How I Went From Overtraining And Eating Bags Of 39 Cent Hamburgers To Detoxing My Body And Doing Sub-10 Hour Ironman Triathlons With Less Than 10 Hours Of Training Per Week.

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In case you didn’t read my post last Saturday, I am writing a book.

It’s called “Beyond Training:  Mastering Endurance, Health & Life.”

At the end of that post, I told you that there are 3 ways you can join me in this journey:

1) Give your permission for me to release rough draft chapters of this book at BenGreenfieldFitness.com as I write it, even if that means that every Saturday you gotta get a mega-post from me.

2) Hold me accountable, call me out, and get in my face via Twitter or Facebook if I ever miss a weekly chapter, because this book is scheduled to launch during Ironman Hawaii, which means I must finish it by September.

3) Comment on any of the book posts (including this one) if you feel I’m missing crucial information, leaving something important out, or saying something that’s hard to understand.

Anyways, I don’t think I necessarily need to qualify every book post with those three things, but figured I’d at least repeat it for the first post until you get the feel for what we’re accomplishing together…

…so you ready to jump in?

The following introduction will come after The Preface I released last week, so as a reader, you’ll already be familiar that you’re reading a book about enhancing your endurance performance, and not a book about teenagers eating fast food…

Deep breath, and here we go with “The Beginning” – in which you learn how I went from overtraining and eating 39 cent bags of hamburgers to detoxing my body and doing my first Ironman triathlon in under 10 hours…

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Part 1, Intro: The Beginning

“4 hamburgers, 2 cheeseburgers!”

“6 hamburgers!”

“4 cheeseburgers!”

Piled into the back seat of the family suburban, my two brothers and I shouted orders to our mom as we idled at the drive-through window of McDonald’s. 39 Cent Hamburger, 49 Cent Cheeseburger Day only rolled around once a week, and when it did, boy were we ever prepared.

We’d typically drive away with not just a meal for the evening, but 8-10 extra grease-stained bags of burgers that we could keep in the fridge and dig into during the remainder of the week when hunger struck.

Of course, we never skipped the vegetables. As we devoured our burgers at the kitchen table, there would always be a salad bowl vat of iceberg lettuce and shredded carrots, drenched in a salty, creamy ocean of Ranch dressing. Mmm…veggies.

When we weren’t devouring our burgers, the three of us boys plowed through take-n-bake pizzas, giant sub sandwiches, and bathtub sized bowls of peanut butter Captain Crunch cereal. And milk. Lots and lots of healthy cow milk for our growing bodies.

By the time I was 13 years old, I personally guzzled nearly a gallon of 2% milk each day from the big plastic Albertsons jugs – after all, I had to support my new-found joy of hoisting 10 lb dumbbells and swinging at tennis balls for several hours a day.

And when I’d drink that final glass of milk, go to bed every night with gas and bloating, wake up every morning with more new oily acne spots and have painful bouts of stomach upset several times each month, I simply chalked it all up to normal growing pains, and not the fact that I was dumping undigestible dairy sludge into my body every day.

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Things didn’t change much from high school to university, where I played collegiate tennis. Nearly every day before our 3 hour afternoon practice, I’d pull into the familiar McDonald’s drive through window and order my pre-practice ritual:

Big Mac. Fries. Root Beer. Supersize Me.

I was fast, I was strong, I was about to go punish my body for 3 hours, and this food was high-octane fuel for my active lifestyle. Sure, I’d get a sprain or a strain every few weeks, have frequent bouts of brain fog during tennis matches, lose focus or take naps during classes, and still had weird gut issues, but this was all normal stuff, right? All my teammates seemed to struggle with the same kind of things.

