When it comes to losing weight, there are many, many approaches you can take - some of them will work while others definitely will not. Runners especially need to be mindful of their approach to …
Lots of runners look pretty healthy on the outside. They exercise a lot, maintain a decent weight, have low body fat percentage, low BMI, and generally look fit. But inside there could be a lot …
My name is Patrick McGilvray, and I’m an experienced marathoner, ultra runner, Sports Nutritionist, Master Life Coach, and weight loss coach for runners. I’ve dedicated my life to helping runners just like you properly fuel your body and your mind. So you can get leaner, get stronger, run faster, and run longer than you ever thought possible. This is Running Lean.
Hey there, and welcome to episode 191 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today: Fit But Unhealthy. So, lots of runners look pretty healthy on the outside, they exercise a lot, they maintain a decent weight, they have a low body fat percentage, low BMI, they generally look and feel fit. but inside there could be a lot more going on that no one really sees.
So I came across this study recently that looked at low carbohydrate diets versus high carbohydrate diets and their effects on athletic performance. And the results are pretty interesting from the athletic performance standpoint, but also kind of surprising from a health perspective.
So today, I’m going to look at what it means to be fit but unhealthy, and what you can do to make sure you are both. But first, as The Weight Loss Coach for Runners, I’ve helped hundreds of runners over the last few years lose a lot of weight; but here’s a little secret to the people who I work with, it’s not about losing weight. I know it sounds contrary, but hear me out.
Losing weight is great. And it inevitably happens, but the real goal of working together is to help you become the healthiest and most badass version of yourself. When you make the commitment to change your relationship with food and exercise when you focus on building strength and endurance.
When you do the internal work of developing the right mindset, you will absolutely transform yourself into a leaner, stronger runner and the healthiest version of yourself yet. So weight loss is not the goal. It’s just a nice side effect of you becoming your fittest and healthiest self.
So make the commitment today to improve your health and fitness. And you’ll lose that extra weight along the way. And if you want a little help with all this, as always, you can join the Running Lean Coaching Project.
That’s my unique weight loss coaching program for runners. Just go to runningleancoaching.com/join to learn more about that. And if you want a little bit of help, just getting started with all this stuff, then I have just the thing to help you get started on the right track.
I put together a free training for you. It’s about an hour long, it’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner. I will teach you how to lose weight the right way and keep it off for good without running a million miles a week.
A few of the things that you’re gonna learn in this in depth training, why running more and eating less is not an effective way to lose weight, the one thing runners typically don’t do when they are trying to lose weight, the best fuel to use to improve your endurance and help your weight loss, and the right mindset shifts required to make all these changes last for life.
You’re going to learn how to crush your weight loss goals and your running goals directly from me, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners. So if you’re ready to get leaner and stronger, to run faster and longer and to become the healthiest, most badass version of yourself, then you need to check out this free training now just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training. Cool. Awesome.
Okay, so let’s talk about Fit But Unhealthy. So I came across this study recently. The study was called low and high carbohydrate isocaloric diets on performance, fat oxidation, glucose and cardio metabolic health in middle age males. Kind of a mouthful.
This was published in the Journal Frontiers in nutrition in February of 2023. So it’s a pretty recent study. And the study was conducted by some of the pretty well known researchers in the low carb endurance and athletic world like Professor Tim Noakes, Dominic D’Agostino, Dr. Jeff Bullock.
And one of the reasons that they did this study is that since the 1970s, there has been this shift towards a high carbohydrate, low fat diet for health benefits, but also for training benefits. You know, a lot of the professional athletes since the 70s have shifted to a high carbohydrate, low fat diet because they want to reap the benefits of all the carbohydrates in their diet.
So that they can, you know, run faster, right and, and improve their athletic performance. Most athletes hit a crossover point in their fuel system. So they go from burning mostly fat to almost exclusively burning carbohydrates.
So they reach this crossover point where fat burning effectively shuts down around 85% of the of their VO2 max. So around 85% of most athletes’ VO2 max, they hit this crossover point where fat burning pretty much shuts down to zero.
And unless you have ample stores of carbohydrate to use this fuel, you bonk you crash and burn, you hit the wall. So countering all of this, this is what’s been known and been followed and adhered to, since the 1970s or so encountering all of this is the fact that there’s a lot of athletes and a huge growing number of athletes that have been following a low carb high fat diet.
And they have been able to dramatically increase their fuel crossover point to well above that 85% mark previously seen. So they wanted to do this study, to just see what was going on here and really, you know, try to predict or try to show what would happen between these two groups of athletes, the low carb diet athletes and the high carb diet athletes.
They wanted to see what the results would be on athletic performance. So they conducted this study, it was 31 days, so it was four weeks long. And they compare the two groups of competitive athletes, these were middle aged men in their 40s, they were in good shape, they had low body fat percentages, like 12-16% body fat, low BMI.
They exercised around six hours a week. And so they were competitive athletes in their 40s, mostly runners, and they divided them into two groups, they had one group that was a low carb high fat diet, the other group was a high carb low fat diet.
They assessed both diets, and they were strictly controlling macros calories and their training load. So this study was really well done. And they were very strict about making sure the only difference in these two groups of men was that their one group was eating a low carb, higher fat diet, and the other was eating a high carb lower fat diet.
And then they had them do some performance tests. So each of the subjects in the test visited the lab on 10 different occasions during that 31 day period. And they performed tests periodically, but the two main tests that they did was a one mile time trial, and then six by 800 sprints.
And so they did testing throughout, but they did some time trials at the beginning. And then at the end of the study. And all these things were very tightly controlled, all the variables were tightly controlled, to make sure the only difference between the groups was their dietary intervention.
Now, the performance side of things was pretty interesting because the results showed that both groups performed almost exactly the same in these high intensity exercises. So there was no difference really between the performance of the low carb group and the high carb group.
There was a huge difference though in fat burning. So the high carb, low fat group, their fat burning peaked around .69 grams of fat burn per minute. Whereas the low carb group, their fat burning peaked around 1.85 grams per minute, which is the highest rate of fat oxidation ever recorded.
Okay, so the big difference between these two groups was the amount of fat that the low carb group was able to burn and they were at 1.85 grams per minute where the high carb group peaked around .7 grams of fat burn per minute. That’s a huge, huge difference.
So what this is saying is that depending on your dietary protocol, either way, you’re going to be able to perform at high intensities, about the same whether you’re doing a low carb diet or a high carb diet, okay?
So we can sort of take this off the table that a high carb diet is required to perform at higher intensities. Okay. So something else that I found really interesting and this is what prompted me to want to talk about this today is that in the group that was eating the high carb diet, they were doing all these blood tests on on all these people just to see like, you know, what, they were just measuring all kinds of things.
And one of the things they were looking at was blood glucose averages, and they did like fasting blood glucose tests. And one thing that was really fascinating is that the high carb group, 30% of them had average blood glucose greater than 100 milligrams per deciliter, which is consistent with prediabetes. So 100-125 is diagnosed as pre diabetes.
And there’s where in the 111 to 115 range, on average, 30% of these super fit competitive athletes with low BMI 12 to 16%, body fat, they looked great. They were very competitive runners, they appeared on the outside to be super fit, but are they healthy?
They’re being diagnosed with pre diabetes, because of their blood sugar being greater than 100 milligrams per deciliter on average during this 31 day study. And they did these tests many, many times. So this wasn’t like a one time deal.
The other interesting thing about this is that these people were also the greatest responders to carbohydrate restriction, which means that those individuals with a higher mean glucose, so the higher the individuals with those prediabetes numbers with the higher mean glucose, were more responsive to carbohydrate restriction treatment.
And all of their glycemic parameters were greatly improved if they switch to a low carb high fat diet. So average glucose was significantly lower, starting on day eight of the low carb and then remained lower throughout. And so the 31 day average glucose levels were down by 15%.
If they had switched to that low carb high fat diet. So some of the key findings that I’m just going to read this to you, these are some key findings from the study itself. So one of them is that athletes achieved equivalent exercise performance during a one mile time trial and a six by 800 meter interval session after a 31 day habituation to low carb or high carb diets.
When controlling calories training load, body composition changes across the groups. Another key finding during the later stages of the six by 800 interval sessions athletes achieve the highest rates of fat oxidation yet reported. According to current understanding, this is paradoxical since these high rates were measured in subjects exercising edit intensity, which was a which the rate of fat oxidation should be approaching zero.
Okay, so these were, the intensity level was greater than 90% of their VO2 max and their fat oxidation should have been at zero, but it was increasing. Crazy, right? And the low carb high fat consistently reduced glucose levels and glucose variability, which along with a large inverse relationship observed between main glucose on high carb and the percentage change mean glucose when switching to low carb.
So importantly, 30% of subjects who had a 31 day mean fasting glucose of greater than 100 on high carb were also the largest responders to the carbohydrate restriction, right? No subjects on the low carb high fat diet had a 31 day average mean glucose of greater than 100. Okay, so these results challenge the existing paradigm. The diets with higher carbohydrates are superior for athletic performance even during shorter duration higher intensity exercise which has been known or thought to be the case for a long time now.
Critically, these results demonstrate that lower carbohydrate intake may be a therapeutic strategy, even for an athlete, to improve glycemic index, particularly in those with or at risk for diabetes without requiring changes in body composition. Like you don’t need to lose a bunch of weight or physical activity, you don’t need to be exercising a ton more.
Interestingly, these results also demonstrate a unique association between glycemic responsiveness to carbohydrate restriction, fat oxidation rates, suggesting that there’s an important relationship here between glycemic parameters and metabolic responsiveness.
Okay, so my sort of interpretation, I was reading a lot of that from the study itself. It’s very scientifically written, a little dry, in my opinion, but my interpretation is this: that the low carb high fat diet produces the same results from an athletic performance perspective as the high carb diet.
And once you’re on that low carb diet for several weeks, weeks, your rate of fat oxidation goes way up. And this is key for both endurance. So being able to burn more fat helps you from an endurance standpoint, and helps improve weight loss, right, you have to burn fat if you want to lose weight, and that the high carb diet can lead to adverse health effects like pre diabetes.
And this is an interesting study because they looked at, you know, seemingly fit healthy men with low body fat percentages, normal body weight, normal BMI, all that they’re all competitive athletes, they exercise more than six hours per week, they didn’t have any medical diagnosis.
They weren’t on any medications, but 30% of them of the high carb group had, you know, blood glucose levels consistent with prediabetes, this is a problem, right? This is consistent with a prior analysis they did, which found that 30% of sub-elite endurance athletes, so this is like your average weekend warrior that’s just out there running for fun, like me, and you probably exercise, less than like six hours per week, had undetected prediabetes when measured via CGM, continuous glucose monitoring devices.
So a prior study has shown that 30% of athletes who seemingly are fit on the outside have this prediabetes condition. So they were fit but not healthy. And this is an important distinction. Do you want to just look healthy on the outside? Or would you rather look healthy on the outside and actually be healthy as a human being from the inside out?
So just because we see somebody on Instagram who looks healthy, they have lean body mass, low body fat percentage they’re ripped, they got abs for days, does not mean that they are healthy. It does not mean that they aren’t having some sort of internal issues or some, you know, condition like prediabetes.
And following the standard dietary advice, which is a very high carb diet, and low in fat, seems to cause metabolic dysfunction in around 30% of the population. And this is just the most fit population, whether you’re very competitive athletes or weekend warriors.
We’re not even looking at the people who do not exercise regularly, who are kind of sedentary. So it’s no wonder that obesity rates are what they are right now here in the US, which is over 42% of the US population is considered obese, over 42%.
This is the first time that here in the US the national rate of obesity has passed the 40% mark. And it’s further evidence of the country’s obesity crisis. The national adult obesity rate has increased by 26% since 2008. I’m gonna say that again, because it’s crazy.
The national adult obesity rate has increased by 26% since 2008.
And I say this all the time, you can’t outrun a bad diet, and this is what I’m talking about. These are very fit individuals who run a lot, who are very competitive, who all appear to be in perfect shape. But there’s more to the story. Your diet matters, what you eat matters. You cannot outrun a bad diet. Sure, exercise is important.
Keep running. Do that for sure, but it’s not going to solve all your health issues. You have to pay attention to the foods that you eat. And all this exercise and all this fitness won’t help keep you healthy unless you also change your diet. It’s up to you to take things into your own hands.
Don’t do what the powers be out there, the food companies, the government or whatever, what they’re telling you to do typically doesn’t work. You have to take things in your own hands. And listen, low carb, it’s not a fad diet. It’s not keto. It doesn’t mean you never eat another grain of rice your whole life, doesn’t involve eating sticks of butter wrapped in bacon, as good as that sounds.
If you want to learn more about my thoughts on carbs, I did an episode about this last week called Carbs Are Not The Enemy. Carbs are not the enemy. There are some carbs that are great and great for endurance athletes and great for weight loss, you just have to do them the right way.
So listen to that episode, for sure it’ll help you, you know, could get a good understanding of that. So if you’re a runner, and you want to improve your health, like really improve your health from the inside out, then making the switch to a lower carb diet might just be what you need.
And as always, I can coach you through all of this. We’ll put together a nutrition plan that fits your lifestyle and gets you to your health and fitness goals. Just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on Work With Me.
Okay, that’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean, and I will talk to you soon.
Today I have a special treat for you, I’m sharing a candid conversation I recently had with Pete Caigan. Pete is one of my clients who has had a pretty remarkable transformation over the last 6 …
My name is Patrick McGilvray, and I’m an experienced marathoner, ultra runner, Sports Nutritionist, Master Life Coach, and weight loss coach for runners. I’ve dedicated my life to helping runners just like you properly fuel your body and your mind. So you can get leaner, get stronger, run faster, and run longer than you ever thought possible. This is Running Lean.
Hey there and welcome to episode 181 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today: Ultramarathon Redemption with Pete Caigan. So today I have a special treat for you.
I’m sharing a candid conversation I recently had with Pete Caigan, Pete is one of my clients who’s had a pretty remarkable transformation over the last six months or so. Before finding me Pete was training for an ultra marathon and found himself gaining quite a bit of weight, and ended up getting a DNF.
So he did not finish his first 50k attempt and was determined to try again and succeed. So he’s going to share his story of changing his diet, getting fat adapted, and the things he struggled with along the way, losing weight and then attempting that same 50k again.
I hope you enjoy this episode of Ultramarathon Redemption with Pete Caigan. His story is truly inspiring. But first, if you’re ready to learn what it takes to get leaner and stronger, run faster and longer than you ever imagined, then I have just the thing for you.
Check out my all new free training called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner, Stronger Runner. This comprehensive training will teach you how to lose weight and keep it off for good without running an extra million miles per week.
It takes everything I’ve been teaching on this podcast for the last three years or so and distills it down into an hour long training program to teach you everything you need to know to get started on your weight loss journey the right way, and it’s all designed with you the runner in mind, just go to runningleancoaching.com click on free training to get started.
Okay, let’s just get into it. Without further ado, please enjoy my recent conversation with Pete Caigan.
Okay, so today we’re having a conversation. Me and Pete. Pete Caigan has been working with me for a period of time now, and has experienced some pretty amazing stuff, some pretty amazing transformations. And I want to talk about that. So welcome, Pete.
Thank you. Good to be here, Patrick. Thank you for having me.
Yeah. So give me an idea of, you know, what things were like for you before we started working together. So think back to that time. It’s been a while now. I guess it was back in probably October, September, October of last year. And you needed some help with some things and you had some goals. So just give me an idea, kind of a little bit of a snapshot of where you were at that time and what you were looking for some help with what your goals were at that time.
