When it comes to losing weight, there are many, many approaches you can take - some of them will work while others definitely will not. Runners especially need to be mindful of their approach to …
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 193 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today, Five Dieting Disasters Runners Need To Avoid. So, when it comes to losing weight, there are many many approaches you can take.
Some of them will work, others definitely will not. Runners especially need to be mindful of their approach to weight loss because certain methods might help you lose weight, but will drastically impair your running performance.
So in this episode, I’m going to go over five dieting disasters that runners need to avoid if you want to lose weight without completely destroying your running performance. I’ll be talking about things like calorie restrictive diets.
The problem with the types of foods you might be turning to carbohydrate management, overtraining, one size fits all approaches. So I think there’s going to be something for everyone in this episode.
But first, I talked to a lot of people who want and need help figuring out this whole nutrition exercise stuff so they can lose weight and keep it off for good. And they want to change, they want to do something about it. But instead, they put it off, they say things like I need to think about it. Or maybe later, maybe now’s not the right time.
But if you’ve been thinking about this for a long time, now, you know that you’re going to have to eventually do something differently, or else nothing is going to change for you. Right, nothing changes, if nothing changes, right.
So thinking more about it or delaying this decision isn’t going to do anything, you have to take action. So you have to make a decision, and you have to take action, the only thing guaranteed to not work is to just do nothing.
And a lot of people continually put things off, because they’re afraid, because they fear failure, or they feel fear, the kind of changes that you’re going to have to make when you take on something like changing your diet.
And the truth is, yeah, you’re gonna have to sort of become a different person in this process. But think about this, where do you see yourself in, let’s say six months time, what would that different person look like?
Because if you do nothing, you’re probably going to still be right where you are, maybe struggling with your weight or your body composition, your energy levels, still wishing you felt better regretting that you didn’t start six months ago, right. But if you took some action and started now, in six months, you’re going to be six months closer to your goal, wait six months of having practiced good habits, having developed good habits, six months closer to that most badass version of yourself.
So don’t put it off. If this is something that you want for yourself, take action, make a decision. And if you want some help from me, great. If you want to do this on your own, I think that’s amazing, too. But I’m here for you.
If you want a little bit of help, just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on Work With Me. And then you can fill out a little application, you and I will get on a Zoom call, we’ll have a conversation and see if coaching is a good fit for you. If it is, great. If it’s not, that’s cool, too. I want the best for you. That’s it, whether you want to work with me or not, it’s okay.
But I do want you to stop thinking about it, stop putting it off and just take some action and do something today. Okay. One thing you can do right now is if you just want a little bit of help getting started with all this stuff, you can take some action.
And check out the free training that I created. It’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner, Stronger Runner. And in this free training I put together I will teach you how to lose weight the right way and keep it off for good without running a million miles a week.
Some of the things that you’re going to learn is why running more and eating less does not work when you’re trying to lose weight. Some of the things that runners don’t do properly when they’re trying to lose weight, the best fuel to use to improve your endurance and you know, get weight loss really working for you.
And then I talked about the mindset shifts required to make these things last for life. So there’s a lot more in that training. I spent a lot of time putting it together. It kind of takes everything I teach on the podcast and combines it into about an hour long training. So definitely check it out.
Just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training and then you can go through that, and that’ll get you started on the right track. And if again, if you want a little bit of help moving forward with this stuff, you can always apply for coaching with me. Cool.
Okay, let’s talk about five dieting disasters that runners need to avoid. And the reason this came up is because I’ve been hearing a lot about a lot of different types of diets. Recently, I listen to a lot of books, I listen to a lot of podcasts, and read a lot of books on diet, nutrition, exercise, running.
And one thing that keeps coming up is that all of these diets that are out there are kind of designed for the general public. And they’re really not specifically designed for runners. And so the first dieting disaster I want to talk about is cutting calories.
And this is one of those things, cutting calories is one of those traditional ways of losing weight that a lot of people ascribe to that is, unfortunately, just not really good for runners, it really just doesn’t work for us as runners actually, it really doesn’t work for most people. I’ll get into that in just a second.
But just understand that as runners we have special needs, we are special. We need to make sure that we have the energy that we need, and the fuel that we need to power us through some long workouts, some long runs, some tough workouts, some higher intensity workouts.