Aside from the pre-practice fast food bouts, which I really didn’t feel guilty at all about since I was exercising like a fiend afterwards, the rest of my college diet was by my measure pretty healthy, including:

-Peanut butter slathered on bananas (especially after tennis practice)…

-Sauteed steak or chicken and vegetables (a nearly nightly ritual)…

-Big sandwiches with deli meat and lettuce (served on whole wheat of course)…

-Yogurt with the fruit on the bottom and crunchy cereal (I graduated from Captain Crunch to Kashi)…

-Lots and lots of trail mix (or in a pinch, handfuls of peanuts and craisins)…

Since I was an exercise science major, I’d already started launching into my physiology and nutrition classes, and this was the kind of stuff we were taught to use for fueling performance. But I’d only tapped the surface of diet science, because I was about to take a deep dive into one of the most geeked-out training and eating sports on the planet – bodybuilding.

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When I began bodybuilding, I switched to a high-protein diet combined with 2 hours of daily, very hard weight training. No day was considered complete unless it included significant soreness and masochistic-like fatigue, and my diet consisted of 3-4 canned protein shakes a day, along with low-fat, low-carb meals like:

-2-3 cans of tuna over mixed greens…

-Fistfuls of 400 calorie high protein bars

-8-10 egg omelets with sausage

-Gallons of cow’s milk

-Bags of cheap beef jerky

With this diet, I measured my food on scales, counted calories with laser precision, and molded my body into an impressive 210 pounds of muscle at 3% body fat. Granted – most days, I had zero sex drive, felt like I was crapping out of a straw, had frequent bouts of sickness and sore joints, and experienced many signs and symptoms of protein toxicity, but I sure looked damn good.

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I learned early on that you can buy energy.

As a bodybuilder who practically lived at the gym, it made sense for me to get a moonlight college job as a personal trainer, and during a rigorous 5am to 9pm day jam-packed with studying, classes and putting myself and my clients through workouts, I could easily guzzle three to four Red Bull, Monster or Rock Star energy drinks – jam packed with amino acids like taurine, Vitamin B mega-doses, and of course ample amounts of caffeine. My energy was flying high. And low. And high. And low…

But I figured energy roller-coasters were normal when you’re training hard.

As if my body wasn’t getting thrown enough fastballs, I began to inject cardio into the weight training mix for an extra challenge. I bought a mountain bike and started riding my bike to school, picked up teaching several spin classes per week, taught myself how to swim so I could join the water polo team, and even started running the football stadium stairs.

I was an exercise machine – and better yet, at this point with the added cardio, I could easily eat every calorie in sight, maintain incredibly low body fat and shrug off my random episodes of moodiness, constant urges to sleep, rapid heart rate fluctuations, and legs that seemed to instantly burn even when I climbed a flight of stairs. It was the necessary price to pay for looking good.

And of course, the logical next step was the most exercise-crazed sport I could find: triathlon.

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My switch to endurance sports began with the local university sprint triathlon on the backroads of Moscow, Idaho, and I began drinking the endurance athlete Kool-aid almost immediately after crossing the finish line.

By this time, I had married Jessa, a lean, fast 1500m runner from University of Idaho. I had my undergraduate degree in exercise science, and was pursuing a master’s degree in exercise physiology and biomechanics. I was on the University triathlon club. I had gone from a 210 pound, 3 percent body fat bodybuilder to a 175 pound skinny triathlete, and as a newly baptized endurance zealot, I was now eating up every piece of endurance training and nutrition literature I could find.

I learned early on that carbs are the life-blood of any good endurance athlete, and I already knew that with my level of activity I could eat as many as I wanted, so I switched to a traditional triathlete diet of 55-75% carbohydrate intake, primarily comprised of:

-Sports drinks, energy gels, energy chews, recovery shakes and recovery bars…

-Huge bowls of oatmeal and whole grain cereal, drowned in my newfound healthy milk alternatives: soy and rice milk…

-Whole wheat sandwiches, whole wheat wraps, whole wheat pasta and any whole wheat derivative I could hunt down…

-Any low-fat, whole-grain derived baked good, including biscotti, scones, muffins, cookies, cakes…

-Copious amounts of fruit, fruity yogurt, fruit roll-ups, fruit smoothies and fruit juice…

While this was a near-complete 180 degree shift from my low-carbohydrate bodybuilding diet, I was now heading out the door for daily hour-long runs, spending weekend mornings on an indoor bike trainer, and swimming until I was blue in the face. I’d committed to my first Ironman triathlon, and I was completely convinced that I needed as much starch and sugar as I could get to fuel my long bouts of cardio and insane amounts of exercise.

