Is This A Logo??

Is This A Logo??

Friday, 20 January 2012

Nutrition 101

Someone brand new to the sport has asked me to comment on the basics on several topics.  So let me start with nutrition, since this is an area of more expertise for me (I have been at Mountain Biking for 3 years but I have been involved with sport nutrition for many years...OK, like 3 decades, but I didn't want to sound as old as I am dangit!).

So here is my Cole's Notes lesson (that means short, eh) version of diet for sport.  I encourage your input and comment. 

The basics of the human diet involve the four macro nutrients; protein, fat, carbohydrate, and water.  The relative mix of each will affect how well you perform at sport.

Necessary to repair muscle, maintain the immune system, manufacture and replace hormones, enzymes, and red blood cells.  Protein is also used for energy during long or intense activity.  Protein is necessary in the diet because body is unable to produce all it needs and is not stored in the body as a fuel deposit for future use.  Dietary protein (what you eat) is used for immediate needs, with any excess converted and stored as carbohydrate or fat.

Unfortunately, there is no agreement within the field of nutrition on the recommended protein intake for athletes; however sport scientists generally suggest 0.04 ounces of protein intake per pound of body weight for the endurance athlete.

Necessary for maintaining regular menstrual cycle, preventing infections, manufacture of hormones, nerve/brain cells, carrying and absorbing vitamins, and is the body's most efficient source of energy.  There are "good" fats and "bad" fats; bad fats are trans fatty acids, man made fats found in processed foods read as "hydrogenated" on food labels.  Good fats are monounsaturated and omega 3 fatty acids found in certain nuts, cold water fish, and red meat (preferably from wild game or organically raised cattle).  30 percent of your caloric intake should be from these fats.

Provides much of the fuel for endurance events in the form of glucose and glycogen (blood sugars).  However, there has to be a plan to include carbohydrates in the diet.  When carbohydrates are digested, the pancreas releases insulin to regulate the level of blood sugar.  Insulin also prevents the body from using stored fat, works to convert carbs and protein to body fat, and moves fat in the blood to be stored as body fat. 

The glycemic index measures how fast specific carbohydrates enter the blood stream.  Foods high on the glycemic index produce a more dramatic rise in blood sugar and bring about all of the negative aspects of high insulin described above.  Foods high on the glycemic index include potatoes, rice, refined sugar, syrups, bread, pasta.  Foods low on the glycemic index include green leafy vegetables, beans, tomatoes, cauliflower, nuts.

For the most part, you want to stick with low glycemic carbohydrates, however during, and immediately after, long intense training sessions or races you want to quickly replenish carbohydrate stores in the muscles and liver.  In this case high glycemic carbohydrates are beneficial, which is why many sports drinks and gels contain these types of carbohydrates.

What I do
Right or wrong, (and I do encourage comments and feedback) following is the basis of my nutrition plan.
  • Eat 5 - 6 meals per day; this means eating every 2 - 3 hours.  This helps to keep blood sugar levels stable, and prevents hunger.
  • Eat a lean protein with each meal to ensure I get at least 240 grams of protein per day.  Lean protein includes chicken breast, lean beef cuts, tuna, whey protein.
  • I ensure that at least 30 percent of my required caloric intake comes from fats.  If my meal does not contain enough fat I supplement with fish oil.  The Nutribase Complete Book of Food Counts is a great resource for measuring the macro nutrients in specific foods.  You can also google to find  a good calorie calculator online, to determine your required calories per day.
  • Eat veggies with each meal, and avoid refined high glycemic carbs.
  • I have not yet mentioned in this post, I feel it is important to point out that I do my best to insure that my foods are gluten free and organic. 
Race day nutrition, and post training recovery drinks will be different from the norm, and is great fodder for a future post!

Monday, 9 January 2012

January Activity

I was recently asked what I am currently doing to get back into training after the holidays.  Currently I am just trying to stay as active as possible, with a focus on trimming the holiday fat build up.  The main goal for January is to get to under 200 pounds while maintaining muscle mass.  Once under 200 pounds I will set up a more regimented training schedule for February and March (the racing season starts in April).  I also do not want to peak and/or burn out too early in the racing season.  A regimented schedule means scheduling specific training areas like hill repeats, interval training, power training, etc. depending on the areas I need to work on.

