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This summer, after 9 months of planning and preparation, I will load up a boat full of protein flapjacks, apply an industrial amount of sunscreen to every inch of my body, tighten my trunks and goggles and attempt the Longest, Unassisted, Non-Stop, Open Water Swim in history in support of Parley for the Oceans (a non-profit environmental organisation that focuses on ocean conservation). But how did we get here? Well, it’s a long story that needs unpacking and explaining. Fortunately, the media ninjas at PhD have been following this entire journey and are producing a series of Vlogs that show exactly what happens ‘behind the scenes’ during training camp to make a swim on this scale happen. In addition to this we’ll also be breaking down the nutritional science and key 3 areas that govern the foods I eat and supplements I use…



Firstly, (worth noting) this will be attempt no.2. after my last lake swim ended in hospital with hypothermia, a little kidney failure and a sprinkling of cellulitis after 53 hours in Loch Ness, Scotland. This is why this training camp was a little different to most others I’ve started, since it only started once doctors had given me the ‘greenlight’ and even then, there had to be a huge emphasis on health and recovery before I could even begin thinking about speed, pacing and performance. This is why the following supplements were the first things I added to the supplement cupboard once I arrived home.


Supergreens formula basically blends 18 nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables into a single powdered shake and whilst I would need to write an entire book to delve into the details of each, I want to focus specifically on spirulina and why the doctors recommended this during my recovery after my kidneys took a battering. This is all because when your kidneys are damaged, they produce less erythropoietin (EPO), a hormone that signals your bone marrow to make more red blood cells. With less erythropoietin, your body makes fewer red blood cells, and less oxygen is delivered to your organs and tissues. Obviously not great for endurance athletes, but this is where spirulina can help. Containing a wide array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential amino acids, it also has a high chlorophyll content. Now, chlorophyll is crucial for photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert sunlight into energy. But, studies suggest it can also have positive effects on human health, including oxygen utilization and blood oxygenation. This is because its molecular structure bears a resemblance to heme, the iron-containing component of haemoglobin. Haemoglobin, found in red blood cells, is responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to various tissues and organs throughout the body. Its iron component plays a pivotal role in binding and releasing oxygen. Therefore, by enhancing the oxygen-carrying capacity of haemoglobin, spirulina indirectly influences oxygen delivery to tissues as supported by a studied published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology that I read in hospital. Gurney T, Spendiff O. Spirulina supplementation improves oxygen uptake in arm cycling exercise. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2020 Dec;120(12):2657-2664.

ZMA (Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin B6)

ZMA is really simple in its formulation, since it consists of a combination of three essential nutrients: zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6. It is primarily marketed as a product to support muscle recovery and enhance athletic performance by aiding protein synthesis (the repair and regrowth of muscles) and reducing exercise-induced oxidative stress. But the reason it’s a staple in my supplement routine is because each nutrient has been shown to individually (and synergistically) have a calming effect on the nervous system which may help improve sleep quality and duration.

  • Zinc: Zinc is an essential mineral involved in numerous bodily processes, including immune function, protein synthesis, and enzyme activity. Adequate zinc levels are crucial for overall health and recovery. Zinc has also been linked to improved sleep quality.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium is another essential mineral that plays a vital role in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It is involved in muscle and nerve function, protein synthesis, energy production, and maintaining a healthy immune system. Magnesium has been associated with relaxation and improved sleep quality.
  • Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is important for the metabolism of amino acids and the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. It is involved in regulating sleep and mood and in the production of melatonin (a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles) and deficiencies in vitamin B6 may contribute to sleep disturbances.


The next addition to our list is pretty obvious, but due to the sheer importance of this macronutrient to all athletes it’s only right we revisit and repeat the nutritional science of the world’s most popular sports supplement; whey protein. Now, how much we need as athletes is still debated by nutritionists today. The answer? We don’t know. The field of nutrigenomics ― how our individual genes uniquely interact with our food ― teaches us this varies from person to person. At best, we can make an educated guess and start with research from the often-quoted sports nutrition bible “The Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition.” It states the International Olympic Committee Consensus on Sports Nutrition recommends strength and speed athletes consume 1.7g of protein per kg of bodyweight, per day. This is considered the optimal amount to help the muscles repair and re-grow. But what if you’re not a strength, speed or power athlete? Maybe you’re training for a marathon. Maybe you want to lose fat. Or maybe you just want to be generally healthy. Studies show this idea of 1.7g of protein per kg of bodyweight, per day is still a good base to start all because research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology states, “We conclude that bodybuilders during habitual training require a daily protein intake only slightly greater than that for sedentary individuals in the maintenance of lean body mass and that endurance athletes require daily protein intakes greater than either bodybuilders or sedentary individuals to meet the needs of protein catabolism during exercise .” Put simply, endurance athletes need protein to prevent their body breaking down. Train too hard or too long and the body will enter a catabolic state. Your muscles breakdown, the immune system is badly affected and injuries are more likely to occur. However, having an adequate supply of protein and you’re equipped with the “building blocks” needed to recover.