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My first Ironman triathlon was an apparent success. Without really knowing what I was getting into, I crossed the finish line in 9:59, and just like my first sprint triathlon, was immediately hooked on the sport. Over the next few years I became a true long-distance triathlon junkie.

Between Ironman training, local sprint, Olympic and Half-Ironman triathlons, 5K’s, 10K’s and half-marathons, and my new job as an exercise physiologist for a local sports medicine facility, I spent nearly every weekend of the spring, summer and fall training hard or traveling to races.

I completed three more Ironman triathlons.

Training was my life.

And then, in the throes of training for my first Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, we had twin baby boys.

Suddenly life changed.

Time became a precious commodity. I began to experience a deep urge to not only provide for my growing family, but to advance my career and to spend time with my children. But I simultaneously had the pressure to be ready for Kona, and as I knew from reading triathlon magazines and websites like Ironman.com:

“Triathletes train an average of seven months for the Ford Ironman World Championship. The average hours per week devoted to training for the World Championship generally fall between 18 and 22. Average training distances for the three events:

Miles per week swimming: 7 (11.3 km)

Miles per week biking: 232 (373.3 km)

Miles per week running: 48 (77.2 km)”

Things got tough.

I was feeling physically and emotionally drained from sitting in a bike saddle for 5 hours and running for 3 hours each weekend, swimming 20,000 meters every week and still desperately trying to carve out time for my wife, my babies, my career, and my hobbies while still having some semblance of a social life.

To make matters worse, my body just felt run down. Chalk it up to years of physical overuse, 12 hour workdays followed by marathon-esque training sessions, or the stress of a new family and a busy career, but it seemed like every few months some new health issue would rear its ugly head. IT band friction syndrome on the side of my knee. Rotator cuff pain on the front of my shoulder. Low back pain on the bike. Sniffles. Sore throat. Low libido.

I was only 27 years old but was already feeling like an old man.

There had to be a better way.

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So I delved into the dozens of exercise physiology manuals littering the floor of my office, reams of training literature and research on periodization, intensity and volume, and thick, heavy textbooks on the biochemistry of muscular and cardiovascular adaptations, and slowly began to make some serious changes as I realized that with anaerobic training and intervals the human body could still respond with significant aerobic adaptations.

I had always been aware of the benefits of interval training, but had simply been enamored with the traditional endurance athlete approach for so long that I had to make a significant paradigm shift.

I quit riding my bike for 4 to 6 hours on the weekends, started doing short, interval based sessions on the indoor bike trainer, and found that my power on the bike began to skyrocket.

I realized that running more than 3 times a week didn’t make me any faster and long runs kept getting me injured, so I cut my running to two short weekly sessions and one 60-90 minute weekend run, and began setting PR’s in my triathlon run splits.

I discovered that swimming long and slow makes you a time-crunched, slow swimmer, so I began doing short but frequent swim sessions of 20-30 minutes, and suddenly had way more time on my hands.

I found that my traditional “make-it-burn” old-school, bodybuilding style of weight lifting didn’t make me as fast or strong as simply lifting heavy weights for just a few reps with good form, and that just a few short lifts made me incredibly stronger.

And boy-oh-boy, did I discover that nutrition makes a difference.

For the first time in my life, I seriously attempted to discover to the root cause of my long history of gas, bloating, stomach-aches, diarrhea, and frequent bouts of cold, flu and seemingly susceptible immune system.

I subscribed to every diet, nutrition, health and longevity journal and website I could find, and began to devour half a dozen books every  month, while roaming the blogosphere and reading about ancestral health, natural living and a more primal approach to fueling and life.

