What creates extraordinary energy?
This seemingly challenging question can seem complicated. But the fact is, it’s not. With the right strategy and effort, developing energy to achieve your running goals becomes a simple process.
But whether you’re running your first mile, marathon, or ultramarathon, the true measure of success is not in crossing the finish line. The real success is making an everlasting change that is sustainable for a lifetime no matter the time or circumstances.
Did you know that if all the muscles in the human body work together and pull in one direction it would equal 25 tons of pulling power? That’s equivalent to pulling more than three fully-grown elephants at once! So next time you don’t feel like you have the energy to run, guess what? You do!
But even with the vast amount of potential energy we have, we run into a big problem as runners. When we run, we tend to focus on external ways of creating energy instead of creating energy from within. We look for the next sports drink or gel loaded with quick hits of sugar, run until near empty, and then take another hit. And although this does provide us with a jolt of energy to keep running, it’s only a short-term fix.
But if you wish to tap into your internal energy, it will take a commitment to a natural lifestyle.
I’ve made the transition through my own running journey. I went from running marathons popping gels and guzzling sports drinks to running 31 miles with no food or water. Today, I live a more holistic lifestyle and run 100-mile ultramarathons by primarily burning my stored fat as fuel.
And here’s the thing, I’m not special, I’m no gifted athlete. But I push myself, and I educate myself, and most importantly, I believe in myself, and with that, anything is possible.
I have good runs and bad runs like anyone else. But I’ve taken advantage of the way my body functions and anyone can do the same, even you!
Look, I can’t promise it’s a fast approach, but it sure is a healthy one. It has created everlasting energy and weight loss in my own life. I’ve run 100 miles weighing 200lbs, and I’ve run at 175lbs, and the difference has been in how I eat, not in how many miles I’ve run. And as an ultramarathon runner, you sure run a whole lot of miles!
So how will this article help you?
Well, it’s the starting point to the shift in your energy. It’s packed with wisdom that has helped me along my journey. The information will help you become lean and energized through a natural approach to living.
I can’t give advice about any performance supplements that will help increase your endurance. I don’t use them. But what I can do is provide tips on how to naturally increase your endurance. As I said, I’ve done the industry standard gel and sports drink thing and gave it up a long time ago. When you develop the power of generating energy from within, the feeling is magical. A feeling you will never give up on.
There are no guarantees in life but here is my promise to you. Once you start feeling good and I mean like REALLY good, you won’t ever go back. Remember, it’s not a diet change but a lifestyle change that’s necessary. Change the way you eat and change your life forever!
So here is the million-dollar question: How do you become a fit and lean runner?
Well, you first have to understand the difference between FITNESS and HEALTH
Please note: this content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This information is only what has helped me along my journey.
Fitness vs. Health
Simply put, FITNESS is the ability to perform athletic activity, whereas HEALTH is the state in which all the systems in your body are working at their best.
Here’s the secret: don’t just become FIT, become both FIT and HEALTHY. This is something all the greatest athletes know instinctively.
So now the question shifts. The question now becomes this: How do you reach a peak fit and healthy state while increasing your endurance and speed in the process?
Well, it all starts with a HEALTHY lifestyle…
Health, Fitness, And Running
First, understand that whatever you put into your body is exactly what you get out. So if you put in a sticky bun, then guess what? You feel like a sticky bun! BUT If you put in a supercharged alkalized power veggie shake, then, BAM… that’s how you feel!
Your body does NOT have the ability to turn poor nutritional choices into ones of HIGH quality. Our cells, muscles, skin, and bones are built by the food that we supply it. We literally are what we eat!
Let me tell you, the first time I ran 100 miles was brutal! I muscled my way to the finish line with nothing more than the clothes on my back and the drive in my heart. The first 50 miles went okay but the second 50 miles I was just trying not to throw up. Yes, it’s complicated to rationalize an irrational act like running 24 hours half naked through the woods with an intense focus on preventing yourself from throwing up on your shoes!
Many runners quit, but I didn’t, and when I reached the finish line I noticed something interesting. I noticed some athletes appeared to be in good shape. Their post-race condition immediately got me thinking. I thought to myself, “there must be a better way.”
So I began to read. Remember, KNOWLEDGE alone is not power, rather, knowledge with ACTION is power. When you read something and apply it to your life, that’s when you better yourself and that’s when you better your life!