Ross Edgley swimming


After 3 months of religiously and meticulously working on my recovery and rehab, I was ready to resume training and turn my attention to performance (and specifically metrics relating to pacing, speed, duration and endurance). Granted, during the first few sessions I wasn’t setting the world alight with my swimming abilities, but slowly (and steadily) I began to reclaim some level of fitness and a few things that hugely helped were caffeine, creatine and beta alanine:


Caffeine is one of the most tried and tested sports supplements to ever hit your sports bottle. This is because thousands of studies have discovered hundreds of benefits, but (for me) I will use caffeine to:

(1) Reduce Perception to Fatigue: This is too often overlooked, but caffeine can reduce your perception to fatigue. Experts believe it does this by stimulating the production of the neurotransmitter beta-endorphin and this may explain why, when caffeine is coupled with carbohydrate supplementation to ensure muscle glycogen levels are fully topped up, athletes are able to maintain a higher intensity and maximal output for longer.

(2) Increase Your Power Output: A study by Lane et al (2013) found caffeine, even when taken in low doses can improve your power. This is because the study served to analyse cycling power output and found that a dosage of 3mg/kg increased power by up to 3.5% when compared to a placebo group. Granted this might not sound like a lot, but it could be responsible for the new one rep max you put up on the bench press. Equally, research conducted at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada found that caffeine supplementation could ‘permit athletes to train at a greater power output and/or to train longer by producing a more favourable ionic environment within the active muscle.’

(3) To help battle the negative effect on performance of training in the morning. Whether you are an early bird or a night owl, training early will decrease power output due to your circadian rhythms, ingesting caffeine can equalise this, allowing you to train in the morning with no ill effects.


One of the best (also under appreciated) supplements in my opinion. This is because at Florida Atlanta University it was found that beta alanine and creatine improved “aerobic power, ventilatory and lactate thresholds and time to exhaustion” after 4 weeks of supplementation. Researchers believe it’s beta alanine’s ability to positively affect a substance called carnosine in the muscles which produced this improved performance since a similar study at the University of Tsukuba found that high levels of carnosine could help to reduce lactic acid build up in the muscle (the burning sensation you get in the muscles when you’re running hard).



The very last area of my sports nutrition that I focused on was body composition and fat loss. This is because the water temperature in the previous swim in Loch Ness, Scotland, was 7°C (44.6°F) which is why I bulked up to 105kg (231lbs) to add layers of fat and insulation to protect me from the cold. Granted, it turns out I needed more since hypothermia still found a way to take me out. But for this next swim, we are changing locations to the sun-soaked lakes of Italy all in the hope I can create a leaner, faster and more streamlined physique and (hopefully) hypothermia doesn’t find me again. Although I don’t have a specific target weight in mind, I am finding that 86kg (189lbs) moves efficiently through the water, which is why I wanted to list 2 key products that have helped me with fat loss and 2 products that you might not expect.


The truth is benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are so diverse it could have been listed in any category (from health and recovery to performance). This is because omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for overall health and play various roles in the body, including supporting health, aiding in recovery and boosting the immune system, let me explain:

  • Heart health: Omega-3s have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by improving cholesterol levels, reducing triglycerides, lowering blood pressure, and preventing the formation of blood clots.
  • Brain function: The brain is composed largely of fat, and omega-3s, particularly a type called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are important for brain development and function. They support cognitive function, memory, and may reduce the risk of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
  • Inflammation and recovery: Omega-3s possess anti-inflammatory properties, helping to reduce chronic inflammation in the body. By modulating the inflammatory response, they can aid in the recovery process from exercise-induced inflammation, injuries, and various conditions such as arthritis.
  • Immune system support: Omega-3s play a role in supporting a healthy immune system. They help regulate the immune response, enhance the function of immune cells, and reduce excessive inflammation. By promoting a balanced immune system, omega-3s can contribute to overall immune health and better defence against infections.
  • Mood and mental health: There is evidence to suggest that omega-3 fatty acids, especially EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), may have a positive effect on mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. They help regulate neurotransmitter function and reduce inflammation in the brain, which can contribute to improved mental well-being.

