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I Ate 5,000 Calories of Saturated Fat a Day. This Is What Happened…


The above video is 3:49 minutes long.

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


sami inkinen
We chat to Sami Inkinen, a world class triathlete and tech entrepreneur. Whilst we don’t encourage anyone to eat 5000 calories of saturated fat a day, we feel it’s a very important message that Sami shares with us.

Sami and his wife Meredith recently did a phenomenal achievement, where they physically rowed from California to Hawaii. It took them 45 days straight rowing, up to 18 hours a day, and some days they didn’t even get any sleep.

Awesome achievement, but more importantly was the message behind it, as they did it without the use of any sugar and sports gels, pushing the message that you don’t need sugar to power the body daily, not even as a world-class athlete.

So they did it running on, yes, about 70 to 75 percent fat on each meal, and we were very keen to get him on the show and pick his brains about this, because there are so many things we can learn from it.

Full Interview with Sami Inkinen, World Class Ironman


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In this episode we talk about:

  • How he ended up being involved in the documentary Cereal Killers Two – Run on Fat
  • Why he decided to embark on his toughest challenge yet, rowing to Hawaii from San Francisco
  • How they prepared for their meals. Sami was eating a whopping 8,000 calories a day!
  • The effects of eating 5000 calories of saturated fat a day whilst rowing
  • What he uses instead of sports drinks
  • What Sami eats in a typical day
  • And much much more…

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Get More of Sami Inkinen Here:

Sami Inkinen Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence with 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our special guest today is Sami Inkinen. Now, Sami has achieved some remarkable things in life, including he’s a world-class triathlete, he’s a tech entrepreneur, and him and his wife did a phenomenal achievement recently which is they basically physically rowed from California to Hawaii. Took them 45 days rowing up to 18 hours a day straight, and some days they didn’t even get any sleep.

Awesome achievement, but more importantly was the message behind it, because they did it without the use of sugar and gels and basically pushing the message that you don’t need sugar to power the body daily, not even as a world-class athlete like that.

So they did it running on, yes, about 70 to 75 percent fat on each meal, and we were very keen, obviously, to get him on the show and pick his brains about this, because there are so many things we can learn from it. He also shares many other things as well, which is fantastic, and it was an awesome podcast. I have no doubt you’ll get lots out of this today whether you’re an athlete or not. It was just brilliant.

Of course, if you are listening to this through iTunes, hit the subscribe button, leave a review, all very appreciated. A, it’s nice to know that you’re enjoying our podcasts, but B, it helps spread the word by simply subscribing or leaving a review more people can find us and more people can listen and more people can benefit from the message that we are putting out there to the world which we feel is very necessary.

And, of course, come back to our website, 180nutrition.com.au, where we’ve got a heap of resources including a free ebook which is a great place to start if you find all this information a little bit overwhelming. Anyway, enjoy the show. This one’s awesome. Cheers.

Guy Lawrence: Okay, hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hi, Stu.

Stuart Cooke: Hello.

Guy Lawrence: And our awesome guest today is Sami Inkinen. Sami, welcome to the show.

Sami Inkinen: Thanks very much. Excited to be a part of your show.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, mate, that’s awesome. Me and Stu have been very excited today, because it’s certainly a topic I think we thrive on, especially when it comes to sports as well, and it’s clear that you’re a guy that doesn’t do things by half-measures, you know, and just to, I guess, for the people who are listening to sum it up in a short way, you’re a world-class athlete, you’re a tech entrepreneur, and you’ve just gone and done something with your wife recently which is a phenomenal achievement and which I’m looking forward to getting sucked in with everyone.

But just to kick start the conversation, mate, would you mind just sharing a little bit about your background? And even, you know, how you ended up in San Francisco in the first place, because you’re from Finland.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, so I was born and raised and brainwashed in Finland. Grew up about 200 miles, so 300 kilometers, from Helsinki on a farm, a chicken farm, but I wasn’t really a farm boy, I was more into computers, so as soon as I got out of the farm, I studied physics at a university in Finland and got into software and computers early in my life. Started on company in Europe and then in 2003, which seems like a long time ago now, about 12 years ago, I came here to San Francisco Bay Area in the U.S. to attend Stanford Business School and, you know, I’ve been here ever since.

