Whether you are just getting into running or have been at it a while, you should be actively working on improving your endurance. While there are many methods out there that are designed to help …
As runners, we’ve been told over the last 40 years or so that the only way to fuel for running is with carbohydrates. Loads and loads of carbs. Eat lots of carbs every day, carb load the day …
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 216 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today, an alternative way to fuel long-distance running. So as runners, we’ve been told over the last 40 years or so that the only way to fuel for running is with carbohydrates, carbs, loads and loads of carbs.
Eat lots of carbs every day, carbo-load the day before you run, carb up in the morning pre-run, consume ample carbs during your run. And then of course, you’re gonna want some carbs for recovery after your run.
This has been the standard approach since the 1980s. But it’s definitely not the only way to do things. The thing is, this approach just doesn’t work for everyone. Some people like me gain a lot of weight eating all those carbs regardless of how much we run. So in this episode, I offer an alternative way to fuel long-distance running one that doesn’t cause you to gain all that weight in the process.
But first, I know I share a lot of information here on the podcast about nutrition, weight loss, and improving your running. If you’re new to the podcast, it can probably feel a little overwhelming. And you’re like I don’t even know where to start with all this.
And if that sounds like you, totally cool, I got you covered. I created a free training. It’s about an hour long. It’s a video that you can watch, you can check it out anytime it’s called 5 Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronge Runner.
In this video, you’re gonna learn the basics of nutrition, strength, endurance, and mindset, all these things that are geared towards you the long-distance runner. So if you’re ready to get leaner, and if you’re ready to get stronger, if you’re ready to become the most badass version of yourself that I know you are, then this free training is exactly what you need to get started. Just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training.
Okay, so let’s talk about an alternative way to fuel long-distance running. Why do I want to talk about this today? Because I keep hearing from runners and I keep reading articles online and social media posts for runners that talk about eating all the carbs.
And I’m like, gosh, are we still talking about this? Since the 1980s, the carb-loading approach has been the gold standard, so to speak for runners just eat all the carbs, and you’re going to find that most coaches teach this approach.
Most experts, quote-unquote experts, teach this approach. When I got my running, coaching certification, when I went through my coaching certification program, I was taught this approach. And this approach is fine. And it does work for some people. But it doesn’t work for everybody.
For some of us, like me, eating all those carbs caused us to gain a lot of weight in the process. You know, and I’m not against having carbohydrates. In fact, I think using carbohydrates strategically for running is a great tool.
It’s a really good tool that you have in your tool belt, why not use the carbohydrates as fuel, especially for the higher intensity stuff or races? But eating all the carbs all the time, is what we’ve been taught and it just doesn’t work for everybody.
You know, I’m one of those people that is very sensitive to carbohydrates. You know, I eat carbs and I gain weight. And so if I just take this standard approach to fueling for long-distance running, I ballooned up 40 more pounds, 50 more pounds, whatever.
You know, I’ve shared this before where I was training for ultra marathons, I was running all the time, I was doing a ton of mileage and gaining weight in the process. You can’t outrun the wrong diet, right?
So for me the all carbs all the time approach while I loved it. Who doesn’t love eating carbs all the time? Oh, pizza, sure. Ice cream. Yep, that’s going to, I mean, I’m a runner, so I gotta eat this stuff. Right? Spaghetti all the time. Like I was just I was eating tons of bread and pasta. And sugar, like this was my diet. You know, it was like a 90% carbohydrates, you know?
And I just kept gaining weight and gaining weight and I was like wow, even though I was running a ton, you know, I was training for ultra marathons and running ultra marathons regularly and then gaining weight in the process does not make sense, right?
You are supposed to lose weight when you start training. Well, the wrong diet won’t allow that to happen, right, so the wrong diet will cause the weight to continually stack up. So for me, this this all carbs all the time approach is one that I tried, and it just didn’t work for me.
You know, I also found that I would crash and burn during long-distance events. And I’m like, what’s going on here, because I’m using all the fuel. You know, I’m taking all the gels and I’m eating, I’m pre-loading with carbs and do all this stuff. But I keep crashing and burning and mile 18 to 22 of a marathon, you know.
And I was like this, this isn’t working, like there’s got to be a different approach here. Okay. And there is, there are, there is an alternative approach, there are probably multiple other approaches that you can take.
But there’s one specific that I want to talk about today, one that doesn’t require eating all the carbs all the time, and one that doesn’t require you to gain a bunch of weight in the process, if that’s you.
And listen, if you’re the kind of person that can eat all those carbs, and not gain any weight, and it works really well for you, then keep doing your thing. Keep doing that. My hat’s off to you. But if you’re somebody that’s like Patrick, that really doesn’t work for me, then listen up, because here’s the different approach you want to take.
You want to get yourself fat-adapted. So we’re talking about this concept of fat adaptation. Fat adaptation means that you train your body to burn your stored body fat as fuel for long-distance running.
When you stop eating all the sugar and all the carbs constantly, you give your body a chance to tap into your stored body fat as fuel. So the way this works, essentially, is think about your different fuel sources in your body as like a fuel tank, and the top layer of that fuel tank is what’s gets burned first.
And that top layer is going to be sugar, essentially glucose, glycogen, that kind of stuff. So that is going to be burned first. And as long as that’s available, that is what’s going to be constantly burned. Okay.
And so the concept, but behind all carbs all the time thing is like you want to keep that top layer of the tank filled at all times so that you’re constantly always burning that. The problem is that when you run out of that, maybe you get to mile 20 of the marathon and you just haven’t done a good job of keeping up with the amount of carbs that you need for that event, or you haven’t trained yourself to metabolize carbs that to that extent.
That top layer of the tank is going to run out and then you’re going to crash because you don’t, you don’t have access to that lower portion of the gas tank, which is the biggest portion, I’m going to say it’s probably like 90% of that gas tank is going to be your fat stores.
But you don’t have access to that because you haven’t trained your body to use that fat as fuel, like the pathways are not there. So what happens is that when you stop eating the sugar and the carbs all the time?
You start to train your body to use the alternative fuel source, the fat stores the stored body fat, you know, we all eat some, you know, we all eat food and some of that energy that we consume gets used towards working muscles, some of that energy gets stored as fat to be used later as fuel.
The problem is we’ve just gotten so far away from using our stored body fat as fuel, it’s kind of like we just constantly put wood on the woodpile, but we’re never burning the wood it just keeps stacking up that’s our fat stores just getting bigger and bigger.
So when you train yourself to tap into those stored to your stored body fat as a fuel, now you have this like almost unlimited fuel source for running. So that’s the concept of fat-adaptation, you’re removing the sugar and the carbs that that initial, like, let’s say 10%.
And I’m kind of making these numbers up but just think of it like you know, we only have the capacity to store like 2000 calories as of energy as glucose but we have our body fat can can store hundreds of thousands of calories of energy as stored body fat, so just know that yeah, it’s probably like 10% and 90%, something like that. It’s probably more like 99 and 1% or something okay.
Anyway, so we want to get ourselves fat-adapted we want to be able to adapt to using that stored body fat as fuel. Okay, now, people hear this and they’re like, oh, that’s crazy. That’s just some weird fringe thing, it’s probably a fad, and it’s gonna go away.
Listen, we’ve been doing this for millennia, as human beings, we’ve been doing it for more than millennia, for like millions of years. Fat Burning is our natural state as human beings. You know, we store some of that energy we consume as body fat, and we use it when we’re not eating.
This is the way the human body is designed, you know, there’s periods of feasting, and there’s periods of fasting during those periods of fasting, we should be tapping into our stored body fat as fuel. Humans are really good at this, we are naturally really good at using fat as fuel.
And we’re naturally good distance runners like we used to be hunter-gatherers, we used to be a persistence Hunter, so we would, we would chase down prey, and we would outrun them not from a speed perspective, but from a time perspective like we would, you know, cut an antelope out of the herd or whatever.
And they might be able to outrun us in the short distance, but over time, like over hours and days, we would run them down to where they just would die of exhaustion. You know, poor antelope. I know, but good for us, because now we have this nutrient-dense meal that would that would sustain us, you know.
So the human body is designed to use that stored body fat as fuel during those times when we didn’t have the other food coming in. Okay. So to say that, oh, you have to consume all the carbs, all the pasta, all the bread all the time, just to be able to run?
That’s actually the new thing. That’s actually the weird fad thing that we’ve only been doing for the last 40 years or so. Right? I mean, isn’t that interesting that people look at this fat-burning thing. And they’re like, oh, you know, that’s not the way you should do it.
And I’m like, well, listen, we’ve been amazing runners for millions of years as humans and we never had to eat all the pasta and bread and gels and stuff like that. Why now? Should we have to do that? Okay.
So not only is it not a fad thing, or some weird approach, like there are elite runners that have adopted this approach for years and years and years, and they’re at the top of their game, you know, I’m gonna mention a couple of them here.
And I’ve talked about these guys before on the podcast here. And there are countless others too, but these guys just are kind of like the top, you know, the top 1% or whatever. Jeff Browning. He’s an ultra runner. He’s finished nearly 200 ultra marathons in his career. He’s had over 40 career ultra marathon wins 29 of those at the 100 mile plus distance, making him second in the world for the most 100 mile wins in history.
Ranked seven times in the top 10 of ultra running magazines, North American Ultra Runner of the year, ranked third in Ultra running magazines, North American Ultra Runner of the decade. He builds multiple, multiple course records, including the Moab 240 course record, and he is a low carb, low carb, high-fat kind of he takes that approach to his training.
You know, he’s very vocal about his fat-burning approach, his fat-adapted approach to ultra running, you know, he doesn’t consume all the sugars and all the gels and all the pasta and all the carbs. All right.
And another one that comes to mind is Mike McKnight. He’s an ultra runner. He specializes in the 200 mile distance. And he posed several wins every year for different events. He’s kind of known because he ran 118 Miles while consuming zero calories, zero calories. He ran 118 miles. He was just relying on his own stored body fat for fuel and he’s a pretty, pretty lean guy. You know? He’s amazing.
And I actually tried this, I was like, hey, you know, I’m gonna I’m gonna give this a shot. I didn’t do 180 miles but I did two marathons and a 50k ultra marathon on zero calories just to say like, Oh, can I even do this? Yeah, I could do it and I was fine. Really no problems whatsoever.
And then of course, there’s Zach Bitter. He’s an American ultramarathon runner. He specializes in the 100 miler distance and he’s done like over 60 ultras. He’s known for his low-carb diet, which he uses for training and racing nutrition. He had the record for the 100 miler. One point of 11 hours, 19 minutes and 13 seconds. I’m gonna say that one more time because that is a crazy number, he ran 100 miles and 11 hours in 90 minutes. That’s insane.
He’s the holder of the 12-hour American record at 104.88 miles. He claims the 100-mile and 12-hour world records at the Six Days in the Dome event in Milwaukee in 2019. Competed for team USA world 100 Kilometer team three times.
So these are guys, these are just some of the guys who are benefiting and their, their elite athletes who are at the top of their game. And they’re taking this low-carb approach to distance running. They’re not consuming all the carbs all the time. Yeah, they do use some carbs for their events.
And they’ll tell you, you know, you can check them out, or their websites, check them out on social media, they have podcasts and stuff like that, you can totally listen to what these guys say. And they’ll tell you they do like maybe, you know, 30 to 50 grams of carbs per hour for these events, which is not a lot. But they’re not eating all the carbs all the time. They’re taking this fat adaptation approach to running and it’s working really, really well for them. Okay.
Another thing to consider here is that if your goal is to lose weight, then this is a great way to lose weight. Because listen, if you want to lose weight, what do you got to do? You have to burn a fat, right?
We’re not talking about weight loss, we’re talking about fat loss. So you have to burn the fat. If you are burning the fat, you are losing weight. And it’s really hard to burn the fat when you’re on that super high-carb runner’s type of diet, right?
Because of the whole fuel source prioritization, you know, you’re going to burn through the glucose first, then you’re going to tap into the fat but you gotta like, You got to eliminate that top 1% or whatever of your fuel tank.