But the reason I have included them in the fat loss and body composition section is because studies show EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) can actually help burn body fat by increasing the level and activity of mitochondria within the cell. Since mitochondria are often called the “powerhouses” of the cells, it’s not surprising that by up-regulating them scientists believe we can stimulate thermogenesis, which not only oxidizes body fat but also increases energy expenditure.



Listing the PhD Smarbars as a fat loss supplement may seem odd, but so often nutritionists fail to focus on dietary adherence and behavioural strategies. I always say the best diet in the world is useless on paper if someone can’t follow it. Research from the International Journal of Obesity agrees too. In a huge Meta study — a study of lots of studies — it was found there was no perfect diet. Instead they concluded, “Regardless of assigned diet, 12-month weight change was greater in the most adherent,” adding, “These results suggest that strategies to increase adherence may deserve more emphasis than the specific diet.” With that said, you will struggle to find a better tasting source of protein with reduced carbs, calories and sugars than a PhD Smarbar. Which is why when I am cutting calories from my diet in a bid to produce a more streamlined physique, my swim bag or kitchen cupboard is NEVER without a stash of birthday cake or cookies and cream flavoured PhD Smarbar.

Ross Edgley is a an adventurer and author, best known for becoming the first person in history to swim all the way around Great Britain.


Ross Edgley’s go to Supplements

Ross Edgley Pill box


For an athlete and adventurer like Ross Edgley good nutrition and additional supplementation, is a necessity to ensure he is fueling his body with the highest quality range of nutrients he can get. Using our vitamins and supplements here at PhD Ross is consistently pushing his body to do incredible things and push his performance to the maximum. We’ve got all you need to know about Ross Edgley’s go-to supplements and the low down on why he uses our Vitamins & Supplements range.


Ross told us “When training for multi-day/multi-month, ultra-marathon sea swims I can be in the water in temperatures as low as 9°C for over 10 hours. As a result, I need to build a bullet-proof immune system that can cope with that volume (and intensity) of training.
This is why my supplement cupboard is never without the following:



“Purely based on research from the International Journal of Sports Nutrition who stated, “Micronutrient needs may be altered for these athletes while the dietary intake is generally over the Recommended Daily Allowance” and research from Journal of Sports Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism stated, “Ultra-endurance exercise training places large energy demands on athletes and causes a high turnover of vitamins through sweat losses, metabolism, and the musculoskeletal repair process. Ultra-endurance athletes may not consume sufficient quantities or quality of food in their diet to meet these needs. Consequently, they may use vitamin and mineral supplements to maintain their health and performance.”

Prime Man is packed with 0.5bn gut-friendly spores, digestive enzymes, natural plant extracts like Ashwagandha KSM-66, and the most bio-available forms of 24 vitamins & minerals to offer further health benefits for overall wellbeing such as zinc for normal testosterone blood levels and vitamin b6 for hormonal activity regulation.


Omega 3



“Although there’s so much research surrounding fish oils and heart health, I also religiously supplement with this based on research that demonstrates it up-regulates and boosts mitochondria function (the “powerhouses” of the cells). ”

Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid and must therefore be obtained from the diet. For those who don’t eat fish, or are unable to get the recommended portions into their diet, omega-3 supplements are a great alternative. PhD Omega 3 capsules contain 550mg of the important long-chain fatty acids DHA and EPA.


Ross climbs robe



“The reason I supplement with this is that it’s involved in so many functions within the body many scientists claim it actually acts more like a hormone than a vitamin. Integral to maintaining immune health (especially in athletes) I’ve taken this every day for the last 10 years all throughout my sporting career.”

The PhD Vitamin D3 is formulated with 2000iu vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is one of the most popular daily supplements and it is associated with a number of health and performance benefits: increased cognition, immune health, bone health, muscle repair, recovery and muscle function.


At PhD we also have a wider range of vitamins and supplements to support you reach your goals, pushing your performance or optimising your every day with our LIFE range. SO no matter if you’re a professional athlete or not, learning about how your body works and what nutrients it needs is the key to staying fit and healthy. Check out our full range of Vitamins & Supplements.

Don’t forget to fuel yourself Pre, Intra and Post-workout – You can grab yourself all your workout must-haves here.  Make sure to let us know how you get on with your training program and tag us in your workouts on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter – @phdnutrition.

We love seeing your workouts, recipes, and having you as part of our community. If you want to make sure to check out more of our amazing blogs here or grab yourself some of our other Smart Whey Protein to fuel your workouts even further.

Ross Edgley is a an adventurer and author, best known for becoming the first person in history to swim all the way around Great Britain.