I did poop tests, blood tests, urine tests, saliva tests and every form of natural and alternative medicine poking, prodding and self-quantification I could find. And I discovered some serious issues with my body and my diet:

-I had low testosterone, hormone imbalances, and bad cholesterol from my high-carb, low-fat diet…

-I was 100% lactose intolerant and had an “immunoglobulin” allergic reaction to most dairy proteins…

-The gluten from my bread, pasta and baked goods was literally tearing holes in my already-aggravated intestinal wall…

-My fasting blood sugar was skyrocketing, placing me at a huge risk for developing Type II diabetes…

-My amino acids and neurotransmitters were depleted from overtraining and a poor diet, which was severely affecting my focus, my sleep, my productivity and my mood…

The list went on and on, and as I continued to dig, I slowly began to change my diet. I got rid of digestive irritants and enzyme inhibitors. I cut out rancid vegetable oils and low-fat foods. I started paying attention to the origin of my food. I drastically lowered my sugary carbohydrate intake, and learned not only how to cook properly, but how to soak, how to sprout, how to ferment, how to make my food digestible, and how to eat real, recognizable fuel that was not always coming out of a wrapper, package, bottle, or tub.

All of these training and nutrition switches were brand new concepts for me, but my body quickly began to morph as I formed my understanding of the crucial links between heath, performance and longevity.

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The real lightbulb moment came when in 2011, I crossed the Ironman finish line in Hawaii in 9:36, after incorporating my  newfound health, exercise and nutrition tactics while training just 8-10 hours a week.

I realized that it turns out  the human body is naturally quite good at “going long”, and if you can just keep it healthy, is capable of enormous endurance feats that don’t eat up your precious time or require you to feel like a training mouse on a wheel every day.

After all, for thousands of years, we have hunted, gathered, and roamed the fields and plains, and in the process, have developed an innate ability to engage in long periods of sustained movement. As long as we don’t hold ourselves back from our natural talents with copious amounts of overtraining, sugar, fake foods, stress, lack of sleep, and a hectic lifestyle, our natural endurance can shine through in a surprisingly strong way.

It took me years of destroying my body to realize that you can’t just eat 39 cent hamburgers and train yourself fit.

Instead, you have to leave behind the exhausting pursuit of exercise for the sake of exercise, and discover the beautiful balance between health and performance.

When you do, life becomes magically simple.

I wish this crucial information had existed within the pages of one single book when I first began my endurance journey, and I’m glad to bring it to you now. You’re about to delve into everything that you need to know to train right, eat right and unlock your true endurance potential. You’re going to get exact training protocols, nutrition blueprints, supplementation details, detoxing instructions, blood testing walk-throughs, lifestyle, travel and time management strategies, self-quantification knowledge, practical anti-aging secrets, and more.You’re going to find that mastering endurance goes way beyond training.

Are you ready to learn how? Let’s begin with a tale of two triathletes…

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I hope you enjoyed this intro, and I’ll be back next Saturday with Part 1, continued: A Tale of Two Triathletes.

In the meantime, leave your feedback, comments and questions below. I’ll take as much constructiveness and criticism as you want to dish out!

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91 thoughts on “How I Went From Overtraining And Eating Bags Of 39 Cent Hamburgers To Detoxing My Body And Doing Sub-10 Hour Ironman Triathlons With Less Than 10 Hours Of Training Per Week.

  1. Hi Ben! This is a great intro, which podcast listeners have heard in bits and pieces over the past couple of years of course. Here are some edits I would suggest…

    giant subway sandwiches -> get rid of "subway" and use "sub" or "hero" or your favorite slang
    felt like I was shitting out a straw -> "out of a straw" (if you're going to use the vernacular)
    I had married Jessa, a 1500m lean, fast runner -> "Jessa, a lean, fast 1500m-distance runner"

    I'm looking forward to reading more as you go along! I've been a podcast listener for quite a while, so I'm sure I will see lots of familiar material, but it will be great to see it all come together here.

