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How I Ate A High Fat Diet, Pooped 8 Pounds, And Then Won A Sprint Triathlon.

64 Comment(s)

Ben Greenfield Snake River

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On Friday (three days ago), I posted this tweet:

 

So what’s the story behind the “ten pound poop”?

squatty pottyWell, I got a Squatty Potty (pictured right). They sent me one to evaluate, so I tried it out on Friday morning, just before I was about to leave town for a sprint triathlon.

As you know if you watch my YouTube channel, I recently got a Tanita body fat scale. So although I don’t normally weigh myself, I’ve been messing around with the scale, and happened to have weighed myself just a half hour before I decided to try the Squatty Potty.

I was totally shocked at what happened, and the reasoning behind using the Squatty Potty is basically this:

Your body is meant to be in a squatting position to properly eliminate stuff from your colon. You can control to some extent your need to defecate by contracting or releasing the sphincter on your backside.

But that sphincter muscle can’t maintain proper pooping function on it’s own.

Instead, your body relies on a bend between the rectum, where the feces is stored- and the anus- where the feces comes out.

Here’s an image to illustrate:

Squatty Potty

When you’re sitting, the angle is “kinked”, which puts upward pressure on the rectum and keeps your poop inside. Not only does this create straining and constipation, but it also inhibits complete elimination – which means that you can literally have old feces just hanging around in your lower digestive tract.

Turns out that kinking was definitely the case with me.

Just before that tweet on Friday, I used the Squatty Potty and had the most liberating, enlightening bathroom experience of my life. I just kept pooping, and pooping, and pooping – with zero strain. It just kind of slipped out.

I felt so fantastic afterwards, that I had to weigh myself to see exactly how much old poop I had hanging around inside me that I banished forever. I did exaggerate a bit in my tweet (I actually lost closer to about 8 pounds), but nonetheless, I felt like a new man – not drained of energy as you might think you’d feel after an experience like that, but actually invigorated and in a fantastic mood.

Who knows how all that crap got in there – but considering I ate highly processed junk food and had a very poor pizza and ice cream based diet for the first 22 years of my life, I have my suspicions.

Which leads me to the other part of my post (before I get to the sprint triathlon): the high fat diet I’ve been eating for the past year.

As you know, if you listened to last week’s interview: “Is It Possible To Be Extremely Active and Eat A Low Carbohydrate Diet?” or if you’ve downloaded my Superhuman Food Pyramid, you know I’m a big fan of eating a high fat diet, for multiple health, hormone and performance reasons.

But I know I’ve also mentioned that I usually try to eat a higher carbohydrate diet during the week of a triathlon. However, this week, leading up to a sprint triathlon, I experimented with lower carbohydrate intake, and instead stuck to my typical diet and ate the following (copied and pasted from my personal diet and exercise log that I maintain for members of my Inner Circle):

Monday:

-Fasted until noon, then 2 tablespoons oatmeal with 2 tablespoons coconut oil, 30g protein powder, 4oz full fat coconut milk, 2 tablespoons almond butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

-Snack at 3pm: A few slices of boiled beets, 1/2 a sweet potato before a 4K swim, 30 minute bike, 30 minute weights.

-Dinner: Spinach salad with hummus, olives, flax seeds, olive oil, lemon juice.

-Snack: DEEP30 with coconut milk.

-60 minute tennis match

Tuesday:

-Breakfast: Same as Monday.

-Lunch: Spinach salad with cod liver oil, sardines, olives, one avocado.

-Snack: DEEP30 with coconut milk, before 4K swim.

-Dinner: 3 eggs cooked in 2 tablespoons coconut oil, wrapped in nori, with side of cooked spinach and kale.

Wednesday:

-Breakfast: Same as Monday

-Lunch: Spinach salad with flax seed crackers and yogurt cheese

-Snack: 1 Beyond Organics Amasai before swim/bike/run 2 hour brick.

-Dinner: 3 eggs in 2 tablespoons coconut oil with tomatoes, cucumber, onions.

-Snack: DEEP30 with Kefir, almond butter, Cocochia snack mix

Thursday:

-Breakfast: Same as Monday

-Lunch: Spinach salad with flax seed crackers and homemade yogurt cheese

-Snack: DEEP30 with Kefir

-Dinner: Coconut flour wrap with avocado, olives, cod liver oil and a coconut water.

