The Feed – What it means to eat clean as an athlete

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Welcome to The Feed and we are back in the studio! Sorry about the delays and getting studio recordings back up and running but between some equipment malfunctions and a busy few weeks its been tough putting time together for a studio show. As I like to say “lets not make great the enemy of good and do the best you can with the time you have”.

This time of year I get asked quite a bit about diets. The athletes that ask know that to make the most of their training they need to optimize what they eat. So they want to know what works best or what I think of this or that diet. November of last year Coach Kelly and I hosted No Fat November to discuss all kinds of topics related to fat loss during the entire month of November. I loved the challenge of learning even more about weight loss and nutrition. The most listened to show from that month was the show on Intermittent Fasting. So what I have decided to do is to look at some of the diets that are being marketed to athletes. These diets may not be necessarily about weight loss alone but about getting the most out of the food you do eat.

So today I am going to talk a bit more about what it means to eat clean, but before we dive in I have some notes and a new offer.

Note: Before you get out pencil and paper for the show I want to let everyone know that that this show will have extensive show notes. To find the show notes simply go to or search for the show title on our website.

Offer: The Endurance QuickCast and Positive Performance Coaching have a new Sponsor!!!!! Spring Energy the sports nutrition that is Real Food and Real Energy. Check them out at We want you to give Spring Energy a try! So please use the coupon code ppcstrong10 at check out to receive 10% off of your purchase. Let us know what you think. Listen through the entire show to learn more about my own experiences with Spring Energies Nutrition and some other exciting news about Spring Energy and The Feed Podcast.

Note: The new PPC Newsletter is close being released! So make sure to register by visiting and register! The first new newsletter will have details on our 2018 athlete and team sponsorship offer, the 2018 PPC EQC Training Kit Order, 2018 Spring Training Camp, and more!

The fundamentals of eating clean encourage you to consume more whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats — and limit highly processed snack foods, sweets and other packaged foods. – The Mayo Clinic

For the most part I agree with the statement from the Mayo Clinic with some exceptions. I think that the whole concept of Eating Clean has gotten a bad wrap because of the vagueness of directions provided by those who tout the Clean Diet as the best diet for health and sports performance. So fare warning I am going to put my own spin on eating clean.

When it comes to the direction I have been given by Coach Kelli and Coach Scott, my strength development coach, of daily nutrition it has been that eating clean is the way to go but what does clean eating entail.

It’s actually quite simple.

We eat whole foods at every meal with an emphasis on Veg, lean forms of protein, whole grains, good fats and complex carbs for the slow burn that doesn’t create energy spikes during the day. That’s it in a nutshell. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble but when it comes to eating clean there doesn’t have to be any great complexity.

There are few more things you can do to dial it in such as the following

  • Food should be organic
  • When it comes to vegetables greens come first
  • When it comes to the color of your fruits and vegetables the brighter and more vibrant the colors the better they are for you
  • When it comes to your protein source the less legs the better
  • When purchasing fish look for wild caught varieties over farm raised
  • When purchasing beef look for grass fed organic varieties
  • When purchasing other animal based proteins look for organic labels and labels that ensure the animals were not give hormones or antibiotics.

Just because we use the word diet when we talk about nutrition I think way to many people think weight loss but that isn’t what I am necessarily trying to help you with today. Yes you can certainly lose weight by eating clean but losing weight often has more to do with how often you eat, when you eat and more importantly how much you eat. As you have heard me say a thousand times by now everyone is different and losing weight is going to be different for everyone.

If you are trying to lose weight and are trying to keep the concept of eating clean then most certainly put a much greater emphasis on Veg. However you will want to steer clear of starchy veg and grains. You may even want to remove dairy for a period of time to see if it helps with your weight loss if your weight loss stalls.

If we think back to what the Mayo Clinic has posted about eating clean then one thing I left out was limiting or staying away from packaged foods. I agree and disagree with this notion. I agree that we should stay far away from prepackaged snacks and meals for our daily nutrition but when it comes to training, racing or participation of an endurance related sport you are going to likely need to lean on prepackaged sports nutrition.

If you truly are interested in eating clean and making a break from the way you use to consume your daily nutrition take a look at the labels of your favorite prepackaged foods and snacks. What you may see is a label that sounds like a science experiment gone wrong. It had an environmental science teacher in college that once said that if you couldn’t pronounce the ingredients in the food you were about to eat that you shouldn’t eat it and that if you could pronounce the names you likely knew what they were and would never ever want to eat it.

