Probably the Most Amazing Example Of Endurance Athleticism You'll Ever See!

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Probably the Most Amazing Example Of Endurance Athleticism You’ll Ever See!

The above video is 3:55 minutes long.

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

meredith loringI have a new hero… and her name is Meredith Loring. If you need a big dose of inspiration and want to know what the human body is capable of with the right nutrition, mindset and training, then you really must watch this video!

Meredith, along with her husband Sami Inkinen rowed from San Francisco to Hawaii. The row took them 45 days straight, rowing up to 18 hours a day and yup, they did it with no sugar or gels.

We also cover her own incredible journey from dealing with cervical cancer, then switching to raw food and then the slow transition into a high-fat, low carb’ diet. All this along with achieving some of the most incredible accomplishments in the world of serious adventurous endurance sports.

Full Interview with Meredith Loring: Raw Food & High Fat Diet Fuelled For Inspiring Jaw Dropping Adventures



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In this episode we talk about:

  • Why her dealings with cervical cancer made her look at her nutrition closely
  • Why she embarked on two of her toughest athletic challenges of her life within 10 days of each other
  • The highs and lows of rowing 45 days straight from California to Hawaii
  • How she fuels her diet daily to perform
  • What her diet and exercise routine looks like whilst 8 months pregnant
  • And much much more…

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Full Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence at 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. The one thing we are very proud here at 180 Nutrition is when we look for podcast guests, we search high and low for people that we feel will have something truly to offer with their stories, their journey, their inspiration, their health message, all around nutrition. You know, questions that we want to answer ourselves.

And I have to say today’s awesome guest, which is Meredith Loring, is certainly inspiring and I guarantee that you’re going to get a lot out of this today.

Now, if you’re wondering who Meredith is, we had her partner, Sami Inkinen, on the show last month and as a couple they rowed from San Francisco to Hawaii. The row took them 45 days straight, rowing up to 18 hours a day and yup, they did it with no sugar or gels.

Now, if you’ve heard Sami’s podcast, you’d probably know a little bit about the background. But if you haven’t, you’re in for an amazing treat in today’s podcast.

And not only that, Meredith’s own personal journey is phenomenal. She discusses how she contracted cervical cancer at a young age and how she then looked into nutrition to help combat these things and then come into, you could say, eating a higher-fat, low-carb diet and she’s an exceptional endurance athlete as well. And she’s heavily pregnant at the moment, eight months, ah, eight and a half month I think.

So, we cover all these topics from her perspective today and you know, whether you’re a guy or girl, listening to this, you will take absolutely a lot out this and even as a couple too.

As always, I know I ask, let us know these podcasts inspire you, if you’re enjoying them. What guests you’d like to see come up in the future. Simply leave us a review on iTunes. That would really be appreciated. You know, just by subscribing, helps us get the word out there; we’re determined to do it and I think this message should be heard by as many people as possible.

Drop us an email to: info@180nutrition.com.au., too and let us know your thoughts on the podcast and if they are affecting your life in a positive manner in any way. It would be great to hear from you.

And of course, go back to our website, 180nutrition.com.au, there’s a wealth of resources there too and also, of course, these are shot in video, if you are listening to this through iTunes.

Anyway, let’s go over to Meredith. You’re going to really enjoy this one. Cheers.

Stuart Cooke: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: I always get this feeling every time, you know, it’s like just before you go on.

Anyway, hi this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke today, as always. Hi Stuart.

Stuart Cooke: Hello mate.

Guy Lawrence: And our lovely guest today is Meredith Loring. Meredith, welcome to the show.

Meredith Loring: Thanks for having me.

Guy Lawrence: I hope I pronounced your surname correctly, as well. I just thought about that then, but I’m thinking I got it right.

Meredith Loring: Yeah. It rhymes with “boring,” as my husband likes to say.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. So, we’ve had your husband, Sami Inkinen, on the show. We’ve had moviemaker Donal O’Neill on the show. We were all talking about Cereal Killers 2.

And we actually just held a screening for the documentary here in Sydney a few weeks back and it was sold out. We had a Q & A and it was just an awesome response.

And the one thing that was evident, especially with the females after the show and everyone was buzzing, was: We want to hear more of Meredith’s side of the story. So, yeah, fantastic; so, thanks for coming on.

Meredith Loring: Who knows what they were saying when I wasn’t there.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly.

So, we always start the show to get a little bit about the guest’s background and things like that, so, if you could share a little bit about yourself, because I’m guessing you’re not from Finland, like Sami.

