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License to Eat: Does Training Hard on My Bike Mean I Can Should Eat More? What and When?

RSNBiker's picture

I met with a nutritionist and training coach this afternoon, armed with my "data," favorite diet books and must-haves for the next phase of my brain/body makeover. I fully expected to leave that meeting with a license to eat anything on a heavy training day. What I left with was some great information, a renewed commitment to reaching my weight-loss goal and a grapefruit to add to my daily diet (yay!). I also get a banana on Tour to Tanglewood training days. 

[img_assist|nid=1342|title=RSNBiker in the Tangerine Roadskater.net Jersey|desc=|link=popup|align=right|width=400|height=300]

Since I won't be spending much time with food at any one sitting, I plan to spend that time writing about this phase of the journey. I took a couple of things with me to my meeting today -- blood chemistry profiles from the last two years and a bag of my must-haves. Coke Zero is in. Yay!! My Kashi cereal, high-protein cereal at that, is OUT. I'm planning a ceremony to bid it farewell (for the next two weeks anyway). But the time I can eat cereal again, it is sure to be stale. If you know me and want my cereal, I have a new carton of skim milk to go with it. Won’t be using that either. GU is also in. I LOVE chocolate outrage. I get one GU package per hour after every hour of cycling outdoors. I can also eat fruit and a half PBJ at a training ride rest top if I ride at least two hours.

My expectation in going into this meeting was that I could eat like Lance Armstrong on race day. Chris Carmichael outlines what to eat on the night before and on the day of a ride, and the earlier you get up, the more you get to eat. The closer you are to the ride, the closer you get to your protein shake and banana. I’ll be eating like Lance with one hour before a ride – protein shake (40 gms of protein), small banana, 11 oz. unsweetened almond milk and a couple of walnuts thrown in for good measure.

On days when I workout in the gym only and on rest days, I’ll be eating like I’m training for a competition – a body-building competition that is. Protein shakes, chicken breasts, a little lean red meat, some fish and complex carbs delivered in the form of brown rice, whole wheat pasta and sweat potatoes. My free foods are broccoli, asparagus and spinach. I can also eat cucumbers, cauliflower and celery, but I don’t like those. My nutrition guru (I’ll call him NG for short moving forward) told me that pleasure and pain go hand in hand. I’m going to write that on sticky notes and post them on the refrigerator and my bathroom mirror. The good news is that since I’m not a body-builder and I’m just training for life and not a show I get two cheat meals a week. But for a cheat meal to count, you have to not cheat the rest of the time. Could you imagine eating ice cream all the time? What fun would that be? I went to a chocolate event one evening. It was a celebration of all things chocolate, put on by the culinary program at GTCC, our community college here in Greensboro. The food was out-of-this world delicious, but even I can’t eat a whole plate of chocolate. Give me a piece of chocolate after a week of dieting and I’ll really enjoy it. I guess that was NG’s point. I remember how good that first biscuit tasted after 90 days with no bread. Best thing I ever ate. Actually, it didn’t taste good at all. But you get the point.

What to eat after a ride? That’s a question that has been on my mind for the last year. I still don’t get the 4,000 calories that Chris Carmichael recommends for his pro athletes during the Specialization Period, but I do get 1,850. NG told me today that after a ride of two hours or more, I can eat carbs if I want to, but to make sure they are low-fat carbs. My best option after a ride would be my protein shake without the nuts and almond milk. I plan to make the meal after our long training rides one of my cheat meals. We’re going to have to see how that goes. In the next two weeks, I’m going to figure out how to use my Garmin 405. The first and last time and I rode with it I was stuck in 3-mile lap mode (it still thinks I’m a runner). My Garmin 405 has figured out that I am a female, and I’m finally out of Dutch language, and in a few minutes I will have some battery life for tomorrow’s ride. My Garmin 405 also measures my calorie burn, I’m told. I’m excited about that. When this is all said and done, I’m going to have a lot of data.

I’m excited. The timer on my rice cooker just dinged. Time for another small meal. Yay! My chicken breast is still baking, so I have a few minutes.