    Fred

        1. Subway is a trademarked name when used for a sandwich. The proper term is as Fred stated, or to be even more accurate, sub is short for submarine sandwich. I know a lot of you young whippper snappers didn't know that. :-)

  2. Well I ordered your triathlon dominator plan and have never used it. I did an ironman on a friends random suggested training plan and didn’t do real well. I signed up for another ironman for this August and hired a coach who sends me a weekly training plan that is killing me and after 2 months am ready to quit. I have a full time job. 3 kids and married and I just can’t take it. I just read your first chapter and I thinking of digging up your dominator plan . Will the new book ve the same plan as the dominator plan? Please help me

  3. Thanks, Ben!

    This is a great introduction, and you have me hooked — looking forward to reading the rest of the book! While I am much older and much slower than you, I do face the same time constraints as you do, trying to balance my desire for Ironman training with work, family and social life. So far I have stayed healthy, but I do worry that a traditional Ironman training regimen would lead to injuries from overuse. I am very hopeful that your combination of proper nutrition and high-intensity, (relatively) short duration training will work very well for me.

    1. Agreed. I really want to know what your wife and friends thought about all your experiences, experiments and amazing discipline. Did she suspect you had a serious digestive problem, for example?

      1. Yeah. She said I needed to to get my gut looked at due to my excessive and annoying farting. No joke! What amazed me was that my parents just kind of shrugged off the fact that I had stomach issues my whole life growing up. It's like they never even considered maybe they were feeding me something that was messing with my gut.

    1. I'd say the same, Brock. Reading foreign books always drives me crazy with the amount of Math involved haha ;)
      And this intro was great Ben, I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

  4. Ben — first paragraph: "boy were we ever prepared". I think that's your intended statement. Great intro to the book. I look forward to next week.

  5. Thanks for including me in your book journey. So far just a couple of wording mistakes but a facinating read! I am beginning to train for my
    Ironman (first one) and I have 21 months. I will be 60 when I run it. My Ironman brother trains many hours a week but I am going to follow your training advice. Keep you posted!

  6. Ben, it is great so far! Can you read the chapters aloud and post audio for those of us who like keeping up with you while out on the go? I'm sure others would agree that that would be awesome!

    1. I'll be recording the audio version, Anne…but will probably bang it all out in a studio all at once…I would love to podcast it chapter by chapter but not sure if I have the time. I will think about this suggestion though…

  7. Ben – thanks for the good read. With three kids and a small business time is so precious. It is great to know there is hope. Last year I did my first triathalon ( Miami half ironman) and was glad to finish in under 6hrs. Next month (4 weeks) I will run my first marathon in Atlanta. Although I have not put in the "time" as most experts would say your new book inspires me. Keep up the good work

  8. Ben,

    Love the excerpt. Being healthy shoudn't make you feel exhausted and/or lead to injuries, but conventional advice leads you down that road. I found the excerpt engaging and valuable. I was wondring how did your wife feel about all the training was she ever resentful? When I was training long my husband felt very resentful. I tried to get him involved in some of the training sessions, but it is just not his thing. Keep up the good work. I am looking foward to the next chapter.

  9. I found an error, "And they, in the throes of training for my first Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, we had twin baby boys." Change it to "And there, in the throes… Loving the new book, can't wait to read more… I sure identify with it and look forward to the education.

  10. Fred hit the edits. I enjoyed reading the excerpt and will be back for more, since it is remarkably similar to my and my brothers (2) childhood eating habits.

    Fortunately, I found out about some of these ideas before doing too much damage. For my n=1, the most important takeaways have been "less is more", minimum effective dosage (which could be construed as less is more), and as clean a diet as possible with more "good" fats.

    Having one source for this information will be fantastic. Although I have no desire to do a triathlon, incorporating this information into the endurance game of life will be highly beneficial. Next week's installment can't come too soon. Thanks, Ben!