-60 minute ride and 60 minute tennis match

-Snack: Coconut ice cream with 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Friday, day before race (slightly higher carbohydrate):

-Breakfast: Same as Monday

-Lunch on the road traveling to race: LivingFuel Supergreens with 1/2 bar dark chocolate and 1 coconut water

-Snack: 1 sweet potato

-Dinner: Italian restaurant – portobello mushroom with roasted vegetables, 8oz steak, spinach salad

-Dessert: Blueberries and almonds (at frozen yogurt restaurant – this is a good idea actually – just use the toppings and skip the yogurt).

Saturday, race day:

-2 hours before race to top off liver glycogen levels: 1 bar dark chocolate + 1/2 sweet potato

-30 minutes before race: 5 MAP amino acid capsules, 4 Extreme Endurance, 2 deltaE packets

So that’s it.

I ate anywhere from roughly 200-400 carbohydrate calories per day – not exactly a “ketogenic” diet, but still far fewer carbohydrates than most endurance athlete nutrition gurus preach you should be eating before an all-out, purely glucose and glycogen burning effort.

I then went on to do a sprint triathlon – and swim 500 meters in 5:46, average over 25 miles per hour for a 12 mile bike ride, and run an 11:53 two mile effort to win overall and beat the next closest finisher by 90 seconds. And yes, as you can see from my collapse at the finish line below, I was definitely red-lined in carb-burning mode the whole time (although I ate nothing during the actual race).

Ben Greenfield triathlon
My kids give me flowers as I collapse at the finish line.

Between my completely cleaned out digestive tract and my stabilized blood sugar levels, I felt fantastic the whole time (and not “drained”, as you might imagine after pooping 8 pounds and eating very few carbohydrates). As a matter of fact, later in the day after the triathlon, I went to the gym and threw down another hard workout.

So let’s wrap things up.

Should you get a Squatty Potty?

Yes.

Should you eat a high fat diet, even if you’re getting ready for an endurance event?

Absolutely.

Folks, these are small changes that will make a huge difference in your life, your health, and your physical performance. I’m not just talking about shedding some extra fat or getting sick less. I’m talking about getting your body to next level of superhuman performance.

Question, comments or feedback? Leave them below. And a big shout out to my 2012 triathlon season sponsors - I’ll be racing every week for the next 4 weeks, and couldn’t do it without their support.

Here’s a final shot of me flying through transition, 8 pounds lighter.
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64 Responses to “How I Ate A High Fat Diet, Pooped 8 Pounds, And Then Won A Sprint Triathlon.”

  1. I just got one!! Can't wait to try it out although could be a while given that i'm in the UK!! :o) Wicked result in the sprint triathlon btw.. thanks as always for the great content. Angie

  2. Sergey says:

    Hi Ben. You always promote real food, but from your log I see you ate meat only once per week (8oz steak on Friday) and it looks like you rely on protein powder as your protein source. It may be Organic, natural, high quality, but it still not a real food.

    • Sergey…couple things:

      1) Sardines count as meat.
      2) I had about 12oz of prime rib on Sunday, along with bacon and ham for breakfast. From an ancestral health standpoint, there was no need for my body to get much more animal than that the rest of the week.
      3) Whey is just a by-product of the cheese-making product. When I'm eating protein powder from DEEP30, it was basically milk protein from a goat just a few weeks prior.

  3. Andree says:

    I just love how athletes can freely talk about "poop" with a straight face. Your tweets and posts didn't phase me a bit. Might need to get one of these.

  4. Megan says:

    Interesting post, and CONGRATS on the race! I know you don't generally count calories, but this seems like a pretty low intake to me! Maybe about 2,000 calories, at least at the beginning of the week, with ~2 hours exercise per day. Am I just counting wrong (or getting wrong portions), or is this about in line with what you're consuming? Just curious! Also have a question about the TianChi I bought from you but am going to go back to that post to ask it now :).

  5. Cara says:

    Can't you just use a toddler stool under the toilet to achieve the same angle?

    • I tried.

      The Squatty Potty is specifically built to put your feet and hips at an ideal angle, and it looks much better because it is built to fit to the contour of your toilet.

      • Jared says:

        But, since not everyone is the same body height or width, or even leg length or foot size for that matter, the “ideal” angle thing becomes, well, er, a load of crap IMO.

  6. Paige Sheen says:

    Hi Ben, congrats on the win! So is it really possible to have fecal matter from 8-10+ years ago just sitting in your rectum all that time?

