How to Fuel Your Workouts, Naturally — with Elite Ultrarunner and Fruitarian Michael Arnstein

One hundred miles. In under 13 hours. That’s seven minutes and 46 seconds per mile, for 100 of them.

My mind is blown every time I think about that. What makes it all the more incredible — or, in Mike Arnstein’s eyes, what made it possible — is that he reached this elite level of ultrarunning with a simple diet of raw fruits and vegetables.

You may know Mike as the Fruitarian. In addition to his spectacular 12:57.45 100-mile time (the 7th fastest in history by an American), his impressive resume includes wins at the Vermont 100 and the Javelina Jundred, a 135-mile Badwater finish and 153-mile Spartathlon finish, and a pair of 2:28 marathons at Boston and NYC.

Today I’m excited to share another interview clip, this one part of a new No Meat Athlete Academy seminar titled “Natural Workout Nutrition” where Mike shares his strategies for fueling before, during, and after his demanding workouts and races with so clean a plant-based diet.

In the clip, you’ll hear about his unorthodox post-race recovery food and an interesting technique for helping to regulate your electrolyte intake during races:

(If you’re reading by email or in an RSS reader, use this link to watch the video.)

The Academy opens on Wednesday, when the full, hour-long interview with Mike will be live and downloadable for members, complete with notes and a next actions worksheet. If you’d like me to send you an email update as soon as it is, sign up here.

In the meantime, check out Mike’s ultrarunning talk from the Woodstock Fruit Festival — his non-profit raw food event in the Adirondacks, which this year is a two-week long festival in August. I’ll be there for first week with my wife and kids, and I’ll also be giving a talk or two and leading a run! I’ve heard it’s a blast and we’re really looking forward to it.

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The Small-Steps Approach to Healthy Habits (And Sharing Something New)

Happy Marathon Monday! Wishing the best to everyone running and cheering today — and congrats to Jason, Joe, and of course, Meb. (And to Greg, whose wife’s Twitter post made my day.)

On a day that makes you proud to be a runner, to be part of a community who understands you, I’m excited to share something I’ve been working very hard on — something that I hope will take our little part of the running community at No Meat Athlete to a new level.

I’ll explain more below, but first, here’s an 8-minute sample of an interview I did with author and nutritionist Sid Garza-Hillman as part of the new project. In this segment, we talk about the “small steps” approach to habit change that underlies the whole 2-hour interview (and we actually did a second interview for another hour, too!).

(If you’re reading in email or an RSS reader, visit the post to view this video.)

A Better Way to Make Healthy Changes

At the beginning of the year, I sent around a survey to part of the NMA audience. I asked about a few frustrations people have with their diet and fitness, hoping to use our new community site to address the biggest one or two.

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3 Painless Ways to Start Eating Right When Nothing Else Will Work

small steps imageYou know what you’re supposed to eat.

You don’t need another blog post telling you this food is good and that one is bad … those rules seem to change every day anyway. (Hint: “Eat whole foods” is one that’s a constant.)

It’s not that you don’t want to eat healthy. You even understand that, over time, your taste buds will adjust, and you’ll actually crave raw fruits and vegetables while becoming less interested in processed and fried foods.

You know how important it is. Not just for you, but for your family. And that if you don’t start soon, it’ll one day be urgent. And — maybe — too late.

And yet …

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9 Ultra-Helpful Tips for Making the Leap from Marathoner to Ultrarunner

Note from Matt:  Last year when I chose the course for my first 100-miler, one of the criteria I looked for was “fair.” I didn’t want the easiest, flattest course around, but at the same time, it is 100 miles, so why make it tougher than it needs to be? 

Next month, Doug Hay will be running his first 100. But in choosing his race, he didn’t look for “fair.” Instead, he went with the race that most inspired him, the Massunutten Mountain Trails 100 — which happens to be one of the toughest on the East Coast. Not a coincidence.

This choice perfectly sums up Doug’s passion for ultrarunning and trails. And it’s the reason I asked him to answer a question that people ask me all the time these days: “I’ve run a marathon, but now I’d like to run an ultra. Any advice?”

Above all, the difference between marathoning and ultrarunning is the mindset, and Doug’s post will help you to understand that shift. 

Here’s Doug.

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When it comes to running ultramarathons — any distance over 26.2 miles — most people don’t have a clue where to start. The distance sounds so much longer, the courses so much tougher, and the word “ultra” that much more hard core.

I know that before running my first ultra, I worried about things like:

  • If I train for an ultramarathon, will I end up rotting alone somewhere deep in the woods?
  • Will training for an ultramarathon take over my life and piss off all my family and friends?
  • How do I even begin training for such a distance?

Questions like these were filling my head with doubt, and I know these same doubts are common based on the questions I get from runners and readers.

The good news is that the leap from marathoner to ultramarathoner isn’t as big as most runners believe. With a few key distinctions and (maybe) a little extra mileage, you can be well on your way to adding “ultra” to your running accomplishment list.

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Introducing the No Meat Athlete Community Site (Plus a Handful of New Speaking Events)

NMA badgeLast month, No Meat Athlete quietly turned five years old. I’d have loved to have planned a big hoopla giveaway extravaganza, but alas, I’ve been working on something better.

