UConn FASTER study and blood test results

I’d like to share my comprehensive blood test results from the UConn FASTER study and their Human Performance Lab. They are studying elite ultra endurance athletes with varying diets. I’ve been vegan or vegetarian for 13 out of the past 14 years and the past 16 months I’ve been eating a ‘fruitarian’ high carb diet.

Bottom line: My results were about perfect. The study showed I use fuel very efficiently, my nutrient levels are where I want them to be as well as my cholesterol, protein, urea, hematocrit, hormones, triglycerides, body fat %, lipoproteins and much more that they tested.

Damian received a Certification in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell and offers Nutritional Coaching.

FASTER results-page-001FASTER results-page-003

FASTER results-page-004 FASTER results-page-002View my complete lipoprotein and cholesterol results HERE

My experience eating fruitarian

-Damian Stoy is the founder of Wholistic Running and is a professional ultra endurance athlete.  He received a certification in Nutrition from Cornell and offers Nutritional Coaching as well as Online Running Coaching.

For many years I wanted more energy, greater health and better performance. I have tried a variety of supplements and ‘diets’ including Paleo, cleanses, superfoods and the ‘Clean Diet’ and nothing worked. I then decided to experiment with a raw, fruit-based (fruitarian) diet for just one week. Instead, it turned into a 16 month life changing experience.

Almost immediately after going fruitarian, I felt my energy levels increase.  After a month, I felt like a NEW person.  I now feel vibrant, alive and I am absolutely thriving.  My energy levels are high ALL day long, everyday.  Most of the time, I feel like I am ‘bouncing of the walls’ with energy yet I do not have the energy crashes many people have (I consume no stimulants such as coffee, tea, chocolate).  I’m sleeping better, have much greater mental clarity, am more focused and I’m happier.  My digestion has strengthened (didn’t know mine could get better), my skin is clearer and my eyes are brighter.

I also won the Antelope Island 100k race recently with the second fastest time ever.  My time at this year’s Wasatch 100 was an hour faster than last year. I also recently won the Bighorn 50 miler. Bottom line:  I feel totally ALIVE, I am performing better and I am THRIVING.

My girlfriend Lindsey has experienced similar if not greater benefits. She has unlimited energy and is at her ideal weight, something she has been looking to achieve for many years.DSC_0630

UPDATE⇒ Three years since going fruitarian, Damian has won several ultra marathon races and Lindsey has won 5 consecutive races including the RRCA Montana State 5k Championships. We have modified how we eat because a fruitarian diet has its challenges and we found what works just as well. Our way is easier, tastier, cheaper and has all the same health benefits.This is why Lindsey (she has a M.S. in Holistic Nutrition) and I offer Nutritional Consulting. It’s so others can get just as amazing results including weight lose, increased energy, vibrant health and better performance. If you want similar or better results, our nutritional consulting is the answer. Click HERE to learn more.

2013 Wasatch 100 – “Never Give Up”

Running 100 miles is a challenge.  Running 100 miles in the mountains with over 26,000 ft. of uphill and over 26,500 ft. of downhill in one day is crazy . Yet, I decided to run Wasatch again this year even after last year I swore I would never do it again (read on to see if I’ll ever do Wasatch again).

My preparation for Wasatch this year was somewhat better than last year (check out my past race results).  I put in about the same amount of mileage as last year but with less racing in 2013.  Instead,this year I focused on playing in spectacular places such as Glacier and Grand Teton National Parks and the Beartooth Wilderness area. As I saw it, the one advantage I had this year over last year is that for the 4 months prior to the 2013 Wasatch, I ate fruitarian.  That’s right, I ate 99% just fruits and vegetables.  I was curious…and nervous, to see if going fruitarian would contribute to my success or possibly my failure.

The night before Wasatch, Lindsey and I slept under the stars at the start of the race.  It was spectacular and we got a good 3 hours of sleep.  The start of the race approached and like always, I saw lots of friends and wished them a great day.

And just like that, me and a couple hundred other runners were off into the darkness at 5 am.  The first 20 miles I enjoyed chatting with other runners and I quickly fell into my groove.  It was refreshing  to have company before the long day ahead.

I felt great for the first 30 miles.  However, during one long descent, I started feeling my quads more than usual so early in the race.  I knew this would be a very rough day for me! So I did what I normally do which is focus on my running technique.  In this case, it meant focusing on engaging my core to help absorb the impact of the very long downhills. Temperatures were pushing 95 degrees and I did everything I could to stay cool including put ice under my hat, stay wet, drink sufficient fluids and maintain adequate electrolyte balance.  However, I reached the Big Mountain aid station incredibly hot and more fatigued than I wanted.  My excellent crew was there to greet me and take care of me.  They included my wonderful dad, amazing girlfriend Lindsey, and super helpful brother Alex.  A few minutes of care and off I went.

The next section was the hottest part of the day.  It was hard to consume enough calories, drink enough fluids and stay cool.  I was ready to puke, quit and pass out all at the same time.  “Just get to Lambs aid station”, I kept telling myself.  Miles 45-52 were some of the most challenging of my life.  It was fairly flat but the heat was unbearable.  I decided I would get to Lambs and quit.

