There's going to be some hubris in this blog post, but I'm ok with it because I'm proud of what Michael and I are doing. I've been on the zero sugar diet for around 45 days. If you haven't been following along, here's the original post which outlines what we're testing this spring.  Michael and I have learned A LOT from our VO2 Max testing, as well as our baseline blood work. For today, however, I'm focusing on what we're experiencing anecdotally. Stuff like what's our overall training workload, has it been tough to execute workouts, and do we feel good or bad? To get a better understanding of how much I actually workout, I've been logging my training time, weight, and sleep pattern with TrainingPeaks. Since February 16th, I've averaged 12 hours of exercise per week. Roughly 50% of that time has been strength work (Crossfit), and the other 50% of that time has been endurance activities (cycling, running, backcountry skiing). To put it plainly, I feel fantastic. I worked out everyday from March 5th through March 24th, and never felt like I was doing too much or was getting overly fatigued. My energy levels are extremely high, and in general, I feel balanced. I'm not willing to say that eliminating sugar is the reason for how I've felt over the past 45 days, but I do think that this dietary change has allowed me to to perform better. Here's a quick run down of the nutrition I've used with success:
  • Dr. Sprouse told Michael and I that we weren't allowed to lose weight during this test, so I've replaced calories from sugar and carbs with healthy fats; tree nuts, coconut, Omega-3s. Liberal use of olive oil whenever I eat a salad. I've been adding MCT Oil and butter to my coffee 3-4 times per week for added fat.
  • My macronutrient profile is roughly 30% protein, 30% fat, 40% carbohydrate.
  • I've been using SFH products extensively as a protein supplement, but generally not more than 30 grams (one serving) per day. I've also been eating a lot of eggs and chicken breast for high quality real food protein.
  • My carbohydrates are coming largely from grilled cheese sandwiches and burritos because they are awesome. I also eat a little bit of fruit, and of course...maple syrup post-exercise, for recovery.
As an additional note, both Michael and I have been using Beet powders for recovery extensively over the past 45 days. We've found that they work best 10-15 minutes after a workout, and are ideally taken on an empty stomach. We'll eat a complete meal 25-35 minutes after a workout. Both Beet Elite and Pure Clean Powder are great options for you to try. If you aren't in love with the taste of beets, give the Beet Elite Black Cherry flavor a try! In a previous blog post, Michael noted how much he feels like he's benefitting from the beet powder supplements:
I use Beet Elite once a day. It’s the first bottle I grab after I run, whether that’s a 16 mile run or a shorter tempo workout on the track. I believe recovery is the most important piece of being a good athlete. The beet juice increases my blood flow, which strengthens my recovery both in quality and timing. My body is able to recover faster, so immediately after an interval I feel better, and am ready to go for the next interval. I recover quicker, and I’ve been running quicker too. Partially my overall fitness level has increased, and I’ve made other changes to my diet (I’ve cut out refined sugar) but I’m running better than ever. During training this week I ran 3x 2-mile tempos at less than 5:05 pace. I have never done that before, comfortably. On every daily run I feel so much more relaxed. I’m relaxed because my muscles aren’t as strained. They are more comfortable because they are receiving more oxygen due to my increased blood flow. To top it all off, the flavor is incredible, I love the black cherry taste. There are minimal ingredients, no sugar added and it’s super low in calories.
Michael and I are both excited to see what the next 45 days brings, and frankly, we don't think we'll go back to eating sugar after this. For me personally, I will definitely eat a piece of my favorite cake (lemon lime from Kim and Jake's Cake in Boulder), but beyond that I feel no need to add sugar back to my diet.