However the modern endurance athlete has families a full time job and very little time to prepare their own daily meals much less make their own homemade sport nutrition out of whole foods. Sure you can ride on fruits and nuts while riding but many of us know by now that once can not train and race just on bananas, nuts and seeds for long. Either they don’t provide the right amount of energy or they are to hard on the stomach when it gets hot or intensity ramps up.

This is where the sport nutrition industry steps in. There are NO SHORTAGE of gels, bars, gummies and drink mixes to support your training and your competition. They are easy to store on and run or ride, easy to handle and easy to consume. But they may not be right for you. Remember everyone is different.

Several years ago I had a cancer scare and had to have a portion of my Thyroid removed. Cancer was averted thank goodness and after some much needed surgical recovery I was back to training and racing with a normally functioning thyroid. However I was warned that I could later on in life see my remaining thyroid not function as well. That is exactly what happened 3 years ago. It took the most of a year for the diagnosis and treatments to start, which meant taking varying doses of thyroid medication and blood tests until it was determine that my thyroid was functioning optimally again.

I learned a lot in this time period about improving my diet and learning what worked for me and didn’t. I felt like everyday that first years was one big science experiment. One of the problems I faced was constant bloat. Let me tell you trying to do anything on a bike or run when it feels like you swallowed a beach ball was hard. As with most things I have encountered in coaching and life there are very few single trigger things or events, everything is cumulative. But one of things I started to discover that was casing me the most problems was my sports nutrition.

Gels congaing copious amounts of sucrose, dextrose, Maltodextrin and glucose were no longer my friends. The more I consumed the more bloated and slower I became. Fast forward to this season and I cut back on my gel intake and mix in some whole food alternatives and only used gels on race days. This helped immensely but two things kept coming back to me. My doctor is always remaking on my blood work about whether a measure is optimal. This got me to investigate further the idea of further optimizing my sports nutrition. Could I eat whole foods while actually racing? The answer of course is yes but the reality was it is a pain to prepare and package for a race.

By chance I see that a sports nutrition brand I am not familiar with has connected with me on twitter and I look a bit deeper. I find that they are making products that might address some of the concerns I have about prepackaged sports nutrition. I put off contacting them until the bloat returned again. Fast forward as few weeks ago I set up a call with the owner and founder of Spring Energy to talk about their product and was impressed with his knowledge and his own story as a competitive ultra runner and how this influenced the creation of the Spring Energy products.

Spring Energy sent me a sample package of their current gels and electro ride mixes to try. I consumed everything but a few elctro ride mixes in one week of light to moderate riding. I will tell you the same thing I told the owner of Spring Energy.

Tastes great, love the consistency, no sticky mess, no energy spikes and more importantly NO BLOAT. I never felt hungry if I stuck to my feed strategies on these rides and it always felt like I had strong energy reserves. With other gels I was always worried that 30 minutes between gels was to long of a gap. This was often because of the highs and lows that can accompany some of the other brands that use lots of simple sugars and simple fast burning carbs. I also love the fact that I can certainly read the ingredients on the labels and its all-whole foods and NO artificial preservatives.

Here is the amazing news my talks with the owner of Spring Energy have lead to the 2018 sponsorship of the Endurance QuickCast and of Positive Performance Coaching Athletes. We hit it off so well the owner is going to co-host the feed with me going forward!!!!!

So stay tuned for new editions of The Feed very soon to get your introduction to my new cohost! Also don’t forget about the promo code ppcstrong 10 to get 10% off of your own purchase at Spring Energy. Also like all good sport nutrition companies Spring teamed up with one of their sponsored athletes Sage Canaday to create a new product called Spring CANABERRY ENERGY GEL. This energy gel is specifically formulate for higher intensity performances. To get your own CANABERRY ENERGY GEL you will need to pledge on Kicksarter to secure the future of the CANABERRY ENERGY GEL. I have a link in the show notes to the Kickstarter campaign and it is

Really looking forward to working with Spring Energy on additional projects of our own and having them as a co-host on The Feed!!!!!

Music for show intro, outro, and mid-play break: “Jahzzar ( CC BY-SA
Intro and Outro music: Battle from the Crime Scene Album from Jahzzar
Mid-play break music: Please Listen Carefully from the Tumbling Dishes Like Old-Man’s Wishes Album

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