7 Secrets of Strength

Select your Secret to Read:
Secret 1: Resilience Is Suffering Scientifically & Strategically Managed
Secret 2: Interval Training Increases Pain Tolerance
Secret 3: Never Neglect Strength Training
Secret 4: Science Of A Smile
Secret 5: Resilience Is Best Served With Food
Secret 6: Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable & Get Outside
Secret 7: Sleep Yourself Stronger



The bestselling author and award-winning adventurer Ross Edgley has been studying The Art of Resilience for years after he famously ran a marathon pulling a 1.4 tonne car, climbed a rope the height of Everest (8,848m) and completed a triathlon carrying a 100-lbs tree. But after 1,780 miles (and 157 days at sea) Ross believes he has finally completed his research after he applied all he had learnt and became the first person in history to swim all the way around Great Britain. Breaking multiple world records along the way, he swam through giant jellyfish, artic storms, ‘haunted’ whirlpools, polluted shipping lanes and swum so hard and so fast… his tongue fell apart.

Now, in his new book The Art of Resilience, Ross turns his attention to mental strength and stoicism. Using his swim experience and other amazing endurance feats where he managed to overcome seemingly insurmountable pain, hardship and adversity, Ross goes on to study the performance of other extreme athletes, military and fitness specialists and psychologists to uncover the secrets of mental fitness and explore the concept of resilience, persistence, valour and a disciplined mind-set in overcoming adversity. This ground-breaking book represents a paradigm shift in what we thought the human body and mind was capable of and will give you a blueprint to become a tougher, more resilient and ultimately better human – whatever the challenge you face.

Here he brings you his 7 Secrets of Strength based on the teachings of his new book…



Firstly, understand there is no secret to mental strength. Resilience is not some superhuman gift that is possessed by the brave and bold. It’s innate within all of us, but is realized through training and conditioning the mind and body. This is exactly why according to Naval Medical Research this idea of “Toughness” describes a range of psychological and physiological processes that enhance performance under stress1.

Therefore, please understand the main lesson from the Great British Swim (and my new book) is that I was not courageous, fearless or bullet proof. Instead, I just understood the simple truth that resilience is suffering scientifically and strategically managed. What this means is you must train the mind just as much as you train your body.

This is based on the work of Professor Tim Noakes who expanded on the teachings of Archibald Hill in 1924. Noakes developed the idea that the brain will override your physical ability to run, swim, cycle or fundamentally continue any activity and “shut the body down” before you’re able to do (what the brain believes) is serious damage to yourself. This became known as the Central Governor Theory and this is why Noakes believes that the point when you think you cannot go on is actually a response from the brain to slow down to preserve health, rather than a physiological reality. Basically, the brain quits before the body.

But why does this happen? Well for good reason. If your brain didn’t regulate physical exertion in this way you could quite literally run yourself to death, by either destroying skeletal or cardiac muscle or by starving the nerve tissue of sugar and oxygen.

This is why Noakes believes the brain is inherently selfish and only really cares about itself. It will do anything necessary to maintain balance within the body (which we call, “homeostasis”). This is why its biggest fears are that during prolonged and strenuous exercise:

– Muscle glycogen (stored carbohydrates) are entirely depleted
– Heart rate rises too high and results in cardiac failure
– Body temperature rises too high and you develop hyperthermia (failed thermoregulation)
– The brain is damaged if blood glucose concentrations are low

In many ways, the brain is a hypochondriac that babysits the body.

It serves this preventative and precautionary role that fears the worse-case scenario for every body part and every sense in the body as pain and fatigue signal that homeostasis is under threat so we should probably stop.

According to Noakes, when exercise intensity and stress to the heart, skeletal muscles and nervous tissue reaches, “The limit of what is safe, the brain’s motor cortex, which recruits the exercising muscle, is informed, and it stops recruiting additional muscle.” What this means is the sensation of fatigue (and accompanying pain) and a slowing of pace are pre-emptive and protective, yet extremely powerful actions taken by the brain to avoid real physical trauma to the body.

This is understood by all athletes as we will all have experienced those workouts that when midway through it feels like your lungs are on fire and you’re going to die. This is because homeostasis is completely out of balance.

Yet once the workout is over (or you stop), you miraculously feel fine. This isn’t because you have superhuman healing powers and the damaged caused to the body instantly repaired, but is because the body is returning to its normal state of homeostasis and as a result the brain knows the threat of exertion has passed which means is stops sensations of pain and fatigue.

This is why Noakes summarised the concept of the Central Governor when he said, “Fatigue is merely an emotional expression of the subjective symptoms that develop as these subconscious controls wage a fierce battle with the conscious mind to ensure that the conscious ultimately submits to the superior will of the subconscious.”

