KC Craichy’s SuperHealth Podcasts: Super Human Feat – Purpose, Persistence, & Performance

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Posted on 10th February 2012 by admin in Super Health |SuperHealth Podcasts

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Christian Isakson

You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet.
– Christian Isakson, 2011 Finisher of the EPIC5 Challenge

The quote above was particulary compelling from a man who exercised more than twelve hours per day for five straight days in completing the astonishing EPIC5 Challenge— five individual iron distance triathlons (swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles) totaling over 700 grueling miles in five consecutive days on five different Hawaiian islands.

We continue our fascinating and inspiring conversation with ultra-endurance athlete Christian Isakson. How do you train for such an event? How important is recovery after hard exercise? How can eating with intention help fuel your dreams and goals? Learn the answers to these questions and also how you can apply principles Christian learned to help you on your personal race to Super Health!

Audio Transcription

KC: Welcome to Living Fuel TV. I’m KC Craichy with a special guest, Christian Isakson, aka Mr. Ironman, back with us. This has been a really fun series. When’s the last time that you have done an event that has taken you to everything that you have inside of you to accomplish? Well, as we have talked about in previous segments, if you’re just joining us today, Christian has just accomplished one of the most fantastic endurance feats on the planet. He accomplished what’s called the Epic Five. You can look it up epicfive.com. It is five races in five days on five of the largest islands of Hawaii which are Iron Distance Races, which means 2. …

Christian: Four.

KC: … four mile swim. A hundred and…

Christian: Twelve mile bike.

KC: … twelve mile bike.

Christian: And then a full marathon.

KC: And a full marathon every day for five days. How about that for a work week? So, it’s awesome to have you back, brother.

Christian: Right on. Thank you. Thank you. It’s awesome to be here.

KC: So, accomplishing that, I mean, I just continue to marvel at the level of athlete that you are to accomplish this thing. You know, we’ve heard of the tortoise and the hare, and we talked about it last segment how a lot of triathlon, weekend warrior triathlons…

Christian: Right.

KC: … they come to us and they say well, how do we fuel ourselves…

Christian: Right.

KC: … for this and they’ve been fallowing this pattern of some book they read …

Christian: Right.

KC: … about a world class athlete that’s doing it, like you do it like nine and half hours on a race.

Christian: That’s what I’m shooting for. I’m just above ten right now, but I’m working my way down.

KC: OK. So but you started at 30. What was the progression of your racing, and how did you build up to it?

Christian: I’ve been a runner for a while. Being in the military, you run constantly. I ran a little bit in high school. I’ve just always been… I’m not built like a runner. I’m more of like a more stocky guy, but I think that benefits me for the longer races because I have a little bit more muscle and I also have some good fast twitch which enables me to hit some speed. But around 29, 28, 29, 30 is when I really dropped the hammer. I saw the Ironman when I was eight years old on TV when Julie Moss crawled across the line throwing up, and I remember pointing to the television and pointing to my mom, and I said I’m going to do that someday.

KC: You didn’t mean the throwing up part.

Christian: No. And then I do that well, too. I’m not going to lie, and probably I throw up sometimes more in training that I do in racing, but I think I dedicated myself knowing that hey, this is going to take 10 years. It’s going to take me 10 years of my life to get to where I want to. I’m right around six, year six, year seven, and I’m still not there. I have a long way to go, and I talk to people all the time that ask me what do I do? How do I get involved? That’s what you got to be willing to do. You got to be willing to commit ten years if you’re serious, and if you’re not go golf. I mean go do something else. Weekend warrioring is fun. I’m more of an animated gregarious guy that takes things to the limit. You could ask my family. Sometimes it’s annoying, but I think the persistence is what helps drive me, and it’s what’s gotten me the point to where I’m at.

KC: I’ve often said that when you look at marathons and triathlons and those sort of endurance races, it really is a picture of what the viewers are experiencing in their own lives. It’s different though, their activities are much less, but their nutrition and their exercise is much less also or not nearly as refined.

Christian: Right.

KC: And so what happens is people over time end up losing their body mass…

Christian: Right.

KC: …their lean body mass, their muscle, replace it with fat. People are what I call fat skinny people a lot of times because they basically have the same metabolic problems as someone who is big because they have lost muscle and gained fat…

Christian: Correct.

KC: … in replacing it.

Christian: …Yep.

KC: And so maintaining your nutrition and your routine and that sort of thing is…

Christian: Right.

KC: …critically important for, not just for you, but for the people listening, also.

Christian: Yep.

KC: So, what does your training look like?