Guy Lawrence: Are you missing the cold weather? I’m assuming it can get quite cold in Finland as well, right?

Sami Inkinen: You know, there’s a reason why I stayed here.

Guy Lawrence: Go on, Stu. You look like you’re going to say something.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, so we’ve been following a little bit of your background, Sami, as well, and realized that you did extremely well in the triathlete Ironman scene as well, but then made it to the big screen. I was just wondering how that happened? What happened there?

Sami Inkinen: Big screen as in…

Guy Lawrence: Cereal Killers 2.

Stuart Cooke: The movies.

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, I have, quite honestly, zero interest in promoting myself for the sake of promoting myself. However, given that I thought that I was kind of a poster boy for healthy living because of my crazy amount of endurance training and, what I thought, healthy living, regardless of that kind of lifestyle, I found out that I was pre-diabetic a couple of years ago, and I got ridiculously frustrated that, “How is this possible that it happens to me? And if it happens to me with that kind of lifestyle and a focus on exercise and, what I thought, healthy eating, what are the chances that an average person can avoid that sort of health issue?”

And the answer is, “Fat chance.” There’s no chance, so I wanted to do anything and everything I can to promote the message around healthy diet and healthy nutrition and, therefore, I was more than happy to lend my own crazy adventures and experiences for the benefit of others.

And I think that was the reason why I ended up teaming up or helping Donal O’Neill who has produced these two movies, Cereal Killers and Cereal Killers 2, so that was the background story. So I thought whatever I do and what I did with my wife, if it can help other people to avoid what was happening to me health wise, it would be worth the embarrassing exposure on the screen.

Guy Lawrence: Did it take you awhile? Was that the wakeup moment? Because I know you mentioned, like you said, you were going to be prediabetic and did you instantly look into increasing fats? Like, how did that message sink in to you, because there are so many people resistant to that message to this day and don’t even, won’t even consider it, you know? How did it work for you? Who did you discover to make you think differently about that?

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, I, obviously, it was almost like driving a car to a rock wall 100 kilometers an hour when I really thought it’s impossible that I would get sick or, more importantly, it would be impossible that someone like me would become diabetic or prediabetic with the kind of lifestyle that I was living, so it was really kind of a stopping moment for me.

And, of course, as a computer scientist, the first place that I went was online, so I started reading a lot and, unfortunately, spending time on, kind of, research databases like PubMed isn’t a very effective way of educating yourself because there’s so much science as well as bad science that you could spend the rest of your life reading research reports and still just be confused.

So I think the best sources for me were books and, you know, there’s a number of books, but I think one of the better overviews was the book written by Gary Taubes called Good Calories, Bad Calories.

Stuart Cooke: Yes.

Sami Inkinen: You know, it was just one of the information sources that I relied on and we talked with a number of physicians and scientists directly, but that was definitely one of the more transformational books for me.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s a very in-depth book, too, and certainly recommended to everyone, yeah. So, let’s, talking about the challenge, can you explain a little bit about the synopsis and what you and Meredith achieved? What you did?

Sami Inkinen: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: And, as well, who came up with it? You know? Why that challenge?

Sami Inkinen: Well, yeah, first of all, Meredith, my wife and I, we decided to row completely unsupported with no past rowing experience in a, kind of, special adult rowing boat from California to Hawaii across the Pacific Ocean about 2400, 2500 miles. Well we ended up rowing 2,750 completely unsupported this past summer, so we just finished a few months ago.

I’d love to blame my wife for the crazy idea, but I think I was the person who initially got inspired and got this idea and the initial inspiration came from the book called Unbroken, which actually it was just turned into a movie about six months ago, but in this book a second World War Air Force pilot was shot down above the Pacific Ocean and he floated across the Pacific Ocean in a life raft, and I just thought that experience was so amazing and I didn’t want to be in a life raft, but just to experience the wilderness of the Pacific Ocean, so that was kind of a seed in my mind, and I thought, “For once in my lifetime, I want to experience the craziness of the Pacific Ocean.”

