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Occasional Insanity Outperforms Daily Misery: Day-Hiking Mt. Whitney, Fasted
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August 24, 2011
4:36 am
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2105
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February 22, 2010
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"Why Are We Hungry?" will return next week. Meanwhile, I recommend you read it starting from if you haven't already, because , and particularly , throw quite a bit of light on currently hot issues.

Adaptation to endurance exercise is important, because our ability to burn fat for energy is important:

J Appl Physiol. 1984 Apr;56(4):831-8.
Adaptations of skeletal muscle to endurance exercise and their metabolic consequences.
Holloszy JO, Coyle EF.

The major metabolic consequences of the adaptations of muscle to endurance exercise are a slower utilization of muscle glycogen and blood glucose,…

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August 24, 2011
4:57 am
Asclepius
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Inspiring photographs! Stunning scenery!

Some of my experiences were very similar to yours - notably the sensation that at times I had got 'a bit ahead of my ability to produce energy' (walking in a group meant I had to go at their pace rather than mine). Similar to yourself, the next day I was not ravenously hungry as I had expected, and felt my body had prepared itself for more work, that it was ramped up in expectation of more of the same. IIRC, a day or so later, 'post-crisis', the 'cost' of the adventure became 'payable' - and I both ate more and rested more!

Interestingly, my last 'epic' adventure (Coast to Coast by bike over three days), was not so easy to overcome. Something I hope to blog about in due course.

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August 24, 2011
5:49 am
Samantha Moore
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Really enjoyed this post. Thank you!

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August 24, 2011
6:10 am
Halifax, UK
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 365
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June 5, 2011
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Really inspiring story and accompanying photographs - I've googled for more views of the area.

I reckon I'm about half way through my fat loss journey, but dramatically more energetic and able to take on long walks and take in completely off trail experiences which push me beyond what I thought I was capable of - literally clawing up muddy slopes at times. I love that stuff.

I engage in moderate activity every day, including walking, some unpredictable weights (water bottles, bags, sledgehammer, tyres, that kind of thing) and resistance against my own muscles as a good warm up.

I think I'll take up this idea and go for a long walk one day ... just wake up and go for it!

Inspiring! The science bit at the beginning was useful.

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Living in the Ice Age http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk
August 24, 2011
6:29 am
Tim
Guest

I hope that is not your cooler of berries, yogurt and fish. That means you have a hole in your car.

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August 24, 2011
6:45 am
Christopher Sturdy
Guest

Very cool idea - thanks for sharing!

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August 24, 2011
6:47 am
Katie
Guest

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. It's ironic that you mention earthquakes...We had one in DC yesterday, and although it wasn't huge (5.8) it definitely caused a panic because we're not used to them here. The trains and buses were all overloaded, so I decided to just walk the few miles home. Got a couple of blisters from non-ideal shoes, but otherwise was just fine and could have done a lot more if I needed to. Nothing like the harrowing tale Jamie Scott told about the Christchurch earthquake, but it made me feel good that I didn't even hesitate about walking...

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August 24, 2011
7:03 am
Ash
Guest

Lovely post - although I had a shock when you mentioned greek yogurt?!

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August 24, 2011
7:32 am
Peggy The Primal Par
Guest

That's awesome. I can always count on you to be as weird as me. Last night I fasted. I ate a good amount of food around 11am and didn't feel like eating again till late at which time I just decided to reap the benefits of IF.

While I'm fasting I often go do something active. Last night it was a walk all over town and play in the river with my daughter and come home and write an article. 2 weeks ago it was a bike ride all over town pulling my daughter behind me in a trailer.

Food is, well, overrated. :) We've got to eat, of course, but we also don't have to eat as often or as regularly as people think. I know you are an efficient fat burner as am I and your body probably didn't experience the kind of stress which most others would experience if they were to try to do the same.

I love how you suggest we push our limits beyond comfort and even sanity because, you're right, the real world (beyond our modern conveniences) would never have allowed such a luxury of inactivity and safety.

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August 24, 2011
9:38 am
Timothy
Guest

Such breathtaking scenery. How could anyone dwell on their personal limitations while immersed in the vast bounty of nature? Compelled by the ancient impulse to venture along the trail, food itself would be an unwelcome distraction.

