Welcome to part 4 of a multi-part presentation covering 115 key insights about the Primal Endurance approach, divided into six categories: Aerobic Training, Periodization, Primal Eating, Strength and Sprint Training, Complementary Movement And Lifestyle Practices, and Recovery. To read the complete list, download the free eBook at PrimalEndurance.fit.
In this episode, I cover items 1-25 under the category of Primal Eating, starting with the many problems caused by the Standard American Diet and why it leads to lifelong insidious weight gain, chronic inﬂammation, and elevated disease risk factors. You will hear how refined grains and sugar products prompt the production of endotoxins in the gut, and how these internally manufactured toxins promote inflammation and inhibit ATP energy production, leading to overeating and poor performance. You’ll also learn why carrying excess body fat in spite of careful attention to diet and a high volume of training hours can largely be attributed to inhibited energy production (aka carbohydrate dependency), how chronic training patterns can lead to thyroid and adrenal problems and a lack of energy in daily life, and why weight loss strategies like portion control and devoted calorie burning is ineffective.
I reveal why the secret to weight loss is actually hormone optimization, which foods are best to eat for performance and recovery, and why even lean people can still suffer from the negative health consequences of carbohydrate dependency, like chronic inﬂammation, oxidative damage, and accelerated aging and disease risk factors. Finally, we talk about ketosis and Intermittent Fasting, and how I.F. can be used to accelerate fat loss, ﬁne tune insulin sensitivity, and improve cellular repair for an anti-aging, immune-boosting effect. I also talk about why ketogenic endurance training represents such an exciting new frontier for peak endurance performance, the ultra-low-carb athletes who are performing amazing feats and literally becoming bonk-proof by remaining in a fat- and ketone-burning state, the results of Dr. Jeff Volek’s vaunted FASTER study, and the well-chronicled personal experiments of Dr. Peter Attia and Sami Inkinen, which suggest that any endurance athlete can quickly become fat-adapted and deliver performances superior to carb-fueled efforts.
The standard American diet is based on excessive intake of processed foods, namely refined sugars, grains, and industrial seed oils. [00:23]
High calorie-burning athletes have an especially distinct need for good nutrition and for avoiding nutrient deficient foods because they’re trying to nourish the body and recover. [05:48]
There is no good reason for humans to consume grains and many good reasons not to. Fruits, stems, seeds and leaves need more scrutiny. [07:28]
The most superstars of the animal kingdom include animal organs, oysters, salmon, eggs, grass-fed beef and oily cold-water fish. [10:28]
Plant toxins cause innumerable problems. [11:40]
Endurance athletes can dial in optimal carb intake by first asking the question: Do I carry excess body fat? [12:27]
Calories burned through exercise stimulate a corresponding increase in appetite. [14:13]
Read labels. Industrial seed oils are hidden in many of the products presented as healthy. Choose your treats wisely. [17:11]
There is a condition called “overfat” as opposed to being overweight. People can appear slender but accumulate visceral fat. [18:37]
Carbohydrate dependency leads to burnout. [20:10]
Primal-style eating is fractal and intuitive when escaping carb dependency. [21:52]
Once fat adapted, intermittent fasting can be used to accelerate fat loss, fine tune insulin sensitivity and improve cellular repair for an anti-aging immune boosting effect. [24:19]
A suggested energy strategy for intermittent fasting is to wait until you experience hunger before eating in the morning. [26:44]
Your excess body fat is a function of your genetic predisposition to store fat combined with the amount of insulin you produce in your diet. [28:22]
Primal-style eating minimizes the importance of genetic predispositions. [30:16]
Escaping sugar dependency and becoming fat adapted gives you a cleaner burning engine. [33:32]
Ketones are an internally manufactured energy-rich byproduct of fat metabolism in the liver. [34:48]
Ketogenic endurance training is an advanced strategy that requires a strict devotion to very low dietary carbohydrate intake. [27:08]
A bonk-proof ketogenic athlete is preserving ketones for use by the brain, relieving it of heavy glucose dependency. Ketones burn cleaner than carbs. [40:16]
The fat-burning paradigm offers great promise to endurance athletes but you lose a little bit of power at the top when you are restricting dietary carbs. [42:03]
“Carb insulin model of obesity” is oversimplified. [45:12]
- Brad Kearns.com
- Brad’s Shopping page
- Feldman Podcast no. 1
- Feldman Podcast no. 2
- Carnivore Score Food Ranking Chart
- Overfat Pandemic
- 21-Day Total Body Transformation
- The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance
Welcome to the return of the Primal Endurance Podcast. This is your host, Brad Kearns, and we are going on a journey to a kinder, gentler, smarter, more fun, more effective way to train for ambitious endurance goals Visit Primal endurance.fit to join the community and enroll in our free video course.
