No alarm needed this night. Damn. I kind of ‘seizured’ up 5:30am to an enormous calf cramp, scaring the hell out of my girl of course. I was laughing in the meantime ! The long days in the saddle, the blood pooling, the probable lack of salts and dehydration, the creatine. All plays a role. This bastard was so powerful that I could not stop it while seated. I had to jump up – jump up I mean, crawl to the door and pull myself up by grabbing the door-handles – then stretch it ! I recently started pulling down the shades in the room to have complete darkness. It did not help either, to find the way to the door ! It went away straight and fortunately no muscle damage was done. I had once a giant inner thigh cramp on the first day of a week-long hike. I was in pain for the entire trip, due to that crippled muscle.
Fat up !
I follow this carb-phobic approach now, for constant and reliable energy. I of course know about the must of the elevated electrolytes and water intake, but it is hard for me. I always liked the plain taste of food. I like roasted meat with no salt and no spices, I love all fruits and vegetables raw, with no oils and salts. I mean I eat shredded cabbage, chew on carrots and cucumbers as snacks.
I tested this carb backloading approach many times. It works extremely well, when tuned in. I have enormous magnesium intake like 5 to 10 grams a day and consume all my foods salted. Or when I don’t want to, I add like half a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of magnesium flakes to 1L of water with the juice of 2 lemons. I chug it down slowly in 4-5minutes. That is crucial too. I can drink, if I wanted, in 10seconds. To avoid stomach distress, I prefer though gulping it down slowly !
So why this dietary approach ? Well, again, I ride now serious 10hour plus days as a bike messenger. Sometimes 12 to 13hours. A day off means I ride only 6. At this moment due to some financial issues, I don’t have an e-bike yet, but it is coming in a couple of weeks. I would like to get the focus back on my running and with this deep muscle fatigue and damage, it won’t be possible.
So the why ! I used to be 100% plant-based, I know how to make it work. I know how to make a fruit based or a starch based approach work. I know how to make a mixed classic whole food approach work. I mean I know in general for average activity levels. I mean average sport hours for me is like 30hour weeks.
Now I am pulling off over 60hour weeks ! You can put the balance on OVER, not on the 60 ! Not 6hour days like in the fuckin’ “What are you on?” Lance Armstrong video, but 10hours ! Flat pedals, heavy backpack, inhaling the fumes ! That is actually not so bad, comparing to Paris for instance. Summer time we suck on gas pipes, but the winter with it’s windy nights clears the city of Cannes.
So the thing is, that when I eat let’s say 1000 or even 1500kcals of rice / sweet potatoes / polenta for breakfast, in 3hours I am damn hungry and also my motivation levels go down. I have to refuel, then refuel, then refuel. I am not sure that it is good for the human health to bring in food like 8times a day.
Fruits are worst. I can smack down a 10banana smoothie with dates in it, all blended in cherry juice. Up towards the 2000kcal range. First of all, I feel like shit from it, even if chewed superbly slow. 20minutes of coma. Then there is the 2,5kg weight factor, what I have to carry up on hills, in addition to my over charged and oversized backpack. Then I am hungry in like 2 or 3 hours and have to go for the juices, bananas and snacks. I have no time for that.
The worst thing to your health is eat mixed. I am guilty of doing it sometimes. Rarely, but it might happen once or twice a month: Rice with olive oil, chicken with potatoes, 8egg oat pancakes, black-pudding with plantain, peanut butter banana date mix.
What about meat
I try getting only local, organic, outdoor grass-fed meat. It is easy. The 100% organic butcher is only 5minutes near me ! I can have a proper breakfast of 1000 to 1200kcals under 10euro. Sometimes under 5 bucks!
Not all meat created equal. Chicken is good for nothing ! 3-4hours I am hungry. I ate an entire chicken yesterday. Except the breast. Left that for the wife. So, around 1000g of greasy yellow healthy chicken. I was feeling empty with a dead flat stomach in a couple of hours.
However eggs ! They are epic. An 8 egg green omelette with 2 slices of fresh bacon. It was kind of hard to finish, but it fuelled me extremely well till 4pm. 8hours plus. Then I had my salted nuts with a can of mustard-mackerel and went till 9pm.
Beef is the best and the least amount I need from all meats. Porc, lamb, game meat are great, but a little more is necessary. I love porc made in goose fat. So energising !
Actually my real issue with everything else than saturated animal fat, is mind function. Non other gives me the motivation to work ! Non. I am flat and disappointed after a couple of hours. When I am loaded up on meat in the morning, the entire day flies by. Don’t forget, these are not just days of riding for me. It is one of my works and I am doing it every day. I have a vision, I work towards it !
Second, but as important as motivation, is joint health. Joint pain. Joint lubrication. The cartilage, meat, gelatine I eat, makes my stomach, hair, nails and of course articulations feel amazing.
More is not better though
So one issue was digestion, what I eliminated, by not eating for 6-8hours after my first meal. My stomach heals from the pause and the gelatinous substances. However, I have to continue fuelling myself. I can eat meat if wanted from an outdoor roasting “kitchen”, but it doesn’t feel right. I prefer nuts, avocados, a can of sardines with olives, maybe 1 banana and a handful of nuts in full-fat coconut cream. That works better for me, than 2 meat meals. I am not feeling as epic if consumed meat 2 to 3 times a day. That is not for me.
At the evening I am going after rice, plantain, manioca, potatoes and sweet ps’ ! Strategy is important in case of salt too. Especially after this morning’s incidence. Twice a day, I must drink that 1L of water with salts and magnesium. Suck it down, absorb it while setting the bed, showering and arraging my stuff for the next day.
Calcium I did not mention. I eat only farm raised outdoor eggs. I keep the shells, clean them, boil them for 10minutes, dry them for a day and make eggshell powder. I eat half teaspoon of that every single day. Calcium is extremely important.
In my opinion dairy is not necessarily good for you. I however believe that for certain situations it can help. Aged cheeses, colostrum and fermented kefir and yoghurt can help repopulating the stomach. I do a cure for a week at a time, when I eat every second day something milky. During the in-between days, I consume sauerkraut and kombucha.
This is where I am at now. I am balancing life, restarting my running next week after 20days of pause and resetting my health after that 220km running ordeal of Tor des Geants !