Meredith Loring: Not from Finland. I’m from the East Coast. A pretty normal background, I guess. But I guess what’s revenant, for you guys, is probably fitness and nutrition stuff.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Meredith Loring: And yes, so, I’ve been kind of a competitive athlete my whole life. I was a competitive gymnast until I was in high school and then I started running in my 20s and really latched on to running and trail running in particular and started competing in trail running when I got out to California about four years ago, which is when I met Sami, my husband. And then …

Guy Lawrence: I recently read as well, is it true that you guys went on your first date in a kayak?

Meredith Loring: Weirdly, weirdly enough our first date was in a doubles kayak and I’d just come from New York City, literally the day before, and for me any kind of active date was really weird, because in New York you’d meet for drinks or coffee. So, I was very weirded out by the whole thing and then he wanted to have a captive audience. So, he stuck me in a kayak for a couple of hours.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. Fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: So, you’ve always been obviously a competitive, well, it looks like sports and athleticism has been in your blood from day dot. Because we’re going to talk about the row especially a little bit further on as well.

So, I’m guessing now, to see you go ahead and do that; was it a major shock for you to find yourself ending up in a boat or did you…

Meredith Loring: It was shocking, like the sport was shocking, because neither one of us had ever rowed before and actually neither one of us was into rowing at all. So, just the sport choice was fairly shocking, but we try to do kind of big adventurous stuff on a regular basis, nothing quite that adventurous.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That’s huge, isn’t it?

Meredith Loring: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Go for it Stu.

Stuart Cooke: You’re interested in, obviously, you come from an endurance sport background, as well. How much of your dietary beliefs have changed over the years from obviously the endurance stuff to the crazy endurance stuff in the boat that we’ve just heard about?

Meredith Loring: Yeah, that’s a good question. So, actually, when I was 24 I had cervical cancer and I started looking at, like, alternative treatments. I didn’t want to go down a chemo route. And so I kind of decided after looking into all of the research way back then, this was like 2004, that our nutrition guidelines were all fucked up, pardon my French and …

Guy Lawrence: That’s the best way of describing it.

Meredith Loring: And so, I had totally cut out sugar and carbs and stuff from my diet and I went on actually a raw food diet pretty strictly for about six or seven years.

Stuart Cooke: Okay.

Meredith Loring: And then when I met Sami I started introducing things like salmon and fish, but I’ve been fairly consistent about my diet since then, just because of my health concerns and then from all of the research that I read. And also, my body responds really well to plants and responds very poorly to sugar.

Guy Lawrence: So, even when you were, because it’s the first thing that springs to my mind, even when you were on a raw food diet so that your carb and sugar intake were quite low? Is that correct?

Meredith Loring: Yeah. I was not eating a lot of fruit. I was eating mostly vegetables and nuts and, like, avocados and things like that. Lots of olive oil, but very few fruits, maybe one piece of fruit a day or two max.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, because I think that’s the one common thing, mistake, I see, Whether it be raw food, vegetarian, vegan; everyone seems to have a hell of a lot of carbs.

Meredith Loring: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: One of the main things I read, counter to me wanting to go on a raw food eating plan, was all of the tooth decay that happens from most raw foodists because they’re eating so much fruit. So, I was really conscious of that from the beginning because I didn’t want that to happen.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. And how did the cancer go? What happened?

Meredith Loring: I’ve been cancer-free and completely healthy. So…

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Meredith Loring: I don’t know how much of that is due to my diet, but it certainly made me feel like I was having a hand in treating myself. And also, after I read all of these studies that you can’t go back eating the way you were eating before. It’s so just; it so grosses you out that you can’t go there.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Wow, that’s phenomenal. That’s amazing.

So, when you were doing the endurance events before, was it all about carbs and sugar and gels before you had the cancer?

Meredith Loring: It was, and actually I reintroduced at least gels into my eating after I met Sami, because Sami had been pitching to me for so long, that if I wanted to really compete in trail running and cycling, that I had to be eating gels and carb-loading.

Yeah and I fought him for a really long time, because I knew how it made me feel. And I would call him before a race and be like, “Ah, this is so terrible. I’m never doing this again.” and he’d laugh really hard. But he had read the Lure of Running and read all the nutrition studies out there that pointed towards carb-loading and so he really urged me to do that. But I naturally gravitate towards not doing that.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah and I guess with Sami, because he spoke about being almost a Type 2 diabetic …

Meredith Loring: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: … at one stage, would have had a shock and changed the approach altogether.

Meredith Loring: Yeah and for; I mean, I always knew what worked well for me, but I never try to impose my beliefs on other people. But the truth was, I wasn’t really looking at it from a what’s a typical American or a typical person worldwide facing until we found out Sami was pre-diabetic. And then I was really, I really started to noodle on. Like, okay, if Sami, who spends so much time and energy trying to figure out nutrition and athletic performance, if he can’t figure it out and he’s pre-diabetic, what chance does a normal person have.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: That’s such a good …

Meredith Loring: And it really made me kind of upset. And so we really just decided we’ve got to do something about this because we can’t just keep talking about it without any action.