Confined as I am to an urban environment, this seems like an imaginary paradise to me. How different it must feel, hopping through cool streams and breathing pure, rarefied air, rather than dodging broken glass and timing one's breath to avoid lungfuls of auto exhaust. Even the dawning sunlight in the parking lot, with its vivid yellows unfiltered by smog and long shadows drawn from an infinite horizon, seems to me like a vision of a legendary afterlife.

Good grief, how far we have strayed from our ancestral legacy. As much as I appreciate your scientific insights, JS, I am equally grateful for these occasional glimpses into your arboreal peregrinations. They open my mind to the possibilities of a world outside the urban oubliette.

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August 24, 2011
9:39 am
Paul Jaminet
Guest

Quite impressive, JS! 22 miles at altitude with 6200' elevation gain in a single day is quite a strenuous undertaking. You must be in good shape. I've had plenty of stiff, sore legs from 12 mile hikes in the mountains.

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August 24, 2011
1:40 pm
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February 22, 2010
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Asclepius:

I think that if we're working under our basal rate of fat oxidation, we can go pretty much forever.  The problem is that real-world effort often requires little bursts of energy, which come at a large premium after 12+ hours of continual effort.  Avoiding them whenever possible is the key to ultra-endurance.

Samantha:

You're welcome!  I like to emphasize that 'paleo' is a tool that allows us to live fulfilling lives, not an end in itself.

Paul:

Absolutely!  You're capable of more than you think you are. 

Note that I carried food with me in case of a crisis: being rescued by a helicopter isn't "paleo". 

Tim:

No, it wasn't.  That picture was taken at the beginning of the hike, and features someone else's coolers and trash.  I've added an explanatory note to the article.

Christopher:

AHS was wonderful, but I felt the need to get out and actually do something ancestral and healthy afterward.

Katie:

That's exactly the point I'm making at the end of the article.  If gasoline supplies are interrupted or highways are blocked, how are you going to feed yourself and your family, let alone escape the area?  Most people are effectively paralyzed without their cars, and they don't need to be.

Ash:

As a functional paleo eater, I don't proscribe high-fat dairy for those who tolerate it well -- as I appear to.  I do minimize casein and lactose, from which any health issues spring, so I very rarely eat cheese and never drink milk.  The Greek yogurt I eat periodically is over 80% fat, contains very little protein, and the lactose has essentially all been fermented.

Peggy:

Absolutely.  One of the biggest benefits of paleo, for me, has been that food no longer controls me.  All my life I had to eat every 3-4 hours or I became cranky and irritable.  I still enjoy food greatly...but I don't need constant sugar hits to keep me going.  Metabolic flexibility for the win!

Timothy:

I worked in cities for many, many years to be able to move to Tahoe...which is still more far urban than Lone Pine, the Eastern Sierra town nearest Whitney.  It's been worth it: though my lifestyle involves less techno-toys, I could never have written The Gnoll Credo in a city.

"The urban oubliette" is a great phrase.  As we live our lives, our focus slowly narrows to only that which is directly in front of us -- unless we make special efforts to widen it.  If we're not careful, we find ourselves with wrinkles and gray hair, suddenly realizing that we'll never do all the things we always thought we would.

I don't know how old you are, but my advice is this: your first goal in life should be to figure out a way to support yourself that doesn't depend on your physical location.  Then you can move to wherever makes you happy.  You'll probably have to settle for a lower income and lower standard of living...but even a vacation destination usually has lower cost of living than a city, and I value being able to (for instance) ride singletrack trails out the door of my house over owning an expensive new car.

Paul:

I'm in good shape -- but I'm not an exceptional athlete.  Like I said to Asclepius, if we're working under our basal rate of fat oxidation, our limitation becomes injuries and physical degeneration, not strength or endurance.  And I find that periodic craziness like this, plus small amounts of daily exercise, leaves me in far better shape and spirits than "chronic cardio" ever did.

My point isn't to brag: people day-hike Whitney every summer day, though the ones I talked to thought I was crazy for doing it fasted.  My point is that most of us are capable of far more than we realize -- and pushing our limits periodically is most likely far more effective than a much greater amount of total effort that always remains comfortably under our limits.

Dealing with the soreness: I think that recovery after such heroic efforts is one time where it's best to overconsume protein.  And stretch...I find myself stretching every few hours in order to keep my muscles from healing in a tightened state, which also seems to decrease the net stiffness and soreness.

