If there is one thing that is vital to ourselves, it’s eating healthy. We also know that exercise is essential, and we, as triathletes, do that pretty well. BUT what happens when life happens, there is an injury, or we are just not motivated to train, maybe like we have in the past?
Eating healthy is the most basic foundation of good health. Without good eating habits, every aspect of your body and mind will be impaired or damaged. For example, you don’t have to eat 8,000 grams of fiber a day or run away screaming from the word sugar. Instead, it is all about practicing moderation and following some very general guidelines, which can go a very long way towards improving your overall health. Finding the proper balance of nutrition for your own body can be difficult, but many tools are available to help you analyze your eating habits.
Everyone is Different
First of all, everyone’s body is different. That means everyone’s optimal balance of nutrition is going to be different. Just because your triathlon friend LOVES Bulletproof Coffee does not mean that it will work well for you! Food is one of the great balancing acts of our lives on and off the racecourse. You have to be prepared to take time to find the best combination, make mistakes along the way, possibly even gain weight as one option or another doesn’t work out. It will take time for you to figure out what works for you!
For example, I love the Paleo diet, and when I was on it, I felt terrific, dropped the weight, cut the gluten, and leaned up. However, when I got back to Ironman Triathlon training, I couldn’t do it. So while I didn’t go CRAZY on the bread, I added rice, GF pasta, Protein Pancakes, sweet potatoes, GF bread because I needed a lot more CHO than what I was getting in the Paleo Diet. That is what worked for me. Right?
Different areas of nutrition interact with your body in different ways, so don’t let yourself feel down if you can’t bullseye the answer immediately.
Second of all, you have heard me talk about this before looking at the essential areas of nutrition:
- Carbohydrates (CHO)
- Vitamins/Minerals (another day)
Two tools have helped me with “Counting my Macros” and starting to take the weight off from the “Season of Improvement:”
My Fitness Pal App
If you want help tracking your progress and what you eat, My Fitness Pal can produce helpful charts for you to see how much you are eating, overeating, and what you need to cut back on or reinforce to improve your body’s nutrition.
It will take a while to start using My Fitness Pal, BUT MFP makes it so easy for you that you can scan the barcode for most foods. This is the thing about triathletes; we are creatures of habits. You probably tend to do the same breakfast or lunch because you know it works for you and enjoy it. Right?
If you are trying to drop weight during January, to feel a little bit better, heading into your triathlon training, you genuinely need to track what you eat, along with monitoring your exercise. It’s great to see how you’ve been eating and working out, but anybody can understand that cutting back and working out more will help them lose weight.
My Fitness Pal guides you to see what you are taking in and whether you are taking in too much CHO, fat, protein, or too little!! I see this a lot with triathletes; if you cut back too much, you could be harming your body, as it will go into starvation mode (basically, your metabolism dies, and your body’s functions crawl to a halt). But, on the other hand, cut back too little, and you’re not cashing in on weight loss potential.
For example, I remember working with a triathlete working out twice a day but with super low energy. I suggest starting tracking how many calories she was consuming. Come to find out; she was ONLY taking in 800 calories!!! No wonder she was struggling with her workouts and constantly tired!
Athlete: Wait? Coach Jen…How the heck do you figure out how many macronutrients you take in?
Coach Jen: Don’t you worry! Click HERE to head to the Macronutrient Calculator on my website!
It is a straightforward calculator, and I think you will find it easy to use. Remember, you have to fuel your body to be able to train the way we do. I understand that people want to cut weight, but I also know that you will cut the weight when the training increases!
Let me break my “Rulon Rules of Macronutrient Counting” for you:
- Get on My Fitness Pal ASAP
- Please fill out my Macronutrients Calculator and get your numbers
- Put those numbers into My Fitness Pal (You have to pay a yearly fee to be able to plug in your numbers, but it is well worth it.)
- Weigh yourself every week AND if you are “ballsy,” take a selfie of you in your bra/under or just under men :)
- Start counting your calories and plug EVERY little ounce of food in there.
- You will start seeing a difference once you keep yourself accountable and notice results.
I hope today’s blog helps you all out as we are heading into our off-season.
Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed here? Not to worry because this is where Coach MyKala Smith can help you! Click HERE for her website and to contact her!