What this means is each race, adventure and training session is just a battle within ourselves and the best athletes and adventures in the world are the ones who consistently win those battles. Now worth noting is today many researchers claim the term “central governor” has fallen from favour since there is not one physical area in your brain that is solely responsible for this effect. The preferred name is now the Psychobiological Model of Fatigue.

But as an athlete adventurer and someone who’s on the “frontline of fatigue” I’m not interested in studying terminology, the concept is the same. This is why the US Navy Seals don’t refer to it as the Psychobiological Model of Fatigue but rather, the 40% rule. Put simply, they believe when your mind is telling you that you’re done, that you’re exhausted, that you cannot possibly go any further, you’re only actually 40% done.

Finally, this isn’t to say that the physiological demands aren’t real. There is no doubt that improving your physical fitness will help you run faster, swim further and cycle harder. But understand the Psychobiological Model of Fatigue posits that to truly excel in extreme physical activity you must train both the body and mind. Which is exactly what the following 7 Secrets to Mental Strength (based on the teachings of the book) teach you to do.

Ross Recommends:
PhD Smart Protein due to its brilliant versatility (as well as tasting amazing), meaning it in can be used in many formats (think muffins, cookies, brownies, cheesecakes, basically anything and everything), thus strategically fitting into any diet whilst allowing you to get creative with your protein intake. My protein brownie game is STRONG – check out my Salted Caramel Blondies.



Sprint. Rest. Repeat. Quite possibly the simplest training method you will ever undertake. Known as high-intensity interval training, it can be used in any sport and in any activity from cycling and sprinting to swimming and running, but it involves repeating a series of fast-paced and slow-paced running intervals to improve the body’s ability to move, train and work at a high pace when you’re not able to provide enough oxygen to the working muscles (relying on anaerobic energy production).
For swimming, interval training can be as simple as sprinting 25 m front crawl as fast as you can and then swim slow breaststroke back, allowing your heart rate to drop. Sprint and repeat as many times as you can (aiming for at least 10 sprints). Why is this such a good training method? Because studies show this type of training improves both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Researchers from the School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland (Australia) wanted to test the ‘Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on aerobic fitness and anaerobic fitness.’ Contrary to popular belief, they found that ‘Moderate-intensity aerobic training that improves aerobic fitness does not change anaerobic capacity and that adequate high-intensity intermittent training may improve both anaerobic and aerobic energy supplying systems significantly.’

But the power of high-intensity training doesn’t stop there. Scientists also believe such training methods not only expand the capabilities of the muscles and heart but also recalibrate the brain’s horizons and perception to pain. This is based on research which found that high-intensity training does not change your pain sensitivity (the point at which you acknowledge pain), but can increase pain tolerance (how long you’re willing to endure pain).

Ross Recommends:
Try adding L’Glutamine into your shake or Intra BCAA. Possibly one of the most overlooked supplements within the athletic world, Glutamine has several functions within the body that make it an excellent addition to support intense training cycles. Research from the University College of Dublin found the immune-boosting properties of glutamine were so impressive, it was used to treat patients with inflammatory conditions.



When it comes to building a physically robust body that’s resilient to injury, never neglect strength training. This is based on research from the British Journal of Sports Medicine who emphatically stated, “Strength training reduces sports injuries”2. This is following their research to determine which training protocol (strength training, stretching or proprioception (balance) conditioning) was most effective at reducing sports injuries? After studying 26,610 participants with 3,464 injuries what they found was, “Strength training reduced sports injuries to less than 1/3 and overuse injuries could be almost halved” and performed better than both stretching or proprioception conditioning routines. Lead by the same chief researcher (and again research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine) they also found this to be true in studies around the world, “despite considerable differences in populations.” They found, after analysing 7,738 participants aged 12-40 years in studies published in 2003-2016, five from Europe and one from Africa, that, “Increasing strength training volume and intensity were associated with sports injury risk reduction”3. This is because the accumulation of strength over a period of time allows all of our body’s structures to adapt and make us less prone to injury and more able to deal with the stresses and strains that we place upon it. Whether that be bones, muscles, joints, ligaments or tendons. All of these structures have the ability to adapt to the forces that are placed upon them.

Ross Recommends:
PhD Creatine Powder proven in hundreds of studies to help improve power, strength, muscle growth and reduce recovery time between intense bouts of exercise. More specifically, a study conducted at the Exercise & Sport Sciences Laboratory at The University of Memphis discovered that creatine supplementation before training promoted significantly ‘greater gains in fat/bone-free mass, upper extremity lifting volume, and sprint performance during resistance/agility training in well-trained collegiate football players.’



