Dead Simple Nutrition

Take advice from someone who has done what you’re trying to do

I started out fat and clueless.

The lessons I learned are different from someone, who grew up a star athlete.

  • If you want to be fast, take tips from someone who figured out how to be fast
  • If you want to lose weight, take tips from someone who lost the weight
  • If you want to improve your healthspan, read Howard’s book!

Know your goal and choose your reference set carefully. So much noise out there.

  • 360 days for health
  • 5 days for performance

Choose wisely


LOW can be better than NO

  • Low glutten
  • Low processed sugars
  • Low manufactured food

Less, rather than total elimination.

Pay attention to the bloat. For me… cereals, pastas and breads

Bloat items are better swapped with something I tolerate. When I swap them, moderate the portion, add a protein source and mix in some veggies.

Pay attention to well tolerated energy sources. For me… rice, rice milk, quinoa, potatoes.


I use Protein differently:

  • Protein with every meal
  • No long gaps without protein
  • ‘Recovery’ drinks across long training days – rice milk with protein powder
  • Real meals between sessions – avoid gel hell

Protein, especially with good fats, moderates my appetite and keeps my digestion happy.


Dairy

I tolerate it well but I’m careful not use as a sugar crutch.

There can be a lot of added sugar in dairy (especially “vegan” yogurts).


There is information in cravings and binges.

Cravings => usually a depletion signal. High-performance athletes need to train the ability to process food for fuel. Long sessions provide enough depletion, even when eating.

Binges => a sign of too much – too much intensity, too much stress, too much load.

To make progress with your body, and counter your binges/cravings, trade stress for the ability to lose fat.


A stable weight is a sign you have your act together.

Get to a stable, strong weight and stay there.

Effective nutrition is defined by what is not there:

  • Swings
  • Cravings
  • Binges
  • Injures
  • Illness

Where to focus:

  1. Eat less sugar – sweeteners are everywhere. Do not restrict whole fruits, they fill you up and reduce processed food intake.
  2. Protein with every meal – all day long
  3. Incremental change – lifetime journey!
  4. Start by improving the quality of your non-training nutrition
  5. Appropriate levels of carbohydrate – fuel the burn

Don’t get hooked on brand names…

Just Keep Winning


Part One of SuperVet Fitness

Step One is improving low-end aerobic function by adding cycling volume under LT1

My return to “proper” endurance training will offer me a chance to demonstrate some things.

It’s whole lot easier to hit modest fitness targets if you have sufficient muscle mass for your goals (Link to Big Slow Day Article)

A lot of athletes see their size as a hinderance to their goals.

I don’t.

If you want to rip bumps in your 60s, sustain impact, run the risk of the occasional crash… a bit of size, combined with a lot strength, will serve you well.

So I’ve moved to my strongest-training weight – which is ~5 lbs above my low-volume sustainable weight.

On my old protocol (outlined here) – being a bit light is fine. However, when my goals require the capacity to fuel meaningful output, my “light weight” slows my recovery.

Let’s be clear: endurance athletes have a “light is right” bias.

Smart athletes know it is better to match your body composition to your goals.

My #1 goal is faster recovery, so:

  • Each week at least two back-to-back recovery days
  • Run my body composition a little heavier
  • Ditch my alarm
  • Use morning HRV to check in before loading
  • Bring back training nutrition

Making The Most of My Time

Many athletes seek to optimize their time by boosting average workout intensity (Sweet Spot, Heavy Domain, Tempo).

I’ve seen it, and I’ve seen it work.

Doesn’t work for me.

I’m going Nordic

  • Swedish 5:2 (see below)
  • Norwegian 80:20 (>80% Stamina Focus)

Swedish Periodization (5 days on, 2 days off) means radical recovery and compressed loading:

  • If I finish Day 5 by Noon, then I have ~65 hours until I train again
    • Every week has space for Real Life => sustainable
    • I get a weekly reset
    • My digestion gets a rest – training uptake is fatiguing
  • My Stamina focus is a 2-for-1
    • Train energy uptake (ideas for you)
    • Improve function of my mitochondria
  • My “intense” allocation (<20% total loading) includes my strength training – strength is where I preserve my long-term edge (strength, muscle mass)


Most everybody wants to get faster.