In five years, we’ve done some pretty neat things, not the least of which are putting some 20,000 “Runs on Plants” shirts out into the world, a book, and a book tour.

But without a doubt, my favorite moments in these past five years have been the stories: Wendy’s story, Tom’s story, Katie’s story, Susan’s story, to name just a few.

But these are just the ones that have made it onto the blog. During the book tour, I heard dozens, maybe hundreds more, in person. And of course many, many more on social media. (My favorites are when people randomly run into each other wearing NMA shirts and then become friends.)

What’s really remarkable, though? All these stories and connections have happened without a place for them to happen.

But finally, we’ve built that place.

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Engine 2′s Rip Esselstyn on No Meat Athlete Radio

Podcast Radio2You can’t get far into the plant-based world without hearing Rip Esselstyn’s name, and seeing the ubiquitous Engine 2 brand he’s created to help people eat Plant-Strong.

Walk through any Whole Foods, and you’ll see Engine 2 foods everywhere.

In those same Whole Foods stores and any Barnes and Noble, you’ll find Rip’s books, The Engine 2 Diet, which started it all, and his newest, My Beef With Meat.

And if you’ve watched Forks Over Knives, you’ve seen Rip there too, using his arms to pull himself up a firepole. (You know — “Real men eat plants, real men eat plants …”)

The Engine 2 story is well-known by now. The son of whole-food, plant-based diet advocate Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Rip challenged his fellow firefighters in Austin, Texas, to try a 28-day challenge on a plant-based diet. The results were spectacular, and the Engine 2 engine was set in motion.

What’s less known, though, is that Rip was a “no meat athlete” long before it was cool (it is actually cool, right?). Before Scott Jurek starting winning ultras, before Brendan Brazier wrote Thrive, before Rich Roll burst on the scene — and long before some chump started selling running carrot t-shirts — Rip was a professional triathlete, fueling his career with what would become the Plant-Strong diet.

I had the immense pleasure of hanging out with Rip for a day when my book tour brought me through Austin, where co-author Matt Ruscigno and I gave a lunch presentation at Whole Foods headquarters before eating E2 bowls from the store with Mr. E2 himself.

For a giant in the movement, Rip is laid back and a ton of fun, making this lifestyle seem not just appealing and energizing, but approachable. It comes through in this latest episode of NMA Radio, where he’s our guest.

Enjoy!

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • How Rip convinced a group of firefighters to go plant-based
  • The best way to adopt a plant-based diet
  • How the Engine 2 Diet resonates so well with men
  • Rip’s career as a professional triathlete
  • The Engine 2 food philosophy
  • How Rip is spreading the plant-based word with recipes and food products

Click the button below to listen now:

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Links from the show:

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In Defense of Inconvenience (and Why I Ditched My Smartphone)

Three days before I left to start my book tour last fall, I begrudgingly traded in my old phone (the one with the huge extended-life battery that always falls out, and that I usually hold together with a rubber band) for a smart one.

I had resisted for years, fearing that with 24/7 access to email, Twitter, and the like, I would become a miserable drone of a dad. Of a husband. Of a person.

But I needed the iPhone for the book tour. To use that nifty Square card swiper to sell books and shirts, to navigate from one state to the next, to book hotels on the go, and (crucially) to stay in touch with my wife and kids via Skype. In this case, the phone would help us to feel closer, not more distant.

I asked the sales rep at the Verizon store what my options were for when the book tour was over and I wanted to go back to my old phone.

“Once you get used to a smartphone,” he laughed, “you’ll never want to go back.”

The Inconvenience of a Plant-Based Diet

Something I often say about a vegan diet (that many other vegans seem not to like) is that it’s inconvenient — but that its inconvenience is its strength, when it comes to health.

I’ve come to believe that the best diet for any person is the diet that will cause him or her to make the best food choices. And that, far more than the replacement of animal products with plants, is why this diet has made me the healthiest I’ve ever been.

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Cream of Tomato Soup from the Oh She Glows Cookbook

ohsheglows 822x1024The day the long-awaited Oh She Glows Cookbook showed up on our doorstep was an exciting one indeed.

My wife and I do a lot of cooking at home, and time permitting, we make as much as we can from scratch — staples like almond butter, hummus, almond milk, and vegetable stock. Foods that of course you can buy, but it just feels better (and it’s usually cheaper, too) to make them ourselves.

And if there’s one blog that has helped us find our way along this less-trodden (these days), do-it-yourself path — and one blog that seems to turn up whenever we Google “how to roast pumpkins” or “oil-free vegan pancake recipe” — it’s Oh She Glows, by Angela Liddon.

Though we haven’t met in person, Angela has become an online friend of mine. I jumped at the chance to get a review copy, knowing major points would be scored on the  home front (as they always are when advance copies of cookbooks show up) but also genuinely excited to see how Angela would distill her considerable natural cooking chops and hundreds of recipes on her blog into a cohesive, comprehensive book format.

To nobody’s surprise, she has done it beautifully, with rustic, DIY elegance.

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