I’m catching up with the legendary Dave Scott in this episode!
Dave is a 6-time Hawaii Ironman world champion and respected coach, and in this show, we talk about endurance training, savoring the small victories and not just the big ones, the importance of having hobbies and other interests, how to know when you need to cut back on training and the mental toll it takes, what he does to feel fulfilled, and much more!
Does Dave Scott take the opportunity to reflect back on how really awesome his career at Ironman was? [02:40]
Dave recalls how brutal the races were back in the day. [05:15]
Is it a possibility to be a well-adjusted but extremely competitive athlete? A well-rounded athlete will have some diversions besides the striving for success in the sport. [07:57]
How has the transition from the competitor on top of the field to coaching been for Dave? [12:33]
Dave has had some heart concerns but keeps up a pretty good exercise regimen. You can’t go “kind of hard” all the time. [18:06]
How do the athletes and equipment of today’s athletes compare with the former years? Dave thinks the new shoes should be banned! [21:49]
Today’s athletes are more sensible with monitoring the hearts rates and understanding that “kind of hard” is to be modulated. [33:55]
It makes no sense to run a marathon close to a week before doing Ironman. [36:35]
At what point do you bestow the distinction of being fit versus someone who is less fit metabolically? [41:22]
Everything varies by athlete and their goals. What is an “easy day” of training? [44:21]
A heavy diet of carbs was not optimal. Many people look thin but have lost muscle mass. [48:30]
We need to regulate our metabolic rate by having a bigger block of protein, whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner. Grazing is not as good. [51:29]
It is easy to mis-estimate the amount of protein you are eating. Is there a danger in ingesting too much protein? [55:32]
Today’s dietary strategy is still a mess. [01:06:19]
At the end of a tough training day, is there a justification to going and trying to maximize intake of all the macronutrients? [01:10:07]
Many of the bars on the market are toxic. [01:123:50]
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I’m author and athlete, Brad Kearns. Welcome to the B.rad podcast, where we explore ways to pursue peak performance with passion throughout life. Visit brad kearns.com for great resources on healthy eating, exercise, and lifestyle. And here we go with the show.
Dave Scott, I should say, catching up with Dave Scott cuz I never did it on the race course, but now we are here many years after our battles <laugh> on the swim, bike and run. And I do wanna start out with a recap of your experience. It’s wonderful that you’re still highly connected to the sport and you just got back from busy times over in Hawaii.
Yeah, it was a busy week, Brad, and as everyone knows in the industry, it was a two-day event. So it was the first time, and I think it’s gonna be the standard. The women and the old guys were on the Thursday event and they had tough Kona-like conditions. And then Saturday, predominantly the men, again, the younger guys and the oldest bracket on Saturday was 55 year-olds. I’m not really sure why they did that, but they had a premium of superb day weather-wise on Saturday. So quite a contrast just in the two days, but very typical of Kona and a lot of athletes
<laugh>.So I’m gonna ask you a fun question. I’m gonna, I’m gonna throw you off balance at the start of the show here, Dave. I knew you when you were at the top of the triathlon world and you were always the most humble and understated guy who let the racing speak for itself. You didn’t engage in the, the trash talking and the fun stuff that we see from athletes. Uh, but I’m wondering now, you know, you’re, you’re going back 30 some years later, um, as soon as you land on the plane, I’m sure that you’re still the man and you get a lot of attention. And so I wonder if you give yourself a chance now to reflect back and think how awesome <laugh> your six wins were there, and the amazing performances that you laid down even when you were getting older and still came back and raced at the highest level of the world like no athlete has done since. Uh, I don’t know. What, what is the, what does the man think really when he goes back?
It’s a big, big broad question. And I, and, uh, you know, I have to swallow a little humility and humbleness in trying to answer that question, Brad. Um, we do have history in the sport. And, and reflecting back on that, and obviously I was with Mark Allen a good part of the time for a lot of the, the events in Ironman Week and, uh, our placards are up along the Ali’i drive where you’re finishing and the big banners with your years that you won. And I think some people are looking at that. I mean, a lot of the athletes weren’t alive then when we were winning. And so, uh, you know, I think at the time, it, it’s hard to recognize that you have a finite time period when you’re racing professionally as you did. You think you’re kind of invincible and you’re gonna go on each year and, and every year you’re gonna, you’re gonna get better.
And it’s, it’s very difficult to sort of accept the accolades and a victory a year at a time. You’re always kind of looking ahead and mm-hmm. To a fault. I, I would always say, well, that was okay. I know I can do better and I wouldn’t really relish the, you know, the first place victory. And people would say, gee, that was something I, I’m always looking ahead and, and that that is a fault. And I, I saw that in Christie Wellington as well, uh, you know, our, uh, incredible, um, Ironman champion that had competed in 13 Ironman races and won all 13. And, and, uh, you know, she was remarkable, but she never really could pat herself on the back. And, and I recognize that as a, as her coach saying, Christie you’ve gotta savor those victories. Not just the big victories, but the little ones that get there.
And, and I think everyone says, you know, enjoy the journey. And it’s difficult to do that now. Uh, yeah, it’s kind of reflective where you think, uh, you know, we were pretty competitive way back when, and the conditions were, were quite rudimentary. We thought that was really something. I I’ve told people, even in Ironman from Javi up to the turnaround, which is about, uh, 19 miles, there used to be three cattle grates on that road, and the road was just riveted and pitted. It was a mess. And so you’d hit those cattle grates going up and then coming down where you’re ripping, you’d hit ’em at 40 miles an hour and think, oh boy, I hope hopefully my bike’s not gonna dismantle. Um, and then the, you know, the Kona. wins on all the years, and some of the victories I had were just brutal. And I’m always hoping not that there’re just a, a reckless, windy day when the athletes are racing, but I want ’em to be challenged by the elements. So we saw that with the women’s race, the men’s race didn’t have those win challenges. I do say for the victories, it’s a long time ago and it’s fun to go back.
I think what helps me savor some of my past accomplishments are the idea now of running going out and running a six minute mile, which I could probably do on a thousand dollars bet, and I bet you it’d be 5 59 and I’d be collapsing at the finish. And I think, gee, that was my training pace and it was, you know, like, like going out for, uh, for breakfast and coming back. So that part, you, you, you get, um, reflective really quick when, um, you’re no longer able to, you know, to throw down set PRs. And, and speaking of the importance of, of, you know, um, having that balance and how it might be a mistake to keep wanting to drive forward. I remember, uh, Peter Reid talking about how, um, he only won the World Championship in Kona by a couple minutes over Debo. And so therefore he concluded that he needed to train much harder, uh, the next year to ensure that he would win again. He went right back into training like the week after the race or something like that, and then blew himself up, right?
Yeah. Well, we, we have all been bit manic about our training, and I think we we’re looking at our competition, but I think most of the, the champions that have been there are so self-driven that, you know, it’s hard to fulfill that, that gratification and gratification should come with a win and, and with each season, because there’s the predictability, there’s no predictability, particularly in the Ironman distance and, and that particular one in the world championships. So yeah, it’s, uh, it, it’s kind of a disease in a lot of ways, and I think a lot of, a lot of professionals, and certainly the amateurs can reflect on each year and every every year you’re turnover a new card.
Yeah. I wonder, you know, looking back now if you had a chance to, to go back and return to the starting line in 1980 and, and redo your career with more awareness and wisdom, uh, and, and you talked about those struggles that you had when you were at the top level and then battling the tremendous lows and the mental health struggles, I wonder, um, this is all part and parcel in order to beat number one. You gotta be kind of a freaky guy who’s not, um, strolling down the Boulder Mall eating Mrs. Fields and, and going to a movie and living this normal, healthy, balanced life. Or is there a way to kind of thread that needle where you don’t have to be, uh, the Michael Jordan competing in everything and needing to win an oh, he was the greatest basketball player. Are, are there, is it a possibility to be a well adjusted but extremely competitive athlete?
