triathlon and family can mix

Posts tagged “diet

Cavemen & Triathlons

I would run faster if I was being chased by a sabretooth tiger.


I am pretty sure that Grok and his buddies didn’t participate in a stone-aged sprint triahtlon for fun, but swam and ran during their normal day-to-day lives.

I detailed my progression to a Paleo lifestyle in a past post, Lifestyles. I am constantly asked how I can mantain my energy based on my training volume. Questions, and my answers, like:

“How can you do it without carbs?”
I get plenty of carbs, mostly from vegtables and a small amount fruit.
“Doesn’t your body burn muscle when you run out of glycogen?”
My body has developed to burn body fat as opposed to glycogen during my day-to-day activites. Sure, during high intensity I burn glycogen and replace it during recovery.
“Aren’t you hungry all the time?”
I am less hungry now than I was on a high carb diet. I am still hungry from time to time, but aren’t most triathletes?
“That’s too restrictive.”
Alright, not an actual question. I have two words, cheat meal.

I have researched the Paleo liefstyle and how it relates to Triathlon training, experimented during my training season to find what works for me, and discussed with many athletes about their experiences. Many different things have worked for many different people, this is what has worked for me.

The most important part is to recover properley after a workout, especially after intense effort. I consumed a high GI fruit (banana) within 30 minutes of finishing a workout, and continued this routine when I went Paleo. After a month, it wasn’t working as well for me as it had in the past, so I switched to 1 scoop of CarboPro with 1 scoop of protein powder and consumed it within 10 minutes of the end of my workout. Much better.

Pre-Workout Fuel
I do not fuel prior to a workout except for early morning training. Training in a fasted state will help your body burn body fat. For early morning training over 60 minutes, I will consume about 200-300 calories in the form of almonds and a piece of fruit while I am getting ready or driving to the gym.

Workout Fuel
For training sessions over 90 minutes, typically on the bike, I will use GU Gels starting at 60minutes, consuming 200 calories per hour. This is the one aspect I need to change in the coming year. The roller coaster of blood sugar can be tough to deal with, and as I experienced a couple of times this year, if I miss an opportunity to eat my energy crashes. I also need to add some protein as I get pretty hungry around 120 minutes. Once I find a good solution, I will let you know.

I have found that my energy levels are far more consitant than with previous lifestyles. I regularly weigh in at 78kg, fluctuating from time to time after a cheat meal or a weeks worth of high intensity training. I no longer have the morning or late evening munchies, well once in a while I do, but I can handle them with a handfull of dried fruit or some homemade granola. Check for my favorite recipe so far.

So if you are looking for a different approach to your nutrition, good for you. Going Paleo will make you think about more than just food, it will make you re-think your lifestyle.

Question: It works for me, anyone else?


Spit It Out

Gum, never gave it much thought, until yesterday.


Having been Paleo for the better part of half a year now, myself and my family have been focused on the types of food we eat. We eat mostly organic produce, purchase organic grass fed or free run meat when we can find it, and avoid artificial sugar and colouring.

So as I chewed a piece of gum, one of several that day, I thought “How is it still in one piece and not dissolved in my mouth?” I went looking.

Any nutrionalist will tell you to avoid any food which lists an ingredient that you cannot pronounce. I read the back of my package. Holy crap.

After doing some research, I calmed down a little bit. As I found out, there is at least three different artifical sweeteners, various compunds to create the texture and several preservatives in the ingredient list.

The artifical sweeteners are the easiest to deal with. They are well known and listed right on the front of the package. I know the issues surrounding them, and have chosen to avoid them in my lifestyle, along with the lifestyle of my family.

The one ingredient I have an issue with in the Gum Base; pretty vague? It is.

Providing the familiar texture of a piece of chewing gum, gum base is a combination of polymers (rubber), waxes, resisns, and preservatives. Here is a run down of the ingredients as far as I could dig up online.

Resins – Provides strength, probably why the gum didn’t disolve in my mouth. One resin used is Polyvinyl acetate, the most common additive in white or wood glue.
Emulsifiers – Typically Soy Lecithin, it is extracted chemically from soy beans by using hexane, help hydrate.
Fillers – Adding texture, Talc is used in acid base gum flavors. When my daughter was a baby, we avoided talc powder as is was harmful if ingested. Yeah, ingested.
Antioxidants – Used to extend shelf life, Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) has been linked to hyperactivity in children.

My next step was to head to my local natural food store, surely there would carry a gum with all-natural ingredients. Alas, all-natural does not mean gum base free. Even an Internet search turned up the all too familiar gum base ingredient.

So not to fear monger, we have decided to throw out our remaining gum packages in the house.

Question: What are your thoughts toward chewing gum? Have you done the same?

Cheating, Is It Wrong?

Before I get everyone too mad, I am talking about food.

If you have ever tried to watch what you eat, eliminate something from your diet, avoid less than optimal ingredients, or shed a couple of extra pounds (who hasn’t?) then you can appreciate how tough it can be can stick with the plan. Your mind can take over, and the progression can be something like this.

Somehow, someway your tempting food has come into your posession. It can be pre-meditated, you grabbed it conciously in the market and insist that you can keep it in the wrapper. It can be accidental, they were delivered to the office and set out for all to enjoy. It can be unavoidable, you are heading to a pasta restaurant for lunch with family.

Myself, I walk by a fresh food market on my way home each afternoon. Most times I resist going in, sometimes go in and leave with an apple, and once in awhile, a cookie makes the trip with me.

Well alright, maybe I will have a single bite. I mean, the 30 calories can’t hurt right, so you chow down on a piece. You then proceed to put therest aside and try to forget it exists.

But it never works the way you want it too. Not much longer, you begin to think about it again. “Man it did taste good”.

Well alright, maybe just one more piece. I mean, 60 calories can’t hurt right. I wont need another piece if I have this one, so you chow down on your second piece. This time instead of putting the trt away, you foolishly leave it out.

Screw it, I have already ruined (insert your goal here).

So you finish it off sending your satisfaction up and down all at the same time. Up as you have the pleasure of eating what you wanted, and low because you couldn’t keep with your goal.

So is cheating all that bad?

Carb Re-Feeds
It has been proven that a carb refeed, or in lamen terms cheat day, actually helps with fat loss. Mark Sission covers this topic in great detail on his blog, Mark’s Daily Apple, here.

I will dedicate a future post to the various online resources I have used to go Paleo over the last year.

Always having to limit yourself by declining invitations, eating what can be boring food sometimes, and staying away from the bakery at the supermarket is challenging enough. So mentally, a cheat day can help you stay the course, albeit with a quick detour to the local ice cream shop.

This is something I have experimented in over the last 6 months with good success. The ability to treat myself to non-optimal foods has proven to reduce my craving for them during the week and has boosted fat burning. This is all of course if you can keep your cheat day to a ‘day’. This is not an issue for me, but I know several others who have not been able to stop at breakfast the next morning. If this is the case, maybe try a cheat meal to keep things in check.

Question: What do you do when cravings arise? Have you experimented with Carb Re-Feeds?