So if fat burning is the key to weight loss, which it is, wouldn’t you want to do it? It that makes fat burning the priority? Yes, you would. When you eat for fat-burning, you’re running improves your endurance and improves and you lose weight in the process. Right?
So if you’re somebody who is interested in losing weight, this approach might work for you, it may be something you want to consider. Okay, and and listen, when we talk about a low-carb approach to fueling a low-carb diet, a low-carb, you know, nutrition approach; a lot of people think, you know, you’re talking about keto, or doing no carbs or carnivore or something like that.
No, it’s not about that. It’s about finding the right amount of carbs that keeps you burning fat, while also helping you’re running because carbs are helpful for running, right? You don’t have to be Mike McKnight and do the zero-calorie thing. But it’s cool that the human body can do that, you know.
That’s fat-adaptation. And it’s most impressive, like what that guy does, right? And by the way, this guy is not fat, right? You don’t need a ton of body fat, to be able to use your own stored body fat as fuel.
Even the leanest of athletes can benefit from fat adaptation as an approach. Okay, so this doesn’t mean that you’re never eating any carbs, you can still eat some carbs. I use carbs for fuel, and I encourage my clients to use carbs for fuel, but we prefer like whole food sources of carbs, you know, we might be talking about bananas or sweet potatoes or rice or something like that, right?
And obviously, everybody’s a little bit different. And you have to kind of experiment with what works for you. But there’s, there’s tons of great options just from the natural world like and sticking with whole food sources of carbohydrates is great.
Now I get it that when you’re in any event, like you can’t carry a bunch of sweet potatoes or bananas with you. I mean, it’s just really not that convenient. But what’s cool is that there are a bunch of brands out there that cater to the low-carb endurance athlete, and they have entire product lines that are geared towards helping you fuel for running while maintaining that fat-burning state.
So like Hammer Nutrition is one you can use. S-Fuels, Muir energy, and there are a bunch of other brands out there and new ones coming out all the time. So that’s a very encouraging thing that there are companies out there that are that are gearing their product lines towards the low carb endurance athlete. Okay.
Now, just like I said, at the beginning of this podcast that the high-carb approach isn’t for everyone, just like that, like the fat-adapted approach probably isn’t for everyone. So I’m not going to come out here and say that everybody should do this. And everybody will benefit from this.
Some people do really fine eating all the carbs and the sugar and the gels, and they never have to worry about gaining weight. And if that’s you, that is amazing. That’s definitely not me. But if you struggle with losing weight, and you love running, then this might be the approach that you want to try.
You know, the only way you can tell if it works through you, or if you enjoy it, or if you can do this as a lifestyle as to give it a shot, you might see the weight start to come off, you might experience running feeling easier than ever before.
You might see your energy levels are better all day long, no more afternoon crashes, you might begin to think more clearly be able to focus and concentrate better. And as always, if you want help with any of this, you can always reach out to me you can go to my website runningleancoaching.com.
Every day I help runners get fat-adapted, lose weight, improve their running performance and make all this a lifestyle. So whatever approach you take cool, but it has to be something that is sustainable for you. Because if it’s not sustainable for you, it’s not going to work because this stuff takes time.
You know, if you want to lose weight, and you want to improve your diet, improve your nutrition, improve your running and your nutrition for running specifically, then you’re gonna have to take a little bit of time to figure out what works for you. And it has to be something that you can do sustainably long term, right?
So I work with my clients, we work together to make sure whatever they’re doing is something that they can do on their own like for good, or it’s not about quick fixes, but lifestyle changes, right being fit and healthy isn’t a destination we’re trying to get to. It’s how we live our life. Okay. Consider the fat-adapted approach. I think it’s amazing. It works really well for me and countless people that I work with. Give it a shot. You never know. That’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean and I will talk to you soon.
Recently I spent a week on vacation and decided to change my diet a bit. I made the decision to eat more freely, to enjoy some of the amazing local food, to eat dessert, bread, pastries, and …
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 215 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today, Lessons Learned From Vacation Eating.
So recently, I spent a week on vacation, and I decided ahead of time that I was going to change my diet a bit. I made a conscious decision to eat more freely, to enjoy some of the amazing local food, to eat dessert, eat the bread, eat the pastries, and generally be a little less strict about my diet.
It was definitely an interesting experience. And I learned some very valuable lessons along the way. And I want to pass these along to you here today. So in this episode, it’s all the lessons learned from quote-unquote, vacation eating for a week, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
But first, I know I share a lot of information here on the podcast about nutrition, weight loss, improving your running and improving your strength. And if you’re new to the podcast, all this might feel a little bit overwhelming and confusing. And if it does, that’s okay, I’ve got you covered.
I’ve created a free hour-long training that you can go through, you can check it out anytime. It’s called 5 Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner. You’re going to learn all the basics of the nutrition, strength, endurance and mindset side of things, all geared towards you, the runner.
So if you’re ready to get leaner and stronger and become the most badass version of yourself, then this free training exactly what you need to get started, just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training to get started on your weight loss journey today.
Okay, so recently, I took a trip I went to Hawaii, my girlfriend and I decided we wanted to take a tropical vacation for her birthday, her birthday is in July, actually. But she was like I don’t want to go to Hawaii in July I want to go when it’s really cold and miserable here in the Midwest. So we decided that the end of January/beginning of February was a great time to do that.
So we plan this trip. And man, we’ve been really looking forward to it. It has been very cold here in Cincinnati over the last several weeks. So you know this, this trip came at a perfect time. But I made this decision going into this that I was going to be a little bit freer with my diet and I wanted to kind of do a little bit of an experiment, see how it would feel and how it worked out if I just ate kind of whatever.
Now I’m not the kind of person who eats a ton of I don’t eat much sugar, I almost never eat sugar. I don’t eat bread, and almost never eat bread. I love pastries. I love baked goods, you know, muffins and donuts and, and bars, you know, and all this all the good stuff that’s made with like with sugar and flour and more sugar and put on top like that’s my jam typically. And I know, but I don’t eat that stuff, you know, like in general, but I decided that going on this trip, I was going to be a little bit freer with this stuff. And that I was going to indulge a little bit.
I was going to eat the pizza and the fries and the burgers and the desserts and things like that. And so I made this conscious decision ahead of time. And I knew that going into it. I wasn’t going to feel amazing and I knew that I was probably going to gain a few pounds in the process and I was okay with that.
Alright, so I was very intentional about this, okay, so I just want you to know that, that when you go on vacation or you know a trip a business trip or when you’re traveling or anything like that, I want you to be very intentional about what your goal is for that trip.
And if your goal is to maintain your weight and maintain healthy eating patterns throughout, then make that your goal, set that intention, and then do that. If your goal is to indulge a little bit, enjoy the desserts have some you know donuts, eat the burgers with the bong I mean, oh my gosh, eat the french fries, whatever, then do that.
Be intentional about it, plan it ahead of time and do that. Know that you’re gonna gain a couple of pounds, that’s okay. It’s okay to do that. So that was my plan going into it. I was going to be a little bit looser with the diet. I was going to eat some sugar, you know we’re going to a place that has some amazing food. And so I was like you know, we’re just going to enjoy ourselves or I’m going to enjoy myself.
My girlfriend is a pretty good eater and she’s pretty small as she doesn’t gain weight, she’s always been pretty tiny. So like, she’s fine, like, whatever she does is going to be fine, you know, but for me, you know, I look at sugar and I gain weight, you know, essentially. So I have to be a little bit more mindful of these things.
So she was going to just do whatever anyway, and I was going to indulge a little bit here. Okay, so what did I do? So the first night we get there, we get to Hawaii. And she’s not feeling well. So she had a rough night. She had a drink at the bar at the pool, like we went to the pool as we got to our resort, beautiful Hilton resort in Waikoloa Village on the Big Island of Hawaii.
And we get there and she has a drink from the from the pool bar. And we get back to our room after hanging out at the pool for a while and she did not feel well. Could have been the traveling could have been the rum drink that she had. I don’t drink alcohol, but she does.
She had this weird drink and did not feel well. We had plans to go out to sushi that night. And she just was like, I can’t leave this room. All that sounds good to me is like cheese pizza right now. And I’m like, cool. I’m down with some pizza. And there was a cool pizza place on our resort, just a two-minute walk from our place.
I’m like, okay, I’ll go get us a pizza and I’ll come back and you know, we’ll just eat some pizza in the room. Wow, and that pizza? Good. So, so good. So I ate some pizza the first night I was there and I was like, this is going well so far. This is going really well. And I really enjoyed it.
And then throughout the week I had things like for lunches I would just do like a burger with fries and just get the bun. I never do that. I always get a bunless burger. I don’t eat fries typically. So I was like, I’m just gonna eat the burger and the fries. Who cares? It’s gonna be great.
We’re eating desserts, pretty much with every meal because they have all these amazing things they make with coconut and macadamia and pineapple. I had this amazing Kona coffee gelato. Oh my gosh. We had lava cake. Because you know, we’re in the land of volcanoes and they probably invented lava cake in in Hawaii, you know, so I’m like, Okay, we’re gonna need some lava cake.
We had pastries and muffins. And we went to this little town called Javi. And we had there’s a little coffee place there and we had some good Kona coffee. And like a breakfast burrito type of thing that we had as like our lunch that was really delicious.
But then they had this lilikoi bar so it looked like a lemon bar if you’ve ever seen like a lemon bar with like the crust on the bottom, the flaky crust on the bottom and then it has like a lemony middle and then they put a little bit of like sugar on top or whatever. But it was made with lilikoi which is Hawaiian passionfruit.
Okay, so I have to tell you, this is one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten in my life. It did not taste like lemon. It did not taste like anything I’ve ever tasted before; it was decadent and delicious. It wasn’t overly sweet either. I expected it to be super sugary, and sweet, but it was oh my gosh, it was so good. I regret not going back there and getting a bunch more of that stuff. Bring it home, whatever. Anyway, delicious.
Okay, I really enjoyed that. Another thing that’s interesting, we’re in this area around these volcanoes, one of them being Mauna Loa and there’s all these macadamia nut orchards all over the place. So we got some local macadamia nuts they make they sell macadamia nuts that are covered in chocolate like this is a thing there you know? So of course we’re eating chocolate covered macadamia nuts, like nobody’s business. Okay.
This is not the way I eat normally at all but I was really enjoying myself. We went to a coffee plantation, a Kona coffee plantation. We went down to Kona and had the most amazing experience touring the coffee plantation. Got to pick some coffee berries off the bushes, you know, got to chop down a banana tree and take all the bananas off the banana tree.
We drank some amazing coffee and had lovely steak dinners. We stayed at this beautiful hotel where they had this nice restaurant that was like on the water and overlooking the sunset so it was oh my gosh, it was so beautiful. And with that beautiful steak dinner, they had this purple bread and it was this bread that was made with something called a Molokai sweet potato which is a like a sweet potato but it’s purple. And so the bread was like this deep purple color. And they served it with butter that was dipped with or whipped with local honey.
Okay, that was amazing that purple sweet potato bread with a local whipped local honey, honey butter was amazing. I don’t eat a lot of bread, but I ate my weight in bread that night. Okay, so good.
And just a side side note here, I don’t drink alcohol. But if I did, this would have been a very different conversation because I would have probably drank a lot, because that’s what I used to do when I went on vacation.
Okay, so I’m just giving you a little bit of a breakdown of kind of what I did while I was on this vacation, we had a wonderful time we did a lot of walking, a lot of driving too. We drove all around the island drove up and down the coast many many times. Did a lot of walking, some hiking, we checked out the volcanoes and some little towns and went to Hilo like it was really, really cool. Such a cool vacation.
I was expecting this to be more like a lay on the beach under a palm tree on a white sandy beach. There’s not a lot of white sandy beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii, interestingly enough, because it’s a newer island, you know, when it comes to the age of these islands, and so it’s very rocky. And so the coasts are very, very rocky tons of lava rock.
And if you just look some volcanoes just come all the way from the, from the sky, I mean, you’re just looking up at this massive volcano, and it just sloped slowly all the way down to the ocean. And you can just see the trails of lava, and then the deposits of lava that are that make up most of the coast of this island.
