How I crushed a 50 mile hike, a 100 mile bike ride, and lost 40lbs in the process

2017 has been a killer year.

There have been a lot of changes for me personally, which I am grateful for. More specifically, I'm down about 40lbs as a result of a new diet and endurance training regimen. 

As we get older, nutrition becomes that much more critical. I believe it was someone from the Westside Barbell coaching staff who said it best, "you can't out train a shitty diet." So about six months ago I committed to intermittent fasting via the 16/8 method as explained below:

  • The 16/8 Method: Also called the Leangains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, for example from 1 pm to 9 pm. Then you "fast" for 16 hours in between.

Let me preface this by saying I am not a nutritionist, but I've found this to be incredibly effective with no negative side effects on my work or training performance. In fact, I have more energy, recover quicker from high intensity workouts, and my weight remains stable. 

Looking plump with Dr. Spencer Nadolsky (weight is about 265lbs):

In terms of my training, I joined the Michael J Fox Foundation as a member of Team Fox Boston and embarked on endurance events to improve my mental and physical conditioning while also raising money for a great cause.

The first event was a 50 mile run/hike called Rock the Ridge through the Mohonk Preserve in NY. It took me about 16 hours to complete in rainy, muddy, and near freezing conditions. It was one of the worst things I have ever experienced in my life, but I'm stronger for it. I tapped into something that I knew was there and this event helped me access that place.

Post race with the founder of Rock the Ridge. Proud to report that he said I was the first person he heard of doing this off the couch:

These are my feet about about 25 miles in. I was hurting:

The second was The New England Parkinson's Ride which is 100 mile bike ride just south of Portland, ME. This was much more enjoyable and it only took about 7.5 hours. The conditions were ideal other than some slight winds which seemed to always beat down on me during the uphills. 

My buddy Taylor and I post race. We celebrated with some fresh cold ones:

50 miles in and feeling good:

In terms of prep, I really didn't do much outside of what I do normally. I signed up 10 days before Rock the Ridge so I didn't really have time to train for it. Most days leading up to the events began with total body mobility work, 3-4 evenings per week were dedicated to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, with 2-3 strength and conditioning workouts using kettlebells and programming from BJ Gaddour, all of which started and ended with commuter bike riding (about 12-20 miles total on any given day).

My Kimura Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Family (weight is about 225lbs):

I truly feel that my dedication to barefoot training has built a much stronger and more durable base in my lower half. Most of the people I spoke to had been training specifically for either the hike or ride for 6 to 12+ months. I was lucky to get in a quick run, or log 25 miles on a Sunday morning bike cruise leading up to each race day.

The cumulative time spent prepping my feet, ankles, knees, and hips, paid dividends during these endurance events. My body was more resilient and could withstand the high volume of activity. Don't get me wrong, my body was pretty crushed after Rock the Ridge, but I was able to recover in time for a team lift at Boyle's 3 days later. 

As much as I may have improved in 2017, there is still much to accomplish and I look forward to crushing more goals in my Pedestals in the coming year.

I think of the work I put into my feet, in the same way Abe Lincoln thought about chopping down his trees, "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I'll spend the first four sharpening the axe." 

Give me a few months to prep for an endurance event, and at least 60% of my time will be spent working on making sure my feet, ankles, knees, and hips are functioning optimally.

Put the work in now so that you're always ready.

Much love, 

Brendan

#DitchYourShoes #BuildYourBase #AmericanMade #GoRaw

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