So that was the initial inspiration, but then we wanted to turn this crazy expedition into something that would benefit others as well, so we wanted to combine it with this message of, “Sugar is dangerous and more likely than not the processed carbohydrates are dangerous to you as well,” and so we wanted to do this adventure, an expedition, with absolutely no sugar and practically no carbohydrate as well, and that’s what we did.

Guy Lawrence: It was amazing. Was it harder than you thought? Or was it what you expected, you know, or, like, especially if you’ve never done something like that before. I can’t…I struggle to envision being on a boat for 45 days like that.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So I grew up in Finland not far from lakes and we had a small summer cottage by a lake, but I have to say I know why oceans are called oceans and not lakes. It’s a completely different environment, and, as you mentioned, neither Meredith nor myself had any experience with oceans. We aren’t sailors. We’ve done nothing related to oceans and we weren’t rowers, either, so to answer your question, we really didn’t have any expectations, because we had never experienced this environment before and we went from zero to sixty miles an hour in many ways in six months.

So six months before the launch, we started to train rowing. We started to train about survival in ocean environments, so we did massive amounts of survival training, navigation training, seamanship, and all these things that you really don’t worry about when you don’t know about sailing boats or anything, getting radio, you know, license and certificates, and understand how you use radios and all these things, so it all happened in six months.

Quite frankly we, I think we had, we didn’t really expect much because we had no idea what this is going to be like, and this may sound really crazy, but we didn’t even spend a single night in our boat until the first night. We slept in the boat, but we kind of slept in a very, sort of, calm condition, so for better or worse, we had a lot of first time experiences once we got out there, which may not sound like the perfect way of preparing for something like this.

Stuart Cooke: Tell us about motivation. With all that prep work that you did for the other elements of the boat, I mean, what, direct, physically stay motivated for that length of time, how is this possible?

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, the motivation for this draw was really twofold. One was, we both think that pushing your physical and mental limits is just kind of a full human experience, so we like pushing ourselves beyond what you would expect to be normal, and we find that it’s a very rewarding way of living your life, and you learn all kinds of interesting things about yourself and human life.

And then the second thing is really this motivation to bring awareness, build awareness, around the danger of sugar and processed carbohydrates. Those were kind of driving forces for us. But once you’re out there, the good news is, there’s no turning back, so the only way to get out is to freaking keep rowing.

And we kept rowing up to 18 hours a day, so you can’t really turn back. You really simply can’t, because of the winds and everything, so the only way to get out of the boat is to row to Hawaii, which we thought might take two months.

But then on a more practical level, you really have to focus on the process at the very moment, and you know, this applies to other things is life, but you can’t let your mind get into, kind of, “What is it going to be when we finish? Or what is it going to be…?”

You may be able to think that when you go for a sixty-minute run or a three-hour bike ride, but when you’re there for two months rowing eighteen hours a day, you have to focus on the moment, otherwise, you’ll mentally fall apart and you’re on the ground in pieces, so you focus on the moment and then, you know, like eating an elephant. How do you eat an elephant? You eat it one bite at a time.

Guy Lawrence (simultaneously): One bite at a time.

Sami Inkinen: Yes, you really focus on these micro small milestones, whether that’s your two-hour shift, and you take a five-minute break, maybe it’s a little drinking or maybe it’s your lunch break or something like that, so those two things, like, focus on the moment and then, you know, you have this, sort of small bit-sized chunks that you focus on as opposed to, “Oh, in a month’s time we might finish.”

Stuart Cooke: That’s right.

Guy Lawrence: Well, that’s just getting done, isn’t it? Do you meditate outside or, as in outside the rowing, do you do meditation…?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, I actually…yeah, I started mindfulness meditation practice about two years ago and so did my wife, so I do a couple of minutes every morning the moment I wake up, and frankly we had plenty of time to practice activity-based meditation on the boat. It was actually interesting and powerful to try that during the row, which really helps you to focus on the moment and the sensation and this kind of related to how can you stay focused? It’s obviously uncomfortable for the most part, you know?

Your ass is hurting, your hands are hurting, you’re tired, but there’s nothing more powerful than embracing that pain and discomfort, because once you, sort of, give in and embrace and recognize that feeling, nothing can break you, but as long as you keep, sort of, fighting and bitching to yourself, like, “Oh, my god, my ass is hurting. Oh, my god, I’m tired,” the feeling just sort of escalates in your brain, but the moment you’re like, “I’m hurting. I’m feeling it. It’s uncomfortable, but I’m in it and I’m embracing it,” it’s like, “All right, so what’s worse? It can’t get any worse. You’re in it.”