Guy Lawrence: That’s phenomenal. And look, being involved in the documentary, with Donal as well and getting the message out there, it’s; I don’t know what it’s like in America, but there’s definitely a bit of a movement coming on here in Australia. More and more people are hungry for this knowledge because they’re all pissed off and confused. I mean, in the cinema itself there were so many light bulbs going off within that evening and the Q & A panel, we had; the cinema basically kicked us out at the end, because there was just not enough time. Everyone was hungry for more.

Meredith Loring: That’s exciting.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Well, it is, it’s fantastic. So, I’m taking when you do your endurance now, you know, no gels, no glucose, because there will be people listening to this that are doing that very thing, you know.

Meredith Loring: Yeah. I actually think it depends on what distance you’re doing. If you’re doing something that’s really short and high intensity, you’re definitely going to be burning carbohydrates. And so, that can give you kind of a mental break from fatigue and also give you some kind of a physical boost.

If you’re doing a really long event, I don’t think; you certainly don’t need to be eating the way you’re taught to eat. Like a huge pasta dinner and then eating carbs for all of your training.

What I do is I train practically zero-carb. I mean, I eat carbs from vegetables and stuff, but in my training I try to eat no carbs, if possible. And then in a race environment I’ll have some carbs. You really feel the difference if it’s a shorter event.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: So, what’s; when you’re talking about the race environment, so, what does your typical kind of pre-race or weekly exercise regime look like? What do you do?

Meredith Loring: Yeah. So, before I was pregnant I was running about 10 miles four times a week and then doing a long run once a week, like 15 or 20 miles.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: And then a four- or five-hour bike ride one day a week and then cross training one day a week. And that’s a lot; that’s a lot of exercise, but I would never have a gel during; like especially the runs. It would never even cross my mind to have a gel. In fact, I wouldn’t have eaten breakfast before an event.

And I’m still working out. Now I have to do mostly cycling, because I’ve broken my foot. But I still, even pregnant, I don’t need to eat breakfast before I do a workout. It’s just not necessary.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, because I know Sami said he did the same thing as well. It was literally …

Meredith Loring: It trains you to be a better fat burner and then once you’re in that mode you’re just not hungry and it feels better to have a more empty stomach, I think, when you’re doing hard workout.

Stuart Cooke: It does. And what about hydration during those prolonged periods of exercise?

Meredith Loring: Water.

Stuart Cooke: Just water, right.

Meredith Loring: Water, maybe some salts, depending on how long it is, I’ll have salt tablets or something or just put salt in my water. When I go for a bike ride I absolutely add salt to my water.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Right. I’m guessing that pre- that kind of way of eating it would have been sports drinks as well as well as the gels as well? Would it gravitate to …

Meredith Loring: No. I was never; I never touched sport drinks.

Stuart Cooke: Okay.

Meredith Loring: They’re just so low-quality and it’s just sugar water. It never made any sense to me.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. No, it’s true; like low-quality, but high promise. You know, they really do promise the Earth with all of their wonderful benefits, but yeah, sugar water.

Meredith Loring: I always thought it was bullshit. I mean, it’s total bullshit.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We hear ya man, we hear ya.

That’s another question that just popped in there; do you train with groups of other people? And do they follow the same philosophy as you or do you see all over the place or what?

Meredith Loring: No, I do train with groups of other people and people are usually fairly shocked to figure out I haven’t had breakfast or that I’m not going to have gels during our runs or our rides. Rides in particular, for some reason the way that Sami and I eat pre-enduring rides, is fairly shocking to people. It’s becoming more accepted here in Northern California now, but up until probably six or seven months ago, people would just fight and argue with us the entire time. Like about us not eating or just think that we’re crazy or have some kind of issue.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, exactly like …

Stuart Cooke: But I guess the results speak for themselves, don’t they, if you’re performing.

Meredith Loring: Yeah, I mean, absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: Definitely, I mean, I live on a cycle route, as in there’s always groups of cyclists every morning, flying past my place here, to down at the beach. And the one thing that is evident and I never want to be judgmental of people or anything, but a lot of them are overweight. Like, I see them, and I’m thinking, they must be clocking up to, I don’t know whether they’re doing 20, 30, 40ks in the morning, most mornings. And yet, I don’t know why the penny doesn’t drop. You know…

Meredith Loring: Yeah. For some reason people still don’t understand that exercise isn’t going to make you lose weight. It’s all in what you’re eating.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s massive. We certainly push that word. Definitely.