Whether running, swimming, cycling or training in the gym never underestimate the power of a smile. To test this theory scientists from the UK Institute for the Psychology of Elite Performance (in a study published in the Journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience4) had athletes cycle to exhaustion as they were shown “subliminal visual cues” of happy vs sad faces. Subliminal visual cues are words and pictures that are unidentifiable to your conscious brain (since it doesn’t have time to process and interpret) and instead happen so quickly (a few milliseconds) they’re only absorbed at a subconscious level. Results, “Revealed that individuals cycled significantly longer when subliminally primed with happy faces.” They also added that the athletes rating of perceived exertion (RPE) during the time to exhaustion (TTE) test was also lower in the athletes, “primed with happy faces”. Worth noting is these, “experiments are the first to show that subliminal visual cues relating to affect and action can alter perception of effort and endurance performance,” therefore more research is needed. But this is something the Royal Marines have been practicing for years. So much so it’s actually part of their ethos, “Cheerfulness in the face of adversity”.

Ross Recommends:
PhD Smart Bars because they taste AWESOME and also research shows, since 90% of diets fail due to non-adherence, emphasis should be made, not on the diet itself, but on ways to support dietary adherence i.e. finding what works personally for you and sticking to it.



Long distance swimming events are so often an eating competition with a bit of swimming thrown in. The same is true of other endurance sports too, take adventure racing for example. A sport where competitors compete over 10 days in various disciplines ranging from mountain biking, running, kayaking, climbing and mountaineering over a rugged, often remote and wilderness terrain. Scientists wanted to establish evidence-based nutritional recommendations for competitors and found, “Energy expenditures of 365–750 kcal/hour have been reported with total energy expenditures of 18 000–80 000 kcal required to complete adventure races” which means, “Large negative energy balances during competitions have been reported”5.

Basically, competitors were not able to eat enough.

This is supported by a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism who wanted to monitor the calorie intake of adventure racers during a 67 hour simulated lab experiment where athletes covered a total distance covered 477.3 km. Food intake was recorded throughout the experiment and they found that even within the safe and controlled environment of the sports lab, “Athletes’ total energy expenditure was greater than their total energy intake (24,516 vs. 14,738 kcal)”6.

That’s a calorie deficit of over 9,000 calories.

This is why for all the advancements made in technology and sports supplements, scientists concluded, “Athletes competing in ultra-endurance sports should manage nutritional issues, especially with regards to energy”. Adding, “Such a negative energy balance is a major health and performance concern”7.

The Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care agrees too, stating, “Despite much current debate regarding central (mind) and peripheral (body) mechanisms which may be responsible for the onset of fatigue during prolonged exercise, maintenance of nutritional and hydration status remains critical for successful participation in ultra-endurance exercise”8.

For all these reasons (and more) I consumed 10,000 to 15,000 calories per day when swimming 1,780 miles around GB. Since I understood even the fittest athletes in the world cannot optimally function if they’re not eating enough. In summary, resilience is best served with food.

Ross Recommends:
PhD Diet Whey Lean MRP is a great way to ensure your calorie and macro needs are catered for with 26g of protein and 18g of carbohydrates per serving as well as being infused with vitamins and minerals. For anybody seeking a nutritious and convenient shake to support weight management, Diet Whey Lean MRP is a great solution.



Similar to the concept of “getting wintered” is this idea of getting comfortable being uncomfortable through voluntary discomfort. We can do this by removing home comforts and high-tech clothing and instead learn to face the elements equipped with nothing but our physical and mental fortitude whether that’s in the form of a barefoot run or ice-cold shower. Based on the teachings of the ancient stoic philosopher Musonius Rufus who said, “It is a mistake to bundle up the body in a lot of clothes or envelope it in shawls or wrap up hands and feet in felt or heavy cloth– unless, that is, one is ill. It is a mistake for people to dress so that they never experience cold and heat. To the contrary, they should be somewhat cold in winter, get out in the sun in summer, and stay in the shade very little”.

Also related to a theme present in the Journal of Henry David Thoreau (1837–1861) too. Considered to be one of America’s great modern philosophers, on Christmas Day of 1856, he wrote about his daily practices and said, “Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary”.

Days later in his diary he expanded on this point and wrote, “We must go out and re-ally ourselves to nature every day. We must make root, send out some little fibre at least, even every winter day. I am sensible that I am imbibing health when I open my mouth to the wind. Staying in the house breeds a sort of insanity always. Every house is in this sense a hospital. A night and a forenoon is as much confinement to those wards as I can stand. I am aware that I recover some sanity which I had lost almost the instant that I come outdoors”.