Sure. It was September of 2022. And I was feeling frustrated. I was 30 pounds more than I am now by running and slowing down to crawl. I had done a half marathon trail run in the fall of ‘21 and it went great. Started training the spring of ‘22 for 50k.
I took the advice of my cousin to eat a lot of carbs and load and just eat whatever you want and run a lot. And I did that and I gained about 20 pounds and attempted my 50k in the spring of 2022 got taken off the course at mile 10 by the sweepers. Mumbled and grumbled for a few months and then heard your podcast a bunch of times and decided to get in touch.
So that that experience of training for that first ultra marathon and eating all the what I’ll just call like “carbage”, right, all the junk food or whatever, will lead to 20 pounds of weight gain.
Yeah, I gained 20 pounds and slowed down. My endurance was really good. I was so slow and it was brutal. Everything was difficult.
Yeah, and it’s crazy because we’re told, at least by traditional coaches and you know, this is you know, long standing principles, I guess, of running that you need all these carbs, but some of us are a little more sensitive than others to them and they have an adverse effect and even training for an ultra marathon isn’t going to undo kind of what your experience was of loading up on all those carbs and and you can’t outrun that bad diet.
As I said before, I was doing long runs over 20 miles. And so gaining weight, and you’re probably running 40 miles a week or that entire time gave me wings. It was very strange. I was going on and I was legitimately hungry. It wasn’t like, I felt hungry. It was signals, and I was listening.
Yeah. And then you tempted this 50k. And you said around mile 10, you got taken off the course because you didn’t make a cut off?
Yeah, there was a cut off. And the sweepers came and the race director said, come on, get the bus. And I was like, no way. He’s like, well, you can keep going, but you’re not part of the race anymore if you want to keep going. And this is very bad country, Vermont. So I was, I think, wise and got on the bus. And I was really mad at the guy for like months. Like I was like telling all my friends and took me when whining finally hit me like maybe he was right. Like maybe I already got hurt, not made it. So that’s what I recommitted and called you.
Okay, so you were 30 pounds overweight at the time, or 30 pounds heavier than you are now. You were frustrated. Sounds like from not being able to finish this event that you train for, you’re probably frustrated that you gain all that weight in the process.
So give me an idea of what some of the goals were when you wanted to, you know, start working with me and like why you came to me and like what is it that you wanted out of that coaching experience? What did you need help with?
Well, I needed to get help, because I couldn’t figure it out. I was eating, I thought well, and I was working out a lot. So I wanted to initially lose 20 pounds and try to do the same race again. And finish. Be successful was my initial goal when I joined up with you.
So those are the big goals. To lose 20 pounds and then do this race and redeem yourself, you know, not be taken off the course or suggested to be taken off the course.
Okay, good. So you committed to those goals, we started kind of changing something. So what was that process like for you at the beginning? Like, what were some of the changes that that seemed to help you the most at the beginning, especially.
I think getting off grains, sugar, and seed oils was really the beginning. And start to be more conscious of what I was eating. So I started to journal food. And I started to eat in a window. You know, like I was doing 16 hours a day not eating, eight hours a day eating.
That is really the biggest change and really not easy. It was extremely difficult. For me it was about two weeks of discomfort, but it wasn’t miserable. I was just a little cranky, little hungry. I was very slow as a runner. I felt like I was carrying a bag of rocks. And
How many times a day were you eating before? Like how often during the day were you eating prior to this?
Yeah, just like constantly eating all the time.
Well, I usually would like wake up, have some coffee, hang out and have a bowl of oatmeal. Maybe wait an hour, go for a run, get back. You know, have a protein bar. Work a couple hours more.
Have lunch, pretty good lunch, maybe a salad, chicken, maybe some rice. Mid afternoon I’d be back at it with some more food, whatever nuts, bag of nuts, maybe more bars or something. And then before dinner I was snacking a bit on whatever, chips. It’s pretty healthy.
Like I was shopping at the health food store. I was eating good foods, but then dinner, it could be like anything. I mean, could be anything. It could be a bowl of pasta with, you know, fish or whatever. It was a lot of carbs. No window, you know, I was eating like 14 hours a day.
Yeah, so you’re describing what I’ve talked about in the past, which is that typical runner’s diet. Which is just eating all the time, because you’re hungry all the time, and you’re eating all the carbs all the time.
And when you’re eating all the carbs all the time, that makes you more hungry. So you just got to keep eating the carbs so you can keep satisfying that hunger but the satisfaction never comes. And you end up doing a couple things.
Number one, a lot of that energy that you’re taking in, a lot of the food that you’re taking in, gets converted to fat stores and you, you recognize that from gaining 20 pounds during this process.
The other thing is that you’re never feeling really satisfied, you’re always hungry, you know, and the only thing that you’re your body, you’ve you’ve trained your body essentially to crave more carbs.
You know, the body will crave what you continue to give it, what you repeatedly do. And so when you repeatedly eat carbs, you’re just going to be craving more and more and more carbs. And that is a really kind of a downward spiral. It’s a cycle that you can’t get out of.
There for a little bit like when I was working out and I was working a lot. I was doing CrossFit three or four times a week, I was running four days a week, and I was stretching every day and my work is active.
So I was working out and feeling like when I did eat the carbs, I was like, okay, good. I’m good to go. And I’d have like an hour. I don’t know what it is, a sugar rush? But then the hunger would come quickly, you know, and I realized now, it wasn’t real hunger when it felt like hunger.
Yeah, well, it feels great eating that stuff. It feels amazing because it lights you up. You know it hits those dopamine receptors in your brain and produces serotonin and you know, all the good feeling hormones and things like that.
It’s very similar to the way drugs and alcohol light up our brains. You know, they’ve done all these studies on the poor little rats who you know, they make them take all this cocaine and sugar and things like that. And the rats kind of prefer the sugar to the cocaine because it just feels so amazing.
So even the rats will choose carbs over cocaine. It’s kind of funny. But yeah, so that that whole process is maybe, okay, for some people like what you just described there is the way a lot of people approach running, especially when doing ultras.
Yeah, my cousin who recommended it, he eats like that, and he came in third on the 50 miler on the same event. That he was like, wasn’t that great? I don’t know.
Yeah. And I followed a bunch of ultra runners early in my running career. And, and they were doing the same thing. And I was like, well, I guess this is what I need to do. And I had the same experience you did Pete, where I just kept gaining weight until I was like 40 pounds overweight, and like what is happening here, you know, so that doesn’t work for everybody.
And if you’re somebody listening to this, and you’re like, yeah, that’s my experience too. Just know that you can change like, you don’t have to keep doing that. And being in that cycle, that frustrating cycle of like, eating all the carbs, being hungry all the time, getting fatter and fatter as you go, like, that’s not a good place to be. It’s not healthy.
It’s just not, you know. And so, you know, the solution is not to just, you know, never eat another grain or carb again in your life. That’s not what we’re talking about here. So, what did that sort of diet look like for you, you know, at the beginning at least, Pete?
Well, I would drink coffee. I started to use heavy cream in my coffee, which I always avoided because that was taboo. And I love the taste. So I could put a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream in my coffee in the morning and feel like good.
So that would usually be the morning combined with a fasted workout. And I was at first struggling with that, the fasted workouts, but within a couple of weeks, it was better, actually. Surprisingly even the lifting and Crossfit was better.
And then I would wait till noon generally to eat and what it would look like was a nice serving a protein could be like 12 ounces of fish, or chicken, usually fish or chicken with the big salad, no starchy vegetables, but a big salad with olive oil, salt and pepper. Very satisfying.
So I would do that and then at first I was really struggling getting from lunch to dinner, like to get from noon to six for me because I’m pretty active was hard. And I did that for a while but I was constantly like kind of freaking out.
So I added a protein shake mid afternoon, like a whey protein. And if I’m really hungry, I might eat some nuts but not a lot. And then dinner would generally be another big serving of protein and not salad more like cauliflower or broccoli.
I could use cheese. I was using a lot of coconut oil. I mean it’s still scary but not crazy amounts, a lot of coconut oil, a lot of olive oil, a lot of avocado oil. And, you know, it could even be a big serving of protein like I can eat a 16 ounce steak, which I love.
And I got into blue cheese which I have to be careful about but it’s, I love it so much. And it’s so satisfying. I kind of can’t eat anything after a blue cheese, it’s overwhelming. I’ll eat that. And then if I was really craving dessert type food, you know, I’d have some berries like blueberries on Greek yogurt, maybe with some stevia and cocoa powder, had the feeling of like ice cream, a very satisfying and good amount of protein. But often nothing like I don’t, the no sugar thing is much better. If I hit any fruit, it’ll be like berries, maybe an apple? Well, you really just got a big part of my diet.
Yes, so for you a couple of the changes. Just to kind of recap here, you went from eating seven times a day to eating, you know, two or three times a day, which is normal. That’s kind of what normal human eating patterns should look like. You know what I mean, we shouldn’t be eating seven times a day.
Because when you do that, you just train yourself that you are going to be hungry all the time, you know, especially if you’re eating a lot of carbs in those meals. So when you switch to eating a couple times a day, two, three times a day, your body will naturally switch to being hungry those two or three times a day, which becomes normal, and then it becomes very easy to only eat a couple times a day. So you made that change, which is great. It was a little bit of a struggle at the beginning, but you got used to it. You know? Do you enjoy eating that way today still?
The thing I love is the high fat high protein because I avoided fats like the plague for so many years. And it’s really some of my favorite foods. So I love that aspect of it. You know, now that I’m fat adapted, I do eat carbs sometimes and it’s not a big deal. I mean, I do notice like the day after. I have to clean up a little bit but I don’t if I eat carbs once a week if I have sweet potatoes or something. I’m generally I don’t want it the next day, like maybe I’m loaded up or something. So it’s not even that big a deal.
Yeah, we’re not talking about like, birthday cake every week or something like that. It’s just some sweet potatoes like it’s fine.
Honestly, the sweet sweet stuff, I have a bite sometimes it’s so overwhelming. I don’t really enjoy it at all. Like I used to get it really barely once in a blue moon, I ate a marshmallow recently, and I was like woah. I’m so sensitive now to the sugar. I didn’t realize how strong it is.
So you’ve shifted. That’s good. That’s a good time.
Yeah, I really enjoyed it. It’s like, it’s almost a relief.
Another big change was focusing on more protein.
Right? Well, yeah, I’ve been keeping track, I use an app on my phone, right? I don’t do it all the time. But entering my food during a journal shows me the protein I’m getting. And I’m trying to get almost a gram per pound of body weight. Because I’m so active. I’m training for another 50k.
I think that’s a good place to be.
The macros are significantly different. It’s like 60/30/10 usually fat to protein to carbs.
Okay. Yeah, like 60% fat, 30% protein, 10% carbs. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. And that’s different for everybody. But you know if that works for you, awesome. Yeah, so you focused on more protein, not eating all the time. And, you know, what were some of the results of that? Or like, how did you feel through the day? Did your hunger start to like, go down?
Yeah, after two weeks, it was way better. And then the hunger went down. But it wasn’t gone. I also learned a lot working with you and the group about hunger and like, whatever. It’s not the end of the world, you’re hungry. And usually it goes away in like 10 minutes. It’s not that big a deal.
So one of the things for me is my life really shifted in a lot of ways away from other than food and running, which is I got way more motivated on what I do. And I started working harder and sleeping less, which was a very unexpected side effect of all this, like I was sleeping a solid hour to two hours more than a night than I do now.
Okay, so you’re sleeping less but how’s the quality of sleep?
Yeah, I’m sleeping a lot less and my quality of sleep is better. So that was an interesting thing that I didn’t, uh, I wasn’t planning on which is great. I feel way more energy.
Okay, good. Yeah, typically, people would say that they need more sleep or they sleep longer when they get off of the crazy foods, but you’re saying you’re sleeping less, but it’s a positive change. Right?
Well, I would say maybe at the beginning I was sleeping more but after I feel like I cleaned up and lost the weight and got off that food, I just I was sleeping eight to nine hours a night and now it’s been seven.
Okay, gotcha. So probably more in line with the way you should be then. Okay. Yeah, that’s cool. That’s good. So what else was your experience during this process of like shifting your diet and what you’re eating, how often you’re eating, upping in the protein, all those things. What was, or was there anything that you really struggled with, you know, during that transition?
Yeah, there were some things I struggled with me, I was very moody. I had to not be a jerk to my mate, my wife. I definitely was cranky for a while. So that was hard. And then, like, I just had to deal with myself more, my emotions, and reality.
And the accountability with you and with the group just made me be like, no, I really want to lose a pound this week, like, I don’t want to gain this week. And I would have moments, usually at night in front of the fridge, where I’d have to be like, don’t do it! But there were moments, so the struggle was really like dealing with my emotions, like if I had a really stressful day, and like figuring out other ways to deal with it.
Yeah, and for how long did that like cranky pants last?
Probably a month. I mean, it still happens occasionally. Like in the morning, if I’m waiting till noon to eat. But I’ve learned how to do it. Usually if I’m not, if I haven’t worked out, really, I find I could do a fasted workout and then feel great, it doesn’t happen. But if I end up like waking up, having some coffee and ending up at a desk for two or three hours, I’ll get like, like, edgy.
So yeah, that sounds like it’s probably from lack of exercise, because you didn’t get your endorphin rush that you’re used to in the morning.
But that crankiness at the beginning, whenever we get off of a really high carbohydrate diet. It is basically like withdrawal symptoms. It’s one of the symptoms of withdrawal from like a sugar addiction, you know. And it’s the same, you know, kind of shows up the same way that when you stop drinking alcohol or doing drugs or something like that. It can have the same sort of withdrawal effects, which is crazy to think about. That sugar has that kind of an effect on us.
Right? It’s so accepted that we eat tons of carbs all the time. Maybe that’s not how our bodies function best, but that’s how we were brought up. So you think you’re supposed to eat breakfast or you’re bad. Maybe you’re fine.
Yeah, well, that whole idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That’s just a marketing tactic. You know, that was made up by the cereal companies like Kellogg’s or someone made that up.
You can still have breakfast, but have breakfast at 11. Like it’s okay. Your first meal can be your bacon and eggs.
Yeah, eat some protein at that first meal for sure. Okay, so you went through this process, you got fat adapted, which just means that you, you know, we’re running without the need for all the carbs without the need for a bunch of fuel. And you trained yourself to use your stored body fat as fuel. And I’m guessing through this process, you started losing weight as well. Right?
Yeah, started to come off by two pounds a week at the beginning.
A lot at the beginning. Yeah, I started to lose significant weight. And that’s always really great to see what the first person notices and your clothes fit. That’s a big moment.
Yeah. That’s motivating and it keeps you going because you’re seeing progress. I mean, you can literally see the progress happening. And it keeps you in the game.
In like 5 weeks I lost like 10 pounds or something. And the first person was like wow Pete, and I was like thank you. And then yeah, I’d like to think I don’t have a big ego, but at first it really feels good. Clothes fit better, it’s starts to be like actually fun. Because once I got fat adapted it was not difficult.
For me, it was many ways a pleasure because I was eating the fat switch I stayed with the running and I started to get better quickly too. So you think now put on a 10 pound pack and go for a run. That’s enough to make a big difference.
That first 10 pounds and as I say now I feel like free back to running like bouncing. I run in the woods and just fly around. I’d forgotten that a little bit. Like I kind of had it in my memory. But it wasn’t. It’s been a few years since I felt that so now it’s back and it’s just it’s incredible.