So, there are a lot of mental lessons that I think are applicable to…

Guy Lawrence: Day-to-day life. Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Day-to-day life at your office or your exercise, so, you know, relationship with people and all other things.

Guy Lawrence: Amazing. Yeah. Something else occurred to me as well, because they say traveling with your partner is the best way to test the relationship, you know, and being in a rowing boat would certainly test that, you know, for me, but obviously it went good, you know? It’s incredible. Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, we’re still married, so… You can see I still have the ring, so all went well, but, no, absolutely, it’s a… Not only was it an amazing test, but also an amazing experience that we’ll share for the rest of our lives, and fortunately it turned out positively from a relationship perspective.

Guy Lawrence: Go on, Stu. Go on.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I was just wondering how you felt when you got off the boat, I mean, what were your feelings and how did you feel?

Sami Inkinen: Well, emotionally, I, and I think my wife as well, we cried a lot immediately after, so it was just, kind of, a big emotional moment to come out. Physically, so we had a doctor who did a quick checkup right after who actually has worked with a number of ocean rowers and her immediate comment was, “I can’t believe how healthy you guys look.” Like, nothing crazy, no crazy inflammation going on.

I had blood work done just a couple of days after the row and, like, we were incredibly healthy from the perspective of inflammation, hormonal markers, and other things, so other than, especially with myself losing a lot of, or having a lot of muscle atrophy in the muscles we didn’t use, which is completely natural, nothing to do with your diet, it’s just if you don’t use those muscles…Other than that, I was feeling incredibly well and within just a couple of days I felt like I was completely back, too.

It took several weeks to build the muscle mass back to some of the muscles that were really… because I didn’t really even stand, I didn’t do anything weight-bearing for two months, so other than that…

Guy Lawrence: So, just upper body, yeah…

Sami Inkinen: Yeah and, you know, rowing is, you do use your legs and low body, kind of like a squat movement, still, you don’t even stand or carry your body weight. There’s a lot of muscle and soft tissue that’s completely unused, and I lost a lot of that, so, like, walking was difficult coming off the boat.

Guy Lawrence: Just to touch back on the diet, because, you know, obviously you’ve changed your diet dramatically. Could you explain what your diet used to look like as a triathlete and what it looks like now, especially preparing and on the boat? The differences you made?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So, first of all, I did start changing my diet quite significantly before the row and I’ve raced as a triathlete following graphically similar diet I followed on the boat, but for almost twenty years I followed what I thought was a perfectly healthy diet and the diet that’s promoted by, you know, most governments, including the United States, including Finland, which, to me, was anything that was low-fat or no fat was healthy and, you know, I tried to eat fresh foods, but I ate a lot of packaged foods as well.

So my diet was extremely low fat. I tried to eat whole grains, obviously, not crap, and just a very low-fat diet. Low-fat, I thought it was good, and if it said no fat, it was great, so whether it was bread or skim milk or low-fat cheese or low-fat mayo, you name it, that’s what I was eating. And then, you know, the more I read about sports performance books, it was always, like, “Oh, you have to carb-load and that’s high-octane fuel,” you know, to put it simply, I was on an extremely high-carbohydrate diet, mostly whole grains, grains, vegetables, and all the meat that I was eating, it was super low-fat, so chicken, turkey, no skin, low-fat beef, that was my diet, and I followed that about twenty years.

I kept myself reasonably lean and my race weight low, but it required a ridiculous amount of willpower. We’ve seen what a lot of athletes are capable of doing, but 99 percent of the population just can’t do that and it’s not fun to apply 95 percent of your willpower 300 days a year to just always eat less than you would like to eat.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah, and then moving to the boat, because we watched the documentary a few days ago and what was clear is you were meticulous about, you know, the amount of calories and the amount of fat you ate and the way you set your meals up. Would you mind explaining a little bit about that for us as well, because that was fascinating I thought.

