ATC 356: Our ‘Hangups’ With Training, Roadmap to Track PRs, The Value of ‘Rest and Digest’ At Mealtime (But Why So Many Of Us Miss This and The Consequences)

August 25, 2023


This episode is brought to you by the UCAN Company, the fat-burning fuel of choice for metabolically efficient endurance athletes and health enthusiasts.

UCAN products are powered by SuperStarch, a unique, low glycemic complex carbohydrate that delivers long-lasting energy with no spikes and no crash, keeping your blood sugar steady. It’s the perfect complement for the healthy metabolically efficient athlete. Whether you’re racing fast short-course events or grueling Ironmans and ultra runs, UCAN products have grown so much over the years, as well, to fit your needs, with everything from drink mixes to their popular EDGE gels. 

Athletes from all types of sports and levels are using UCAN these days, with top-level and pro triathletes, runners and even Crossfit athletes are using UCAN to fuel their best performances. But, UCAN is also a fantastic product for non-athletes and/or outside of training too. 

Many UCAN products are offered in both plant-based and whey protein options, all with SuperStarch, including plant-based bar flavors cherry berry almond, salted peanut butter and chocolate almond butter, as well as a variety of energy + protein powders—great for those of you athletes looking to gain or maintain strength. 

Best of all: EP fans get 15% off everything UCAN offers, click to activate your discount and shop now. You can also use the code ENDURANCEPLANET2021 if you’re shopping at for that same 15% discount.


Thorne supplements help athletes meet their unique needs and we have everything Thorne offers available to you over at our shop page, endurance planet dot com slash shop or link through the show notes. When you shop through us you support the podcast, a win win. Thorne products are shipped around the world and they ensure quality control year-round.

Whether you’re looking to heal from issues like gut dysbiosis, hormonal imbalances like low sex hormones or imbalanced stress hormones, or just looking to improve performance, maintain a strong immune system and get that extra edge, Thorne has so many formulas to fit you needs or bundles to cover even more bases. And many of Thorne’s supplements are NSF certified. If you’re curious on what supplements might be a good fit for you, just ask us! Send us an email to questions at endurance planet dot com telling us about yrouself and where you think you might need to fill in some gaps. Thorne now even offers health testing such as a convenient budget-friendly gut health tests!

So starting shopping with the best there is with Thorne—also over on our Shop page—and like we say about all supplements: when you buy from the source you ensure higher efficacy and proper handling of your supplements plus you support the podcast!


  • Lucho and Tawnee share their “hangups” with training and the things they tend to grapple with, despite years of learning, knowledge and how they coach others (why are we this way haha?!).
  • Lucho gets obsessed with mileage and volume, tracking via training peaks.
  • Tawnee worries about health consequences of training too much and repeating past mistakes of lacking balance.

Todd asks:

Consequences of eating in a “sympathetic” state on digestion and GI health?

Listening to Endurance Planet is always a staple of my Saturday long run.  Thanks for continuing to put out a show that is high quality and an enjoyable listen.

In ATC 355, near the end of the episode, Tawnee mentioned a condition in which a person thinks he/she is relaxed but in fact — by objective measurements — the person is really quite tense.  The result, Tawnee said, is that the person really cannot digest food well, leading to GI and other issues.

Can you direct me to more information on this condition and how possibly to overcome it?  It sounds like a condition that might be afflicting me, and I would like to find some relief. Thank you again for an outstanding show.

What the coaches say:

Sympathetic vs parasympathetic

  • When we feel or are in a state of stress, anxiety, etc, the “fight or flight” response of the central nervous system is triggered, this is called a sympathetic state.
  • In this process, the body’s response is to slow down or stop digestion (or in some cases speed up, e.g. diarrhea).
  • It’s a primal survival type mechanism—our way to “save energy to run from the tiger” so to speak, it’s the body’s way of shutting down digestion so that more of the body’s energy can be diverted to the situation causing the threat.
    • Hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol increase in sympathetic state.
    • But cortisol, etc, has to lower for parasympathetic activation.
    • This imbalance over time can lend to adrenal fatigue, for example.
  • The problem of modern life is that many of us are stuck in hyperdrive sensing constant threats or being under attack all of the time. Sympathetic dominance results and we are unable to slip into a parasympathetic state, when it matters, like at mealtime.
    • This can also result from past trauma or PTSD that hasn’t been properly dealt with.

Signs of sympathetic dominance:

  • blood sugar imbalance 
  • brain fog
  • chronic fatigue
  • difficulty recovering
  • sleep issues
  • lowered immune function
  • hormone imbalances 
  • ultimately over time: malabsorption, leaky gut, dysbiosis, opportunistic bacteria or pathogens, chronic inflammation, chronic disease

Re-training mind & body

Work on getting body into parasympathetic – known as “rest and digest” via:

  • diaphragmatic breathing
  • meditation
  • anything calming
  • vagal tone exercises – humming, gargling, cold water face splash
  • positive thinking

As it relates to eating

  • We see this issue a lot in athletes who are often ravenous, lacking routine or rhythm to eating habits, eating on the go, eating really fast, multi-tasking while eating mindlessly, etc…
  • Sympathetic arousal and being in that state is an ADDICTION! It takes work, consistency and discipline to break this cycle and tap into parasympathetic state.
  • Take the time to cook often and set a calm environment at mealtime, this helps start the process of relaxation and heck sometimes a little wine helps too 😉 But try to establish a routine around food. Sit down at a table in a normal position not half off the chair, etc. Connect with your food. Breathe deeply before you eat. Light candles. Make the environment more conducive to relaxation! 
  • Seasons of life, just do your best, for example tawnee is in a season with small kids so mealtime isn’t always a relaxing “date night” vibe. She says she rarely gets to sit down and enjoy a whole dinner without interruption. Doing my best in the season I’m in. Awareness is key.

Add your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.