Well you get used to it. You know you get used to being overweight, you get used to carrying around an extra 30 pounds or whatever. And until you lose the weight again, it’s like oh, now I see what I was carrying around and you know, I had that experience too some years ago, lost 40 pounds and it was literally like running just became so easy.
It was so much more enjoyable. Yeah.
And then you started training. So let’s talk about that a little bit. So you decided you’re going to conquer this 50k, the same one, same race. And but this time, there’s no way you’re gonna DNF. So talk about the training a little bit with that, like, what, what was that like for you?
Sure. All Fall, I was doing three runs a week, kind of short, medium long, but not as a structured plan, which is keeping my fitness up and losing weight. And then I started, I think an 18 week training cycle in maybe the beginning of February, that you helped me design. That was four to five days a week of running, and I was doing strength training two days a week, which often ended up once a week. But I was hitting it hard, like I was getting a lot of miles on the trail.
And where I live is in the mountains in upstate New York. So I was dealing with running snow and the ice and very cold temperatures. And I was getting up in the mountains, which means carrying a 15 pound pack and wearing spikes. So it was very challenging in February March, but I got the miles in and I didn’t miss many runs.
And I was losing weight. I wasn’t as late as I am now. But I was probably down 20 pounds at that point, and feeling good, you know, struggles. I had definitely had a lot of struggles through the 18 week training cycle, I had two injuries that weren’t really injuries, they were just pain, which was a good thing for me to understand, and notice that just because you’re hurt, doesn’t mean you’re injured. That’s a big difference that I didn’t quite understand fully until this training cycle.
One day I finished a 20 mile run, which included a lot of concrete running and running shoes, which I don’t do I mostly do trails. I woke up the next day and there was like a peak on the top of my first metatarsal. Like it looked like I broken my metatarsal. It hurt, couldn’t walk. So I was just like, oh, I’m so screwed. So I just did and I hobbled around for a few days. And then like after like five days, I got back to like jogging lightly, like it didn’t really hurt. And then by the next week I was back out.
Patrick McGilvray just the joys of running, you know.
So that was a good lesson. And then I played golf, like four weeks out from my event, and I hurt my neck. And I couldn’t move. And I was like, I’m so dumb. So that put me down for like, over a week of no running, when I was in my peak phase. And I was really scared at that point.
Like I blew it like I can’t believe I hurt myself at the end. But again, you helped me to see like, you know, you’ve banked a lot of fitness here. Like don’t sweat it like it’ll be okay. And then I got back they did one more long run after that I did. My race was 32 miles, I went out and did like a 25 mile run with maybe 4700 feet a gain, in the mountains, it was big deal. And I did and I was like alright, I got this.
So yeah, then the last few weeks just took it easy as I was supposed to which was a challenge into unto itself to taper. But yeah, that was the training cycle. It was challenging in many ways. It was hard to make the time on my long runs because I’m in the mountains. It could be like an eight hour day. So it was challenging to just be like alright, family I’m leaving. I’ll see you tonight.
How was this training different from your approach last year when you were going for the same event?
I didn’t do nearly as many miles or as many runs last year, I was doing three days a week, I would do like a short run or medium run and a long run. But my longest run last year was 21 before the race, before the 32 mile race. And my you know I had done a few like 15-18 days as well. But like really slow, like way more walking than I did this time.
So more volume and a few longer runs. Yes, more work overall for sure.
More miles for sure. And more frequency. Yeah.
That’s one of the biggest things for an event like that because you are going to be on your feet for so long. You gotta you got to make sure you are putting in the time like time on your feet, you know, and increasing the amount of running that you’re doing per week has to go up pretty high to get you there. So good. Good job with all that.
So the race comes and where were you at? Give us a snapshot of where you were like for the race itself, like from what was your kind of weight loss at that point? How much had you lost? You know, come race day.
I got to 30 pounds down.
And, you know, for whatever it’s worth, if you care about body composition was like I was at 18% fat.
Awesome. Yeah, no, that’s great.
Do you want me to tell you about the event?
Yeah, just like, how was it for you?
It was brutal and it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. I totally had many, many times the week leading up to it where I thought maybe I was gonna chicken out.
I just had like weird thoughts. Like, maybe this isn’t for you, you’re gonna hurt yourself. Every ghost came up into my mind trying to get me to not do it. It was like the one side’s the angel the other side’s evil and like telling me not to do it.
But I was like, just go, keep going. I made the hotel reservation, the race is about three hours for me. So I got a hotel the night before, and the night of the race. So Friday, Saturday. I went and I did some research on the race director Luis Escobar? You could look him up. He’s one of the guys in Born to Run. The guy had been personally before.
Oh, yeah. Cool.
So I was like, oh, this guy’s like legitimate. Like come on. Pete like get over yourself. So I went the day before Friday to get my race bed and I hung out at the starting line was 100 mile distance was starting that night.
So I like spent like an hour there with him and all the other race directors and CO race directors are also well known. ultra runners so I like really spend time with them chatted Luis was like, man, it’s so great. You came back you have good, you’re gonna do great. So that was cool, because it gave me like a vibe of the race and it’s a Spartan Race, and it’s really friendly environment.
There were 300 participants. So I spent some time with the people picking up their badges and just trying to get into like the vibe of what was going on in its a gorgeous place. It’s the guy who started Spartan, I don’t know his name. It was his home, of course, and beautiful Vermont. So I really enjoyed that.
And I went home, I had packed all my food which was smart. Last year I’d gone out to a restaurant and gotten like, I don’t even know like a bowl of cheesy fries for dinner. It was horrible.
So I had like my two purple sweet potatoes and like a little chicken salad. At my dinner I had my race vest pack like before, which I highly recommend for anybody. So you’re not nervous in the morning packing. I woke up super early, race time was seven. I got up before, just like took my time, got my stuff together, got to the starting line by 6:00.
Everybody like it’s a really good camaraderie of these things. Spend time people are nervous talking, you know, people doing the 50 mile the 100 miler have been going down for 14 hours. So they’re still going and then went out. It was like in the front of the pack. Like I went too hot like but too hot. Really? Maybe in retrospect. So I kind of crushed the first 10 miles I did. I was really fast for me, which was also the reason is 6500 feet a gain 32 miles. So you know it’s a lot.
And a lot of it was bushwhacking, like difficult terrain where there’s puddles and mud and very little trail. But the first 10 miles was generally really nice, trails up and down, a couple more, got to the first checkpoint where I had been pulled off the year before. And the guys were like Pete, you’re doing great. You’re like, you know, you’re not at the back of the pack, so that was cool.
Miles 10 to mile 15 was up and over a huge mountain. Very difficult. Extremely difficult. But I did all this generally fasted. I only had about 200 calories an hour. You know, it was I had electrolytes. But I felt great. I felt fine. Up and down this big mountain who was cool. I was okay, but I was definitely not as fast.
And then there was a checkpoint it was like a party, like they had like barbecue and beer like music cranking, and I maybe made a mistake, and I had like two sips of beer. And I was like, This is bad. Don’t do it. And then they had it cut off. You had to get to mile 22 by 3pm, which was eight hours.
And at the beginning of the race. He stood up on a table he said does anyone disagree that if you’re not at mile 22 I’m taking you off the course? Nobody said anything, he shouted it so everyone understood. So now miles like 15 to 22 up and down many mountains.
At this point, it was little mountains, but up and down a few if something happened, I started to slow down significantly. But I did not stop. Like I didn’t stop and I sit down, I sat down once the whole race just to change my socks, like I was relentless for me.
Relentless forward progress zone for the majority of the time, which sounds crazy, but somehow my body held up. So anyway 15 to 22 miles I was slow, like things were falling apart a little bit, kept going, I got to 22 to seven and a half hours. And I’m like, pumping my chest. And now there’s a bus already filled with people who are calling it a day, even though they made the cut off the next.
The 22 or 32 is extremely difficult. 22 to 28 is extremely difficult. So a bunch of people quit and then like RIP, you’re done. Right? And you want to get on the bus. We’ll take you back. And I was like, no way, there’s zero chance of getting on your bus goodbye, and they were like alright.
So I took off. And now I’m going up and down three mountains, mile 22 to mile 29. Alone in the woods. The sweepers are behind me, but they’re not in sight. They’re back. And I just started to lose my mind. Like I was having a very, very hard time functioning.
My body was like leaning left, I kept on drifting left. I didn’t know what was going on. I was like, I’m gonna have a stroke, am I dying? Like, I didn’t really think that but I was hurting. And I didn’t know what was going on. But I just kept trudging forward going as fast as I could. And I got out into back to civilization, which is at mile 29 is the top of this mountain but there’s houses.
The last three miles is downhill. Three miles back to the starting line through country roads. And the checkpoint there. It was 6pm. And they say alright, well, Whoever didn’t get here by six, we’d have to take you down the hill. You got to get in the bus.
And I was like, I’m not getting in your bus. I don’t care what you do. I’m leaving goodbye. And they were like, really? I was like, really, goodbye. And I took off and I was holding myself up on my ribs because I couldn’t stand up straight. But I was okay. I was okay. And then I passed the guy’s house. He comes out of his house. He’s like, are you okay? Like you’re leaning all the way over?
I was like, I don’t know if I’m okay. I think I’m okay. And I sat down hung out with him. He was really cool. And older Vermont guy. And then the sweepers came by in a car and they’re like, go Pete. Okay, we’ll see you at the finish line. Right? I was like, yeah, I’m good. Like, yeah, go man go.
So I got down to the finish line. I was like, within 200 meters, I could see the finish line and straighten up and pull my head I’m talking my shirt like, act like I got my act together, went as fast as I could to the finish line got through and all those sweepers who were trying to get me off the course were cheering me on.
Good job, you made it. You made it, we love you! Giving me hugs, you’re the reason we do this. You’re so great. And I finished in 12 hours, and I got a DFL, I did not finish last. So there was a girl behind me, which was great. And so I accomplished my goal. I was so happy. It was like one of the great moments in my life. It was really, really cool.
That’s so awesome. And I love your determination of like, you know, nope, nothing you can do or say is gonna get me into that van at this point. Like I’ve trained for this. I’m ready for this. I’m doing it. What was the deal with you, like leaning to the left? What was that all about?
So Luis at the finish line personally came up to me, he’s like, I’m so happy you did this. I’m so happy you came back. You just show that like perseverance is I can work and use it was cool. And he said you got the leans, man. You got the leans, you gotta go take care of that. And I was like, what?
And I realized what had happened is that and I looked it up. And it’s a thing that can happen where your core fails. And you can’t keep your spine up, right. And it’s not entirely uncommon. So I realized it was going on and I just kind of took it easy. And I went to bed and I woke up I was fine, the next day, it was Mother’s Day. It was gone. I was totally fine. I was able to walk. it I wasn’t even that sore. But it’s called the leans I guess, in that community.
Shows you the power of like or the importance of strength training and core strengthening probably would help with that.
Yeah, I think so. It was definitely a weakness, maybe doing more that type of work would be helpful.
So what an amazing experience. I mean, super. I mean, it’s kind of life changing, right?
You know, it is and it completely translates to everything else. Because everything else that feels hard. I’m like, this isn’t that hard? It isn’t just running things, but things I’m talking about, like emotional things or work? You know, struggling to do the stuff I don’t want to do is not as big a struggle, because it’s like, oh, I freaking ran 32 miles.
Yeah, you’ve proven to yourself that not only can you do hard things, but you can accomplish things that maybe you’re not even. Maybe you don’t even believe in yourself or you’re not even sure you can do it. But you can do it anyway.
Like, you can push yourself out of that comfort zone. And because you’re, you know, remember you were talking about how you were having some doubts in those weeks leading up to it and thinking about, you know, pulling out and things like that, but you didn’t do any of that you just kept moving forward, and you just stayed with the plan, and you trusted your training, and look what you did. It’s amazing.
Yeah, thank you. I mean, I do have such a long term goal to be so persistent and consistent with something and then see the results was a big lesson for me. Or, you know, sometimes it’s persistence over a long period of time that gets you somewhere, it’s not the two week effort could be the year of doing something, a lot of things, you know.
I will say thank you, Patrick, for your guidance. And you know, what you do is so valuable and like, I feel like I went to school, honestly, nutrition and fitness and in many ways, life. I had no idea you can eat like this or train like this, it’s gonna be like, it wasn’t something that I thought could be for me, people used to talk about being keto or low carb. Never seemed possible or appealing, just seemed like not normal. Now that I’ve been doing it. I see how, for me at least, it’s it’s a really good way to be.
Yeah, yeah. And just for clarification, like everybody does this a little bit differently, you know, the way that Pete approached his nutrition and training was probably different from everybody else I work with.
So there’s no two people really doing this exactly the same, which is the way it should be, you know, there isn’t one plan, one diet, that’s going to work perfectly for everybody. I know, that’s what everybody wants you to believe out there. But it’s just not true.
So we got to figure out what works for us as individuals. And that’s a big part of what Pete and I did is kind of that figuring out process, you know, figuring out the right combination of foods and training and strength training and in the running to make these positive changes for you as an individual.
With me in terms of like, I’d be like, oh, I’m eating too many nuts, I’m going to again, and I’m going again, not losing weight. I mean, he’s not saying I can’t eat nuts, and you would often just be like, oh, you just eat less nuts. And that was so helpful for me. That was like one of those little tidbits to help me to realize that, you know, to do in my, what works for me, but maybe I don’t need to be so extreme.
So tell me where you are today with things. How’s everything going for you? How are you from like a nutrition standpoint? And from like a training standpoint?
Yeah, took the past month, I’ve been very light training. But I took a week off pretty much but not even off just not running a lot, or lifting a lot. And then the past three weeks, I’ve been running three times a week and lifting two to three times a week.
And actually, today was day one of the 13 week training cycle of doing another 50k.
Oh, heck yeah!
So I’m back in the game. I’m way ahead of where I was 13 weeks out from the last run. Now, that being said, I’m humble about this experience, I don’t expect this to be easy. And I have to do 20 mile uphill run on Sunday. So that’s no joke. So that’s good.
And the nutrition, I was a little lax after the race on the food for a couple of weeks. But I didn’t really gain weight. But now I’ve been eating really clean and on program for about 10 days, and I’m getting down to my lowest ever. Lowest weight ever for many, many years. And I’d like to get lower for this race I see, you know, even just five or 10 pounds less, thatwill make a big difference to be no faster. And I want to know I don’t expect to compete, but I’d like to be able to faster at this point. So that’s one of my goals for this.
Cool and how are you feeling about this next 50k having just completed this last one? Feeling a little bit different about this one?
You know, in my mind, I’m like, oh, this will be easier but it’s not easy. There’s nothing easy about this. So I do feel a little differently, but I’m also slightly reserved. Uh, in terms of letting myself feel like this is like a big deal, because it is a really big deal to do something like this again. Yeah, out there, in the woods all day.
Yeah, you probably have more confidence. But you also know it’s still gonna be at some point you’re going to enter the pain cave out there, right? Because we all do.
This one has no time cut off, which is interesting. Oh yeah,
Oh yeah, interesting.
I’m excited. And it’s a lot different to train where I live in summer than in the winter. So I enjoy the heat. So I’m really actually, it’s good to be out there this summer where we live, which is blueberry, wild blueberries and you know, streams, you can drink water on them. It’s gorgeous.
Heck, yeah. That’s amazing. And then maintenance, like, how’s that for you feeling like, that’s pretty easy for you to do going forward? Like, this has become something that is more natural for you now?
