Soylent and Strenuous Exercise?


This is my first post, so: hello, everyone.

I first learned about Soylent from a story on the internet (yahoo homepage news), and then became more intrigued by a one-page article in the latest issue of Popular Science Magazine. I have since been reading up on the evolution of the formula, the theories behind it all, and of the various DIY versions posted on the boards. I’ve also done my homework using the search option and found that several others are looking into using Soylent to complement their exercise routines, active lifestyles and recreations and saw the various suggestions for each, but I still didn’t find the answers for my particular situation.
I have absolutely no problem with weight gain; I’ve always been large (6’, 230 lbs as a bicycle messenger in San Francisco, 230 lbs in the military, 279 lbs now), so getting enough calories to maintain my size isn’t too much of an issue since I seem to gain weight simply by breathing in scents of food in passing. I am well into the beginning of a health regimen prescribed by my physician and I’m getting back into bicycling and weightlifting, but what really got me thinking is that I also enjoy extended hiking excursions and since food is the #1 weight concern while hiking, you can see where my interest in Soylent comes in here.

The point of all this long-winded build up is: Could Soylent be used by someone such as me (with a slow metabolism but a massive energy requirement) during extended periods of extreme exertion as a primary nutrition source? At home I’d plan on using it to replace 2 meals a day (since I do enjoy cooking and would like to have a sit-down dinner), but while out hiking for a week, I’d like nothing more than to leave the camp stove and fuel behind.

I have no interest in making my own formula; I’d rather support the development of the Soylent product itself, but I’m perfectly willing to supplement it if need be. My assumption is that Soylent, by itself, doesn’t contain enough protein and carbs to support extended periods of extreme exertion inherent in intense weightlifting, mountain-biking and “survivalist-style” camping.


Yes, Soylent can be used by someone such as you (with a slow metabolism but a massive energy requirement) during extended periods of extreme exertion as a primary nutrition source.

Wait for an answer from the official Soylent producers, but I’m pretty sure they plan to make it easy to adjust the amount of macronutrients. That’s no more a concern for you than it is for anyone. Calorie requirements differ greatly by body weight and level of activity.


Regarding weight, my recipe has about 4.5 calories per gram. For comparison, an apple has 0.5 Cal/g; wheat bread has 2.7 Cal/g; a Clif builder bar has 4 Cal/g; oats have 4 Cal/g; powdered milk has 3.6 Cal/g; etc. So it seems like Soylent is a very calorie-dense food.

If you were really determined to make it lighter for the same calories, I’d say the way to go would be to reduce carbs and increase fat. The fundamental limitation is that carbohydrates themselves have around 4 Cal/g; protein has 4 Cal/g; and fat has 9 Cal/g. With something like soylent that’s already essentially nothing but nutrients, basically the only way forward that I can see is to increase the fat to carb ratio. If it’s really worth it to you.


@JonathanMcClare, Thanks! Any news on when we can expect a nutrition breakdown/nutrition label for those of us who aren’t biology/chemistry enthusiasts? Something “dumbed down” and pedestrian would be nice, like what’s found on the side of a cereal box.

@nwthomas I wasn’t asking for a way to reduce the weight/increase the caloric density of Soylent (or even hinting it, was I? I don’t think so; I’ll re-read my post to make sure).

The fact that it’s a dry powder makes it excellent for my purposes, my concern is the ratio of protein/carbs/fats/electrolytes/etc. to support an intense workout. While my exercise routine won’t reach Mr. Universe or Olympic training intensity, I do find that I have to adjust my normal diet to compensate when I’m pushing hard for extended periods to facilitate recovery, prevent “crashing”, to keep up my endurance, etc.


I can’t imagine that this would in any way be a major issue. If you think the calories, the protein, or the carbs are insufficient to support your workout energy requirements, then pick whatever bodybuilder supplement you like best or that seems best fit to your needs, and add some of that to your soylent. Shouldn’t take long for you to work out just how much to add for the desired result. Could it be much simpler than that?