So I began to teach myself about nutrition. I tried many different approaches, and suddenly it all came together. Today I will share some of the most important aspects that helped me along the way. But first, start by eating REAL food.
Eat Real Food
The key to becoming a healthy and fit runner is to eat real food.
Stop eating food by-products and eat real LIVE food. Get rid of junk like bread, pasta, cake, bars, and soda. For example, eat salads instead of sandwiches, vegetable soup instead of macaroni, and almonds or avocados instead of breakfast bars.
By eating all natural, you allow your body to digest and metabolize the right way. Soon you will begin primarily burning fat already stored in your body for energy. This would be instead of fueling with refined sugars through processed foods.
Also, once you start to eat all natural, the body detoxifies itself from all the harmful pollutants from processed foods. Remember, processed foods are toxic to the body. So if you’re bringing in more waste from toxins then what your body can get rid of then you will NEVER burn fat. But by eating real live foods, you will naturally burn fat and use internal energy all day!
Also, by eating all natural foods like vegetables and nuts you reduce sugar craving which cause you to overeat. So now you will begin to eat more good fats, which are the key to becoming a long distance runner.
The Industry Standard
As a society, our biggest threat right now is refined carbs and sugars like bread, pasta, pastries, breakfast bars, and soda.
The problem with this type of food is our body digests them QUICKLY. They enter into our bloodstream as sugar. Some are used for energy, but the majority is stored as body fat. Then our blood sugar drops and because refined sugar is so addictive our body doesn’t just want more, it NEEDS more. We go through withdraw and become hungry again. So we eat more, digest quick, gain more fat, and the cycle continues until we become overweight and suffer from disease (dis-EASE).
Eat Refined Sugar/Carbs → Digest Quick → Left Over Energy Stored As Fat → Blood Sugar Drops → Withdraw + Hunger → Eat More!
One big problem is how companies put sugar and sweetener in everything. It’s in your milk, it’s in your juice, it’s in your pasta, and it’s in your salad dressing – you name it! If the ingredients do not say sugar than it’s disguised with names such as ‘high fructose corn syrup’ or ‘aspartame’ or ‘dextrose,’ but they all have the same sugary addictive effects. Well, because if you’re addicted to their product then you will buy more of it. But it’s supply and demand, so if we as consumers demand it, then the food industry will supply it. Sugar is an addictive drug that causes diabetes, obesity, stomach problems, and disease (dis-EASE).
And what’s the most common source of sugar in our diets? SOFT DRINKS! More than 50 million cold beverages are consumed daily in the US alone. And whatever is not used as energy is quickly stored as fat in your body. That’s including your soda, diet soda, juices, teas, and others.
That’s why eating good fats and vegetables help. We begin teaching our body to burn fat as fuel while providing it the right nutrients instead of relying solely on sugar as fuel. Vegetables and good fats make us feel fuller for longer without the sugar cravings.
And here’s the best part, on average our body consist of roughly 160,000 calories from day to day. Where 6,000 of these calories are stored as sugar while 130,000 calories are stored as fat. So when we begin to burn fat as our primary fuel source efficiently, we are not only shedding off excess pounds, but we are tapping into a near INFINITE supply of stored energy. That’s a win-win for any athlete!
So don’t make your goal to be thin. Make your goal to eat natural and healthy, and you will naturally become lean, you will naturally become healthy, and your athletic abilities will sore!
Read on as I share 10 tips to kick-start your nutritional journey to becoming a holistic runner. A runner who loses weight, increases energy, and can run longer with much less effort than ever before!
10 Tips To Kick-Start Your Holistic Runner Journey
1. Drink More Water
We are our cells. There are a trillion cells within our body that make up who we are.
How do cells live? Yes, you guessed it, WATER.
Our body is made of more than 68% water. This statistic alone should prove how vital water is for us. If cells provide us life and energy, and they need water to survive, doesn’t it only make sense to drink more water?
Furthermore, research shows us that only 2% dehydration will decrease our energy levels. Also, to be fully hydrated we should drink half of our body weight in ounces per day. So if you weigh 150lbs, then it’s recommended to drink 75 ounces of water per day. If you are drinking anything less than drinking more water will provide you with more energy.
Also, experts say that drinking water before meals not only helps with digesting, but it can result in consuming fewer calories at meals. The reduction in calories will ultimately lead to weight loss.
2. Eat Water Enriched Foods
70% of your daily diet should be in water-enriched foods like green vegetables. This helps the body cleanse itself instead of clog it.