Because I know, we talked about at the beginning of the process, especially with the change in diet, it was a little bit of a struggle, you know, there was a little bit of a transition period there where you’re like, you know, this is kind of hard. I’m a little hungry. I’m a little cranky, you know, um, uh, but now, like, how does all that feel for you?
I mean, it feels easy. Maintenance is a non-issue to get leaders challenging, because I’m kind of like anyone wants to be so, you know, when I get into like, eating, try to get leaner. It’s a little challenging. It’s okay, maintenance, though. Not hard, because I’m eating foods that I like. Intermittent fasting has gotten so easy.
That just feels normal to you now?
Yeah, I don’t want to eat after dinner or in the morning. I don’t want to be. So. Yeah. Okay. Make the window 14 hours just set to 16.
Yeah, definitely. Yeah, one of the goals is that by this point of the process, this should all feel easy and effortless. It just should feel normal for you. Yeah.
I don’t have to talk about it with people anymore. I don’t have to make a big deal. And what to do. If I go to a restaurant, I can like whisper to waiters like keto. They know exactly what to do. You know, no low carb, no carbs. No problem. I don’t even talk about it with people anymore. I used to talk about whatever. You really care what I eat. Anyways, that was a big hard thing at first, which it isn’t now.
Yeah, yeah. And then you mentioned something which is like, the maintenance is easy, once you get used to this, but then if you’re like, Okay, I want to, I want to lose a few pounds here, you know, I want to get down to a little bit lower weight, that’s easy to do, too. It just takes a little bit more discipline a little bit more, you got to be a little stricter about what you’re doing.
So sometimes I recommend to journal food again, you know, or track your macros again for a couple of weeks, you know, just to get you to the place where you’re like, okay, now I’m, you know, kind of recommitted. I know what I’m doing. And I can start to make some incremental changes here. Because it doesn’t take much to dial the weight down. You know, sometimes it’s just cutting back on the amount of food you’re eating, you know, and, you know, something as simple as that.
Yeah, it is a small margin between gaining and maintaining, small margin’s maintaining.
Yeah, and it’s possible while you’re training, for an event like this, especially at the beginning of the training cycle, it’s a little bit easier to do. To lose weight, like you can, you can lose weight while you’re training for sure. I don’t recommend it as you’re getting into that last half of the training cycle, like the you know, as your race is approaching, you don’t want to be focused on losing weight, you just want to be like maintaining and focused on running and improving your performance and doing all the things you know and not be stressed out about trying to lose. But it’s possible, it’s possible to do that.
One other thing I want to say before we wrap up is it was a big step for me to take to decide to get in touch with Patrick to do the one on one initial consultation. You know, I somehow found the podcast I don’t know how. But I started listening to it a lot. I was like, I like this guy’s like my buddy like I felt simpatico with you.
But to like call somebody you don’t know to like do something over the internet was a big stretch for me and to think about spending money on it was a stretch and then I realized like investing in myself.
First of all, you eat less food so you’re gonna save money. But it was a big stretch to do it on this like kind of anonymous internet thing, but I can’t say like, how great it was of a decision for me to do it in the community is incredible.
I mean twice a week to have these group calls, which I still get on, at least one of them a week is very big, because these people who I’ve never met, are like my buddies, and we’re like working together on the same goals. And it seems a little weird that you’ve never met these people in person, but it really works. It works for me. So I highly recommend if you’re thinking about it, to have the faith that it can be real.
Yeah, it is a great group of people. And you’re right, I feel like you guys are kind of my family in a way, you know, because we do spend a lot of time together. And not only do I do all these one on one calls, where you and I spent a lot of time together over the last six months or so. But then we do the group calls where we all come together and, and can kind of share what’s going on share wins, you know, ask questions, and kind of…
They go through almost the same thing you go through. It’s like, we’re not all that different. Most of us and we each have our own issues, but there’s a lot of similarities. So to hear that someone else is struggling with something similar helps a lot, because then a lot of people have strategies that work out.
Yeah, and I remember cracking up last week because somebody else shared a story of injuring themselves golfing right before their race, right. And I was like, and Pete, you were just like cracking up because you’re like, I did the same thing. And lesson here is like to stay away from golfing, you guys, okay? It’s a dangerous sport. It’s apparently very dangerous.
Good stuff. Anything else you want to share? Pete, this has been awesome. Thank you for being here and sharing all this stuff with us.
Thank you for your work, Patrick, I know you’ve been working on this a long time. And you’re very thoughtful. And you put a lot of time into this. And, you know, just grateful for what you do. And it’s really what. So that’s all just gratitude towards you, and acknowledgement of all your hard work goes into this, as well.
Yeah, well, I’m just over here yammering on about stuff, you’re the one actually doing the work, you know, you showed up, you made a decision that you were going to conquer this 50k, you are going to lose the 30 pounds, you made that decision, which is really important.
And you said it was a little bit scary, because who is this guy, this random guy from the internet or whatever. But you made that decision. You committed to the process, you know, which was I’m going to change the way I’m doing things. Because what you were doing wasn’t working for you. It was, you were having the opposite effect. You were getting slower, you were gaining weight, you were feeling terrible. Like you needed to shift that you know, and that takes a commitment.
And that is scary. Because you’re getting into uncharted territory. When you do that, you know, you’re like, I don’t know if it was gonna work or not, you know, I don’t know what’s gonna happen here. But you committed to the process.
And anybody listening to this, if you just do that part right there, if you commit to the process, like I know, this is what I want for myself, here’s the goals that I have for myself. They’re very clear, very measurable goals. And then you commit to that process of change, I guarantee you can get there. As long as you don’t quit. The only way you can really fail kind of like with the 50k is if you just quit, you get on the van. But if you keep going, you’ll finish. Right.
So let’s keep going back every time you fall off, it’s like okay, well, I fell off. Well, we’re back on.
Yeah. So you did the work. And I’m proud of you for showing up for yourself for making that commitment to yourself for making that decision that this is what you wanted for yourself. And then just doing it and like continually sticking with it.
Even though it was hard sometimes, even though it was a struggle sometimes. You didn’t give up. You kept going. And I can’t wait to hear about your next 50k. I want to I want to hear about how you crush your last time on that.
You know, yeah, I’ll keep you posted for sure.
All right. Well, thanks again, Pete for everything. Thanks for being here. I really appreciate it.
Thank you, Patrick.
So a lot of runners who struggle to lose weight, wonder if coaching is a good fit for them. I’m going to be very honest about this. Coaching is a good fit for you. If you are willing to go all in on yourself.
You have to be willing to commit to the process of change. You have to be willing to get uncomfortable. You have to be willing to give it everything you’ve got.
The people in my program who do amazingly well are the ones who go all in on themselves. There are a few people who don’t do so well. And those are the people who kind of half ass it, right?
You cannot expect to accomplish anything of value in your life by half assing it, you just can’t. You have to full ass everything you do. So if you’re ready to commit to becoming the most badass version of yourself, then you’re ready for The Coaching Project.
That’s my lifetime access weight loss coaching program for runners. Just go to runningleancoaching.com/join to learn more. That’s all I got for you today, love you all, keep on Running Lean and I’ll talk to you soon.
Recently, I completed a self-supported, solo 12-hour run. I’ve always wanted to do a 12-hour event, but I could never really find a race that spoke to me. So, I decided to take things into my …
My name is Patrick McGilvray, and I’m an experienced marathoner, ultra runner, Sports Nutritionist, Master Life Coach, and weight loss coach for runners. I’ve dedicated my life to helping runners just like you properly fuel your body and your mind. So you can get leaner, get stronger, run faster, and run longer than you ever thought possible. This is Running Lean.
Hey there, and welcome to episode 180 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today what I learned running solo for 12 hours. So recently, I completed a self supported solo 12 hour run.
I’ve always wanted to do a 12 hour event, but I could never really find a race that I got excited about and nothing really spoke to me. So I decided to take things into my own hands and just do it myself.
So in this episode, I’m going to share what I learned running solo for 12 hours. What prompted me to want to run alone for so long, how I approached my training, how I fueled during the event and some interesting lessons I learned along the way.
And if you’ve ever considered doing an ultra marathon, this episode is for you, I think you’ll learn a lot. Also, if you have no desire to ever do an ultra marathon, I think you’ll still get a lot out of this episode, because a lot of the training, and the fueling principles especially, apply to races that have many different distances. Cool.
But first, if you’re ready to begin your weight loss journey, then I have just the thing that gets you started on the right track, I put together a brand new hour long training just for you. It’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner.
I will teach you how to lose weight the right way and how to keep it off for good without running a million miles a week. Okay, some of the things that you’ll learn in this comprehensive training is why running more and eating less is not an effective way to lose weight and what to do instead.
One thing most runners don’t do or do wrong when they’re trying to lose weight, the best fuel to use to improve your endurance and lose weight, how to create the mindset shifts necessary to develop new habits that actually make all this last for life.
And then one thing that I did that was really the key for me being able to keep the weight off for good. And it’s something you should probably do too. And there’s a lot more in there. But those are some of the key points that you’ll learn.
So if you’re ready to get started, if you’re ready to get leaner and stronger, run faster, longer become the healthiest and most badass version of yourself, check out this free training, just go to my website runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training. There’s never going to be a better time than right now to get started. So just go to my website runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training. Alright, cool.
So let’s talk about this: what prompted me to want to run solo for 12 hours? So I came across a podcast where some people were talking about the 12 hour walk. And ‘The 12 Hour Walk’, if you’re not familiar, is a book that Colin O’Brady wrote.
Colin O’Brady is a pretty badass adventure guy. Like he’s done all kinds of endurance events like walking solo across Antarctica, and actually breaking the record for doing it faster than anybody else.
So he walked across Antarctica, pulling a sled with all of his, you know, food and equipment and everything that he needed for this track. And he ended up walking something like 12 hours a day, because I guess that’s how much daylight they had.
And he covered I don’t know, 50 miles a day or something close to that, 48 miles a day. But he ended up doing this for like 53, I believe, straight days. So that is pretty insane to do something like that.
So during the pandemic, he, you know, was back home and, you know, was itching to get outside and do something. And of course, you know, all this stuff is shut down. He couldn’t travel.
And so he decided to just take a walk and he left his house and he ended up walking for like 12 hours by himself without his phone. And he was just like, this is really fascinating. And he learned some interesting lessons along the way by doing this.
It’s a very personal sort of inward journey. It was for him anyway. And he thought, wow, I think a lot of people could benefit from doing something like this. So he wrote the book, the 12 Hour Walk.
And it’s a great book, if you want to check it out. It really goes into a lot of detail about all the things that he’s accomplished, and he’s accomplished some crazy events, some crazy endurance events.
But in the book, he talks about this 12 hour walk and encourages people to just do this. Leave your house, go walk for 12 hours by yourself unplugged. And some of the rules that he puts down are this, so it’s supposed to be done solo. So you do it by yourself, no friends, no dogs, no turtles, cats, anything, any other animal, it’s just supposed to be you. So it’s a solo journey.
And the length of time needs to be 12 hours. You know, it can be longer if you want, but that’s like the minimum right? So 12 hours is the length of time we’re talking about. And you need to be by yourself and there’s no, no phones involved.
So no headphones, no texting, no talking to anybody on the phone, no listening to podcasts, no listening to audiobooks, no listening to music. No, you know, FaceTiming people while you’re out there, it’s supposed to be a solo journey. Now you can take your phone with you, which I did. And I recorded a few short videos or a few voice memos or typed in some notes. I especially took some notes about my fueling during the event, just so I could keep track of when I was, you know, fueling.
So I could, you know, know how much time had elapsed between the last time I fueled. But it’s supposed to be done in silence, like you’re supposed to be just quiet, you know, and really not talk to people. And so that’s what the 12 hour walk is.
Okay, so I heard about this. And I heard some people talking about this on a podcast. And it really started, the wheels in my brain started turning because I was like, oh, man, I’ve always wanted to do a 12 hour event. And a lot of the 12 hour events or 24 hour endurance events, if you’re familiar with these things, a lot of times they do them on a short, one mile or two mile loop.
A lot of times they’ll do it at a track. So you’re running around a track for like 12 hours. And to me, that sounds terrible. The few miles like loop through the woods would be doable, but also you get sort of, you know, just used to the same things over and over again. So that really never spoke to me.
Like I just never was really interested in doing an event where I’m going to be running for 12 straight hours or 24 hours around a track or something like that. So I thought wow, this is pretty interesting. Because I get to do this anywhere that I want, I can go and run around my neighborhood, I can go down, you know, I live close to the Ohio River, I can go down to the river and run along the river.
And I’ll tell you about what I ended up doing and where I ended up going in a minute. But it was just sort of like this free form event like you can do it any way you want. So that really appealed to me. The solo adventure part of it appealed to me because I’ve you know, I’ve done a lot of running by myself for sure, I’ve done a lot of long distance running where I’m by myself for long stretches of time, but never more than an hour or two, something like that.
And then you’re like you hit an aid station or you’re running with other people or maybe you’re listening to something on the phone or talking to somebody. And then that aspect of not having your phone on and not having that distraction and, and listening to a podcast or an audiobook or something like that.
I love listening to podcasts and audiobooks when I run. It’s like I get to learn while I’m running. You know, I get to learn about you know, some badass, you know, adventurer guy, or whatever it is. And I really enjoy that. I don’t do that all the time, but I do enjoy that.
And so that appealed to me, like unplugging basically for 12 hours. So that part appealed to me. So this is kind of my, what prompted me, you know, and why I decided I wanted to do this. And then, of course, being a runner, I was like, well, I’m not going to walk this thing, I’m going to run it.
And I ended up doing a run-walk approach. And I’ll talk about that next and I want to talk about the training but just understand that this is something that you can do anytime you want. And if there really aren’t any rules other than what I just mentioned there, like if you need to take breaks, take breaks.
If you need to use a bathroom somewhere, use a bathroom, if you need to get some food, get some food, but the idea is that you kind of carry the food that you need, take a backpack or a Camelback or something like that. And then it should be self supported. There should be no distractions, it should be an internal journey, as well as an external physical journey. Okay.
So how did I approach my training? What did I do there? So, my idea was, my focus was always going to be on 12 hours. I wasn’t concerned about distance or time or pace or anything like that. I just wanted to be out there running for 12 hours.
And so I was going to I made a decision early on, that I was just going to do this slow and easy, that I wasn’t going to try to break any records here. And that if I could get to 50 miles, I would consider that to be a huge success. So that was kind of my goal, really, my big goal was like, you know, just to finish it, and just to keep, you know, running for 12 hours.
So, the way I approached my training, I started training for this thing back in like December, January. And the event was on May 27, that’s the day that I picked, so that was Memorial Day weekend, which was about three weeks after the Flying Pig Marathon, which I did, which was the Floating Pig Marathon since we had so much rain that day, it was crazy.
But I knew I wanted a little bit of time to recover from that race until before I did this other Ultra event. So 50 miles was the goal, May 27, was the date I picked. And I started training in December, basically January, and I was just building my base at the beginning.
I divided my training into three main sections. So the and as we get closer to the race, the running becomes more specific to the race. So at the beginning of my training cycle, I was doing more speed work, doing shorter, faster runs doing hill repeats and, and sprint intervals, and tempo runs and things like that.
As I got closer to the race, I stopped doing a lot of the speed work. And I just focused on, like dialing in sort of that race pace that I was going to use during the event itself, which was very slow. It’s like 13 minute miles, which is what I ended up averaging for the event itself, which I thought was fine, you know, it’s fine for me.
