PF Quick Hits: What Can We Learn From The Rock's Diet?
Plus trail running as an alternative to road running, your daily water intake and walking for weight loss.
Movie star Dwayne Johnson, better known as “The Rock,” turned 50 this year. The former football player and wrestler is often recognized for his intense workouts, his unshakable drive for success and “laying the smack down” on both his movie adversaries and wrestling opponents. He’s on the cover of this month’s Men’s Health, interviewed about his new movie, Black Adam, and of course, his workout routine.
What really stood to me about his interview, however, was the description of his eating habits, and the amount of “science” it takes to look the way he does. Here’s how The Rock describes his daily diet:
Well, I eat six meals a day [and they’re all similar in terms of nutrients]. Breakfast consists of eggs, a meat like bison, a complex carb like oatmeal, and fruit, usually either papaya or blueberries. My second meal, around 10:00 a.m., usually consists of a chicken breast, a complex carb like rice, and some greens. And dinner is fish or chicken, a complex carb like sweet potatoes, and some greens.
The takeaway here? The Rock’s eating a super hero diet for sure. He’s incredibly regimented, leaving little room for enjoyment, despite his occasional famed cheat meals. He’s also taking in an massive amount of calories, (supposedly 6,000 to 8,000 a day) which is far beyond the average number of calories for a person over 40 just trying to stay in shape.
Men’s Health also asked the Rock about “counting macros,” which means counting the specific amount of grams of fat, carbs and protein in his diet. This is a common practice for those who want to closely track their diet, and for the average person, would require using a food scale and smartphone app. Here’s how The Rock does it:
I have a strength and conditioning coach. I have a nutritionist. I also have a lead chef advisor who speaks to a lot of the chefs I work with because I am often in different locations. So they work out all that math and they extrapolate. They’re much better and smarter at that than I am. I do see results quickly when we adjust the macros. [The range: protein 40–45 percent, carbs 40–50 percent, fats 15–20 percent.] We’ve got it down to a science where we fine-tune the macros and I never feel hungry. That’s a key: Training and dieting down for a goal requires discipline, and you can often feel hungry.
Jen and I have talked about unattainable body aesthetics on the podcast and in the newsletter (ex. Zac Efron’s unattainable Baywatch body), and I think this is another great example. When you listen to The Rock talk about exactly what it takes to look the way he does, you realize it’s not remotely doable for any normal person, and requires an entire support team that must cost a small fortune.
The bottom line: yes, the Rock is over 40. And no, we aren’t going to look like him any time soon.
Trail Running: A Different Running Culture (And It’s Easier on Your Joints)
Last weekend, my wife and I volunteered at the Dinosaur Valley Endurance Run, a trail race at Dinosaur Valley State Park, one of my favorite hiking getaways just outside the Dallas–Fort Worth area. Dinosaur Valley is a lovely state park with, as its name suggests, dinosaur tracks preserved in the Paluxy River, which winds through the park. Above the river sits an elevated ridge line, and the park’s hiking trails provide some nice changes in elevation—the perfect Texas setting for a trail run, and the closest you’ll get to mountains in North Texas.
I didn’t know much about trail running prior to last weekend, but through volunteering at an aid station in a remote area of the park I was left intrigued about the sport. The culture is markedly different than what you see at a typical road race.
As I mentioned on the podcast last week, trail runners seem motivated by a sense of extreme accomplishment. You have to be when you’re running distances of up to 100 miles, which means you have to run for more than 24 hours, including in the middle of the night on dark, remote trails, all while trying to manage nutrition, sleep and exposure to the elements.
But what really stood out to me was the warmth of the people and the camaraderie between the runners. Yes, any race is a competition, and there are winners across the different race lengths and divisions. But the racers were noticeably kind and supportive of each other, and stopped to chat at the aid stations, while enjoying everything from peanut butter sandwiches to skittles, and even a bit of pickle juice for hydration.
Many of the runners were over 40, and that got me wondering about trail running’s effects on the body. There’s one obvious danger with trail running—trails can be uneven and rocky, with obstacles like tree roots and elevation changes making it easier to fall and injure yourself.
Many runners mitigate this by hiking on more technical parts of the trail. Trail running paces are much slower than what you would see in a road race. For example, the winner of last weekend’s five mile race had a pace of 8:08/mile. Over 100 miles, the winning pace was 11:55/mile, which is pretty astounding given the need for food and rest.
Despite the pitfalls of running on uneven trails, I see a several benefits to trail running. Trail running is easier on your joints, as you’re running on softer surfaces compared to the concrete or asphalt you usually face on the road. Also, you work more stabilizer muscles compared to standard road running. Akin to hiking, you reap the mental benefits of being out in nature.
Trail running definitely seems like another great cardiovascular activity for people over 40. I’m going to start working it into my cardio rotation, but very carefully.
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How Much Water Do You Really Need?
The short answer: maybe not as much as you think.
A recent study suggests that the old adage of eight glasses of water a day might be overdoing it. In fact, if everyone were drinking that much, it could be wasteful.
So how much do you actually need? Professor John Speakman of Aberdeen University, who co-authored the study, tells The Guardian there’s no “one-size-fits-all” guidance for water consumption:
“I think it’s a recommendation that many people just ignore and follow what their body is telling them,” he said.
Come on John, I want specifics! I think it’s time for another study.
Walking For Weight Loss
Eat This, Not That had some great tips this week about walking for weight loss. One fact from their article stood out to me, courtesy of Dr. Mike Bohl:
The total calories you torch by walking will depend on your speed and weight. To give you an idea, you'll typically burn around 100 calories for each mile you walk. Dr. Bohl tells us, "At an average pace, this means you burn about 350 calories per hour of walking. Since you need to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound, this means you can lose one extra pound every two weeks if you go for an hour walk five times each week.
The article goes on to share some ways you can add extra calorie burn to your walks, but if you’re thinking about a basic weekly walking goal, an hour walk five times a week seems like a great place to start.