So there’s not a lot of just laying around on the white sandy beaches, we did find a cool black sand beach, which was amazing. And that’s like the volcanic rock that’s been broken down into sand. So super cool place just a wild, you know, violent, you can see the violent history of this place everywhere you look.
But it wasn’t one of these places where you just lay on the beach all day because there’s not a whole lot of beach to lay on, you know. So instead, we did a lot of walking a lot of exploring a lot of hiking, so exercising was okay. You know, I’ll tell you more about that in just a second.
But from an eating standpoint, I did go a little bit off the plan. And I did everything I just said I did and probably more. But you get the idea, right? I was eating differently than I normally would. Okay. So here are some of the lessons that I learned. And this was, this was a big eye opener for me, all of this stuff.
So number one, I realized that the more sugar and bread that I ate, the more that I craved sugar and bread, like sugar and refined carbs make you crave that stuff like crazy. So the more I ate it ate of that stuff, the more I wanted that stuff. I just wanted to eat more pizza. After that first night of having pizza, I was like when can we get that pizza again, and we did get it again another night.
And when I had that dessert the first night, I was like when I’m just gonna eat dessert at every meal pretty much you know. And so the more I eat of that stuff, the more I crave that stuff. And what’s interesting is that when I’m in my normal day-to-day life, I don’t crave any of that kind of stuff. I crave the foods that I eat, so you tend to crave the foods that you eat consistently.
So if you’re eating you know chicken and broccoli a lot, you’re going to crave that more often. I know it sounds weird. Like you’re like who craves chicken and broccoli. It’s not the same type of craving. You don’t have that intense desire and craving for chicken and broccoli but you tend to be more satisfied from those foods if you eat those foods.
When you’re eating more sugar and carbohydrates and breads, you crave more and more of that stuff and the other food just doesn’t seem very appealing because this other stuff is amazing. Why would you want to eat chicken and broccoli when you can eat? You know, lilikoi bars and pizza, you know? Okay, so the more at that stuff, the more I crave that stuff. That was a big eye-opener right there.
Another lesson I learned once I started eating this stuff, especially sugar, I found that I could not stop. I could not stop. I would start eating some chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, and I could eat a whole bag of that stuff in one sitting. I could just sit there and my girlfriend was like, hey, you’re gonna save a few of those for me and I was like, okay, there’s like one left. She’s like, seriously, and I have a problem.
Like I start eating that stuff and I can’t stop you know, she bought this little bag of sour pineapple candy so it’s like sour patch kids, I don’t know what they call these things SOUR Gummies you know, sour things that are gummy whatever. She just likes to have one or two here or there. I eat like the whole bag and like 10 minutes and she’s like, what happened to all these pineapple candies? I was like, I don’t know.
So anyway, once I start eating sugar, especially sugar and the bread too I can’t stop, you know, I just start eating that stuff and I can’t stop eating. Okay, lesson learned.
Third lesson learned is that it’s so easy for me to go back to eating junk food all the time. Like, I’m so sensitive to the effect of eating these hyper-palatable foods, it really affects me, especially the baked goods, you know, all the muffins and the bars and the and the breads and things like that. I love that stuff, you know.
So I have to be very careful with those things, I found a great way of eating for me on a daily basis. throughout the whole year, it works really well for me as a lifestyle, I feel much better doing that. And it’s just too easy for me to slip back into those old eating patterns. So it’s better for me not to do that too often. Okay. That’s number three.
Number four, I do not feel good when I eat this way. I was bloated, I was lethargic, I had brain fog. Like I couldn’t think clearly. I had zero energy for exercise. Despite all the energy that I was consuming, like I was eating a ton of calories, a ton of sugar, you’d think I would have tons of energy for exercise, I was so tired all the time.
And we were doing a lot of walking and stuff. And I was staying pretty active. But I was just so not myself, I just did not feel good. And was not myself, especially the bloating, I could just tell I was gaining weight. And I thought I gained a lot more. But I had gained about six pounds in the week.
Okay, that was another big lesson learned that I gained a lot of weight, you know, six pounds is a lot and some of that’s water weight when you eat a bunch of sugar and whatnot. But some of that is fat, some of that is the body storing fat because you got too much carbohydrate, too much sugar coming in, probably too many calories coming in, in general, your body can’t metabolize it, some of that gets stored as fat, okay, so gained about six pounds, almost a pound a day, okay of like water weight and fat weight. That’s not good, I did not enjoy that part of it at all. That’s lesson number five that I learned.
Number six, I was hungry all the time. When you eat more often, you’re going to be hungry more often. This is why people say like, oh, you need to eat six times a day to keep your metabolism going. I disagree.
When you eat six times a day, you’re gonna be hungry six times a day, every single day. And you’re just always going to be hungry. And you’re always going to be eating and it’s really hard to control your appetite and control your eating when you’re eating constantly.
So for me, when you’re eating more often you’re going to be more hungry more often. Also the sugar, the carbs, the bread, the refined carbohydrates, they hijack your hunger sensors, they make you feel more hungry, even though you’re really not.
You may have just eaten something but they make you crave more carbohydrates, they make you more hungry, you know, they turn off your hunger signals, or they ramp up your hunger signals, and they turn off your fullness signals. So you know leptin is the fullness hormone. And it kind of suppresses leptin when you’re eating a lot of sugar and carbohydrates so you don’t feel full when you eat it.
So we that is one of those things where you’re going to be more hungry. And you’re going to not feel full when you actually maybe are full. You know the ghrelin is the hunger hormone. And it kind of suppresses ghrelin when you eat a lot of sugar and carbs. And so you feel more hungry constantly, even after a huge meal.
Like I was like, oh, I still need some dessert, I need more carbs, I need some, you know, I found myself going back to my hotel room. And normally I just go to bed, or you know, maybe watch some TV or something like that go to bed. But I was still hungry. I wanted some more of those chocolate-covered macadamia nuts. I never eat late, I never eat while I’m sitting in bed or anything like that. But I just found myself eating constantly and being constantly hungry all the time. So that was number six.
Number seven, I did not sleep well. I slept terribly every night. Now big time change then that messed us both up like so that’s Hawaii is five hours ahead of us here and we’re in the Eastern time zone here in Cincinnati. So five hours ahead of us.
So we were going to bed we’re trying to stay awake until like 9 or 10 o’clock. We didn’t really make it to 10 o’clock, I don’t think any night, but even staying up till nine. That’s like two o’clock in the morning here. You know and so we were like so tired by eight o’clock, nine o’clock at night.
And then we were wide awake at like three or four in the morning. Because that’s like, you know, eight or 9am here. So didn’t sleep well from the time change but the food played a huge role. So when you’re eating a lot more sugar and carbs, you have higher blood glucose, higher insulin levels, higher cortisol levels, means more stress on the system.
Your sleep really suffers from that. And then you put your body into even more stress, it’s sort of a vicious cycle to get into, you know, so the poor choices from eating really affected my sleep as well. And then that was number seven.
Number eight. And this is the last kind of lesson learned is that running was really, really hard. I did do one run, I made a conscious decision that I wasn’t going to run much because we did tons of walking, and I thought, I’m just gonna run maybe once or twice while I’m there no big deal. I’m only running about three times a week right now anyway, so it wasn’t that different.
But I ran one time, it was so hard. I ran this really flat route, just from our hotel out to this big road and back. So it was an out and back. It was hot, you know, it’s probably 75 degrees in the morning, and I just was like struggling the whole time. And looking back over the Garmin data, my heart rate wasn’t that high. And it wasn’t and I wasn’t like going as slow as I thought I was. But it just felt I felt terrible. You know?
So my running really suffered from all of this that I’m talking about here. Okay, so those little lessons I learned where I’m at today with all of this. So I’ve been home about a week. And as soon as I got back home, I was like back on track. I was like, okay, I’m done with all that. I’ve worked out every day weight lifted every day, I’ve run a couple of times this week already running already feels like so much better.
Just after about five days of good eating and a couple of easy runs, running feels so much better. I’m eating like I was pre-vacation. With a few exceptions, we did bring home some of those chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, which are finished now. So we had one or two here or there. But I was really very mindful about having like, one after my dinner or something like that or two. So not a big deal there.
I am thinking more clearly I can the brain fog is gone already. And I can just think more clearly, I’ve lost four of the pounds that I gained. So I know that that’s just water weight. And there’s a little bit of fat there, which will come off here in a few days a week or something like that. So I’m not too concerned about that.
But I have tons more energy throughout the day, I’m sleeping way better. Oh my gosh, I’m waking up feeling rested. The first few days were a little wonky. Because again, now we’re coming back to this time zone and got to do that whole change. That was a little wonky for a few days.
But now I’m feeling really good had a great night’s sleep last few days here. So all of that is to say that all that is working really well. I’m not hungry all the time anymore. Like I’m back to eating a couple times a day, the sugar cravings are gone, the bread cravings are gone. Pretty much. I mean, maybe diminished greatly.
But I’ve just learned so many interesting things about myself through this whole process. You know, some of the biggest takeaways for me is like, I enjoyed this experiment I did I mean it was it was fun eating that way. It really was. I felt like I was kind of cheating a little bit. You know, some people call it oh, I had it, you had a cheat week or a cheat meal or whatever.
I don’t like that word, you know, because I was very intentional about what I was doing. I really wasn’t cheating anything. I was like I had made a decision ahead of time that I was going to eat this way. And I did it. And I felt good about that. So I enjoyed the experiment.
I mean, obviously eating those foods makes you feel really good and lights up the pleasure centers in your brain and you’re like, oh my gosh, this is amazing. But also I hated it too. Feels good in the moment when you’re eating that way. But, you know, it’s just in the moment. And that’s it,
Like afterward, there’s like all these negative consequences, the bloating, the brain fog, the lethargy, the weight gain, the sleeplessness, I don’t want that. I really don’t want that I’d much rather just enjoy my eating pretty much the way that I do all the time. I rather enjoy my eating just a little bit less and feel way better all the time. Right.
And honestly, the way that I eat all year long, I love it. I love the way I eat. I eat high protein, low carb, I pretty much don’t eat any sugar. It’s very satisfying. It’s very satiating, keeps me fit keeps me healthy. keeps me happy. I sleep well, I can think clearly I have tons of energy. Why wouldn’t I want that all the time? Even when I was on vacation?
You know, it doesn’t matter where you are. Wouldn’t you want to feel good all the time? Yeah, I think so. So, that experiment was interesting. Okay, but I’m much happier eating the way that I normally do. Now, I think that we’ve been tricked into thinking that vacation means that it’s okay to eat all the junk food because you’re on vacation. Just enjoy yourself. Right?
That’s what it means, go have fun. But is it really fun? Because all that stuff I just mentioned the brain fog the lethargy, The weight gain, the bloating, all that stuff. Is that really fun? Or do we just think it’s more fun, because of the way the food we’re eating is lighting up those pleasure centers in our brains like Christmas trees, you know?
So, go on vacation, eat the pizza, have a dessert here or there. But for me, I gotta keep things real. I gotta like, be very cautious about how I approach something like this. I can’t give myself permission to go down that hole of just eating whatever for a whole week like that, because I just feel like crap, you know?
So anyway, interesting experiment. I’m glad I did it. Lots of great lessons learned. And it made me realize that I really do love the way I eat and exercise every day. Okay, and I’m gonna keep doing that. I’m going to keep doing that.
Alright, that’s all I got for you today. Hope you got something out of this episode. Love you all. Keep on Running Lean. I’ll talk to you soon.
Being overweight is not something that’s not talked about very much (or at all) in the running community. There seems to be some stigma around being a runner and being overweight. Like you’re not …
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 214 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners, and today, why running doesn’t work for weight loss. Being overweight is not something that’s talked about very much or at all in the running community.
There seems to be some stigma around being a runner, and being overweight, like you’re not doing it right. You’re not running enough. You’re doing it all wrong. If you’re training for a marathon and you’re overweight, you’re you’re doing it wrong.
And I know exactly how this feels. This is definitely my story, which I’ll share with you here in a minute. But in this episode, I’m going to share why running is not an effective tool for weight loss, and why you need to treat the underlying physical, mental and emotional aspects of overeating if you really want to lose weight for good.