And that’s the way that I kind of approached the training. So, you know, I did a lot of miles, especially in that second and third phase of my training cycle, a lot of miles at a slow pace, and kept my heart rate down. And really the whole point of this was just to be out there for 12 hours, and enjoy it. I guess as much as you can enjoy running for 12 hours or being out there running and walking for 12 hours. And really just to finish.
And so I didn’t I didn’t put a lot of pressure on myself. I did have that goal of 50 miles. And so that was one thing where I was like, I do want to hit 50 miles. And that was totally doable. I knew that if I could get to about a 14 minute pace 14 something I knew that I would get to 50 miles.
So that was kind of the goal from a pace standpoint. So a lot of my training was just done by myself without my phone. So I just leave my phone at home and start getting used to running without any sort of distraction. Okay.
That was interesting, because think about this, how much time do you spend completely unplugged. Not looking at a screen, not watching TV, not listening to music, or podcasts, or books, or the radio in your car. Not talking to other people. Not calling someone or texting someone.
Think about this. This is one of the big lessons I learned because I was like, I do not spend much time during any given day completely unplugged. And that’s what was really interesting to me, that it made me hyper aware of how much time I actually spend distracting myself from whatever’s happening in the moment.
Think about it, like I was at the gym this morning. And I usually have my headphones when I’m at the gym and I’m listening to a book or something like that. And I forgot them right. I left them at home. So I’m just like, whatever. I’m just going to sit here in between sets and just look around, I guess I don’t know, what do you do? It’s kind of weird.
I was like, what did we used to do back in the day when we didn’t have cell phones? I guess we would just sit there and look at each other. Right? So I was just sitting there and I looked around and I started to see every single person in the gym staring at their phone.
Every single person that wasn’t actively lifting was like staring at their phone. Every person. It was wild. And I was just thinking wow, that’s so interesting. We are so connected to our phones that even two minutes in between sets we can’t not be sitting there staring at our phones, you know.
So for me, one of the biggest lessons that I learned really is that I can spend time away from screens and I can spend time away from distracting myself from the moment and that I want to be more mindful, I want to have more mindfulness in my life, I want to be more present in the moment, not just for myself, but for other people as well.
And so that was a huge lesson that I learned. And it took training for this event, and then actually doing the event to sort of bring that really into my focus and into my attention. So during the event, there were so many times where I was wanting to whip out my phone and call somebody, or text somebody, oh, I just thought of something I need to tell my kids. I better just text him.
And I was like, nope, I had my phone with me, but it was just for taking a couple of quick videos and some voice memos that I was recording, and a couple of notes that I was writing just because I wanted to keep track of my fueling, right.
So I did have my phone with me, but it was in airplane mode. So it was basically all I could do it use it for was recording messages, taking pictures, that kind of stuff. And I didn’t pull it out that often I was really just focused on being in the moment.
And that was one of the biggest lessons I learned is that I distract myself a lot. And we all do. We are constantly distracting ourselves. Aside from sleeping. We either have, we’re talking to someone, we’re listening to something, we’re watching something, we’re reading something, we are constantly bombarded with information, and constantly connected and constantly distracted from the moment. So just think about that.
How can you maybe change that? What does that look like for you? Can you spend some more time just in silence, maybe mindfulness meditation, maybe just leave your phone at home, when you go for a run, leave those headphones at home, take your phone if you want to, if you need it for emergency or something like that, but just take leave the headphones at home. Interesting, right? It may be an interesting experiment to do.
Okay, so the training I did was pretty standard, nothing really fancy there. Other than, you know, I shut down the speed work during that last six weeks or so and really just focused on really hammering the long distance getting used to running with a backpack because I did carry a backpack with water and fuel and things like that.
And that was it, like the training was pretty, you know, standard and really not a whole lot to discuss there. Other than, you know, just those last six weeks or so I just really ramped up the mileage. You know, I was doing you know, my weekly mileage ended up being I think at the peak was something like 60-65 miles a week.
But the long runs on the weekends were, you know, 25 and 12 was like the longest I did. 26 and 10, something like that. So that was the training. And then so my approach for the race itself, I decided I was going to bring the minimal amount of fuel that I needed.
And I was thinking because I’m fat-adapted, I don’t really need a whole lot in the way of fuel for something like this, but I wanted to maintain some semblance of energy. So I did use some fuel. And the idea was that I was going to start to run fasted and have some coffee before I left the door or headed out the door. I had some coffee about 6am and was out the door by 6:22 is when I started on a Saturday morning.
So I started fasted, just had some saltwater before I started and some coffee and that was it. The saltwater was actually an LMNT that’s an electrolyte drink. So I did my electrolyte drink, no calories, really no sugar or anything like that. And just some coffee, headed out the door.
And then my goal was to fuel every hour, and to get about 150 calories per hour 150 to 200 calories per hour. That’s all I wanted. I didn’t want more than that, because I don’t really need more than that. So, and I practiced during my training with this and this is something important for you.
If you’re doing a half or full or any kind of long distance event, you’ve got to practice your fueling during training, like all your long training runs should be dress rehearsals for your event. Okay, so just make sure you’re training the way that you’re going to be racing, right so I did this regularly.
And I’ve tried a few different types of fuels and things like that, I ended up going mostly with the Muir energy gels and those things, they have like four ingredients. It’s like almond butter, cacao, some blackstrap molasses, that’s the carbohydrate that they use in there. And then some salt, something, maybe there’s five ingredients, some other kind of flavoring in there, but they’re very clean.
Some people don’t like the way they taste, I think they taste fine. They’re kind of good, actually, I think they have almond butter as another ingredient depending on which one you get: cashew butter, almond butter. But they’re pretty good and have good, clean ingredients.
There are a little bit of carbs, like 12 carbs per packet. And they’re 150 calories. So one of those per hour was kind of my goal. And I had a couple other things that I had just had in my closet that I just pulled out a couple other types of fuel. But they were all very similar and all about 150 calories each. So that was what I planned on doing. And I stuck to that plan pretty well.
So after about an hour of running, I did my first Muir, and then kind of kept doing that every hour or so there was a couple of times where I lost track of time, and I looked down, I’m like, oh, it’s been like an hour and a half and I haven’t fueled at all, better do something. And then the next one I did a little bit shorter, like, you know, I just had to kind of tweak it a little bit.
But at the end of the day, I think I only used eight or nine of those. So it should have been 11. And I think I brought 11 with me, and there were a couple left when I got home. So maybe I used eight or nine of them in total. So it didn’t even need as much as I brought with me, you know, and I was really trying not to weigh myself down the pack that I had fully loaded with water, two liters of water plus all the, you know, goos and the phone and stuff like that, we’d like eight and a half pounds, so it wasn’t super heavy.
But eight and a half pounds is eight and a half pounds added to, you know, your body weight as you’re running for 12 hours, right. So I wanted to keep things as light as possible. So I just brought the bare minimum and I didn’t even use all of it. And I felt fine.
The race itself was pretty uneventful other than so I headed out of my house. And it was cool in the morning. You know, it’s very cool, probably in the high 50s, right. And I was like, oh my god, this is perfect, you know, but it got hot that day, it ended up being in the high 70s.
And two things that really helped. Number one is that I chose a rail to trail, also the little Miami Recreation Trail, that was kind of the majority of the run for me was on that trail. And I hit that during the peak of the day. And it’s very shaded because there’s trees on both sides.
And most of it, there’s some sections that are totally exposed, and it was getting hot. So that helped. So the location that I picked for this thing really did help. Also, it ended up getting cloudy in the afternoon, which was amazing because when the clouds came over it dropped the temperature down and kept me from like, I was getting hot with the sun out I was really getting hot.
And so the clouds really helped a lot. And so for that second half of the day, you know, I finished at 6:20pm. The second half of the day was warmer, but it could have been a lot worse. So I was thankful for the clouds. So I took off from my house. I ran out to this trail, which is about 12 miles from my house. So I took another path called the Watson Way, it’s another rail to trail that sort of connects to this other one.
And I ended up running from my house 26.2 miles to a little town called Loveland. And, you know, that is the farthest I’ve ever run by myself. The farthest I’ve ever run in one direction, that’s for sure. And so when I was in Loveland, I was like, 5 hours and 36 minutes into this thing. So I wasn’t quite halfway but close to it. And I decided that was a good point to turn around. And my goal was to make it a double marathon.
So if I got to, like 52 miles, that was the goal. At that point, I was like, I think I can do this. You know, I’m padding my time a little bit because I might slow down towards the last half of this thing. And I did slow down a little bit towards the end just because I did have a little bit of extra time and so I did a little bit more walking during the last hour or so, a little more walking, and a little less running and it felt fine.
You know, all in all, the event was great. I did stop to refill water a couple of times, because the two liters of water that I had wasn’t going to be enough. I ended up stopping at a Starbucks on the way out towards Loveland.
So during the first half, I stopped at Starbucks and got some ice water, took that with me, that felt great. Stopped at a little bike shop that had cold waters and filled up my backpack with cold waters on the way out. I did that again on the way back, stopped at that Starbucks again, on the way back in, I ended up getting an iced coffee, which was amazing. So delicious.
And then that gave me a little bit of an extra boost there for the last few hours that I have out there. And then you know, I ended up just finishing feeling pretty good. The only problem I had during this thing was that my knees are kind of messed up, like I’ve fallen down on the trail so many times that my knees occasionally will kind of start talking to me and my right knee was kind of talking to me towards the end of this thing.
And I was like, yeah, I think I’m ready to be done. And then as soon as I finished and I stopped, and I sat down, and I took a shower and stuff like that my knee just swelled up, it was huge. And just bending, it was very painful. And walking was hard.
Like, I messed myself up pretty bad, like, not even knowing that I was in, you know, doing any kind of damage to the knee. That knee is fine now like it just took a couple of days for the inflammation to go down. I don’t know what the issue is with that knee. But it does do this every now and then.
And I’m just going to take it easy and not overdo it here during the next few weeks. But it’s been fine since then. It took a couple of days for that swelling to go down, but it’s been fine. So the event itself was great. I did it solo, I did it without talking to people.
For the most part, when I did stop, I had to like, you know, talk to the people that sold me the water or the coffee or whatever. But other than that, and one guy that ran past me, there were some running groups running on Saturday morning. And one guy in a running group said, Hey, I love your podcast.
And I kind of just looked and waved because I didn’t want to say anything because I’m like I’m trying to be quiet and not say anything. So for the guy that ran past me and said, hey, I love your podcast, on the Murray trail, I think you’re with the tri-state group, then hey, I’m gonna say, hey, thank you for listening. I appreciate that. And I appreciate that you gave me the shout out during the run, but I was being quiet at the time.
So I wasn’t talking to anybody. And I did run into my son. I’m like, you know, he was running towards me on one section of the trail. And I’m like, what are you doing out here and he’s like, I just went out for a run today. And he didn’t know where I was running. And so he didn’t know he was going to run into me. I’m like, hey, I’m not supposed to be talking to people. He’s like, cool, I’m gonna leave. And I’m like, cool. Alright.
So that was kind of fun. And by the way, I ended up running almost 53 miles total. So it was a double marathon and a little bit more. So that was cool. So a couple of lessons that I learned through this whole thing, number one, that you have to get out of your comfort zone if you want to grow.
And I’ve talked about this before, but this brought it all home to me in a big way that this was an uncomfortable event fFor me. It was uncomfortable for a lot of reasons: because of the silence because of no distractions, because I had to be in the moment. And because it’s 12 hours of running, come on.
It was hard, you know, something that was very challenging to do the training was hard. For this event, the event itself was hard. But coming out of this, I feel like a little bit of a different person. You know, I feel like I have learned some things and I’ve grown and I’ve like, every time I challenge myself and I try to do something like this, like, once a year.
Every year, I try to pick some event, something that I’ve never done before and do it. So anytime I do something like this, it causes me to level up, causes me to grow and it causes me to become more and become closer to that ultimate version of myself that I’m always working towards. It’s a work in progress. It always is.
But doing things like this. I want to encourage you to do something like this because things like this cause you to level up, they cause you to grow and they cause you to evolve as a human being, okay.
The other lesson that I learned is that being alone in silence without the distractions for 12 hours is really hard. We are so used to using our devices and distracting ourselves that to do this was a challenge but it was great. I loved it. At the end of the day. I was like, wow, I’m like I didn’t need it. You know, I don’t need to distract myself, I could just be in the moment.
And it got me thinking about when I was younger. You know, we grew up without the internet without cell phones. Well, we did have like a Sony Walkman you could wear you know, and listen to tapes, you know, that was awesome. But even so, like, we didn’t take those everywhere we went, you know, and so there was so much more in the moment.
Mindfulness, I guess you would call it, we didn’t know, it was called that at the time. Now we have to call it a certain thing, because it’s so different from what we’re used to doing. But that’s just how we were back in the day, you know. And so it just really made me realize how distracted we are all the time.
And how much I am craving, and I think we all kind of crave a little bit of like silence and internal, an internal journey, so to speak. Okay. Another lesson I learned was this, that we all have an inner dialogue, we all have an internal voice that’s kind of talking all the time.
And I realized that that voice never really stops, it’s there’s always going and even being out there, I thought, this voice has got to stop at some point here. And it sort of did at least it got quieter after about four or five hours, but it took four or five hours out there running by myself for this to even like calm down at all. Okay.
And then I noticed that there were times where I started just talking to myself out loud. So that into your internal voice that I had, maybe I was missing it, I don’t know, but I would just start talking to myself out loud. And it wasn’t like seeing anything, you know, mind bending or anything like that.
I would just be like, oh, hey, I wonder if it’s time to drink some water. Maybe I need to grab a gel. Maybe it’s time to feel? Gosh, that tree is cool. Oh, man, I’ve been on here for a long time, those clouds look interesting. Like just whatever. I was sort of, like narrating things, and I had to like, stop myself and be like, dude, what are you doing? I was craving some sort of, I don’t know if it’s a distraction, but some sort of a dialogue.
And so I started just creating a dialogue to myself, Okay. But all in all, I would suggest that if you want to challenge yourself, and if you want to level up and if you want to see what you’re capable of, and if you want to learn some lessons that you know are going to be personal to you, then I would suggest doing something like this, you don’t have to run it, you could walk it. It can be something that you do once a year, twice a year, I’m considering doing this again in the fall as a walk.
And I might invite you to join me, not in person, but virtually and we can all do this, maybe we pick a date. And we all do this together, so to speak. You know, we all do it on the same day in our separate towns in our separate cities, separate countries, whatever. And it could be something where we all learn some lessons together, we kind of come back and commiserate on what we’ve learned together. Sounds cool.
So all in all, this was a successful event. For me. It’s my first 12 hour timed event. And I enjoyed it. I really did. I enjoyed the the aspect of doing it however, I wanted to do it, you know, picking my own route, picking how I wanted to approach the fueling and, and hydration and all those things myself.
Making all those decisions myself and not having to, you know, have it be dictated by a race director and a certain location and a certain day in a certain time and certain types of fuel they have out there. Like I just did it myself. And it was awesome.
And actually, it was one of those things that like wasn’t that big of a deal. It really wasn’t. I devoted one day, one day to bettering myself to being mindful with myself being alone with myself. And I would suggest that you kind of do the same thing. Cool. All right.
So that’s all I got for you here. And listen, if you’ve ever struggled with losing weight, if you want to lose weight and keep it off and you want some help doing that, I want you to know that I have a great coaching program, and it was created with you in mind.