In summary, the gym is an ideal environment to get stronger, leaner and quicker. However, don’t underestimate the power of mother nature and try to ensure you get outside and battle the elements as much as you battle the barbells.

Ross Recommends:
PhD VMX2 Powder since researchers at Yale University found that as little as 200 milligrams of caffeine before a workout can increase strength endurance, experts believe it stimulates the production of the neurotransmitter beta-endorphin, which studies show can reduce pain and perceived fatigue, which can then in turn increase your strength endurance.



Studies show you’re stronger with sleep. Something I learnt during a 48-hour training swim which friends of mine at the Royal Marines training centre in Lympstone, Devon, were kind enough to supervise and mentor me through. This is because research published in the Journal of Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine states, “Military operations, especially combat, expose individuals to multiple stressors, including sleep loss, food deprivation, and sustained physical activity”9. Basically, the Royal Marine PTI’s were foremost leading experts in sports done under stress and sleep deprivation. This is because you’re no longer mentally functioning at your full capacity as studies show you can suffer from hallucinations (perceptual distortions)10, mood disturbances11, biological stress12 and impaired motor skills meaning you can’t even control your arms, legs and limbs properly any more. Which brings me onto the biggest lesson I learnt from friends at the Royal Marines: although when sleep deprived you cannot perform at your best… at least you can still perform. This is why the following quote always stuck with me:

“Athletes are taught to perform at their best,
When they feel at their best.

Royal Marines are taught to perform at their best,
When they feel at their worst“.

Ross Recommends:
PhD ZMA Capsules contain Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin B6, a specially formulated trio of micronutrients that help reduce tiredness and fatigue to support strength and endurance goals.



1 O’Donnell, A, Morgan, CA, Jovanov, E, Andrasik, F, and Prevost, MC. The warfighter’s stress response: Telemetric and noninvasive assessment. Naval Aerospace Medical Research Lab Pensacola, FL; 2002.

2 Lauersen JB, Bertelsen DM and Andersen LB (2014) “The effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.” British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2014 Jun;48(11):871-7.

3 Lauersen JB, Andersen TE and Andersen LB (2018) “Strength training as superior, dose-dependent and safe prevention of acute and overuse sports injuries: a systematic review, qualitative analysis and meta-analysis.” British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2018 Dec;52(24):1557-1563.

4 Blanchfield A, Hardy J and Marcora S (2014) “Non-conscious visual cues related to affect and action alter perception of effort and endurance performance.” Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2014 Dec 11;8:967.

5 Mayur K. Ranchordas (2012) “Nutrition for Adventure Racing” Sports Medicine November 2012, Volume 42, Issue 11, pp 915–927.

6 Ioná Zalcman Zimberg, Cibele Aparecida Crispim, Claudia Ridel Juzwiak and Hanna Karen Moreira Antunes (2008) “Nutritional Intake during a Simulated Adventure Race” Human Kinetics Journals, International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, Volume 18 Issue 2, April 2008.

7 Nikolaidis PT, Veniamakis E, Rosemann T and Knechtle B (2018) “Nutrition in Ultra-Endurance: State of the Art.” Nutrients. 2018 Dec 16;10(12).

8 Peters EM (2003) “Nutritional aspects in ultra-endurance exercise.” Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, 2003 Jul;6(4):427-34.

9 Lieberman HR, Niro P, Tharion WJ, Nindl BC, Castellani JW and Montain SJ (2006) “Cognition during sustained operations: comparison of a laboratory simulation to field studies.” Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, 2006 Sep;77(9):929-35.

10 Babkoff, H., Sing, H. C., Thorne, D. R., Genser, S. G., & Hegge, F. W. (1989). Perceptual Distortions and Hallucinations Reported during the Course of Sleep Deprivation. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 68(3), 787–798.

11 Scott JP, McNaughton LR and Polman RC (2006) “Effects of sleep deprivation and exercise on cognitive, motor performance and mood.” Physiology & Behaviour, 2006 Feb 28;87(2):396-408. Epub 2006 Jan 3.

12 Eleonora Tobaldiniab, Giorgio Costantinoa, Monica Solbiatia, Chiara Cogliatic, Tomas Karade, Lino Nobilif and Nicola Montanoa (2017) “Sleep, sleep deprivation, autonomic nervous system and cardiovascular diseases” Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews Volume 74, Part B, March 2017, Pages 321-32.

Ross Edgley is a an adventurer and author, best known for becoming the first person in history to swim all the way around Great Britain.