Greetings Athletes, we are covering 115 things you need to know as a primal endurance athlete. This is episode number four, covering the topic of primal eating, and let’s get right to it. I have a lot to ad lib from the original statements that were written in the book over seven years ago now. We were working on that book cuz there’s been a lot of updates, new insights, interesting new progressions in how to optimize one’s diet, especially for endurance exercise. But of course, the foundation is unchanged. And we’re gonna jump right in with insight number one in the primal eating category. The standard American diet is based on excessive intake of processed foods, namely refined sugars, grains, and industrial seed oils. These foods have an assortment of adverse health consequences, promoting lifelong insidious weight gain, chronic inflammation, elevated disease risk factors. And in recent times, the spotlight has been shining squarely on the seed oils as enemy number one and absolutely the worst thing that you can consume.
We hear a lot about how damaging sugar is and a lot of the foods that contain processed sugar contain a bunch of other crap. And of course, uh, minimal nutritional value and, uh, widely over consumed, especially by unfit and largely sedentary population. Uh, but let’s not forget, uh, you can burn off sugar really easily when you’re out there exercising. Ingested carbohydrate is converted into glucose. Whatever carbohydrates you consume is converted into glucose in order to be burned in the bloodstream. And that is the fuel for working muscles at medium to high intensity. So, um, seed oils on the other hand are considered toxic immediately upon ingestion, and they interfere with your body’s ability to burn fat, uh, promoting these conditions like insulin resistance and carbohydrate dependency. And so that’s a pretty easy and straightforward exercise to just rid your body of these terrible seed oils.
What are you gonna be giving up? Well, they don’t have any taste. So you can certainly toss the bottles that might be still lingering in your pantry that you were told to cook with or, uh, spread onto your, uh, bread instead of butter. We have all those, uh, high polyunsaturated butter like spreads and sprays, so we want to ditch all those and go back to butter and use the more temperature stable, uh, saturated fats for cooking if you need to do something like pan fry. Uh, and so that’s pretty easy. But, uh, when you talk about all the packaged, processed frozen foods, restaurant foods, uh, that contain industrial seed oils, then you’re talking about making, uh, significant dietary transition to start scrutinizing labels and realizing that most condiments and dressings and toppings contain these agents. Most frozen foods and processed treats that you find in the supermarket.
And unfortunately, most restaurant meals are laden with these cheap, uh, health destructive oils simply for the active cost saving. And it’s pretty disgraceful when you consider even the medium to fine dining, uh, routinely cook with these agents. So in 5, 10, 15 years, we’ll be completely rid of these things, but it takes a long time for culture to shift. And so you might as well be on the cutting edge here. The evidence is overwhelming and, uh, virtually indisputable. So there’s the seed oil highlight, and then we also have this concern that Jay Feldman discusses eloquently on his energy balance podcast and on the episodes that I produce for the B.rad Podcast. So go over there and listen to Jay Feldman talking about endotoxin, which occurs in the intestinal track. It’s a substance with adverse health consequences that’s released in the intestinal track when you consume foods that are difficult to digest, namely processed sugars and sugary beverages and snacks and treats.
So when the endotoxin is wreaking havoc on your healthy metabolic function, you experience chronic inflammation, which is that unfortunate root cause of many diseases and dysfunction. And you also have, uh, inhibited ATP energy production in the cells. And the same occurs when you’re consuming, uh, refined industrial seed oil. So when you have a diet that includes nutrient deficient, processed inflammatory foods, you are sucking at burning energy. And if that is the case, then you are going to be drifting in the direction of craving and consuming more nutrient deficient processed foods to give you that quick energy bump because you have a metabolic dysfunction. So when you clean up your diet and start nourishing your body with nutritious foods that are easy to digest, that’s when you start operating like a clean burning highly efficient machine. And so that was all on item number one, and then we’re gonna be going more quickly through these tidbits.
Number two, a highly processed modern diet, uh, with high emphasis on these big three toxic modern foods leaves endurance athletes, nutrient deficient, inflamed, and more susceptible to oxidative damage from the stress of training general life and from poor nutritional habits. So we’re talking about now stacking up trouble because when you’re going out there and pushing your body hard, you are creating free radicals, reactive oxygen species through the, uh, massive generation of cellular energy making atp, uh, via fat burning via glucose burning, and a combination, uh, most every workout. And so this is tough in of itself. That’s why you have to recover after workout. So you can’t get up and just ride your bike for six hours every single day and make it seem like sitting at a desk for six hours. So we have all these challenges because we’re pushing our body anyway.
And then to stack on top of that the adverse health consequences of consuming processed foods, that’s when you are a free radical machine. So I know we have this cultural trend, this fascination with burning energy through exercise and then going and celebrating life by indulging in processed foods because you earned that free pass by virtue of your awesome workout that you did earlier in the day. But I’m gonna make the case that athletes, high calorie burning athletes have an especially distinct need for good nutrition and for avoiding nutrient deficient foods because they’re trying to nourish the body and recover.