So, can we talk about the row, Meredith, and one of the things I only found out last week, because thanks to Donal, mentioned that you competed in an Everest Marathon, which is the world’s highest marathon, weeks before you did the row. Is that right?

Meredith Loring: Yeah. I don’t know how smart it was, but I had signed up for it a couple of years ago, because it’s fairly difficult to get into and it was about 10 days before we left for our row. So …

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Meredith Loring: … you have to get to the base camp, basically and then you run from base camp, a marathon. And I had to continue, because I had a flight to catch the next morning, so I had to run to the airport. So, I did break a 50-mile run. And I was the first non-Nepali female. So, …

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Meredith Loring: I won my category.

Guy Lawrence: That’s insane. What height is Everest base camp?

Meredith Loring: I think it’s like 18,000 feet; something like that.

Guy Lawrence: That’s insane, because I only think about it, because I did trekking in Nepal and …

Meredith Loring: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: … I know Stu has done some there, but I got to I think 4,100 meters at one stage, because I did the Annapurna and I was just walking. But when I got there I was crawling. I was so exhausted. I was just wiped, I mean, there were runners passing me at the time and I think, “How the hell do you do that?”

Meredith Loring: Yeah, it’s brutal. It’s brutal, and my lungs at the end of that day, my lungs were in such pain and it really felt like I had flipped them inside out. You’re just gasping for air the whole time and the air is so thin up there.

Guy Lawrence: That’s unbelievable. Are you working your way down the whole event?

Meredith Loring: Not the whole event. I mean, it’s a net elevation loss, but there’s a lot of flat and there’s even uphill sections that are like, I don’t know, 10k long or something.

Guy Lawrence: Amazing. And did you do any altitude training before?

Meredith Loring: No, just the hike up there. It took about 10 or 11 days to get up there.

Guy Lawrence: Got it.

Meredith Loring: Which isn’t enough. It takes about two months for your blood volume to increase. And there were other competitors there who had spent two or three months on the mountain, practicing and trying to acclimatize, which is way too much time for me to dedicate.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah and just because I’d expect it from anybody listening to this, a 10- or 11-day hike prior to a marathon is pretty massive is some people’s books. Like I’d be looking at it going, “Right! That’s a mission.” And then to do a marathon after that is unbelievable.

Meredith Loring: It was so much fun. I’ve been trying to convince Sami that we should do it in November if we can figure out what to do with the baby.

Stuart Cooke: I guess you were lucky that you had that nice row to recover from your marathon.

Meredith Loring: Yeah. Well, the good news was that I didn’t have to do any running. So, as beat up as I was from running, my upper body became totally beat up after that.

Guy Lawrence: Unbelievable.

Stuart Cooke: Oh my word, that is just craziness.

So, just for all of our listeners that haven’t heard about the row, I wondered if you could just tell us what you did during that time; that crazy period.

Meredith Loring: So, my husband, Sami, and I rowed from Monterey, California to Hawaii over the course of about 45 days. In a rowboat, unsupported. So, we didn’t have anyone picking us up after a shift. We were sleeping in the rowboat. We carried all of our own food. We carried all our water. And we did it to raise awareness about the dangers of sugar.

So, we didn’t have any sugar or processed carbohydrates on board. We only ate real whole food, like macadamia nuts, salmon, dried vegetables, some dried fruit. And we were rowing about 18 hours a day each and then sleeping six hours a day each. So, there was someone constantly on the oars …

Guy Lawrence: Got it.

Meredith Loring: … when the weather was okay.

Guy Lawrence: Wow! What was the total distance between the two?

Meredith Loring: I think we ended up rowing something like 2800 miles.

Guy Lawrence: 2800, there you go. And …

Meredith Loring: Yeah. We went a little bit out of the way. We thought we could go directly, but the weather was really bad when we left California.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: So, we really got pushed off course and had to do a bunch of extra miles, unfortunately.

Guy Lawrence: And I think, if I recall, it ended up being 45 days straight rowing like that, right?

Meredith Loring: Yeah. It was 45 days, which was the record for two-person crossing.

Guy Lawrence: Unbelievable. So, what was your; I’m fascinated, what were your biggest challenges on the boat while you were doing it?

Meredith Loring: Yeah. I think getting into the boat, like mentally getting into the boat when we left, was quite a challenge, because we did not do a lot of preparation in our actual boat. In fact, we had only slept in our boat one time before we left and we were docked in a marina to another boat. So, we really had never been in the open ocean on any boat.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Meredith Loring: And so, just coming to terms with the fact, like this is going to be our home; we thought it would take us 60 days, so this is going to be our home for two months potentially. And just being able to be like, “Okay, I’m going to stop thinking about getting off the boat and I’m just going to deal with this, and this is my life for the next two months.” That was pretty difficult.