Sami Inkinen: On the boat?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, for the boat, yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, first of all, obviously, when you’re in the middle of the Pacific Ocean there’s no eat stations like in a triathlon race, so there’s no convenience stores or grocery stores that you can stop by when you get hungry or realize that, holy crap, you don’t have enough protein or this or that, so we had to be careful, and even our diet, at least by traditional standards, was very extreme, we want it to also be very scientific about preparing, because we knew that if something goes wrong, whether it’s food-related or something else, we just can’t; there’s no way, no helicopter is going to drop us extra food or extra sodium or extra this or that, so that was one of the reasons we were very, like, everything was calculated, measured, weighed, and we knew then what we have on the boat is sufficient.

But what we ate at the high level, we only tried to pack and eat real whole foods, so in as natural form as possible. That was one. Two, it was extremely low-carbohydrate diet from a macronutrient perspective, so caloric-wise my carbohydrate calories were somewhere between five and ten, around maybe nine percent of calories was carbohydrates. Protein, I think, was about fifteen percent, up to fifteen percent, so it leaves 75 percent to 80 percent of calories from fat, so, you know, I ate probably 5000 calories of fat every day, of which most was saturated fat, so if you want to shock a cardiologist, that’s a pretty good line, “Yeah, I ate 5000 calories of saturated fat for two months, almost two months.”

Stuart Cooke: So, a typical meal for you on the boat would’ve been what?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, so, and we packed pretty simple, not too much variety, so consequently I was practically eating the same stuff every day. So my breakfast was often salmon or tuna with craploads of olive oil and maybe some macadamia nuts.

My lunch was typically freeze-dried beef that was maybe like 70 percent fat calorically and 30 percent protein mixed with a little bit of freeze-dried vegetables and then I just mixed with water and it became like, you know, like a fresh food, and then I threw in, again, crazy amounts of olive oil into it and salt that had extra potassium and then some seasoning, maybe some olives, so it was kind of a… wasn’t very appetizing-looking necessarily, but I loved it, so that was the reason why I keep so much…

Guy Lawrence: And it was practical.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, very practical, and we didn’t have to cook anything. We didn’t have to boil water. I didn’t boil water. I boiled water a single time just as an experiment in the first few days, but that was all. So that was kind of my lunch most days.

And then I wasn’t, because we ate very high fat, we were very fat-adapted, so we didn’t have to be eating every 45 minutes, every hour, so sometimes I’d have five, six, seven, hours between meals, but nuts were my favorite snacks. Nuts, coconut butter, and then different nut butters, so macadamia… I had plenty of macadamia nuts, almonds… so that was kind of a typical meal kind of setup.

Guy Lawrence: Were you, do you know if you were in ketosis the whole time or coming in and out? Did you have a doctor on that at all or…?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. I did measure my ketones along the way. With hindsight, I overate a little bit protein to be in optimal ketosis, so that’s my understanding, that I ate a little bit too much protein, which flipped me out of a perfect zone, but I was definitely on ketosis. I don’t know deep I was, because I didn’t measure that frequently and my personal experience is that if you measure your ketones right after workout, I notice that my ketones actually go down right after the workout, so you give it a couple of hours after that and then they kind of come to the equilibrium of whatever they are and, you know, I was, usually when I measured it was right after my rowing, so…

Guy Lawrence: Do you still eat this way, in terms of the proportions, fat and carbs, or do you…?

Sami Inkinen: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: Every day, training or not?

Sami Inkinen: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, okay.

Sami Inkinen: The only difference is I have way more fresh food, so, and the fresh food is mainly green leafy vegetables, which weren’t available and I really missed those, so I eat a lot of those, but in terms of the macronutrient composition, I’m, let’s see, yeah, probably five percent carbohydrates, maybe ten, fifteen percent protein, and the rest is fat.

Guy Lawrence: There you go.

Stuart Cooke: Wow. And do you think that this way of eating is beneficial for everyone?