Yeah, I think so. Brad, and I, I think, think it’s, it’s easy to, to look at athletes that I’ve coached that seem to have an imbalance and, and without using names, I’ve, I, uh, and I’ve seen this and I, I, I know, um, from what I’ve heard with the two incredible Norwegian men is that their life is triathlon. It’s all triathlon, and they’re not a deviation, but yet I don’t really know their life. And, and I, I always think it’s good to have a hobby or other interest. Do you like to, do you like to read? You know, can you just go on an easy hike? Do you like poetry? Do you play music? Do you listen to music? You know, what other branch of something that stimulates your brain a little bit differently than, than swim. Bike running is really healthy. I, I did have that.
I had, I had other interests always did. And, uh, I brought up reading. I’m kind of a voracious reader of lots of different types of books and genres, not just athletic books, <laugh>, so, or, uh, books on nutrition or exercise physiology. So I, you know, I, I liked that. So was there a balance? Uh, I wasn’t eating Mrs. Fields’ cookies, like he said, but, uh, nutrition has changed a lot. That’s a whole different topic. Yeah, I think that balance is really key. I think you have to have an outlet. I think you have to be able to lean on that outlet so that it becomes mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, a real cog in your system that you say, I, you know, I need to cut back on on my train, or I need to back away from it mentally because it’s wearing me thin. And I, and I see that with athletes, it’s not the physical toll of it, it’s the mental toll that people have. And, and I see this behavior with, with amateurs that are type A and, and maybe have a family, and they’re the CEO of their compa ny, and they’re just crazy. They’re, you know, they gotta get in shape and do this, and they’re up at four o’clock in the morning. I’ve had a number of athletes that I’ve coached and I just said, you know, this isn’t balanced. This is a mess.
Yeah. I mean, I guess there’s an argument for, if you really enjoy the process, like the Norwegian guys who I watch on YouTube, and they, they, they wake up and they’re all about training and talking about training and, and living in training quarters and all that. Um, if you enjoy it, that’s fantastic, more power to you. But I think it’s difficult to be that extreme of driven individual and really enjoy that process. And so then, then maybe a friendly coach can, uh, drop some hints about reading some poetry instead of yet another, uh, you know, obsession with, with one’s goals.
Yeah. I agree. You said that very well. It’s good to have that diversion, that outlet. And it, it might be in politics, it might be in economics, it might, it might be in the environment, something else that gets you away from your last workout, <laugh> and, and I could
Yeah. I think it’s extremely important that you’re able to talk about that because it, it elicits questions that you’ve been asked someone else outside of your training partner or your training bubbled or your training dormitory or, or whatever it may be, your training group. Can you really ask a question to your neighbor across the street? And, and I, and I find, you know, certainly with COVID, that a lot of people are encapsulated and have the diff the difficulty and inability to really speak to people. And a lot of times when I meet athletes, I’ll ask them a question that’s totally off the wall, has nothing to do with their Ironman race coming up, but, but something else that just completely distracts ’em a little bit. But they have to think about it. And I do it purposely. It’s kind of my game.
Oh, mercy, uh, <laugh>. That’s great though. You shake ’em up a little bit.
So how has that gone for you from transitioning out of that, those peak years where you were the competitor winning the races, and then of course, your life has been coaching, so you’re still involved with the sport and everything, bu like our mutual friend Andrew McNaughton says, he goes, in many ways, uh, your career peaked at age 27 when you cross the finish line of your very best race, and nothing else will ever touch that. In terms of, um, Dave Scott winning the Coach of the Year award for the third year in a row, it’s not, it’s not as extreme or intense, I guess, as the athletic experience. We know a lot of athletes have difficulty with that transition. Scott Tinley wrote a book about it. Um, but how has that gone for you, if you might, if you wanna share?
Well, it’s gone on waves the to use the same word, the gratification to which Andrew stated in winning a race, the accolades and the, the moment that you’re doing that, it’s just an explosion, you know, and everyone’s there and everyone recognizes it, and anything else you do professionally may not reach that latitude. But mentally, I think it can. You don’t have the exterior stimulus that you get. Hmm. But, um, the, the one thing, and, and I, my, I was talking to my sister the other day, and I, I just said, Jane, you know, what I really enjoy is talking to the athletes. I love that at Ironman, always do. But I really like talking to them and I like talking to ’em about health and nutrition, their training program. And, and I won’t use two professionals that I wrote back with on the plane, and they were just talking about their program.
They said, you know, I just, they didn’t do well in the race. They’ve done well. And they just said, you know, I don’t think I have the optimal program. And I said, well, you, you know, what, what else do you have? And regarding your program, you probably need to bounce that off, you know, someone else, well, I happen to be right there. And I said, well, I’m a good one to bounce it off from. I don’t have an individual, uh, relationship with you and no reason to or vendetta against your coach. I think it’s kind of important that, and again, uh, keep using the balance and I kind of, you know, forgot your question, Brad, on, you know, what that, what that really was. I think the difficulty that we all have is what are the next steps in our career?
And people say, oh, Dave, you’ve gotta post more on Instagram. You’ve gotta do more social media. You’ve gotta highlight your profile by doing other things. Well, I, I look at, you know, I look at Twitter, I look at Instagram, but what I like are the things that, uh, give me information. I just don’t like to say, oh, gee, whizz, I, I rode 40 miles today and my watts were this, and I swam in this workout. I’m still manic about exercising. I’m crazy about exercising. I do it every day. I need it for my brain. But I also, you know, we’re all vain. I like, I like saying, gee, I’m an old guy now. I wanna make sure I don’t look like my classmates. When I went back to my 50 year high school reunion, I said, bloody hell, they, they look horrific. Not all of them. Uh, I said, I, you know, I’m, I have got the training bug, I’ll happen it for the rest of my life. And, you know, I’ll probably have a heart issue in the pool one day. I hope not. So the gratification I have is teaching, helping people. That makes me feel good. I feel fulfilled when I’m doing that. <laugh>, I won’t bring this up. They go, why are you doing that podcast with Brad? And I said, cuz I like giving out information. It makes me feel good. There you go.
Wow. Uh, so with your training bug continuing for decades now, are you doing any type of competition? Do you care, uh, are you dabbling or is it all about the process finally, you get to kind of ascend to a different level with your athletics? Really?
I haven’t, um, I
Haven’t, I didn’t see your name in the, uh, in the division with the slow guys the first day with the women. I think you were commentating, if I’m not mistaken. So no, 70 plus, 65 to 69 records for Dave?
No, no. I, I’ve kind of let those go by the wayside. Yeah, I haven’t stepped into competition. I probably never will, partly because I’ve had, uh, several heart related issues. And the, the, the biggest thing that, the biggest physical damper for me, it’s not mentally because I’m totally manic and I just want to go faster, is I feel like this wet heavy wool blanket or a, a rock in my chest. Uh, I’ve had two heart ablations. I’ve had a pulmonary embolism and I’ve had a deep vein thrombosis. My heart’s been compromised, particularly after that second ablation. And I feel like my ability to take an inspiration, particularly swimming, is maybe 50%. So when I look at times and repeats and so on, you were talking about your six minute mile, I could do a six minute mile on a 20% slope downhill. So the ti times are extremely difficult to hit.
You know, I look at the 65, 69, there’s a lot of amazing athletes, and I think, well, they’re pretty slow <laugh>, but, you know, you can say that with a grain of salt. Like, well, it’s not really that, that slow. I work hard on the pool. I on the bike, I still can hold, okay, on the bike, you know, I know my times, I, I have a, uh, power meter, but I don’t like turning it on and say what for? I, you know, I know every split out here possible. So I still push myself. Like today, I rode 38 miles and, and the time was prty decent and the wind was kind of strong, and then I swam 2,500. So I, you know, I still, still do my thing exercise wise, but, uh, I’ll be 69 pretty soon.
Now, are the cardiologists giving you a thumbs up to go ride 38 in the wind and swim? Or are you kind of dabbling in maybe they recommend less, not that they’re gonna be, um, the, the ultimate arbiter of, of the best interests that you have? I think you would probably be the best guy to talk to. Even if you weren’t Dave Scott, they should probably call up Dave Scott and say, Hey, what should I do after a couple ablations? Is there a sweet spot where they say, Hey, this stuff’s okay, but don’t sprint and and go to a hundred percent max or something?