What type of food is water enriched? Great question! Here’s a list of the most popular:
- Green beans
Do this: every time you get ready to eat, ask yourself this: “will this cleanse me?”
It is recommended that 20% of your hydration come from food. So on top of drinking plenty of water be sure to be eating plenty of water-enriched foods.
3. Breath Through The Abdominal
Try this: take a deep breath. Go ahead…one deep breath…notice anything? Did you breathe directly from your chest?
This is a shallow way of breathing. When you breathe from the chest, you are only using part of your lung capacity. To take advantage of our lungs’ full capacity, it’s critical to breathe from the diaphragm, focusing on your abdominal. Here’s the thing: breathing provides oxygen to our moving muscles, thus creating more energy for our runs. The more we focus on our breathing, the more energy we can deliver. Try a 2:2 or 3:3 ratio (inhale to exhale) to start. Improve your breathing and increase your energy for running.
4. Eat Good Fats
First, understand that we as human beings are designed to store fat. This is how our bodies have adapted through time. It’s a survival instinct. So if our bodies are designed to store fat how do we keep it off? Easy, we turn our body into fat burning machines! We teach it to burn fat efficiently.
Here’s a way to look at it. Burning sugar for fuel is like lighter fluid. You ignite it with a flame; there’s a BIG flash, then, poof..it’s gone. Burning sugar is the same way; you eat it, it’s used for immediate energy, then poof…you’re on empty. After the POOF is where many runners ‘hit the wall’. However, burning fat as fuel is like a coal fire. You ignite it with a flame, then slow and steady it burns through the night. Burning fat is the same way, as it’s stored in your body, and at a slow and steady pace, it burns as fuel. When your body burns fat as fuel, you tap into a nearly infinite supply of energy that leads to a nearly endless amount of possibilities in your running.
The problem is our society holds fat as the culprit for weight gain. So companies promote their nonfat options like no-fat cookies, cakes, crackers, chips, etc. We then eat them thinking it’s healthy because there’s NO fat. But this couldn’t be any farther from the truth. Completely eliminating fat from your diet is the worst thing you can do. Essential fatty acids are needed by every cell in your body to function, especially your brain!
But not all fats are created equal. Some fats will heal, and some fats will kill. There are good and bad fats. Here are a few recommendations to get you started:
- Pumpkin seed
- Olive oil
- Flaxseed oil
You can also take an essential oil every day. Hands down the best oil that has helped me in my journey is Flora Udo’s Choice. (I have no affiliation with this company, just a recommendation from one runner to another).
And don’t forget, more good fats equal less sugar cravings, which prevent you from overeating.
5. Alkalize Your Body
We all know on some basic level that some foods are better for us and some foods are worse. But where does ‘unhealthy’ actually end and where does ‘healthy’ begin? Where is the line drawn between a hotdog and a cucumber?
One way to determine what’s healthy and what’s not is viewing the concept from an alkaline vs. acidic point of view. Our bodies need to maintain a slightly alkaline environment to function properly, and this is monitored through our pH levels. Our trillion of cells rely on an alkaline environment to function properly and prevent cellular damage. One of the highest priorities of your body is to make sure the alkalinity throughout remains at a level maintaining cellular life.
Disease (dis-EASE) flourishes in an acidic environment. So to prevent acidic conditions like fatigue, stress, and obesity, we need to keep our pH level in balance. These types of energy draining conditions prevent us from improving as runners and well, becoming a healthy person.
So when we become overweight… guess what? It’s not usually a fat problem but an acidic problem. Too much acid in your body produces more insulin thus storing more fat.
How do you alkalize your body? Go green, go green, go green! 80% of your daily diet should be is alkalizing foods like green vegetables, raw almonds, avocados, and lemon.
Furthermore, you want to avoid acidic-forming foods like animal meat, dairy products, white refined foods, sugar, etc.You can also help alkalize your body through a green superfood alkalizing powder or simply add lemon to your water.
When your body rids of its acidic environment, it can metabolize more efficiently. An efficient metabolism is a start to naturally gain energy and to achieve weight loss. So alkalize your body and become lighter on your feet, healthier in your body, and more energized than you’ve ever felt in your life!
6. Exercise From An Aerobic State
To become a better runner, besides having excellent nutrition, we must also be physically active. This is done in two ways, through AEROBIC activity, and through ANAEROBIC activity.
