I didn’t run my first mile until I was 23. Having never explored sport as a child, the last decade have been an exploration in pushing boundaries, and engaging in the most important dialogue I’ve ever had – with my body. It’s self evident that training and food power performance. The trial and error of finding the peak of performance changes we do, on a cellular level, every day.

Whether I’m preparing for a marathon, teaching 3 spin classes in a row, or running 150 miles in one week, the only constant is adaptation. I say this to mean we have to listen to what our bodies are telling us. I don’t eat meat, but I would never be prescriptive in nutrition advice. I share my fuel tips as a point of reference. It works for me and I hope you find what works for you.

10 Ways I Fuel to Do Epic Shit.

1. Whatever the nom de guerre you give to your eating habits (paleo, vegan, gluten-free, anti inflammatory), let’s be real about something – There are no shortcuts. There is no magic pill. Do the work to source the most unprocessed, whole foods you can find and eat them.

2. Alkalinity is a battle worth fighting. Reducing acid in the body and achieving greater pH balance reduces toxins. Apple cider vinegar (unfiltered, organic like Bragg’s) diluted in water or used in raw dishes is one vehicle to this. It also whitens teeth without artificial teeth whitening creams or strips.

3. For exercise 90 minutes or more, such as during marathon training, my body requires healthy fats and carbs. My perfect meal 4 hours before a long run or race is avocado toast on Ezekiel bread (or any sprouted bread) and an apple with any organic nut butter. If you’re sensitive to fiber, couscous with pine nuts, pomegranate, and mint is an amazing carb/fat combo.

4. DIY energy drink with chia seeds and maple syrup. I soak a few tablespoons of chia seeds overnight in almond milk, coconut water, or plain H20. Add some maca for energy and maple syrup for sweetness and a sugar boost. Your taste buds adjust to the simplicity of food. I’ll drink Gatorade during a race, but otherwise don’t use the stuff.

5. During ultramarathons I eat potato chips. No matter how fancy products get, there’s nothing that I want more than a bag of plain Lay’s at mile 40 of a race. There are times to eat chips. And that’s one of them.

6. As a Type 1 Diabetic, I get a lot of questions about fueling for blood sugar lows. I fuel as most endurance athletes with fruits, gels, Gus, and bars. The difference is that I take fuel with me everywhere I go in case of emergency and I have to fuel super precisely to carb count for insulin intake. The balance of insulin/carbs versus anticipated exertion can change based on many factors like hormones, diet, and metabolic rates. It’s mad complicated! The only advice I can give is treat yourself like a science experiment and keep trying to figure out the puzzle that is your body that to a defunct pancreas.

7. Read books. A sedentary recommendation, but one that fosters rest (needed!) and food for your brain. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and Finding Ultra by Rich Roll are two titles that are worth sitting down for.

8. Marathoners, take in 400-500 calories before mile 20. Hitting the wall is so real. If you want to avoid feeling like someone dropped a piano on your back, experiment with fuel that you can consume quickly while running. I have fallen in love with Honey Stinger gels and waffles. Try anything new before race day.

9. Ginger comes out of my pores. Ginger shots, ginger tea, ginger marinades are a daily situation. I love the spice and I believe consistently consuming it has decreased inflammation in my body.

10. What we think, how we fuel, and what we internalize, both in terms of stimuli and narrative, matter. Food is an intimate relationship. Think about what you’re putting in your mouth. Don’t consume toxic shit!

For more about a life lived in sweat, visit robinarzon.com.

Writer: Robin Arzon // Images: Aviva Klein 

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