Yeah, there’s good data on it. And I, and I actually, I think we talked a little bit about this, but I was giving, uh, some talks on arrhythmias in endurance athletes. It’s very prevalent. We seen it. Uh, I lost a good mate who, who died and did 10 Ironmans, and he had an ablation was out running, you know, was that the reason? And, uh, he said, he put on Instagram, I don’t feel great. And he was a real jokester. And then a couple days later, he, he died of, of a heart attack. And I hear a lot of heart related issues with it. The limitation that I think athletes have, and I talk about this all the time, is that we can’t go kind of hard all the time. And the kind of hard, where we’re sort of locked in, where athletes will go out, you did it, I did it.
Oh, we got a five hour bike ride. Let’s just go fast the whole time. Oh, let’s run an hour and a half off the bike. The information that is out there is that, that kind of hard below threshold pace is not good for your heart because your heart rate’s compensating for a lower stroke volume amount of blood that you pump or beat. What is good is to work at like zone two, where you’re going, you know, moderate. And, and, and good athletes are very efficient at that. In other words, they, you, you can generate a lot of watts on your bike. You can carry on a conversation mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but you’re not going above that little peak, which is below your, your FTP or BO below lt. But then have those periods where, you know, the bear comes out of the bushes and you’re having to sprint.
So you’re doing a high intensity segment. So if people are going out for a five hour ride, they may have 20 minutes of shorter segments that are really ferociously hard. That’s good for your heart. I didn’t really know that when I was training. I included it, but I did a lot of steady pace kind of hard efforts for a lot of decades, and I’m sure you did too, Brad. So I, you know, got these arrhythmia, I was on a day that I was dehydrated. I had ridden about four or five hours Oh, came back and, and mowed my lawn went swimming. And then that night I was sitting down and my heart rate was roaring, went in the next day, and my heart rate was 2 26. And, uh, the, that made all the physicians jump. So that was the first indication that I had gone, you know, I was dehydrated, which is a big problem.
And then I developed this arrhythmia, but I had, I had a pulmonary embolism after a bike crash and a D V T prior to that. So, yeah, I guess the, you know, the messaging on this is that you, you athletes need to be very careful about thinking lungs is better. And where really just the physiology on this, it really affects your energy organ. Now, the mitochondria, the mitochondria become dysfunctional. The number of mitochondria is reduced. They don’t flush out, in other words, they, they can’t, they’re all over your, all over your organs, all over your, your muscles, heart, liver. But they don’t look like a 10 year olds. They look like someone’s taken a a ball hammer to ’em and smashed them. And by doing long distance exercise and also eating too many carbohydrates actually affects mitochondrial function or dysfunction. So I’m really a smart guy now, but I wasn’t that smart when I, when I raced.
And apparently, um, today’s modern athlete is doing some things right. I don’t know, we’ll check back with them when they’re 69, and I’m not joking about that because, um, it’s still extreme level of training that the, the elite athlete needs to, uh, deliver in order to excel. Um, but maybe we should jump back to this, uh, this, this Ironman results where now someone’s crossing the finish line in unthinkable seven hours, 40 minutes. But if we can chip away at that, and, listener, what I’m trying to do in, in, in case Dave is too, uh, a modest and humbled to do so, is that, you know, this historic performance that you and Mark Allen delivered that was transcendent really, because the, you destroyed the record by 18 minutes coming in at 8:09, 8:10. Um, so now we have a half an hour to account for. And my in contention is that you two guys in particular at the prime of your careers were doing a lot of things sensibly. You were training very hard. You had a lot of, knowledge, awareness, experience, um, and were well adapted. So, um, now are we looking at people that had better parents and started into triathlons at age 10? I know we have the, the road surface and the bikes, so maybe we could just hit some of the, all those checkpoints that come up in terms of, um, comparing contrasting.
Well, I think, you know, the first thing you wanna look at is, you know, what’s the evolution of man and womenkind just genetically? And then the second part is what is the science application through their whole careers? You know, when, when are they starting? You alluded to that. And you know, what sort of science profile are they following in protocol that they’re following, that they’re developing earlier and they’re developing world class by the time they’re 20 or less? Certainly in Triathlon we’re seeing that. And, and then I think the other the third part is, is it the, is it the genes? Is it the science, the physiological development, the evolution of man and womankind? Or is it also technology that is accelerating the, the drop in times? And, you know, I have mixed feelings about it. I think all the, the technology that’s behind it with the science and nutrition and sleep and hormone levels and, and looking at cycles, that’s a cool thing.
That’s awesome. Boy, what if we had that? That’d be pretty neat. You could look at it from day to day. And they’re doing that now. And I think the athletes should take advantage of it if they can do that. The top level. Absolutely. And, and there are athletes doing that. The Norwegian boys are, are good too, to look at the technological side of it. I do have very strong opinions on this and I’ll express them to you. I, I think we have to, we have to look at is, is the adaptation just what I alluded to, or is it the technological advantage that is really accelerating performance? And, and let’s start with the running shoes. The running shoes have been out for a couple years now. The data that when they first came out and Nike looked at ’em, there’s a 1.9 to 3.2% improvement in speed.
And everyone has to use them because they’re faster. And you look at the world records in run, just running, uh, particularly long or 800 meters all the way up, all but three world records have been broken the last two in the last two years. And same thing with women. Masters runners, same thing. We’re seeing incredible times. The remarkable thing about the shoes and every shoe company has ’em, is that they provide more cushioning. So you’re not getting eccentric load. And that’s what people feel the longer racing. They certainly feel it in the Ironman. You, your foot hits the ground boy, you get this nasty shock that reverberates up through your foot and calf and knee, hips, your whole core shoulders of your head. And now you’re not, you’re getting the cushiony, but you also get this lever action so you’re not having to put your foot in extreme dorsa flexion, which exacerbates the load.
And you get this trampoline-like effect. And there’s not a runner or a triathlete alive that will say, oh, they’re not advantageous. Everyone’s wearing ’em. Of course they’re advantageous. I don’t like them. And I think it’s parallel to the swimming suit that we saw mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, that during that era in 2008, I think 9, 10, 11 and and Olympics, there was 130 world records broken in swimming cuz the swimsuit floated and the, you know, the international governing bodies of swimming finally said, these are illegal. You know, this isn’t about the athlete being a better athlete. These allow this asset to be exploited because it’s, they’re advantageous. It’s the same thing with the running shoes. And I’ve disagreed with the shoes when they first came out. I think that they’ve gotten away with this ridiculous trampoline and everyone’s using ’em. I think they should be banned. I, I’d like to see what people can really run with their, with a shoe that’s coming out of the box and, uh, not one that’s been developed for the reasons I just cited.
Yeah, it’s kinda like golf where Tiger Woods came along in ’97 and and overwhelm the historic master’s golf course. So what did they do? They took out bulldozers and spent 80 million lengthening the course because the technology was getting better and better. And I think for amateur sport to survive and be economically thriving, maybe let whoever wants to buy these expensive shoes and get a spring-like effect so they can break five in the marathon. They come in at 4:59 instead of 5:12. That’s fine. I mean, it’s maybe not fine. But I think when you’re talking about elite performers, uh, establishing a different set of rules seems like a reasonable solution. And then we can, you know, talk about records and things that matter to people.
Well I think what you said, what, what matters is that you, you want it on a level playing field. It it’s, it’s like puttin a lever action in the pole of a pole vault that allows more springs
A motor in the, a motor in the hub by the Tour de France bike.