Number three, grains, also known as beige glop, are a cheap source of calories that are immediately converted to glucose upon ingestion and offer minimal nutritional value. There is no good reason for humans to consume grains and many good reasons not to, especially for those sensitive to gluten and other antinutrients.
Now, if we expand the lens a little bit from the early days of the paleo primal dietary movement, where we are painting this picture of our hunter gatherer ancestors and our evolutionary expectations, our genetic expectations for health, framed by evolution, we’re talking about eating hunter gatherer style foods and making this distinction along the human evolution timeline where the advent of civilization, which only happened 10,000 years ago, transitioned us over into a nutrient deficient grain-based diet. That’s the cultivation of rice and corn and wheat in different pockets around the world that led to civilization living in a fixed position and advancing technology and advancing society. So unfortunately, these nutrient deficient foods continue to hold center stage in the dietary habits of the developed world. We’re capable now of eating meat, fish, eggs, and fruit as dietary centerpieces, but instead these grain-based diet is essentially going stronger than ever.
And if we expand a little bit, like I said and look at this, uh, animal-based dietary movement, people have called it carnivore, and understanding that all plant foods have these natural toxic agents, which you may or may not be sensitive to or highly sensitive to. So gluten is the most familiar example, uh, but the categories of roots, stems, seeds, and leaves all are in the high risk category for the ingestion of these natural plant toxins that could generate an adverse reaction particularly leaky gut or autoimmune and inflammatory conditions of many kinds. So, we’ve been told that the big salad and the raw vegetable smoothie blended up represents the pinnacle of nutrition. But it’s definitely worth a second look and a second guess, and doing some personal testing. So when we talk about ditching grains, sugars and refined industrial seed oils, and we take that grains entrant out and maybe blow it up a little bit to encompass roots, stems, seeds, and leaves.
And by and large. When you’re talking about pound for pound, the most nutritious foods, you are looking at the superstars of the animal kingdom. I have a chart on my website. It’s called the Carnivore Score Food Ranking Chart.. And we rank the most nutritious foods on earth in tiered categories. And so you’re looking at things like, uh, liver and other animal organs, oysters, salmon, eggs, pastured eggs, grass-fed beef, oily cold water fish like sardines, mackrel, anchovies, salmon, and herring. That’s the SMASH family. These are the superstars that are providing the most nutrient density and even the most robust plant-based diet is by almost all, uh, possibilities of comparison, not going to compare in terms of nutrient density. So, um, if you have some ongoing sensitivities and conditions such as any kind of skin conditions, any kind of autoimmune or inflammatory complaints that seem to be nagging, asthma, allergies, anything with i, arthritis, colitis, gastritis, if you have symptoms of frequent digestive disturbances like gas, bloating, uh, transient, uh, abdominal pain in association with meals, it would, uh, warrant some testing and elimination. And people have had such amazing health awakenings that you simply can’t ignore it. So, uh, let’s look further into that. We’ll cover that more on shows.
But right now we are going to number four. Everyone is sensitive to the health compromising effects of plant toxins at some level, especially the pro-inflammatory and leaky gut promoting effects of gluten and the propensity for other lectin proteins to cause the same kind of damage. And again, expanding out to also include the superstars in the roots stems, seeds and leaves category. These are the most defensible parts of the plants in contrast to fruit, which is the least defensible part of the plant, is the final offering of the plant. And the fruit would be happy if you picked it and, uh, spread the seeds around. That’s, uh, basic plant botany. interesting cause I didn’t really know much of this before the animal-based story started to take prominence.
Number six, endurance athletes can dial in optimal carb intake by first asking the question, do I carry excess body fat? And if you are carrying excess body fat, that’s a sign of some metabolic dysfunctions of assorted causes. One of ’em might be an excess consumption of refined grains, sugars and industrial seed oils. That’s probably the main cause. So by cleaning up your diet, you will take great steps toward eventually optimizing your body composition. But we’ll argue and jump away from the diet topic for a moment. You also are going to want to clean up your training habits because if you’re in immersed in chronic exercise patterns, you’re going to drive an appetite and increased appetite, especially for nutrient deficient quick energy foods. So that excess body fat should not be there, especially if you’re training as an endurance athlete where excess body fat is unnecessary.
And so the first step would be to cut out the processed foods and then take those steps to become healthy, to improve your gut function so that you can digest and assimilate the nutrients that you get from your diet and then that kind of takes it beyond just the number of carbs you’re consuming each day because we definitely want to fuel workouts and life appropriately. And we all know that cutting back on your calories or systematically cutting back on your carbs in the name of dropping excess body fat is going to be very difficult. Your body’s going to engage in an assortment of compensatory behaviors. In other words, slowing down your metabolism in order to survive if you try to attempt fat loss through mini starvation. Okay?
