods and light on refined foods, with none of this drastic stuff looking for some sort of magic or shortcut. But the human body can get used to a lot of stuff, it seems.
 

Old_Norther

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So, the ground for this thinking was layed as a teen reading T. E. Lawrence's Revolt in the Desert. He talked about how the Bedouin would eat a single massive meal before traveling 4 plus days without eating. Similarly, natives in the Amazon have been known to travel on foot without eating (Bruce Olsen's book Bruchko).

Many carnivores eat in a bolus pattern while traveling great distances between substantive meals (wolves, bears, big cats).

The biological system has a decent bit of plasticity to it, so we adapt to what we are exposed to.

All this leads me to a question. Has the orthodoxy of 3 meals a day and snacks to provide fuel for activities (pre/post workout, Etc.) left use a slave to food? If trying to break a speed record, sure suck down carbs continually. However, should we train to function on body stores of energy and be less dependent on having food available all the time?

I've not dug into the literature to see if this is supported with evidence, however I like being untethered from food. Granted, on a recent 26 mile run I had to get a snack at 18 miles. However, I was able to run 11 miles in the mountains (4500 ft of elevation gain) only carrying water and having only consumed 39 calories in the proceeding 12 hrs. This is a significant change from when I snacked all day long on a hike. I am not at a fitness level where I could meaningful compare times and experiment. However, I find the fact that my calculated VO2 Max on Garmin held level to be an indication that performance was not significantly degraded by not "fueling up" for the run, especially considering that this was only my second mountain run.
OHHHHH man this is good stuff. Im an ergogenics nerd, so forgive me some detail here.

Quick Backstory - So you are absolutley correct in saying humans dont need food (at least not like modern humans think we do). Think of it this way, humans are weak, small, hairless, toothless, clawless.... All around not dangerous. But nothing on earth will live when a small group of humans decide to kill it. Our biology allows us to sweat like no other animal can to keep us cool, our muscles utilize lipids and carbohydrates alike to form glycogen - we an eat anything and still keep going. We can easily pursue anything for weeks over any terrain and when its exausted, harvest it. Our andvantage is endurance. A great example of this is a book called Ín the land of Feast and Famine. Whats missing today is the motivation to move at that intensity. Wal Mart doesnt offer a "kill it yourself" section.

Training vs. Fueling - You need calories to maintain outputs like running. But if you are not FIT, no amount of dieting will make you FIT. No amount of dieting will replace training. No diet, no keto, no vegan diet, will make you fit. You have to train to get fitness. The amount of calories you consume will make the training you do more or less painful. Just try fasting for 2 days then do that 20 mile run. Ouch.

Training - Vo2 measures are almost always going to be wrong unless using a gas exchange tool. (V02 Master has made this possible outside the lab). HR is a much more practical means of measuring training intensity. A V02 max is not going to help you much, unless you are looking to compare "wrench" sizes with the next guy at the starting line. In a standard hunter, a more practical number for training is rate at load - or how fast you can move a mile under a pack. If you are looking to do an competititve endurance event - remember that your avearage velocity determines your success. For a cyclist this will be FTP - correlated to VO2 Max but by no means a 1-1. For runners this will be your threshold velocity, or speed of running where you are just under that anaerobic cliff. For all of this, the amount of body weight you carry is the lowest hanging fruit. V02 Max is literally the amount of oxygen your muscles utilize per unit of body weight. Less weight, higher relative max.

Fueling - Nothing straightens out a messed up body like exercise. Start training every day and watch your body transform. With that said, if what you are eating didnt die recently, dont eat it. That goes for the bars, gels, powders, etc that most ultra endurance athletes consume. While running, they probably cant be avoided. But when at home, you should eat a full spectrum variety of fresher veggies, fruits, meats, and carbs. There are very good, very accurate models for predicting how much of each you need based on your training program.

All that said, feel free to DM me. Im not here to charge people for advice, just want to be part of the community.
 

Old_Norther

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I will add here, pre/post workout anything is a total scam. You dont need to drink a protein shake at all, unless you are a geared up bodybulider chewing on Dbol and pinning Tren every day. Whey protein isnt bad for you, but neither is a rib eye. Outstanding physiques and great performance can be achieved just eating normal food. Exception being fueling during a run or a bike ride, where bars and gels are sort of a necessity.
 

akbrett

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OHHHHH man this is good stuff. Im an ergogenics nerd, so forgive me some detail here.