Guy Lawrence: That’s massive. Did anyone tell you, “You’re crazy. Don’t do it.” or were you just …

Meredith Loring: Everyone. Everyone told us we were crazy. I mean, I don’t think most people believed that we were going to do it, because like I said, we had zero rowing experience and we had never even been in sailboats or anything. So, I think, most everyone just thought we weren’t going to make it. In fact a lot of people were commenting on articles that were posted about us in the newspaper that, you know, “There’s no way they’re going to make it.” And, “What are they thinking even trying.”

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Meredith Loring: Which motivated us even more.

Guy Lawrence: I know Stu’s itching to ask a question, but I’ve got to ask one more. How big did some of the waves get out there?

Meredith Loring: The waves were crazy big when we left. There was ridiculous bad weather. They were like 25 or 30 feet tall and they were crashing on the boat. And I’m pretty small, so I was actually getting pushed off my seat, which is why Sami and I were rowing together in the beginning.

We never planned on rowing together. We always planned on having separate shifts. But it was way too dangerous for either one of us to be out there alone, because if one of us got washed off, like, there’s really no hope of getting back on the boat if you don’t catch it right away.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Guy Lawrence: Were you scared?

Meredith Loring: Yeah, I mean, it was scary.

Guy Lawrence: I’d be terrified. I go on a boat in Sydney Harbor and if it picks up I get nervous, let alone …

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: It was scary, but it’s kind of amazing how fast you adapt to what your view of reality is. Like after a couple of days of having this weather, maybe it was more like a week and we knew it wasn’t going to end, we got used to it. It just became the new normal.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s incredible.

Stuart Cooke: So, how; I’m intrigued about the food side of it and you mentioned that you pre-prepared all those other foods, but how did you structure your eating? I mean, I’m guessing that you didn’t sit there, opposite Sami, underneath a kind of beautiful moon and toast the row with you know; how, was it; did you have packages for breakfast, lunch and dinner or was it just grabbing kind of handfuls of stuff as you went?

Meredith Loring: Yeah, we did; we put quite a bit of thought into packaging our food before the row, because you don’t want to be spending time, extra time, on the boat doing anything because over the course of two months, it adds up to be days and potentially longer than that.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: So, we worked with Steve Phinney when we were preparing so that we knew kind of like what our background nutrient profile should be and then what kind of supplements, if any, we should be taking and how much salt we should be taking.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Meredith Loring: And then we packaged kind of daily rations and then we packaged like an add-on. So that if we needed extra calories, we could just grab something else. And then we’d grab that first thing when our rowing shift started, each of us, and then you would just work through that bag all day long.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Meredith Loring: And we actually ended up throwing out a lot, because you think about when you’re leaving, “Oh I get to eat 5,000 or 6,000 calories a day. This is going to be awesome, because I can never eat that much.”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: But it’s ridiculously hard to eat that much food, real food. It’s a lot of volume.

Guy Lawrence: Right.

Stuart Cooke: Oh, absolutely. And do you still enjoy those same foods today or are you sick to your hind teeth or something?

Meredith Loring: No. The funny thing is, we were eating the same thing before we left, you know, like salmon and nuts. Dried; well, not dried, but fresh vegetables and fruit and I’m eating the same things now, like every day.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect.

Meredith Loring: Because it’s fulfilling and it’s a variety of vegetables, it’s good food.

Stuart Cooke: That’s it and it’s nourishing and I guess if you’re getting that nourishment then your body’s accepting of it.

Meredith Loring: Yeah, that’s kind of an interesting thing. So, when you’re pregnant, everyone’s like, “You’re going to have these weird food cravings and you’re going to be eating all kinds of junk food and stuff like that.” But I’m really convinced that you’re cravings are based on you’re deficient in. Like your body knows you’re deficient in something and so you crave weird things.

Stuart Cooke: Yes.

Meredith Loring: I don’t get any cravings. Like, I’ll get cravings for raw salmon versus cooked salmon.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Meredith Loring: Or potently some dairy product. But I don’t have cravings for any sweets or anything weird like pickles. My body is very well-nourished.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Absolutely. No tons of ice cream, watching movies late at night.

Guy Lawrence: So, Sami mentioned that he was eating 70 to 75 percent fat on the boat. Was that the same for you?

Meredith Loring: Yeah. If, I mean, when you looked at the volume, if it was like 98 percent vegetables, but then calorie-wise …

Guy Lawrence: Got it.

Meredith Loring: … it was much more fat, because we were adding, just to get the calories, we were adding olive oil and nuts in everything that we’d eat.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.

