health, joy, fulfillment, performance

As I was pushing myself up to the summit of Lookout Mountain, which sits conveniently 2 short blocks north of my house, my mind was racing with all that I’ve been through physically this past 4 plus months, since beginning my “Fat Adapted” journey. 

Let me explain.  As an Exercise Scientist, athlete and coach, I’m constantly on the lookout for the edge, not only for myself, but for those I am blessed to come in contact with.  I have been blessed my whole life with a curiosity to learn, especially when it came to my body and sport performance.  To this day, it has not changed.  Just ask my wife, who thinks I’m crazy as she asks what am I up to now!  But that’s OK!  I believe in the motto of Constant and Never Ending Improvement.  Which has worked well for me in sport, and can be frustrating in life. 

So on this beautiful cool Saturday morning, which I had gotten up at 2:30am so that I could be on the mountain by 4am.  I had committed to helping a friend at 9:30am, so I had 4 hours instead of my normal 5-6 hours.  I am currently training for my first 100-mile race.  The Javelina Jundred,  a Aravaipa Event in late October.  I mentally told myself on Friday that I would push myself for four hours on Lookout Mountain and see what my body could do.  It would be the first time I’ve done this workout since going Fat Adapted in January.

As I pushed up from the north parking lot to my last summit I had a big smile on my face.  Not only because I knew I would have had my best day ever on Lookout Mountain, I would finish in plenty of time to get ready to help my friend and I just felt great!  After reaching the summit for the 8th time, I took a minute to video my thoughts. 

As I began my last run down to the south parking lot I had amazing spring in my step.  My mind was buzzing with all that I’ve learned these past months, on how to eat, proper supplementation, sodium use, hydration, pace by using a heart rate monitor and metronome, posture and generally learning to give up to go up! 

I had to learn to slow down, listen to my body, make the necessary changes, talk to those who know more than I do and lastly get on the trails and just do it!  You see for me becoming fat adapted is much more than just low carbs and high fat eating!  That’s just one piece.  I know that big smile I had as I was racing down the steep 500-foot drop to the parking lot, was because I know what I know now, with still much more to learn.  Knowing where I started and how I gave up going faster, although I’m not that fast, and doing some of the fun trail runs in the area, just so I could learn and practice what I needed to do, on this crazy journey.  And knowing, like I said there is so much more to learn.

What I want to finish with is answering the question, what have I really learned on this journey so far? 

First I had to learn to leave all my biases about training, nutrition, hydration and supplementing aside.  This has been the toughest, because as an athlete and coach, I’ve seen it all and done most of it.  And with success.  So what was going to be different this time? 

Second, I was getting older.  Things change and I must be willing to change or would I risk my long term health?  My quest became to find a plan that had a positive effect on my health and improved my performance at the same time.  I had to be able to measure it through blood work, outward appearance, performance and general wellbeing.

Third, I had to listen.  Again for me this can be tough.  Not only would I have to listen to individuals, ideas and opinions that I normally would have brushed off. Remember I’m an Exercise Scientist, I’m supposed to know all this!  But I also had to get better at listening to my body.  How was I truly feeling during not only training but in my daily activities.

Fourth, I had to live by my motto of Constant and Never Ending Improvement!  As soon as I jumped down this rabbit hole, I had to understand the learning would never stop.  I must embrace growth!

Lastly this was about my health.  This was not about a gimmick to lose weight or gain an advantage in training or racing.  Not good enough!  This was about enjoying a long fulfilling life.  It was about constantly sharing what I learned and did to others whom wanted to develop a plan that would work for them. Contributing beyond myself is a must as I continue my “Fat Adapted” journey to better Health and Performance!