And honestly, if you’re in a calorie deficit all the time, this is going to be kind of a problem. So cutting calories is one of the dieting disasters I think you absolutely want to avoid. So here’s a couple of problems with this. Yes, if you cut calories, you can lose weight, but you’re not really fueling your body properly.
If you are constantly in a calorie deficit, right, you’re not going to have enough fuel to properly not only fuel for your workouts, but recover from your workouts, which is probably even more important because running is catabolic.
Running breaks down muscle, just like lifting weights is catabolic. When you lift weights at the gym, you are breaking down muscle, you’re tearing muscle fibers, in order to get your body back into an anabolic state where you are building and maintaining muscle, you need to get enough rest, you need to make sure that you’re providing enough fuel enough calories, enough protein to build that muscle back up.
And unfortunately, a lot of these calorie deficit diets will not give you the proper amount of calories that you need and the proper amount of protein especially in order to get back into that anabolic state where you’re maintaining and actually building muscle.
Okay, so you’re constantly breaking down your body, you’re breaking down tissues, you’re breaking down muscle, and this is going to dramatically impair your progress as a runner. So when you’re in an anabolic state, you’re building and maintaining muscle mass. When you’re in a catabolic state, you’re breaking down or losing overall muscle mass.
The anabolic state happens when you are at rest and when you are fueling. And when you are recovering, when you’re sleeping and things like that catabolism being in that catabolic state happens while you are actively working out especially doing anything that’s high intensity.
So your running performance is going to take a huge hit if you’re constantly in some sort of a calorie deficit, okay, you’ve reduced your overall caloric intake, you’re not recovering from those harder runs. The next run you go out on the next workout that you engage in is going to feel especially hard because you’re not fully recovered from the previous workout.
And so you’re not going to recover fully from this workout. And then this cycle just continues. And this is a way of getting super burned out and really hurting your running performance. And it could lead to injury too, especially if you’re not building muscle actively. If you’re not gaining strength, if you’re losing strength through this process, this can really lead to injury. So this is a big problem. The other thing you have to understand is that this whole idea of calories in calories out, this is not really a sustainable weight loss method.
And I know that this kind of information is disseminated out there from everyone. I listened to so many experts talk about cutting calories as the way to control weight. But it is not sustainable. Studies continually show that cutting calories, yes, is an effective way to lose weight. No doubt about that.
Studies have shown that it’s also the number one least sustainable weight loss method. Why? Because when you are in a calorie deficit, it will actually over time will slow down your metabolism. So your body’s really great at keeping you in homeostasis, which is keeping your body in a balanced state.
So if you reduce energy coming in, over time, your body will reduce the energy that you’re putting out. So if you continually eat in a calorie deficit, your body will slow down your metabolism because it’s saying, hey, we’re only getting 800 calories a day, 1000 calories a day, whatever, we need to slow things down here. So we’re not burning so many calories here, we need to slow down this metabolism to match what’s coming in.
And when you continually do this, your ability to lose weight will eventually stall and stop. And then you cannot continually eat in more of a deficit, because then you’d have to reduce it by a few hundred calories more to get the weight loss going again.
And then you can see why this is completely unsustainable. That’s why shows like The Biggest Loser were great at first. All these people that are pretty overweight, they lose a ton of weight by restricting calories. But eventually they gain it all back.
And then some, in fact, I was doing a little research on this. And there was a study from the NIH, the National Institutes of Health that said that they followed 14 former Biggest Loser contestants over the course of six years. And the participants had all gained back most of the weight that they had lost on the show. And in some cases, they even put on more.
So this is not a sustainable weight loss method, the whole calorie deficit thing. You cannot continually eat in a calorie deficit and expect to, you know, keep performing well as a runner. Okay? I would argue that even as a human being, it’s just not sustainable. So cutting calories is a huge mistake. And I think it’s a disaster that you just need to avoid. Okay. So that’s number one.
Number two is not eating real foods. So runners love their fuel. They love their shakes and their smoothies and their bars and their drinks and their gels and their goos. And all this other stuff, whatever’s quick and easy for a runner, I need my fuel. And so you grab the latest, greatest thing and a little package or whatever.
This can be a real problem because you end up eating a lot of processed food. And processed food is processed food is food that no longer looks like food. It’s like heavily processed food that has been ground up and you ‘ve pulled the certain ingredients out of whole foods and then combined them.
And all you gotta do is look at the back of a package of whatever you’re eating like an energy bar, and look at the ingredients and you’re gonna see tons of ingredients, tons of ingredients you don’t understand, usually tons of sugar, and refined grains like flour.
And there was another study from the NIH that said that when people ate a diet full of ultra processed foods that they just consume more calories and gain more weight than when they just ate minimally processed foods. So just the fact that eating processed food will cause you to gain weight.
I was looking at the back of a Clif Bar recently. Actually, I just looked this up online, I don’t buy Clif Bars anymore. I used to eat this stuff all the time back when I was like 40 or 50 pounds heavier, but I was looking at the ingredients of a Clif Bar.
And I’m just gonna read through a bunch of these ingredients so you understand what I’m talking about. This is processed food. This is highly processed food. And you’re gonna notice a couple things.
The first ingredient is organic brown rice syrup, and they use the word organic in front of everything here to make it sound like it’s healthy, just so you know. Okay, organic brown rice syrup. That’s sugar, by the way. Organic rolled oats, soy protein isolate, organic cane syrup, sugar, organic roasted soy beans, rice flour, cocoa, organic soy flour, organic high oleic sunflower oil, organic cane sugar, sugar, organic oat flour, organic oat fiber.
Why do you need organic oat fiber if you have oat flour and rolled oats in there anyway? Natural flavors. What does that mean? Alkalized cocoa, organic cocoa butter, sunflower oil, salt, barley malt extract, green tea extract, unsweetened chocolate, soy lecithin, baking soda, dye, calcium phosphate, magnesium oxide, ascorbic acid, tocopherol, acetate, beta carotene, NYAS, cinnamon, global, I’m not going to try to pronounce a lot of these words because they’re crazy.
Here’s the thing that I want you to take away from this. This is a highly processed food loaded with sugar. The reason people love Clif bars is because it’s just a candy bar wrapped in a quote unquote healthy package. Look at the word organic on there. Oh, they’re organic. It’s good for you.
If you’re an athlete, you know, they got a picture of somebody like climbing a mountain climbing rock climbing on the package. So of course it’s for the athlete, it’s good for you. It gives you energy. Yeah, it gives you energy. It’s just pure sugar.
Okay, so just understand that this is an ultra processed food. And this is not healthy food. Okay, this is not something that is good for you. And to eat a bunch of stuff like this constantly is a problem. Right? This is going to be a disaster.
So what happens? What if you ditched all the highly processed foods? What if you just ate real food? Well, a couple of things. Number one, eating real food will help you to stay satiated. Protein and fat are filling. And when you eat foods that are high in protein and good quality fats, your body’s getting all the nutrients it needs.
You’re gonna stay more satiated through the day, you’re gonna feel full, your body gets everything it needs, your hunger signals will return to normal. All the sugar and processed food will kind of mess with your hunger signals.
Ghrelin, which is the hunger hormone, gets overproduced when you’re eating foods high in sugar high in carbohydrates. Leptin is the fullness sensor. It’s a fullness hormone. And that gets downregulated and will cause you to stay hungry even after you’ve eaten a bunch of food when you’re eating processed food and carbohydrates and things like that.
So it causes you to stay hungry all the time, which makes controlling your eating really hard to do and you end up just massively overeating. It’s very, very easy to overeat stuff like Clif Bars, right? It’s pretty hard to overeat like chicken or steak or broccoli or eggs like you don’t eat so much. And then you’re like, poof, I’m full.
That’s the way we’re supposed to be. That’s the kind of food we’re supposed to eat. So eating real food will help to reset your hunger and satiety signals, you’ll naturally and easily just kind of eat the right amount of food. Your body is very good at knowing, hey, I should stop eating when you’re eating real food. It doesn’t have those same sensors working properly when you’re eating all this junk food.
All this processed food, especially food, it’s super high in sugar, like a Clif Bar. Okay, so what is real food? Real food is food that still looks like food. You look at it, you’re like, oh, that is an egg that is an avocado. That is a steak. Like you know what that is, your ancestors would recognize that stuff as food.
So examples of real food that we can find in the grocery store would be that stuff that we find around the perimeter of the grocery store. The outside edges of the grocery store stuff like fresh produce fruits and vegetables, meat fish, cheese, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, healthy fats, olive oil, butter, coconut oil, you want to stay away from those toxic seed oils that would include things like canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, grapeseed oil, rice bran, all these things are toxic and highly highly processed.