Yes, exactly. So I, I look at it like, are these athletes so far superior than the old guys? Cause they’re running really fast. No, I don’t agree. I don’t agree at all. And even looking at Gustav Eden, which I think he can be the very best pro triathlete ever on this planet. I think he’s sensational. I’ve seen him: I’ve seen him race. I saw him an Ironman, uh, or setting 0.3 niece. He’s, you know, he’s elegant, he’s gorgeous, he’s phenomenal athlete. He has the whole skillset. But I do not like the shoes. And, and I think when we look at his 2 36 that he did, yes, sensational, but it was aided by the shoes. I don’t like the bike bike technology either cuz they’re putting over like a faring a casing over the derailer and it, and it’s, you know, aerodynamically, these spikes are rockets.
And what people were always looking at was how many, how many watts per kilogram are these athletes generated? It hasn’t really changed. Mm-hmm. But the bike’s efficiency and speed is outrageous. So Gustav Eden is a good example. He rode 4:11, didn’t ride 4:04 like Sam Lala probably could have, but was wisely holding back a bit. Four 11 is fast. But these bikes flow real fast. His watts per kilogram average I think was 3:15. That’s no different than it’s been for 20 years. So a 3:15 output 10 years ago was a mile and a half to two miles slower than what they, what they did. So I don’t like the casing, I think, and they also had some sort of faring system on their clothes. To me, that’s not the athlete getting stronger, not using science, not using nutrition, not using psychological aptitude to improve their performance. Is it sour graves? I don’t think so. Put it on a le le a level playing field. And I think we’re gonna see the times, uh, eventually get to. 7: 41 without having these aids on the, on the running shoe nor the bike technology and somewhere just like swimming, they’ve gotta say, no, we’re not allowing this. And they’ve allowed it on running where they have a 40 mill lift. I know Gustav Eden had 50 mil and they, and uh, you know, the lever action and the sponginess and all, everything else was magnificent.
Yeah, that’s a lot, that’s a lot to take in. I’m sure people, your listeners are gonna go, boy, Dave Scott’s got a lot of sour grapes. I don’t know. Talk to a broader audience and see what other athletes are saying. And, and again, the current athletes have to stay up with the standards. They have to play the game. If you wanna be competitive, you don’t, you know, have an old bike. <laugh> an old dinosaur and the old running shoes, you’re gonna lose and lose badly. I mean, the top four guys at Ironman this year were rookies. So the first four guys had never done Ironman Kona. They did pretty darn well.
Uh, and I believe it was like nine out of 10 were from Europe in the top. And, uh, on one of the years I participated in, back in the eighties, I think it was like 12 out of 15 were from America. So we have a, uh, a shift in the, um, in the scene. Do you have any insights about the internationalization and especially the concentration of the top athletes kind of leaving the, leaving our continent?
Well, I think the US has been behind for a long time. We don’t have the science, we don’t have the nurturing that a lot of the European nations certainly have with their athletes very early on. And they, they did this in Norway. Norway was not even on the planet. They were laughable. But they, you know, have applied some of their technology and obviously Nordic ski. And a lot of it comes from that. I was at their Olympic training center. I, uh, saw that and it was magnificent. And, and the athletes are consolidated. They go through the protocol and they’re really gleaning the, you know, the best athletes. And and we see this in Germany as well. Switzerland has done it for a while. I know in the UK certainly they’ve done it in, in cycling and also swimming. So I I think they’re developing their athletes a lot earlier on a and therefore we’re seeing them at this world class level and just dominating and the US is getting left behind.
Yeah, I guess all we have here is kind of a more of a free for all dynamics. We have the college recruiting system and, and the collegiate development system, which is horrible in my opinion. And they, they ruin a lot of athletes and those are of course for individual sports. I don’t think the, the collegiate triathlon scene is, is still club oriented. And so it’s sort of a fun thing and I guess you just kinda have to bounce around and get lucky, uh, in whatever, you know, situation you’re in to develop in a multi-sport fashion.
Well, Chelsea Sadara obviously US, she came from, initially she swam, uh, when she was in her youth. So she had that background. She’s obviously a very solid swimmer and, you know, show showed her talents, uh, on the bike and then just annihilated everyone on the run. And again, the, the the run times collectively by the women all the way through. Cuz it was a very difficult day. Were, were pretty slow that comparatively they didn’t shine like the men’s times. Uh, and that includes the age group times. But you know, she, she <laugh> as American obviously you can’t displace number one. So, I think she came from a, uh, that swim background as a youth, but she also ran competitively at, at Cal at and uh, I remember talking to her cuz I went to school with her mother and Chelsea Sardara actually lived in my childhood house on Elmwood Drive in Davis. And her mother lived two doors down. So we have a long history. So Marcy, her mother said, Hey, will you talk to Chelsea? She’s thinking about doing triathlons. Well, I called her, this was years ago, and I said, you ought incredible. Yeah. So that was kind of interesting. And she obviously had the, the day of her life racing.
So you alluded to one, I guess we should call it an innovation where perhaps today’s athlete is a little smarter about going kind of hard quote unquote from Dave Scott and now is maybe more structured with measuring watts. But I guess mainly measuring heart rate would be the, the main operative variable here and just, um, being more sensible with your training. Uh,Do you see that as a phenomenon? And then do you see anything else? Innovation style where these guys can, for example, get off the bike and run a 29 minute 10 k split in 86 degree Fahrenheit in Tokyo to win the gold and then throw down a 4 0 4 bike ride and then hang in there and run a 2:40 marathon. Like the, usually the bike leader was always the guy, uh, grand standing and uh, breaking the record and then trying to break three hours so he could remain in the top 10. And now it’s just like what are these guys doing in training, uh, besides maybe polarizing a little better or however you want to characterize it?
Well, I, I don’t know. It’s a hard question to answer Brad, because I don’t know the intricacies of their, of their training program. They’re obviously doing a lot of things right And, uh, to develop that top end. I remember even when I started advising Craig Alexandrer who was uh, you know, great, uh, Olympic distance, I t u athlete kind of at the cusp of, uh, of I T U and he had a top end and I said, we, you never want to lose that top end. Uh, and it’s a gift. And I think we’re seeing a lot of athletes that have gravitated from the I T U shorter distance, no problem going 70.3. And now we see him step up to Ironman, they’re going fast in, in, in everything. So, I guess not to reiterate the same issues that you, you don’t enhance your, uh, mitochondria, your aerobic enzymes, your blood cell volume by going long.
And I see a lot of the pros and also amateurs that feel like, gee, if I can just get in those last few longer days at the end of my season, I’m gonna go faster. And, and for most of ’em it’s a detriment cuz they’re already in good shape. So capillary density doesn’t go, doesn’t go up. Aerobic enzymes don’t go up by doing that big long brick, uh, you know, two weeks before the race yet you’re seeing, uh, what what has been printed that Gustav and Christian ran, I don’t know, 38 k or something that was during Ironman week or a week before. And, and so people are saying, well that must be the right thing. I’m saying that, that they’re lucky <laugh> cause they, they lucky because I, I think it’s a, a gross mistake. Was that the right recipe for them?
Absolutely not. You know, and how do you refute success? Well, I’m sitting here, well, golly, Dave Scott, who, what do you know, you don’t know anything. These guys when first and third and, and Blumenthal ran that 29 minutes in in Tokyo and he is amazing athlete and, won Ironman earlier this year, and he is just, you know, they’re phenomenal. But does it make any physiological sense to run a marathon or close to a week before you’re doing an Ironman race? Absolutely not. And I, and I think, you know, you can, the coaches probably revered because he had great success, but I think that was a mistake.
Besides that, how do you feel about their training? <laugh> <laugh>? You know, what reminds me of, um, uh, Phil Maffetone, said this once, he said, you know, you don’t need to train the brain to suffer, but a lot of our training is contemplated to where we need to get a little more confident, uh, running off the bike for 26 miles. So I’m gonna do one more longer brick. And it’s like, no, the the brain, if you come and put a gun to, to my head or your head, you’re gonna go out and do your six minute mile, I’m gonna have to go run 20 or something. That’s beyond my capability now. Uh, but it’s an interesting insight and he adds that you don’t really need to train the anaerobic muscle fibers to any, uh, you know, long duration or frequency because they’re fast and explosive by nature. So that leaves nurturing the aerobic system. And, um, you know, at a certain point, the long stuff, although I should ask you, is there, is there some disagreement here where another coach might contend that you need to go beyond the race distance a bunch of times to, um, to optimize?
