Ketogenic cyclist on rollers for 9+ hours
Sean David Sakinofsky is a unique individual who has based his life around cycling. He is someone who has truly embraced cycling, not just as a sport but a lifestyle.
Sean is an avid promoter of the Ketogenic lifestyle and a big supporter of Prof Tim Noakes and The Noakes Foundation.
He has proven the profound benefits of a Ketogenic lifestyle with ultra-endurance events which have involved travelling over 200km and even spending up to 9hrs on the bike without the need for refuelling.
On the 29th of May, he will try and reach his goal of cycling 9hours+ on rollers with no caloric intake, only water and coffee. This ride is called the Ride of Solidarity and Minimalism and it is a homage to those who have put themselves in the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition, the aim of this ride is to highlight the benefits of a ketogenic diet and to create awareness for The Noakes Foundation the work we do through our Eat Better SA community programmes.
We had the opportunity to interview Sean virtually just before his exciting event and learned about his childhood and what inspired him to adopt the Ketogenic lifestyle.
Tell us about your background, from childhood
I was born to a vegetarian mother and father, not out of choice but they were not affluent and couldn’t buy meat products. I was also born deaf owing to a low immune system which caused infections in my middle ear which prevented my ear ossicles from vibrating. After numerous ear operations and grommet replacements, I got my hearing back. My folks started eating animal products again when I was about 2 years old. I was sick almost every month with URI. My late father was a pharmacist. I can’t recall a month when I was not on some sort of antibiotic. We lived off a classical high carb “balanced” diet with animal products, lots of fruits and veg. I was always active. I did everything from Rugby, cricket, cross country running, karate and ballet. Discovered cycling in my late teens.
How did you get started as a professional cyclist?
I am not a professional cyclist. I am a lifestyle cyclist. The sport of cycling is merely a facet of cycling. I consider myself to be a cyclist, one who bases his life around the world’s most beautiful machine, that being a bicycle.
When was your first introduction to keto and why did you think it was important for you to incorporate it into cycling.
I have always been interested in nutrition, I suffer from body dysmorphia. I got interested when I adopted bodybuilding back in 2000. The next step was stopping bodybuilding and returning to cycling and losing all the muscle mass. It was at this point I discovered I was allergic to gluten and wheat and adopted a paleo diet but still ate high carb. This was around 2007 – 2011. I started to do more discovery into the power of fats in 2012 and slowly decreased my consumption of high carbs. However, the biggest factor for my full conversion was watching my father die of cancer. And discovering a link to cancer and glycogen. It was not the performance I was after, it was better health.
Both my mother and father’s family all died either from cancers or cardiac problems. All were on a high carb low-fat diet. I simply thought out of the box. The height of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results!”
Tell us about your event and what sparked the idea.
The event is to prove to the mainstream that the Ketogenic diet is in essence sustainable energy. A lot of the mainstream cycling world is fueled by carb consumption. Coupled with their ideology of “green energy” which is another topic entirely but to show to the mainstream world that if you want to truly be green with sustainable energy, become keto. The concept of riding or participating in endurance events without refueling is unheard of, the majority of folk out there can’t believe it can be done. This is to dispel the myth. It can be done, and ANYONE can do it. It’s not a statement for sport, it’s a statement for lifestyle and health. The Ketogenic diet is liberating, it frees you up to live. It frees you up to move, your mind becomes more lucid, it frees your mind.
So this is a statement of “FREEDOM”.
What kind of preps are you doing at the moment considering the COVID-19 restrictions?
I am a creature of solitude, the COVID-19 restrictions have actually been in my favour, all that has changed is I do more hand washing of clothing as my laundry is shut because of lockdown. I don’t go out in general, only to ride. And all I do now is ride my usual 3 – 4 hours on rollers indoors. My spar is up the road and is a 10min walk. I shop there once a week.
Have you incorporated cycling to support causes or other passions before?
No, not this is my first! And I am proud of this association! I value what Prof Tim Noakes has achieved, I am in awe of what he has accomplished and stood up for his beliefs. He is more than a scientist, I think he is truly an eccentric individual. I am honoured to support his foundation and fly the flag. I think we have a lot in common as I have my own naysayers and doubters and those who preferred it if I just went away! But that ain’t going to happen because Sakinofsky is here to stay!
As a keto cyclist are there any athlete figures that you draw inspiration from.
I think Zack Bitter is one I can think of!
What’s next for you?
I want to keep on inspiring people, I feel that I have truly changed and helped people through my social media work. I want to roam the globe by bike, and help to change people’s lives for the better and keep flying the Noakes Foundation Flag.
You can follow and support Sean’s journey through his channels here: