Written by Ultra Marathon Running Champ Andy Pope
“Age 45… 50km on no carbs… in 3hrs 57… 1st place
Really? Yes, really.
A Primed/Lower Carb, Higher Healthy Fat (LCHF) lifestyle will probably make you a stronger runner. One thing is a certainty though, it will make you a healthier runner. It is not a magic cure or a fast track to the podium – I should add to the title that I train five or six times a week and have been running and racing a long while; Primed/LCHF is a part of the formula and illustrates what is possible. Running and racing are an individual journey and if you transition to a Primed lifestyle this will become a part of your journey. Yes – lifestyle – not “diet”; the vast majority of traditional “diets” fail. Diets imply short term, largely unenjoyable ways to lose weight. The Primed focus is long term health, a permanent change – Weight loss, increased energy levels and how you feel will all take care of themselves in time.
You will have to throw out some traditional thinking along with pasta and rice when you start the journey. You are possibly used to running/exercise to control weight, or at least that is what you think you are doing. You will now eat (more) to control weight and health and run to de-stress, train for a race or just get outside… but calorie counting is out along with carbs and sugar.
I used to dread rest (or injury) periods. I would feel “unhappy, fat, lethargic and unhealthy” relatively quickly, in fact so quickly that my wife dreaded non-running days. I now enjoy rest periods before a race or when I feel like it and eat all I want, usually lose weight and feel great.
I’ve been on my Primed journey for getting on for three months. If you do train and or race regularly and want to start be aware that you are likely to experience energy deficiency over the first week or two as your body transitions – I ‘bonked’ badly on my first race a week or two into Primed – rather than the expected energy gains (”as advertised”) I was crawling over a 21k finish. But several weeks later I ran the first 42k of the 50k race in just over 3 hours and felt great. Eight days after that race I am training 20k in an easy 1hr30minutes.
My wife who has also joined the journey (about a month after me) was incredibly disappointed at not losing weight quickly even though she felt better and was notching up belt holes, but after two months she is a consistent 5kg lighter and dropping more kilos almost by the week. Like any change it’s easier when you understand the ‘what’s’ and ‘why’s’. Being told to give up processed foods, sugar, pasta, bread and rice overnight may not seem easy or appealing but if you read around the subject and find out exactly what wheat and sugar, amongst other culprits, are doing to you, you may never look at bread in the same way. I certainly haven’t.
Likewise you need to be ready with alternatives and to plan your meals a little bit more than you do today. I have found it particularly difficult on travel days (which I do a lot) – to find a service station or airport with anything but sugary pastries and loaded sweets is almost impossible. You also need to know what to shop for and where to find some less common items.
To this end a Chad Davis has been a great partner on this journey, terrific inspiration and hugely helpful resource to navigate the many questions I have had. My goal is to complete 100k race in January 2016 and make full use of the potential extra energy supplied by a high fat lifestyle. I am enjoying experimenting with, amongst other things, buko juice, as an electrolyte as opposed to my old favourite Pocari Sweat. While I have lots to learn and many tweaks to make, one thing is for sure, the night before the 100k I will not be joining the carbo-loading party.”
Atlantis Dive Resorts & Liveaboards at Peurto Galera, Dumageute and Azores offer beautiful accommodations, great food and so many wonderful, fun and healthy activities. From scuba diving, uunderwater photography to liveaboards Atlantis is a tremendous vacation venue for the whole family. Spa treatments are also available.
Here are some of the fabulous Primed meals available at Atlantis Dive Resorts & Liveaboards at Peurto Galera, Dumageute and Azores.