Seeing my crew and family after running 52 miles is just heaven.  I ran in, knowing I would quit but not wanting to tell them just yet.  They cooled me off, gave me food and provided the support I desperately needed.  I whispered to Lindsey that I was “cooked”, “done” and ready to “quit”.  She didn’t say much, but I knew she supported me no matter what…as long as that meant keep going. Luckily for me, my brother Alex decided to jump in and pace me.  He’d run with me to Brighton.  To have a brother physically fit enough to jump in to help at any time is pretty cool.  I take him for granted and can’t thank him enough.  I finally decided to get going and we took off from Lamb’s with me thinking, “I’ll just quit at the next aid station” which was about 8 miles up.

I spent the next hour trying to refuel, cool off and rehydrate which I slowly did.  Alex and I reached the next aid station and I felt somewhat better.  I decided, “I’ll just make it to Brighton” which is at mile 75.  Then I’ll quit.  We continued to run together and had a blast. Darkness fell and we put on our headlamps.  I serenaded Alex with hits of the 80’s and 90’s.  I know he enjoyed it because my singing is pretty good.  We finally reached Brighton where I again was ready to give up.  But, luckily for me, Lindsey found a willing fool to pace me to the finish.  This was just what I needed since I was adamant about quitting (at least to myself) and especially not wanting to head into the darkness alone knowing and afraid my legs wouldn’t carry me the rest of the way.

The spontaneous fool that joined me was Nate Blouin and I cannot thank him enough for joining me on my adventure.  He was positive, funny and very helpful.  Slow and steady we kept ticking off the miles.  I was tired, grumpy and ready to be done but still had to do some tremendous work to reach my final goal.  Miles 82-92 were the longest of my life and Nate did the best he could to keep me going.  Ultra races are crazy (and addictive) because of the extreme highs and lows both mentally and physically.  One minute I felt on top of the world and the next I felt ready to give up and melt into the ground.

Fortunately, I got into mile 92 feeling pretty good.  From here, the race was mostly on a dirt road which allowed me to pick up the pace quite a bit.  So off we ran.  I am very proud to say that for the last 6 miles, I ran almost every step of the way.  Finally, we could see the finish and like always, I started getting very emotional.  I couldn’t get to the finish line fast enough for I was excited to see my family, hug Lindsey and be done.  I sprinted (probably running 6 mph) into the finish where I embraced them and couldn’t have been more happy. After wanting to give up so badly and so often, I finally reached my goal in a time of 24:15:51 in 13th place.  It was a tremendous feeling of accomplishment and joy.

I couldn’t have achieved my goal without the support of so many people.  I want to thank my family, especially my dad and Alex for supporting me.  Without Lindsey’s encouragement and positive energy, I could not have reached the finish.  I also want to thank Nate for helping me get to the finish.  And finally, I’d like to thank all the volunteers and race directors for helping myself and hundreds of others achieve something they will never forget.

It is now a week after the race.  I am amazed at how quickly I have recovered.  I have already gone for a few runs and feel wonderful.  I attribute my quick recovery and ability to run such long distances completely injury-free while performing well to several things. First, to my dedicated practice of an efficient running technique which I also teach. Eating vegan greatly contributes to my performance and health.  I greatly appreciate the support of my sponsors.  For shoes, I wore the Altra Superior’s which were awesome, check them out HERE. I used mostly Hammer Nutrition to fuel me during the race. Macrolife Naturals also contributed to my performance, quick recovery time and overall health.

So will I do Wasatch next year?  Maybe.  Right now I’m focused on doing another 100 miler sometime in October.  I said it was addicting right…

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Reduce fatigue, race faster and perform better

Damian Stoy is a professional ultra marathon runner, biomechanics specialist, respected coach and nutritional consultant.

You may believe that you need to train harder and very often to perform well.  However, I train infrequently and perform very well (see my race results) because I run smarter not harder and I use these tips I am sharing with you now.  Eating well and an efficient running technique can greatly reduce fatigue, improve your performance and make for a more enjoyable running experience.  

What causes fatigue when you run?

Energy inefficiency:   The most effective way to have a less fatigue when you run is to reduce energy expenditure. If we can run more efficiently, we can run faster and farther with less effort and more joy. Running can literally be easier.  An efficient running technique reduces energy expenditure and increases performance. Damian teaches efficient running technique for runners of all levels.  He also offers online coaching and online video analysis with individualized technique guidance plans..

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Oxygen debt:  Muscles require maximum oxygen to function optimally.  How do we increase our oxygen capacity?  One way is consuming adequate iron.  Iron, a component of hemoglobin, is what transports oxygen throughout the body.

Foods to consume daily for optimal iron levels in the blood:  chlorella, blackstrap molasses, dark leafy greens

Metabolic waste buildup:   Waste products build up in the muscles causing fatigue (i.e. lactic acid).  Having a healthy body pH is crucial for overall health but also to handle the excessive waste products accumulated during running.  An alkaline body will feel much less fatigued during a race than an acidic body.