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, people look for shortcuts and for simple sound bites like…

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: One size does not fit all, so my recommendation when people come to me is, unless I have time to spend, like, two, three hours with someone to talk about XXtheir ???XX [0:26:21] is buy real, whole foods and cook at home. You’re probably better off not buying grains and, yeah, lots of carbohydrates, so that’s my advice to everyone, and if you buy real, whole foods and cook at home, you can’t go wrong, and if you limit carbohydrates, you’re probably better off. Beyond that, it’s kind of an individual situation and it depends on what your health standard is. If you are completely healthy now, you exercise a lot, you’re very carbohydrate-tolerant, insulin sensitive, you may be able to lead a happily healthy life with reasonable amount of stuff that might kill someone else.
So, I don’t, like, one size fits all in this kind of a one sound bite, it just, that’s for people looking for shortcuts and simple answers. There’s no simple answers other than eat real whole foods and cook at home and everything else after that you have to be quite nuanced…

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. A lot of self-experimentation.

Stuart Cooke: I’m guessing then if you retired from sports tomorrow, you would continue to eat this way.

Sami Inkinen: Oh, absolutely, yeah. The way I eat, well, first of all, I think a healthy foundation in your body is an absolutely foundation for sports performance. So, you can’t start from the performance angle first and say, “Hey, why don’t I eat something that makes me somehow, like, really good at sports.” Well, that’s somehow that makes you really good at sports is something that optimizes your general health, because then you recover best, you can train hardest, so I don’t really see those as mutually exclusive, sports performance and health.

Then race time eating or race time nutrition might be different, because you may not be able to, you know, take a plate and take a frying pan and start preparing meals if you’re in the middle of a race, so a race is a different situation but in terms of health and sports performance, it’s tough for me to make the case that they would be mutually exclusive so the answer is, “Yes.”

I want to be as healthy as possible, because that makes me the best possible athlete as well.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, because that’s a focus you don’t see a lot, but athletes do, like, you know, the health sort of becomes a far distant second and that’s all about how can I perform better and achieve more and consequently health would suffer. Like, even with yourself, the change the diet now, have you noticed differences with injuries and things and just with the body itself? Can you put more demands on it the way you’re doing it?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, this is kind of an n equals one experiment so this is just a personal. It’s anecdotal and those who want to rip apart everyone’s opinions and comments will certainly rip apart my comment, but the thing that I don’t have, which is a good thing, one is, I have much less, knock on wood, but I feel like I don’t get sick at all now. So I used to have my sore throat and sinus and this and that all the time. That’s one.

Two, I don’t have, like, sort of inflammation nagging injuries. I used to have Achilles and shoulder and this and that, lower back and this and that, all the time. I don’t have those at all.

And then anecdotally, I feel that I recover much better, so those are the things that…It appears to me that have significantly improved when I got off the super high-carbohydrate, low fat diet, and then just overall feeling is like, you know, I’m not thinking about really food much at all. I’m not obsessed about always trying to eat ten percent less than I wanted, so I can focus on life rather than, “Oh, I need to be on this athlete diet which sucks all the time.”

Guy Lawrence: I know, we now a few, I mean, you know, a good endurance athlete as well, and they get ravenous, like, you know, they’d eat a loaf of banana bread in seconds, you know, and then they come out and it’s like, “Wow. That can’t be helpful.”
Stuart Cooke: So, we’ve touched a little bit on food, I’m interested to know your thoughts on sports drinks.

Sami Inkinen: Sports drinks?

Stuart Cooke: Sports drinks, yeah. So I guess, what did you drink while you were on the row and perhaps, historically, what did you used to drink when you were training as to what you might drink now?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So our sports drink of choice on the boat was water which was made out of ocean water with our desalinator, so we, you know, carrying the amount of water that you need for two months when you are sweating, rowing eighteen hours a day, obviously, which people used to do, the few crazy individuals who did this before, solar panels and desalinators, the rowing boats were gigantic because they had to carry all their water through the whole thing.

Guy Lawrence: All their water. Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: So, we were drinking ocean water, which was desalinated, no sodium, and we had zero electrolyte solutions whatsoever on the boat which probably could be surprising to people. So our sports electrolyte solution of choice was table salt.

Guy Lawrence: Plain old table salt.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. We had table salt that had, you know, added potassium, but you know, it’s a grocery store product that you buy. That was the only thing that we had. We also had a magnesium tablets, but the only reason we had that was because all the beef that, and the meat, that we ate was dehydrated and it was treated in a way that it had lower amounts of magnesium that you would otherwise find, so we had that just in case that we wouldn’t have muscle cramps, but that’s all.

