Thursday, April 15, 2010


My last post was about the need to basically lighten my load on the bike if I'm going to reach my cycling goals for this season. It's common knowledge if you're a cyclist that your power to weight ratio is one of the most important factors in being fast on the bike. So, I've been focusing on that.

Yesterday the bathroom scale indicated 179*, so I've dropped five pounds thus far. Eleven more to go.

*yes, I even took off my wedding ring and socks....come on fess up, I know I'm not the only one that does this

Here's a summary of what I've been doing for nutrition:

Eat a good breakfast. I like to drink a glass of skim milk when I first wake up (assuming I'm not riding that morning) to get things started. Then when I get to the office, it's usually a bowl of whole-grain oatmeal, some fruit (I usually keep frozen blueberries in the break room freezer) or maybe a banana. I also typically eat some fat free plain yogurt (I get the huge bucket of Mountain-land) sprinkled either with a bit of brown sugar or fruit. Often I'll change up the oatmeal for other types of whole-grain cereal such as cracked wheat or more recently Bob's Red Mill Buckwheat Cereal*. For variety, I'll eat hard boiled eggs without the yolk with some Frank's hot sauce.

*I probably would never have thought to try this stuff, but believe it or not I grew a field of buckwheat each summer to raise money for college while I was working on my Dad's farm in Quincy, Washington, so I guess there's some sentimental value to it. My Dad still grows it as a second crop behind peas.

Eat some fish for lunch or dinner. Most people at work think I'm a bit strange when I crack open the can of Kipper snacks or sardines in the break room. I know the stuff smells pretty bad, but it's good for you, especially if you purchase the kind that's in water instead of oil. Lots of protein, Omega 3s, calcium (yup, you eat the little bones and all), iron, etc. Sriracha sauce goes great with sardines. Leftover salmon and canned albacore tuna are also good options for lunch.

Load up on veggies. I'm amazed at how you can eat a whole plate full of broccoli and it's only 50 calories and you feel full. Here are some of my favorites that I typically eat at lunch simply by cooking it up in the microwave for a few minutes:

**I like to buy the bags of these guys at Costco and take them to work. Each of these only takes a few minutes to cook in the microwave and then I'll pour on some vinegar and sprinkle with kosher salt flakes.

Drink only water, skim milk and CarboRocket. Okay, occasionally I'll deviate here, but not very often. CarboRocket I typically only use on the weekends on my long rides.

Whole Grain Bread. This one is tough for me as I love to eat white bread as much as the next guy, but funny thing is I'm now getting to where I honestly prefer the whole grain bread. The honey whole wheat at Costco is awesome.

Eat sweets sparingly. I've tried in the past to cut sweets out entirely, but that never works. Instead, I usually allow myself a small allotment each day, typically dark chocolate as Adobe provides it for free.

Count the calories. I like doing this. It's fairly liberating actually because you know within a reasonable margin where you stand throughout the day. For example, on days where I'm recovering from a hard workout (i.e. no exercise that day), I know I need to choose wisely as I won't have the buffer of 800 or so calories burned from a workout. I've also learned through this process that some foods are absolutely loaded with calories* and if eaten, it's highly likely you'll be consuming more than burning that particular day. Another benefit here is that you want to consume enough calories such that you're able to still recover from a workout and have adequate fuel for rides, yet have enough of a deficit that your body is forced to burn fat as fuel. I've been aiming for an average deficit of 500-700 calories per day and that seems to work well. If I go much higher, I start to feel sluggish.

*Milk shakes are a great example. I skipped eating a burger at In-n-out last week and instead just had fries and a shake. Later I found out I would have been better off just eating the burger instead as the shake had like 700 calories.

One more point here. You need to know your base metabolic rate, i.e. how many calories you burn without doing any exercise. I like to go to the "Bod Pod" at BYU's Y-be-fit office and get your body composition tested. It's only $15 and takes a quick 20 minutes. The report they give you includes your base metabolic rate.

Eat some good fats. I like to throw in peanut butter here and there, but be careful as two tablespoons is equal to 190 calories. Avocados, almonds, olives and olive oil are all good.

Chicken tenders. I love these guys. They are so easy to cook up quickly, they taste great, are low in fat and calories and have lots of protein.

Brown Rice.Brown rice is an excellent complex carb. I cook it up in bulk in a rice cooker as it takes forever to cook.

Don't over eat at dinner. This is tough as my wife is an awesome cook and makes a fabulous dinner every night. The good thing is she's pretty health conscious. As long as I don't keep going back for seconds or thirds, I'm in good shape.

Fruit. I try to eat a good variety, but my favorites are strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, apples, pears, bananas and mangos.

The final key for me is to ride the bike lots. There's no way I would have lost much of any weight over the past two weeks if I wasn't hitting the bike almost every day. Oh, and I should mention that the weekends are very tough, especially when we love to go out to dinner. What I'm learning is that it's best to plan ahead and decide what you'll eat at a restaurant by doing a little research. A few minutes of planning/research could be the difference between gaining or losing a pound.

So there it is. It seems to be working well for me, so I'm going to keep with it. I'm obviously no nutritionist or sports trainer, just a normal joe trying to be faster on the bike. So take my advice with a grain of salt as it may not work for you like it has for me. Good luck.

Oh, and here are a couple of pictures atomicmiles took on our lunch ride today. It was an absolutely perfect day for the mountain bike. Looking forward to tomorrow's ride.


Dad said...

Hey! Who's the cool dude on the mountain bike! Looks like a "Mountain Bean"! It looks like lots of fun in that good weather! I could probably supply you and all your riders with plenty of buckwheat if you want to "get it fresh from the farm"! We love you! Dad

bjchild said...

Thanks Dad. On the buckwheat just save me a bucket full and next time I'm in town I'll pick it up. I had more of it this morning for breakfast mixed with oatmeal. Good stuff.