But first, I know I share a lot of information here on the podcast about losing weight, about proper nutrition for running about improving your running about building strength. And if you’re new to this podcast, well welcome first of all, but I can tell that for some of you this might feel a little overwhelming and you not might not know where to start with all this stuff.
And if that sounds like you, no worries, I’ve totally got you covered, I created a free hour-long video training that you can check out at any time it’s called 5 Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner.
You’re going to learn the basics of nutrition, strength, endurance, and mindset, all geared toward you, the runner. If you’re ready to get leaner and stronger and become the most badass version of yourself yet, then this free training is exactly what you need. Just go to runningleancoaching.com click on Free Training. I know right? It’s so simple. And get started on your weight loss journey today.
Okay, so this is actually a replay episode, if you’re listening to this, I’m probably sitting on the beach in Hawaii right now. And I decided that this is a topic that I really wanted to share with you guys. And I thought I would go ahead and replay this is one of my very, very early episodes.
So if I sound a little bit different, that’s why. It was from several years ago. But the message still rings true. And I’m talking about overeating, especially in this episode. And it’s one aspect of losing weight and improving your health and fitness that a lot of people really don’t address or don’t talk about. So I really wanted to get into this and share this with you guys today. Okay, so let’s get into this replay of why running doesn’t work for weight loss.
Today I want to talk about a subject that is really important to me and something that I’m really passionate about, and that is why running doesn’t work for weight loss. So being overweight is not something that’s talked about very much, or at all in the running community, there seems to be some sort of stigma around being a runner, and being overweight. It’s like, hey, you’re not doing it right. You must not be running enough. If you can’t lose weight, or if you’re overweight. Oh, I see you’re training for a marathon. Still can’t seem to lose weight. What’s wrong with you?
These are some of the things that I’ve heard around the running community. And some things that people have shared with me and I felt as well. Okay, so I know, I know how this feels. I really do. I know this is something that not a lot of people are talking about. And so I wanted to sort of just like shine a light on this subject and talk about this today, because it’s really something that I’m really passionate about. And I haven’t shared this really before. And I think now’s the right time. So here we go.
So back in the day, back in, like 2003, I was seriously, I was overweight, I was I was probably 50 or 60 pounds overweight. And I was very unhealthy. I was very sick, I had cancer, I was drinking too much. And I was in a very, very bad place. I was basically just really sick and really unhealthy. And I needed to change some stuff in my life.
So I did, I quit drinking, which was a big part of the problem for me. I started eating better. And I started running. And obviously I got treated for the cancer and I’ve been cancer-free for many, many years now. So that’s all good. But the running was like a big catalyst for me to like, do something that would help me to lose weight.
You know, like that was the thing was like, oh, if I just run I’m gonna lose weight. And for me, it was like a change of lifestyle completely. You know, I gave up the crazy eating that I was doing. And I started running and stopped drinking. So all those things combined. I lost a lot of weight and I lost probably 60 pounds and kept it off for a long time and continued to run and train and do all these awesome things.
I’ve run like 14 marathons, I’ve done an Ironman, I’ve done countless other triathlons and ultra marathons, including a 50 miler and a 100 miler. And I’ve done all these things, and was able to kind of maintain this, this weight that I was at for a long time. And I felt pretty good about myself.
Well, in the last few years, I’ve sort of backed off my running a little bit. After I did my 100 miler at the end of 2017. I wanted to scale back my running, and I just didn’t want to put anything on the calendar and I just wanted to be like, I just want to go out there and run and have fun and enjoy it and not to have all these goals out there.
So I stopped kind of signing up for races and having goals like that, and I started gaining weight. And I couldn’t figure out why because I was still training and I was still running and I was still like I would do a marathon a year or whatever. But I was running all the time.
Well, I ended up, you know, gaining like 15 or 20 pounds back, you know, look, looking back over time, it was like, it happened slowly, but it happened. And I found myself in this place of like, okay, I need to lose this weight, what am I going to do? And so I tried all these different things to help me to lose the weight.
And I tried like calorie restriction where I was just like counting calories. And that is very challenging to do, by the way, I had to have this app. And I had to log every bite of anything that I ate, and I had to know all the ingredients in it, and all the breakdown of all the nutrition breakdown of it according to the label.
And it was challenging to try to keep track of that. When the idea there was like, oh, yeah, if you eat, you know, 1500 calories, but you burn off 2000 calories a day, you’ll lose weight. I gotta tell you, I did not lose weight. And I was constantly stressed out about entering all this data into this app. Okay.
Maybe that’s how you lose the weight, you’ve spent so much time and energy, and you’re so stressed about trying to figure out how to enter all that data into this thing. You just lose weight. Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to work. But you know, I’ve done a plant-based thing for many years. Vegetarian, I tried sort of a vegan-paleo thing, a vegan-keto thing, I’ve tried to eat nothing but fat, nothing, but no carbs. Like, I’ve tried all these things. And I couldn’t get anything to work, I can’t get anything to work.
I’ve always felt like I just haven’t had control of what I eat. I know what the problem is now. And I’m gonna get to that in just a minute. But getting here, you know, I just felt like I did not have control over what I was eating. I didn’t have control over myself. You know, I felt tired all the time. I found myself doing a lot of emotional eating. I’ve been doing that lately, too.
By the way, with the lock down here, The Stay At Home order. And some other things going on in my life, I’ve been doing a lot of emotional eating. And I’m not sorry about it, but I even eat when I’m not hungry. And you know what, I’ve just felt stuck.
I felt like, I am never going to lose this weight. And I’ve keep running. You know, I ran back in August, I did 31 days of running. And I thought for sure that would help me to lose weight. No, I gained weight. Starting in November, I did a running challenge running through the holidays. And I ran for something like 80 days straight. And I thought that would help me to lose weight.
And it didn’t, I didn’t lose weight at all, I actually gained weight. And so I’ve realized that the problem really isn’t about running. It’s not about like, oh, I’m not running enough. The problem is that I’m overeating. The problem is that I overeat, I eat too much. I have an addiction to food. I’ve programmed my body to become so addicted to food, not just my body, but my brain as well, to become so addicted to food, especially sugar.
That not even you know, training for a marathon is going to help me to lose weight. Okay? So, believe me, I’m frustrated by this or have been frustrated by this. And I feel like the advice out there is just like here, Here, eat this. Just eat this over here or eat this or just do this diet over here. And it just this just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work for most people.
You know, just changing your behavior, changing what you eat, does not address the underlying issues. You know, I feel like everyone’s out there just saying, eat this as if it’s that simple. It’s not that simple. In order to lose weight in order to be at your ideal weight to be at your natural weight. You need to identify and fix the causes of your over eating. Not just treat the symptoms. We’re so focused on treating the symptoms or not getting to the root of the problem. Okay.
So all these different like diets I’ve tried or whatever, I’ve tried these things and then said, that doesn’t work because I gained weight, or I kept overeating. And the problem isn’t in what I’m eating, necessarily, although that is part of it. The problem is, I wasn’t addressing the mental and emotional part of overeating, okay?
There’s three parts to overeating that have to be addressed. There’s the physical causes of overeating, there’s the mental causes, and then there’s the emotional causes. I’m going to talk about all three of these. But I want you to know something, if you’re out there and you’re a runner, and you’re having a, you know, a struggle with you’re struggling to lose weight or struggling to feel good about your body.
I know what you’re going through, I feel I feel your pain, I really do. And, and I want to help you, and I, and I coach people through this. I’m coaching myself through this and I want to coach you through this. So here’s what we’re gonna talk about today, we’re going to talk about the three causes of overeating. And, and the things that aren’t really addressed. And if you’re a runner, I want you to pay attention. And I want you to really take in what I’m going to say here and be open to trying something that’s a little different, okay?
Because whatever, whatever you’ve been trying is not working. Okay? So let’s try something different. Okay? Okay, so the three causes of overeating. The first is the physical causes. So this is, most overeating is caused by a hormonal imbalance, okay? Overeating, especially sugar, causes too much insulin to be produced in your body. Insulin is a fat storage hormone, okay, the more insulin you produce, the more fat will be stored on your body, the more you way, okay?
If you continually produce insulin, you are going to continue to gain weight. Okay, this is just straight up science, okay? The problem is that when you’re trying to lose weight, the most important thing for you to consume is what it’s your own body fat you want to consume, if you will, you want to burn for energy, your own body fat, in order to lose weight, you cannot do that when your body is full of glucose sugar, your insulin is too high. And you’re in fat storage mode, and you got to, you got to shift that, okay.
So the first thing you need to do is you need to get your insulin levels down. And you can do this by eating less often. And by reducing the amount of sugar you consume. We all know that sugar is bad for us. Okay? It’s actually the worst thing you can put in your body. And I’m saying this, as, as the words are coming out of my mouth here. I’m thinking of the Ben and Jerry’s that I have in the freezer, and I’m like, Oh, my God, I love Ben and Jerry’s. I absolutely love it.
But I’m giving it up, because I know how bad it is for me, and I’m just tired of feeling the way that I felt lately, okay. So I’m giving it up. And here’s the other thing, when you eat too much sugar, you get this huge over desire for food, you get this like physical craving for food.
Because what happens is, sugar is super concentrated, it causes a super concentrated dopamine response in your brain. It causes an excess of dopamine to be produced, which feels really good, right? So much so that the neurotransmitters that are producing the dopamine, they actually down regulate over time.
So it takes more and more sugar for you to get the same amount of pleasure. So you got to eat more sugar to feel good. And your brain and your body or just being there like it’s like a Drug Act, okay? A drug addict needs more and more of the drug to produce the same result. And so what happens there then your insulin goes up again, you get more cravings, you can’t handle the cravings, you eat more, and there’s this crazy cycle that happens, right.
And you know what? This isn’t your fault. We’ve all been programmed this way. For decades, the food industry has made it their mission to make food as delicious as possible, you know, as desirable as possible, they put sugar in everything, for the love. And the food that we eat, it’s so concentrated and processed that it gives us this incredible hit of dopamine when we eat certain foods. And then we have to eat more and more just to get that same feeling.
Okay, so it’s like being addicted to drugs or alcohol, you need more to produce the same effect. So in order to fix the physical cause of overeating, you have to get that insulin level down, you have to eat less, eat less often and eat less processed foods like sugar and flour. Okay? When you do this, you actually can start to get your hormones back in balance and start burning fat instead of burning to sugar. Okay. So that’s how we fix the physical part of overeating.
Okay, next is the mental part of overeating, the mental causes. So mental cravings, this is a real thing. Again, the food industry has concentrated this sugar in our foods so much that we are constantly craving more and more food, more and more of this delicious sugar, right? Our brains are actually responding the way they’re supposed to, though. They’re not,your brain is working normally. Okay, this isn’t your fault.
You eat the sugar, you eat the flour, you release the dopamine. And then your brain wants more of that. It’s just like your primitive brain, the amygdala, part of your brain responding to this like, it’s like a life or death situation, you know, are primitive brains, they’ve learned over time that when food is good, we’re going to produce a hormone that makes us feel good. So that will remember that, hey, this is good, okay.
So when you know when we would be eating blueberries back in the caveman days, you know, back in the day, we’d be eating some blueberries and be like, ooh, these are really good. And you get this little tiny dopamine response, right? That’s good. Oh, I want to remember this, I want to eat more of those because they made me feel good. And so you’ll go back and eat more of the blueberries.
Okay, but over time, it’s kind of developed into this thing of like, life and death kind of situation with our brains. Because now we have like blueberry syrup, blueberry pie, blueberry toaster strudels. We juice everything. So it’s super concentrated, and we get this super intense hit of dopamine. And then when we don’t get it, our brains are like, we need this now or we’re going to die.
Your brain actually literally thinks it’s like a life and death situation happening here. Okay. So that’s kind of like what’s happening with your brain. And then you get these thoughts. So the thoughts will start to come into play here, you get these thoughts of, I’m restless, I’m bored. I feel deprived.