Your latest thyroid article is amazing, by the way.  It'll take me a few more readings to fully process it, but I'm already seeing some of the connections you've made.

JS

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August 24, 2011
4:15 pm
Timothy
Guest

JS, you speak important truth. At 35, I am old enough to understand that but still young enough to do something about it. The logistics of escape are complicated by my two baby sons, but for their sake and my own, we will find our way out. And they will learn that an urban lifestyle is an exercise in nerga.

Speaking of which, the Gnoll Credo is bowling me over. It has shocked me and moved me and infected my dreams. I'm halfway through, savoring each page, wishing it would never end.

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August 24, 2011
8:57 pm
Fmgd
Guest

He, I'm jealous :P

In fact, I just fired up google maps. There are no mountains around but there should be somewhere to walk away from civilization for an afternoon. I'm just not sure if I can cross a bridge, but I'll find that out tomorrow.

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August 24, 2011
10:40 pm
Karen
Guest

Loved this post, and also loved this comment by Timothy: "How could anyone dwell on their personal limitations while immersed in the vast bounty of nature?"

I just took a holiday to Switzerland and was amazed at the boundless energy I experienced when a new and gorgeous alpine vista was around every corner.

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August 25, 2011
12:39 am
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2105
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February 22, 2010
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Timothy:

Thank you.  I took great pains to make sure every sentence of TGC was meaningful and without extra words.  It's Gryka's story, and I've done my best to honor her by telling it as best I can.

Once you realize escape is a function of income untethered to location, it gets a lot easier.  People focus on trying to get a "job" out in the country, which is hopeless.  If jobs paid anything it would be a city, not a town or the country.

Fmgd:

Exploring is part of the fun...being somewhere you've never been.

I deliberately didn't take any maps with me: I wanted to be in my surroundings, not at a point on a map.  Maps can help, but they also constrain.

Karen:

We are supposed to live in nature, not in buildings or cities.  The safety and comfort are nice, but they're not what we've been selected to understand, appreciate, or live in. 

There's a reason people with money buy a whole bunch of property they don't actually use...preferably next to a body of water.  We can easily measure our appreciation for nature in cold, hard cash.

JS

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August 25, 2011
1:42 pm
Halifax, UK
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 365
Member Since:
June 5, 2011
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J. Stanton said:

Paul:

Absolutely!  You're capable of more than you think you are. 

Note that I carried food with me in case of a crisis: being rescued by a helicopter isn't "paleo".


 

You would never have lived that one down!

Here in the UK, our Prince William is an active member of the air/sea rescue squadron out of Holyhead who look after the Anglesey and North Wales coastline, and mountains therein. Wales' highest mountain, Snowdon, sees many rescues by HM Coastguard helicopter and until the fellow's recent marriage many were deliberately getting into distress simply in the hope of meeting the Prince!

Here's up on Crib Goch – a knife edge arette towards the summit of Snowdon:

I vow to walk this in Vibrams or even Invisible Shoes one day. Maybe fasted?

This guy is more than a little macho about his enjoyment of the ridge:

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Living in the Ice Age http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk
August 26, 2011
2:05 am
Jim
Guest

Wow - great pictures, great article.

I would agree very much with this article. I used to run (not a mileage king, but enough to call it steady state running - usually 45min to an hour 7 days a week) and usually felt like I was always at a "plateau" of fat loss and fat burning capacity. I still carried a fair amount of fat regardless.

I now do not run (sprint some)and am working on incorporating more high intensity brief work outs, Tabatas and have noticed my stamina is better (for my age anyway).

BTW - what type of shoes were in the pic?

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August 26, 2011
9:57 am
Peggy The Primal Par
Guest

Stanton,

I saw you mention Paul Jaminet's article about low carb and thyroid in a comment above. http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=4383

I have only read it once so far too and am eager to peruse it further, and check out the links and the comments as well. I have been discussing it a lot and am trying to make out what I think of it. Are you planning on delving into the topic yourself?

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August 26, 2011
12:39 pm
Asclepius
Guest

"I vow to walk this in Vibrams or even Invisible Shoes one day. Maybe fasted?"

Paul, if you do Crib Goch in VFFs and fasted, you'll probably be only the second person ever to do it in this fashion (although it will be only the third time that Crib Goch has been traversed this way!).

;)

If you plan to do it early next summer, drop me a line if you want to team up.

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