Before you dive into the complex carb and calorie counting strategies, try to adopt a simple diet and mindset. In essence, if it’s unnatural – don’t eat it. If it has added sugar, don’t eat it. If it’s more bread than meat in your sandwich, move on. If you can, only ingest meat, nuts, fruit, vegetables (more than anything else), beans, bread is OK but think of it in whatever quantity usually accompanies soup (and choose whole grain if possible). Second, if you do drink, daily, that’s OK. But just have one glass, bottle/can and don’t get tipsy or drunk every night. I’ve read compelling arguments that having a drink of whatever for a happy hour, daily, has positive health benefits in the long-term, extending lifespan. Please, just train before the happy hour – not after.

But, since we’re going to be logging miles, we can tweak our diet. We’ll be running and rucking, recording substantial distance work – a 30g carb threshold daily threshold may be beneficial to you. If you’re uncomfortable limiting your intake of carbohydrates, it’s ok to stick with whatever you’re normally doing. Cold turkey rarely works in the long-term. The reason I like having strict guidelines but loose tactics with a diet is that it becomes a lifestyle, not a diet. Guidelines become a way of life by eating and sticking to foods that feel “real.” It’s probably healthier to hear fewer wrappers opening and more chiming of utensils against plates in your home.

But, here’s what is likely to be the toughest part for most people, including me: no dairy. If you can, cut it out, completely and see how you feel. CAVEAT – It’s OK to binge on cheese now and then. The real culprit is Milk. Think of it this way; we’re the only animals to drink milk after our infancy. The milk we drink isn’t even our of own species. I don’t see cows delivering colostrum to one another. So, since you’re not on the set of “Kindergarten Cop,” or a baby, skip the milk. There are two drinks available to you: water and coffee. If you’re like me and you like cream in your coffee – a little bit won’t hurt, and this is the exception.

Now, after you exercise, you’re probably going to be ravenous since you’re on this new strict diet. If you’ve just logged some miles – don’t deviate too far, but go ahead and crush the fridge. All the while, when binge eating or not – eat protein and be thinking protein and vegetables and water.

Maintain this dietary stance Monday through Friday. On the weekend, knock out a long endurance effort and then afterward – maybe give yourself a twenty-four-hour window to eat whatever the hell you want. Throw the diet plans in the trash for 24 and just eat to your heart’s desire. If you take in a longer run on Saturday, it works better to break your diet Saturday evening to Sunday afternoon.  Because eventually deviating from your diet will cause you discomfort. But, as I wrote earlier, no one goes cold turkey with success in the long run.

To motivate yourself remember that fitness means diet and conditioning. But diet might be 80% of fitness, and conditioning the other 20%. You’ll never perform to your max if you’re not giving yourself clean fuel; and under no circumstances should you eat a snake while training for selection. But, if you do, please send me a picture.

Featured image courtesy Hayabusa72 – DeviantArt.