The Coaching Project is my lifetime access weight loss coaching program for runners. You and I will work closely together to put together a custom nutrition plan for you to get you to your goals. And we also talk about building strength and we talk about endurance and we talk about mindset, okay, and then we meet regularly to see what’s working and what’s not and then course correct as needed.
And one thing you have to understand about coaching is it’s not like some other diet or something like that. It’s not like a one size It’s all cookie cutter approach, right? You’re an individual, you have your own sets of goals and lifestyle and food preferences and the way you want to work out and things like that. And I’m going to meet you where you are.
And we’ll put together a plan that you feel good about because you have to enjoy what you’re doing. You have to enjoy the food, you got to enjoy the way you work out. Because if you don’t, you’re not gonna stick with it.
So if you want to just stop struggling, you want to start getting results, check out The Coaching Project. Just go to runningleancoaching.com/join to learn more, I’d love to see you in The Coaching Project. All right, that’s all I got for you today. Love you all. Keep on Running Lean, and I’ll talk to you soon.
Most people will agree that exercise should be included in any weight loss plan. Unfortunately, most people think that exercise should be the ONLY component of their weight loss plan. Eat less …
Hey there, and welcome to episode 178 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today, Weight Loss Principles Every Runner Needs To Know, Part Two: Exercise.
So most people will agree that exercise should be included in any weight loss plan. Unfortunately, most people think that exercise should be the only component of their weight loss plan, eat less and move more. Right?
Isn’t that the mantra that’s been forced upon us for several decades now? How’s that actually working for you? Not so great? Well, the good news is you’re not alone, it didn’t work for me either. There’s more to losing weight than just exercising more and eating less.
I know that if you’re listening to this podcast, you’re probably a runner, and you think that you’ve probably got the exercise thing down pat. But running alone, or just running more isn’t the answer when it comes to getting lean and strong and keeping the weight off for good.
So today, I’m gonna lay out several exercise principles that every runner needs to know, especially if you want to lose weight and keep it off. This is part two of a three part series called Weight Loss Principles Every Runner Needs To Know.
Part one, focused on nutrition principles. And next week, I’m going to do part three, which is all about the most important mindset principles you need to adopt in order to become your healthiest and most badass self.
But first, let me ask you this, does any of this sound familiar? You work out every day, and you don’t lose weight, you train for something like a marathon, you actually gain weight, you track all your food, you count all your calories and still the scale never budges.
Your eating feels out of control, you just can’t seem to put the consistency that you need together. And you can’t ever make any significant progress. It’s always like one step forward, two steps back. Or maybe you’re just finally ready to be done with all of that, all the struggling.
I know exactly what this feels like. Because I’ve been there. I struggled for years. I tried every diet you can imagine. Nothing ever worked for me, not long term. And all these diets had one thing in common, they all said, eat less, run more.
And the more I ran, and the less I ate, the more miserable I actually was, I was just like hungry all the time. And being that hungry all the time makes it very hard to lose weight, right. So that approach just doesn’t work.
So if you can relate to any of this or all of this, just know that there’s nothing wrong with you, you don’t lack willpower. You don’t lack self control, you’re not a failure. You’ve just been given bad advice. Whatever you’re doing doesn’t work, right?
Nothing changes if nothing changes, so maybe it’s time for a change. If you’re ready to try something different, something you’ve probably never tried before, just consider coaching. Coaching works where most cookie cutter plans fail.
Why? Because coaching gives you the expert guidance, support and advice that you need for you and your particular goals that the cookie cutter approaches just can’t do for you. Okay.
Coaching also provides encouragement and motivation to keep you going, especially when things get hard. Coaching even offers up a little bit of tough love every now and then because sometimes we all just need a little kick in the butt to get us back on track.
Coaching has been the one thing that changed everything for me, and I’m confident it can be the game changer for you too. Whether you’re just getting started on your weight loss journey, or you want to drop those last 10 pounds, check out The Coaching Project.
This is my lifetime access weight loss coaching program designed specifically for runners just go to runningleancoaching.com/join to learn all about it. I would love to see you in The Coaching Project. Alright, let’s get into these principles.
These are weight loss principles that every runner needs to know. And today we’re focused on exercise. So if you want to lose weight and you want to keep it off for good, there’s a certain way of doing things that may go against some of the standard practices out there.
Like I mentioned before, like running more and eating less. That just doesn’t work for most people, it didn’t work for me. And a lot of people I work with say it doesn’t work for them either. That’s why they come to me for advice and help and so what I’m going to lay out for you today is the exercise principles that we need to start to kind of wrap our head around, okay.
So I’m just going to jump into these and the first one is this: that it is okay to keep exercising. I know this may sound a little crazy. But there are a lot of coaches out there who tell people when they start out losing weight that they should stop exercising. And I know that sounds a little crazy.
Here’s why. Here’s why they do it because I had to look into this little bit. If you want to lose weight, and you’re not someone who exercises regularly, it might be a lot to completely change how you’re eating, and start exercising at the same time.
Think about that, if you’re somebody who has weight to lose, and you have not been exercising, to try to start a whole new diet and exercise at the same time can be a little overwhelming, right, it’s hard enough to stick to a meal plan. Now you want to stick to a whole new exercise plan too?
That can be a little bit much for people, especially if they’re just getting started. They’re not somebody who exercises regularly. But I have to say, if you’re listening to this podcast, you’re probably a runner, and you probably run pretty consistently already, right? If so, great.
Just keep doing that you don’t really need to change anything. Right? Keep running, let’s focus on making changes around your nutrition at the beginning. Anyway, if you’re not somebody who runs consistently, and you want to lose weight, I’ll suggest just focus on the food for a while.
Go back and listen to the episode I did last week on nutrition, start with that, but get used to eating differently, wrap your head around that. Start developing some good habits around nutrition first, then we can start working on an exercise plan.
Okay, so it’s okay to keep exercising, if that’s something that you’re doing now just keep running. If you’re going to the gym, if you’re doing yoga, whatever it is you’re doing, just keep doing it. Don’t really change anything at the beginning, just focus on the food at the beginning. Okay.
Second principle, it’s not all about running. So this is another one that runners will push back on me with beyond a little bit. But listen, you have to wrap your head around this. Losing weight is not about running a million miles. I say this all the time. Okay, this isn’t about just like increasing your running till you’re running 85-90 miles a week or something like that. Okay.
I talked about this last week, you can go back and listen to that episode, again, if you want to understand what the biggest driver is when it comes to weight loss. So that’s going to be nutrition. There’s lots of reasons why. But it isn’t more cardio, you know, it’s not all about the cardio.
If you’re running, keep on running, just understand that you can’t outrun that bad diet, right. So you’ve got to get your nutrition dialed in first. That’s the most important factor when it comes to losing weight.
Cardio, or just running more is not going to solve your weight loss problems for you. You cannot run so much that you will just you know lose all this weight and be able to keep it off. And it’s something that isn’t really sustainable.
So this leads me into like the next principle, which is just say no to chronic cardio. No, that kind of rhymes, just say no to chronic cardio. Okay, what is chronic cardio? Chronic cardio is when you get out there and every single workout you do is medium hard, right?
You never work out hard enough to get the adaptive effects of those hard workouts. And you never work out easy enough to get the adapted cardiovascular effects of those workouts. So everything you do is a medium-hard intensity. All your runs, all your, you know, sessions at the gym, yoga, whatever. Everything is at this like medium-hard intensity. And this is the way that I used to do it. And every run, I would go out there and just push myself not too hard, but not too easy.
Here’s what happens when you do that, right. And the reason it’s called chronic cardio is because it’s constantly happening. It’s constantly recurring. It’s what you do every single day day in and day out.
Some of the problems. Number one is that this puts your body into a state of chronic stress. So stress is okay. And there’s two types of stress. There’s the chronic stress, which I’m going to get into in a minute here.
But then there’s acute stress, acute stress is where you go and do like speed intervals. And you do a HIIT workout where it’s very short and very intense. And it’s a very intense amount of stress on your body but you’re you have an adaptive response. Your body gets stronger, your cardiovascular system improves.
You go to the gym and do a less hard weightlifting session. Very hard, very intense but short, you know, and your muscles grow because of that, right? That’s the adaptive response to acute stress, then we have what we call chronic stress.
Chronic stress is the kind of stress we don’t want. Chronic stress is where your body is in a state of that fight or flight. Stress, fight or flight or freeze, you know, kind of all the time, you know, think about how we’ve developed as human beings where, you know, we saw the saber toothed tiger, and we became stressed out about that.
That’s acute stress, we run away, you know, cortisol goes up, glucose gets produced, our bodies are, the adrenaline gets produced, whatever. And we can run away, so we have the energy for running away.
But now, a lot of times we put our bodies into this state of chronic stress where our cortisol levels are always high, our glucose levels are high, which means our insulin levels are always high, which means we’re always storing fat, which means it’s really hard to burn fat and lose weight.
Chronic stress leads to chronic weight gain, or the inability to lose weight. So if all your workouts are medium-hard, you’re going to put your body into that state of chronically being stressed. And we do not want that, okay. Exercising this way will not help you to lose weight.
In fact, the opposite might happen, you might just gain weight. And this is why a lot of people come to me and they’re like, Patrick, I don’t understand I workout all the time. And then they start describing their workouts. And I go hmm, I think I know what the problem is here.
So we have to switch how you exercise and how you structure your runs. So what do you do instead?
This leads me to the next principle, which is the 80/20 principle. So what is the 80/20 principle? This is where 80% of your runs, 80% of your workouts should be easy, comfortable, low intensity, conversational pace, zones, one and two. And 20% of your workouts should be hard, high intensity, you cannot carry a conversation in zones three to five.
This is what the best runners in the world do. They focus 80% of their effort on low intensity and they build that cardiovascular base, they build that aerobic engine. And then 20% of the time, they are focused on running super hard, super fast tempo runs. Fartlek speed work, HIIT training, that kind of stuff.
And if you want to take a deep dive into this, read the book 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald, it has a lot of great science in there. But he does explain how this principle works, why it works in great detail, I’m not going to get into all the details of it here.
But if you just take this 80/20 principle, and you start applying that to how you’re running now, this principle is going to help you immensely right, you’re going to start to improve your running, you will actually improve your cardiovascular system, you’ll improve your running engine, so you’ll be able to run longer distances, you’ll improve your speed.
And you don’t risk all the negative effects of having this elevated cortisol all the time and putting your body into that state of chronic stress. Okay, so just understand that if you want a better approach, stay away from the chronic cardio, focus on 80/20. And this is gonna go a long way for you here.
Alright, next principle, resistance training beats cardio every time. So lean runners are strong runners. I told you the first and most important principle when it comes to losing weight is going to be to focus on nutrition. The second best thing you can do for yourself if you want to lose weight is resistance training. This is going to have the most impact over cardio.
Okay, most people don’t understand this. So number one is going to be nutrition. The second biggest driver of your weight loss of your body composition is going to be resistance training. And what is resistance training?
So resistance training is weightlifting. It’s called strength training a lot of times, but resistance training is using some sort of resistance and this could be your own bodyweight. It could be weights at the gym. It could be anything heavy that you carry or resistance bands to cause an overload in your muscles, so they have an adaptive response.
That adaptive response can be more than just building strength. So when we say strength training, yes, we want to build strength, we want to become stronger, but you can also build endurance power speed hypertrophy, which is larger muscles.
So, depending on what your goals are, you might want to build power and speed because you want to increase your running time, you want to be more explosive, maybe you want to run a faster 5k.
So you might want to focus on power and speed versus hypertrophy, like you don’t want to get big and bulky. Okay. So here’s what happens though, when you do not focus on resistance training. So most runners kind of neglect doing resistance training the right way, they just don’t do it the right way. Or they don’t do it at all.
And when you neglect regular resistance training, weight loss will take longer because your metabolism will actually slow down a little bit, you’ll be actively storing more body fat, you’re at a higher risk of injury.
Runners who don’t build strong muscles and connective tissues are more likely to get injured. So being strong means you can run hopefully, injury free, you won’t be able to run as far as having weak muscles means your body won’t be able to carry you as far before if fatigue sets in.
So being a strong runner means you can run longer, and you won’t be able to run as fast. Being a strong runner means you can run at higher intensities for longer. So strong runners are faster and more powerful.
On the flip side, here’s what you can expect when you stick to a regular strength training routine, you will lose weight faster so the more muscle mass that you have means the more fat you’re burning. Carrying muscle around requires more energy than carrying fat so your metabolism actually increases just by getting a little bit bigger and a little stronger.
This doesn’t mean you’re going to be big and jacked. That’s really hard to do, you don’t need to worry about that. Building muscle also speeds up the fat adaptation process which helps you burn even more fat. Building strong muscles means you’re at a much lower risk of injury especially from those connective tissue problems.
Most runners’ muscles adapt pretty quickly but your connective tissues, ligaments and tendons, they take a little bit longer to get strong. That’s why most running related injuries are ligament intended injuries, not muscle injuries. Also your endurance will improve your ability to run longer distances before fatigue sets in vastly improves.
So become a better long distance runner and you’ll get faster. Carrying more muscle means your power to weight ratio improves substantially. So you’ll be able to run faster at higher intensities for longer periods.
Lastly, you’ll live longer. A new meta study in the British Journal of Medicine says that people who do regular strength training are less likely to die prematurely than those who don’t, even when they don’t do any cardio at all.
So, in my opinion, I think that the number two thing you can do besides changing your nutrition is focus on resistance training, and then decide do you want to build stronger muscles? Do you want to build more power, more speed, more endurance? Or do you want to put on more muscle you know, focus on hypertrophy. So you got to figure that out. But resistance training beats cardio every time.
Next principle, you have to understand this: running is catabolic. So long distance running is catabolic, which means that it does break down muscle to some extent. So running is not a muscle building activity on its own. It’s a muscle depleting activity.
This is another reason why doing regular resistance training is so important, you got to keep up with this so you don’t lose muscle. This is also why you need to prioritize protein as a runner, you can lose weight while training for a marathon or any other race, you just have to make sure that you’re not losing muscle weight, right.
So regular resistance training, and getting enough protein will offset the catabolic effects of running, it doesn’t have to be catabolic, it doesn’t have to be a problem for you, you just have to make sure you’re doing regular resistance training and getting enough protein too.
Okay, next principle, I want to just kind of break these two things down here activity versus exercise. So, physical activity, this is any bodily movement produced by your muscles that require energy expenditure.
Exercise, on the other hand, is a subcategory of physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and purposely focused on improvement or maintenance of one or more components of physical fitness.
So for example, activities would be things like walking the dog, playing with kids, yard work, house cleaning, these are not forms of exercise. They are activities.
Exercises are things like running, weightlifting, cycling, swimming, yoga, and on and on, right.
I think we kind of understand this, but I just want to make this very clear to you. And here’s why I’m bringing this up. Because the key words I want you to focus on here are planned, structured, repetitive, and purposefully focused on improvement.
So, think about your current exercise regimen. How often do you plan your workouts? Do you have a plan? You should have a plan. All your workouts should be planned for the week, whether you’re running weightlifting, doing cross training, swimming, yoga, whatever, these should all be on your calendar, they should be planned ahead of time.
How repetitive are they? How consistent are you with that plan? You should be consistent with your exercise routine, because that’s the only way you’re going to see improvements. Right? How purposefully focused on improvement? Do you have clear goals? Are you tracking your progress? And are you making steady progress? If so great. If not, why not?
Like for running, you need clear running goals, you need a solid running plan. You need to be consistent with your training like don’t ever miss two workouts in a row. And then every run, every workout has to have a purpose. Like you need to be continually making progress towards those goals.
