written by Sylvie Allen, Coach – Trek Dirt Series www.dirtseries.com
(See our MTB Tours Calendar for the Trek Dirt Series in Park City)
Do you have goals and results that you’re striving for? This takes a lot of time and effort with planning and training. Your effort in scheduling your day with your workouts should include equal effort into planning your food for the day. What you put in your mouth is just as important as your physical training.
For a safe weight loss program you want to decrease your total daily calories by 10-20%. Divide these calories evenly throughout the day, here’s an example for a 2100 calorie day:
Breakfast 7-8am: 500 cals
Lunch 11am-12pm: 600 cals
2nd Lunch 3-4pm: 400 cals
Dinner 7-8pm: 600 cals
By skipping meals, ‘fasting’ or not eating breakfast, you are training your body to ignore hunger signals and you will decrease your metabolism. You could also get yourself so hungry that you overeat on unhealthy snacks to quickly satisfy yourself before the real meal, now there’s a whole bunch of unnecessary calories! If you cut back too much on your calories, you will loose lean muscle, slow your metabolism, and consume too few nutrients to protect your health and invest in top performance.
How to calculate your caloric needs:
- Calculate your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR): Weight x 10
This is the base which is what your body needs to simply function: pump blood, work the organs, etc. If you are significantly overweight, use an adjusted weight such as ½ way between your current weight and your desired weight.
- ADD: Daily Activity: +/- 50% of your RMR: do you move non-stop during your day or are you on the couch or at a desk? +20-40% sedentary, +50% for moderately active, +60-80% very active
- ADD: Purposeful Exercise: 400-800 cals/hr
- To loose weight, subtract 20% from your total after your calculations above.
Early Morning Workouts
Do you work out really early in the morning and don’t eat anything before hand?
By simply eating some carbs and drinking water, you will increase your level of performance by 20% over having nothing, let alone feeling more energetic. Wow 20%! Why wouldn’t you want that improvement?!
Your muscles and brain need carbs! After a night of fasting there really isn’t anything left for your muscles to use for energy, let alone thinking properly.
Here’s some examples of what you can eat:
Fruit + Yogurt Granola bar
Energy drink – diluted
If you really can’t tolerate anything immediately before working out then you can have your bowl of cereal right before you go to bed and you will have some spare carbs left for your early workout.
Everyone has different guts! Some of us can eat 5 minutes before working out and others 4 hours. You need to find out what works for you so you can plan your meals in advance to have sustained energy through your workout.
Post Exercise Carbing (eating):
Your muscles need mostly carbs and a small amount of protein to recover from a workout. It’s really important to eat carbs of any sort within the 1st hour after your workout. It can take up to 2 days to fully recover and top up your muscle glycogen stores after full depletion (that’s after a really really really hard effort!). A bike ride around Lost Lake doesn’t warrant endless burgers and beer!
Low muscle glycogen stores will jeopardize performance. So it’s important to start your workout with carbs 4 hours prior and top up on more carbs post workout. For 2 workouts in one day or very long workouts you will need to eat a high carb diet. There is a balance between your carb (energy) intake and your energy output. Careful not to drink a 500 cal energy drink while only burning 300 cals while exercising – it will be hard to loose weight on that program!
Recovery Drinks & Protein:
Recovery between workouts is crucial for your muscles to rebuild and refuel. ALSO for your mind to rest and recharge. Without the proper re-fueling after a workout, you risk decreased performance. Remember that during your recovery day, you will feel hungry even though you’re not exercising – your muscles are asking for energy to replenish. You will also gain weight since carb refueling / glycogen holds water. Therefore your increased weight is water weight. Perhaps similar effect to pigging out on Christmas dinner and panicking on the scale the next day… you just ate way too many carbs!
Here’s where protein comes into the picture. Protein will BUILD your muscles and Carbs will RECOVER your muscles by replenishing your glycogen stores. You need 3 X more carbs than protein.
Here is an ideal recovery drink ratio:
8 grams carbs
10 grams protein
3 grams fat
Total Calories = 100
If you’re making a protein smoothie (from powder) add some fruit in it so you get some carbs in the mix.
Here’s some examples of protein you can use to re-build after your workout that won’t cost you as much as protein drinks:
2 Tablespoons of peanut butter = 8 grams
2 large egg whites = 7 grams
16 oz milk or yogurt = 16 grams
1 can tuna = 40 grams
6 oz chicken or beef = 45 grams
It’s pretty simple to get your required protein intake from REAL food versus an engineered food such as a powdered supplement! These engineered foods often create more problems than real food such as getting too much protein. Here’s a sample comparison of a protein drink vs. real food and the amino acid contents:
Met-Rx Whey Protein – 1 scoop 1.4 grams 2.3 grams
Chocolate milk – 16 oz 1.2 g 1.9 g
Tuna – 6 oz 2.0 g 3.5 g
Cottage cheese – 1 cup 1.6 g 2.9 g
But how much protein should you consume in one day??
.6 – 1 gram / protein per lb of body weight
Here’s some examples:
Intake/lb Grams of Protein / Day
200lb Football player .7 – 1.0 140-200g
150lb Runner .6 – .8 90-120g
80lb Gymnast .9-1.0 72-80g
Benefits and costs of eating right:
– eating a healthier diet and having more energy all day
– perform better; perhaps achieve your personal best
– weight management becomes easier
– planning takes time and energy
– fewer ‘pig outs’ on yummy junk food
PLAN ON 80-90% QUALITY IN YOUR DIET
Manage your time: if you have time to train, you have time to eat right – it’s just as important!
Excerpts from Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook
Sylvie Allen is …
She's also a coach for the Trek Dirt Series, a mountain bike instruction program that travels across Western Canada and the US, delivering technical skills and overall motivation to beginner, intermediate, and advanced mountain bikers all season long. For a list of their women's specific and co-ed camps, please see www.dirtseries.com.