Yeah, I don’t, I don’t agree with the statement that you just said about with Phil Maffetone and just doing aerobic work. There’s no way that you can develop those particularly fast switch two, a muscle fibers, you, you’ve gotta activate them. They, they suck up a lot of glycogen if you’re not doing it. They have a high fatigability rate, they have a high contractual rate about five times a slow twitch, and some people genetically have a higher predisposition of those fast twitch two A, but if, if you’re not doing it, I mean, just going out and going long slow easy, that, you know, no one’s gonna get faster doing that. So I know that implication that what Phil said, what you just said, didn’t follow that. So you have to do some of the higher end stuff. We know that that is a huge feedback loop for your physiology is good for aging, and ultimately you’re gonna rely on those when you race, whether it’s Ironman distance, 70.3, unless you’re, you know, a first timer and wanna just survive those distances.
So, I think going over the distance, well, it just happens to be a, you know, a funny event that was concocted in Hawaii with these really odd distances. So people think, oh, I gotta ride 180 K or a hundred, 112 miles, but I, I’ll do 120 just to make sure I can go over the distance and I’m gonna run 30 miles on trail. It’s over the distance. I think that’s fine in the early part of the year, and you don’t do it every weekend. But it’s also, as, as you may have alluded to it, you’re, you’re kind of saying you’re satiating your brain saying, oh, I can do that. I’ve just done the distance, or I’ve done it a couple times. Where are people get in trouble is when they get fit and when they get fit <laugh> when they get fit and they think, oh, I’ve gotta go long, but I’ve also gotta go fast and I’ve gotta do it more frequent, uh, in my training program.
That’s the big mistake. And so you’ve gotta be a little more discretionary on doling those out. If you’re doing a long bike or a long run, you don’t wanna do ’em back to back every weekend as you’re going up to that final 12 weeks for your big a race, whatever that is, that’s a mistake. So I, I think that’s, that’s the problem that people say, I just did that one last one. What happened to be the longest one and the fastest one, and it probably sets you back. I remember Craig Alexander. I was advising him, so he, there was a lot of latitude. He, he, I’m gonna do this, that, and, well, I think he ought change this. He called me three weeks before Hawaii Ironman. He had just arrived over there. He said, Dave, I had amazing training day and I kind of held my breath. I said, what was that? Oh
<laugh>. Yeah, I just like, exactly. Oh no,
It was bloody amazing, mate. That was, I was hammering the Queen K. Yeah,
Yeah. That’s just like Craig. Yeah, he ran, I remember he ran, uh, 20 miles, you know, it was the heat of the day. He ran, uh, 3 45 k, six minute pace and he said, oh, I felt great. It was effortless. It could have gone, you know, forever. It was kind of parallel to what I just said about Gustav and Christian. And, and he also, uh, you know, wrote the course real fast or something, and the, the what really worried me was the run. And I said, oof, that was a big dosage. Uh, he didn’t need to do that. And ironically, that year he had a terrible day. Was it that those was it that those two workouts? I don’t know, but it certainly didn’t help him.
Okay. So <laugh>, um, today’s athlete is still kind of doing some questionable stuff. I’m shocked to learn that, that these guys are out there in Hawaii running the duration of the race course. Doesn’t make sense. Uh, but I I guess I was gonna ask, um, at what point do you bestow that wonderful distinction of being fit versus someone who let’s say is coming from less fit or unfit or metabolically unhealthy whereby maybe their best return on investment is to simply build up that base and not worry about going fast? Do you have sort of a tiered system there and, uh, be careful cuz Jordan Rapp said, uh, on a podcast years ago, like, uh, okay, anyone running slower than 3:30 is not really a runner. That doesn’t count. And I got tons of emails back, like, dude, come on. You know, <laugh> people are doing the best out there trying to break four hours. Don’t, don’t hammer on ’em.
Yeah, I, I think, I think it’s important for all levels of athletes and, and I do with the athletes I coach, is I, I put in marker sets what I call test sets. And if you repeat like sets throughout the year, you get great feedback. Mm-hmm. So if you, you know, the standard on the bike is to do an FTP test, so you know that that’s a nice one, but you also wanna look at your anaerobic and what’s your high end, what, what are you capable of doing? And you can delineate that down to shorter segments. So, so for example, you might have them do eight times a minute and a half with a lot of rest in between three minutes, rest in between. What’s your power output on that? You’ll get, you’ll get your top end, the VO2 is the sort of in between that.
So you can do a VO2 set and that might be six times four minutes. What’s your output on that? And then on the other slower end is what’s your aerobic economy? What watts are you pushing at your level two and you’re going three hours sort of steady pace conversation. What is that? So tho those kind of four ranges, those, those aren’t all the energy systems, but you got your really fast end, you got VO2 and you’ve got LT or FTP and then aerobic and it, it’s good to look at those so that you actually have some sort of data or intuitively you don’t wanna look at it. You, you should have pretty good insight on what you’re doing. But if you’re actually using the metrics, you can kind of measure that so you’re not just, you know, throwing feathers into the wind when you go into a race and say, gee, I hope I have a good day. Everyone wants to say, gee, I’m gonna have a great day. I don’t know how good it’s gonna be because I, I know that I’m fit and my fitness has gone up. So it doesn’t matter if someone’s doing a 15 hour Ironman, you still implement those variables and Jordan Rapp’s saying that stable, that has no, no correlation to, to someone who runs a five hour marathon, but they get down to a 4:40, uh, and top end is X. So everything is kind of measurable and transfers to all levels.
Yeah. It’s nice to remember that it’s relative too. When we see Kipchoge going for a quote unquote easy run, I believe it’s easy day is like 18 miles at altitude at a six minute pace. Wow, that’s pretty impressive. But wait a second, that’s a minute and a half slower than his marathon pace. Yeah. What’s a minute and a half slower than your marathon pace, listener? That could be a brisk walk as your easy day and have that, that comparison to, to remember.
Yeah. Very, very well stated. And, and that is true because I think people, people need to look at that. And also I think. You know, looking at the marathon ti in Kona, and you know, prior to this YN for Dino and, uh, you know, had had a pretty decent time, but nowhere close to even his aerobic pace, you know, he had run I think 2 41 or 2 42, if we look at Gustav Eden running 2 36, well he, he’s just a little faster than six minute pace. He’s about three 40 per kilometer. What’s his aerobic pace? Well, obviously the heat and humidity affect that. It brings up respiration and heart rate. He’s a little dehydrated that that exacerbates that at the end of the day. But pace wise for him you know, I I’m sure if you pulled up next to him and said, how you doing Gustav?
He could’ve spit out several phrases and said, I’m, I feel okay, my body’s kind of tired, but it’s not like he’s running 800 meters. Well, don’t talk to me. So, you know, I think when we’re looking at at pace, we still wanna train that top end and we look at the very best athletes, what are they capable of doing when they’re fresh? I mean, Gustav Eden is fast. What could he do a marathon in fresh, under cool conditions? Well, I’m sure he can run in the teens, you know, he’s two 15 maybe, I don’t know. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, he he’s fast,
Faster than Absolutely. Have to be able to
Exactly. Yeah, exactly.
Yeah. Yeah. Um, so what about you putting in work in the heat there, but, would you contend that you weren’t that fast to, to drop a two 15 at, CIM with a tailwind and 47 degree weather in the winter and all fresh and rested?
Uh, I, I was never that fast, you know, that I, I think I was economical and I was strong and that that was my gift. And I’ve kind of looked at that. I think Chrissy Wellington, you know what we speculate unless, unless you’ve done it, what is your fastest marathon and, and what is your fastest marathon in an Ironman race? What’s the differential?
