Friday, March 11, 2011

Man Adopts All-McDonald's Diet to Prep for Marathon

Perhaps I'll be stirring up a little bit of controversy with my next few comments, but hopefully I'll get you thinking critically. When you think of marathon runners, what do you expect? They're usually very lean and muscular, a body type which we would normally associate with a low-fat, lower-calorie diet. What about someone who eats McDonalds every day at every meal for 30 days straight? Most people wouldn't associate that lean, healthy, 'ripped' physique with such a diet. But combine the two - a marathon runner on a rigorous training schedule plus an all-McDonald's diet for 30 days and you've got Mr. Joe D'Amico, the 'drive-thru runner'.

In truth, marathon runners actually require far more calories than the average person. Since their bodies tend to be so low in fat, their diets tend to supply more energy from that nutrient in addition to lots of carbohydrates for sustained energy during long runs. They also need protein to help their muscles heal and recover. Add in the fact that they are sweating for hours a day, and you bet they need to replace that sodium as well. Despite eating as much as they do, so much cardiovascular exercise puts their bodies in such a catabolic state that they tend to almost look emaciated at times. In that case, McDonald's doesn't seem like such a stretch to supplement a marathon runner's diet.

In an attempt to combine his two passions, McDonald's food and running marathons, D'Amico has committed to sticking to his new regime and blogging about his experience. Even though he's eating 100% of his meals at McDonald's, D'Amico is making 'healthier' choices like fruit smoothies and parfaits, and just the egg out of a sandwich for breakfast. For lunch, he'll grab some grilled chicken snack wraps, and salads with grilled chicken for dinner. He gets in lots of fruit and vegetables and even nuts through his smoothies and salads, including snacks like fruit and walnut salad. It doesn't sound so bad after all! But just to be sure he's not missing anything, D'Amico is making a few exceptions. He's adding water, multivitamins, ibuprofen and PowerGel to his all-McDonald's diet.

So really what we can take from this example is that 1. no matter where you eat or what you eat, you should be conscious of what's in it and why you're eating it - what is it doing for you (or to you?) and 2. balancing energy in with energy out through exercising is essential if you want to maintain a healthy weight, keep your muscles in good shape and keep your heart strong and healthy.