Meredith Loring: And coconut butter. At the end we did like a week-long stretch, where we were pushing as hard as we could because these hurricanes were coming to the Hawaii.

We knew they were coming, they were kind of; we had like a one-day window to land or something.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Meredith Loring: So, we were rowing really hard and all we were eating all day long was coconut butter and cacao nibs. Like, it was ridiculous.

Guy Lawrence: That’s amazing and …

Meredith Loring: And we were totally energized. It was awesome.

Guy Lawrence: Were your ketones measured as well?

Meredith Loring: No, we didn’t, I mean, the boat honestly was so disgusting I would not have wanted to puncture any skin unnecessarily.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Stuie’s just disappeared. He’ll come back in a sec. I don’t know what’s going on over there.

Yeah, that’s amazing, that’s amazing. And the other thing that was evident in the documentary as well, because Dr. Steven Phinney said that when you got off the boat as well, that your results were in some ways even better than Sami’s, in the fact that you didn’t really show much atrophy in muscle or …

Meredith Loring: Yeah. Well, I was definitely aware of the weight. So, Sami and I went into the row pretty differently. I had just run the Everest marathon. I was not at a body weight where it would have been acceptable for me to lose weight across the journey.

Guy Lawrence: Got it.

Meredith Loring: Like, Sami had bulked up in preparation for the row and had been able to keep all of that bulk. But when I went to Everest, kind of all of the mass that I had put on before came off. So, I was very conscious every day. Like, I need to eat; I need to eat a certain amount and I need to do kind of exercises to make sure I’m not losing too much …

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah. Amazing. And the one last thing while we’re talking about the row as well, that became evident in from the movie screening as well, was how a lot of the couples got inspired that you did something like this …

Oh, he’s back. Hey, Stu.

Stuart Cooke: Hello. I’m back.

Guy Lawrence: … that you did this together. And so, the question that I was going to ask you is, they say travel is a great way to test the relationship. How did you guys get along, generally, on the boat and did you have any tips and tricks to keep it all together?

Meredith Loring: It was really interesting. We thought that in itself, crazy to say, we really thought there was a very good chance that we’ll get divorced during this row. Because in normal life there’s some level of friction between us, especially if we’re in a stressful environment.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: But when we got onto that boat and the weather conditions were really scary and tough, we were just so focused on working towards the same goal and making sure that we were both safe and that we were moving, that there was literally no friction between us entire time. It was shocking. It was so shocking. And in fact, we were working so well together that about the same time, within a 48-hour window, we both had this epiphany that we should have kids, which is completely contrary to anything we’ve ever said. We’ve always been like the “no kids” people.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: So, we were like, “Oh, we should have kids.” And then we started trying on the boat, which I would not recommend to anyone.

Stuart Cooke: Well, maybe it’s a strategy for marriage counseling then. Like, I’m moving forward, just throw in the odd crazy endurance event and everything will be fine.

Meredith Loring: We heard some serious horror stories from other people who had rowed oceans, like it does not always work out that way.

Guy Lawrence: That’s right. It’s not always that romantic.

Meredith Loring: There’s plenty of people who don’t talk to each other once they land.

Guy Lawrence: I’ve got; sorry I keep going off at times and sorry, Stu, and I’ve got one more question regarding the boat and this topic always fascinates me around mindfulness and being present. How did you cope with that? Is it; was it something you just got into rhythm?

And I only raise it, because a good friend of mine who came to the movie screening. He’s a sailor and he sailed from Curacao, which is off the top of South America, back to Australia, and he had one stretch that was 30 days at sea and there was three of them. And he said he found that really challenging, just being on a boat. But he wasn’t exercising and he saw what you guys done and was just blown away from that.

How did you find it?

Meredith Loring: Well, we have done a significant amount of meditation and mindfulness training over the last three years. So, I think mentally we were fairly well prepared for the monotony and the pain and just knowing that it’s going to be ridiculously boring and you can’t get out of that situation. And it was an excellent opportunity to practice that skill.

Because, you know, when you have these, like, nagging pains all the time and then it hurts even more with every stroke you take, you tend to be, “Oh, I wish I wasn’t here. I wish I was home” and thinking about all the things that you can’t have, which really just makes the situation that much worse. And if you can just be like, “Okay, this is my reality. This is what I’m doing. There’s no way to get off.” And the pain becomes more manageable when you do that.

So, we had plenty of opportunities to practice it, but you know what it’s like, constant battle. And then there were times where the boredom wasn’t so bad. Like when we first left, because it was so scary and you always had to be looking out for large waves and grabbing on so that you wouldn’t get knocked off the boat, your mind is constantly focused. But then once the weather calmed down it was really boring. All of our electronics broke during the first week, so we didn’t have music or anything.