That would be nice… …and I expect it to happen

However, what I actually want is… the capacity to hold my existing submax fitness longer

Which implies…

  • 90% => bottom-up metabolic fitness & train my gut
  • 10% => strength & muscle mass

I’ll keep working and report back

Sunday Summary 17 April 2022

The Body You Want

Fit Kids & Parenting

Wealth

High Performance Habits

Strength & Conditioning

1,000 Day Pacing and New Habit Creation

Strength training is the ultimate long game.
Each session moves me further away from what I’d be without it.

I’m going to explain how I qualified for World Champs, won Ultraman Hawaii, found my wife and improved my parenting game.

Big wins – different domains.


Here’s my template…

  1. Create one new habit at a time
  2. Set the bar low (!)
  3. Hit that bar daily (30, 100, 500, 1000)
  4. Remove what causes me to miss the minimum
  5. Sort the specifics after the habit is on autopilot
  6. Access experienced mentors
  7. Surge effort when conditions are favorable

What would happen if you made a choice to…

  • Do a little bit of cardio
  • Do a little bit of strength
  • Help one stranger
  • Share a simple lesson you know well
  • Make one connection
  • Eat a salad at 3pm
  • Eat 2 apples at 11am
  • Write 100 words

…every single day for the next 1,000 days?

Build one small habit.

Repeat.


My 8:29 Ironman performance started when a fat finance guy (me) decided it might make sense to walk to the pub rather than drive.

I can remember that one choice.

I can remember a later choice to do something-every-day.

I’ve done my “1,000 days” many times => writing, investing, wife, kids, sport, connection, strength training

Knowing the power of compounding, I still underestimate the speed of improvement.


What are your deep wants and desires?

What one thing, if it happened, would change everything?

Why not move a little forward each day?

Why wait to be great

Sunday Summary 27 March 2022

Getting a much clearer idea about the topics that engage y’all.

Thank you for the likes, RTs and replies.

Athletic Performance

High-Performance Strategies

Wealth Topics

Sunday Summary 20 March 2022

Mood Management

Athletic Performance

The Body You Want

True Wealth

Sunday Summary 13 March 2022

High-Performance Strategies

Getting The Body You Want

  • I contributed to Brady’s thread about eating on easy days
  • More information isn’t the answer for Big Guys Losing Weight => thread and article link. Think in terms of 1,000 day pacing and remember “not eating” is a losing strategy.
  • Jumps & Plyos are prehab for life – don’t accept the common experience as your personal baseline!

Family Money

Personal Real Estate can be a high-hassle asset but it has benefits, some hidden

Life Lessons

Athletic Performance

1,000 Day Pacing for Big Guys Losing Weight

Growing up, I had a buddy.

James Brown, his real name!

James was a lot of fun, and very patient with my younger self.

James used to joke that his boat had two speeds: full and repair.

As a young man, much of my life was lived this way.

ON or OFF

The greatest achievement of my married life was finding another gear => SUSTAIN


EVERYONE knows what’s required to gain weight.

Where we struggle is sustaining weight.

The ability to sustain is the key that unlocks the ability to choose.

The capacity is choose is a foundational skill for success.


I’ve got two things that are going to help.

Let’s start with the most important.

What’s the trigger for eating more than 1,000 calories after 10pm?

For me, it was ALWAYS one of the following…

  1. Didn’t eat enough during the day
  2. Drinking

By the way, combine the two and I was going BIG.

So if you’re going to “go binary” on something… you get a much better bang for your buck by not getting wasted.

Slamming 700 calories, of anything, at 2pm is a winning strategy => break the habit of late-night binging. You don’t have the option of being binary with food – you gotta eat.

Anybody that tells you otherwise has already lost the weight and forgotten what’s going on.

Not eating, and thinking about eating all day… losing strategy, not sustainable.


Next tip

Do something before breakfast.

It doesn’t need to be a workout!

Do one positive thing that moves you towards where you want to take your life.