<affirmative>. And we’ve had, yeah, we’ve had a lot of athletes that have amazing marathon times, men and women, but they’re pretty slow comparatively off the bike. It’s like you said, you know, can, you’ve run 2:20, but are, can you do three hours in Hawaii? Well, there’s 40 minutes. I’ve kind of looked at that window, how, what is that? And even in that race that everyone cites that Iron War 89 and our actual run times, Mark ran 2 38 58, this takes out the transition. I was 2 39 something. What could I have done in a marathon fresh, uh, I, I don’t know, maybe 2 21. I thought about that and I thought, okay, 2 21. Uh, and, and that’s 18 minutes difference. And, and Chrissy Wellington was, i, I would say about 18 minutes based on her training background and her marker sets. So I think she was pretty economical. Mm-hmm. Um, being able to run closer to that off the bike. But I think we got athletes like maybe Chelsea Sadara and, and Gustav Eden that, um, if they were fresh, you know, what could they really do in a marathon? They could probably have blasted <laugh>.
Yeah. There might be too much made to that. I know Arturo Barrios was ridiculed when he speculated he could go do the Ironman and, and run a 2:14 off the bike since he was a a 2:08 guy. And people were like, yeah, try try finishing the bike ride first, dude. Exactly. Um, but yea, I mean, you, you have, uh, they’re, they’re well adapted for triathlon. I, I remember seeing the Brownlees and, and you know, them arise to the sport and like, okay, so what’s their, what’s their best event? And the answer is triathlon from very beginning. And that’s different than some swimmer guy trying to not get injured training on the road and so forth.
I think we’d better transition into nutrition, start getting into a really spicy topic, but we’ve had so much discussion about this in recent years, especially with your, I guess you could call it an evolution into the fat adapted low carbohydrate strategy versus the old compare contrast to the old days when I believe you told me in an email where you’re eating 600 grams of carbs a day or something like that to fuel your training.
Yeah. That, that’s about right.
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and so now you, um, in your reflection, you think that was counterproductive or not optimal is what you’re saying?
Yeah, I don’t think it was optimal. And people will contest what you won the Ironman six times in your second three times, so you had some good days. But I think every athlete in hindsight will look back, well, what did I do right? And what could I have improved on? And I think my diet was a disaster. I was able to survive on that, but I had a lot of rollercoaster fluctuations and performance where I’d wake up really sluggish. I think my insulin levels were high the next morning. Blood sugar. Blood sugar was real high and, and I was lethargic. I wasn’t feeding my brain well. And so a lot of times my depression would set in earlier, and I had a lot of GI issues as, as well. So shifting to a, initially a higher protein, which I still think is, is a key factor that a lot of athletes are missing.
And then going to low carb, high fat, or, or keto nutrition is the most advisable thing to do for health reasons and also performance. And, maybe I’ll just say something about the protein level, Brad, we’ve talked about this a little bit off camera and, and I, and I think that the, the protein issue that people have is that, and I certainly see this in my hometown, we see a lot of people that are skinny fat. In other words, they look good, they’re skinny jeans, and hey, I’m at my high school weight and they’ve lost lean muscle mass, and they can start losing lean muscle mass early on. We see this in women in their twenties, men certainly in their thirties, where all of a sudden they’re thin, but they’ve lost lean muscle mass, and consequently, their vulnerable time starts slowing down. Recovery is impaired.
And then at a decade on top of that, the decline becomes almost exponentially by the time they’re 40 plus, 50 plus. Oh boy, look out. And then the sixties, we know can really hit badly if you don’t try to negate that. With the protein, even for people that are heavier. And I’ll kind of hit two side, two sides on this. We really wanna look at, uh, protein grams per day, not calories per day, because the, the protein does a lot of things. It modulates your satiety center, so mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it has a feeling of fullness. It, it, it elevates this key hormone called leptin, which says, okay, I, I’m full. My brain registers that and I’m, and I don’t want to eat. So the protein, it, it by itself will say, okay, I, I feel full, therefore I’m not gonna eat more carbohydrates.
I don’t need to have this fluid replacement drink. That, that is all carbohydrates. Couple key things on, on protein is that it all, it also affects insulin level. And you’re going to eat this with healthy fat and some, some carbohydrate. And in, and in doing so, the, the key with exercise that, that I think people forget is that they say, oh, I, I, I’m just gonna have a protein bar and it’s got 12 grams of protein. That, that’s a mistake. We, we need to regulate our metabolic rate by having a bigger block of protein, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as opposed to grazing, well, I finished a workout, I’m gonna have 10 grams here and 10 grams there. So if I’m having a, uh, let, let’s use a, a, a pretty big number. I’m, I’m having 120 grams of protein per day, and if I spread that out and I have 10 grams, 10 grams, 10 grams, 10 grams times times 12, and I have something at night, you don’t, you don’t get your liver responds to the, uh, protein that you’re taking in and it’s gonna be pushed to your kidney and you’re gonna, uh, the byproduct is nitrogen or urea, but it doesn’t help muscle synthesis.
In other words, you’re not gonna develop the muscle by spreading that out. You’re better off eating a bigger block. And for most people with exception of very lightweight women, but not kids, we need about 20 grams of protein, at least minimum at a meal. So we don’t wanna spread it out. We need, we need around 20 to start with. It is, can you have too much protein? It depends on your exercise and lean body mass, but the athletes, bigger guys may have up to 80 grams of protein in that one meal. That’s, that’s okay. But it’s key to have this window. And 20 to 60 is kind of the range that everyone should have at, at one city and, and, and not parlay that out a little bit. And you don’t get the big insulin response. And, and then blood glucose follows that af after that, typically. So when athletes are kind of grazing all day long, uh, not a, not a good idea,
It’s just not enough protein to start with. Important, uh, homeostatic functions like building and maintaining lean muscle mass because you just had a little bite and crappy source of protein in the case of a, a manufactured bar. But that’s what you’re saying about concentrating it in, uh, robust meals.
Yes, they, yeah, that’s exactly right. You know, kids can get away with it cuz they’re, they’re lower body weight. They’re lean muscle masses lower and they can graze and they’re, and they’re growing. So they can have a protein bar after a soccer match, you know, that will enhance them. But once they’ve gone, their hormones are rocketing. So once they’ve gone through puberty and they’re, and they’re in their twenties now, they, they need to think about having more at each of the meals. And, and I, I think this is a, a big problem with a lot of endurance athletes is that they kind of portioned out. They think, well, I’m gonna have less now and therefore I’m gonna maintain my lean look. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> my skinny jeans look. But they’re not really repairing and recovering like, like they could. And, and I see this with, um, and I know we talked about this before, there are a lot of good data on time restricted eating and having a bigger window of time where you finish dinner and then you’re not gonna eat the next day and you’re gonna exercise and you’re gonna burn free fatty acids.
I forewarn athletes, if you’ve had a hard day the day before and you’re thinking, oh, I’m gonna have a 14 hour window, which I’m a big advocate of, you don’t wanna do that. You wanna have breakfast in the morning and you’ve gotta start off with, with your protein amount that I just mentioned so that you don’t start b burning lean, lean muscle mass. And that issue of sarcopenia muscle, uh, wasting or muscle loss is very prevalent with endurance athletes, again, early on in twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and sixties. So I see a lot of athletes that are injury prone, they look good, but they get slower and slower and slower because they’re, you know, I I think big part of the puzzles are not having adequate protein and the timing of it.
Is it also do you think common to miss on your total protein intake?
Yeah, I think it’s a big, I think it’s a big problem. Uh, I think if you’re trying to lose weight, you still wanna go to those protein grams that I’m talking about. You set that first. For the, the ath the athletes that, uh, are, are looking at maintaining muscle protein synthesis, i, I think should be based on lean body weight. And the, and the good data is about a 2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight. So what does that mean? I i, if I have a 154 pound athlete, divide that by 2.2, whatever your weight is, and pounds divided by 2.2, that’ll give you kilograms. So 154 pounds is 70 kilograms. The range is between 1.6 to around 2.2. That’s where the science shows that we should get this muscle protein synthesis. And so let’s use two. It’s easy. So two times 70 body weight is 140 grams a day. Or
To be real easy, just how much do you weigh? And you’re gonna get somewhere around there. Cuz I think most people are not inputting everything into their meter. But that’s possibly, uh, significantly more than some really clean health conscious eaters are, uh, are getting in every day.