For the first week in January, my activity looked like this...I've left out all work, family, personal stuff so as to avoid boring you into seizures:

Jan 2 - 6am weight lifting working on shoulders and arms. 2pm afternoon ride at Dundas with NewfieSteve.  Was muddier than I normally like, making for a good workout struggling through the soft trails.

Jan 3 - 8am trainer workout.  Planned getting an afternoon ride in but it was the coldest day of the year to date, and so I wimped out and elected for another trainer workout in the late afternoon.  The trainer is a great workout but incredibly boring, so I struggle to stay at it for 40 minutes to an hour per session.

Jan 4 - 8am morning ride.  Rode the local trails east and west of Snake Road near Waterdown.  The trails were in great shape, perfectly frozen.  However I ended up breaking a chain (on a brand new drive train!), witch required a 10 minute quick-link trail fix.  6pm was a group ride with the BicycleWorks gang.  Typically the Wednesday night group ride has riders with a wide range of experience, skill, and fitness.  However this week was all experienced, fit riders which meant for a great ride/ awesome workout as I worked to keep up!

Jan 5 - 6am weight workout working on chest, back, core.  7pm hockey (I play hockey in a mens league once a week).

Jan 6 - 8am morning ride local trails.  Conditions good, it was -2 ish degrees so the trails were nicely frozen.

Jan 7 - 8am BicycleWorks group ride...too muddy.  It was about +4 degrees and the trails were too muddy.  Riding them was only doing damage so we took the mountain bikes to the road.

Jan 8 - 8am morning local ride. At -2 degrees trail conditions were again frozen and perfect.  However, I managed to break my chain again!  Even with my relative lack of finesse, I should not be breaking a chain this often.  I will have to get it looked at.

So that's it for my training activity for the week.  Nothing too regimented yet.  Mainly getting out on the bike as often as my work, and personal schedules allow.

Have to note that effective training not only includes physical activity, but also nutrition, and having a proper nutrition plan based on goals.  I have been asked to explain what I do in this regard in more a topic for a future post!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Happy New Year! Wah Happen in December

So the first two weeks of December saw everything go according to plan, more or less.  Then the holiday season hit.  The Christmas and New Years holidays, including a 10 day trip to visit my family in Saskatchewan, were extremely enjoyable.  However, the season of overindulgence and carbohydrate overload, and almost zero training, has left me with an extra 10 pounds that I didn't own a month ago.  So it's time to get back to the discipline of the training schedule and nutrition plan.

Regarding nutrition, based on my weight, body composition, and activity level I generally need about 4,000 calories per day to maintain my body mass; so the plan is to take in 3,000 calories per day until I hit my goal weight.  I will stick with the 5 meals each day, and eliminate any high glycemic carbs except for my post workout meals (all other meals will be lean protein, select fat, and high fibre vegetables).  Post workout meal is generally 40 - 60 (depending on the type of activity) grams of whey protein, 40 -60 grams (depending on the intensity of the activity) of a dextrose based sports/recovery drink mix, and a Branched Chain Amino Acid based recovery mix.

Regarding training, I schedule 3 weight workouts per week, and am either on the bike or trainer as often as possible (every day if I can).  I also play hockey once each week.  For now the training schedule and activity will be focused on cutting weight; as I get closer to my goal weight, the focus will trend towards increasing endurance, increasing core strength, and maintaining leg strength. All training will also include elements to increase technical skills.

Other December Stuff

English Jim signed up for the Crank the Shield!!  So he will join NewfieSteve and me in 'friendly' rivalry for this one!  Their pics are below...can you pic out the Englishman from the Newfie??

Also, yours truly (that's me eh!) is featured on my nutritionist's (Theo Phillips at website, this month, at  Thanks Theo!

OK, so other than some personal shite you really don't want to hear about (trust me), nothing else exciting really happened in December regarding me mountain biking.  So here is looking forward to January!!