That takes us right to number seven, weight loss through portion control and devoted calorie burning is ineffective. Calories burned through exercise stimulate a corresponding increase in appetite. The secret to weight loss is actually hormone optimization, primarily through ditching toxic foods, eating enough nutritious foods and turning all those metabolic and hormonal dials up to the appropriate levels. And we all know the common, uh, syndromes of having thyroid and adrenal dysfunction, at least those are the catch-all terms that they use for people that are falling apart due to excess stress and possibly that stress caused by an inadequate, dietary nutrition or caloric intake and excess exercise output. Okay? So that’s what hormone optimization is all about, is turning those dials up so that your thyroids working great, your metabolic, your endocrine system’s working great, your digestive system is absorbing and assimilating the nutrients wonderfully and all that good stuff that comes from eating well and training smartly and appropriately.
That’s what primal endurance is all about. Endurance athletes with optimal body composition looking to improve performance and recovery are gonna want to choose high nutrient value carbohydrates instead of processed carbohydrates. And of course, we’re gonna need to use the performance agents when we’re out there training, uh, whatever that might be. The energy drinks, the gels, the blocks, the things that are easy to digest on the go. But I’m talking about in daily life when you’re sitting down to good meals and you’re nourishing yourself with nutritious carbs, colorful, nutritious carbs. And we’re talking about also with a nod to potential plant toxin sensitivity. So root stems, seeds and leaves might also be considered some of the most nutritious carbohydrates, but we gonna try to tiptoe on that direction with some, sensitivity and some awareness so the nutritious carbs that are less offensive top of the list would be fruit.
Of course, raw honey like Dr. Paul Saladino is promoting so well. The tubers like sweet potatoes, wild rice, quinoa, and also dark chocolate are on those lists of highly approved nutritious carbs that should probably work for you. And then you can delve into the vegetable world and see what you enjoy there and what works for you. Knowing that cooking the vegetables dramatically reduces the plant toxicity. Same with soaking, sprouting and fermenting, which is why we’ve been doing that to plant foods for, uh, thousands of years. High calorie burning endurance athletes with optimal body composition can enjoy occasional treats, but the habit of unbridled intake of nutrient deficient refined carbs should be eliminated in the interest of health and performance. Oh, gosh, I should never say should to a wonderful devoted listener. But it’s snuck in there into the book.
And hey, if you’re looking for peak performance, it’s a great idea to, if you are going to indulge and treat yourself, go find the most absolutely delicious, well chosen, made with love and care and attention treat, as opposed to heading to the supermarket and grabbing a pint of highly processed ice cream out of the freezer. Shame on Ben and Jerry, those hippie, trippy, cool branded company of the two lovable dudes from Vermont. And you look on many of their ingredient labels, and they have refined industrial seed oils, which I believe are used to preserve shelf life into their wonderful exotic ice cream flavors that is a far cry from the popular trend in Seattle and also Portland for these handmade ice cream shops. And going there on a vacation, visiting and indulging like I’m known to do every summer when we go to Seattle.
And these handmade ice cream shops are using generally all natural organic ingredients. It’s handmade, there’s no preservatives, there’s no chemicals, and you enjoy that spoonful every single bite with full awareness and attention as a celebratory event. And then you walk back to your hotel or your home, whatever big difference from chow and down Ben and Jerry’s and oh, it’s, we’re out and putting it back on your grocery list in that absent-minded sort of habitual manner. So choose your treats wisely.
Number 10, even lean people suffer from the negative health consequences of carbohydrate dependency, such as chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and accelerated aging and disease risk factors. And Dr. Phil Maffetone prominent endurance figure is promoting this concept of overfat. He’s got a book called the Overfat Pandemic, and he’s identifying even seemingly lean, healthy fit. People can have an excess of visceral fat that’s fat collecting around the abdominal organs where they look lean and slender, but they have, uh, metabolic dysfunction as evidenced by excess visceral fat.
So he calls that the condition of overfat rather than overweight. And a simplest way to, uh, uh, figure out if you’re a, um, at risk of that is to examine your, uh, abdominal level of fat, and especially if you have kind of a firm collection of this fat, that visceral fat as opposed to the more, uh, pinch and squeeze, uh, a soft skin because you have some subcutaneous fat gathering there. And so if you see, imagine like the most extreme beer belly of someone that you know or see at the buffet line in Vegas, and it looks like bowling ball at the, the tautness of the abdomen is incredible. And that’s is a sign of excess visceral fat and infl inflammation as opposed to jiggly fat. Makes sense. Make a difference. Okay.
Number 11, carbohydrate dependency leads to burnout because the body perceives fluctuating blood sugar as a stressful event leading to an overstimulation of the fight or flight response and eventual burnout.
That’s an oversimplified story of what’s going on when you have unstable appetite, energy and mood. And this is overall it’s from dysfunctional fat metabolism, dysfunctional metabolism in general, leading to, uh, those cravings. And so things like not being able to go for long periods of time between meals or needing to snack constantly or having energy drops could have an assortment of causes, uh, but will point the finger, uh, directly or first and foremost at the consumption of processed foods. Not just the nutrient deficient processed carbohydrates, but also those industrial seed oils that are interfering with your ability to burn fat. Whereas if you were good at burning fat, you wouldn’t be craving the next thing that you walk by at the front counter at the office.