  •        Alkalizing foods:  Fruits and vegetables, wheatgrass
  •        Acidifying foods:  Meat, excess protein, dairy, sugar, alcohol, coffee

Impact and stress on muscles:  Impact causes injury and fatigue during races.  Reducing impact is crucial for increased performance especially for longer distances but is helpful for all races.  The best way to minimize impact is an efficient, low impact running technique. 

Inflammation:  Excessive inflammation also causes fatigue.  We can reduce inflammation by going into a race with a ‘healthy’ inflammation response.  Consuming omega-3’s and other natural anti-inflammatories daily helps decrease inflammation during races.  I recommend flax oil and Tissue Rejuvenator daily.  High daily antioxidant levels as well as during a race reduces muscle damage and fatigue.  Incorporate goji berries, wheatgrass, fresh juices and lots of fruits and veggies for high levels of natural antioxidants.

Pre-Race:  I taper/rest 7-21 days before a race, depending on the specific race.  You can rarely rest too much but you can train too much before a race.  As I taper for a race, I also make sure I’m eating plenty of alkalizing foods including fruits and veggies.  I make sure to have sufficient electrolytes in my body by consuming Endurolytes for a few days before a race.

Race:  The morning of the race, I eat very little.  People are surprised to hear I eat a banana or two and that’s it before a 50 mile race.  I don’t want my digestive system taxed during the race.  If prepared properly, my body should have plenty of stored glycogen already.  Please be advised, I am pushing myself harder than the average runner and therefore am very picky.  Also, do not try any new food right before a race.

Foods for Increased Health, Healing, Energy and Performance

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Damian Stoy is the founder of Wholistic Running, elite ultra marathon runner and coach

I am often asked what are the best foods to eat for health, increased energy, recovery, healing injuries and performance.  I believe certain foods are beneficial for everyone and I will share my thoughts including what has worked for me.

Eating for Overall Heath and Well Being

I suggest eating a variety of food that is whole, unrefined, local, and organic.  Eat real food!  Keep it creative and fun and try not to be too restrictive.  Include lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds and nuts.  What you eat everyday is the foundation of health.  Do not rely on supplements, pills and miracle foods for health.

I highly suggest getting rid of dairy products (cheese, milk, yogurt) as well as other highly inflammatory and mucus forming foods such as refined flours, sugar, wheat, eggs, alcohol and fried foods.  Excessive mucus lines the GI tract and severely hampers your body’s ability to assimilate nutrients and digest food.  Also, these foods are common allergens and produce symptoms such as runny noses and phlegm in the throat or lungs.  This is not normal!  If you have these symptoms, play around with eliminating certain foods for a week or two and see if you notice any improvements.  Foods that help rid the body of excess mucus includes lemons, apple cider vinegar, ginger and cayenne.

For runners specifically, I suggest nutrient dense foods such as quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth and brown rice.  Try to limit pasta, non-whole grain and wheat products.  Enzyme rich foods provide energy and include sprouts, raw foods, fresh juices, miso and wheatgrass.  Include foods rich in healthy fats including flax seeds, avocados, olive oil and coconut oil.

Foods for Performance

Incorporating specific performance enhancing foods is something you may want to try.  Foods known as adaptogens are beneficial for many reasons including increased endurance, stamina, energy and a healthy immune system.  Adaptogens include ginseng, maca, astragalus, chia seeds and goji berries.  I also recommend flax oil, turmeric, ginger and wheatgrass for their anti-inflammatory properties and greatly reducing recovery time.  For runners, I recommend foods high in iron and those which build the blood.  Those include dark greens, spirulina, cherries, seaweeds, beets, parsley and molasses.  Incorporating these foods will allow you to assimilate oxygen more efficiently and result in greater performance.  Ample fresh herbs and spices are recommended for anti-oxidants and to benefit digestion.  Examples include ginger, cayenne, garlic, cinnamon and oregano.

Supplements

I don’t use supplements most of the year but during the race season I incorporate a few to recover faster and improve performance.  I highly recommend Tissue Rejuvenator from Hammer Nutrition for healing, reducing inflammation and speeding up recovery.  Zyflamend is another great product with similar benefits.  Hammer Nutrition provides a variety of super high quality supplements that increase performance and overall health.  Click on this to get 15% off your first order!

Choosing healthy substitutions can make an immense difference in overall health.  Don’t just get rid of the bad, enjoy the good!  Since we all have cravings, here are some recommendations for alternative foods that satisfy and actually provide healthful benefits instead of dis-ease.

  • Replace ‘bad’ fats with coconut oil, olive oil, avocados and flax oil.
  • Replace table salt with Celtic and Real Salt.  Seaweeds, herbs and spices provide the real flavor and nutrients we crave.
  • Replace white sugar with maple syrup, honey, molasses, dates and agave.
  • Snacks:  seaweed or kale chips (salty), apple with almond butter.
  • Hydrate with herbal teas and fresh juices not soda or coffee.

To find out specifically which foods benefit you, I suggest listening to your body.  Remember, eat real food and play with what works for you.  You’ll have more energy, greater health and will be able to do more of what you love to do in life.