Yeah, it’s, uh, it, it, I think it’s really key for the endurance athletes. Something that hasn’t really changed in my philosophy, but I follow the science pretty closely on this and there’s great data on it that, you know, a lot of athletes and a lot of people that are trying to lose weight will find that if they do this, and again, cuz a lot of times it affects your satiety don’t eat anymore. Uh, and it has a higher protein, has a higher thermic effect. In other words, it revs up your system. Uh, fat is next and then carbohydrate is less. And that’s why people have a propensity to, oh, I need more carbohydrates. I’m hungry, I gotta, and your insulin level goes up and then you have this elevated insulin, which quite often will drive the blood glucose up and that’s a real inflammatory response and you gain fat. So the extra sugar, if you’re not, if your liver’s not moving it out to the organs and then your kidney, you develop this visceral fat, fat around the organs. And, and you know, it’s a big problem where you see a lot of lean athletes that you can actually see it like, boy they’ve got this meat roll around their stomach, it looks like a bowl of jelly mass and they just eat crap. Particularly too many carbohydrates.
Well that’s normal and average today. So it’s not even, most, most people don’t think twice about, it’s just something that happens with aging. But, um, it’s a disaster metabolically in so many ways, including, um, the, the interfering with the sex hormones and sending you on a slippery slope to building up more visceral fat if you do accumulate a little bit for whatever reason.
Yeah, I mean here right on, right on the nose. The people that have that, um, testosterone levels and production of human growth hormone go down a lot. And you can really exacerbate that problem by saying, gee, I just want that big bowl of Haagen Dazs and that pie at night before I go to bed <laugh>. And that elevates cortisol right before you go to bed. You don’t want to do that. That lowers your natural production of H G H and testosterone, which helps recovery. So you’re better off, gee, if I could just have protein, a little bit of, maybe a little bit of protein cuz it’s gonna affect my satiety and I’m not gonna have a lot and I’ll have a healthy fat with it before I go to bed, as opposed to that big sugary recipe that I just mentioned.
So Dave’s given us permission to have a protein snack in the evening. And just
A little, just
A little bit of the pie <laugh>, uh, what about the commentary we hear on the other side the dangers of excess protein consumption? That was a big talking point, especially with the keto craze and it’s gonna knock you out of ketosis cuz it has some insulin stimulating effects. And now a lot of experts at least that I follow are strongly countering this. I love Robb Wolf’s epic one liner on the topic when he says, um, if you wanna live longer, lift more weights and eat more protein and opening up this, this idea that maybe we were misinformed. And then secondly, before I let you answer the question, I’m I’m gonna give part answers, like it’s pretty hard to overstuff yourself on eggs and steak versus regretting that Haagen dazs and that that that Hostess pie.
Yeah, you hit, hit it on the nose, Brad. And that that’s, that’s very, that’s very true. And I think the misinformation that that has been kind of doled out and, and uh, unfortunately doesn’t follow all the, all the science is that if I have way too much protein and only protein in the morning, I come off a time restricted eating pattern, you, you can get a huge insulin response. But for example, in the, in the morning, and I get this question, I’m sure you do as well, what should I eat in the morning? Well, it depends, it’s contingent on what your normal eating plan is, whether you’re carbohydrated adapted or your low carb or your your keto or somewhere in between that. Uh, and, and then what your exercise routine was the day before and when you finish dinner. So, you know, try and answer those questions.
But high intensity exercise or big volume the day before. In other words, you, you had a hardy workout, you finished dinner fairly early and now there’s this window of maybe 12 hours. You should eat in the morning and, and it should be, should be protein, but you really kind of wanna wait because when you wake up in the morning, your, your cortisol levels naturally go up and they pump out glucose. And so you, you have these glucose stores, it’s called gluconeogenesis. And this gluconeogenesis taps into protein sources and also fatty acids. And so you’re producing glucose without bringing in a, a donut in the morning or a bagel. And so you kind of want let that rise. And then the other thing where I think where athletes go wrong and certainly on racing, um, is that they have a cup of coffee right away.
I’m a big advocate of coffee. I never drank it. I drink buckets of it probably too much. But you wanna wait in the morning to let your natural cortisone levels start to drop. So if you can wait 35 to 45 to 50 minutes after you get up, before you have that cup of coffee, some people say, I have to have 10 minutes. No, don’t, cuz your cortisol levels are high and that’s just gonna heighten it and then have a little bit of protein, some fat, which will slow that down. And you can also add a small amount of carbohydrate as well. So I think where people over overdo it again, is that they have tendency to, to eat too much and to elevate your blood glucose level after you have this window and it’s called the dawn effect, which I know you’re familiar with the dawn effect as cortisol levels going up, natural sugar being fed into your system, uh, via glucogenesis and you’re kind of ready to go for a light workout with a light day before go out and exercise. You’ll start burning free fatty acids. That’s a good thing. You’re not gonna burn lean muscle mass and then have your meal after that.
I think I wrote you that I’ve been experimenting with different strategies lately and I’m wondering what you think about Jay Feldman’s recommendation, I guess you could call it, where if you do give yourself some nutritious carbohydrates, uh, sometime in the morning and you’re going to, uh, intervene with that gluconeogenesis, which is arguably a stress mechanism, and in the big picture when you’re trying to recover from a big workout or prepare for a busy, hectic, stressful day with, with workouts and things on the schedule. Could that be a winning strategy for a metabolically healthy athlete?
Yeah, I think it’s not a zero carbohydrate and I’m not a ad advocate of that. So even if you combine some protein in fat quite often it has a a couple grams of, of carbohydrate. And if you’re a, a milk eater and you have whole fat plain yogurt and then you add a, you add some nuts to it, even macadamian nuts, were about 90% fat, they have a very small amount of carbohydrate. That’s not a great example. You add coconut to it, which is a fruit, a coconut shavings or then all of a sudden you, you’re starting to add carbohydrates if you wanna add a healthy fruit to it. You know, a lot of people, uh, say, well, I really like blueberries are really flavorful, but well they’re they’re high in fructose. You don’t add a lot of them. Raspberries are less, blackberries are less than that.
I mean, generally the berries are fairly good. So yes, I agree that you can add the carbohydrates and, and I think even people that are looking at, um, keto nutrition, if they’re actually measuring their ketones, they’re not void of carbohydrates. I mean, you’re eating a lot of, of healthy cruciferous and leafy green vegetables throughout the day and a lot of people will be in ketosis and and be able to go back in that with a hundred, 130 grams of protein or carbohydrates a day, not 600 like you talked about, which I used to have and that was a lot of bad ones.
Okay. So there’s a sweet spot, uh, for for many people, including you somewhere between, uh, 600 at the extreme training level of the old days and then, uh, you know, in the, I guess you could call it the ketogenic framework where we’re deliberately, uh, watching those grams of carbs in order to, uh, kick into purported health benefits. So, um, how do we wrestle with this, uh, somewhat controversial topic these days?
Well, I don’t think it’s really controversial. I think a lot of people just don’t really know about it. Uh, and I think when people initially, uh, if they want to go to keto nutrition, they’ve gotta kind of flush their system and you’re very, uh, versed on this area. So it may take a couple weeks initially just to flush out the glucose from all your organs. And sometimes people feel sluggish during that time. The last adaptive phase of, of keto uh, nutrition is your a muscle glycogen, liver glycogen will go up with, with a high healthy fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate there. And there’s a lot of, uh, great studies on this one called the Fast study, that that was done. They, you know, they were surprised. They said, wow, we’re seeing glycogen resynthesis on this keto diet. This is great news for people that are really staunch believers in it that you don’t need to fuel yourself with carbohydrates.
