Which diet is best Keto plant, animal or Paleo for Athletes to Increase Ultra-marathoner Rich Roll?


Nick: So Rich Roll, it’s clear then that we
can get the amino acids we need on a plant-based, whole foods diet. It’s clear that even humans at the most rapid
growth rate period of their life when they’re children, there are several studies referencing
that plant-based, whole foods, so long as they get enough calories, they’ll reach their
full adult height and get the nitrogen retention and build the organs and the body and the
brain the way it should be, yet getting enough calories is a little bit of a challenge and
you’ve shared with me some of your incredible accomplishments in ultramarathons. Tell me, you placed — was it fifth in the
world ranking? Rich: I was sixth in 2009 in that race, yeah. Nick: And so, what — that’s 2009, so that’s
during the same ten-year period that you’ve been plant-based, whole food? Rich: Yeah. Nick: So you got to run once with a Tarahumara
Indian. “Famous foot runners” is the translation,
I believe, to Tarahumara. Rich: Yeah. I had one experience. I did an event in Mexico City in conjunction
with Runner’s World, and so they had brought one of the more accomplished Tarahumara up
to participate in this event along with me, and so I had the opportunity to run with them,
which was quite a beautiful, amazing experience, just a naturally gifted runner who had the
most efficient, elegant stride running in sandals and skirt and the whole traditional
garb of that culture. It was a beautiful thing. Nick: And I know their diet is pinola nuts,
beans, peas, I think maybe corn tortillas, masa. They eat a lot of basically plant-based whole
foods. They’re a rather poor culture, but that’s
what they’ve been raised on in their culture. I guess they ferment some corn and make some
alcohol brews and things. I hear some other stories of things they do. I hear they chew on osha root before they
run and apparently it helps them with their appetite and the long distances. I’ve tried to keep up on — but you’ve mentioned
Scott Jurek, “Eat and Run”, and he talks about barefoot running based on the Tarahumara and
eating raw whole foods and he knows his inflammation reduced. He’s a friend of yours, Scott Jurek. Rich: We know each other, yeah. I’ve met him a bunch of times and he’s a colleague
and a fellow author and a remarkable talent. I wouldn’t put myself in his category in terms
of athletic accomplishments. He’s — Nick: Is he a good runner? Rich: Well, he’s arguably the best ultrarunner
of all time. Nick: Oh really? Rich: Yeah. Nick: Okay, and then Christopher McDougall,
he’s written a book as well. Rich: The book “Born to Run”, which is all
about the Tarahumara and includes Scott’s journey and bringing America’s greatest ultrarunners
down to the Copper Canyon to convene and run with that culture. Yeah, it’s a great book for people who haven’t
read it. Nick: Incredible. That’s very inspiring to me because I’m, if
you call it, an ultra weightlifter endurance champion. And so, to lift weights nonstop, I train with
the world champion, Dragan Radovich, and no one had ever beaten him in 20 years of competition. Eventually I exceeded his world record, but
face to face, he’s held out on that final challenge to come down with me. We’re both in our 60s. We both compete. We both can outlift guys, 20 and 30-year-olds
on steroids. He’s all natural. I know for a fact. I’ve lived with him. I’ve hung out with him. I watch what he eats. His diet could be a little better. I think mine’s better than his, but he’s an
old school steely type check, very strong willed, incredible, incredible athlete. His sons are incredible athletes. So competing around the world in London and
world championships, I go to Arnold Classic, and for me, to meet an athlete like you and
to know that you’re an inspiration to people particularly in the plant-based protein world. What are your feelings about minimizing oil
intake? Is that something that you tend to find of
value? And particularly since you burn so many calories,
you can probably fit in a little bit of things that other people may not be able to consume
consistently. Rich: Yeah. I would say that I eat a low fat diet, but
I don�t eat a no-fat diet. I do incorporate some fats into my diet, a
little bit of — Nick: From nuts and seeds? Rich: Yeah, nuts and seeds, but also avocado
oil and olive oil. I’m not a no-fat or I’m no a no-oil person. Nick: For me, I’ve evolved to where I felt
that looking under a microscope, I could see the damage that oil does specifically. And I burn a lot of calories too in my training,
but I depend more on coconut meat, the avocado, the olives, the source of the whole food because
I have a belief that the fiber slows absorption of that oil. There’s a purpose for that fiber in the whole
food and it’s a way to get enough calories because otherwise, it’s a little difficult
to get the calories when you’re burning through. You must burn through tons of calories. I can only imagine. Rich: Yeah. I go out for ten-hour rides or 40-mile runs
and things like that. [0:05:00] My body is acclimated to the load to an extent,
so perhaps my appetite might not be as voluminous as one might imagine because I’m used to these
repetitive motions, but yeah, I have healthy appetite. I love food and I eat a lot of it. Nick: Yeah. I met a man, Stu Mittleman at Tony Robbins’
event. I was at Tony Robbins’ event last night and
Stu Mittleman and I were teaching classes at Tony Robbins’ events for life mastery. And Stu had also studied the Tarahumara Indians
and he understood the need for slow, long-burning carbohydrates. He claimed there are certain periods that
your body would adjust and burn fat and I think him eating yogurt and things wasn’t
quite consistent with what I learned about the Tarahumara Indians. I remember testing his alkalinity. He was very acidic and there were some things
going on with his body. I think the guy is a great guy and everyone
has their own philosophies and their own personal beliefs about how they incorporate foods into
