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.

Lots More Details about the Academy

In case you missed yesterday’s post, the No Meat Athlete Academy idea came about when I realized three things:

  • People have a lot of frustrations when it comes to their diet, lifestyle, and fitness goals that keep them from really thriving in their active, plant-based lifestyle
  • There are so many amazing experts in the plant-based fitness community, each with their own unique approach
  • Blog posts and podcast interviews just aren’t enough for people who want to make serious progress — there’s not enough depth or continuity as we can have in a dedicated, private setting

The big difference between Academy content and what you get on the blog or a podcast is that the information here is focused, in-depth, and actionable — one main topic or theme to each seminar, plus supporting materials and the chance to get answers to your questions about each seminar’s topic. The first month’s topic was author Sid Garza-Hillman’s small-steps approach to health, this month’s is natural sports nutrition with Mike Arnstein.

Future topics will likely include:

  • attaining your healthiest weight
  • injury-free running, even at high mileage
  • quick, simple, and healthy meals and snacks
  • how to create a meal plan to support your goals
  • finding the time to fit it all in
  • how to stay motivated and energized

In the seminars with guests, we’re not going for casual chit-chat and life stories — we’re sharing how our guests get results, and how you can apply that knowledge to your life … whether in diet, fitness, habits, or lifestyle.

More details? Here’s what membership in the NMA Academy includes, each month:

Education – each month’s content is based around at least one audio seminar or webinar, usually with the help of a guest expert, about a specific topic within plant-based diet, fitness and sports, or healthy lifestyle. These sessions are the core of the content, and they’re action-oriented and focused.

Followup Q&A on the Month’s Topic – a Q&A session (often with the guest), so you can get answers to your questions about the seminar topic.

Monthly General Q&A Session – a general Q&A session with me. While the questions here can focus on the month’s seminar topic, they don’t have to. This is your chance to get advice or get unstuck with anything related to diet, fitness, lifestyle, and mindset, or just hang out for an hour with like-minded folks and listen to the discussion.

Private Forums – Academy members also have access to private, members-only forums where you can connect with like-minded fellow members (you’ll see these forums at the bottom of the public forums). Besides the conversation with a vibrant, passionate community of members, this is also the place where you’ll submit Q&A questions or suggestions for future topics and guests you’d like to see in the Academy.

Got it? The Academy Opens this Wednesday!

Two hundred previous NMA customers got in a month early to help me make the Academy great, and now we’re just about ready to go public with it. Current No Meat Athlete readers will get a special price that won’t be available to anyone else after the end of the month, and I’ll have all the details tomorrow.

If you’re not already on the NMA newsletter list and you’d like to get email updates about the Academy, you can go here to sign up for that.

See you tomorrow!



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  1. Interesting idea about recovery. I’ve got a 50km race coming up in a week and I’ll definitely give Mike’s idea a go. I would think inflammation preventing things like celery, pineapple etc would be optimal.

  2. A couple of comments. I think he has some great points, but I have trouble with nutrition advice coming from somebody without formal nutrition education. Sure, his resume is impressive, but Michael Phelps also achieved incredible things eating many of the foods Michael Arnstein says to avoid. I would like to see scientific evidence that his diet is, as he claims, “the healthiest form of veganism”.

    Secondly, I really hate the term “clean food” for so many reasons. It attaches unnecessary shame to eating, as if I’m somehow dirty or less valuable for enjoying a package of Oreos or even a homemade slice of cake. There’s nothing morally superior about the self-control required to only eat fruits and vegetables. And that doesn’t even touch on the issue of defining “clean”—what are your criteria for “clean” foods? What exactly makes a food “dirty”? What’s dirtier, brown rice or quinoa? kale or broccoli? white bread or maple syrup? and why?

    I love that you’re willing to try all sorts of different diets—I think that’s great. I also think it’s great to present the information to people as an option. But I also think it’s dangerous to present a single person’s experience as expertise in a topic. Maybe Arnstein has more credentials than he lists on his website, but I wouldn’t trust him to give me dietary advice.

    • Hi Michaela, I don’t disagree. I also worry people will attempt to make drastic changes to their lives without having all the proper information and suffer as a result.

    • read disclaimer on the left of the page.

    • fleurdeleesa says:

      I think this *is* presenting it as an option. Matt clearly isn’t on an all raw diet as evidenced by the recipes in his book. White bread and Oreos are dirty because they are excessively processed and full of chemicals.

      • fleurdeleesa:
        As I said, I’m glad that it’s an option being presented. I certainly would love some recipes that don’t use the stove, and I love that fruit isn’t getting bashed as too high in sugar. My concern is the fervor with which Arnstein presents his diet, with lack of scientific evidence. This happens too often in the nutrition world and can be very dangerous.

        I agree that Oreos and white bread are highly processed, yes. However, I don’t think it’s appropriate to attach a charged, negative label to those foods, like “dirty”. I think it IS appropriate to educate people about processed foods—NOT appropriate to make the judgement for them and about them for eating those foods.

    • Michaela Copenhaver “I would like to see scientific evidence that his diet is, as he claims, “the healthiest form of veganism.”

      Science is about gathering data based on observation and measurement. Scientifically a diet either works or it doesn’t. Mike is a living example of how the body responds when it is fuelled with the right diet. He would be in the top 1% in North America in terms of health, he puts his success as an athlete primarily down to being a plant based diet, as did Martina Navratilova, Carl Lewis, Edwin Moses.

      Michaela Copenhaver “I also think it’s dangerous to present a single person’s experience as expertise in a topic.”

      Dangerous? :-/ I think it’s pretty clear to everyone that this is an opinion piece, not a quote from a science journal.

      Michaela Copenhaver “…what are your criteria for “clean” foods?”

      Easy, they are the foods that makes your body feel and perform its best.

      “Maybe Arnstein has more credentials than he lists on his website, but I wouldn’t trust him to give me dietary advice.”

      Mike is not asking anyone to trust or believe him, nor is he stating he is an expert. He is simply showing by his lifestyle how fruitarianism has transformed his life for the better. It’s up to the thinking person to decide whether or not to investigate it further.

    • Hi Matt, excellent article and video – thanks for taking the time to share this!

      To Michaela’s Copenhaver comments:

      I am not sure eating fruits and vegetables really has anything to do with “moral superiority” as you put it. It’s simply an option, but one that clearly is working for Mike.

      His “fervor in which he presents his diet” is clearly due to the results he’s getting. I would also be pretty intense and passionate on the subject if I believed fruitarianism enabled me to finish 29th in the New York marathon.

      I work in the health industry and I haven’t met a single nutritionist that looks as healthy as Mike.

  3. I found this post interesting especially with the diet. I have been a vegetarian for two years now and my only weakness is sweets when it come to eating healthy while I am training. Other than sweets I feel as though my diet is healthy that consists of fruits and plenty of vegetables and food high in protein such as tofu, quinoa, beans, and of course protein shakes after a work out. But I am wondering if having a sweet tooth will prevent me from doing my best in training for a race?

    • Monica,
      I’m in the same camp when it comes to having a sweet tooth. I found the trick is to try and replace the bad sweets with good ones such as sweet fruit or healthy homemade sweets. Be aware of your triggers, e.g. mine is right after a meal, and have the healthy sweets ready.

  4. I think he can call then dirty foods if he likes. I don’t think you have to. Extremely processed and foods full of chemicals being called dirty is okay in my book. Dirty dozen?


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