My only real concern is how Soylent is so carefully formulated. I’m not too sure how safe it is to go adding a GNC workout-enhanced protein supplement or similarly formulated additive to the mix after reading about the heart palpitations, etc that can occur from imbalances. Obviously any excess can cause problems, but when my diet is balanced with the 4 food groups I’m familiar with I know what to do; with Soylent I’m stepping into unfamiliar territory.

If Soylent itself is stable enough that it is only “food” now, and I can just go to a health food store for whatever extras I may end up feeling I need to add in the future (if any), than my question is most definitely answered.


I can’t speak with any authority at all about issues of this kind with “official” Soylent. Naturally if you were to choose a supplement with a lot of added vitamin and mineral additions to the basic carbs and proteins, there would be risk of unbalancing your total vitamin/mineral profile. Personally if I were in your position I’d just look for the simplest straightforward bulking/workout formulation with no gee-whiz bells and whistles, no added vitamins or minerals. Either that or just opt for an added bowl of oatmeal with milk and whey protein and some blueberries or strawberries, to give you whatever extra protein and carb calories you think appropriate for your intensive workout scenario. That’d be the safest possible way, I would imagine.

You might try asking Rob or @JulioMiles this question to get their answer from the official Soylent Corporation perspective; try tagging them. I’m just one of the DIY crowd with a common-sense perspective but no special training in nutrition. (Of course the corporation guys don’t have any such training either, but they have access to the copacker’s boffins. I’d think this question is one that will be asked many times in the near future.)


Ultimately what’s going to happen at first is that I’m going to change over my current daily protein/fruit/fiber smoothies for Soylent and see how it goes. From this little back-and-forth here and from what I’m reading elsewhere, I may just do what you suggest: add an additional protein or whatever else if I feel that it’s necessary (blend in a banana, etc). I have to admit I’m excited to try out the product, I wish the shipping date wasn’t so far off.


During the campaign, I sent an email with a question similar to this (different “blends” for various personal activity/exercise levels). The response was that, while it won’t be in Soylent 1.0, the ability to provide Soylent formulas that fit different personal needs is something in the plans for the future.

So I’d say that directly after 1.0 comes out, people who have above-average requirements (due to exercise or other reasons) will probably want to supplement with something else, but eventually something like an “athlete edition” Soylent option is definitely a planned possibility.


The great thing about DIY Soylent is that the three base materials—maltodextrin, whey protein, and olive/coconut oil—are relatively “pure” sources of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. That is to say (depending on brand) they either contain no other essential vitamins and minerals, or insignificant amounts. For example, my components have the following mineral content:

  • Maltodextrin: <0.1% of the safe limit for Vitamin A per 100 calories
  • Protein: ~1% of the safe limit for calcium per 100 calories.
  • Coconut Oil: <0.01% of the safe limit for Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and choline per 100 calories.

You would need to consume several Epic Meal Time-sized meals in order for any of those mineral levels to be dangerous.


Might want to take a look at @HarveyDesu’s post, [here][1]
(quoted from the original post:)

Good luck. :smile:
(Edited to unbugger tag)


Yes, @HarveyDesu’s post was one I came across while first researching Soylent. His metabolism seems to be at the exact opposite end from mine; I can maintain my weight even through fasting :stuck_out_tongue:

@joshua: the problem I have with whey protein is the cholesterol content; I use soy protein or other vegetable-based sources.


Shouldn’t be a problem, @psyekl. Most vegetable proteins are largely devoid of mineral content, too. The soy and rice protein brands I could find all had some sodium and iron content, which could hit the Danger Zone over about 500g of protein. But I doubt you’re a 500 pound power lifter who needs that much. Pea protein just has the sodium.


Be careful with the vegetable based proteins as you have to balance the AA profiles. I will actually be dropping Rice and Pea protein from mine as the iron content is too high. But I have another 15 pounds of the stuff to consume first.