And if you understand how they process these quote unquote, like vegetable oils, it’s a horrible process that they go through. This stuff is just not good for you. Stick to real quality healthy fats, okay? Also just stay away from the package foods if it has a label and an ingredient list and a marketing message. I would just say no to that stuff. Okay.
Now sometimes this kind of stuff is okay like, I’ll go to the frozen foods aisle and I love getting like bags of frozen broccoli, or riced cauliflower because I love love riced cauliflower. It’s a good substitute for rice and a lot of dishes and stuff. And to make it myself is a pain in the butt, super messy and a huge pain in the butt so I can just buy that stuff. Yes, it is, quote unquote processed because they’ve chopped up the broccoli and they froze it.
They’ve like shredded the cauliflower or whatever they do to it, they’ve erased it. But it’s minimally processed. If you look at the package, there’s one ingredient, it’s like cauliflower. There’s one ingredient, it’s broccoli. So that kind of stuff is okay. Stay away from the stuff with a package, and a label and a bunch of ingredients, and you’re going to be fine. So just stick with real food, okay, because eating all the processed food is going to be a disaster for you. All right.
Number three, carbohydrate mismanagement. So carbs are not the enemy. And I just did a podcast about this a few weeks ago, you can check out episode 190 and listen to that. And I talk all about carbs and why carbs should be included in our diet, and everybody needs to kind of figure out their own number of cards and things like that.
But just understand that carbs are not the enemy, but carbs need to be managed. You need to control your carbohydrate intake, if you want to improve fat burning, so fat burning will help you to improve your body composition. Because fat burning is how you lose weight, you have to burn fat.
Fat Burning also is how you improve your endurance as a runner, you have to get good at burning fat. So the goal with our diet is to eat the kinds of foods that will help us to keep our body into a fat burning state. Right, so we do eat some carbs, but we don’t want to go crazy on the carbs. We need to manage our carbohydrate intake because carbohydrates are just sugar. And there’s a spectrum there.
Of course, you know, there’s table sugar, and brown rice syrup and cane sugar syrup and things like that, which are super concentrated forms of carbohydrate. And then there’s like, you know, blueberries or a sweet potato, which are carbohydrate, and they’re a little bit higher and carbohydrate, but they’re pretty low, and they don’t spike your blood sugar, okay, but when we consume carbohydrates, sugar, some of that energy is used, or some of that sugar is used for energy, and then some of it is stored as fat.
And depending on the concentration of carbohydrates, it’ll determine how much of that is stored as fat. So eating just pure sugar, if you drink like a big 32 ounce Coca Cola or something like that, that’s going to have like, I don’t know, 28 grams of sugar, or I’m sorry, not 28 grams, probably have like 28 teaspoons of sugar in there or something like that’s crazy.
It’s like a ton of sugar. Most of that’s going to be just stored as fat because your body can’t use that much sugar, right, right all at once. So too many carbs, too much sugar, and your body will not turn on the fat burning system, you will be storing fat.
Because when you raise your blood sugar, which happens when you eat most foods, but especially things that are very concentrated and carbohydrates, you raise your blood sugar quite a bit, insulin gets raised quite a bit and insulin is the gatekeeper, they will keep fat locked up in your fat cells.
So we want to keep insulin levels managed. We want to keep them pretty low most of the time. So fat burning should be your goal. This is our natural state as human beings. Fat Burning is what we’ve always done, we feast and famine, or feasted and fasted. As human beings we’ve had these times in our evolutionary history where we developed this amazing fuel system that can be used in times of famine when we did not have a lot of food available.
So we’d go on a hunt, where you would eat some large animal, let’s just say like a woolly mammoth or something like that. And then we would fast for days because we have this storage system, you know, we’ve stored some of that energy as fat and we can use that for energy. Right.
But nowadays, we’re eating all the time we’re eating tons of processed food, tons of sugar, and we just keep storing the fat and storing the fat we’re not tapping into that stored body fat for fuel and that’s what we want to do. So our goal, from a dietary standpoint, from a nutrition standpoint, from an exercise standpoint is to enhance fat burning, right?