And, like I said, we had no aid station, we had no sports stores, so we were absolutely confident that the real whole foods based diet, regardless of our eighteen hours of exercise a day, is completely efficient, so I guess long story short to answer your question, we were able to exercise eighteen hours a day with zero sports drinks and eighteen hours a day, I burn about the same amount of calories as running two marathons each day for 45 days non-stop.

Guy Lawrence: That’s amazing, man.

Sami Inkinen: That doesn’t make it science, but it’s not a very good headline for a sports drink marketer.

Guy Lawrence: Do you ever get people just going, “Oh, that’s rubbish, “or disbelief or…what’s the reaction being… for you achieving this in the sports fraternity especially, you know? Like, because it’s so against everything we’ve told.

Sami Inkinen: I don’t know. I don’t really care. I mean, I let others judge and form their opinions and, if somebody doesn’t believe in what we did or that might be the right way to eat or drink or hydrate yourself then that’s their choice. Yeah, but your question of what do I have now, so if I go to a four or five-hour bike ride, I just have water in my bottle, but I usually try to make sure that I have, like, lots of salt before. I might throw in some table salt into my water bottles in my bike, and then, once I finish, I have extra salt to swallow.
So you certainly need the sodium, but I’m just conscious of that if I do something that is more than two hours and it’s hot and I know that I’m going to be sweating, yeah, I kind of buffer a little bit, but I don’t run out of sodium.

Guy Lawrence: Amazing. And just one question that I really wanted to touch on while we’ve got you on the show, Sami, is just for the listeners out there regarding your training, could you share with us now even when you’re leading up to an event or something what a typical training day and a typical training week would look like? The amount of volume you would do in that?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, it obviously depends on what I’m preparing for, but looking at the last five, even ten years of my training log, it’s… overall volume is the same, the content just changes, but weekdays, I usually work out between 50 and 90 minutes per day. You know, maybe an average of an hour a day, and then the weekend, either for training or social reasons, I do a longer, usually it’s a bike ride that’s anywhere between three and five hours, more often three to four hours, so if you do the math, I mean the second day might be another one or two-hour bike ride or run or something, but you know I end up training about ten hours a week, week in, week out, and you know, I love exercising so that’s one of the reasons.

It’s my way of, like, clearing my mind, and if I’m training for an event it’s much more focused, so there’s more high-intensity and that’s sort of thing, but the hours I’d say… eight to eleven hours a week. It’s difficult to find a week that’s out of those parameters for less than eleven hours, and then you know, I might sometimes more strength-training, sometimes less, but that’s kind of the setup.

So when I say one-hour day, so it could be a recovery workout where I go and ride about a bike for 50 minutes. Super easy, so that’s almost like doing nothing for me, but it counts as a one-hour workout, so another one-hour workout might be ten times one-minute all out, warm out, cool down, so once again it’s one hour, so it’s again, it’s an hour, but you know, it really depends on what I do there, but I’m so used to exercise that I kind of end up spending the one hour every morning just to get out there and do something and, yeah, but what you do within an hour makes a huge difference.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, yeah.

Stuart Cooke: It does, it does. One question as well, Sami, that we ask everybody, and I know we’ve got thousands of people that would love to know, a typical daily diet for you. What have you eaten today?

Sami Inkinen: What have I had today? Probably the most dangerous, no question about, answer, because everyone always asks, “So what do you eat exactly?” I always try to avoid going into details, because then people either want to copy, they’ll want to rip it apart, so I’ve always tried to avoid, like, posting somewhere, like, “Here’s exactly what I eat.” Not because there’s anything scandalous or anything, but, again, people are looking for this, like…

Guy Lawrence: Magic fix?

Sami Inkinen: …sound bite, like one size fits all, but typically I eat, before workout, I probably have, like four or five hundred calories of fat and, practically speaking, that’s usually coconut butter or coconut oil in a tea or coffee or butter so that was the case this morning as well, so, I mean, I don’t count the calories, but just to give you a sense of, like…

Guy Lawrence: Guestimate, yeah.

