I’m in the middle of a nutrition experiment. I’m normally not a big fan of dieting or formal diet plans, which is no surprise since I’m also not very interested in formal running/training plans. But I’m on a short-term mission to see how a several week pre-race nutrition strategy might work out for an event. I became interested in Vespa Power products, and that’s where it all began.
Ironically, I actually got interested because I saw an ad featuring Zach Gingerich, who is tearing up the heavy duty ultras like Badwater and Arrowhead – no small feat. I immediately remembered an interview with Zach in Silent Sports where he talked about how basically ate “garbage” and thought I should see what Vespa is about. But after some conversation with Peter Defty of Vespa and Dale Humphrey (a successful local 100-miler), I found that diet is a big part of using their products.
In a nutshell, the goal is to “blunt” your insulin response by combining any carbs with protein or fat. You also want to avoid refined carbs as much as possible so your body grows more accustomed/prepared to metabolize fat. Vespa supplements purport to increase the body’s ability to metabolize fat and are taken before and during endurance activity (they are not a daily supplement, etc.).
The Monkey Diet
I am not a huge fan of “diets” (see above). But I took Peter’s advice and wanted to give Vespa the best chance to work. I took a look at various low-carb diet plans such as Paleo, South Beach, and Aitkins and decided that I didn’t like any of them. Too many rules, and nothing that I would stick with. Of course, they might be more founded on research than anything I would come up with, but whatever.
Here are my current diet rules:
- Avoid refined carbohydrates – sugar, corn syrup, etc. at all costs; but also white rice, white pasta, white flour
- Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, of any variety and quantity
- Eat meat, beans, tofu, nuts, cheese of any variety and quantity
- Restrict alcohol to only red wine
- Still drink coffee (but no coffee drinks with added sugar)
I’m following this plan 95% of the time, and have been doing so for the last 3 weeks. I have broken the rules for things like work dinners where its just not worth it to me to be too strict, but am following it very well day-to-day.
Results So Far
The first thing I’ve learned is just how many things have sugar, corn syrup, etc. Holy cow! You don’t realize the reach until you start reading every label and really try to avoid them. I’m definitely eating healthier in this regard. I love to snack during the day and have found a lot of great alternatives to what I used to eat. Fruit also now tastes very sweet to me – its my dessert.
I didn’t enter into this to lose weight, but I’m shocked how much I have lost – about 10-12 lbs. I have been weighing myself every morning, and this seems to have stabilized. My BMI has also dropped to around 21.5.
I have been doing my longer runs as soon as I wake up, with no carbs prior or during and I’ve used Vespa. At this point, I have only gone up to about 2 hours. Those runs have gone just fine, but they are really not long enough to get my body metabolizing fat. Hopefully my body is seeing them as a hint, and I can get some much longer distances in during October.
The big test for me will be Surf the Murph. My goal there is to take in mininal carbs, use Vespa, and see how far I go without bonking. No specific fuel plans just yet, but we’ll see. At the very least, I think this eating plan is a smart thing for me to do once or twice a year just as an eating-habits reminder. But I don’t think its a long term plan for me.