You know, when you stop overeating, even for a little bit. You start to feel like, you know, oh, I just deserve this. I’m deprived. What’s one box of Oreos? You know that you can justify that all you want. And all that mental chatter. All it’s doing is just continuing to build into that idea and support that idea that your brain is thinking like you need this or you’re going to die. And so you give in to it, you give into the mental craving, okay.
And we’ve just been programmed our whole lives, we’ve essentially programmed our minds to over eat and buy now. It’s our subconscious mind that’s running the show. Our subconscious minds have been programmed to make us think we have to overeat or will die. Okay, we get these intense cravings for something sweet.
And I know I talk about Ben and Jerry’s all the time, but it’s just a good example. It’s so good. But it’s like Ben and Jerry’s. You know? I think about that. And I’m like, I’ve just got to have it. And these thoughts go through my mind. Like if I don’t have it, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I might die. And I’ll go to the store and I’ll get some.
I’ll go drive miles to the store to get Ben and Jerry’s just so I can like satisfy that mental craving. And there’s a physical craving there too. But here’s the thing. The good news is that you can reprogram your mind to not overeat, you can reprogram your mind to just just eat normally. This is actually one of the most powerful things I do with my coaching clients is I help them change their brains literally by creating new habits, new neural pathways.
And if you really want to stop overeating, you have to break those old habits and create new habits that serve to reprogram your mind, especially the subconscious. But even if you can get the physical piece to work, and you can get through some of this mental stuff, there’s still that emotional side of overeating that has to be addressed.
One of the biggest underlying factors in weight gain is emotional eating. And you know what? Runners just don’t want to talk about this. Runners think I’ve got this. I’m a runner, I know what to do. I know all this stuff about nutrition, I’ve read the books, like I’m good, thanks. They just don’t want to talk about it. Okay.
Runners do love talking about food, though, but not overeating. You know, we talk about donuts and ice cream and pizza and chips and cake and all that. What are we going to eat after the run? And I would do that too. And I would just eat all that food. But then I noticed something happening to me, I started to feel bad about myself.
You know, I started gaining weight. And I started feeling guilty about overeating. And I started to feel like shame around it. I felt shame about how I looked and how I felt I’ve been fit for a long time and had been really in great shape. And then I got to this point where I didn’t even want to like, take my shirt off at the pool or whatever. Because I was like, oh, I you know, feel fat again, okay.
And I felt judged by other people, like people were talking about me. They probably weren’t, it’s probably all in my head. But I just felt that way. And I felt like a failure. Like, I used to be really fit. I used to be in good shape. And now I’m not anymore. And like, I’m never going to be that person again. And honestly, I just felt depressed about it and sad.
And you know how I know how I dealt with all these emotions I was feeling? Yes, I ate over them. Because eating gives me that little dopamine hit and it feels good. Does that make any sense whatsoever? As I’m saying this, you’re probably like, dude, that makes no sense whatsoever. Or maybe you’re like, yep, I get it.
Here’s the problem, though. When that little feel good, dopamine wears off, you’re still left with feeling all those emotions. But now it’s worse because you feel bad about overeating. So you eat more to feel better. And then like, oh my gosh, it’s this crazy vicious cycle that just goes on and on. But you know what? Emotional eating is a very common thing. It’s a very, very common theme. A lot of people do it, they eat, so they don’t have to feel their feelings. Especially right now during this like stay at home order people are dealing with this crisis by going to the refrigerator. I’ve seen a lot of people joking about it on social media, but I think there’s an underlying like, oh, yeah, that’s me. You know?
I mean, I’ve been doing it. I know that it’s been me, okay. I mean, it does work for a little bit like you do feel a little bit better while you’re eating the Ben and Jerry’s. But when you stop, what happens? Like what results are you getting? Who are you? Who are you becoming in the process of stuffing down your feelings and feeling good momentarily, like you’re using this? It’s like a false pleasure.
You know, to just try to feel good in the moment we were so afraid to feel our feelings that we will become overweight, instead of feeling our feelings. You know, if you want to stop overeating, if you want to lose weight, you have to be able to manage your emotions, you have to be able to feel your emotions. Well, how do you do that?
Well, one of the things you do is you need to stop using food to feel better. Okay, that’s one thing. And you need to learn how to just sit with your feelings, how to sit with your emotions, how to allow them to be there, without reacting to them, or without eating to now feel them. And you know what, here’s some truth I’m gonna drop on you right now.
This is not a comfortable place to be. Sometimes it’s not comfortable, to feel sad, or to feel frustrated or to feel angry, or to feel shame or guilt or whatever it is, it might suck pretty bad sometimes. And honestly, in those times, it’s really good to have somebody there and help you. And that’s where I come in.
And I, one of the most powerful things I do as a coach is I help my clients work through their emotions, I help them to learn to allow those emotions to be with them, to allow them to be present in their body, to embrace that temporary uncomfortable feelings so they can get to the other side of that because on the other side of that is all the stuff that you want, okay, on the other side of those uncomfortable feelings are the results that you want in your life, okay?
All right, that’s all I got for you today. Love you all keep on Running Lean, and I will talk to you soon.
If you’re a runner and interested in getting the most out of your training, then you’ve probably tried a multitude of supplements. There are literally thousands upon thousands of health and …
Hey there, and welcome to episode 213 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today, supplements every runner should be taking. If you’re a runner and interested in getting the most out of your training, then you’ve probably tried a bunch of supplements, there are literally thousands upon thousands of health and wellness supplements out there on the market today.
And I looked this up – around one thousand new supplements are introduced every single year. So if you’re feeling a little confused, and a little overwhelmed by all of these options, rest assured you are not alone. Today on the podcast, I’ve got a few simple suggestions for supplements every runner should be taking that will actually improve your health and fitness.
But first, I know I share a lot of information here on the podcast about nutrition, weight loss, running strength training. And if you’re new, it may seem a little overwhelming and a little confusing. And that’s okay, I got you covered.
You may not know where to start with all this, but I’ve created a free hour long training that you can check out at any time, it’s called 5 Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner. You’re going to learn the basics of nutrition, strength, endurance and the right mindset that is required for you to become your best self. And all this is geared towards you the runner.
If you’re ready to get leaner and stronger and become the most badass version of yourself yet, I hope you are, then this free training is exactly what you need. Just go to runningleancoaching.com click on Free Training and get started on your weight loss journey today.
Okay, supplements every runner should be taking. The reason I am talking about this today is because I just realized after looking back through 212 episodes that I haven’t really talked much about supplements. And it’s something that I talk about with my clients regularly.
But one of the reasons why I typically don’t make suggestions for supplementation, or even, you know, certain nutrition suggestions here on the podcast is because, you know, making these blanket suggestions for the general public is not the way I like to do things.
I don’t like to just tell you like, oh, everybody should be doing this, or everybody should be doing that. Because we are all different. And we all respond differently to different nutrition, to different exercises to different supplements.
But I feel pretty confident about these few supplements I’m going to talk about today and I’m pretty sure everybody can benefit from from these particular supplements, okay, these are pretty generally accepted, pretty generally beneficial to just about everyone, there’s probably going to be some exceptions out there. Which is fine. If that is you and you’re like, oh, this one doesn’t apply to me or I can’t do that one. That is completely fine. Don’t do it.
Don’t think that I’m telling you that you have to do anything, okay. Also, I think that these supplements will really help you if you are a runner, because they are geared towards, you know, building strength and hydration and helping you to become as to perform your best as a runner.
Okay, so if you’re a runner, and you’re someone who’s interested in improving your athletic performance, improving your body composition, then stay tuned, this is definitely for you. That being said, I do have to make a little disclaimer here that I’m not a doctor, we’re not engaged in any kind of a coaching relationship.
So please check with your doctor before taking any kind of supplements to make sure you don’t experience any adverse side effects and that there aren’t any interactions with any other supplements you’re taking or medications. Cool. Okay. Awesome.
So first one is and we all know about this one is electrolytes. And what are electrolytes? First of all, electrolytes are minerals that actually carry an electric charge. They’re found in your blood, your urine, your sweat, and they are vital to specific processes that keep your body functioning properly.
Some of the most common electrolytes found in your body include sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium phosphate and bicarbonate. These electrolytes are required for various bodily processing, including nerve and muscle function, maintaining pH balance, and keeping you hydrated.
Electrolytes are crucial to keeping your nervous system and your muscles functioning and your internal environment balanced. So your brain sends electrical signals through your nerve cells to communicate with the cells throughout your body. And these signals are called nervous impulses. And they’re generated by charges to the electrical changes to the electrical charge of the nerve cell membrane.
And these changes actually occurred due to the movement of the electrolytes sodium across the nerve cell membrane. So electrolytes, if you don’t have electrolytes in your system, you will die. This is something where you just have to get electrolytes in your system.
And we all get these in our in our body, you know, through our diet, you know, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium phosphate, these are all very common, and most people will get these in their diet.
I do think that as runners, especially if you are a heavy sweater or live in a warm environment, that it is very important for you to supplement with electrolytes, it can really improve your health and fitness and you’re running performance in a lot of ways. So let’s talk about some of these ways that taking supplemental electrolytes can help you.
Number one, it improves hydration. And this is the most common way we think of electrolytes, electrolyte water, electrolyte drinks, you know, energy drinks, you know, running endurance drinks.
Water is the most essential nutrient. And it’s very important that you drink enough water throughout the day, right> However, staying hydrated with water doesn’t really work on its on itself. Like you have to have electrolytes in the mix somehow throughout the day, okay, they play a key role in maintaining your hydration levels, by directing the flow of water in and out of cells.
So studies have actually shown that adding salt to fluids greatly improves improves your fluid retention, especially when you’re restoring the fluid balance after significant electrolyte loss, which happens after long runs when the weather is really hot outside when you sweat a lot. This is because both water and sodium need to be consumed in order to establish proper hydration levels.
Okay, so know that you cannot just drink tons of water by itself, that you have to have electrolytes in your water. When you are especially when you’re exercising. I like to start my day with electrolytes first thing in the morning, I hydrate what right when I get up with electrolytes.
And I feel like it’s a great way for me to start the day. And I feel like I’m not myself until I’ve had my electrolytes first thing in the morning. When you sleep you you kind of tend to get dehydrated. So it’s great to start the day with proper hydration including electrolytes.
Okay, another benefit of taking a supplement electrolytes is that they do give you energy so electrolytes support energy production, by ensuring the body is properly hydrated and fueled. So sodium in particular, plays a pivotal role in hydration, which is essential for maintaining high energy levels.
It helps regulate fluid volume levels and ensures that your muscles function correctly. So essentially, a well hydrated body is an energized body. And if you’ve ever been out on a long run on a hot day, and you’ve kind of, this has totally happened to me, I’ve kind of run out of water run out of electrolytes and just got a little dehydrated, my energy levels tanked really fast, you know so it is important that you stay hydrated and use electrolytes to maintain energy levels.
Another benefit it improves athletic performance. So sodium before a workout helps to increase blood volume. This means that more blood is available system wide. More blood volume means more oxygen is available for working muscles. So more oxygen means better performance.
So if you just want to do something to improve your athletic performance, salt before a workout is going to help get you there. You know you’re improving increasing blood volume, and you’re going to improve your athletic performance for that workout. So right there is a great reason to make sure that you’re doing electrolytes especially before workouts.
Another benefit of electrolytes it helps to promote good sleep. So quality sleep is crucial for just being an overall healthy human being. Electrolytes particularly calcium helped to promote REM sleep, which is a deep sleep phase allows your body to rest and recharge.
This is especially beneficial, beneficial for people who struggle with insomnia. Maintaining a proper electrolyte balance can significantly improve your sleep quality. So electrolytes support sleep without the need for stimulants or our caffeine or anything like that. So just understand that good quality sleep is important electrolytes play a role in that electrolytes also helped to reduce stress.
Magnesium, one of the electrolytes we talked about is an essential electrolyte has been shown to have a calming effect on the body in the mind. And this is often used to help with sleep as well. But it helps to alleviate anxiety too. And it helps to regulate the nervous system and promotes relaxation.
So maintaining a healthy electrolyte balance helps you to your body to function properly helps to reduce stress levels, and helps you to just to feel less stressed throughout the day. Good thing for all of us.