Number 12, the carbohydrate dependency cycle looks like this. Consume a high carbohydrate processed food meal, elevate blood sugar, stimulate insulin, shut off fat metabolism, and promote fat storage, experience fatigue and sugar cravings, consume more nutrient deficient foods, stimulate fight or flight response to help regulate blood glucose spike, disregulate and exhaust the hormonal processes that are very delicate. These fight or flight hormonal processes of keeping your blood sugar stabilized in the face of consuming a lot of processed food and you end up in burnout and also most likely lifelong insidious weight gain.
Number 13, primal style eating is fractal and intuitive when escaping carbohydrate dependency and becoming fat adapted. You don’t have to rely upon ingested carbs for energy. Eating patterns can be driven by hunger, pleasure and maximum nutritional benefit. And what better guide to have you consume the appropriate amount of calories than your own natural appetite when it is highly tuned up and your metabolic function is optimal? And this applies very nicely to the endurance athlete, where if you’re wondering how to optimize carbohydrate intake, uh, it makes a lot of sense to target it around carbohydrate expenditure with aggressive, challenging, strenuous workouts.
And on a rest day or an easy, fat burning zone exercise day, uh, it may warrant, less carbohydrates than doing something that’s, uh, aggressive and challenging and working in the more glycolytic heart rate zones. Although is, although there is something to be said for taking a recovery day after a block of training or after a difficult training day, and really refueling and taking the opportunity if you’re not gonna be out there exercising a lot to prioritize digestive function and consume a lot of calories, including, uh, extra carbs to make sure that you’re fully refueled. I love Ben Greenfield’s take on this where he talks about how he does an assortment of ambitious workouts, both high intensity and endurance, and spends a lot of time in a fasted or a ketogenic type of state. And then makes sure to enjoy family meal times and evening celebratory experiences in the kitchen with his kids, his wife, and they’ll make an assortment of fun concoctions that contain plenty of carbohydrates.
And this ensures that he is fully glycogen reloaded and hormonally optimized for whatever he might face the next day. So it’s kind of what he calls the best of both worlds because he’s pursuing those other goals of being able to, uh, be fat adapted and spend time fasting and exercising if necessary too. Okay, so fractal and intuitive and based on your heightened sensitivity to how your body works best through a lot of trial and error and experimentation.
Number 14, once fat adapted, intermittent fasting can be used to accelerate fat loss, fine tune insulin sensitivity and improve cellular repair for an anti-aging immune boosting effect. And yes, those wonderful benefits are highly validated. They’re talked about a lot. Uh, but when we’re talking to, uh, healthy fit athletic community, I also am, uh, greatly appreciating the insights, uh, emphasized by Jay Feldman Energy Balance Podcast.
And on our interviews on the B Ad podcast where, uh, fasting turns on stress hormones. And that is by definition how the, uh, how the mechanism works for the cellular benefits. Same with keto, uh, low carb and all those time-restricted feeding. Uh, these are ways to challenge the body to access and burn internal sources of energy that’s mobilizing fat from storage, mobilizing glycogen from storage and burning it for energy. So if you’re trying to lose excess body fat and you get highly fat adapted through appropriate training and eating, yes, you can skip meals and be accelerating fat burning. But we also wanna appreciate the other side of that coin where you wanna manage your stress factors and your stress score, so to speak at all times by making sure that if you are gonna be fasting and you are gonna be, uh, continuing to train at an ambitious level, you wanna make sure that you refuel at times too.
And also balance those challenges where you’re basically, you’re starving your cells of available energy when you’re fasting, and that’s what prompts them to be more efficient with cellular repair and anti-inflammatory and immune boosting effects. And you’re kind of doing the same thing when you starve your cells of energy during a strenuous workout, whether that’s a high intensity workout where you’re taking it all the way till you feel the burn, which means your internal energy production can’t keep up with the demand, or you’re going for such a long period of time that you’re depleting glycogen and, uh, inviting things like bonking, which is a sure indication that you depleted cellular energy and in response the body comes back stronger and more adapted, but you’re doing it, uh, while fasting and or while training, uh, ambitiously. And so, stack those two appropriately and don’t overdo it.
Number 15, a suggested energy strategy for intermittent fasting is to wait until you experience hunger before eating in the morning. This enhances your appreciation for food and provides feedback on your progress with fat adaptation. What it also gives you is a nice out because you don’t want to artificially extend the length of a fast in the name of joining the 12 noon club or what have you. And so when hunger symptoms kick in it’s okay to ride those out once in a while for aggressive fat loss efforts, especially if you’re highly fat adapted. But what we don’t wanna do is turn down those dials that I mentioned previously where we’re talking about your endocrine function, your immune function, your overall energy level, and your cognitive performance at rest. Things that might get turned down if you fast to aggressively. And you know, that term hangry, the combination of hungry and angry.