    • I don't know if it was "old" feces, or just incomplete removal of relatively new feces, but regardless, my large intestines are now working at a much better function. It's great.

  7. Susanna says:

    Ben, after your epic dump report, I had to give the squatting position a try. Though I don't have the nifty squatting stool, I have 2 $1 stools with rubber feet that I picked up from Target years ago, which have been (until now) used to get to books high up in my library…Well, I set them up this morning and I went to town :) Very productive experience, after having some unsatisfactory bowel movements in the last couple of days. As a side note, having had the chance to take a couple of craps (sorry, running out of synonyms for "defecating") in the woods in the squatting position, I can confirm the position's efficacy. My set-up might now be pretty, but if you are not ready to invest on the squatty potty, this is a pretty low-cost solution to give squatting a try.

  8. Kem Johnson says:

    I take every chance I get to just squat properly to leave a deposit outside outside, with a nice view, to leave a deposit. You can often use leaves, grass or a smooth rock, instead of payng Kimberly Clark.

  9. Osa says:

    I have owned a Potty Squatty since december last year. I bought it when it appeared on the Underground Wellness youtube channel and became their sponsor. In fact Underground Wellness was giving one away for free, but I did not win and decided to just buy one especially since I was given a 10 percent discount code. BTW shipping is high especially for international customers unfortunately. My dad who came to visit me from the U.K during the holiday season wanted one, but the shipping price was way too high. Maybe they will find a way to make their international shippment prices more reasonable in the future who knows.

  10. Meghan says:

    Just a thought… I know before I do any race… I end up thinking I'm going to start losing organs I empty out SO MUCH… do you think this could be the reason for your epic dump rather than the squatty potty? Have you used it with great success since then?

    • No. This was the day before, when I'm never nervous. Plus, the awesome poops have continued since then.

    • kem says:

      I recall when I was rockclimbing seriously, I would need to squat in the woods and lighten the load before we started up something demanding… and always after (it seemed) putting on one's harness.

  11. Chris says:

    Ben, I can't help but laugh out loud reading people talk about epic poops!!! All your info is awesome. Apparently anything goes on the net. Keep up the great tweets, emails, and seminars.

  12. JGodbolt says:

    What can I say, you make me laugh!!

  13. Ben this is awesome! I first learned about squating while pooping from Paul Bragg but I never fully understood the importance. The illustration really helps. I'm going to send this link to my wife. Maybe we'll have to invest in a Squatty Potty!

    Todd

  14. [...] The squatty potty – is what Ben used before he won his latest sprint triathlon. [...]

  15. Todd Every says:

    Ben can I get my Squatty Potty signed by you? Something simple "To good health" Ben…

    • Great idea. On the flipside, it could create a direct association between my name and pooping, which could be a bad thing if you're listening to my podcast while out on a run.

  16. Todd Every says:

    Okay I just bought the plastic one. We shall see what all the talk is about.

  17. Squat Pooper says:

    Squat pooping is becoming very famous! I got into the habit when I lived in China. It is much healthier, for sure.

  18. Nicole Anderson says:

    The pooping biomechanics are spot on. Main reason why the hole is never deep enough when I go hiking! Excellent idea Ben! We all benefit from a solid clean out before a race, I think it lessens GIT disturbance without all the poop bouncing around on the run, no matter how good your core stability is.

  19. Dan Lombardi says:

    I shared this info with my brother-in-law who specializes in bodywork, and he agreed with this. Also recommended a book on the same topic, "Out in the Open: The Complete Male Pelvis" by R. Louis Schultz. In the meantime, I have been using my daughter's pink princess stool. Its quite comical but if it does the job I'll go with it until I order a squatty potty. :o)
    http://www.amazon.com/Out-Open-Complete-Male-Pelv

  20. michaelmh says:

    Fabulous picture, did you run the whole bike course, and in socks! :)

  21. Scott says:

    Yards….not meters

  22. Jonny says:

    Really? Watch that protein powder, hard on your liver. But so are some of those other things…

  23. gordon says:

    any updates Ben i want to know if it worked again before i buy

  24. changnoi says:

    Thanks for the pointer, Ben. Received mine this week and put it to very good use already. The international shipping to Hong Kong is almost as much as the product price, but they added a free second one to my wooden order, so I can't complain.