Another benefit of electrolytes is helps to strengthen bones and muscles. So now we’re talking about calcium and potassium. These are vital for strengthening muscles and bones. Calcium contributes to bone health, which is particularly important for those at high risk of osteoporosis. And potassium helps to maintain muscle health by preserving muscle mass and helps to prevent muscle cramps. All very good things for us runners right.
Electrolytes also helped to improve recovery. Studies suggests that consuming electrolytes like sodium can optimize water absorption, which yields faster recovery times, and probably is more effective at enhancing your performance and recovery than water alone.
So it’s encouraged for someone to focus on fluids and electrolyte consumption to facilitate proper recovery not just to improve performance. And it helps with tissue repair too. So electrolytes help to rebuild damage tissue by improving cell function and cell hydration. So better all around workouts and better all around recovery from workouts, which is super important.
And then we’ve all probably heard that electrolytes help to prevent muscle cramps. Yep, this is true. Studies have shown that to that there are two main types of cramping, there’s a overuse cramping, that means you’re just pushing a muscle too much too hard, too soon. And there’s cramping from electrolyte deficiency.
If you are a really salty sweater, temperatures are really high, you’re doing really long distance runs, consider using electrolytes before and during those long events to prevent cramping. And then obviously, you have to make sure you’re ramping up your training slowly and you’re not overdoing it.
A lot of runners experience cramping, you know, miles 18 to 22 into a marathon because they’re not used to running nonstop for that long. So a lot of people get cramps during their first marathon because, you know, they may have done a few 20 mile runs.
But they’ve done them where they stop and they take breaks and things like that. But you know, running nonstop for, you know, three hours or whatever is a little bit different and it causes muscle cramps. So the the overexertion tends to be the big contributor of muscle cramps, but the electrolytes will help prevent that as well.
Okay, so how much should you take? So the recommendations vary, but listen, we’re mainly talking about salt intake. That’s the one that you know people are concerned about. And the FDA says that we should only be getting 2.3 grams of, of salt per day maximum.
Interestingly, the average American gets around three and a half grams of sodium per day. Of course, the FDA would like to see that reduced. There is a growing body of research that reveals that optimal health outcomes occur at sodium levels, two to three times the government recommendations.
So if you eat a diet, low in unprocessed foods, less you’re getting less sodium right there. If you eat a diet low in carbohydrates, you’re gonna have less water retention. And then you probably need to add more salt in the way of you know, an electrolyte supplement into your diet.
And the sweet spot for most people seems to be four to six grams of sodium per day. That’s kind of recommended by new research and by experts, and the new research definitely backs this up as being the optimum amount. Of course, if you have high blood pressure or hypertension, you have to check with your doctor before adding more more salt into your diet.
And then just understand that you are if you are a low carb athlete, then your body will be not as inflamed and not holding on to as much water which means you’re processing more fluids processing more water and losing more electrolytes in that process.
So most low carb athletes tend to err on the side of more salt is better and they seem to feel much better doing more salt brands I recommend there’s a couple brands that I like one is called element LMNT and they come in little packets.
And the ingredients are pretty simple. It’s salt, in the form of sodium chloride, citric acid, magnesium malate, and then potassium chloride, natural flavors, stevia leaf extract. In each packet of LMNT there’s 1000 milligrams of sodium, 200 milligrams of potassium, and 60 milligrams of magnesium. This is a good mix.
These things are really good I’ve recommended these in the past. Another one that I really like is is by a salt brand called Redmond. Redmond Re-Lyte is the name of the product. Re-Lyte and they use ancient sea salt. These are the ingredients coconut water powder.
Coconut water is a natural has natural occurring electrolytes in it. Citric acid stevia leaf extract natural flavors 810 milligrams of sodium per serving and this stuff comes in a little tub so you can measure out your own servings but 810 milligrams of sodium, 400 milligrams of potassium, 180 milligrams of chloride, 60 milligrams of calcium, 50 milligrams of magnesium. So both of these have good electrolyte profiles.
I kind of like the Redman Re-Lyte just because it’s a little more convenient without having to have all these packets that you have to open, number one. Number two, it also includes calcium, which I think is important as an electrolyte. So, but they’re both great, they’re both great choices.
Okay, next supplement that I think every runner can benefit from is protein powder. So protein is probably the most important of all the macronutrients that we need for survive like we cannot survive if we do not get protein in our diet. Fat is the other one, we have to eat fat or will die, we have to eat protein or we will die. These are called essential macronutrients. If we don’t consume those in our diet, we will perish.
Interestingly enough, carbohydrates are not considered an essential macro nutrient. If we don’t eat carbohydrates, we’ll be fine. Like there’s really nothing that’s going to go wrong. Our liver will produce all the glucose that our that our brain needs for survival. So we really don’t even have to eat foods that are related with carbohydrates or sugars.
Okay, so protein is very important. Why should you supplement with protein? Why do you need to eat some kind of protein powder? Shouldn’t you just get enough protein in your diet? Yes, you can definitely get enough protein in your diet. But most people find it difficult to get enough protein by eating a protein.
You know, meat essentially is probably the best form of protein. But if you’re vegan, vegetarian, whatever tofu, beans, there’s legumes, there’s other sources of protein where you can up your protein intake. But I just find that most people I talked to struggle to get enough protein in during the day.
The recommendations from the government are like, hey, 65% of your calories needs to be coming from carbohydrate. So this right alone right there, if you’re following the standard American diet right there, it’s gonna make it really difficult to get enough protein.
And I think that the type of protein powder matters and that whey protein seems to be the best the safest, the most studied the most effective, the most bioavailable form of protein, it is a complete protein means it contains all nine essential amino acids. So whey protein seems to be the best.
Now, if you are vegan or vegetarian, you don’t want to do the dairy or you’re lactose intolerant or something like that. No problem. There are other good options out there. Soy is a good option. I know a lot of people are allergic to soy, but it does have all the essential amino acids, which is important.
Pea protein is the other one that has all the essential amino acids, so those are both considered complete proteins. And those are pretty good to do, but way is superior in a lot of different ways. So if you’re somebody that can handle, you know, eating the whey protein, then that’s your best bet.
Okay, so the for the focus of this conversation today, I’m going to be mostly focusing on whey protein as the protein supplement, but you can just, you know, plug and play the other ones into this same formula because they all have similar benefits. But there’s a couple of benefits that are specific to weigh as I’m going to mention here in just a minute.
Okay, so some of the benefits of whey protein or you know, taking a protein supplement. So muscle mass declines naturally as you age, unless you’re doing something to offset that, okay. For most people, this leads to muscle loss and fat gain, and raises the risk of lots of metabolic diseases right.
This adverse change in body composition can be slowed, prevented or reversed with a combination of strength training and getting enough protein in your diet. Strength training, coupled with the consumption of a high protein foods or a protein supplement has been shown to be an effective preventative strategy for muscle degradation, and weight gain as we age.
So particularly effective seem to be high quality protein sources such as weight. So whey is rich in a branched chain amino acid called leucine. And leucine is the most growth promoting or anabolic of the amino acids. And for this reason, whey protein is effective for the prevention of age related muscle loss, as well as for improved strength.
So for muscle growth, some studies show that whey protein may be slightly better than other types of proteins such as casein or soy, okay. Whey protein may also lower blood pressure, okay, so abnormally high blood pressure, or condition called hypertension, is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease. Numerous studies have linked the consumption of dairy products with reduced blood pressure, interesting.
This effect has been attributed to a family of bioactive peptides and dairy called ace inhibitors. And in whey proteins, that specifically, the ace inhibitors are called lactic acids and several animal studies have demonstrated their beneficial effects on blood pressure.
So one study in overweight individuals showed that whey protein consumption around 50 grams a day for 12 weeks lowered systolic blood pressure by 4%. And other milk proteins like casein had, casein had seen similar effects.
This is supported by another study that found significant effects when participants were given whey protein for six weeks. However, understand this though, blood pressure decreased only in those that had high or slightly elevated blood pressure to begin with. So it didn’t really have an effect on lowering blood pressure for people with normal blood pressure.
But that’s a good benefit of just doing something as simple as taking a protein supplement. Protein helps to reduce inflammation. So inflammation is part of the body’s natural response to damage and short term inflammation can be beneficial. But under certain certain circumstances, it can become chronic and this is not good.
Chronic inflammation can be harmful. It’s a risk factor for many diseases. And it may reflect underlying health conditions of or lifestyle habits that can be detrimental to your health. This large study done recently found that high doses of whey protein supplements and when they say high doses, they’re talking equal to or greater than 20 grams per day, that is not high.
That’s like less than one scoop of protein powder basically. But anyway, these particular doses of whey protein supplements significantly reduced reactive protein CRP, which is a key marker of inflammation in the body so good at reducing inflammation. If you’re a runner and you want to recover faster and not be so inflamed, whey protein is a great supplement for that protein in general will help with that.
Also understand this protein is highly satiating, it’s very filling, and it helps to reduce hunger. So when we talk about satiety, we’re talking about the feeling of fullness we we experienced after eating a meal.
It’s the opposite of appetite or hunger, and it should suppress the cravings for food and the desire to eat. So eating food that is more satiating will help you to not eat as much to feel more full throughout the day. And to help you to not be craving all kinds of crazy foods throughout the day which is all good.
If you’re trying to lose weight then not being totally ravenously hungry and craving sugar and stuff like that is a good thing. It’s a good thing. So some foods are more satiating than others, and it depends on their macronutrient composition.
Carbohydrates, being the least satiating, fat being the next and then protein being the most, by far, the most satiating of the three big macronutrients. However, not all proteins have the same effect on satiety. Whey protein appears to be more satiating than other types of protein such as casein or soy.
These properties make it particularly useful for those who want to try to you know, consume fewer calories and lose weight. Okay, so protein, super satiating, I always suggest people eat more protein. And this is a great way to help you lose weight.
That is actually the next big benefit of a protein supplement is that it increased consumption of protein has been a well known weight loss strategy. And this is one of the things that I promote with my clients as well. And the reason this works is because it suppresses appetite, it leads to typically reduced calorie intake, it helps to boost your metabolism helps you to burn more calories.
And if you’re burning the right kinds of calories, meaning fat, then it’ll help you to lose more weight, it helps to maintain muscle mass when you’re losing weight. A lot of people they set out to lose weight, and they lose a lot of muscle mass in the process. We don’t want to do that. So supplementing with protein, especially a good quality protein, like whey will help you to offset that muscle loss.
And as long as you’re doing proper strength training as well, then you’ll be actually gaining muscle and losing weight and losing the fat weight. This is how you improve your body composition and get that have that nice, lean, strong look that we all want. So whey protein has been shown to be particularly effective, and it has a superior effect on fat burning and satiety than other types of protein.
So just know that how much protein powder should you be taking, really, the recommendations vary a little bit here, but 25 to 50 grams per day seems to be fine. If you’re somebody that is not really getting enough protein from your diet, then do a double scoop of protein.
So like 50 grams, typically a scoop is like 20-25 grams of protein. So do a couple scoops of that, mix it up with some water, some milk or almond milk or whatever, you know, floats your boat there. But 25 to 50 grams a day seems to be the recommended amount, total protein recommendations, and this has changed over the years.
But I like to tell people that you should probably be getting point seven to one gram of protein for every pound of ideal body weight. So if your goal is to get to 150 pounds, you probably want to be between 105 to 150 grams of protein per day.
Again, this can be hard for some people, especially women, women seem to have a little bit of a hard time getting enough protein just from food alone. So supplementing is a great way to make sure you’re getting adequate protein to support your weight loss to support your training.
Brands I recommend – there’s lots of great brands out there. I just recommend looking for brands that have few ingredients that don’t have any weird ingredients that you don’t understand that don’t have any added sugar. I’m currently using a whey protein powder by a company called Levels.
And the ingredients are really simple. It is whey protein, vanilla extract, sunflower lecithin, which is a natural emulsifier just improves the consistency when you mix it up. Sea salt, stevia leaf extract and monk fruit extract. That’s it super simple ingredients. I understand what all those are. There’s nothing weird in there.
But look for a brand that you know is in your budget and also because protein can be expensive. Look for something that’s in your budget and that that feels good to you. Okay, just read the labels get good at reading labels.