Sami Inkinen: You know, a crapload of fat with a drink, and you know it’s pretty fast to digest and it doesn’t feel like it’s in your stomach if you go and work out, so that’s… Then right after workout, I usually have a little bit of a protein, so this could be three to five eggs, fried with top fat again, butter usually, in a pan, depending how busy I am. My lunch is usually a salad, so it looks like it’s lots of salad, but it’s lots of greens and then with a little bit of protein, so that could be a salmon or ground beef and then a lot of olive oil or butter or some sort of mayo.

Snacks oftentimes it’s some sort of meat or sausage or almonds or macadamia nuts and then dinner is even a, you know, a bowl that you would usually feed a horse from. That kind of size full of greens that I may sauté in a pan with a bunch of butter or just like put in, like, it’s gigantic and then again with some kind of protein. It could be shrimps or fish or grass with beef or more butter. I usually drink water, but I might have almond milk, just for the heck of it, maybe some frozen berries after that, like blueberries or something like that. Nothing too scientific.

Stuart Cooke: Sounds delicious.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. Mate, we’ve got one more question that we always ask everyone on the podcast as well and it can be related to anything, but what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Sami Inkinen: That someone has given to me?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Oh… happy wife, happy life. It sounds like a cliché, but once you’ve been married for a few years you realize that it’s so true.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: That’s a great answer.

Stuart Cooke: I hear where you’re coming from, Sami, with that one.

Guy Lawrence: Just to wrap it up, what does the future hold for Sami Inkinen? Any more challenges ahead or anything in the pipeline?

Sami Inkinen: Well I’m working very hard on my MacBook Air, just kind of on the technology side of things, but athletically I’m doing the eight-day mountain biking stage race in South Africa in March called Cape Epic, so it’s, you know, five to seven hours on the bike each day for eight days. So that’s coming up in less than two months, so two months’ time. Excited about that, so that’s my athletic in the horizon, so I’d better get myself on the bike.

Stuart Cooke: My word, I’ve been a mountain biker all my life, I would shudder at the thought of undertaking something like that, so I would… We’ll keep an eye on that one, for sure.

Guy Lawrence: Definitely! And for them listening to this, Sami, if they want to, you know, track your progress or follow you, do you have a website or a blog they can check out at all or a URL?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, well maybe a couple of things, the row, if you’re interested in learning more about the row, we have a website called Fat Chance Row, fatchancerow.org, so you can go there and read a little bit about the background and we raised money for a non-profit and we are still doing that, so if you want to support, none of the money comes to us, it goes directly to the non-profit. So that’s one, and then, if you want to follow me on Twitter, one way to follow what I might be up to, is just my first name, last name on Twitter, so S, A, M, I, I,N, K, I, N, E, N, Sami Inkinen on Twitter, and you know I sometimes blog on my website, but it’s not too frequent so…

Guy Lawrence: No worries. We’ll put the appropriate links to that on the show anyway and help spread the word. Thanks, Sami, thanks so much for coming on the show. That was awesome and I have no doubt everyone is going to get a lot out of that today.

Stuart Cooke: I think so, very, very inspiring. Really appreciate the time, Sami.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. My pleasure, so thanks so much, guys.

Guy Lawrence: Thanks, Sami.

Stuart Cooke: No problem.

Guy Lawrence: Appreciate it. Cheers.

Stuart Cooke: Cheers.

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…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Get More of Meredith Loring Here:

fuel your body with powerful, natural and nourishing foods – click here –

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.

Improve ageing muscle loss with protein & exercise

Muscle loss with age (sarcopenia) may be caused by a reduction of muscle protein synthetic response to food intake, along with inactivity of muscles.

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According to the study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

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The older you get, the faster your muscles atrophy (muscle loss) if you’re not regularly engaging in appropriate exercise like weight training. Additionally, older muscles do not respond well to sudden or intense bouts of exercise, so the key to avoiding sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss) is to challenge your muscles with intense exercise on a regular basis throughout your life—although it’s never too late to start, you just need to start out more gradually.

Protein is essential to help prevent muscle loss and for healthy muscle growth and maintenance when exercising, but as you age, your body becomes increasingly less able to utilise the protein in your food for building muscle, making whey protein a great choice to include in your daily diet.

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You can read the full article here.