Varsity Diet With Coach Craig

I love going hard on my bike, pedaling on till I am blind and can barely feel my legs anymore. I thank my early race training for teaching me how to push myself, on the tarmac and in life. I realized during my Advanced Focus and Motivation talk that although radical change is the way I prefer to tackle a training or dietary goal, a longer transition might be optimal for others. Always consult your doctor or dietitian if you are unsure that a dramatic shift in diet is right for you. This is your warning.

The diet I am about to lay out here is extreme. It could be too much for you, it may cause gastrointestinal distress. You might spend more time on the toilet than is convenient. You might not feel good, or feel like you have the flu for a few days in the beginning. You might hate me for putting you on this path in the first place. But if you stick to it and suffer through it like a long climb, you will find great rewards at the top. Weight loss, greater stamina on long rides, improved performance and mental clarity are all benefits I have gained from this nutritional shift. Heck, I might as well promise salvation. It has been that good for me.

I started back onto this diet (previously did some version of it in 2005-06) when I found out I had some swelling in my nose that needed surgery. In many cases the surgery was known to give little or no improvement. Instead, I decided to clean up my diet for 1 month  to see if I could avoid it entirely. Now 3 months later I have not only avoided the surgery, but dropped 15 pounds and raced my best since 1996.  Here is the plan I followed:

Varsity Diet

    • Eat: Fruits, nuts and vegetables.
    • Drink: Water, flavored water, herbal tea, Odoul’s non-alcoholic beer, fake coffee.
    • Take: Multivitamins, CoQ10, Wellness formula, and asprin or advil as needed.
    • Smoothies, salads and dried fruits are your best friends.
    • Buying a Garden of Life 7 day cleanse kit at Super Supplements during the 2nd week added another turbo boost, check it out here


Making changes to your diet is tough.  Going “cold turkey” on your old ways of eating may not be the best idea, unless you are truly committed and ready to deal with a couple weeks of detox. My medical situation gave me the incentive to do this in the Fall, but now a more moderate approach seems to have greater advantages. You can start small, by committing to one of the following:  
  • Alcohol only one night of the week or limited to 3 servings per week,
  • No pastries,
  • No sugar,
  • No cheese/dairy,
  • Salads for dinner, no dessert

By taking on one of these goals per week, you can slowly and steadily build up to the full diet. Even if you take on just one of these challenges, you will benefit. I didn’t have the energy to start with my full Varsity diet two weeks ago, but after looking at the food groups that were doing me the most harm, I decided to eliminate booze, coffee and meat. By eliminating only these three things from my diet I have already seen incredible improvements. Any step you can make toward better health is worth it, and once you start to see progress, it just adds to your desire to do more. Now is the time, put that stake in the ground and pick something to improve. Clear your kitchen of the items you don’t want to be tempted by, or give them to a friend to “watch” for you. However you do it, any small steps you make now will start to compound as the weather gets better. You can see huge improvements in fitness before you hit the tarmac this spring and summer. This is your year!

Want to eat out with friends and still keep your diet? Here are some “Varsity Menu” restaurants to sample recommended by AFM classmembers:

  • Chaco Canyon (U-district and West Seattle)
  • Juicycafe (convention center and columbia tower)
  • Veggie Grill (U-village)
  • Portage Bay Cafe
  • Any Asian restaurant that offers stir fried vegetables
Organic Athlete’s website is a great resource that will answer detailed nutritional questions such as: Can I get enough protein?  Are there any other winning endurance athletes who eat this way? Go to Organic Athlete’s page here and at the bottom you will be able to download their guide. If you want more, I can recommend a couple excellent nutritionists.

Statistics say that by now 80% of new years resolutions are history by the 3rd week of the year.  Don’t be a statistic, you are more than that.

Yours on the suffering line,

Craig Undem

If this interests you, then join us for the free follow up Advanced Focus Methods meeting Saturday February 8th at 5pm at our Sand Point store, please register here as there is
limited seating.

Coach Craig will also be presenting “Focused Goal Setting: In and Out of Your Bike Saddle” for Cyclists with Compassion at Seattle Children’s Hospital. His talk will include improving your cycling experience through diet and focus, along with information on how  local cyclists are supporting cancer research at Children’s. Come to be inspired to do more this year, for yourself and others. This special event is only on Tuesday
February 4th, from 6-8 pm at Seattle Children’s Hospital, 4800 Sand Point Way, and will be held in the Wright Auditorium (River Entrance). Space is limited. Please RSVP to:

Stephen Howey: (206)-987-025

We hope to see you there!

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