Endurance Athlete

Hi Dr. Ruth,
I’m an endurance sport athlete and I’ve competed in marathons, cycling, duathlons and triathlons.  However, I’ve been informed that my form of lifestyle is dangerous for my longevity.  For example, it is recommended that a max of 3500 kcal expended per week for cardiovascular training.  I can expend this in a single training session!  Otherwise, it will actually increase death risk.  Please note Dr. Lam’s articles:
I would like your opinion regarding this subject matter.
Thank you,


Dear Ki,
Thank you so much for a very interesting and informative website.

I read through Chapter 5 and found that while I agree with much of what he says, there are specifics that I disagree with. I suppose the major point in that the research he cites was done on people eating the SAD (or at least a fairly meat-centered diet) and that makes all the difference in the world. Yes, it’s true that extreme exercise creates more free radicals but if your diet is loaded with raw fruits and vegetables, you also have on board lots of antioxidants to gobble up the free radicals.  I also disagree with his estimate of the max heart rate being 220 minus your age. Us really fit individuals make that rule totally useless. The last time I was at the Cooper Clinic (which he cites in his chapter), my max heart rate hit 192 and I was in my 60s. So, bottom line, if you’re really fit, which it sounds like you are, and you’re eating a vegan, low-fat diet, I think (but cannot prove, unfortunately) that you’re going to live much, much longer than those who either aren’t as fit or who do not eat a low-fat vegan diet.

Thanks for the question and the interesting information!
Dr. Ruth