Tuesday, October 26, 2010


If you are an ultrarunner you have no doubt viewed the VESPA advertisement in UltraRunning and/or witnessed other runners using VESPA at races.

I first noticed VESPA two years ago as the caption FAT IS YOUR FUEL caught my eye. I read the advertisement and then thought I’d do a bit of research at a later time.

During the past few months I’ve taken an in depth look at VESPA. I was first intrigued because I learned that VESPA works very well when following a paleo diet. I have been eating a paleo for athletes type diet for quiet some time.

Following are the two statements that caught my eye and caused me to look into the product more thoroughly.

“The key to sustaining athletic performance lies in optimizing the body’s ability to metabolize fat.‘

‘VESPA’s key ingredient is an all natural amino acid complex derived from the Asian Madarin wasp and works by shifting the muscles to metabolize a higher level of fat during physical activity thus stabilizing and conserving glycogen.’

At first glance I incorrectly thought that VESPA was a source of energy. It is not. It is not a fuel or an electrolyte. It works by optimizing your muscles’ ability to derive its energy from a readily available source: fat. One still needs to ingest energy and electrolytes when running long distance.

During the past few weeks I have had conversations with other athletes using VESPA as well as many conversations with Peter at VESPA.

There seems to be a huge synergy between VESPA and the OFM diet /training approach. OFM = Optimized Fat Metabolism. The more I read of Phil Maffetone the more I see this. As a ‘fat phobic’ it was difficult for me at first but I am seeing the light.

Peter has walked me through the beginning process and will be guiding me as I get further into my training program.

Because I don’t take part in the high carbohydrate fueling regimen that most athletes do I am not having difficulty transitioning to a solid paleo/primal nutritional program. On hard workout days I’m adding in fattier cuts of meat and a few additional egg yolks post run. I made sure to add fish oil with each meal. I begin hard days with cream and berries.

VESPA allows a jump start to the fat metabolism and since I am not in a heavy training cycle the required energy is not putting a high demand on my body. I’m in a building phase right now; a perfect time to transition to VESPA and a solid paleo program allowing optimized fat metabolism.

By eating in a paleo manner the basal blood insulin levels will go way down and insulin sensitivity way up. This has the effect of stabilizing blood sugar. For races and race training I would consume some carbs/sugars back into the diet so that glycogen stores are topped off but not so that they will cause a spike and a large insulin response such as digesting with fat/protein.

After transitioning the energy levels are much more even. By burning a higher percentage of fat recovery is quicker, with less soreness and muscle catabolism. This allows me to train harder.

My training, racing and nutrition pieces are coming together for 2011. Ready. Set. Go!


  1. A lot of people have jumped on this bandwagon, so maybe there's something to it, but it seems to me that the product would be inactivated by the acids in one's stomach. (I also question the science behind it. To me, it's no different from those who lauded bee Royal Jelly 30 years ago.)

  2. Yeah, it will be an interesting experiment. Many of the athletes using it now weren't eating a primal/paleo diet firsthand so I wonder if it is eating more protein/fat and less carbs that is allowing for quicker recovery or if it is the VESPA along with the diet. I haven't met an athlete that was eating paleo prior to the VESPA. Interesting for sure.

  3. Julie,
    I use VESPA...Iam not doing the Paleo 100%, but more Pro and Fat.(no pasta or rice anymore)
    It works for me :)

  4. I only experimented with VESPA a couple of times - bonked big time much earlier than usual on both occasions. I typically eat a mixed diet with plenty of protein and fat and don't carbo load for runs/races.
    I'm sticking with Perpetuem for longer races since that seems to work best for me, even though I don't like the taste.

    Have you decided which races you're going to do in 2011?

  5. Julie, Dale Humphrey was kind enough to give me a couple of Vespa samples and they worked great for me during a 40 mile run. I only consumed a total of 1000 calories at most over the course of 11 hours and never bonked. Of course, I try to eat a high-fat diet as well, so Vespa seems like it would be a good fit for me. Get in contact with Dale Humphrey or Nolan Ming about Vespa.

  6. Hi Steve,

    Glad it worked for you. I have spoke with both Dale and Nolan. Worked wonders for both.

    hey Stephanie! Good to 'see' you again!

  7. Hey Kel, I do have my schedule on paper, just need to put it into a blog post! I'll work on that today :)

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  9. I tried a modified version of Peter's recommended diet and used Vespa for Surf the Murph 50k, not sure what I think. I never lacked energy, and liked the sustained feeling. But kind of like your second comment, I really wonder how much of it was my diet change over the last 2 months versus the supplements.

  10. Julie B - I wonder if you have any new thoughts now that you've likely had over a year to test and use vespa? Anything to add? I'd love to know if you are still using it?


  11. Gee Matt, I feel like I have been visited by an ultraking! Good question. Unfortunately, I don't have a good answer. In January of 2011 I had a hysterectomy, was laid up for 6 weeks, began to run again..a few marathons and 50Ks in which I used VESPA and consumed a higher fat, lower carb diet which the vendor prescribes. My races went well, I felt good, but I was fresh, just coming back to running. Recovery of the hysterectomy caused two herniated disc which I didn't realize until July. I was then laid up until November! Ugh. Thankfully I am again running pain free, grateful as a one can be! Only a marathon under my belt as I begin training for 4 100s this April-October. I have my work cut out for me! I'm competing in the Ultra Gnarly Bandit Series. I will be putting VESPA to the test. I must say though, I continue to use Hammergel for my trail races, using VESPA in addition to the gel. VESPA in the winter is kind of a pain in MN. It freezes!