This helps with weight loss. It helps with improving endurance and it helps with your energy throughout the day. If you want all day energy, just burning more fat helps with focus and concentration. All kinds of positive benefits of becoming a good fat burner, okay? Too many carbs. Fat Burning just gets shut down. So carbs don’t need to be eliminated. We just have to manage them properly. Okay.
The other side of this is just not eating enough. So people think, oh, carbs are bad, I just got to stay away from carbs, I’m just going to eat zero carbs. Okay? Some people do really well, eating very few carbs, it’s almost impossible to eat zero because even if you eat like an egg, it’s got like a one or two grams of carbs in there, okay?
Some dairy has carbs, if you just ate nothing but meat, which a lot of people love this, like carnivore diet, they’re gonna get close to zero carbs, but probably not zero. And they do okay, and they, they might do fine. I don’t personally think that is the best for everybody. I think there are some people that really do well on that.
I’ve tried it, and it was great for a period of time. And then I felt like I needed just a little bit more in the way of carbohydrates. So I added some more carbs into my diet. But carbs are not necessary, I want to make sure that it is very clear that our body will produce the glucose that we need to keep our brain functioning. And all these people that have been doing carnivore for 5-10 years. They don’t eat anything but meat and salt. And they do really well.
And they’re functioning great, you know, they’re improving their performance, their athletes, whatever. And that’s great for them, doesn’t mean everybody has to do that. Okay. So I think sometimes we can go a little bit too low.
And if you’re somebody who isn’t performing well at super low carbs, then we got to increase those carbs. Some people do well, when they’re 50 grams or less per day, other people feel better when they’re at 100-150 grams per day, something like that. But again, this is still considered kind of low carb, okay?
The average American is somewhere around three to 500 grams of carbs a day, it’s crazy. So a lot of carbs, I couldn’t eat that much today, if I tried. Why? Because I probably could if I really tried. But that is a ton of carbs to eat in a day.
In my opinion, I’ve been doing this low carb thing for years and years, I feel so much better when I keep my carbs pretty low. Right? So some people do well, if they’re super low, let’s say under 20 grams a day, that would be like the carnivore type people, others do something called carb cycling, that might be where you, you for like three or four days in a row, you might do around 50 grams, and then you have a day where you up that to 120 or 150. And then you go back down and every third or fourth day, you increase your carbs, you know, by 100 or 150 grams a day.
And some people do well with something like that. So in the course of a week, you know, your average daily carb intake is a little bit higher than somebody that’s doing, you know, a much lower carb intake. But again, this is individualized, you gotta figure this out for yourself. Okay, carbs will help your body to recover from hard workouts, they help you to get back into that anabolic state so they help you to signal proteins synthesis in order to build muscle.
So insulin is one of the ways that you can activate muscle protein synthesis. Another way of signaling muscle protein synthesis is eating foods high in leucine. Leucine is an amino acid and it helps to activate that protein synthesis so eating foods high in leucine will help you to build and repair muscle things like chicken beef, pork, fish, tofu, can beans, lentils, milk, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, all these foods are high and leucine.
Anything that has a complete protein typically is going to give you higher amounts of leucine. So eat some carbs, eat the right amount of carbs for you and your goals and it takes a little bit of trial and error sometimes to figure this out. You might do better if you’re eating some carbs to help signal some protein synthesis as well. Okay.
The other problem is that people who just eat the wrong kinds of carbs so it’s easy to say okay, I need to eat a few more carbs every day and then you’re just going crazy on like doughnuts and pasta and muffins and cookies and Clif bars or whatever. And these are all junk carbs right they’re not healthy foods.
Refined sugar is not healthy food. There’s no study out there that is going to show you that sugar has a bunch of health benefits unless it’s sponsored by like the sugar industry like Coca Cola or something like that.
And I have seen those kinds of studies before they’ll be like, sugar is good for you. It’s clean energy and blah, blah, blah. And I’m just going to tell you right now there is not a nutritionist or a dietician, no matter what sort of method they prescribe that they are not going to tell you that sugar is good for you.
Okay, doesn’t mean you can never have sugar but you just got to be really careful with that again, it comes to control management, but the right kinds of carbs are the ones that are not going to spike your blood sugar. Like our goal here is to keep fat burning going.