First there is AEROBIC activity. Aerobic literally means ‘with oxygen’ it’s when you exercise at a moderate pace like when you run. When you perform Aerobic activity, you are mainly burning fat as fuel. Your breathing isn’t too heavy, and you can still hold a conversation.
For example, you are performing aerobic activity when you are on a long run. When you run long distance you are actually building your aerobic base. This type of exercise strengthens your heart, lungs, blood vessels, and all other aerobic muscles. It builds your entire running foundation!
Consider AEROBIC activity like the foundation of a house. If you build a house on a shaky foundation the house, or your body, will collapse. You will feel tired, achy, and possibly injure yourself. Whereas if you have a solid and sturdy foundation you can build a sky skyscraper! You will have the potential to run harder for longer, ultimately becoming more enduring.
So now that you have your super sturdy foundation let’s talk about ANAEROBIC activity, meaning ‘without oxygen’. It refers to exercise at a fast pace. It’s your short bursts of power, like when you run a sprint or lift heavy weights. Anaerobic activity is when you get out of breath and burn sugar primarily as fuel. It’s what gives you power! It’s what gives your speed! It’s what gives you the ability to develop tunnel vision straight to the finish line!
There’s a place for ANAERBOIC activity. But AEROBIC activity is the key to energy, great health, and longevity in the sport. Speed can also develop through aerobic activity by slowly progressing each week.
Slow and steady through training will get to your next finish line feeling incredible through aerobic activity.
7. Find Maximum Nourishment In Everything
First, the seven components of food are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber. If it’s been a while, be sure to fresh up on the basics of each. The more we understand nutrients, the more energy we can gain and the more weight loss we can achieve. This ultimately helps us become a better runner with a better quality of life.
There’s no secret to nutrition as i’ts a process. It’s providing what your body needs to function properly. Here are a few tips to help in the process:
- Drink water before or after meals, not during.
- Combine foods properly; for example, eat fruit only on an empty stomach.
- Watch your sugar; eat fewer fruits and more vegetables. Keep your glycemic index below 55.
- Eat relaxed, if you’re in a rush you will overeat.
- Eat organic; this avoids pesticides, growth hormones, and antibiotics, which poisons your body.
Each small tip applied to your daily routine will add up to on giant positive change in your body.
8. Ditch The Food Pyramid
The key to a healthy diet is to drink ELEPHANTS milk! Yes, 10-12 servings of elephants milk per keeps the doctor away!
Sounds ridiculous right? If you ask me so does drinking cow’s milk. Cows don’t even drink cows milk, so why would we?
In any case, through history, not only did cows milk make it to our lips but also it chiseled a spot right smack on our food pyramid. This pyramid tells us what daily servings we need to achieve optimum nourishment in our lives.
Personally, on my nutritional journey, I haven’t sipped milk in over ten years. Stop drinking milk and watch how good you begin to feel. It’s been proven to cause certain cancers, mucus production, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, malabsorption of nutrients, obesity, and mineral and amino deficiencies.
The point is there’s another food pyramid available. An ideal food is 70% live foods (mainly vegetables and some fruits), 10% plant-based proteins or fish, 10% carbohydrates, and 10% quality oil.
Sure you can use the standard food pyramid, and you may live long. Just like we all know the person who knows the person who smoked for 50 years and lived until 90 years old. But the question is this: what do you actually consider living? That is, do you measure life based on quantity or quality? That’s where the term “quality of life” stems from. If you live long but can’t breathe because your body rejects the food you eat or if your body is toxic preventing you to feel real energy, then are you actually living?
Running is not only an act of movement, but it’s the celebration of life! When you’re outside in nature, breathing in fresh air, and moving your feet forward, there’s no better feeling! Life is extraordinary even through the resistance and struggles because these are GIFTS in our lives to help us grow. Don’t want to grow as a runner? Well, you know Mother Nature has a nice steep hill around the next corner challenging you to become better!
I know, life happens sometimes, but a holistic approach allows us to experience the most out of the time we have. To run and live from a natural state of being is euphoric. We create our own reality, so begin designing your healthy life today!
9. Move Throughout Your Day
Movement creates more movement! I explain the concept in Supercharge Your Run With The Secret Power Of The Endurance World.
The more we move throughout our day the more momentum we develop. So when it’s time for a run, guess what? We are already energized ready to go!
How do we gain momentum for our runs?