Ross Edgley’s Salted Caramel Blondies

Preparation & Cooking Time:

25 minutes

Ingredients Required:


How to make:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and line the baking tray with parchment paper
2. Excluding the toppings whisk all other ingredients together in a bowl
3. Pour mixture into a baking tray and level out
4. Top with desired toppings
5. Bake in the oven for 15-20mins
6. Take the blondies out of the baking tray and leave on parchment paper to cool for at least 10 mins before cutting and serving


Ross Edgley is a an adventurer and author, best known for becoming the first person in history to swim all the way around Great Britain.


How Resilience Redefines You by Ross Edgley

The year of 2018 was one I will never forget. After 157 days and 1,780 miles I arrived on Margate beach and completed the first circumnavigation swim around Great Britain. But whilst the giant jellyfish, artic storms and my dishevelled tongue were well documented, what has been kept a secret (until now) was what we discovered from the 1 million calories consumed under the most extreme and adverse conditions in swimming and sports nutrition. This is just because I wanted to make sense of everything myself before I shared my findings with the world. To quote the great Aristotle, “Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.”

But after months of research (being prodded and probed in the sports lab) I am beyond excited to be joining the PhD family as we broadcast our discoveries to the world. All because this is a partnership that has been born out of a joint desire to re-shape what we think the human body and mind is capable of as the key theme from our findings was mental fortitude works best when fuelled. What this means is you can be the most physically gifted (or mentally resilient) human to ever pick up a barbell or lace up your trainers, but none of this will matter unless your fuelled efficiency. Taking inspiration from the great explorers of old, in my new book, “The Art of Resilience” I have come to call this, “Heroics in Hunger” and I will be delivering my theories and philosophies on the topic through articles, videos, seminars and live events with PhD.

But before we delve into the nutritional science, let me explain:

  • Why resilience is such a valued trait in the world of sport and adventure
  • Why I swam 1.780 miles to better understand it


Firstly, inspired by research from the Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, it states, “The importance of intellectual talent to achievement in all professional domains is well established, but less is known about the importance of resilience. Defined as perseverance and passion for long-term goals… resilience did not relate positively to IQ but, demonstrated incremental predictive validity of success measures over and beyond IQ. These findings suggest that the achievement of difficult goals entails not only talent but also the sustained and focused application of talent over time*.”

Essentially, intelligence is great and being genetically gifted physically is an advantage. But one of the most underrated, yet powerful, virtues a human can possess is Resilience!

Which is exactly why I wanted to embark on the Great British Swim.

Following in the footsteps of my hero Captain Matthew Webb, on 25 August 1875 he achieved what many believed was impossible; the first crossing of the English Channel (swimming 21 miles from Dover in England to Calais in France). At the time sailors claimed this was swimming suicide because the tides were too strong and the water too cold. But Captain Webb, in a woollen wetsuit and on a diet of brandy and beef broth, swam breaststroke (because “front crawl was ungentlemanly like” at the time) and battled waves for over 20 hours to make history.

I loved this story.

It was one of grit, resilience and defying all odds as his dogged persistence and self-belief captured the spirit of the times and cemented Webb as a hero of the Victorian age. Therefore, for me circumnavigating Great Britain would serve as a way of reconnecting with these powerful and primitive human traits. Looking at the anthropology of us humans (and earth’s 4.5 billion-year history) it’s the reason we’re all here today sitting firmly at the top of the food chain as we compete in the game that Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer referred to as the survival of the fittest.


Ross Edgley (born 13th October 1985 in Grantham, England) is an adventurer and author best known for becoming the first person in history to swim all the way around Great Britain. After 1,780 miles and 157 days the World Open Water Swimming Association announced it as the ‘World Swim of the Year 2018’ and it became officially recognised as “The World’s Longest Staged Sea Swim.”

Now considered a leading expert in mental fortitude, physical resilience and work capacity, Ross published the Sunday Times Bestselling book “The World’s Fittest Book” in 2018 which was heralded as the most comprehensive fitness bible ever printed to date. Now in 2020 he is due to publish his highly-anticipated second book, “The Art of Resilience” (April 30th 2020) which studies the performance of extreme athletes, military and fitness specialists and psychologists to uncover the secrets of mental fitness and explore the concept of resilience, persistence, valour and a disciplined mind-set in overcoming adversity. Representing a paradigm shift in what we thought the human body and mind were capable of, he hopes it will give readers a blueprint to become tougher, more resilient and ultimately better humans – whatever the challenges they face.

*Duckworth AL, Peterson C, Matthews MD and Kelly DR (2007) “Grit: perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2007 Jun;92(6):1087-101.

Ross Edgley is a an adventurer and author, best known for becoming the first person in history to swim all the way around Great Britain.