Quick Backstory - So you are absolutley correct in saying humans dont need food (at least not like modern humans think we do). Think of it this way, humans are weak, small, hairless, toothless, clawless.... All around not dangerous. But nothing on earth will live when a small group of humans decide to kill it. Our biology allows us to sweat like no other animal can to keep us cool, our muscles utilize lipids and carbohydrates alike to form glycogen - we an eat anything and still keep going. We can easily pursue anything for weeks over any terrain and when its exausted, harvest it. Our andvantage is endurance. A great example of this is a book called Ín the land of Feast and Famine. Whats missing today is the motivation to move at that intensity. Wal Mart doesnt offer a "kill it yourself" section.

Training vs. Fueling - You need calories to maintain outputs like running. But if you are not FIT, no amount of dieting will make you FIT. No amount of dieting will replace training. No diet, no keto, no vegan diet, will make you fit. You have to train to get fitness. The amount of calories you consume will make the training you do more or less painful. Just try fasting for 2 days then do that 20 mile run. Ouch.

Training - Vo2 measures are almost always going to be wrong unless using a gas exchange tool. (V02 Master has made this possible outside the lab). HR is a much more practical means of measuring training intensity. A V02 max is not going to help you much, unless you are looking to compare "wrench" sizes with the next guy at the starting line. In a standard hunter, a more practical number for training is rate at load - or how fast you can move a mile under a pack. If you are looking to do an competititve endurance event - remember that your avearage velocity determines your success. For a cyclist this will be FTP - correlated to VO2 Max but by no means a 1-1. For runners this will be your threshold velocity, or speed of running where you are just under that anaerobic cliff. For all of this, the amount of body weight you carry is the lowest hanging fruit. V02 Max is literally the amount of oxygen your muscles utilize per unit of body weight. Less weight, higher relative max.

Fueling - Nothing straightens out a messed up body like exercise. Start training every day and watch your body transform. With that said, if what you are eating didnt die recently, dont eat it. That goes for the bars, gels, powders, etc that most ultra endurance athletes consume. While running, they probably cant be avoided. But when at home, you should eat a full spectrum variety of fresher veggies, fruits, meats, and carbs. There are very good, very accurate models for predicting how much of each you need based on your training program.

All that said, feel free to DM me. Im not here to charge people for advice, just want to be part of the community.

thanks for your post.i’ve been getting more serious about training and want to know more about the diet side of things to optimize my time, curious where to find these models for predicting how much veggies, fruit, meats and carbs, based off your training.
thanks brett
 

amassi

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thanks for your post.i’ve been getting more serious about training and want to know more about the diet side of things to optimize my time, curious where to find these models for predicting how much veggies, fruit, meats and carbs, based off your training.
thanks brett
The rp diet, Renaissance periodization makes it incredibly easy. You adjust your bodyweight, Training and sleep schedule and the ai does the rest. Weekly updates etc.

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Superdoo

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I will add here, pre/post workout anything is a total scam. You dont need to drink a protein shake at all, unless you are a geared up bodybulider chewing on Dbol and pinning Tren every day. Whey protein isnt bad for you, but neither is a rib eye. Outstanding physiques and great performance can be achieved just eating normal food. Exception being fueling during a run or a bike ride, where bars and gels are sort of a necessity.
This might be true for most people, but legit ectomorphs like me need a little assistance if we want to train more than 3 days a week.
 

*zap*

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I think that fasted aerobic capacity done at lower heart rate is very good at burning body fat and fat adapting your body to burn fat as fuel while at low levels of intensity....for up to 1 hour, then you may need some energy foods.

Strength training is probably best to do fed with food that turns to glucose easily. Especially if your really getting after it.

Why use up a large amount of your stored glucose when you can eat an energy bar and easily make glucose from that? Some folks really find per-workout supps to be beneficial so why not?

ymmv
 
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Old_Norther

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Good stuff guys. Allow me to hit a Few points here:

Calculations- love RPDiet. Great tool that I use myself. I’ll find some more templates and share them here. Usually takes the form of an excel sheet.

Body Type- I hear you there. Never forget, the principle that a diet will never replace HARD, consistent, training works for all types. I use a pre workout myself, usually pour over dark roast black coffee.

Type of Cardio: Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) cardio is a burning less fat than High Intensity work. HR is lower. It’s math. HOWEVER….. your body adapts differently to each type. LISS can be done almost every day. HIT can be done maybe 4x week. This makes LISS a better strategy to lose fat because you can do it every day and still recover. Training done at Zone 2 intensity will cause mitochondrial genesis in slow twitch muscle, expand the diastolic volume of the hearts left ventricle(over time)….. meaning your recovery is better. HIT will increase neurological efficiency of muscle, build muscle, and increase the systolic capability of the cardiovascular system…… meaning when you drop the hammer you can go harder, for longer.