Stuart Cooke: Oh, nice.

Meredith Loring: Yeah. We had conversations that you should just never have with your spouse, because there was nothing else to do. Sami and I were rowing for 12 hours together straight everyday. So, yeah, we talked about everything.

Stuart Cooke: A thought popped into my mind as well. How did you sleep on there? I mean, was it, was sleep quality good, given that you were doing so much exercise, but you’re in such crazy environment, I guess with the rolling and everything else. What was your sleep …

Meredith Loring: So, our sleep, I would say relative to other people who have rowed oceans, was amazing. Because almost everyone who has rowed in oceans goes with this sleep pattern, which is two hours rowing, two hours sleeping. And then they do that 24 hours a day.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: But you can’t get any growth hormone and repair your body or even dry your skin out, if you do that, and we were sleeping in six-hour blocks, so we would row 18 hours straight each and then we would each sleep six hours. And then the cabin, of course, was moving around a lot and you have alarms and stuff going off that wake you up. But you are so exhausted that the six hours is just like, it’s a miracle. It is a miracle to have that six hours.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: And so we would wake up being, I think, very refreshed considering what we were doing.

Stuart Cooke: That’s fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: It’s incredible. I’ve just in awe.

Meredith Loring: I think out of all of the things that we did differently, the sleep pattern is going to be what all ocean rowers do going forward.

Guy Lawrence: Got it.

Meredith Loring: Based on our results. Like, we walked off of that boat not having any real injuries, not really being sick, not really having any skin damage. And it’s partially our diet, because we’re not eating all of that total crap freeze-dried food.

Stuart Cooke: Yup.

Meredith Loring: And then I think a lot of it had to do with the sleep.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah and how many hours do you sleep now, like on a normal day? Do you still do six to eight hours? Do you find …

Meredith Loring: No. I need at least eight hours of sleep. And now I try to get even more. It’s tough. Like I’m in the bed for nine hours.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Meredith Loring: And then maybe seven and a half to eight and a half is sleeping for me now.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: I need more, but it’s just hard to sleep now.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Just find what’s right for you. I wanted to touch a little bit on your pregnancy as well, which is fantastic news and you spoke before about your lack of crazy pregnancy cravings, food cravings. But have you tinkered or adjusted the way that you eat in any way?

Meredith Loring: Yeah. I try to be more moderate. Not shut down; if I’m feeling like I want to have cheese or milk, I will eat that stuff now and before I wouldn’t touch dairy with a 10-foot pole.

Stuart Cooke: Yup.

Meredith Loring: And also, the meat. I would never eat meat, other than fish, before and now if I want to have chicken I’ll eat chicken.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Meredith Loring: But my eating habits are remarkably similar to what they were pre-pregnancy.

Guy Lawrence: Okay.

It’s kind of unbelievable, given what you hear from mainstream media and anecdotal stories from friends. I have a friend who’s as pregnant as I am to the day and I got in her car the other day and she’s a pretty healthy eater and there were cheese doodles and goldfish and sugary cereal and I’m like, “What are you doing?” And she was just like, “Well, I’m craving this stuff all of the time.” In my mind you crave that stuff after you start eating it because it’s full of sugar and it’s addictive.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah …

Meredith Loring: You don’t start eating it, you’re not going to want it.

Stuart Cooke: Exactly. Exactly.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Just out of curiosity then, how much vegetables do you eat a day, because that’s obviously the main staple. What does your typical day look like in a meal?

Meredith Loring: Well, I have like a; so, I wake up, I work out first thing in the morning. I come home, I’ll eat an apple or something after my workout and then I’m eating salad or sautéed spinach or something like that, massive quantities of it, with olive oil or some protein on it. And I’m eating that two major times a day.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Meredith Loring: It’s a lot of volume. If you look at my stomach at the beginning of the day versus the end of the day, I look like I’m two XXmore pounds?XX [:36:46.3] at the end of the day. But that was the case before I got pregnant, so at least I have an excuse now.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Exactly.

Guy Lawrence: Another question, because even when we spoke before we started recording the broadcast, about your broken foot.

Meredith Loring: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: How has your exercise regime changed during pregnancy? It sounds like it hasn’t changed that much, because, you know …

Meredith Loring: I’m definitely working out. I’m trying to workout almost as much, like at least doing it cadence-wise as much. And I had been having the same workout program up until three weeks ago when I broke my foot. So, I was still trail running and I was still doing a lot of hiking and cycling and now I’m kind of only doing cycling.

So, I’d do higher intensity cycling during the week indoors and then I go for a long ride on the weekends, like 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hour ride, a group ride, on the weekends, in which I get a lot of really weird looks.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I can only imagine.

