Monday, March 30, 2009

The Hungry Hunter?

Does the title of this post make sense to you???
It makes sense to me. But more importantly, the proof as always is in the proverbial pudding. Or for us EF/Paleo/Primal folk, in the marrow.
I've written about it before, but my scientific research capabilities are less then others, so please check out Keith's blog, or the wealth of research on Chris's blog for more information.
My little "theories/methods", like my Feel Good Eating, come from trial and error and these are my hard earned experiences.
As much as there are many speculative theories about how the HG lived, the "hungry hunter theory" is one, that from experience lives up to it's name.
Travel back with me to a time when.....
"You wake up, it's cold and there are just a few embers left in the fire pit. Due to winter, the day is shorter and hunting yesterday wasn't successful. Animals are in hibernation, and the "flowers" of spring are not even close to being in bloom. You toss some more wood on the fire, and suddenly you realize that you are hungry. It's this hunger, that allows your senses to be even sharper then usual. The awareness of your surroundings, sense of smell, hearing and sight are in overdrive. Sense of smell is so strong that you smell prey before you hear it..............
ACTION, taking off in a full blown sprint, the rabbit chase is on! zig zaggin you gives chase, jump, reach, crawl and.........the prey gets away. Time to set some traps. You climb, you chop, you walk.
Until suddenly you notice that something is stalking you! You are the prey. Once again a full blown sprint is under way, you being chased this time around. No more running, time to hold your ground and fight back. A long stick as your weapon, you use trickery and deceit to gain the upperhand over the beast looking to devour you. The beast impales himself on your stick, and just like that, dinner is provided."

Ok, so I let myself go for minute. lol
Why this story?

Last weekend I played in a weekend tennis tournament.
It was a money earning event in the format of a pro-am. They match an amateur with a pro.
This is a much anticipated and highly competitive yearly event. There are two divisions; a 4.0 and a 5.0/open division. (these are USTA designations of supposed capability levels)
I played in the latter division. The pros that come for these events are ex-college players and current or retired tour players. One of the guys this year, stopped playing on the tour 6 six years ago, and had 3 wins over James Blake. Others are currently ranked anywhere from 175 to 700 in the world. So to say the level of play is high, is not an understatement. The reason this little tourney is so competitive, is that it is a "Calcutta Event". A Calcutta event is where each team gets "auctioned off" in a fundraiser the night before. Then total money raised (minus 20% for the charity) becomes the prize pot. It was quite embarrassing as I was auctioned. My partner was a division 2 college player, 3 years out of school. Both of us stand 5.7 and not too many high rollers where to impressed with our chances. We sold for $500. Compare this to some of the teams going for $3,500, it gives you some idea were we stood.
The 5.0/open division started at 1:00 pm on Saturday. The night before I ate some chicken and a salad at the fundraiser. Last food intake was 6:30 pm.
By 9:30 am Sat. morning I was hungry.....
I didn't want to eat a lot as I know how well I perform in a fasted state, yet I knew I would be playing for at least 4 straight hours. So this is what I ate. Two fried eggs in plenty of butter and a little side helping of home made sauerkraut.

Well, play lasted for a continues whopping 5 and a half hours. I walked on the court at 1:00 and was done at 5:30.
Six matches. First one to 5 games with a 7 point tie break to be played at 4-4.
Out of our 6 matches we had a total of 5 tie breaks. My partner was very encouraging and as he praised my shots, my confidence soared and my play stepped up to unprecedented levels.
During the day, I watched many cramp up, some down right injuries, lots of gatorade being drunk, energy bars devoured and even fruit salad and whole grain muffins being eaten at change overs. I drank water. Sometimes a sip, sometimes half a glass. As the day went on, my energy levels actually went up, partly from the competition but mostly from body being in "Hungry Hunter" mode. Even my partner looked at me at one point and said "you're not tired at all are you?" I didn't tell him that I had hardly eaten. I'm sure had I told anyone there about working out in a fasted or somewhat fasted state, they would have called me crazy or held me down and forced me to drink gatorade.
As a side note, my partner and I went undefeated and won all of our 6 matches to make it to the semi finals on Sunday. We lost in the semi's 8-6. we were the talk of the tournament, as no-one expected us to do as well as we did. The gentleman that bought our team, was more then happy as he was in the money to the tune of $1,500. He watched us the whole weekend and after our third win on Saturday started getting excited.
This is not the first time I've attempted doing this, but it just AMAZES me every time how much better I perform when "hungry". From soccer games to tennis tournaments to a heavy weights work out. All my senses seem to be working in unison.
When playing tennis this past weekend, I could see the ball much better, I recovered after long points much quicker and I seemed to have a 6th sense of what was going to happen. When nerves crept up, I was able to use them and and not be controlled by them. Much like a hungry hunter wouldn't you say? Hope you enjoyed the story.........
Thanks to SOG , I made some poppers. Check out his recipe, I copied it exactly. Warning, I got my jalapenos from my local farmers market. They are NOT the same as supermarket variety. Wow, were they hot. and I like hot!

Here's some Tuna. My daughter likes it raw mostly, but I also make it like this.
Quickly saute with toasted sesame oil, braggs liquid amino's or tamari and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

A side cucumber and tomato salad with evoo and a dash of balsamic.
Mashed cauliflower. Since I made the poppers, I had a little organic cream cheese in my fridge so mixed some of that with the mash
This is most of the time the extent of my carb intake. You don't need a lot of fruit. A little bit goes A LONG WAY. Get all the benefits it offers, but don't eat to much of it. Especially if you are still trying to lean out.


Son of Grok said...

Congrats on the tourny! Sounds Awesome. Sorry your peppers turned out too hot lol. I totally agree with you on the playing hungry bit and I enjoyed your story (although i think the hunter would have been smart enough to not try to chase a rabbit on foot lol... that is a losing battle from the start)

The SoG

Marc said...

You're probably right SOG. But then again our native americans chased/sprinted down deer!!! Maybe there was a special technique for rabbit ;-)

Thanks again for the popper recipe, although I was fire breathing, it was really really tasty.
I'm going to make some next weekend with a differentr kind of pepper. Will post a pic.


SmoketheBlowfish said...

Marc, great story and congrats! As for "The Hungry Hunter"...I buy into it 100% (probably because I do resistance training/HIIT in the early morning on nothing but 8oz of water). I've read other people's experiences with training after a single day's fast (ESE) and their workouts do not suffer.


jumpow said...

Good post Marc. I enjoyed it.

I always workout hungry - it's the only way as far as I am concerned.

Marc said...


Thanks for stopping by!!!
Amazing post you put up today today.

Thank you. I wish I had some friends like you to split a large order of beef. Your freezer looks awesome.


Anonymous said...

I just get so hungry if I go for too long without eating and I want to eat. But at the time I want to eat anyone who gets in my way.

jumpow said...

I find that if I workout and I am really hungry, the hunger quickly goes away - though it comes back much quicker post workout than normal. I suppose that isn't terribly surprising.

Jeff said...

Right on and congrats for your tennis performance. I am looking forward to using the serving advice you gave me.

Marc said...

Dr. Dan,
keep at it. that ravenous hunger feeling does go away.

Same goes for me. After a hungry heavy workout I eat an hour or more after , which is at my desk around 9:30 10. And then by 12 I go and get a huge lunch. Sometimes i stay hungry all day. And will eat to satisfy that. Then the next day I might just eat 1 meal. It's really random.

Let me know how it works for you.