Hello riders and anyone else training for anything!
I would like to give a big warm welcome to all of you amazing Cycle of Life Tour riders this year that are new and returning to this incredible fund raiser! The Salt Spring ride is a beautiful adventure and offers the opportunity to experience and expand your physical capabilities, friendships and connection with nature.
I invite you to tune into your body during training to optimize your nutritional health for muscular repair, cardiovascular output and rest to name a few. Self care is needed to reduce burn out or fatigue and ultimately to have a great ride. Support your health and increase your endurance by fueling the body with the right foods during the right time of day. Feeling tired, sore and fatigued can actually be an indication your body isn’t getting enough fuel.
The Purpose of Calories.
80 percent of your success is what you are eating and 20 percent of your success is your training. Know what your body’s unique needs are to support your health. Here is how to know.
BMR-Basal Metabolic Rate is for basic functions like breathing and digesting food.
NEAT-Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis is moving throughout the day that is not exercise or sports such as dishes, walking around the home or work. Approximately an additional 5oo calories.
TDEE-Total Daily Energy Expenditures is the calories used for exercise based of body composition and training days and intensities.
Check your caloric intake requirements online by calculating your BMR + NEAT+TDEE. www.iifym.com
Rise and Grind Sunshine
If you start the day with small meals in the morning and larger in the evening you put your body in an unhealthy deficit during the day. This reduces the calories and nutrients the body requires resulting in mental and physical fatigue and poor recovery from exercise. By the evening you may find that you are very hungry and almost nothing can satiate or satisfy. Often this is when the wrong foods are eaten.
Start your day with larger meals and reduce their size towards the end of the day. This method ensures all those colorful nutrient dense foods are repairing your muscles and tissues. To optimize your health, eat fresh, natural, unprocessed, colorful, live, whole foods. These foods are loaded with macronutrients (fats, protein, carbohydrates), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), phytonutrients, polyphenols and antioxidants. Delicious!
Right when I wake up, I have 2 cups of water. Then one cup of almond milk (or other) with 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and half a teaspoon of spirulina. Let the chia sit for 10 minutes while getting ready for the day. Stir up the chia seeds and drink. This keeps digestion and bowel movements optimal because you need to eliminate toxins that are being pulled from the body while you exercise. Which is a very good thing for your health!
For breakfast on a workout day I steam vegetables like Brussels, asparagus, broccoli and sauté with shallots and garlic. Add a protein like chicken, turkey, sweet potato or chickpeas. I cook chicken/turkey ahead of time and reheat in a pan. A microwave can destroy valuable nutrients. This meal is fueling the muscle glycogen stores and rebuilding muscle tissue. Glycogen is converted to glucose during exercise for fuel. Glycogen needs to be replenished after exercise and throughout the day.
I make a smoothie for a snack before lunch. Add in a bunch of fresh or frozen fruit, parsley and cilantro for blood purifying, some protein powder and greens concentrate. I use coconut water as a base, it is an amazing source of electrolytes. Electrolytes are magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, chloride and sodium. These support muscle firing which is contraction and retraction of the muscles including the heartbeat. Electrolytes also help reduce leg cramps, along with hydration and stretching…always stretch.
The Bare Bones
Eat lots of fruit for the antioxidant benefit and to support muscle glycogen stores, mental clarity and focus. Fruit is best every morning, and after exercise especially if it contains electrolytes.
Have protein 60 to 90 minutes before a long workout (over an hour) to help sustain energy. Have a smaller meal here and include fresh vegetables as they help break down the protein. If you eat a large meal too close to a workout then your energy is going towards digestion rather than your muscles.
During a long workout (over 2 hours) bring with you a protein source like a bar, a glucose source like fruit (without white sugar because a blood sugar spike from sugar leaves a brutal crash that can reduce athletic performance) and bring an electrolyte source. The muscles are going to fatigue, electrolytes keep the muscles and brain functioning reducing cramping or fatigue, the muscles and brain also feed on glucose, the muscles will build and adapt to exercise more efficiently if they have the amino acids from protein to rebuild.
Post workout get some glucose into as soon as you can. Remember you are feeding the brain here and muscles with quick energy to reduce fatigue. I like cantaloupe, water melon, blueberries and pineapple. Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain which helps reduce inflammation and supports digestion. Next get some protein into you to support the deeper long-term muscle rebuild. Don’t over eat protein as it produces uric acid and can tax the kidneys (a sign of lower back pain). Include lots of green veggies to help alkalinize the body after exercise.
Hydration Throughout the Day
Stay hydrated throughout the day. Dehydration alone can leave you feeling fatigued and contributes to muscle cramps. Your body is 70 to 80 percent water. It is the transporter of nutrients into the cells and carries waste out of the cells and out of the body. The amount of water can vary from a training day to a rest day. Consider drinking an average 8 servings of 8 ounces per day. Listen to your body wisdom if you are needing more or less liquid.
Hydrate with filtered water, coconut water, watermelon (can we consider it a liquid here?), and electrolyte powders/tablets that you add to water. Caffeine dehydrates so increase water consumption.
Reduce Cramping and Edema
It happens. Ensure optimal glucose intake from fruits and vegetables to feed the muscles. Ensure electrolyte intake. Extra magnesium can relax the muscles to reduce cramping and also help with sleep. Calcium and potassium needs go up for athletes to support the muscle function. A deficiency could look like edema, swelling in the hands and ankles most noticeable upon waking up.
Stretch often throughout the day. Do a full-body stretch after a workout holding each stretch for at least 20 seconds. This improves your mobility, reduces injury, releases tight muscles, releases uric acid and overall helps those feel good vibes from a workout!