Meredith Loring: I think the Spandex bike kit on a pregnant lady, it’s not the best look.

Guy Lawrence: You know, you don’t hear many 8 months, 8 1/2 months people pregnant breaking their foot out running, you know. It’s …

Meredith Loring: Yeah. Well, actually my podiatrist said he sees three or four women every week that are in their last month of pregnancy that have fractured their foot. Because your body is just not used to extra weight. I think I definitely accelerated the process by trail running.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Meredith Loring: But it’s more common than you think.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right. Okay. There you go.

Stuart Cooke: Thinking about food again and where baby and toddler and children are concerned, have you gotten any plans where food is concerned? Because historically, baby and toddler food is generally quite highly processed and full of crap, really; what are your thoughts on feeding on feeding your kids?

Meredith Loring: Yeah. I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit. Actually in the U.S., 98 percent of food for kids, like toddlers and small children, has added sugar or processed carbohydrates in it. So, it’s nearly everything.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Meredith Loring: It’s, yeah, it’s pretty shocking. For adults it’s 80 percent. And I was really appalled to see that for kids it was even more. It’s disgusting. So, there’s not obviously a lot of good options for, like, convenient packaged stuff out there, So, I mean, I’m going to do what works, but I’m totally dedicated to having a kid that’s eating real whole food.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: And that probably means we have to spend the time to make it, because it isn’t available.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah, there you go.

It’s like, you know, Stu’s got three girls and you’re always up for the challenge of preparing food.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Well, that’s true. Well, we have the twins as well. So, I remember when they were born, it was all about food preparation and we were just, well, my wife was in the kitchen making up these huge like fish lyonnaise, fatty, buttery meals and then freezing them and then bringing them out and that was really the staple. I mean, it was just; the freezer was our savior, because we could just make huge amounts of food and then just come back to it knowing that we’ve cooked it.

Meredith Loring: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: And it’s just; preparation is the key, I think during that period.

Meredith Loring: I think so much of our taste is developed at a very young age.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, definitely.

Meredith Loring: And whose knows what else, genetically speaking, that we’re not going to fool around with it and take chances. And, like, I just don’t want it to be part of our kid’s life. That they’re eating the stuff, like, we know it’s poison; why on earth would we feed it to any children?

Stuart Cooke: That’s actually right.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, exactly.

So, Meredith, we always finish up the podcast with a wrap-up question that we ask everyone.

Meredith Loring: Okay.

Guy Lawrence: And that it’s, what’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Meredith Loring: Actually, Sami, gave me a really good piece of advice that was really relevant on our row, but then it; it actually is relevant every day of my life. And that’s not to set goals that aren’t 100 percent within my control.

So, don’t set outcome-based goals, like “I’m going to win a race.” Set goals that are more like, “I’m going to do 10 hours of training,” and, “I’m going to do training at a certain intensity.”

Stuart Cooke: Got it.

Meredith Loring: Because you’ll always be disappointed or almost always be disappointed if you’re setting goals that are outside of your own personal power.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. You don’t set yourself up …

Meredith Loring: … and during the row it helped, like, we were getting devastated, because we were setting these arbitrary goals about, “Oh, we’re going to row 60 miles each day and that means we’re going to land on July 15th.” and then, you know, we’d have a day where we either went backwards or we didn’t come close to that goal and we’d be so devastated that we wouldn’t be able to get out of bed.

So, we were constantly learning that. And I’m, it’s still something I have to remember.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Meredith Loring: I think it’s pretty …

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That’s great advice. Don’t set yourself up for failure essentially, you know.

Meredith Loring: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fantastic.

And if people listening to this and they want to find out more about you, is there anywhere they can go? Would the Fat Chance Row blog be the best place or?

Meredith Loring: Yeah, the Fat Chance Row blog is a pretty good place to find out about our journey and we recently launched a package food company, actually, called: Native Life. And that’s where I do most of my blogging now.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Meredith Loring: It’s grain-free, no sugar added cereal. So …

Guy Lawrence: Awesome, that’s awesome.

Meredith Loring: That’s what I’m focusing my attention on now.

Guy Lawrence: Good on you. We’ll put links to everything on the show notes as well …

Meredith Loring: Yeah, awesome.

Guy Lawrence: People are definitely find out about that.

Look, Meredith, thank you so much for coming on the show. That was, that was awesome. That was really cool and I have no doubt a lot of people are going to get a lot out of that.

Meredith Loring: Good. Thanks for having me.

Guy Lawrence: No worries.

Stuart Cooke: Thanks so much, Meredith.

Guy Lawrence: Thank you, Meredith. Bye, bye.

Stuart Cooke: Take care.

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