When those things kick in and you realize your mood is being affected or your cognitive function is being affected adversely, that’s when you know that you’ve fasted to the limit. And you should probably sit down to a nutritious meal rather than take yourself into a hole. And that goes for a single day and deciding when to eat in the morning, and also in a big picture perspective where you’re engaging in a lot of intermittent fasting over the course of a month or three months. But you definitely don’t want to <laugh> report back that you feel tired. Brain fog, your workout performance is declined cuz that entirely defeats the purpose.
Number 16, your excess body fat is a function of your genetic predisposition to store fat combined with the amount of insulin you produce in your diet. Losing excess body fat involves moderating insulin production by ditching sugars and grains. I’m gonna say now, seven years later, that’s an oversimplified look at the problem of excess body fat. And we have so many other confounding factors, especially leaky gut syndrome, which was barely a concept back then. And so if you have any form of metabolic dysfunction, excess insulin production from consuming too many processed foods is one, the consumption of industrial seed oils by itself interfering with healthy fat metabolism is a very strong reason for carrying excess body fat. And of course, your genetics are kicking in here where some people might be more, uh, inclined to store fat and store more fat than others. But we also have that condition of overfat that Dr. Phil Maffetone describes. So, the body storing excess energy as fat is not something terrible in and of itself. It’s a genetically programmed survival mechanism that has kept us alive for millions of years.
So what you wanna figure out is how can I optimize my ability to burn cellular energy? And that is cleaning the decks from the nutrient, nutrient deficient foods that interferes with energy production, particularly consuming processed foods that don’t supply a readily available easily to burn source of energy. And that could include when I talked about the, uh, foods with high levels of plant toxins that could be causing an adverse reaction. You producing endotoxin in your gut and interfering with the intended benefits of sitting down to eat a nutritious salad or kale smoothie. So a little bigger picture than the combination of producing too much insulin and having bad genetics.
Number 17. Primal style eating minimizes the importance of genetic predispositions and enables you to achieve your personal ideal body composition. So that’s a big one. We can all heave a sigh of relief that we’re not doomed to look like, uh, members of our extended family who don’t exercise and eat poorly. And I think we can’t emphasize this strongly enough because we still hear lip service left right and upside down how people attribute, uh, their health conditions to genetics. And it’s so prevalent that it makes me want to gag. And it extends from serious stuff, and all the way into, uh, little things where people just shrug their shoulders and even, uh, will echo the words from their doctor who informs them that you have some genetic issues here. And of course that’s true in a sense, but it’s a genetic predisposition to heart disease or to thick calves instead of skinny calves and all the other things along the line. And so if you can neutralize those genetic predispositions for bad stuff by not switching on those genes, and I mean that literally, and we talk about that in books like The Primal Blueprint, 21 Day Total Body Transformation, that your genes are a series of switches and they have an on or offsetting.
And if you can turn those genes off that lead to disease and dysfunction a simple example would be the disease. They believe that there are genetic predispositions for alcoholism and certain genes turn on and the addictive patterns take hold. And some people are, you know, headed down that path as soon as they take their first drink. So if you have a genetic predisposition for something like that in this crude example, you will definitely escape that fate if you do not consume alcohol. Makes sense? And we can apply that to, uh, eating patterns and everything else, even over-exercising and succumbing to a heart condition, which, uh, so many people have. And a lot of times they come back and report that, uh, they identified a genetic, uh, frailty that caused them to suffer the, the heart condition. And boy, aren’t they lucky that they were in good shape?
Otherwise they would’ve fared worse. Uh, but I think we’re now finally coming around and looking at the propensity for excess extreme endurance exercise to, be a very serious risk factor for these aforementioned to heart conditions. What was the triathlete, Tim O’Donnell that suffered a heart attack during a triathlon? One of the greatest triathletes in the world podium finisher in the Hawaii Ironman World Championships? And I don’t know any details about his medical report or anything except for the idea that one of the greatest triathletes in the world had a heart attack while racing on the bicycle. And it is cause for concern and taking a few steps back taking a big swallow and a gulp and wondering whether, uh, a decade at the highest level of human endurance performance and training could be a highly contributive factor to suffering from a heart attack.
Okay, number 18, escaping sugar dependency and becoming fat adapted gives you a cleaner burning engine since glucose-burning promotes inflammation and oxidative stress. We are talking about prioritizing fat at the lower exercise intensity levels, and that allows you to enjoy or utilize the protective benefits of mitochondria in the cells and therefore generate less reactive oxygen species and be able to maintain energy for longer period of time, which is so necessary in endurance. And basically the reason why you’re not able to hang at the front of the pack with the pros in the Ironman for seven hours, or excuse me, under seven hours. Now, someone did an Ironman , Blumenfeld and the other guy from England, oh my goodness. They’re going very, very fast at the elite levels because they’re still able to burn an appropriate percentage of fat and glucose even when they’re pedaling it 26, 27 miles an hour. And so that illustrates the efficiency of fat burning. And so the game is to be able to go faster and faster at an appropriate fat burning heart rate, and then you’re gonna move up the pack essentially.