Okay, last of my big three supplements that I think every runner should be taking is creatine. So what is creatine? Creatine is a natural supplement used to boost athletic performance. It’s not only safe but it’s one of the world’s most popular and most effective supplements for building muscle and strength.
Creatine is a chemical compound that occurs naturally in the body. It’s also found in red meat and seafood. Creatine is an amino acid that comes from other amino acids. So there are Some amino acids that we call essential amino acids, and these are ones that we have to get in our diet, okay?
And so those those essential amino acids can kind of combine and then those produce other amino acids. I think there’s like 20 total amino acids that we need for survival. But then there’s, like 11 other amino acids that are created from combination of the essential amino acids, if that makes sense, okay.
And creatine is one of those amino acids that is created from a combination of other amino acids. So the human body makes creatine in the liver and the kidneys and the pancreas. It’s stored in your muscles, mainly in a form called a phospho, creatine or creatine phosphate. And creatine is involved in making energy for your muscles.
Why should you supplement with creatine? Can’t you just get this in your diet? You can you can actually get enough creatine in your diet if you’re eating red meat and fish, but you would probably need to eat something like two and a half pounds of steak every day to get you to the recommended dosage of creatine which is five grams per day.
Five grams is like a rounded teaspoon of creatine so it’s not a lot, but two half pounds of steak maybe a little bit much for most people. Okay, so it’s much easier to just supplement. Again, these are the supplements that I think are so beneficial, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be supplementing with them, especially creatine.
So what are the benefits of creatine? One it helps to produce helps your muscle cells produce more energy. Creatine increases your muscles phosphocreatine stores, it aids in the formation of ATP, which is the key molecule your cells use for energy and all basic life functions. During exercise ATP is broken down to produce energy.
The rate of ATP resynthesis limits your ability to continually perform at max intensity. So as your ATP as you use up ATP faster than you can reproduce it Okay, so creatine supplements actually increase your fossil creatine stores allowing you to produce more ATP energy to fuel your muscles during high intensity exercise. This is the primary mechanism behind creatine perhaps performance enhancing effects.
So I mean right there, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be using creatine. Creatine also supports many other functions in the muscles. It’s a popular and effective supplement for adding muscle mass. It can alter numerous cellular pathways that lead to new muscle growth for example, it boosts the formation of proteins that create new muscle fibers. It can also raise levels of insulin like growth factor, IGF1, a hormone that promotes increases in muscle mass.
What’s more creatine supplements can increase the water content of your muscles. This is known as cell volumization and can quickly increase muscle size as soon as you start taking creatine you’ll notice a little bit of of water retention and your muscles. Most people see it as a little bit of weight gain.
So they’ll say oh my gosh, I’m starting creatine and I started gaining weight. No, you’re going to just gain a little bit of muscle and water content and your muscles are totally fine. It’s actually good for you to do that. Some research indicates that creatine decreases levels of myostatin, which is a molecule responsible for stunting muscle growth. So reducing myostatin can help you build muscle faster as well. Very, very awesome stuff this creatine, it improves high intensity exercise performance.
So creatine is direct role and ATP production means it can drastically improve high intensity exercise performance. They improve numerous factors including strength ballistic power, sprinting ability, muscle endurance, resistance to fatigue, muscle mass recovery brain performance, unlike supplements only affect advanced athletes.
Creatine benefits you regardless of your fitness level, that is key right there. And one review found that improves high intensity exercise performance by up to 15%. Why are you not taking creatine every day? Creatine also speeds muscle growth, so it’s one of the most effective supplements for adding muscle mass.
Taking it for just as few as five to seven days has been shown to significantly increase lean body weight and muscle size. This initial rise is caused by increases in water content of your muscles fine over the long term though.
It also aids in muscle fiber growth by signal signaling key biological pathways and boosting your performance at the gym. And one study of a six week training regimen participants who used creatine added 4.4 pounds more muscle mass on average than the control group that’s huge, huge, huge, huge.
Similarly, a comprehensive review demonstrated a clear increase in muscle mass among those taking creatine compared with those performing the same training regimen without creatine. This review also compared the world’s most popular sports supplements and concluded that creatine is the best one available. Its advantages include being less expensive and far safer than most other sports supplements.
Again, creatine for the when creatine helps to improve brain function, it plays an important role in your brain health and brain function. Research demonstrates that your brain requires a significant amount of ATP when performing difficult tasks and supplements can increase the phosphocreatine stores in your brain and help it produce more ATP.
Creatine may also aid brain function by increasing dopamine levels and mitochondrial function. As meat as the best dietary source of creatine vegetarians often have low levels of creatine in their system and one study on creatine supplements and vegetarians found a 20 to 50% improvement in some memory and intelligence test scores. When these vegetarians who are starving were on a creatine supplement.
And then for older individuals supplementing with creatine for just a few weeks significantly improved memory and recall ability. And older adults creatine may boost brain function protect against neurological diseases and reduce age related loss of muscle and strength. So just take creatine every day, just from now on. Okay.
One last thing about it is that it helps to reduce muscle helps to reduce fatigue and tiredness. One study they did show that people that had been sleep deprived had reduced levels of fatigue and increased energy levels. And they did a test on cycler cyclists. And they found that creatine reduced the fatigue in athletes taking a cycling test and has been used to decrease fatigue when exercising in high heat as well.
So again, creatine, for the win every day. Creatine is safe and easy to use. Along with all of its benefits, it’s one of the cheapest and safest supplements available. It’s been studied more than any other supplement out there. You can find it just about anywhere. It’s been researched for more than 200 years. Yeah, I know that’s crazy.
And numerous studies supported safety for long term use clinical trial trials lasting up to five years report no adverse effects in healthy individuals. What’s more, supplementing is easy, just do three to five grams of creatine monohydrate powder per day.
So what I’m recommending is creatine monohydrate. That should be the only ingredient so if you’re buying something and it has anything else in it, just don’t get it just stick with creatine monohydrate that should be the only ingredient I use a brand called Optimum Nutrition. It’s great, lots of good reviews. It’s odorless, tasteless, pretty much and and I just add it to my protein shake, mix it up. And then I’m good to go around five grams a day for most people, if you’re if you’re a little on the lighter side, you could probably be closer to that three grams. If you’re heavier, you know, 220 pounds or 250 pounds you could probably go six or eight grams per day something like that.
Most people seem to do well around five grams per day. Cool. Okay, those are supplements that I think every runner should be taking. I hope you got something good out of this episode today. I hope you have some good takeaways and you can start supplementing with abandon because these are these are good ones and I think just about everybody can benefit from these core. Alright, that’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean, and I’ll talk to you soon.
There are a lot of dieticians and weight loss coaches out there who preach the benefits of tracking your food. They suggest tracking every bite you eat, entering all of your food into an app each …
Hey there, and welcome to episode 211 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today, should you be tracking your food? There are a lot of dietitians out there and weight loss coaches who preach the benefits of tracking your food, they suggest tracking every bite to eat, and drink all your food into an app every day. And then sticking to this routine for basically, forever.
And honestly, I’m not a big fan of this particular approach for many reasons, which I will share with you here on today’s podcast. So today on the Running Lean podcast, I answer the big burning question, should you be tracking your food? If no, why not? If yes, how should you do it?
But first, I know I share a lot of information here on the podcast about nutrition, weight loss, improving your running, getting stronger. And if you’re new, if you’re just listening to the podcast, you might be like, oh my gosh, this is very overwhelming. I don’t even know where to start with all this.
If that sounds like you, totally fine, I got you covered, I created a free hour-long training just for you to kind of get you started with all of this. And you can check it out anytime just go to my website, runningleancoaching.com and click on the link that says Free Training.
I created this hour-long training, it’s called 5 Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner, you’re going to learn all the basics of nutrition, strength, endurance, and mindset; all geared towards you the runner and everything that I teach here on the podcast, everything that I work on with my clients.
So if you’re ready to get leaner and stronger and become the most badass version of yourself here in 2024, then this free training is exactly what you need. runningleancoaching.com click on Free Training and get started on your weight loss journey today.
Okay, let’s get into this episode here, should you be tracking your food? So, I’ve had a lot of people that I’ve been talking to lately, and they’ve told me that they have worked with dieticians in the past, or coaches in the past, who have suggested that they track their food and do this very meticulously, and they have to track every single bite that they eat.
And they have to enter everything into an app, and they have to hit certain macro numbers and calorie numbers. And if they don’t do everything exactly perfectly, then they’re not going to lose weight, they’re not going to be healthy things are not going to work for them, okay.
And I understand sort of the concepts behind that and that they want to, you know, get people to this place where they’re eating exactly what they’re supposed to, quote, unquote, supposed to be eating. The amount of food they’re supposed to eat, eating the number of calories they’re supposed to be eating, the right percentage of macros, the right macro breakdown that they’re supposed to be eating.
And, and I understand that part of it, you know, you gotta be getting 1500 calories a day. And if you don’t, you know, you got to make up for it somewhere, so you got to make sure you’re getting exactly the right amount of calories every single day. Okay. So I understand that part of it.
The problem I have with this is that this is a very new concept in the history of human beings. You know, we have been around as some form of human being for around two and a half million years. And they’ve tracked us back to two and a half million years ago. And we’ve been growing and evolving in that span of time.
That’s a large span of time, think about that. Two and a half million years. For the 2.4999 million years, we did not need the Food Track. And we didn’t have all the obesity and overweight issues and the diseases, and the metabolic dysfunction and diabetes and all that stuff that we have today.
We’ve only been tracking food for how long, you know, maybe a few decades? We’ve only been using an app since we started using apps on phones, so maybe 15 years, 12 years, something like that. So in the grand scheme of things, I look at this and I kind of shake my head a little bit because I’m like do we really need to be logging everything into an app, and counting all of our calories?
And, you know, making sure we’re getting this exact right breakdown of macros every single day. And if we don’t do it perfectly, then we’re going to basically die. You know, and I just think this is a kind of a silly concept. I’m a big fan of going back to our ancestors and trying to mimic what they did.
What did they eat? How often did they eat? What kinds of foods did they eat? How much did they eat, I want to go back to that, I think that is a much better way of approaching your health and your fitness than, you know, looking at an app on your phone, and making sure you get a bunch of numbers, right? I just don’t think it is necessary.
Number one, I really don’t think it works for most people. Because is this something that you can do sustainably? Is this something you’re going to do forever? Do you have to now track all your food forever, or else you’re gonna like all of a sudden balloon up and gain a bunch of weight?
Because if so, there’s something very wrong with what you’re doing. Because we shouldn’t have to do that. So my initial take on this is that I think tracking your food, there are some benefits to it. And I’ll get into some of that in a minute here.
But I think tracking your food and logging all your calories, and making sure you hit all these numbers and stuff. I really don’t think it’s a sustainable practice. And remember, whatever you do has to be sustainable for you.
The right diet for you is the one that you can sustain. The right method for you when it comes to your nutrition and how much you eat and the kinds of foods you eat and what you eat, all that has to be something that you can do forever.
If it’s just something you’re going to do for a short period of time, and it has some benefits to it, and you can learn some things great, that’s fine. And just know it’s going to be a short-term fix.
But I’ve been hearing from a lot of people lately, who’ve been telling me that they’ve worked with other dieticians or coaches who expect them to track all their food and hit all these numbers every single day forever. And the other thing about this is that it’s not really teaching you much in the way of like, oh, these are the foods that are healthy for me, these are the foods that keep me full, these are the foods that work for me, you know, I feel better when I’m eating less often, or I want to get in tune with my natural body. And my body’s natural senses.
Like there are satiety sensors that we have in our body that tell us hey, we’re done eating, we’re full, don’t need to put any more food in us here. We want to get in touch with that. We want to get in touch with our hunger signals to understand, hey, you know what, I’m actually hungry right now.
Not just like, you know, I’m kind of bored. I’m like rifling through the pantry to see what crunchy salty stuff I can eat that will just satisfy my boredom or something like that. So anyway, I know I went off on a little bit of a tangent there.