  11. Great intro Ben! Anxious to learn more. Some might argue that you've built a solid aerobic base given the number of full iron distant races you've trained for and completed…which is why you benefit from HIT sessions. What about tri newbies??? Is building a base old school? Anxious to learn!

    1. If I could go back and do things over, I would not have wasted so many hours of my life spinning easy on an indoor bike or doing death march runs at a slow pace. I train my athletes now with intensity and quality from the get go and get fantastic results. Humans are born with an aerobic base. It's called mitochondria. ;)

  12. The first impression I had after reading the excerpt was, I want to read more! It was interesting and kept the reader's attention. Great intro! I did notice a couple grammatical errors but I am assuming your proofer will catch those. What you are describing in your book is the American way of life and I think it will resonate well with your readers. I laughed out loud when you referred to the vat of iceberg lettuce with shredded carrots drenched in ranch dressing as "veggies". Isn't that what we have all been taught to believe?

    I have to admit I am personally struggling with the less is more concept for training. But I am eager to hear you delve into the details on it so you can convince me that it really works. I am currently training for my first half ironman and I am already overwhelmed with the sheer amount of time it is taking me and feel that I am headed for burnout. Therefore I am certain that this book will be of great benefit for the typical triathlete.

      1. I noticed that quite a few of your sentences are what are considered "loose sentences" , in that they are connected by and. You could consider breaking up some of them up. I have an example below. You asked :)

        I learned early on that carbs are the life-blood of any good endurance athlete, and I already knew that with my level of activity I could eat as many as I wanted, so I switched to a traditional triathlete diet of 55-75% carbohydrate intake, primarily comprised of:

        Early on I learned that carbs are the life-blood of any good endurance athlete. My high level of activity allowed me to eat as many carbs as I wanted, so I switched to a traditional triathlete diet consisting of 55-75% carbohydrate. My high carb intake was primarily comprised of:

  13. I enjoyed reading your first chapter. I've over trained and ate junk for many years. I'm looking forward to this book to help me heal old injuries and train smarter in the future.

  14. Thanks for sharing your new book Ben. I have also been going through the life transitions you talked about – marriage, kids, business taking higher priority.

    I've always loved you perspective on things and have recently made the shift from from typical triathlete high carb diet to the high fat low carb "fat-burning machine" diet based on your recommendation. So far it has been great.

    Looking forward to my weekly installment of your book. Nice to get it in bite-sized chunks.

  15. When we weren’t devouring our burgers, *us boys* plowed through take-n-bake pizzas – I would replace with "the three of us" or "my brother and I" — us boys sounds awkward.

    Then you have a typo … *And they*, in the throes of training for my first Ironman World Championships in Hawaii – should be and then…

    I love the writing style – interested to see how the book develops!

  16. Hearing from someone who started out on the wrong path and took measures to find the right way adds credence to what you preach. As someone who is in week 10 of the Tri. Dominator program I can attest to the gains that I have made, even with the shorter hours. Most notably is my ability to recover from one workout to another. Sure I am tired at the end of the day, but I am not suffering from deep levels of fatigue. Our diet as a family follows much of what you
    write about, the only thing I have added is extra protein after tough workouts. It took me a long time to decide to switch to a lower volume program from the traditional high, long and slow, but I do believe it is going to pay off. I am looking forward to reading the following chapters. Cheers Gary

  17. Very nice intro. Not overly done, I'm definitely hooked and waiting for more! Agree with the grammatical recommendations by the first comment. Nice job.

  18. Great stuff as always!! Keep it coming. Refreshing to know a person educated in physiology and nutrition made the same mistakes as the rest of us.
    Loved the intro!

  19. Awesome work. Its like you where describing my life. I’m in the process of trying to turn it all around so I can’t wait for this book

  20. One thought, do you think you are either naturally an endurance type guy, or possibly that your base of endurance work made the shorter high intensity stuff a better match for you? If either is true some discussion of that topic might be warranted. Great work, can't wait to read more.