Number 20, ketones are an internally manufactured energy-rich byproduct of fat metabolism in the liver. When blood glucose and insulin levels are low due to carbohydrate restriction, ketones are burned efficiently by the brain, heart and skeletal muscles in the same manner as glucose. So that’s just a insight about ketone production and why it happens. So through fasting, uh, cases of starvation or with the modern approach to adhere to a ketogenic diet and greatly restrict carbohydrate intake to 50 grams a day or below, you are predicted to, uh, kick over into keto manufacturing in the liver and over time, as described nicely in the book, The Art and Science of Low cCarbohydrate Performance, I believe that’s the title, the Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Phinney and Volek.
They talk about the early stages of keto adaptation where your muscles and your brain are burning ketones instead of glucose. But over time, your muscles become more and more adapted to burning fat and then prioritizing the use of ketones by the brain because the brain can essentially burn either glucose or ketones a little bit of different fuels like lactate, but it cannot burn fat. So, you definitely want the brain getting that steady supply of ketones while the muscles can get better and better at burning fat. A ketogenic endurance training number 20 represents an exciting new frontier for peak endurance performance. Ultra low carb athletes can perform amazing feats and literally become bonk-proof by remaining in a fat and keto burning state. And some of these recent amazing feats, oh my gosh, Michael McKnight running 100 miles without any onboard calories. So he basically, subsisted on water and I think amino acids or electrolytes, but nothing of the caloric nature and cranking along at a respectable pace. I think he did an 18 hour, a hundred mile performance on a loop course without any calories just to prove what’s, uh, what’s possible at the outer limits of fat-adapted endurance training.
So number 21, ketogenic endurance training is an advanced strategy that requires a strict devotion to very low dietary carbohydrate intake. Otherwise, as soon as you have your first, energy drink or energy gel, your body immediately shuts off keto production in favor of burning the glucose that just came in. So it’s a preferential fuel because it’s easy to burn, it’s right there in your bloodstream. You don’t have to work hard to do this chain reaction of manufacturing ketones in the liver as a byproduct of fat metabolism. It requires strict devotion to very low dietary carbohydrate intake. It’s easy to pop out of keto burning state as soon as you consume.
However, it’s acceptable to waiver in and out of this fragile state and still enjoy the overall performance benefits of being fat adapted instead of carb dependent. And I think that’s a really important point because we have a tendency, or we’re seeing a tendency for people to take this objective to the extreme to be a keto burning endurance athlete to the extent that they are rigidly adhering to low carbohydrate intake over a prolonged period of time. And a probably not the ideal strategy. There’s a lot of people criticizing this as being potential to have negative long-term repercussions, including one of them called metabolic insulin resistance. Whereby since you are not producing much insulin at all over long periods of time because you’re not consuming, uh, very, very few carbs, um, you lose that insulin sensitivity, which is the vaunted health attribute of your body being very receptive to the signaling of insulin and allowing the, uh, cells to open up and accept nutrients with, uh, insulin doing its job.
But when you have metabolic insulin resistance, you kind of lose that sensitivity and therefore might have some adverse consequences, for example, consuming a meal of substantial carbohydrates after a long period of abstention or restriction and not being able to tolerate it very well. So, wavering in and out of this fragile state and still enjoying the overall performance benefits of being fat adapted. And, generally what it’s coming down to is consuming an appropriate level of carbs to fuel your training and performance and recovery. And Sammy Inan has done some great experiments along these lines where he participated in a multi-day mountain bike stage race of some sort while trying to remain a ketogenic performer. And he realized that with his high, uh, energy output, energy expenditure day after day, he was able to consume, I believe upwards of 200 grams of carbohydrates and still remain ketogenic as evidenced by his blood tests during this, uh, period of time where he was doing the experimentation. So, um, you’re allowed more carbs and you can still keep your keto free pass because you’re burning them, uh, with, with ambitious workouts.
Number 22, a bonk-proof ketogenic athlete is preserving ketones for use by the brain relieving it of heavy glucose dependency and prioritizing fat for muscular fuel. So that’s what I just explained. As detailed on the book by Phinney and Volek, the Art and Science of the Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance is the title of the book. Number 23, ketones burn cleaner than carbohydrates, minimizing free radical damage and delivering a potent anti-Inflammatory effect. Ketogenic athletes recover faster from stressful training, improve cognitive function, and minimize the disease risk factors associated with a pro-inflammatory, high carbohydrate diet. Again, I think this is a generalization provided you don’t overdo it with your stacking of ketogenic eating patterns with ambitious training protocols.
