Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nolan Shaheed: A Fast Guy With a FASTinating Diet

Yesterday I wrote about the two days I tried fasting this week. Steve Wolfe replied something like this, "You are a nut, stop being a nut, I can beat you any time these days without this diet stuff, so just get over your injuries and let me continue beating you for the rest of your life." (loosely translated-Steve would never really talk like that...to my face)I know it sounds nutty, but really I only went without food for a bit less than 24 hours twice this week. I am confident no harm was done and really how many Americans can say that ever have done that when they were not sick or on Survivor? Most people these days think it is impossible to go without a meal. Anyhow I replied something like this, "Steve I bow down to your fitness level and speed on the roads, track, and snow these past few years, but I am still willing to do whatever I can do to help my body get faster and my health to be better, even if it sounds a bit peculiar." (loosely translated- I would never really bow down to Steve... in my dreams I still hope to kick his butt some day again in a race). I also replied that I would look up some information on a runner who is in the news again this week- and which helped me recall an article I read last year.

The runner is a guy named Nolan Shaheed. I recalled three things about him this week when I heard he just set a mile record for 60 year old men. 1. He is a fast runner who set many records in the 50+ age group. 2)He is a stellar musician. 3) He had a rather strange and unusual diet. I found the article online. It is called Age Group Ace: Nolan Shaheed musician who eats 1 meal/day and sets multiple world records By Mike Tymn and it was s featured in the Jan/Feb 2009 issue of Running Times Magazine.

As Nolan Shaheed sees it, his diet is a big part of his success. At the time he was interviewed for this article, Shaheed had just finished his annual one-month break from running. During that month, he ate only one meal every other day, fasting the days between. Now that he is back to training, he eats one meal a day, with no snacks the rest of the day, just water.

So this guy does something like Intermittent Fasting, but he does it every day while training. Obviously, he is talented, but his diet isn't hurting him and may just be helping him. Haven't heard of him? He is this weeks USA Track & Field's Athlete of the Week. He received the honor after breaking the World Record on the one mile run for men over 60 years old. It was also the first sub 5 minute mile ever run indoors by someone of that age. He ran 4:57.06. He holds numerous other age group records too. He is very fast. He is also very cool, being a trumpet player who has played with an amazing selection of artists.

Also known for making beautiful music off the track, Shaheed served as musical director for all-time Motown great Marvin Gaye from 1974-1976, and through the years has performed with such luminaries as Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Phil Collins, Anita Baker and Natalie Cole. Shaheed served as the lead trumpet player with the Count Basie Orchestra from 1976-1979, and also performed with the Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton Orchestras. Shaheed has been one of the top studio musicians in Los Angeles since 1974, and is in great demand on the Jazz scene. He currently owns a recording studio and is a music producer.

It seems that Nolan Shaheed has been eating this way for years. Here is a ten year old article MAXIMAL RESULTS WITH MINIMAL EATING! MAXIMAL RESULTS WITH MAXIMAL EATING! by Peter Holleranthat that describes his diet. The author takes a look at strange ways that different runners eat.

How and what runners eat is about as fascinating as how they train, and perhaps even less conclusive. Our purpose here, however, is mostly to entertain! Nolan Shaheed, 50, miler and world M50 half-mile record holder, who runs 65 miles a week, eats just once a day during training, once every other day when not training (he takes a month off each year before building another base), and fasts for 22-23 hours before a race. “I did a lot of reading on the subject,” he says, “and the message seemed to be that the digestive system shouldn’t be working all day. I found that to be true. I have much more energy when I eat only one meal a day.” Rice, beans, vegetables and fruits constitute most of his calories. He eats meat only once or twice a week.

The article also says this about Kenyan runners.

All right. Shaheed trains once a day and eats once a day. The Kenyans follow suit by training twice a day and eating twice a day! Only the hardest of the hardcore, who do three workouts per day, get to enjoy breakfast.

Matt Metzgar also commented on Nolan Shaheed back in 2007 comparing his diet to eating as a hunter-gatherer would.

Here is an audio interview of Nolan Shaheed found on Growing Bolder.



I don't intend to ever eat exactly like Nolan Shaheed, but I found reading about him and his successes very interesting. I like this quote from the Running Times article.

Training Philosophy

"I don't eat until after my daily training at about 5 p.m. I do one speed workout a week and take a day of rest. Basically, my philosophy is, he who trains the hardest wins the most. Of course, it all depends on what 'win' means to you. I can come in last and still win."
Read about the EatStopEat system of intermittent fasting here.




1 comment:

John Michael said...

Since 1935 dozens and dozens of studies on numerous species have clearly demonstrated that calorie restriction lengthens lifespans-dramatically.

One meal a day may more effectively turn on the SIRT1 gene; a modifier gene which slows the aging process. Mr. Shaheed's diet might just be ingenious. With physic (and the body is physics) expect the unexpected.He may be exactly right.