  21. Hey Ben, I don’t know if I add any more to what’s been said below except that I’m glad I didn’t have to pay the food bills at your parents house when you guys were growing up! I have two daughters who were competitive swimmers but it sounds like I got off easy.
    I think it’s a good into. As others have said, I’m hooked. I want to read about those two triathletes. I also want to know how I can get faster in an ironman with 8-10 hours of training a week. I’ve always been dubious of those types of plans because it seems to me that you have to do the distance before in order to finish strong. I am using your tri-ripped plan for a couple of half-iron distances this year so we’ll see how it goes.
    Keep up the good work and I’ll check my inbox for sure next Saturday.
    Mark

  22. Hi Ben
    What a great read….. Can’t wait for the next instalment.
    For a fifty plus endurance cyclist from downunder I love this stuff , especially the less volume of training for better results, I have already adopted some HIIT with less volume, and the results speak for themselves, any tips for long mountain endurance riding, I have a climbing cycle holiday in the Pyrennes in July , thanks Ben
    Regards
    Barry

  23. Great read.. I can’t wait for more. I hope you will go in to more detail of what specific tests you took and how you really knew you couldn’t take dairy. How and what test told you about gluten. I can wait to read more about what we all should be eating.. Be specific ..

  24. Great intro!! I’m pushing myself hard righrt now. Luckily, I am without a lot of the allergies to dairy and gluten that caused your body so much trouble over the years. I do minimize those irritants though just for the sake of recovery and less inflammation.
    I’m following the Dominator plan and feeling my best in years.
    Thanks Ben.

  25. Ben,

    Great intro but please hurry with more..I’m an ultra marathoner/marathoner and as I type a big bowl of oatmeal is cooking! I’m not sure I will be able to follow what you prescribe but I want to learn more. Last year i went from a high protein bodybuilder diet to vegetarian (fish/egg eater). The stomach issues I had melted away but I still have IT issues from tight glutes and hamstrings!

    Looking forward to the next installment!

  26. Ben, you've done an excellent job of introducing your content in this introduction. As with others, I am anxious to read the rest of the book. It's friendly, personal and touches on many real world challenges that extend across a wide reading base. I look forward to readin the rest of the book. Awesome. Linda

  27. The intro is very appealing because I think many of us enter into our respective sports or hobbies in much the same way. The difference being most never take it to the extreme in becoming a respected expert and thought leader in that sport or hobby. With time being such a limited commodity understanding your training protocols and being safe, healthy and successful with training for fun or competition is appealing for the individual and the respective family members that may or may not be willing participants.

  28. good stuff – everyone can relate in some way to what you have written. Maybe you should let everyone know you are looking for content appraisal not grammatical scrutiny – that's for the proof reader right?

  29. Which percent of the population trains for the Ironman Distance? Are they any statistics? My favorite distance is the Olympic distance. Yet, most of the time when I read articles or books, the primary focus seems to be on the Ironman distance, as if the shorter distances are not worthy! Am I in the minority? While I still enjoy reading all the wonderful information about the Ironman distance, it would be nice for a change to have some books and articles that would relate more to the shorter distances, like the Olympic and half. That being said, I love your first chapter. I am definitely interested in ready the following chapters.

  30. So I delved into the dozens of exercise physiology manuals littering the floor of my office, reams of training literature and research on periodization, intensity and volume, and thick, heavy textbooks on the biochemistry of muscular and cardiovascular adaptations, and slowly began to make some serious changes.

    I quit riding my bike for 4 to 6 hours on the weekends, started doing short, interval based sessions on the indoor bike trainer, and found that my power on the bike began to skyrocket.
    to me this seems a several quantum jumps. You already had a degree plus lots of experience? But, something happened here and all this information you already had you? what? Was there something significant you read? someone you talked to?

  31. hey Ben,

    really engaging read!
    I recently came across your website and am now reading up on a regular basis.
    The book sounds very promising!

