A recent commenter asked, “What do you eat to make up for all that exercise?”
Good freaking question. I don’t talk a lot about food consumption on this blog. Or dieting. Or calorie counting. Or weight loss. It’s just not that kind of blog. I think too much talk about that stuff can lead to some obsessiveness. As a culture, we are already so weight and food obsessed.
I am not bashing anyone who has food/diet/weight loss blog. It can be very helpful in the right hands. It’s just not me.
I’m going to be honest. Except for a stint in my twenties when I was staying out all night drinking beer and eating nachos and chicken wings, I have always been naturally thin. Hate me if you want, it’s the truth and I’m not ashamed of it. I like being thin. I feel terrific in my body. I am lean and muscular and have worked hard to become that way and to stay that way. Sometimes when you are thin and exercise a lot you get labeled as eating disordered. Yes, there are those people. They are not me.
I’m a believer in the work hard, play hard mentality. I exercise my ass off to reach my goals. I am not obsessive about it, I am disciplined. I calorie count when I am doing high volume training. Not to lose weight, but to make sure I am eating enough.
After working hard, it’s time to eat hard. Anything I want, anytime I want. However, food is still fuel and needs to be respected. That means I limit the crap I put into my body. There is nothing I won't eat, but the high fat, junk food does not sit well with me (think “the runs”) and does me no favors when I go out to train hard.
I believe it’s a lifestyle. It’s finding the connection between how you feel mentally, emotionally and physically and what you put into your body. There is NOTHING I eat in a given day that I eat without being completely conscious of how it is or is not contributing to the well being of my body. Awareness is key. When we get disconnected, we make poor choices.
During that time in my twenties I weighed 30 pounds more than I do now. I looked really different. I never set out to lose the weight, I just started cycling like crazy and changed my diet. It was a lifestyle shift and commitment. I’ve never gone back. And, I’ve never felt better in my own skin.
Taken in 1991. Told you I looked different. That’s a double chin! And, yes, those are potato chips to my left.
Twenty years and 2 kids later. I’m wearing the same earrings.
So – all of this to say that training ten hours per week requires careful attention to getting enough calories, and making sure the majority of those calories are high quality.
A day in the life:
6 a.m.: Cup of coffee with lots of cream, piece of cinnamon raisin toast with almond butter (can’t eat a lot before I work out)
7 a.m.: 1-2 hour workout (bike, swim, run or yoga). If I’m running or biking I try to eat 200-300 calories per hour during the workout.
9 a.m.: 2nd cup off coffee with lots of cream. Clif bar, protein bar and piece of fruit
12 p.m.: Eat whatever I can find in the kitchen that has high carbs/protein and incorporates fruits and veggies. Usually a “kitchen sink” egg scramble with cheese, avocado, spinach tomatoes and beans. Today’s concoction was leftover orzo with two poached eggs, three large handfuls of sautéed spinach and parmesan cheese.
2 p.m.: Dessert of some sort. Ice cream, cookies. I bake a lot so I usually have fresh brownies or banana bread on hand.
6 p.m.: Dinner with family. Typically will be grilled chicken/fish with rice and some sort of veggie.
8 p.m.: Snack time. Glass of chardonnay and big bowl of microwave popcorn (Orville Redenbocker) with melted better and parmesan cheese.
Total daily calories: 2,300-2,600. According to this site, I need to eat 2,000 calories a day to stay even. I know my metabolism runs high, so I eat a bit more.
With this new training volume, I am constantly trying to makes sure I am fueling correctly. I go based on: Is my weight steady? How is my energy? How is my mood? I will tell you that these days I am hungry ALL THE TIME.
I know my input comes from someone who is not overweight or trying to lose weight, so maybe I lose some legitimacy. But, I have not always been healthy, that’s for sure. I have made quite a turn around in that department.
There is nothing magical about it. Eat quality foods. The more you move the more you eat unless you are trying to lose weight. Eat consciously, always. Treat your body with respect and fuel it accordingly.
What’s your eating philosophy? How is your relationship with food? Healthy? Dysfunctional?