Our goal here is to keep your blood sugar managed relatively low, not super low. You don’t want to be hypoglycemic. But we got to kind of manage our blood sugar so it’s not constantly spiking and crashing. So the right kinds of carbs and the ones that I like talk to my clients about including in their diet would be things like fruit, berries, dairy, legumes, starchy vegetables, like sweet potatoes, root vegetables.
Again, these are all real foods, they still look like food. Our ancestors look at these things and say, oh, yeah, I know what that is. That is a sweet potato. Oh, yeah, that is a blueberry. Okay, so carbohydrate management is very important.
Number four is increased cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone. Your body produces cortisol when you get stressed out, and this is normal. And this is actually good. Because when you’re in this stressful situation, and we’ve evolved to produce cortisol in stressful situations, like the saber toothed tiger comes at us from the jungle, and we’re staying there and we’re like, oh, my gosh, your body raises cortisol raises glucose produces a bunch of blood sugars, so that you can like fight or flight like you couldn’t run away, I would run away if it was me.
Same thing happens when we are under stress, though today. And this stress could be from an inbox full of emails, or financial issues, or work related stuff, or family or relationship stuff. Like there’s so many things that stress us out in society today. And if you’re in the state of chronic stress, where cortisol is chronically raised, this is a big problem. All right.
Cortisol, in small amounts in in short term is fine like it is actually it’s a good thing. Because your body will have an adaptive response to that. So you do a hard workout, you do a hard hit workout, cortisol is gonna go up. As soon as you get into the rest mode, like that’s gonna go back down again. And then cortisol is back to normal, and you’re good to go.
The problem is that we have these lives, you know, stresses that keep us in a chronic state of stress, which keeps cortisol chronically high, which keeps our blood sugar’s chronically elevated, which keeps insulin chronically elevated, which keeps us storing fat. It keeps us from burning fat. So if you want to completely avoid fat burning, just stay stressed out all the time.
So this is like lack of sleep, too many hard workouts, not enough rest and recovery days. One way that a lot of runners will put themselves in a state of chronic stress is doing what I call chronic cardio, this is where you’re just doing all your workouts at that sort of medium hard level of intensity, they’re not easy enough to be easy.
They’re not hard enough to be hard. It’s like you’re doing everything at the high end of zone three or something like that. And it’s just all your workouts are a little too hard. You’re never giving your body a break. You’re never pushing yourself so hard that you’re getting into those higher zones, and you’re never really doing anything that’s easy enough to help you to respond and recover and repair.
So we got to be careful with this chronically elevated stress, chronically elevated cortisol, and chronically elevated glucose peruses, that chronically elevated insulin and then you’re chronically storing fat, right? You cannot burn fat while your body is stressed out.
So you have to manage stress. This means managing your day to day stress. And any sort of exercise undue stress. So you got to prioritize rest and recovery days. You can’t really improve your fitness if you’re out there just cranking out the miles day after day after day, your fitness improves while at rest. So you do hard HIIT workout speed intervals, something like that.
And then the next day you take a rest day, maybe an active recovery day, something like that. Well, that’s when your body has the positive responses and your cardiovascular system improves. Your lactate threshold improves. Same for lifting weights, you don’t get stronger while you’re lifting weights at the gym. That’s when you’re breaking yourself down. You get stronger during the rest and recovery phase, right.
So you have to improve stress. You have to manage stress, you have to improve your sleep quality. Sleep is so important. People don’t understand the importance of sleep but getting enough sleep and getting good quality sleep are super important because if you’re not getting enough sleep you could keep yourself in this state of chronically being stressed out. And stress leads to a lack of sleep. And a lack of sleep creates stress.
So this is a terrible cycle to be in. So you have to manage stress from the outside and you got to manage stress from the inside. And you have to make sure that you are getting quality sleep, whatever it takes, okay? A better approach to running is the 80/20 method. I’ve talked about this before, this is going to help you to keep cortisol at normal levels at 20 just means that 80% of the time, you’re you’re running workouts are going to be pretty easy conversational pace, pretty low zones, one or two 20% of the time, heart zones, 3, 4, 5, where you’re going to be doing speed intervals, you’re going to be doing HIIT workouts, you’re going to be doing tempo runs anything that’s going to really push the needle hard, but that’s only 20% of the time.