their life plan. Stu often run very long distances as well. Have you heard of Stu Mittleman at all? Rich: No, I don�t know. Nick: I don�t think he’s a world class guy. He’s more of an amateur athlete and it’s just
interesting, the influence they have on people like Tony Robbins and others, so it brings
people to think that somehow the body — and I know this — at Fit or Fat, Covert Bailey
said that the more you train consistently, your body becomes more efficient at burning
fat and that fuel can fuel you through long distances, but when you first start out, your
body is not in complete training and you burn more glucose than you do fats, so you burn
out sooner. Rich: Well, what you need to do particularly
in the type of events that I specialize in is you need to expand the scope and the scale
of your aerobic zone like your body’s ability to metabolize fat for fuel, which means focusing
on a lot of very low grade aerobic training, so it’s basically conversational pace when
you’re running or when you’re riding a bike. And through that process, which takes a long
time and you have to be very patient, you’re — Nick: Months, years, when you say a long time? Rich: Months and months and months and years
and years and years to get good at it, but what you do is you become very efficient at
metabolizing fat for fuel and you become able to increase your pace without tipping over
into your anaerobic state where your body then requires glycogen for fuel, which is
an unsustainable zone to be in because you’ve got to — Nick: Yeah. Well, that’s a couple of hours at most. Rich: Yeah, you’re going to burn up, but your
body, no matter how skinny you are, you have more than enough fat stores in your body to
literally go for days and weeks without eating, so the more efficient you can become in that
aerobic zone then your body becomes very adept at the longer distances without it taking
the tax and the toll that it would prior to achieving that level. Nick: So what you’re really saying, Rich Roll,
is that you can become more efficient through training, what they call the training effect
where the longer the distance, the ability to carry on a conversation, what we call long,
slow distances. I train at very high paces because we have
to compete at a level where we outlift the other guy, and so we’re breathing heavy, 180,
190, 200 beats a minute heart rate, and so we learn how to get the body to still burn
fat at that high level, but I don�t take in oils at all, zero oils. I get all my fats from the whole foods. And I just found that I, certainly like anyone,
have a little storage of fat and that little storage gives me tons of calories, as much
as I need. Rich: My opinion and my experience is that
becoming fat-adapted, which I am, I’m extremely fat-adapted, it’s less about the food that
you’re putting in your body and more about the training that you’re — Nick: Yup, it’s a training effect. Rich: So I’m extremely fat-adapted, but I
didn�t do it through a Ketogenic diet or a low carbohydrate diet. I did it through my training load. Nick: I completely agree and it’s the one
point that every athlete is missing and they need to get this clear. Even the athlete that just starts out or a
housewife or executive that isn’t training, it takes time. You’ve got to get in the gym. You’ve got to put in the hours. I train out at the beach. I lift weights at the beach. I run. I do things that others might think are extreme,
but over time, years, my body has adapted to burn fat and that I know because I can
sustain levels that other people say is impossible. So if you’re going to break world records,
you have to have that ability to mentally train through and work, but I fuel it with
glucose. If I get a chance, I’ll slip in sips of watermelon
if they permit any hydration while we’re going because I need a little glucose to mix in
with the fuel. It’s kind of like kindling the fire. Getting a little of that glucose helps the
fat to ignite and burn. Do you find that to be the case at all? Rich: I don�t know that I’ve experimented
with it to that extent. I certainly eat a very high carb diet and
my body needs glycogen especially when you want to shift gears and you want to get out
of your aerobic zone and get in the tempo work or speed work. Unless you’re fueling yourself with glycogen
or with carbohydrates, you’re going to have a very hard time accessing that higher gear
and I think it’s going to be an impediment to you reaching your potential as a well-rounded
athlete. [0:10:10] Nick: Yeah, it makes sense. So have you had other students of yours follow
your lead and learn from your teachings? Rich: I’m not a trainer and I haven’t worked
with people one-on-one, but the main thing that I do — I mean, I’ve written two books
and I have a podcast that reaches hundreds of thousands of people all over the world
and I do long form interviews with all kinds of people, both in the plant-based world and
outside of it, but I’ve had the opportunity to influence a lot of people through that
messaging and I get a lot of emails from a lot of people who have changed their lives. Just today downstairs, I signed a book for
a woman who read my book, “Finding Ultra”, went plant-based, had been a marathon runner,
was unable to qualify for Boston. She then took two hours off her marathon time,
qualified for Boston, and she just won the Angeles Crest ultra run, achieving peak performance
in a really dramatic way. Nick: On a plant-based diet. Rich: Yeah, on a plant-based diet. Nick: Fabulous. Wow! Rich: There are a lot of examples like that. That’s an extreme one though. To go to that level of high achievement is
pretty extraordinary. Nick: So Rich, tell me how we locate your
podcast and your website and the names of your books. Rich: I’m easy to find on the internet. Just Google me, Rich Roll, richroll.com is
my website. The Rich Roll Podcast you can find on iTunes
or on SoundCloud or wherever you listen to a podcast. I’m @richroll on Twitter and on Instagram.