Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Vindication For My Diet Plan - Eat Big, And Carefully!

If you're a VERY active athlete, likely you enjoy all the benefits of healthy body, mind and spirit. I highlight VERY because only the elite and heavily trained athlete can enjoy one very cool benefit: eating just about anything you want! NPR recently wrote an article about the cyclist-stuffing diet. In other words, train hard and eat just about anything you want!

What interested me about this article is how it might be teaching some folks some bad habits. To take full advantage of this diet plan, your training needs to be pretty intense (3 - 5 hours a day). Most pro-leisure mountain athletes aren't even close to this during the week. However, on the weekend, we charge enough to make up for the inevitable workload that dominates our days. But if you're constantly burning off fat, with the assumption that you're doing the right thing by eating a lot, you're just causing your body excessive stress (burning unnecessary calories). Just because you train outside, doesn't mean you're working to such an intensity to warrant stuffing your face with highly caloric foods.

By NO STRETCH of the imagination am I a gluten-freak or sugar-subordinate. I think both gluten and sugar are wonders of the diet world. However, if you think food is both fuel and fun, then a careful approach to your diet will make more sense. Just be smart about your training diet plan... My approach:
  1. A healthy, but light, breakfast... I'm a granola and toast fan, so I start my day with a bowl of hearty granola with one piece of toast. On the weekends, before my activities, I'm a bacon and eggs eater. 
  2. Snack... I can't say enough about the 10:30 snack. I'm a huge fan! Nuts or popcorn do wonders to keep my mind aware and stomach satisfied. 
  3. Lunch... No question, lunch comes after training. I rarely eat before a lunch run or ride. The size of my lunch will depend on the type of training I did. If I wasn't able to get out, I keep lunch lite. 
  4. Afternoon treat... Come on! Got to have a piece of chocolate, or a cookie. Keeps the blood sugar up. I usually go somewhat heavy here (a bar is also in order), as this snack prepares me for after-work training. 
  5. Dinner... My favorite meal! I go big here. I'm not a fan of the lite dinner, as I believe it is the most important meal of the day, and the social aspect is totally cool too! 
  6. Late night... I usually wake up around 3:00 AM... I hate this, but it happens. A glass of whole milk is my late night snack. It keeps me grounded, and adds valuable protein. 
Perhaps you already eat like this, but my focus is don't over do it... Or, don't over do it every day! Happy eating and training! 

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