  25. kelcey1 says:

    OK, Ben my husband thinks he married a crazy person. I am already a total food nerd. Now I use men's deodorant (Every Man Jack – the orange scent is not too "manly"), and when my husband walked in the bathroom and saw the squatty potty he just shook his head and said, "who thinks up this stuff and where do you find it?"

  26. Welchburg says:

    The idea of squatty potty is awesome.. The day I heard about it I immediately went searching in my house for something that would imitate the rise of my legs.. I found a foot in a half tall chest that my grandpa made.. I probable will end up buying one or making one.. but for the mean time thanks grandpa.. Maybe you have something laying around the house too.. Save your money people!!

  27. [...] -How I Ate A High Fat Diet, Pooped 8 Pounds, And Then Won A Sprint Triathlon. [...]

  28. fantasha says:

    Save your money and use your child's potty if you really want to go for it ;)

  29. Kkkkk says:

    Im getting a squatty potty!

  30. [...] -How I Ate A High Fat Diet, Pooped 8 Pounds, And Then Won A Sprint Triathlon. [...]

  31. Steve D says:

    Ben, wouldn’t leaning forward on the toilet have the same effect as the Squatty Potty? You can create the same angle between your torso and legs simply by resting your elbows on your knees… What’s the difference?

  32. Karl Hungus says:

    By far, the best headline and opening paragraph ever.

  33. Pavlo says:

    You don't need a 'squatty potty'. Simply squat on your toilet. Same effect, with less contraptions in your toilet to worry about.

    • Yes, but the Squatty Potty makes it easier. ;)

      • Sarah says:

        I also just squat on the actual toilet… it's not hard but that's just me – I'm little and flexible. Maybe for some it's too hard to balance. I think the seat would make it more cumbersome, because it's one more thing to clutter the room, have to move and clean etc. I recommend at least trying it freestyle before you buy. To each his own!

  34. Sarah says:

    I am a fan of squat pooping, but I don't have a special device for it. You can just perch yourself up on the can! Just literally step up onto the seat and squat. My husband and I call it "perching" haha. You don't have to buy a thing and don't have to explain to unfamiliar guests wtf that weird seat next to the toilet is :) It also makes for a longer drop, which makes a very loud noise that may freak out your mate on occasion which is fun.

    To me it seems like more of a real squat. The Squatty Potty doesn't look like the knees come up enough, but I've never tried it so it's just a hunch. My natural squat is more like the Garland Pose, so maybe it's just me that squats that low. Oh by the way, my husband is a very largely built type of guy, think big-chested German, and he has no problem balancing.

  35. Jonathan says:

    Ben, by promoting the Squatty Potty, you're spreading a false picture of squatting. Humans weren't designed to sit on a toilet seat with their feet on a footstool. In the developing world they would laugh at that ridiculous method. This subject is discussed in great detail at http://www.naturesplatform.com/faq.html

  36. biff martin says:

    Squatting is a great idea. That is what 3/4 of the world does already. In Asian countries, there are "squat" toilets that work well for everyone. Only the Americans, Europeans and modern Africans use the modern pedestal toilets. To improvise, just a 5 gallon paint bucket turned sideways.

  37. joel robis says:

    quite gross, but also very informative.it all makes very good sense healthwise.thanks for the information. i will be sure to "PASS" it along to others.a good b.m. should make you feel better in general anyway.thanks for the advice.

  38. harry says:

    I was wondering if colon cleansing products you can find on the web could help the process or make it better?

  39. [...] One key to this pooping revolution is revealed in a popular article I wrote last year called “How I Ate A High Fat Diet, Pooped 8 Pounds, And Then Won A Sprint Triathlon“. [...]

  40. pennypoet007 says:

    Great to know what you eat, Ben! Myself, I eat very low carb as a T2 Diabetic. However, I learned One Great Tip from you today — "Blueberries and almonds (at frozen yogurt restaurant – this is a good idea actually – just use the toppings and skip the yogurt)" When I'm with friends who go for FroYo, this is the way I can handle it with no remorse. Thank you !

  41. Bro says:

    Bro, I squat, but without a Squatty Potty. Not only does it provide optimal dookie drainage, but it gives a nice pump to those legs. Been doing it for 20 some years now (a few years after being toilet trained) and my legs have always been a strong part of my body. Want max fitness AND a healthy dumping? Squat on your potty the hardcore way, the beastly way by using those muscles God gave you!

    Happy squatting and let it all drop out!

    Peace!

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