Long story short, for hunting you need both. Best to do LISS in the gym and HIT on the mountain.

Supps….. you don’t need them. Period. Do I use them? You bet I do!! I recognize that it’s a compromise, but really try to steer clear of processed foods. Many bars and gels are full of calories that aren’t helping your goal of performing. Some brands are excellent, I can post the ones I prefer.

Just a few of my thoughts here.
 

*zap*

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Hiit is burning mostly glucose not fat because of the high heart rate. You may use fat to replace that glucose but not if you eat carbs after the workout, the body will use the carbs for most of that....thus the actual body fat burned is less than liss. Plus, depending on what else your doing 4x hitt per week may be 3x too much.

liss done fasted is burning fat because there is no insulin in the blood and the heart rate being low does not encourage the body to release any glucose...so the body has no choice but to burn body fat. ymmv.

Not trying to argue just explaining my opinion. So much depends on the individual, their goals, their history, exactly what they are doing and age.
 
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Old_Norther

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@*zap* word.
@Marbles I was just reading your first post. Lawrence was a madman. Guy must have needed a wheelbarrow to carry his massive balls. His stand in Arabia from Seven Pillars makes for some all-time adventure reading.

Another really interesting read is The Last Viking. Roald Amundsen talks about the Inuit tribes diet and way of life in the arctic. Very interesting stuff there. Also a total savage of a human, Amundsen. Norwegian flavor savage.
 
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Marbles

Marbles

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@Old_Norther sorry, I keep wanting to dive into more detailed discussions, but have not been finding time to sit down and put in the work, so what follow. I have added The Last Viking to my reading list.

I think some things depend on what the goal is. Someone who wants to run competitively in marathons needs to be running in the cardio range with the ability to have anaerobic sprints. For them, training with constant carb intake makes sense. Same applies to many other things. Speed, however, outside of competition, rarely trumps endurance, I mean, humans are incredibly slow compared to most other land mammals. So, to clarify what I wrote above, I think training for long course endurance without being tied to food produces a more functional strength and speed, and a more durable person in general. I do not race, so my focus is more on durability than optimized pace. There is also good evidence that periods of reduced calorie intake are beneficial to health and longevity (this is based on discussions and books I have read, I have not dug into the actual research as of yet, so this could be lower quality evidence than I have been led to believe).

Trying for speed has repeatedly led to injuries for me that have prevented me from training. While I think there are other issues with using speed as the measure of fitness, I have no interest in going back to that mindset as I know where it will get me. While it obviously is not a true VO2 Max, I think a calculated one makes for a good baseline and tracking changes in it has value. However, this needs to be based more on long term trends than daily results and taken in the context of other performance markers. Garmin's interpretation of the VO2 Max data can lead to very bad training advice. Last night I decided to set a new distance record as it was solstice as seeing the sun set and sun rise on the same run without needing a headlamp sounded like fun. As my VO2 Max did not show improvement, Garmin says "Your current training load is sufficient to maintain your fitness level. To see improvement, try working out longer or more often." This is literally after running further than I ever have.

On that run, at 24 miles I got some skittles. I'm not sure they made any difference for my muscle function, but certainly helped with mental staying power to finish. This is in line with research that shows glucose rich food reduces self-regulation fatigue, possibly because the brain is the most glucose hungry organ and the only one the is obligated to run on glucose.

I think many pre/post workout products do not add value above what can be achieved with cheaper methods, though there is something to be said for the place of the placebo effect given how much of fatigue and corresponding reduced performance appears to be mediated by mental rather than physiological processes. Pre-workout (if desired), drink coffee, eat some carbs. Post work-out, eat carbs and protein. Carbs because your muscles are primed to store them as glycogen for about 1 hour following the activity (rather than as fat) and to keep the protein from undergoing gluconeogenesis. Protein because it helps with muscle remodeling. Of course, hydrate and replace electrolytes as needed.

As the body is very good at becoming efficient at whatever it does consistently, I'm inclined to think that altering diet periodically is probably good. Diet would alter with the seasons before modern shipping (of course there was a lot more nutritional deficits too). Right now I do not follow any diet in particular and may or may not go to the effort of doing so. I have found that simply targeting a protein goal, knowing what foods are filling, and not allowing myself to over eat my calorie allowance has resulted in eating significantly less processed foods simply because they leave me hungry. However, I can see doing something like keto for 2-3 months, possible in winter when cold exposure increases brown adipose tissue (well, assuming one does not keep their world warm and comfortable using modern technology). Or, leading into hunting season as suggested by @B_Reynolds_AK , it would certainly make for lighter food. Humans are clearly omnivores, and I think many fad diets like to forget that fact.