Easy, prime the pump, meaning; build up momentum through your day. Do things like stand up and eat, take the steps, and go for walks!
How do you get the ‘best’ parking spot at the mall every time? Simple! Don’t look for the CLOSEST parking spot at the store, look for the FARTHEST and walk! Get out of the car and enjoy a little exercise.
Every small increase in movement adds up and compounds to more energy and greater weight loss.
So…MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!
10. Things Not To Do
So now that you know what to do… here’s a few things not to do, things you can reduce or eliminate starting TODAY.
- Refined Sugar/Carbs
- Processed fats
- Animal flesh
- Dairy products
Basically, everything you will find at your next barbecue!
These are acidic addictions that destroy our inside promoting the growth of virus, bacteria, yeast, and fungus. This is how infectious and degenerative diseases begin naturally stripping our energy away.
If your body is too busy fighting off the symptoms of acidic additions then how much energy will it have for running or for weight loss? The answer is NOT MUCH.
No one is perfect; I’m sure not. But here’s what I can tell you. It’s a fight uphill at first, but once you reach a tipping point, it becomes a slippery slope to greater health.
Instead of finding excuses to eat a piece of cake, you just won’t eat it. Not because of discipline but because you won’t want to trade in the feeling of well-being from eating healthy for a feeling of dis-EASE just to satisfy a sugar craving.
Again, here’s my promise, once you start to feel good, I mean like really REALLY good, you won’t want the bad stuff. Don’t make this a diet because it’s not. The weight loss industry is worth 66 billion dollars; we are programmed to believe we should “go on” a diet. But the concept of “going on” a diet doesn’t actually exist. It’s either you eat real food or you’re not actually eating food at all.
So the key is NOT to “go on a diet”, the key is eat when you’re hungry and to eat real LIVE food.
Let’s Bring It Home
Allow me to end with a story I tell in my book book The Ultramarthon Guide: A Simple Approach To Running Your First Ultramarathon…
“After two years of ultrarunning, it seemed that every race led to an upset nauseated stomach. I loved running ultramarathons, but things were getting worse. Every single race left me extremely nauseous towards the 25-30 mile mark. Nausea would intensify haunting me for the rest of the race. I would then find myself curled up on the coach shortly after. I needed to figure this problem out and fast.
I began reading various articles in regards to how to eliminate nausea. There was advice like drinking soda or taking salt tabs, but I thought to myself, why am I reading up on how to cure nausea? That is, I’m becoming nauseated for a reason. A better question would be, why do I become nauseous? And how do I prevent it from happening? There must be a reason why my body becomes ill every time I race. I reject the notion that it’s from running such long mileage. I believe we as human beings have accomplished only a fraction of our actual capabilities.
So after trial & error and some pattern recognition, I took a chance. I decided to eliminate all processed foods from my diet. Making these changes naturally reduced my sugar intake in the process. I eliminated these foods during races and not during races. I began changing my entire lifestyle, and you know what? I cured my stomach issues immediately. In addition, if nausea did arise on race day I would then drastically reduce my sugar intake. The elimination of process foods and sugary fuel was the cure-all.
It’s amazing how sometimes the answers are right in front of us. Since the norm was sugary sports drinks and gels, I was programmed to only accept this as a fueling option. But ultramarathons are not normal. So why should I fuel normally? Between the countless gels, energy blocks, and sugary sports drinks, not to mention the number of carbohydrates I was eating within a 24 hour period, it was no wonder that my stomach hurt. Better yet, with this type of fueling habits, nausea was a near guarantee. It was a sugary explosive massacre of a diet, and my stomach was the victim.
Shortly after, my perception changed dramatically on eating and dieting. Our food grows in a natural form so why shouldn’t we eat it in a natural form? Furthermore, diets began to make little to no sense to me. Why would we “diet” when we are not eating naturally, to begin with? If we always eat our food in a natural state, then no special diet is ever needed. It’s not a diet change but a lifestyle change that’s necessary. Change the way you eat and change your life forever.”
So if we understand nutrition, change our perception, and make small healthy habits every day, we will not only take our bodies to another level, we will take our bodies to another PLANET!
REMEMEBER…it’s not a diet change, but a lifestyle change that’s necessary. Change the way you eat and change your life FOREVER!
Ready to explore the depths of your everlasting energy? If so, click the image of my book below and start training for your first ultramarathon TODAY!
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