Every. Single. Day.

After you do it, you get to eat.


That’s it.

1,000 day pacing.

Keep small promises to yourself.

It works.

Optimizing Training Protocols for Middle Aged Doctors

In the Steep Gullies of A-Basin, teaching my son how to lead men

In your 50s and 60s, you’re going to have the money to do neat stuff.

Are you going to have the body?


I propose three goals to guide your training:

  • Burn fat
  • Add muscle mass
  • Maintain sexual function

If you’re still into race performance then bookmark me and come back in a few years.

Why?

Because you might be screwing up all three by leaving sustained tempo in your program.

🙂


The ability to do fun stuff with those I love.
A form of wealth.

Now, you’re probably thinking that it’s impossible for an older person to add muscle mass.

You might have even resigned yourself to a long, slow decline in personal function.

That’s certainly the way aging was taught to me (by members of your profession).

Are you sure?

An elder surgeon confided in me that “half the stuff I learned in med school, turned out to be false.”

Perhaps a shift in approach could get you a better outcome?

Besides, there is little downside from shifting your program, away from endurance fatigue, towards doing what it takes to add functional strength.


My son’s definition of heaven.
Bit of a survival ski for me.

So how might we do that?

During the pandemic, I learned this protocol by accident.

I was locked in my house, with three high-energy kids, and I needed a way to chill out before endless days of Home School.

I turned to weights, a lot of them.

I worked my way through Rob Shaul’s SF45 program. The full program was eight modules and took me 60 weeks to complete.

Total body transformation.

Not only did it transform my body, my wife started having fire fighter fantasies. 😉

I became much better at moving through the mountains.

Rob’s redone the modules and now splits them by age (40, 50, 55 and 60). You can find them under General Fitness Plan Packets on his website.

I’ve taken what I’ve learned from Rob and interpreted into my life as a coach to kids, adults and elders. I use pieces of Rob’s protocols to address specific concerns (balance, fall risk, muscle activation, injury prevention and rehab). I tweet about these on Wednesdays.

I use Rob’s stuff for creating a valuable form of stress on my 53 yo body.

  • Gaining functional strength
  • To do neat stuff
  • Outside
  • With the people I love
  • For as long as possible

My training schedule is built around placing my key days (my strength-focused days).

I never skip a strength day but… I do delay it when I know it would be counter-productive to stress myself further.


Can you spot the gully entry above my son?
Me neither.
We had to billy-goat a bit.

So how to place those key days?

That was my central problem across 2021.

I kept getting run down, I felt old, my mood was crap, I was worried that I was “done” as an athlete.


To be sick of sickness is the only cure

– The Tao Te Ching

Eventually, I committed to do whatever it took to get my recovery on track. If that meant “getting old” then I’d just have to deal with the consequences.

It wasn’t all that complicated. My Garmin watch had be collecting resting heart rate data for years. Data that I had been ignoring because I was scared to recover properly!

To my resting HR data, I added heart rate variability from an Oura Ring. Recently, I added HRV4Training to better see the differences between my acute and chronic movements.

I don’t use the Readiness Scores because I don’t need precision (and have doubts that any of us can predict outcome on a complex system, like the human body).

All I am seeking is a signal from the raw data.

  • Red – you’d better dial it down
  • Yellow – no surges, just aerobic maintenance (ie fat burning)
  • Green – Go For It, Bro!

Feb 20 (red) – chronic (shaded) and acute are low
Feb 11 (yellow) – chronic is in normal range, acute a bit below
Feb 8th (green) – chronic and acute both high – I went big at altitude, we see the impact on Feb 9th

Similar info in the resting HR data, which seems to be more sensitive to the elevation where I’m sleeping. During the upward trend in HR, I was sleeping at ~8,500 ft.

So when I’m at home, it’s a simple choice each morning.

Strength or Cardio

  • Strength is whatever plan I’m using from Rob.
  • Cardio is a bike workout, usually with a 130 bpm cap.

If I’m not “green” for a strength day, then I dial it down, or delay.