And if you’re not, you need to kind of look at why am I not making progress? Am I overtraining? Am I not getting enough rest? What is the problem here? How can I change things so that I’m getting good results so that I’m moving closer to those goals that I have for myself?
So I just want you to understand that when it comes to exercise that has to be planned, structured, repetitive, and you have to be focused on improving. Most people don’t do it this way. They treat running like it’s, you know, yard work, right?
Running just becomes another activity, which is great. If that’s all you want to do, you just want to treat it as like something that you do, like walking the dog, that’s fine. But if you want to improve if you want to get faster if you want to run farther, you know, if you’re focused on weight training, and you want to get bigger muscles or improve your body composition, or get more toned, especially for the beach, whatever, then you need structure, you need goals, you need to be planning this you need repetition and purpose. Okay?
If you want to PR your next half marathon, you can’t just wing it with your training, you have to have it planned and structured. And you have to have this focus on improvement. Okay, so that is the big difference between activity and exercise.
Which leads me to my next principle, which is you have to prioritize rest and recovery. I know a lot of people do not want to talk about this. And I know a lot of runners who run or workout every single day. And they do not give themselves a chance to rest and recover properly.
And I just have to say when it comes to changing your body composition, losing weight, too much stress, a lack of sleep, lack of proper rest and recovery will result in chronic stress and the inability to lose weight. So just understand that you have to prioritize rest and recovery.
You cannot train every single day hard, like I mentioned earlier, unless you make sure that you’re prioritizing rest and recovery, you have to have those days built into your training plan, right? So think about how we build muscle, right? So you overload your muscle, you have an adaptive response, which means your muscle grows in response.
Or let’s say you want to improve your running, you do a hard intense speed workout and then the next day you rest and your body improves in that off time in that downtime in that rest period. That adaptive response does not happen on days when you’re doing intense training. It just does and it requires rest and recovery for this to happen.
So if you’re not seeing progress in your weight loss, if you’re not seeing progress in your running or your strength training, then you need to look at how is my rest and recovery? Right, remember we don’t want to be in that state of chronic stress, chronically high cortisol levels because that’s just going to keep us holding on to excess body fat okay.
And it leads to chronic fatigue and if you feel like tired all the time, maybe you can’t get a good night’s sleep which is a key component of rest. Maybe your workouts have diminished like your your ability to work out. Well has your performance gone down? Do your workouts feel harder? Your endurance has tanked.
If any of this stuff is happening, then look at rest and recovery, right, this also has a mental impact, right? You don’t have as clear of a head, you might be in a grumpy mood, you might start to lose your motivation, you just don’t feel like running anymore, right?
So you need to focus on rest and recovery. Because when you do, you give your body a chance to rebuild to repair and recover from those hard workouts so that you have that positive adaptive response, you’re able to go harder on your hard days, which means you’ll improve your fitness even faster.
And that’s the thing that people don’t understand. They think, oh, I don’t want to miss a day, I’m just going to do these hard workouts everyday so that I improve faster. Well, the opposite is actually true. If you want to improve faster, focus on rest and recovery days, okay, you give your body a chance to adapt to your training load.
Adapting means that you’ll get stronger, and you’ll improve your cardiovascular system, you can increase the intensity and the duration of your workouts. As long as you’re getting enough rest and recovery time, you won’t be as fatigued, you’ll feel better, your workouts will actually get easier. And you’ll get those positive mental benefits.
So you’ll feel more clear headed, you’ll be happier and less moody and stuff like that. Okay. So just understand that rest and recovery have to be a priority. And if they’re not, put them in your schedule, just put those days in your schedule.
All right, the next principle is this, you need to be working on flexibility and mobility every single day. One of the most debilitating aspects of this world we live in today is sitting in chairs all day, right? You run, you lift weights, and that’s all great.
You know, you get your exercise in every day. But what about the eight hours or whatever it is a day that you’re sitting in a chair at work, or the two or three hours at night, when you’re sitting down watching TV before you go to bed.
I did a little research on this, the average American adult sits down in a chair for about seven hours every day, that’s average, some people it’s a lot more, some people a little bit less. For teenagers, it’s around eight hours a day.
And research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns like obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and these all make up what’s called metabolic syndrome.
And by the way, about 88% of the US population is considered metabolically unhealthy. This is not where you want to be, this is not a good trend. So sitting all day contributes to this, it’s not good for you.
But I get it, you have to work. Your kids have to go to school, they got to sit at desks, whatever. So what do you do? Work on improving your flexibility and your mobility every day. And this is one of those areas where I talk to people about this.
I talk to clients about this, and I can see their eyes kind of rolling back in their head and they’re like, oh my gosh, just one more thing I got to do. I don’t have time for this. I’m already working out all the time. I don’t have time to work on this. But listen, you got to make time for this. You do not want to be one of those 88%.
Okay, so there’s a few things you can do. I’m gonna just talk about a couple of things you can do. They’re super simple, but they’re gonna make such a huge difference for you. Number one, get a standup desk. If you don’t have one already, just get one. I have one. I love it. I’m up and down all day. I’m sitting right now. But a lot of times I’ll record this podcast while I’m standing.
And so I move the desk around, it’s actually one that can go up and down. And I’ll move it up and down and switch every meeting that I have all stand up for one and then I’ll sit so that I’m cutting the amount of time that I’m sitting in a chair and half by doing that right there. That’s a huge game changer right there.
Another thing you can do, which is so simple, and this is going to sound ridiculous. But this is just get on the ground. Spend time on the ground sitting on the ground, squatting, getting up and down from the ground laying on the ground. You could do this any time during the day, grab your laptop, put it on the ground, just sit on the ground.
You can do it while you’re watching TV. You can, you know, do it while you’re eating dinner, put your dinner on the coffee table and just sit there on the ground. You know, there’s cultures that do this already, right.
And little kids do this all the time. I recently spent some time with my grandson. My son and his wife had to go to a wedding and they were like can you come and watch, you know, Vigi’s his name. Can you come and watch him for a few hours while we go to this wedding? So we spent a lot of time together. And which was really interesting.
I was just watching him for a long time. He’s probably thinking like, geez, what are you doing weirdo, but I’m just watching him and he’s on the ground the whole time. He’s squatting. He’s sitting, he’s crawling around.
He wants to play this game with me called crawlies which is just like I’m crawling around, and I gotta chase him around while we’re both crawling and it was super fun. But the point is that little kids do this.
Naturally, this is our natural state as humans getting and moving around on the ground, is how, how we evolve and how we learn, good posture and sitting. And this is very natural for us too. But we’ve gotten far away from this, this world that we live in now with chairs and couches, and we sit everywhere, it’s not good for us, right?
There is this field of study, this field of what’s the right word like rehabilitation, that’s called DNS, or dynamic neuromuscular stabilization. Fancy word I’m going to explain. I’m going to describe what it is, I’m going to give you like their definition of what it is. And then I’m going to tell you in a nutshell what it is.
So DNS, dynamic neuromuscular stabilization, is about the nervous system, and how it establishes programs that control human posture, human movement, and our gait. So this motor control is largely established during the first critical years of life.
DNS emphasizes neuro developmental aspects of motor control in order to assess and restore dysfunction of the local motor system and associated syndromes. Okay, that was a lot, right? Here’s what DNS is. In a nutshell, it’s about restoring our natural movement.
It uses postures, positions, and movements, based on what babies and toddlers do naturally. So if you look up DNS positions, DNS exercises, you will see pictures of babies, and then the adult version of that thing. So a baby may be in a squatting position, and then the adult is in the squatting position.
And they explain, you know why these movements are so natural and so important. But I noticed that my grandson has all this flexibility. Like, it’s crazy how flexible he is. And I’m trying to do the same things he’s doing. And I’m like, dang, I can’t do that anymore. Like I used to be able to do that, you know, so we lose that as we get older.
Okay, so I know this sounds crazy, but I’m just telling you right now that the main benefits of DNS are going to be improved mobility, improved flexibility, and improved stability. Every mobility issue, tight muscle or stuck joint is really an underlying stability issue. So if you can improve your stability, all this stuff goes away.
So get on the ground, this doesn’t take any extra time, just get on the ground, and do what little babies do. It’s so fun to just roll around on the ground and sit up and get up and down. If you find that if you’re older, like I am, and you find that getting up off the ground is like oh, my knees are cracking and it like takes a little bit more effort than it used to, then this is something you need to focus on. Okay.
Here’s the thing, if you did this regularly, if you focus on this type of DNS training this like getting on the ground, spending time on the ground, and consistent resistance training, you would feel amazing, you would improve your health, your body composition, your vitality, your longevity, and just become an overall badass, really.
If you just did these two things running fine, run, keep running. But I’m just going to tell you that this and resistance training are going to go so far for you and feeling better, but also in improving your body composition, losing weight.
So this brings me to my last principle I want to talk about today, which is run because you love it. Don’t run to lose weight. It doesn’t work. I think you understand why by now. Run because you love running. And people say this to me all the time. They say, Gosh, Patrick, I just love running. Running is like my therapy.
And I love this because just like therapy, running helps you to feel good about yourself. It helps you to build self confidence and self esteem. It helps you to improve your self awareness. It helps you to connect with yourself and with other people better. And just like therapy, running can help mitigate depression and anxiety. Lots of studies have shown this.
So running makes us feel better about ourselves. People who run regularly are typically happier. So run because you love it. Running helps you improve your focus and your concentration throughout the day. So you can actually be more productive. It’s an amazing stress reliever. So run not to lose weight not because you have to run because you love running, right.
If you’re running just to try to lose weight, you’re going to be very stressed out, it’s just going to cause a lot of unnecessary stress in you, okay? And don’t run because you have to, it’s not a chore, right? You’re not trying to prove something to others either, just run because you want to prove something to yourself.
Run because it feels good to run, run because you, you want to become healthier and happier and you want more for yourself, you want to improve, run because you love running. So maybe it’s time to change how you run a little bit, maybe leave your watch at home, leave your phone at home, just go run naked, they say that doesn’t mean without clothes. It just means running without your watch and your phone, no headphones, just go out and run.
Focus on your breathing, focus on the surroundings. Focus on nature. Maybe use this time while you’re running to give thanks for everything that you have in your life. Think about the trees and the birds on the sidewalk and the dirt path beneath your feet.
Think about how grateful you are for everything in your life. Maybe you can use this time to meditate or to pray. However you do this, it’s up to you. But I just want to encourage you to to run because you love running not because you have to.
So those are the principles I wanted to share with you today all about exercise. Remember, this is part two of a three part series called Weight Loss Principles Every Runner Needs To Know. Check out last week’s if you haven’t already, it’s all about nutrition.
And next week, I’m going to come up with part three, which is going to focus on the mindset principles every runner needs to know. And to make sure you never miss an episode, just subscribe to the podcast on whatever podcast app that you use.
And listen, if you’re ready to begin your weight loss journey, I have just the thing to help you get started on the right track. I put together a brand new hour long training just for you. It’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner, Stronger Runner.
In this training, I’m gonna teach you how to lose weight the right way and how to keep it off without running a million miles a week. A few things you’ll learn in this training, why running more and eating less is not an effective way to lose weight and what to do instead.
The one thing runners don’t do or do wrong when they try to lose weight, the best fuel to use to improve your running endurance and help you lose weight. How to create the mindset shifts necessary to develop new habits that last for life.
And then the one thing that I did that was really the key for me being able to lose the weight and keep it off for good and something you should probably do too. And tons more. It’s super fun. It’s free. If you’re ready to get leaner and get stronger, if you’re ready to run faster and run longer and become the healthiest version of yourself. Check out this free training and did I mention that it’s free? Well, it is free.
Okay, just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training. There’s never going to be a better time than right now to get started. So just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on free training today. Well, that’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean, and I’ll talk to you soon.
When it comes to proper hydration, most runners are all over the place. I get it, it’s a little confusing…how much should you drink, how often, should you only drink water, what about electrolytes, …
Hey there and welcome to episode 165 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, the weight loss coach for runners and today the ultimate guide to hydration for runners. So when it comes to proper hydration, most runners are kind of all over the place. And I get it. It’s a little confusing.
How much are you supposed to drink? How often? Should you only drink water? What about electrolytes is Gatorade the best option, etc, etc. Spoiler alert Gatorade to stay away from that stuff. It’s just sugar water. Okay. So today I want to end the confusion for you. I want to give you a very clear understanding of what hydration actually means for runners and how to do it properly. That’s why I’m calling this one The Ultimate Guide to hydration for runners.
So today you’re going to learn exactly what hydration means. The role electrolytes play in hydration, they are very important, by the way, how to hydrate before, during and after exercise, how coffee affects hydration, and loads more. So sit back, maybe grab a pen and paper for this one, because you might want to take notes. I have a lot of numbers for you today. And enjoy the ultimate guide to hydration for runners.
First, let me ask you this, does any of this sound familiar? You don’t need carbs to run, oh, you can’t run without carbs. You can’t lose weight while you’re running. You have to run in order to lose weight. You need to eat six times a day to keep your metabolism going. Eating less often will speed up your metabolism. Have you heard these contrasting ideas?
If some of these sound familiar, if all this sounds familiar, and you’re confused by all this like conflicting, conflicting information out there, you’re definitely not everyone has their own viewpoint and opinion of what works best. But the truth is there is no best way to do this stuff. Okay, the only thing that matters, the only thing that really should matter to you is what works best for you. Figuring that out, though, it’s kind of the tough part, right.
So a key component of my coaching program is putting together a personalized plan that actually works for you, a plan that will get you to your weight loss goals into your running goals much faster than you could probably do on your own. So if you want some expert guidance to figure out what works for you, then I think you’d definitely be a good fit for coaching. Stop the confusion and start taking expertly Guided Action to learn more and apply for coaching. Just go to runningleancoaching.com/apply.
Okay, let’s talk hydration. I really wanted to get into this topic today. And I’ve been thinking about this for a while and doing some research on this topic because I think it’s very important and something that a lot of runners overlook, or they think they have an idea of what they should do, but they’re maybe kind of misguided a little bit. And so I want to make sure that we have a deep dive in a detailed discussion on hydration. And so that’s why I’m calling this the ultimate guide to hydration for runners.
So let’s get into this. First of all, what is hydration? So hydration is basically the process of causing something to absorb water. Think about a sponge, you know, you take a dry sponge, it’s all like shriveled up and flat and then you add some water to it and it absorbs that water. It’s able to hold that water. Okay, so that’s hydration, very simple right?
Every cell in our bodies is made up of mostly water. So 70% or more depending on the cell but 70% or more of your total cell mass is water your brain all the all the cells in your blood your skin organs, muscles, bones, teeth all contain water. So hydration means that we are providing enough water to ourselves for them to function properly.
Okay, so just understand that at the base level, like hydration, is you know required for every cell in our body is required to be hydrated properly okay? That’s why we need water. We don’t drink water. We will die. You can live by the rule of threes – so three minutes without air, three days without water, three weeks without food, so you could go a couple days without water. But then eventually you’re going to die. So just keep that in mind. Drink your water.
So how much should you drink, though? I mean, this is one of the big questions, right? And people say, oh, you should drink eight glasses of water a day. Well, what’s a glass? How many ounces is that? How big is your glass? Is it sixteen ounces? Is it eight ounces? What is that?
So one of the rules of thumb that we can use, is to just take half your body weight and drink that in ounces per day. So if you weigh 180 pounds, then you know, 90 ounces of water is what you want to get per day. If you weigh 150 pounds, then 75 ounces of water is where you want to be. Yeah, this is for the average adult, right? This is not necessarily for an endurance athlete.