And this is a, you know, a problem before races where people are carbohydrate loading, which is sort of passe. So I I I, I think maybe just to reiterate that you, you’re not void of carbohydrates on low carbohydrate fat and being an athlete or keto, you’re eating carbohydrates, but you need healthy, you need healthy ones. The ones that have fiber, I mentioned the, you know, sort of the package of these. I, I send out a list and I actually put this on a slide in talks that I do. I said, how many have had these? And I, I’ll put, uh, fruits and vegetables and, and uh, proportionally and like 200 choices. It’s not only, I can only eat Brussels sprouts and celery and kale and those, it’s much broader than that.
So what do you think about the elite athletes performing today? Have they locked into, um, advanced dietary strategies or, we still have a long way to go and not, not just in triathlon scene, but I’m wondering across, um, you know, the many sports, especially the ones that are dependent on your dietary strategy.
I think the dietary strategy is still a mess. You know, I think maybe it’s, you, you said it was a confusion on this. I think there’s ignorance and so people are sort of locked in on, oh, I need, I need this. And I hear this all the time, many athletes, oh, had GI distress. I’m taking in 70 or 90 grams of carbohydrate an hour on the bike and, and I, I, you know, vomiting, I’m hitting the porta potties on the run. I couldn’t have anything on the run. I, I hear this over and over and over again. Do you do this in train? No, I, I have way, way, way less. And I said, well, you, you answered it without me trying to, you know, pour any medicine down your throat too, too much too soon is a big, big, big problem. And, and, and I think the notion that carbohydrates are the only form of energy is a real misnomer.
And if you can access free fatty acids, that that’s huge. And the other area that is, and I won’t mention the company that is saying, oh, E elevates your blood glucose, keep your blood glucose really high, where that glucose monitor, I think that’s helpful. But you driving your blood, blood glucose doesn’t allow you to go faster and it cuts off that fat oxidation switch. So anytime you’re pumping in glucose when you’re train or racing, you’ve gotta burn that off before you access free fatty acids or access even protein to start breaking that down. Most of the time that that’s gonna cause water to go to your GI tract, you’re gonna try to diffuse this. You can only transport and you blood system can only hold a a very small amount. So when we’re seeing these really high elevated, he got his blood glucose higher, therefore he’s faster. That’s a bunch of crap.
I’ve never heard of that, Dave. You say there’s some company promoting a, a nutrition or,
Yeah, and I talked to this company and they’ve done very well at marketing this false
Falsehood about super sapiens. So, uh, super sapiens is pro promoted high glucose levels, uhhuh <affirmative> and keeping glucose really high. And so and so-and-so is eating this. And they’ve even put out old data when I was in school and studying exercise physiology, there’s been studies, oh, the body can handle 90 grams of carbohydrates, has 360 calories of carbohydrates per hour. Well I still have athletes doing this. I had an Australian athlete, he said I had 70 grams of calories an hour, I got outta the water and started, you know, judicially taking this in. And I said, how’d you feel bloated? Gas?
Well run. It might not be if you do it for four hours, maybe you could manage, but if you’re riding the bike in six and a half and then running in five hours, that’s, you know, exponentially more carbs coming down the pipe.
Well it’s just, you know, you’re working against gravity running. So it catches up to everyone. I, you know, they’re probably not burning anything on the bike, they’re just burning their stores that they have because they just fully load their system. Nothing is moving. Their butt’s not moving from their bike seat and all of a sudden they feel a little bit nauseous at the tail of their bike. They’ve got too much and then the first steps on the run whamo, they feel ill. And it’s so common that more is better and it’s really a mistake. And it’s a mistake in the morning where people try to load up before the race. And I heard this with, with many pros, oh, I gotta take more cuz it’s an Ironman race, I need more calories on board. And it, and it’s, wow, what a, what a falsehood. So that is, so your question are, are is the science there? Yes, the science is there. Are people listening? No. Is the information getting disseminated so that people are more knowledgeable? May maybe a little bit but not great.
Uh, so that, I guess that leaves one question for me. Like at the end of a tough training day, um, would you see a justification to going and trying to maximize intake of all the macronutrients from nutritious sources in the name of recovery? As opposed to, let’s say, watching one’s carbs again even after they burned a bunch of energy.
I mean there’s, there’s been data on looking at this window of opportunity post exercise, I’ve gotta refuel, you know, I just did this really hard workout. And the one thing on a muscle protein synthesis is that for a conditioned athlete, you can really wait on this window before you actually refuel yourself. And again, you start with grams of, of protein to, to start with. If you’re doing a say a a, you’re a triathlete and you’re doing a brick or you’re doing a, you’re a runner and you’re doing a strength session and a run session, not necessarily in that order or you know, any sort of dual activity session that that window after, afterwards you’re, you know, you’re the master hormones insulin. So insulin responds to food when, when you put it in. So are we missing that opportunity of resizing uh, our glycogen storage, particularly muscle glycogen by by waiting?
There’s some data on that. So I think when people finish exercise, let’s say they’ve had a four hour block of something and some of it’s higher intensity, even though there’s science that said, oh, you can wait cuz you’re a good athlete. I, I think we should start fueling a little bit within that 45 minutes to two hour window to start that process. And then when you have that meal, then come back to the sort of the procott was talking about with, with the, uh, with the protein. I think when we wait like that, are we really missing that opportunity or, are we impairing that period where we can recover? And, and, and part of it is when we finish exercise, and Brad, you know this very well, you can be totally hypoglycemic where you just think, wow, my, my blood sugar’s really low.
I can’t even remember my middle name. Uh, I don’t know what street I live on. I gotta eat something right now. And that’s where you kind of nourish that little window by just, you know, the first fuel that you put in really goes to your brain and, and, and really it goes to blood glucose, goes to your brain. If you’re in a ketosis, you’re gonna use those keto bodies, but the blood glucose goes real fast and, and we know it works. If I’m on the bike and I feel hyperglycemic, oh I’m gonna have a gummy bear or a little gel, five to six minutes, all of a sudden your clarity, your alertness feels good and then your muscles respond, you’re going faster. So it’s the same kind of response. I think we need to be careful on a hard day that that’s refueling. To kind of answer your question is, is is really kind of paramount just to start it.
So that’s where you can have something healthy in that window. I think we gravitate to a lot of the bars that are out there on the market zillions of them. And a lot of the, a lot of the bars are, are toxic cuz they have, uh, really high levels of polyunsaturated Omega six and, and those, those polyunsaturated omega six oils are the worst ones for our system for, uh, systemic inflammation. I think we, we see ’em all the time. Corn and soy and sesame and safflower peanut oil, those are all rotten. And a lot of the bars have been to enhance shelf life.
Oof. I think that’s a great way to, to end with this dire warning. I if there’s nothing else you can take away from the diet conversation is get those seed oils out of your diet. There’s at least everyone’s in agreement about, about certain things. Dave Scott, great to catch up. Uh,
Thank you Brad. Well, you’re very thorough. You’re very thorough. We covered a lot of topics. I don’t know if we we’re very thorough in my response, but
Oh no, we just, that’s what we do. We hammer through everything and tell us how uh, we can connect with you and learn about the great training offerings and the retreats and your, all that great stuff you’re doing.
Uh, I, I have my camps at Hualalai Four Seasons and I have one coming up. We actually put in out a, a flyer today cause I still have one slot open for my December 4th camp. Woo. Uh, and then they, we turn it around in 2023. So I have February, June, and then December, 2023. You can go to my website. And I have a newsletter that I put out. What I started off with, Brad, is i, i, I love the questions. I’m always ridiculed, like, why do you spend so much time answering these questions? So on my website I have this thing I asked the man, I didn’t give myself that title, Scott Tinley did. And so people, people send me questions on all sorts of things and sometimes I do videos on ’em or, and I, you know, the educational part has always been the intrigue for me and it’s never static. It’s always evolving and revolving. And, and I think that part, you know, I’ve never lost the, the desire to, you know, to help athletes and to, and to understand more. So you can get ahold of me on that website. There’s a, there’s a Dave Scott who’s a musician, there’s a felon, and then there’s me. So you can find me mi
We can, we can find ya.
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