There is also danger in assuming that a traditional diet that works well for one group of people will work well for another. Those groups have possibly evolved genetics specific to that diet (CPT1A variants in Alaskan Natives, Etc.). It does not mean all that needs to be thrown out, only that we should seek higher level evidence to support our theories (which is not always available). Fish oil is another example of extrapolation that did not work out, diets high in fish corollate with reduced cardiovascular disease risk, however taking fish oil supplements has failed to produce statistically significant reductions in cardiovascular disease risk. It was a good idea, but turns out to be wrong.

I have been supplementing protein, but that is because I have significantly ramped up my activity level while cutting calorie intake. I would prefer lean meat, but besides not really liking chicken breast (the cheapest lean meat), it is also cheaper per gram of protein to just buy a powder. But, there is certainly nothing magic about protein powder. There is ideal, then there is good enough and practical.
 

Old_Norther

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Watch out! We found a Unicorn here! Someone on the internet who embraces nuance. I love to see it.

Let me get this straight, you did a 24 mile run through the night!? That’s just impressive.
 
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Marbles

Marbles

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Watch out! We found a Unicorn here! Someone on the internet who embraces nuance. I love to see it.

Let me get this straight, you did a 24 mile run through the night!? That’s just impressive.
31 total, (50 K). Very slow though, 6h 8m running time, 7 hours total.
 

Old_Norther

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31 total, (50 K). Very slow though, 6h 8m running time, 7 hours total.
😳 that’s only 10x further than I’ve ever run at one go. Well done.

Maybe chime in here with some of the intra products you use? Sounds like people would be interested to know.

When I was cycling a lot I used a German Brand called AMSport. They had a killer carb bar and gel shot carb thing with caffeine in them. Haven’t found a great real food replacement over here in The states just yet
 
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Marbles

Marbles

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😳 that’s only 10x further than I’ve ever run at one go. Well done.

Maybe chime in here with some of the intra products you use? Sounds like people would be interested to know.

When I was cycling a lot I used a German Brand called AMSport. They had a killer carb bar and gel shot carb thing with caffeine in them. Haven’t found a great real food replacement over here in The states just yet
I'm the wrong person to recommend things.In part because I only recently started training consistently again and have not done enough distance. Right now, for longer runs I just carry a water filter; though, this screwed me the other night as areas that had water in May were dry and I ended up going 19 miles before finding a water source (did not start looking until about 10 miles into the run).

As my long runs have been in Anchorage, I just stop at gas station and pick up a Powerade and candy as I figure the goal is fast carbs. Plus, after a long run I have burned enough calories tha the empty calories do not reduce the amount of more nutritious food I eat. As I start training more in the mountains I will need to carry something with me, I will probably keep it simple with whatever comes to hand. This changes for anything over a day as I feel it becomes important to start getting adequate protein and calories. Though I have read that a person with 4% body fat has enough energy reserves to run for over 100 hours if staying out of the aerobic intensity range and their body is trained to burn fat and leave the glucose for the brain.

How much cycling have you done? Also, feel free to give recommendations.
 

Old_Norther

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That’s another reason I steer clear of running. On a bike I can have water and snacks 😂

I just bike for fun. In the good weather months I’ll average 250km /week. My longest rides have been 100km. My struggle is that I weigh 200lbs. (Roughly 11%BF). So I just use way more glycogen than a 170lb rider when I’m hammering away. Definitely hit the wall on those 100km rides and it’s not fun.

The 100 hours might be way less than or way more than what’s possible. At that point you are talking Soviet methods. If he dies, he dies. Myoglobin in the blood, etc. but endurance guys are mental juggernauts. I am convinced they just don’t feel pain, and they could probably do it.
 

Old_Norther

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We are way off in the weeds here, BUT..... There is also an argument to be made for hunger in hunting. Anecdotal claims (and some clinical research) support the statement that hunger attunes the senses, including better focus, hearing, and vision. The lack of food, the lack of food availability, channels the senses towards the aim of obtaining sustenance.

For me, I dont want the suffering of backpack hunting to be amplified by being super hungry the whole time haha. But man it sounds like being hungry sure sharpens you up when the next meal is feeding just out of bow range.
 
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