Have you ever had your fat folds measured? I’m going to think about that the next I think about ordering pizza. Interesting how fat gets distributed. It’s everywhere. My pal and trainer tells me the “Numbers Don’t Lie,” so I’m going to have to be very diligent on this program to make sure my fat folds get harder and harder to grab.

I need to take a moment to thank the Academy and the many friends who have helped me on this journey. My biggest thanks goes to roadskater and eebee. Without your friendships and support, my old bike would be rusting away in my shed. Thanks to you both for getting me off the couch and out to the park to ride and for talking me through all phases of this journey. To my Taters, you all are my heart and the reason I ride. I hope to help a new rider find his or her passion for the sport in the same way that you have helped me.

I’ll close with a thought from a favorite bookmark: “Just for today I will try to live for this day only, and not tackle all my problems at once. I can do something for 12 hours that would appall me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.”

I can do this. Just for today.


eebee's picture

Writing about it does help

Forgot to mention, heck yes, do write about it here if you're going around in circles in your mind. If you let it out, you can move on, and hopefully forge some better habits that way. That's my theory anyway. I'd love to read about it. 

I am concerned that your calorie-intake prescription is too low, however. I would say the hell with it all right before, during and immediately after a 3+ hour bike ride, and do what you know works. But on the days you're only working out in the gym, stick to your nutritionist's plan. But that's just my opinion. It's just dangerous to 'hit the wall' when you're on the road (didn't want to say 'bonk on the road').  

roadskater's picture

Fun to Read! Contador Bonked! Rice Cooker Pavlov

First, thanks for writing and for putting in the memories tangental to the main flow. A night of chocolate would be a struggle I'm willing to try, but shouldn't. The consolation of weddings is strawberries dipped in chocolate, and brie with some apples and crackers, I guess. It'd be cool if weddings were boring with lawyers and judges hanging about, and if divorces and breakups were culinary flavorgasms of delightful foods. 

Eebee and I don't agree on everything surely, but we've tried underfunding calories (or electrolytes) on long events before and bonk thonk donkey konk wonk is the sound of it all. Saturday I was saying no rubber in my bands and such till we hit the Rite-Aid rest stop of our own making. After that I had spring going up hills again and we actually had some good fun knowing we were capable again. 

This reminds me of seeing the most definite bonk I've ever seen a year or more ago at one of the spring tours (Basque or T-A or Paris-Nice) or maybe Giro d'Italia. Anyway it was Alberto Contador in his prime (which he still may be, just with less Spanish Beef available), and he could dance up any mountain floating above the handlebars any time it seemed. On this day, I don't recall what had happened exactly, but I think it was a day of attacks where AC was simply required to think all day and react all day, sprinting and watching, and probably without as much help as some other riders. He hit a particular climb and suddenly di'n' look so good.  In fact the phrase dropped like a stone came to mind (probably Phil Ligget's at least) although he was still climbing along. He lost a lot of time that day, and as I recall he took the responsibility, explaining that he had forgotten or failed to drink and eat enough. Coming from me, I might take that as excuses, but seeing what I did, it was clear he was well trained, but had run out of fuel. It was the most visible bonk I've ever witnessed except in my own skating. Good fun in fact, once I knew he was OK and wasn't going to NEED a blood transfusion (ha, whether or not he was going to get some frozen blood in the bag later). That was the day I really believed in bonkage. 

So we all have energy stored in our bodies, and our bodies can get that energy out, but it is a painful process, usually best left to protestors and gurus. It's frustrating to know I have all this pizza stored on my body and I can't get that energy working for me as easily as a pack of goo and some skaterade, but I've tried it and the body eating itself while skating 30 miles not good plan. As for Contador, methinks there's not much fat left for him to rob from his body. 

And to the ding of the rice cooker, it's a salivating experience. And very little rice has very lots of carbs to fuel the exercise. Maybe I should take a ziplock of steamed rice and soy sauce for my next multihour skatefest. Yum. 

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