And if you kind of stick to that formula, the 80/20 formula, that’s where the magic happens, right. That’s how you improve your endurance, you improve your speed, you improve your strength without burning yourself out. So you do have to include the 20% of hard workouts, but it should only be 20%. It shouldn’t be chronically hard workouts, okay? All right.
And then number five, dieting disaster that runners need to avoid is one size fits all approaches. And I have done all this stuff. I’ve read the books, I’ve tried all the fad diets, I’ve tried everything that’s out there, pretty much. I’ve even experimented with some of these lately, just to see like, hey, this actually sounds interesting. I wonder if this might work.
This diet that somebody wrote out there, you know, the problem with that is that they don’t work. They don’t work for everyone. There’s not one diet that is going to work perfectly for everyone. Why? Because you are an individual. You have your own body, your own metabolism, your own goals, your unique lifestyle, your own culture, food preferences, food likes and dislikes food allergies, you got your own athletic goals, your own training schedule, your own particular body composition goals, your own hormonal makeup, genetics have a factor in this too.
If you think that one fad diet is going to work for you exactly the same as it did for that celebrity who’s selling it, I’m sorry, but you’re just mistaken, it’s not going to work for you. I mean, it might, but there is no one size fits all diet out there. Okay.
That is why I am a coach and I don’t have a book to sell you on how to lose weight, right? Because it just doesn’t work that way. Everybody’s different. And coaching works, where all these other diets fail. Because what I do is I’m going to meet you where you are, and treat you like the individual that you are, we’ll take a look at what you’re doing today.
And then we’ll start making some changes. And this looks a little bit different for each person I work with because we’re starting from where you are. And then we start making some small changes. And we start small, and then we layer things on. And you know, we got to make sure that your body adjusts to each of these changes. But this is the right way to approach any type of dietary intervention, like you can’t just change 27 things all at once.
This is not sustainable, this is very overwhelming, and most people will not stick with it. So when you look at some fad diet out there, and they say okay, here’s the 27 things you need to do. Here’s the food you need, this food’s naughty, here’s the kind of thing, here’s my carbs, calories, how many macros and blah, blah, blah. Like it’s just overwhelming for a lot of people.
So it has to be something that is a progressive approach. I always take an progressive approach with my clients. And coaching is about feedback and results like is this working for you? Yes or no? Are you seeing positive results? Yes or no? If yes, cool. We’re going to keep going. If no, then we need to change something so that we can start getting results again.
And I’ll even say this, and this might sound a little bit arrogant, but coaching pretty much always works as long as you stick with it. As long as we are constantly analyzing results and making changes when necessary. You’ll always be moving towards your goals. You’ll always be getting results as long as we take that approach.
Because it’s not about any particular diet. It’s not about some dogmatic set of principles. Coaching is about what works for you as an individual. Yeah, sometimes it takes a little bit, a little bit of time to figure things out. Sometimes you have some setbacks, sometimes. It just doesn’t work.
But then we get into detective mode and we figure out a solution. And every other diet that’s out there, every other like one size fits all diet. You know, here’s what you do. And if it’s not working, sorry about your luck, you’re probably just doing it wrong. That is not the approach you need to take, you need to take an individualized approach.
And I’m not even saying you got to have a coach to help you through all this stuff. But you do have to constantly be analyzing, is this working for me or not? And if it isn’t, there’s something that has to change, you can’t keep doing the same things and expecting the results to be different, right?
So that is why I don’t just have a document, I can hand it over to you and say, here’s what you’re going to do. And this is going to work perfectly for you. Because there is no such thing. There just really isn’t. Okay. So this is a very dynamic process. It’s a process of trying some things and seeing if it works, and if it does, great, try something you know, later on the next thing, if it’s not working, though, we have to make a change. You can’t just keep doing the same things. Okay?
So you have to take more of a dynamic approach to whatever method you want to take on here. And that’s again, that’s why I do coaching and I don’t just hand over a book or document or something like that.
Okay, so those are the five dieting disasters that runners need to avoid. Number one, cutting calories and number two, not eating real food number three, carbohydrate mismanagement, number four, increased cortisol and number five, the one size fits all approach is just don’t do those things. And you’ll be fine. Cool.
And as always, if you’re looking for some help with any of this stuff, we can talk about it just head over to runningcoaching.com and click on Work Withork with me. We’ll have a conversation, see if coaching is a good fit for you. Okay, that’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean, and I will talk to you soon.