And so the slower you’re going and the more endurance oriented you are, such as an ultrarunner who is maybe not getting near even their maximum aerobic heart rate and they’re going very slowly for a great number of hours, have much easier chance to do this because they’re prioritizing fat for fuel. But once you start getting into that mid-range where you’re, uh, training for an Olympic distance or even a 70.3 distance triathlon where you’re hitting that maximum aerobic heart rate frequently or exceeding the maximum aerobic heart rate with, um, a workout, uh, that’s going up toward anaerobic threshold, that’s going to probably be problematic because you do need those carbohydrates and you need to replenish glycogen. Of course, you can do it without the dietary carbohydrates, but you’re asking for a greater activation of the stress response. And let’s talk about that when we get to faster study, a couple insights from here.
Number 24, the new fat-burning beast paradigm offers great promise to endurance athletes, but can have an even more profound effect on the global obesity epidemic, reducing carbon intake, and you reduce excess body fat, especially when it’s processed carbs and especially when you handle or resolve dietary and metabolic irregularities that’s making you inferior at burning stored energy. And probably number one is the seed oils. Also up there on the list is handling the gut dysfunction, the leaky gut, the production of endotoxin from eating processed foods, and becoming a clean burning, fat-burning beast. Metabolic flexibility means you’re also skilled at burning carbohydrates and storing them and processing them appropriately.
Number 25, Dr. Jeff Folick, vaunted Faster study F A S T E R that stands for Fat Adapted Substrate Utilization in trained endurance runners <laugh>, uh, and also the well chronicled personal experiments of Dr. Peter Attia and Sammy Inan, who I mentioned previously, suggest that any endurance athlete can quickly become fat adapted and deliver performances superior to carb fueled efforts all the way up to aerobic, excuse me, all the way up to anaerobic threshold intensity. Okay, that’s a good qualifier there at the end. So this ketogenic approach with the dietary restriction to force your body to prioritize fat and kind of train your brain to prioritize ketones instead of glucose is all, uh, calibrated or contemplated for performing low intensity endurance work. And once you get up to around anaerobic threshold, I remember Peter Attia, The Drive you start to lose a little bit of power at the top end when you are restricting dietary carbohydrate intake.
And so when we’re talking about an athlete who has ambitions on both sides of the scale here where you want to go long and perhaps perform in a multi-hour endurance event, but then later in the year or later in the month, you also want to jump into a 5K and show some power and get a little more glycolytic. That means means more glucose burning preferential in the workout, that’s when you need to, uh, get sensible with your diet and replace those carbohydrates that you burn in the higher intensity workouts. Okay, that is a lot to process for one episode, and there are several more insights as we march our way to 115. So I will end it here, leave you with that stuff to reflect upon. In particular, you could detect me stammering a little bit and ad-libbing because I do feel like we need to broaden the scope, broaden the picture a little bit from what might be today called an oversimplified.
Too many carbs equals too much insulin equals uh, too much body fat. And a lot of people are in agreement that this, uh, quote carb insulin model of obesity end quote is oversimplified. And there are many other factors, and especially as I’ve mentioned so many times in the show, the seed oils and how they dysregulate fat metabolism as an overarching cause beyond your level of carbon intake and your level of insulin production. So I appreciate you growing and learning and expanding your consciousness with me also when I put in those plugs for plant restriction and things like that which weren’t really in the game seven years ago, and now we’re trying to up our game. So that is another episode in the list, and we will get with you next time to finish the insights about diet and then flow gracefully right into strength training and sprinting, which has such a, um, interesting and high potential for improvement for the endurance athlete. But there has to be done properly. So I can’t wait to share that one with you. Thanks for listening to this one on the Primal Endurance Podcast, and go check out Primal endurance.fit with a great presentation for everything you’re gonna get in the Primal Endurance Mastery course, as well as the free sneak peak to really impress upon you, uh, what this educational experience is all about. Bye-bye. Till then,
I hope you enjoy this episode and encourage you to check out the Primal Endurance Mastery course at primalendurance.fit. This is the ultimate online educational experience where you can learn from the world’s great coaches and trainers diet, peak performance and recovery experts, as well as lengthy one-on-one interviews from several of the greatest endurance athletes of all time, not published anywhere else. It’s a major educational experience with hundreds of videos, but you can get free access to a mini course with an ebook summary of the Primal Endurance Approach and nine step-by-step videos on how to become a primal endurance athlete. This mini-course will help you develop a strong, basic understanding of this all-encompassing approach to endurance training that includes primal aligned eating to escape carbohydrate dependency, and enhance fat metabolism. Building an aerobic base with comfortably paced workouts, strategically introducing high intensity strength and sprint workouts, emphasizing rest, recovery, and annual periodization, and finally, cultivating an intuitive approach to training. Instead of the usual robotic approach of fixed weekly workout schedules, just head over to Primal endurance.fit and learn all about the course and how we can help you go faster and preserve your health while you’re at it.