If I’m “red” then I spin easy on the bike (HR < 120) and schedule a neighborhood walk for the afternoon.

ZERO anaerobic load on a “red” day.

By waiting for a green signal, I avoid putting myself into a hole, that takes days to clear.

I’d been running this system (morning strength or cardio) for most of the pandemic (2020 & 2021) but was not paying attention to my HR, and didn’t have the HRV data.

With the HRV data, and guidance from Dr Jeff Shilt, I am able to better place the days that make me tired. Doc J shared his traffic light system, which let me create this article I’m offering you.


This season saw me hand over the title of lead-skier to my son.
With recognition comes responsibility.

As we age, how best to define “getting better”?

My proposal…

We will work towards improving the self-confidence that you’ll be able to continue to share outdoor activities with those you love.

We will use a training approach that builds a large physical reserve against the fears we hear from our elders.

Confidence that, while absolute performance is declining, we continue to enjoy the physical side of life.

Confidence that, while we’re all going to “get old” eventually, we will be able to live independently for as long as possible.

This is going to require a shift in focus from “athletic performance” to maintaining “functional performance.”

The very good news is this approach is time efficient.

Yes, the strength days will kick your butt BUT, when they are placed wisely, you will bounce back and end up with more energy across your week.


Keep it simple.

Start every day with a win.

Burn fat or strength train.

Getting Your Desired Body and Keeping It

Tacos del Gnar in Ridgeway, CO
On the way to Telluride, worth the stop

Last week, I was in Telluride with my buddy, Mark. He asked me a question, very much on point…

Aren’t you afraid you’ll gain weight?

Why yes, I am terrified!

The context was my current “far less than I used to” training program. Sure, I was scared, and that’s why I kept the volume rolling for so many years.

However, like so many fear-based quirks in my life, my fears proved groundless.

Further, creating a lifestyle catered to misplaced fear crowds out a lot of useful work!


Telluride

Get Off the Wheel of Sugar

AC has been crushing with a series of threads encouraging athletes to improve their stamina and fat burning. The lessons run much, much deeper. Creativity, cognition, and metabolic health – all benefit from working on the low-end of our fitness.

Many of us use training protocol as a way to justify our food choices. With the best intentions, we remove a food group, and end up replacing it with sugar.

OR

Starting to train, we shift our nutrition towards “sports nutrition.”

My buddy, Jonas Colting, calls this getting caught in Gel Hell.

Not a win.


Removing the friction towards better choices

Two tips work here:

  1. Aim to eat more veggies than my vegetarian pals.
  2. Stay below my sugar threshold.

#1 requires a bit of effort, but not too much. My main gig is salads and stir-frys.

#2 can be scary – it implies less total duration, less intensity.

Both these changes nudge us towards sustainable choices and, as we age, reduce the risk of ruin from following a Chronic Endurance lifestyle.


More Telluride

Get Strong

Back in the day, folks used to debate the utility of strength training for endurance athletes. Do y’all still do that?

I’m not into debating, I’d rather use something that works.

Strength Training Works.

There is a conscious, and unconscious, attraction to people who move powerfully – moving well, is attractive.

You want to be more attractive, trust me (see below).

Being attractive improves our self-image, which sets up a virtuous circle in our larger lives.


Door #1 was fast, but I’ll go out on a limb and predict my wife would prefer Door #3

Remove One

Trying to change everything at once leaves me feeling scattered and distracted.

It doesn’t work.

Again, here’s what works:

One person, one habit, one pattern, one choice…

Each of us has a habit, relationship or pattern that we can eliminate, for gains.

  • 2 beers before bed
  • A basket of bread with lunch and dinner
  • Cheese
  • Bread + cheese = pizza 😉
  • French fries
  • Soft drinks
  • A friend who’s a feeder

Don’t try to do everything.

Don’t think you need to change “forever”.

Simply take a break for 30 days and pay attention.


With all this stuff, letting go of my fears seems daunting.

No way, I’ll be able to pull that off.

You don’t have to.

Try it out for 30 days and pay attention.

Iterate towards better.


Where do you go that makes you feel at peace?
For me, it’s the mountains.