So if you’re somebody who’s training a lot, you’re going to require more fluid intake, you’re going to require more hydration, and we’re going to talk all about that in just a second. But I just want you to understand, at a base level, whatever your body weight is, just have that and that should be around where you want to be at a minimum, from from a water standpoint, just drinking water each day, okay.
So something to keep in mind, when you wake up in the morning, you are going to be dehydrated. And there’s a good way to offset this, which is by first thing in the morning, is by drinking 16-30 ounces of water just to start things off. And it’s recommended that you put some salt or some electrolytes in that water. And I’ll talk more about electrolytes in a minute. So just understand that you will wake up somewhat dehydrated. And how you can determine how dehydrated you are as an individual is by doing a simple test.
So that would be to weigh yourself naked before you go to bed. And then after you get up in the morning and you’ve urinated, weigh yourself again, and just kind of see how much water weight you lost overnight. And that’s a good indicator of maybe how dehydrated you are in the morning.
So being dehydrated is not a good thing. That means our cells are not functioning properly, our brains are not functioning properly, our nervous system is not functioning properly. And if you’re just one to 2% dehydrated, meaning that if you’re just if you’ve lost 1-2% of your body weight, due to dehydration, it can have a significant impact on your athletic performance.
Now I know a lot of people love working out first thing in the morning in that fasted state, I know I do, I don’t eat before I work out, I drink some coffee and then I hydrate before I work out. But if you’re starting your workout, and you’re already, let’s say 1% dehydrated, you’ve lost a few pounds of body weight overnight due to dehydration, and you’re going to start your workout in that 1% dehydrated state.
Getting yourself back to normal is going to be very challenging, like it’s really hard to do that with that hydration deficit that you’re going to be starting your workout in. So let’s say you have a long run, and you got a three hour run, and you’re starting this run at a 1% dehydration. So you’ve you’ve lost 1% of your body weight, it’s only going to get worse, it’s not going to be, it’s not going to get better, it’s going to be very hard to make up for that deficit, right?
Drinking while you’re running, it’s going to be really hard to drink enough to really make up for that. So training dehydrated can have a really negative impact on your athletic performance. So just keep that in mind. It’s great if you like to work out in that fasted state, just make sure you hydrate prior to work out.
So how much are we supposed to drink? Well for running, you know, for exercising. So for short bouts of exercise less than 30 minutes, let’s say you really don’t need to do much, you know, because you’re not going to lose much in the way of fluid. Okay? Typically, though, anything over an hour, you’re probably going to want to consume some fluids.
And this does depend on the weather and you know, the humidity levels and how much you sweat and things like that. But the one thing that I really want to get into here is making sure that we understand that when we talk about hydration, we’re not just talking about water alone, that we’re talking about electrolytes, electrolyte is like an umbrella term.
Basically it means particles that carry either positive or negative electric charge. So in nutrition we’re talking about essential minerals that are found in your blood, sweat and urine. So, when these minerals dissolve in fluid, they form electrolytes positive or negative ions used in metabolic processes.
So the electrolytes that are found in your body are sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, phosphate, bicarbonate. All of these electrolytes are required for various bodily processes including proper nerve and muscle function, maintaining balance, you know, like a pH balance and keeping you hydrated, okay? And so, the main electrolytes that we’re going to be kind of talking about are going to be sodium chloride, potassium and magnesium, sodium and chloride, basically salt, okay, so sodium, potassium, magnesium is kind of how we lumped those three together, okay?
Electrolytes are extremely important, they are crucial to keeping your nervous system and your muscles functioning properly. They help keep your internal environment balanced, like your pH levels balanced, okay? Without electrolytes, you’re really not hydrating properly. Remember, hydration is your body, drawing water into cells. And a critical part of this function is especially sodium.
So salt helps to make sure the cells don’t burst from being too full or shrivel up due to dehydration. So too much water is a problem. And a lot of athletes think that I just need to drink more water, drink more water, drink more water, but they’re not getting enough electrolytes and they’re not getting enough salt to mix with that water. And this can lead to a serious condition called hyponatremia. Hypo means low, na meaning salt, and then tremia is like in the blood. So basically it just means you don’t have enough sodium in your blood.
And hyponatremia can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, cognitive issues like confusion, or irritability, vomiting, and then there’s some very severe symptoms too with loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, even death. So drinking too much water can literally kill you. So you got to be careful with that, like, we don’t want to be just drinking plain water, you know, you’re out running an ultra marathon, and it’s hot out and you’re sweating a lot.
The more water that you consume, the more you’re diluting your system of sodium. And you will eventually get into some level of hyponatremia. And you have to be really careful with that. So we want to make sure that we are using electrolytes to hydrate properly. And again, electrolytes are required for proper muscle function and hydration and nervous system function and all these things, right. So just understand that we don’t when I talk about hydration, we really need to make sure we’re thinking about hydrating with water and electrolytes.
So how much do you need? How much electrolytes are you supposed to be, you know, consuming? So this is a little bit different for everyone, I’m going to give you some kind of averages here. And you can play around with this a little bit. Okay, and this goes to this whole discussion today. Which is like you have to kind of figure out what works best for you.
I’m gonna give you some ballpark numbers here, but just remember that it’s good for you to to play around with this a little bit. None of this stuff is like set in stone. Okay, so the first thing you need to determine is like, you know how much you’re losing in your sweat because when you sweat, then you want to replace the electrolytes that you lose in your sweat. So that you kind of replace that same concentration of electrolytes that’s in your sweat with the fluid that you’re drinking. Okay.
So for example, in one liter, which is 33 ounces, like one liter of sweat, I know it sounds disgusting, right? But one liter of sweat contains somewhere between 502,000 milligrams of sodium, 1-500 milligrams of potassium, and 0-100 milligrams of magnesium. So the averages in sweat would be somewhere around 1000 milligrams or a gram of sodium, 300 milligrams of potassium and 50 milligrams of magnesium.
Now there’s a product that you can get out there that I love. There’s lots of products for hydration. This one I just happen to love it’s called element LMNT. You can find it on Amazon or whatever. I don’t make any money off of this stuff. I just love it. I think it works great, it contains 1000 milligrams of sodium, 200 milligrams of potassium and 60 milligrams of magnesium. So it’s kind of hits, those numbers are pretty close to those numbers, right.
So basically, for every liter of sweat that you produce, you want to have one packet of LMNT added to water. And so, you know, let’s say, if you sweat out a pound per hour, then every two hours of running, you’re gonna want to have an element. Okay, that’s pretty easy, right? Again, these are sort of ballpark numbers, you need to kind of figure out what works best for you. But this is a good place to start here. Okay.
And then, you know, post exercise, just, you know, we want to make sure that we are, you know, replacing our fluids, you know, post exercise the same way that we do during exercise. Okay, and I’m gonna talk about that in just a minute, like, how to hydrate specifically during exercise?
Well, let me just talk about that right now. So how about this? How do we hydrate during exercise, or specifically, how do we replace lost fluids during exercise, the first thing you need to do is determine how much fluid you lose during exercise. So a great field test, again, is to weigh yourself naked before you run, and maybe go for an hour long run, after the run, dry off where you are again, and then you’ll see how much you lost. So this will give you a rough idea of how much water you know, you lose how much sweat you lose per hour.
So for every pound of water lost, we want to replace that with one and a quarter pounds of fluid. So we want that to be 125% of what we lost through sweat, we want to replace it with fluid that means electrolytes, right? water and electrolytes. So for example, if you weigh 150 pounds before you run, and then you come home from that run, and you weigh 149 pounds, you lost one pound during that one hour run. Okay? Pretty easy to do, right?
Then you just take 1.25 times that and that means that you know, during your next run, you’re going to want to run, you’re going to want to consume 1.25 pounds of fluid for that run. You also have to factor in water consumed during the run. So let’s say you take the same 150 pound person, you weigh yourself before you run, you drink eight ounces during that, so about half, and then you come back and you notice that you’re down to 149, you actually lost really 1.5 pounds total because you replaced eight ounces of that.
So then you would say okay, so what is 1.25 times 1.5? And that brings us to about 20 ounces, right? So 20 ounces every hour is how much that particular individual loses. Okay, so let’s break this down just a little bit more. Take that 20 ounces per hour and divide by four, because we want to know about how much we should be drinking every 15 minutes. This makes it so much easier, right? Because you’re not going to chug 20 ounces every hour, so top of the hour better chug 20 ounces of water. That is not going to be a good strategy for running. Okay.
So that means that we want to break that 20 ounces down over every 15 minutes. So that’s like five ounces every 15 minutes, right? So pretty easy math once you once you do this. Okay, so let me let me repeat, you know, kind of replay this right here. So for every pound every 16 ounces of water last, replace it with 1.25 pounds of fluid or one 125% of the ounces of fluid lost. Okay, that’s it, that’s all you have to remember right there. And then just divide that by four so that you’re, you know, consuming, you know, a little bit every 15 minutes or so. Okay.
Now, there’s another formula that you can use, if you don’t want to do the sweat test where you weigh yourself before and after, you can just take your body weight and divide it by 30. And that’s how many ounces to drink every 15 minutes. This is kind of an easy way of doing this. So let’s say you weigh 150 pounds, divide that by 30. That’s five, five ounces every 15 minutes. That’s it. Simple, right?
I like this one because it kind of jives with you know what most people kind of find there. And it gives you just enough, it gives you probably a good place to start. All right, and then you need to kind of figure out what works best for you and then remember, these numbers will go up or down based on how hot it is outside, how humid it is, and how hard you’re training. So you have to experiment with this, like what works for you may not work for other people, what works for them may not work for you. Okay?
So now that we understand that, when you are done with exercise, you want to have that same formula that 125% of fluids are lost during exercise. So even though you’ve hydrated during, maybe you still come back and you’ve lost some weight because of a little bit of dehydration, even though you’ve been drinking, it’s fine. Not a big deal. Just replace those same fluids lost using the same concentration of water, electrolytes and that 125% rule, okay?
So another way to tell if you’re getting enough fluid and electrolytes, and I know this is a great one for ultra runners, because they’re always asking about their weight, they’re looking at their urine, you want to make sure your urine is not a dark color. You want to make sure you’re not losing too much weight. And then how thirsty are you feeling? So we call this what w u t? WUT?
So is your weight down? How much have you lost in the way of fluids? And then we look at urine; what color is it? Is it clear? That’s a good sign. Is it dark colored? Like stout beer? That’s a bad sign. And like how thirsty are you or do you feel very thirsty or not really? Okay. So if any one of these weight, urine or thirst if you can answer yes to any of these; urine is kind of dark and you’re feeling thirsty? Yes to any one of these, you might be a little dehydrated, okay?
If two or three or yes or three or yes, that you’re definitely dehydrated, okay, so then you need to probably up your hydration game a little bit. So maybe the kidney you didn’t plan for the conditions or something like that. Okay. Now, another way of determining what your salt needs are, is, you know, if you’re craving salt, you may need to eat more salt. If the food you’re eating just doesn’t taste salty at all, and you keep adding more salt to your food and it starts to taste fine, then you probably don’t have enough salt in the system. All right.
So if you’re craving salt, eat more salt, if what you’re eating tastes super salty, and you go for one of these electrolyte drinks. And you’re like, Oh, this is so salty then maybe you’re salted enough. Like you don’t really need to add more sodium into your system. So go by sort of that moat, we call it the salt appetite. Like how is your salt appetite? Do you crave salt, you want more salt, and maybe you need a little bit more. But if you’re not, then you might be okay.
And keep in mind the RDA, the recommended daily allowance for sodium intake is like 2300 milligrams a day. So that’s for people who are eating a typical American diet, who are eating maybe a lot of carbohydrates, a lot of processed foods. When you eat a clean diet, when you’re maybe doing sort of a lower carbohydrate intake, you’re doing lots of endurance activities, where you’re losing a lot of sodium through sweat, you can probably up your salt game, you can probably up your salt intake, from that 2300 milligrams a day to 3000 milligrams a day, maybe even up to 5000 milligrams a day. Depends on you as an individual.
Now, if you have pre hypotension or hypertension, you have to be careful with salt. Talk to your doctor about what numbers are right for you. Chances are that you’re gonna have to keep sodium probably a lot lower than some of these numbers that I mentioned here. Okay, so definitely talk to your doctor and see what you know they recommend for you. Okay, yeah, and another thing about processed foods is that a lot of people who kind of switch and start eating a lower carb diet, they’re not getting enough salt all of a sudden.
So they may have been close to that 20 303,000 milligrams of salt per day. And then they start eating really clean foods, they start eating a lot less processed foods, and their sodium intake goes way down and they don’t feel good. You know, they still maybe have a little lightheadedness, headaches, a little bit of brain fog or something like that. So if you eat pretty clean, you might want to just try adding a little bit more salt to your diet to see if you feel better, you’ll probably feel better perform better. You’ll have better brain function, you’ll probably sleep better too. Okay.
And then electrolytes, you know, this question has come up before like, should I use electrolytes only when I’m running or should I use them other times? And the answer is yes. Yes, you should use electrolytes every day. It’s vital for sports performance Yes, but also vital for proper brain function. It’s vital for maintaining pH levels, it’s vital for nerve and muscle functions and all the stuff that I mentioned earlier, okay.
So, you know, just keep in mind that we want to take electrolytes on a daily basis, and make sure that we are hydrating before, during and after exercise. And then really quickly, yeah, how to hydrate before exercise. So a good place to start with this is maybe around 500 milligrams of sodium, right, so what you want to do is 30 to 60 minutes before exercise, go ahead and preload with some salt or electrolytes, and water, maybe 16 ounces of water, so and then over the course of about 15 to 20 minutes, sip that water, don’t just chug it all down at once.
Because what this will do is it’ll help to increase blood volume, it’ll actually give your body more blood to deliver oxygen to working muscles. So this is a very easy and very simple performance enhancing hack, right, just by pre-hydrating before you exercise. So that way, you’re not starting off your exercise in that dehydrated state. So one of the first things I do every morning is while I’m making my coffee in the morning, I add salt to 16 ounces of water. And I drink it. And that’s how I start every day that way. I know that no matter what my exercise looks like that day, whether I’m lifting weights, or running that I know I’m like starting out with some level of hydration. Okay.
Oh, what about coffee? People ask about coffee and they think that it’s, you know, maybe dehydrating. You know, people talk about, you know, caffeine being a diuretic, and it’ll actually dehydrate you. And that is true coffee, or caffeine on its own is a diuretic and will dehydrate you it will cause dehydration.
So if you’re taking caffeine pills, it will probably cause some dehydration. But if you’re drinking brewed coffee, which is mostly water, then the effect of that dehydration is beaches basically neutralized so you don’t really need to worry about coffee being D dehydrating or a diuretic because it really won’t do that to you as long as it’s got all that water. So if you are somebody that takes caffeine pills, just make sure you drink plenty of water with them to kind of offset that and you’ll be fine there.
Okay, and just coffee is a proven performance enhancing compound so use it but not too much. One to two cups of coffee, pre workout seems to really enhance exercise performance. Three plus cups of coffee can start to cause some performance degradation. So, you have to be careful not to overdo it with the coffee or the caffeine. So this is good news. Right? If you like drinking coffee, then you’re good to go there. It’s not dehydrated at all.
Okay, I hope you got something out of this episode. I hope you understand hydration, how to hydrate before, during and after exercise. What electrolytes are, how much to use, when to use them. If you have any questions, reach out, I’m always here for you. But that’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean, and I will talk to you soon.
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