As soon as I pressed the bloody button ‘Enter the 140K mountain race’ I knew I would need to check my diet as well to ensure I don’t ‘die’ too easily and give the race a proper shot. I want to make sure my diet is spot on (or not too far away from it) meaning that I fuel enough to lose 5-6kg while staying injury-free. I must agree with Jay-Z here – It’s the hard knock life…at least for me.
I’m definitely not one of those skinny people and have never been even though I played bball at quite a high level – training 2-3 times a day during the summer prep and 5 times a week with 1 or 2 games over the weekend was pretty tough. This mixed with a bit of communist-style approach to trainings and overall basketball world meant that we had a proper ‘check-up’ with a sport doctor (a half day spent on a several machines wasn’t an easy walk) every year – body fat, VO2 max, BMI, lactate test and more with the best sport doc in the country (his clients include pro ice-hockey players in NHL and alike). AND if you didn’t have good results including less than 15% body fat you were guaranteed a pretty fun time in trainings.
I went to see my ‘favourite’ sport doc about a year ago when I started to increase my mileage and get into ultra running shizzle. Too-much-too-soon me sat on the bike and all of those other machines once again and yes, the results were not good at all = OVERTRAINED was screaming from the papers and his mouth, which I expected as I wasn’t well at my best at all. BUT my body fat was still good, I think it was around 16-17% which is not bad at all (at least I would like to think so).
Anyhoo, enough about my ancient history and let’s get back to losing those 5kilos…
So Gareth from Maxi Nutrition told me to monitor my dietary intake for the next few days using MyFitnessPal so he can have a look and investigate. I’ve never been a fan of those apps and tools but I gave it go. After a few days, I was hooked! It can be really addictive but, I must admit, it’s a very eye-opening exercise – you will never ever eat that whole jar of peanut butter again BECAUSE 1 tbsp of PB equals 90 beautiful calories!!!
In the space of 3 days I’ve learnt quite a lot about portion sizes and the nutritional facts of my meals. I thought I would never say this but this app is quite good and would deffo recommend using it, even just for a few days. It will seriously make you think twice about your snacks and food choices. BUT as always there is a hook – you will get addicted to numbers and your usual shopping will take you much more as you’ll end up checking the nutri info of each bag, pot, bar, jar… However, the more time in the shop, the less your bill will be.
I think I’ve managed to log 7 days in a row so Gareth had a pretty good base to work with. Firstly, he used a snap shot of my info and cross checked it with some theoretical figures on what I should be having – these are as follows;
This chart shows an outline of what I should be consuming on a daily basis, broken down into the macronutrients. This will then need to be adapted based on the phase of training (basically the volume of exercise, essentially as I do more this needs to be reflected in my nutrition).
Taking a broad brush to start with on average (over 7 days) my totals were 1785 kcal (lower than required)
- CARBS = 223g – lower than required
- PROTEIN = 86g Protein – Spot on 😉
- FAT = 57g – About right
- SUGAR = 70g of sugar – Higher than recommended 🙁
Looking at my food choices, according to Gareth I have a good diet but he recommended that I try and consume more carbs particularly in and around exercise, more on high training days. It needs to be a bit more targeted to fully support my running. As you would expect, I need to train my body to take in a higher calorific load, particularly on my heavy training days (long runs over the weekend and hills/speed sessions during the week).
He suggested that I have three general dietary amounts to work from, based on the exercise demand;
- Hard training days (long runs + hills/speed sessions) – 2224 kcals – 361g carbs, 83g protein, 49g fat
- Easier days (easy runs, yoga and strength training days) – 1722 kcals – 258g carbs, 86g protein, 38g fat
- Rest days after a long run – 1722 kcals – 237g carbs, 108g protein, 38g fat
Plus I need to try to eat low sugary snacks where possible and include more protein related snacks. Splitting my daily calories into equally meals (ideally 5 meals) per day will be beneficials as well.
So pretty easy right?! Hmmm, let’s see.
Here’s an example of my normal day following Gareth’s numbers;
- CARBS – still not enough
- FAT – should be a bit less
- PROTEIN – ok
How is your nutrition – how many calories do you try to consume on hard/easy days? Have you tried MyFitnessPal or do you use any other tools/apps to track your calories intake?