Friday, May 29, 2009

"I think you should blog about how to change your diet when tapering"

"Just sayin"

This was in an email that I received from a tri-bud earlier this week. We'll protect his identity by changing his name. Let's call him James Bulloney.

So James, or even Jamie for short, is tapering to race the heck out of Rev 3 HIM in a couple of weeks. I asked him to give me an idea of his diet, as a jumping off point. This is what he sent:

Here is what a typical day probably looked like for me last week. I'll use times, because I have rarely been actually siting down at normal meal times for food.

7:00 - bowl of frosted flakes w/ 1% milk. Multivitamin and fish oil pill
9:00 - teal w/ stevia and half a grapefruit
10:00 - peanut butter and jelly on wheat bread
12:00 - another PBnJ or some sort of chicken sandwich
3:00 - hand full of fig newtons or something else stashed in my desk drawer
6:00 - stuff something fast down my face before PM workout. Usually reheated leftovers or BBQ sandwich w/ pickles.
9:00 - bowl of cereal w/ 1% milk
10:00 - bowl of ice cream

Ummmm... do pickles count as vegetables? This guy needs to sit down and re-listen to that excellent Sugar podcast from Zen and the Art of Triathlon. He must seriously be feeling the effects of being on the energy/sugar rollercoaster.

Moving on.

Tips for tapering:

1. Take some of the time that you would normally use for swimbikerunning and focus on your 4th discipline - nutrition.

If you normally get up early to go to the pool on Mon, Wed, Fri but your coach has you only going twice this week, you can use the extra "free" time to make a healthy breakfast. You can even sleep a bit late and still get up with enough time to prepare a simple and delicious meal.

Try making an omelet or a veggie scramble for a protein breakfast and add avocado because it's crazy good. Or try making steel cut oats or quinoa porridge. You can even make a creative breakfast/protein shake.

OR you can make your lunch ahead of time. You get the idea. Fourth discipline. Yah.

2. Focus on quality and not quantity.

When "carbo-loading" the point is not to eat as much white pasta as you possibly can until you're ready to explode. Instead, you want to increase your awareness of the quality of your carbs. Why are you choosing a certain carb in your meal? Is it to nourish your body and build you up for race day? Do you want to fill your glycolic tank with the Regular fuel (white pasta, bread, etc) or does your body deserve Premuim fuel (quinoa, brown rice, vegetables)?

Try choosing whole grain pasta, brown rice instead of white rice, and sweet potatoes and other root vegetables. And remember to stick to your portion sizes. Thirds and fourths (servings) will not make you faster, it will make you bloated. Bloated does not equal faster.

My favorite pre-race or taper meal is brown rice sushi.

3. Get re-acquainted with your grocery store AND your kitchen.

Find the recipes that you keep saying you want to try and put them in front of you. If they're healthy, awesome. If they aren't healthy, see what you can do to make them healthier. Need suggestions? Email me. For reals.

Then make a shopping list from your chosen recipes.

Then come home and light a candle and play your favorite cooking music. Mine is Sepultura.

Cook the meal.

Then grab your beloved(s). This step is important because even though your reasons for cooking were purely selfish, you can make it seem as though you were creating a meal, full of love, for them. You will increase the balance in your Domestic Points Bank, which is good because if you're a triathlete it's probably already low.

Remove the distractions, chew your food, have a nice conversation, tell the kids to stop fighting, eat with all of your senses, assimilate your nutrients, tell the kids they'll be asked to leave the table if they don't cut it out, eat slowly, BREATHE, tell the kids that this is what's for dinner and if they don't like it then don't eat, be all zen and stuff.

4. Be aware of the work that different foods do. Hire them for the job.

What do carbs do? They provide fuel/energy by filling your glycogen storage tank. We already talked about Premium vs Regular fuel.

What does protein do? It rebuilds and repairs your muscles. This sounds like something that might be valuable while tapering for a race, right? Eat protein with every meal. Try experimenting with a variety of healthy sources like: lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, quinoa and other grains, hemp shake (obviously I'm obsessed with the stuff), nuts, tofu, tempeh, and even bee pollen.

*As you get closer to your race you may want to favor the vegetarian protein sources. You should experiment ahead of time with what might work for you and your digestive system. Everyone is different.

Protein snacks are great because they help you to feel satiated longer and they will provide you with steady energy.

What about healthy fats? Eat them. As part of a healthy diet they will work wonders on your body by decreasing inflammation, and improving: brain, cell, heart, nerves, lungs, eyes, digestion, organs and immune function. Wait... if healthy fats do all that, why were you even considering buying that crazy product that your favorite athlete is endorsing? Just eat healthy foods dude.

Try to incorporate healthy fats like: oils (olive, sesame, coconut, flax, etc), avocado, nuts, fish, and olives.

So, Mr. James Bulloney, I would suggest having your food journal look more like this:

7:00 - Steel cut oats (made ahead of time from HolisticGuru's blog recipe) Multivitamin and fish oil pill.
9:00 - tea with stevia and half a grapefruit
10:00 - apple slices or celery with almond butter or peanut butter and raisins
12:00 - quinoa cooked with veg or chicken broth, cut up veggies and beans (sweet potato and black bean with salsa sounds yummy in my head right now and would only take 25 mins to make... you can make it while you're cooking the steel cut oats)
3:00 - handful of dried fruit with dark chocolate chips and a giant glass of water
6:00 - hummus sandwich with veggies (lettuce, tomato, cucumber)
9:00 - quick omelet and a side of something leafy and green and maybe some potato wedges
10:00 - bowl of fruit sorbet, or a small amount of ice cream isn't terrible

This all sounds totally doable right? If you guys can motivate, dedicate and discipline yourselves to be triathletes, I KNOW you can make healthy food choices. Look how awesome you are!


Texafornia said...

Frosted flakes and then stevia later on in the day? Why not just go ahead and put a Ferrari engine in a tugboat? WTF, over? :)

Anonymous said...

Ferarri engine in a tugboat? Is that sort of like being able to read someone like a greeting card.

I'm calling shenanigans. That makes no sense at all.