Can we out train a bad diet? It Depends.

I’ve ran the LA Marathon every year since 2016. My 6th in November of 2021, usually ran in March that year the marathon was a bit off schedule to to Covid. But it resumed it’s regular schedule for the race in March. That meant I’d have roughly 4 months to train if I decided if I’d want to do this all over again. Being that I just changed careers to strictly being a personal trainer just a few months before, I have a few other priorities. My scheduling is completely different, & I’m on my feet a lot of than in my previous line of work. And diet, far from great at the time( I know, not cool for a personal trainer to admit). I’m the type of person that, when going through a major change puts all my energy into it. So a pack of M&M’s and diet soda here or there might have to do( and damn those rice krispy treats). Definitely not as much water or veggie intake as the peak of my marathon training days when my policy was EAT CLEAN. But I’m not thinking much about training for another marathon these days. In fact really not running all, just my standard strength workouts. I’m thinking about building business. But then it happened.

A collegue of mine was training for her first, the LA Marathon. One morning the gym was a bit crowded, and I didn’t feel like thinking much about what I should do in the form of a workout. So I grabbed my running shoes. 7 miles later I had the itch.

But race day was 7 weeks away, I haven’t been training, and my diet is total crap. But the 7 mile run felt good and I was pumped. So I went online, looked up the marathon site, closed my eyes and clicked on the register icon. I’m in and I’ve literally got 1 or 2 weeks to do a final “long run”, which I did the following weekend of 20 miles.

Race day morning I had to laugh to myself listening to the mayor of Los Angeles congratulating us all for our months and months of training, didn’t exactly earn that one. But 26.2 miles later I crossed the finish line, and I was just fine. I out trained and bad diet .

Now lets discuss this for a second, because clients ask me about nutrition all the time. Proper nutrition is absolutely important. And I don’t recommend to anyone to train for an extreme endurance event without only proper nutrition, but a medical clearance as well. Just because I was able to do the above lunatic stunt doesn’t mean it’s ok. I’m well conditioned with lots of experience. So I know when to push and to step back. And I made it.

Training is different than exercising for weight loss or aesthetics where, more or less, things boil down to calories in versus calories out (regardless of the macronutrient). But even then proper nutrition should still be a priority without being the ultimate factor. Training is more performance based.

Extreme training without proper nutrition might be possible in short term, depending on the person. But in the long term it’ll catch up with any of us regardless of our fitness level. So if you’re thinking about extreme training, eat your fruits and veggies, drink plenty of water and prioritize rest. I did this once, but I’d never do so with that lack of discpline ever again.

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Carlos Anthony Castro

Carlos Anthony Castro

Personal Trainer/ Marathon Runner Instagram: @iron_endurance_training