This week on TriTalkTuesday linkup we chat about nutrition. Now, as a coach, I should have alot to tell you about this topic and a bunch of silver bullets that can help you lose weight, gain energy and race to your fullest ability. But I really don’t. As some of my blogger compatriots have written, this is an amazingly complex and disputed subject. While the the mechanisms of energy use are well researched and known (the energy chain, the fuel for the various aerobic and anaerobic systems) the bigger picture as it relates to the varied body types, genders and athletic abilities is less understood.
Whenever one of my clients asks me, when they enter the supermarket, what they should shop for I always say “Shop the outsides of the aisles” It usualls goes: Fruits/Vegetables, Dairy, Meat, Bread in their more basic forms. As you head down the aisles, the amount of processing, added ingredients and general unhealthiness increases. Less processing=healthier
A handful of clients have come to me in the past having just signed up for a marathon or triathlon with the hopes that training for one will help them lose weight. While this seems an obvious conclusion; eat the same, exercise more, it can’t lose! It’s actually the wrong idea. I’ve seen many athletes drastically increase their fitness load and not lose a pound and sometimes gain. The issue is very simple, the more you exercise the more you eat. Even if you attempt to eat less you will either find yourself unsuccessful or with super low energy and deteriorating fitness. If you are in training, you need your calories to repair the muscles and offset the caloric burn you are putting yourself through everyday. And you need the very calories that you would normally shy away from on a diet: namely carbs and protein. You can’t be a slave to two masters. You can train to race or you can workout to lose weight, not both.
This is not to say you won’t lose any weight while training. Some people do especially if they have a lot to lose. But it shouldn’t be your focus.
“Ok, Anthony” you may be saying “Not super helpful so far, what about your diet?” Well, less help I’m afraid. I tend not to spend much time thinking about mine and generally eat whatever is put in front of me or is easiest to prepare. Granted, the quality and health of those choices have increased exponentially since I got married to my wonderful wife who ensures that I shove vegetables in my mouth every night and often cooks a well balanced, varied meal. But for the most part, I’m left to my own (super boring) devices for breakfast and lunch.
My client and I have a running joke that I should market a diet based on my own which involves just 3 ingredients.
Behold, the EAT diet
This comprises 90% of my intake 6 days a week for breakfast and lunch. Breaks down like this:
- 3-4 eggs (overeasy, scrambled, omlet with cheese)
- Glass of Apple Juice
- Turkey sandwich (wheat bread, cheese, mustard)
- Some almonds sometimes?
See a trend? I generally eat 2-3 apples a day and while I admit this is probably too much sugar, its a habit I’ve had since I was a kid and it prevents me from eating worse things. I have a sweet tooth which is usually satisfied by a couple York minis each day.
Do I eat out? Yes, and poorly. Burgers, steak, pasta etc. I never pay much attention to health when I am eating out but granted I don’t eat out often.
Drinking? Definitely. Wine with the wife 2-3 times a week and beers on weekends socially. Scotch and Whisky in the winter.
I’ll leave you with the best, most basic advice when it comes to diet, something you’ve heard a million times before: Moderation above all. Stick to that and you’re already on your way.