But listen, the way we have been trained to like focus on calories and numbers and macros and all that stuff. I think there’s some benefits to that for a short period of time just to get some ballpark numbers and to get some awareness of what you’re doing.
But the real key here is that whatever you do has to be sustainable. And I don’t think logging all your food, every single bite you eat every time you you know, lick or taste something that you need to track and I think that is not a sustainable practice, okay?
Now, there are some benefits to keeping track of what you’re eating. And you don’t have to be super detailed about it. But if you’re keeping track of the foods you’re eating, let’s say you’re just keeping a food journal. I think this is a great first step for everybody. To start keeping a food journal just write down the foods that you’re eating as you go through your day, and you eat something you write it down.
If you have a snack in the afternoon, you write that down. If you have a bite of your kid’s cookie, you write that down, you just write down everything you’re eating for the day. If you do this for a short period of time, a few days a week, you are going to start to have a lot of self-awareness about what it is you are actually eating and not eating.
Because so many people are like yeah, I eat pretty healthy. I’m like okay, what does that mean exactly? Oh, you know, I eat healthy foods. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables and stuff. I’m like, okay, you don’t ever eat chips or crackers or cookies or french fries. No, I really don’t eat that stuff. Okay, well keep a food log and then you tell me what is really going on?
And then it’s like, oh, yeah, well, I did eat, you know, some ice cream from my kids. And then oh, yeah, we went to pizza. And then oh, yeah, I did eat a couple of large fries this week or whatever, it just starts to create a lot of awareness about what you really are doing.
And you’ve got to be honest with yourself, if you’re doing this food logging, this journaling. And people who journal their food, people who write down what they’re eating every day, they tend to make better choices, they tend to eat healthier, they tend to not overeat as much, they eat less often. And they tend to lose more weight.
So if you want to get started on a weight loss journey, I think one of the best things you can do is start keeping a food journal, and just writing down what you’re doing. So just create that self-awareness, that one little step right there will start moving you in the right direction, towards making better choices.
Because you’re starting to have this awareness of what it is you’re actually doing, as opposed to just thinking about it. Because when we think about it, and we’re disassociated with it, you know, we’re not writing it down in the moment, we can just remember the good stuff that we do, we don’t remember all those times we sneak the french fries, you know, from our kid’s plate, or the you know, dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets or whatever it is we’re eating.
And I suggest you do this in the easiest way possible. And easiest way for me would be to just write it down using a piece of paper and a pen, or a pencil in a diary or a journal or, you know, some sort of a notebook or something simple like that. Don’t make it more complicated, we don’t want our method of logging or journaling to get in the way of making it easy, it has to be something that is very simple for you to do.
So I used to keep this little tiny notebook, I would carry it around with me if I went out. And it was something that was very small. And then I would just write down what I was eating each day. And I did this for a long time.
And it really worked, it really helped me to begin to create better habits and make better choices around what I was eating and stuff like that. So it doesn’t have to be anything complicated, it can be as simple as just getting a little tiny notebook. And then write down what you’re doing every day as you do it.
You’ve got to do it like sort of in the moment, that’s the best way to do it. So keeping a food journal is great. But there’s even a better way of doing this.
So when you are logging your food after the fact, you are basically saying, here’s what I did five minutes ago, here’s what I did an hour ago, here’s what I did earlier today. And that is fine. And again, you’re starting to create a lot of awareness about what you are doing throughout the day, or what you have done throughout the day.
But there is a much more powerful approach, what we want to do is we want to set ourselves up for success ahead of time. And so I’m a huge fan of pre-planning your food, and writing down what you’re going to do ahead of time.
And one of the big reasons why this works is because you are making decisions in advance, you are making a decision about what you’re eating, but you’re doing it for tomorrow. So you’re you’re deciding today, what you’re going to be eating tomorrow.
And why this works is because when you make decisions ahead of time, you’re using a completely different part of your brain than when you’re making decisions in the moment. When you make decisions in the moment, you’re using that little tiny almond-sized part of your brain called the amygdala, which is one of the most primal parts of our brain. It is responsible for our fight or flight, our fear center.
It’s what’s responsible for our primal urges, like, you know, just like food, sex. You know, whatever feels good in the moment, those kinds of primal decisions, those kinds of primal choices that we have to make in the moment.
So we don’t want to be making decisions using that part of our brain because typically we’re going to choose whatever just feels good right now, we’re going to choose the thing that is the most pleasurable.
We’re going to think, you know, we’re going to choose the pizza if that’s what when we decide that we’re going to have if we don’t decide ahead of time and we have a pizza sitting in front of us, we’re going to decide to eat the pizza because oh my gosh, it’s pizza. It’s amazing. There it is. It smells good. I want that I’m going to eat it right now. Okay.
The other way of doing this is making decisions in advance. And when you do that you’re using your pre-frontal cortex, your pre-frontal cortex that is a modern thinking part of our brain. It’s the part of our brain we use to make good decisions. It’s our planning brain.
And when we use our pre-frontal cortex to make decisions, we tend to make good decisions, we’re going to decide ahead of time, we’re going to use our prefrontal cortex to say, I’m eating, you know, a salad and chicken for dinner tomorrow night, even though I know the kids are probably going to want pizza. And my husband will probably bring home a pizza, but I’m going to eat what I’ve planned to eat today.
When you make that decision ahead of time, you are much, much more likely to stick to that decision. In the moment, you’ve decided you’ve made a little promise to yourself ahead of time. And then when tomorrow comes, and that pizza is sitting there, you’re going to remember that you’ve made this other choice. And that’s what your choice is going to use, you’re going to stick to that plan.
This is where things really can start to come together for you. Because you’re planning ahead, you’re making good decisions ahead of time, you’re making this promise to yourself that you want to keep, because you don’t want to break a promise that you make to yourself, you do this all the time; you break promises to yourself, but it never feels good, right?
You plan ahead, you make a good decision, you make this promise to yourself that this is what you’re doing tomorrow. And then when tomorrow comes the day is so much easier, you don’t have to think about anything, you just do what you said you’re gonna do. You’ve got it all planned out, you know, when you’re eating, you know how much you’re eating, you know, the foods you’re eating, and then you just stick to that plan.
This is how you build any new habit. If you want to create a new habit, you have to change your thinking patterns, you’ve got to change your daily activities, you’ve got to change your actions and changing your actions is hard. This is hard work to do. And when it comes to food, this seems to be the hardest area for people to make, change and make change last. So creating new habits around food is a lot harder than say going to the gym every day.
If you’re somebody who’s like, okay, it’s a new year, I’m going to the gym every day, you might stick to that pretty religiously for a while. I know a lot of people, who end up quitting the gym after February or whatever the gyms are crowded in January, and they’re empty again in March.
But for some of you, you’re like, I’m going to stick to this new running plan, I’m going to stick to this new workout plan and you do it and you’re really good about that. Because it’s important to you and you do it, you make that plan ahead of time you write out your training schedule for the week, and then you stick to it.
Do the same thing with food. That’s all I’m asking you to do here. Do the same thing to food with your food. Just make sure that you are planning ahead. Know what you’re doing tomorrow, or the rest of the week, you can plan a week in advance, you don’t have to.
But when you do this, when you make this plan ahead of time, you’re gonna stick with a plan, you’re gonna start to develop a good habit around that you already have done it for running, you’ve already done it around your workouts at the gym.
And this approach works in all these different areas. It works for planning your workouts, it works for planning your strength session, you know, just decide ahead of time, what muscle groups am I going to work tomorrow, what exercises am I going to do? How many sets and reps write that stuff down?
You already plan your runs, you know what days you’re working out, you know what your runs are going to be like, you know when your long run is this weekend, right? You know what the workouts are, and you know the goal for each of these workouts, just do the same thing with food.
Okay, if there’s any area of your life where you need to create healthy patterns, better habits, or make better choices consistently, then plan them ahead of time until you get the hang of it. And those habits are formed. Once those habits are formed, it becomes so much easier.
And you don’t have to do this forever. You don’t have to make this plan ahead of time and stick to it forever. When I first started out on this last, you know journey of losing weight improving my body composition and developing these good habits, I was very very religious about planning and tracking my food every single day.
I did this consistently for like eight months straight every day. I don’t think I missed a day in there. Maybe I did here and there but I pretty much never missed a day because I was afraid that if I stopped doing it, I would like just fall apart and I would fail.
I was kind of paranoid that I was going to slip up and just go back into my old habits, if I didn’t continue to make this plan and stick to it every single day, and listen to it doesn’t typically take eight months to train your brain and develop good habits. But I was a little bit paranoid, I kind of tend to do things to the extreme.
So I was like, I’m just going to do this until I know without a doubt that I can live my life without it. And then I eventually gave it up, I eventually quit tracking. And those first few days, I was like, oh, my gosh, what am I going to do, but I figured it out. And it works that my point with all this is that it did work for me.
And it doesn’t take that long, you know, I usually say if you can be religious and track consistently every day for like 30 days, or 60 days, somewhere in that range, you typically can start to, you know, create those new neural pathways in your brain create good habits, and this becomes kind of effortless for you, it becomes your new normal.
And if it’s your new normal, then you don’t have to effort your way through the day, you can just you just know what you’re doing. And you can do it. Okay. So make a 24-hour plan. This is the way I’ve worked with people who have planned a day in advance.
And that works really, really well just make sure you’re doing this at least one day in advance. I did have somebody who wanted to plan a month ahead of time, and she wrote out an entire month’s schedule of every meal she was eating for a month. Now that was awesome for her, but I don’t think we need to go to that extreme.
If you want to plan a few days ahead of time or a week ahead of time, I think that’s great. A lot of people love to do meal prepping. And so they’ll prep once a week for the week. And they’ll do their shopping for the week. And if that’s you, and that works for you, I think that’s great.
But a few days is plenty of time a day in advance is really that’s all that’s required. But we have to be making these decisions ahead of time. Don’t wait until the day of or it’s like lunchtime, and you’re like, I wonder what I should eat today. No. Decide in advance.
And you don’t have to use some app. And you don’t have to, you know, track every calorie and every macro and all that I love just using a notebook or a journal or a diary. And just write down what you’re doing tomorrow, just write it down, use a pen, when you use a pen or a pencil and you write it down by hand, it kind of cements that into your brain better than like typing into an app, there’s sort of a disconnect when you do that.
But when you write it down on a piece of paper, it tends to cement that decision into your brain. So now you’ve made the decision, you’ve made it in advance, you’ve made this promise to yourself.
Now you just have to keep that promise to yourself tomorrow. Because when you do that, when you keep the promises that you make to yourself every single day, you start to build this immense amount of trust in yourself.
You start to build integrity with yourself, you start to build confidence. And you know that you can do this, you know that you can stay consistent with this. And you’ll start making progress. I promise you that if you make this plan every day, and you stick to the plan every day.
That is how you make progress. That is how you lose weight. And that is how you keep it off. Because now you’re training your brain that this is how I do things now. Okay, everyone I’m working with right now, this is January of 2024. Everybody I’m working with this month, we are making this 24-hour plan every day. And we are committing to do it for the month of January.
So we’re challenging ourselves to do this. And everybody’s being super consistent with this with this. And they’re setting themselves up for success not only for this month or the next few months but for the year.
They’re like restarting the year on this really positive vibe of like, I’m being consistent, I’m making good choices. And I’m promising these things to myself. And I’m keeping these promises to myself, and they’re making great progress too.
Several people that I’m working with have said their weight loss has been a little bit slow. Or maybe they went out you know, took a few steps back during the holidays, you know, things have stalled out a little bit.
But lately, they have been planning every single day they’ve been planning ahead and now they’re starting to see their weight go down again. And all they have changed is this one little thing of making a plan every day making an advance and then sticking to that plan.
This is how powerful this little daily habit can be. So this is the work that you need to start doing for January. Should you be tracking your food? I think there’s some benefit to pre-planning your food. I think there are benefits to journaling your food if you’re just getting started with all this. Really, the most powerful way of doing it though, is planning ahead of time. Okay.
If you want help with all this I always got you covered you can go to my website runningleancoaching.com, click on Work With Me and we can talk about working together.
Cool, all right, that’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean and I will talk to you soon.