It is often thought that the endurance athlete can just eat whatever they want - that because of all of the miles put in on the road or bike they will just lose weight. But the truth is that when you increase mileage your appetite increases as does the need for calories and to ensure that you stay healthy your metabolism adapts to the new level of activity. So, eating is not a passive part of THPL, in fact we have to be quite active about creating a match between nutrition and activity so that we can keep the body healthy and performing at the level required by the demands of your THPL activities.
And since this is not an easy topic to master, there are a few approaches that THPL members practice more than they do not:
- Keep the flow of calories to match your activity level. Do not cut out too much in any one period of time – small reductions in calories are recommended as you need energy to maintain your strength.
- Eat quickly after your workout – assuming you have been at it for more than an hour (no need for calories when you exercise less than an hour); the sooner you put food (reasonable amounts) back in you and the faster you will metabolize the calories and start recovering
- Eat when you are hungry – sounds obvious but we often eat because food is available (even if we are not hungry). We need to work on figuring out the difference between real hunger (calories needed to perform) and calories that we ingest for social or satiation needs. The later not helping in any physiological way.
- Rev up your metabolism – by doing different exercises and challenging your muscles with intensity and variety you will increase the calories that you burn and by sitting less you will be more active which can only help you. All of this is a natural way to reduce weight and make you stronger.
Of course there are many other good techniques for creating a healthy body including, eating vegetables, eating foods high in fiber, and foods high in nutrient value (superfoods). Bottom line is we need to be aware of our food needs and be active in how we think about what we put in our body as we pursue THPL. Create your own version of these approaches and stay true to them – you will be happy for it
Loving life while eating my way to high performance
Photo: Smitten Kitchen