Thursday, November 18, 2010

Racing Weight Notes

I will continue my notes on Matt Fitzgerald's book, Racing Weight; How to get lean for Peak Performance with a few more things I have learned.

1. Last week I mentioned that people tend to eat until they feel full. Look for foods that contain lots of water and fiber. Both of these ingredients add volume without adding calories.

2. Carbohydrates are the least filling of the 3 sources of calories (fat, protein, carbohydrates). This fact is what spurned the super fad Atkins Diet earlier this decade. This diet is definitely not the way for endurance athletes to go as carbohydrates are the main source of fuel. I knew this diet was bogus back in 2003 when I was working a 2nd job at Rudy's Tacos in Rock Island, IL to save money for my first triathlon race bike. There was a guy who came in and ordered 3 beef enchiladas with triple extra cheese. He told me he didn't want the lettuce and tomatoes because they would add unnecessary carbs and he was on the Atkins Diet. Something didn't quite add up...level 3 extra cheese (the most extra cheese we allowed) but no lettuce and tomatoes. I didn't need to read any books to realize this diet was nuts. What endurance athletes need to do is make sure they mix carbs with healthy fats and protein so they can get a balanced meal and still feel full.
3. Keeping a food journal is a good way to track where unnecessary calories are being put into the body. I've done this in times when I think I'm struggling to get to racing weight. All this involves is writing down what you eat. It isn't absolutely necessary to count up the calories, although that strategy can be helpful. By writing things down you realize how much you are really eating and it also makes you think twice before you eat 6 cookies in one setting because you have to write them all down.
4. When you consume food it takes the body about 10 minutes to feel the effects of fullness of what you are eating. This is the reason that all nutritionists say to eat slowly. When you eat slowly you will feel full before you overeat. I believe one of the big reasons we have more and more obese people in the United States is because of the fast paced lifestyle we live. People devour food quickly at meals and by doing so they don't realize they are full until well after the food has been eaten. People often overeat when the eat out at restaurants. I'm certainly guilty of this on multiple occasions. There are a couple reasons for this. First off, restaurants NEVER want people to leave hungry so they have increased portion sizes dramatically over the last 10 years. People are more likely to overeat with a large plate in front of them because they don't want any food to go to waste. The 2nd reason people overeat when they go to restaurants is that they eat quickly by habit. If you're like me you've been to a restaurant before and eaten your meal and it doesn't seem like you ate too much until 5-10 minutes after the meal is over. Within 5 minutes of finishing the meal you feel like your stomach is about to burst. Eating too fast is what caused the problem.
5. When you eat your metabolism is increased for a short period of time because of the work it has to do to digest the food. This is the reason I've been eating smaller meals more frequently during the day. Although this "thermic effect" of eating always takes place when you eat, Fitzgerald suggests that the effect of speeding up metabolism is even greater when you eat after a workout. He suggests that the sooner you can eat after a workout the better. This is because the body is craving the energy that comes from foods and it processes the energy much better within one hour of working out.
I weighed in at 169 lbs. this week. Part of me wanted to leave the fact that I gained one pound off this post but I know it is important to report that 1 lb. gain. I have no doubts that in the long run I'll continue dropping weight but I want people to know it is not out of the ordinary to fluxuate slightly from week to week. I ate extremely well last week and had great workouts. I also know from tracking my past 2 year's weight loss that I typically don't lose much weight until my second month of training. I believe this is because while I'm losing fat I'm also adding muscle to my frame. I'm getting much stronger from swimming, lifting weights, and doing exercises like lunges, plyometrics, and push-ups. The extra muscle I put on now will help me to lose weight down the road however because of how many calories muscle burns at rest. I know from the way my clothes are fitting that I'm losing bad weight and gaining good weight. I'll continue to update on this book with a mid-week post until I finish it. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!


Adam Beston said...

Thanks again for posting this. I have used daily plate (livestrong) to track cals bc you can build meals and recipes and found if I went under my baseline too much I couldn't loose weight. Not the cal in cal out if you cant function to workout. Was at 169 for my triathlon right along the IMSG course last Sat so creeping down. Keep it coming.

Joshua said...

thanks for your continual posting. you really provide awesome insight into your training and the various degrees of thinking and science to it all. i'm just getting into triathlons now but come from an ultra running background. your writing really helps shape endurance athlete mindsets to triathlon specific training which is so helpful for a detail oriented person like myself. thanks again jeff and keep up the great training and blogging!

Jeff Paul said...

Great work Adam! I'd love to hear about the St. George bike course if you're familiar with it. I know it's a lot of up and down but I don't know how technical the downhills are and I'd love to get any other advice you have. Joshua, you'll love triathlons. You have a great background with ultra running. Best of luck and thanks for following!