By Dean Karnazes
In 1999 I read a book called ‘The Zone’ by Dr. Barry Sears. As an athlete, I had experimented with all types of diets in the past in hopes of improving my performance. A friend of mine recommended that I read ‘The Zone,’ so I did. That one book profoundly influenced my life. I adopted the Zone Diet and found that not only was my performance improving, I was recovering more quickly and my overall energy levels were remaining much more stable throughout the course of the day. My body composition naturally shifted to a higher percentage of lean muscle tissue and lower overall body fat. All this was achieved through diet alone.
Dr. Sears and I have since developed a friendship, and I follow many of the dietary principles he recommends. This has helped me to attain some accomplishments that I am very proud of. TIME magazine named me as one of the ‘Top 100 Most Influential People in the World.’ Men’s Fitness hailed me as one of the fittest men on the planet. Stan Lee called me, ‘Super Human.’ Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined such accolades would ever be bestowed upon me.
As an athlete, I’ve been able to push my body and mind to new heights. I’ve run 350 continuous miles, foregoing sleep for three nights. I’ve raced across the Sahara Desert in 120-degree temperatures and also ran a marathon to the South Pole at negative 40 degrees. On ten different occasions I’ve run a 200-mile relay race solo, racing alongside teams of 12. Beyond running, I’ve swum across the San Francisco Bay, scaled numerous mountains, bike raced for 24 hours straight, competed in long-distance Stand Up Paddleboard races, and surfed some of the gigantic waves off the coast of Hawaii and California.
Competitively, I’ve won both the world’s toughest footrace, the Badwater Ultramarathon, and the world’s toughest endurance event, the 4 Deserts Challenge. In 2006 I ran 50 marathons in all 50 US states in 50 consecutive days, something many said would be impossible.
All the while, I’ve been following the principles of The Zone diet. Thank you, Dr. Sears!