Thursday, October 28, 2010

As we head into the off season we will most likely be reducing the time we spend on the bike due to decreased daylight and lousy weather. If that is the case, you'll also be burning fewer calories per day. This is fine as long as you also reduce your caloric intake. Now be honest, is that really going to happen or do you accept the fact that you'll gain weight over the winter? As much as I think de-traning over the winter isn't wise I'm also convinced we don't want to add on the pounds over the winter. We're mainly master age athletes with familes, jobs and a host of other commitments. We don't want to take the time in the spring to lose added winter weight when we should be dialing in our training.

I encourage you to take the next week and record what you eat each day, and be completely honest about it. There are plenty of websites available that will calculate your daily calorie intake. If you need help, let me know. I can enter your food into a site that I use,, to come up with some totals. This site, and others, will also break down your daily intake into carbs, fats, and proteins by percentage. You may be surprised at how many calories that three way is adding to your diet.

Making specific recommendations to you on your diet would best be left to a dietician. In fact, my certification for personal training specifically forbids trainers from handing out detailed dietary plans but reviewing what your eating, how often your eating, recommending a balanced diet and making referrals to qualified dieticians is encouraged. We will have a dietician at our winter Cycling Seminar currently scheduled for February 12, 2011. We'll have more information on that later this year. In the meantime, here are some valuable things I learned from my dietician, Dawn Weatherwax at Sports Nutrition to Go:

Monitor your protein intake: I was hovering around 12-15% when I need to be around 20%. I really have to make and effort to take in that much protein.

Eat six times per day: I rarely sit down for one big meal. In fact, it doesn't even feel good to eat big meals and I avoid restaurants that serve them. Your engine needs fuel at regular intervals.

Eliminate the junk but it's ok to slip every once in a while: I still love my pizza and the occasional soft serve ice cream but you can't allow these 'freebies' to be on your daily meal plan.

Think of your food as fuel: How will that cookie help your training? Not much. Try to make sure that what you're eating will only help you, not hurt you.

Eat and drink regularly on rides: I was doing centuries with a couple of bottles and a few power bars, and that is stupid. During the heat of the summer I can carry 4 bottles on my bike and I load my pockets with food. I try to eat and drink constantly.

Monitor your body fat %: Get a scale or calipers or pay to have it measured in the BodPod. The scales aren't very accurate but they do give you a benchmark to work with. The calipers are accurate in the right hands. You don't need to or even want to be ultra-lean like a marathon runner or tour rider but being lean is great. Shoot for 8-12% for men and 14-18% for women if you want to be in that very fit athletic range. You spent big money on that light bike so why put a body with un-needed weight on it?

Give it time: I worked with Dawn for 6 months and brought my body fat down from about 11% to about 9% and have felt strong all season. I don't miss any of the junk food that I removed from my diet and in fact can't imagine eating some of the tings I used to crave.

I hope this helps especially as we head into the winter months.

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