    I actually played college tennis myself and can relate to some of the food issues you mention, especially the perceived healthy diet. luckily i pretty much ditched fried food halfway through and now on my way to greatly reduce bread and pasta (used to eat pasta every other night, not anymore) so thanks for all the info you provide!

    btw, do you have any specific diet and training suggestions for tennis, i still play a lot and am trying to improve!

  32. One more grammatical fix:

    Instead, you have to leave behind the exhausting pursuit of exercise for the sake of exercise, and instead find the beautiful balance between health and performance.

    Remove the second instance of "instead".

    Also, on the straw thing…I personally found the language distracting. I don't prefer to read (or hear) vulgar language when unnecessary. Also, use of such language does undermine your credibility and authority for some readers. There really is nothing to gain from it, but there is something to lose. I would remove it.

    Great introduction to the book, Ben. Very well done with regard to content and writing style. You've hooked the reader successfully, making him want to learn more about your story. Great job!

  33. Love your writing style, it's conversational and engaging. I'm hooked, can't wait for the next installment! I am a grammar, punctuation nerd, and I'm not sure if you are looking for typo fixing, but if you are…in the statement about "whole wheat sandwiches, whole wheat wraps, whole wheat pasta…" take the "of" out of "any (of) whole wheat derivative I could hunt down". Also in the paragraph that begins "To make matters worse, my body just felt run down", take the apostrophe out of "it's" at the end of the paragraph. My only other thought; in an effort to make your book more "timeless", you might think about not using some of the currently trendy slang like "freaking" (although I think you are right…you are a "freaking machine").

  34. Good stuff. Interesting that you mentioned your rapid heart rate. I've noticed in myself that my resting heart rate is 7 to 10 beats higher the morning after a high carb dinner but have never read anything on the immediate effect of diet on heart rate (as opposed to general long term heart health).

  35. G'day Ben, I thought i would make just a few short comments on the new book venture and the minimalist approach to endurance training that your going to cover. Firstly I think the initial material is easily identifiable with wide range of audience and touches on issues that most people have put their bodies through, It's personal enough to any reader that might pick up and read the book and gives sense of some of the stark realities that everyday people and amateur athletes go through. SO great start.
    I have been tossing this idea of yours around my head for some time now, of a minimalist endurance training and in specific relation to Ironman training. So, the following is my thoughts, fears, ideas on the matter.
    I look at your background of a long history of sport, training and triathlon and wonder if the minimalist training approach would suit a raw beginner without your experience. I have no doubts of it's success once you have a certain experience but I guess I lack the vision in seeing it completely successful in an unfit person. From a purely physical perspective the methodology of Minimalistic endurance training (MET) would be plausable and acheivable, but we both know that Ironman is more of a mental game, and that those longer training sessions build as much physical as mental toughness and strength. So, in saying that I am wondering if a combination of both would need to be employed. I am also wondering if an amateur could realistically complete the higher level of intensity needed for the MET approach over a longer period of time. I guess in my head I understand the theory to a degree but am struggling with the execution and longevity.
    Again, just a few thoughts that i am sure you have already answered, I'm looking forward to continuing to see the book unfold.
    Cheers

  36. Hey Ben,
    The only think I thought might be helpful because it was to me was going into a little more detail about your body building days and how you hit adrenal fatigue to the point that you were unable to get out of bed…. and your recovery from that…. although many won't be able to relate to the body building part, I think that there are a lot of endurance athletes and now cross-fitters who have dug themselves in a similar hole….. and your story would help.

  37. An excellent start. It does exactly what a good thriller does. It gets you hooked and waiting for more. Great work, Ben

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  39. Amazing how closely yours and my stories match! Intense exercise justifying huge sugar intakes (for me it was absolutely mounds of oats with artificial sweetener), constant mood swings, inability to maintain weight except with constant calorie counting, acne flair ups, overtraining etc etc. Now – high fat diet, steady energy, great concentration, as much exercise as i enjoy but no more, a feeling of calm and serenity, effortless weight maintenance. Never going back – not even slightly tempted.

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