Tag Archives: carbohydrates

Guest Post: Fueling for Optimal Endurance

I have yet to meet a training endurance athlete who fuels enough to support their training and health needs.

Cycle Racing 1997

This may sound surprising coming from someone who makes his living coaching Olympic athletes, pro Ironman triathletes and serious amateur age-groupers, but I can almost guarantee you that if you are an endurance athlete you are underfueling and that is hurting your performance and impacting your health.

One of the major reasons for this is that athletes don’t understand the metabolic difference between “fueling”–what you eat during and immediately following your training–, and “nutrition”–what you eat during the rest of your day. In this video excerpt from one of my recent webinar I explain the keys to proper fueling and nutrition and show how they have a significant impact on:

1. Your Performance During A Workout and Race

Obvious, and the only one most people think about, leading many to make taking the mistaken belief that if they can last through a 3 hour bike ride with minimal calories, they must be fine!

2. Recovery
Remember, we don’t do single training sessions, but rather string together multiple sessions in a row, which should all have a specific role and purpose. Proper fueling maximizes recovery from any single workout, allowing readiness for the next.

3. Controlling Your Cravings
Proper fueling, in terms of amount and type of fuel, allow it much easier to make positive food choices later in the day. These choices would focus on our building blocks (proteins), nutrients (vegetables and fruit) and good oils. Fueling well will prevent strong urges for starchy carbohydrates and sweet foods at the inappropriate time.

4. Minimizing Metabolic Stress
Our metabolic system has to deal with multiple stressors in life, as well as the massive physiological stress of our training, and inadequate fueling becomes another additional strain on the system. Proper fueling actually off-sets some of the stress of training and facilitates healthy homeostasis of our metabolic health. This is a central reason for caution in carb-depletion activities pushed by some coaches.

If, and only if, you follow this general path, you can then minimize starchy carbohydrates in the rest of the day; after all, your muscle glycogen stores will only get depleted in starvation and exercise. Focus instead on meats, veggies, oils and hydration. You will repair the muscles, recover well and be on the route to optimal performance and a leaner frame. Best of luck.

Cheers,
Matt


Matt Dixon is an exercise physiologist, former professional triathlete, elite coach and the owner of the San Francisco-based professional coaching company Purplepatch Fitness. He is coach to numerous professional triathletes and Ironman Champions including CycleOps Powered athletes Chris Lieto, Linsey Corbin, Meredith Kessler, Luke Bell, and Matt Lieto.

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

Guest Post: What Can I Eat?!?!

Today’s post is from our contribution to the Daily Burn, a leading health and fitness blog.   Geri Wohl, a Certified Nutrition Consultant and a member of the WellnessFX practitioner team, authored the post. Geri, also known around the web as the “better eating coach” has a bachelor’s degree in psychobiology from Wellesley College and nutrition certifications from Bauman College. Her early career revolved around cancer and immunology research, but while raising my children she switched my focus to nutrition. Today, Geri discusses why eating a balances diet works better for overall health and weight loss than restricted diets.

With the myriad of weight loss techniques, tips, diets and tools being pushed on us these days, we are constantly bombarded with rules, mandates, and promises of pounds shed, sizes dropped, and happiness achieved. But if you’re one of the many who have tried and denied and restricted only to see the same number on your scale, the only thing you’re achieving is frustration. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be so complicated.

Too many of the diets publicized today are diets of exclusivity. Don’t eat fat. Don’t eat carbs. Don’t eat dairy. Don’t eat grains. With all of these rules, it’s easy to wonder, “What CAN I eat?”. Turns out, we’re asking ourselves all the wrong questions.

Exclusionary diets are an ineffective method for healthy and sustained weight loss, too often robbing our bodies of necessary vitamins and nutrients. The best recipe for weight loss is in fact a balanced combination of food groups rather than a strict dedication to one over another. Each food group serves a purpose, and severely limiting or cutting out your consumption of these foods will leave you lacking in certain areas. And while you may shed a few pounds, the effect it’s having on your internal health probably isn’t worth it.

Take fat for example. Often causally associated with weight gain, fat has received much scrutiny from the health industry, who push diets that encourage people to remove as much fat as possible from their diet. Makes sense right? WRONG.

Fat is needed by every cell in our body, as it is a crucial component in building the cell wall. Furthermore, body fat is stored energy. When your body needs energy, it turns to your fat cells. But when your body isn’t getting enough fat in its diet, it will try to conserve what it has, turning instead to muscle, and endangering that tricep definition that was finally starting to show up. Your actual weight may decrease, because muscle weighs more than fat, but chances are you won’t be as strong or as shapely.

Same thing goes for cutting out carbs in favor of protein. Contrary to what diets like Atkins and South Beach may have you believe, high protein diets create a more acidic environment in your body, a situation that leaves you prone to various disease states. Weight loss is achieved in these types of diets by reliance on ketosis, a process that is highly debated by medical experts as to whether or not it is safe for the body. Drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake also increases the odds that you are deficient in many necessary nutrients.

Simply stated, while removing certain food groups from your diet may cause an initial loss in weight, chances are it will make you less healthy at the same time. Just as we strive to seek balance in our personal and professional lives, so should we in our nutritional endeavors. Diets that encourage exclusion of entire categories of food are not only unrealistic and unsustainable, they aren’t helping doing your health any favors. Consuming protein, vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes AND fats will leave you not only more satisfied, but healthier on the inside and out. Sure, some fats are better than others and you should avoid certain carbohydrates, but that’s a much easier landscape to navigate than avoiding that food group altogether.

The point of losing weight is to be healthier. If the way you achieve this goal is in fact making you less healthy, perhaps it’s time to rethink your approach.

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.