Christian: I always say you cannot out train a bad diet. There are a lot of physically fit people out there that are not healthy, and that’s where I think the line starts to segregate. If you’re going due north and you’re headed in the right direction but you’re only one degree off, by the time you get up here you’re separate even more. I think with nutrition and training that’s the key is to staying consistent in everything, and I get tons of stuff dealt to me from the guys at work. But it’s the little things over and over and over and over and over again. Eating properly, eating egg whites, not the eggs. Drinking fluids when you wake up in the morning. It’s a constant, it’s just a constant mental battle to stay. Keep a training log. Keep a journal log. Keep a food log. And then be willing to train seven, eight, nine hours a day. I mean literally leading up to the Epic Five I had many days where I was on the road running 30 miler’s and training for seven, eight hours a day constantly and knowing my body well enough to know when I have to recover, when I have to fill up, and when I have to sleep and I think that all comes into play. Most of its common sense when you think about it. It’s those questions that are easily answered are usually the ones that make the most sense. Should I eat this or should I eat that? Usually you know, it’s whether you want to do it or not. And having Living Fuel with me, it was a no brainer. After the long training sessions, it was so easy to down a bottle of Living Fuel regardless of what I would mix up and it would give me a segue to get to the solid foods where in the past when I would run 30 miles or put in this seven hour bike ride on the trainer or do something physically that your body’s not supposed to do, I couldn’t eat solid foods after. So, I think that that was, like I said before in the last segment, that was a big piece of the puzzle for me was to be able to get gas back in the tank because the minute… Your next training session starts the second the one that you’re doing ends and that little segue between, so many people forget and they plop down on the television and then they eat, they think that just because you trained for a long time, it gives you the liberty to eat pizza and burgers and it doesn’t work like that..

KC: It doesn’t work like that. Our bodies are a fine machine…

Christian: Correct.

KC: …and you got to fuel it like you would a fine machine.

Christian: Right. Right.

KC: Interestingly, I remember the one message I got from you. I told you you were going to feel better if you do this, you need to increase your protein levels dramatically over what you were telling you were doing and to save muscle mass…

Christian: Right.

KC: …lean muscle mass and lean body mass. You don’t want to burn up heart muscle either, you know.

Christian: Right. Yep.

KC: So, I got a phone call one day where you had done it between your swim and your bike.

Christian: Right.

KC: And you said for the first day I actually feel the difference.

Christian: It just felt weird and I have a lot of people trying to send me stuff so I’m very cagey and hesitant, and it helps that you’re a brother in Christ. I’m not going to lie. There’s peace in mind knowing that, all right, this guy is on the same page as me so that’s awesome, but on a separate note just the product itself, there was a week there where I’m like I feel different. I mean it wasn’t a placebo thing. It was everything from being able to go to the bathroom easy. I mean seriously to staying hydrated, to just having the peace of mind of knowing after this workout I have something that I know is going to work for me versus still kind of rolling the dice. And I have a coach, David Caverly, who is a great coach. He’s helped me with my nutrition and he and I discussed this, and he said this is a great supplement to a great diet. You can’t take away your greens and your fresh foods and your organic vegetables, but he’s like, if you’re using this and this it’s like a double whammy. The thing with Living Fuel is there was times on the Epic Five where that’s all I had, and it was just as well as eating the rest of that stuff all in one bottle. So.

KC: It is. Every need of the body is addressed. That’s so important.

Christian: Exactly.

KC: The thing that people don’t get that the broad spectrum antioxidant nature of that…

Christian: Right.

KC: …actually it speeds up the space of recovery…

Christian: Yep.

KC: …dramatically and when you’re in a sport where every day you’re doing things. We have a lot of baseball players…

Christian: Right.

KC: … golfers, tennis players, those sort of things that do every, hockey players, that do every day. You know you break down your body. Recovery is enormously valuable so understanding how to do that through nutrition and rest is huge.

Christian: I wasn’t trying to bag on the golfers out there, just so you know, when I said the golf. I think golf’s a physically demanding sport and I didn’t mean it to sound.

KC: Of course. No one’s going to take it that way.

Christian: All right, right on. Bowling, just kidding. But nonetheless the way that I felt after I had the Living Fuel after a hard day of 14 hours a day, seven hours on the bike. Normally, it’s hard for me to eat solid foods.

KC: Of course.

Christian: For the Epic Five I was able to maintain bananas and avocado sandwiches. I have my own nutritional tricks that I have to do, but it’s like anything else you have to be wise with what you have and you have to know how to use it for it to benefit you the best.

KC: Absolutely.

Christian: And Living Fuel did that for me.

KC: That’s awesome. Well, we’re going to get into more details of the race.

Christian: Right on.

KC: Nice to have you, bro.

Christian: Cool. Nice to be here.

KC: God bless you and have a great day.

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