Jeff Browning’s OFM Longevity Journey: From Nearly Quitting to the Podium

This podcast clip featuring Jeff Browning is a masterclass on how OFM builds metabolic capacity while eliminating GI issues and reversing chronic conditions.  Jeff is a perfect example of how building metabolic health will turn back your metabolic age,  improve performance and your longevity.  Instead of considering quitting the sport in 2015, Jeff made a complete turnaround of his health & performance trajectory to becoming the second most winning ultra-marathon runner at the 100+ mile distance and continues to be a top 10 elite ultramarathoner at the age of 52. 

Background:

  • Jeff Browning’s health issues in 2015, including candida overgrowth in the GI tract, prompted him to consider retiring from the sport.

  • Jeff had run the previous 15 years following the conventional high carbohydrate diet and fueling approach. On average he was consuming a gel every 15-20 minutes during competition. In one 100 Mile race he consumed 75 gels!

  • Upon hearing in 2012 of the success of other ultrarunners (Anthony Kuprichka & Timothy Olson) dooing fat adaptation Jeff toyed with fasted runs but bonked on 2 hour runs because his body was so dependent upon glucose.

Transition to Low-Carb:

  • As a veteran ultrarunner, he discusses his transition from a high-carb athlete to a fat-adapted one.

  • Jeff describes how his previous high-carb diet, comprising over 60% carbohydrates, led to health and performance complications.

  • In 2015, faced with candida issues, Browning researched online and learned about the necessity of starving candida by reducing sugar intake. 

  • Jeff explored fat adaptation as a potential solution, finding relief from candida symptoms within the first two weeks of the transition.

  • Initially he spoke to fellow Altra Teammate, Zach Bitter, who then introduced Jeff to Peter Defty who mentored Jeff on how to optimize his fat metabolism and use Vespa. 

Challenges and Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Jeff acknowledges the challenges of transitioning from a high-carb to a low-carb diet, describing it as a substance withdrawal process.

  • He experienced significant discomfort for about ten days, with symptoms subsiding around days 8 to 10, leading to sustained energy levels and reduced afternoon crashes.

Training and Adaptation:

  • Despite initial challenges, Jeff persisted with carb restricted training, including long runs with only Vespa to starve his candida.

  • He gradually introduced small amounts of carbohydrate calories during training, focusing on liquid forms, which OFM calls “strategic carbs”.

  • Jeff’s experimentation with VESPA and “strategic carbs” showed him he could run faster, longer on less, at least in training.

Race Experience:

  • Browning recalls his apprehension before his first race (HURT 100 in 2016) as a fat-adapted athlete just 7 weeks after making the switch.

  • Jeff had a conventional backup plan in place using his old gel based fueling. 

  • Despite initial doubts, Browning won the race with significantly fewer calories consumed during the event compared to his high-carb racing days.

Physical Transformation and Recovery:

  • Browning notes the transformation in his body composition, including weight loss and increased muscle definition, attributed to optimizing his metabolism to burn fat as his aerobic fuel.

  • Post-race recovery also marked a turnaround. Previously, Jeff would be inflamed, swollen and with severe limitations in his mobility. It would take weeks to recover. Since his first race in 2016 on OFM, Jeff has eliminated these issues and if able to get back to high level training within a few weeks instead of a few months. 

Observations and Conclusion:

  • Jeff’s experience is not isolated. He reflects on the consistent feedback from athletes he’s coached in OFM regarding enhanced recovery and reduced inflammation post-race.

  • He emphasizes the importance of the transition period and highlights the benefits of OFM for endurance athletes.

See the full podcast here.

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