Sunday, March 07, 2010

Fourteen Minutes! - Better by One Second! Nutrition & Diet

Last week in the two mile timed run, I did a personal best for myself (well, my best for the last three years) with a 14:01.  Although I knew I'd been training hard, I had some fear that the low score had been a mistake or fluke.

Yesterday morning, after candidate class, on a crisp cool morning, I matched and improved my time: By one second! It might not sound like a big deal but it was a huge effort. It helped that I ran head to head with my ten year old for most of the run and that I knew that this is one my last chances at holding my own with him (history is sooo much on his side. It's do interesting to compare my thoughts on chasing after him this spring to introducing him to running last spring.

My training strategy over the last few months has been two training runs of 2.5 miles weekly which include some sprints and then some much longer (45 minutes) cardio workouts on the eliptical at the gym.  The eliptical is gentle on the bod and the longer times allow me to start working off the body fat.  And on my vacations, I include  a once or sometimes twice daily workout.

Which brings me to a subject that I'd like to know more  about: nutrition and diet for someone who has love handles and a bulge that I'd like to get rid of.  As background, I've been through this cycle once before on a much larger scale.  Starting in 2002, I went on a exercise tear and an increasingly strict diet culminating in 2005 when I reached 180 pounds (down almost 30 from my starting point) and somewhat ripped.  In the last year of that tear, I gave up carbs and fruits and desserts and was running with a group of guys doing five mile runs four times per week. It was fine until I got sick of getting up at 5:30 and they all switched to biking anyway (which I don't like).

For the last year or so, I've been hovering in the mid 190s.  I'm taking this spring and my preparation for a 2nd degree as the chance to get back under 190. Here's the plan, what do you think?  I'm particularly looking for insights into diet and nutrition.

  1. Drink water, alot of it (and hope that I don't have to go to any long meetings).
  2. Snack only on protein snacks, two to three per  day.
  3. Eggs for breakfast with some cheese melted on it. If I'm outside the house, I add bacon or sausage.
  4. Chicken cesear-type salads or wraps for lunch with some restraint on dressing
  5. Dinner is usually some some meet with a salad and maybe potatoes (whatever Carmen makes).
  6. Saturday morning, before candidate class, I have a "training breakfast" of toast with Nutella on in for some energy.  I also drink a Gatorade during the class. I don't eat anything special before the other classes and I've switched from routinely drinking Gatorade during class to only drinking water except for the candidate classes (BTW, I drink two full water bottles easily during class). 
  7. Four classes a week.  
  8. Two runs in the two mile range.
  9. Two 45 minute cardio workouts on the eliptical.
  10. Four classes a week. I'm trying to hit these with all the intensity that a budding 2nd degree can muster.
  11. The sit-up and leg extras four times a week (I'm not doing pushups these days due to shoulder tendonities)
  12. Alcohol - I'm almost a teetotaller at this point.  A beer a month, a glass of wine each week.
  13. Standard vitamins (sometimes the kids dinosaur stuff or the new wriggle worm ones), no supplements or protein drinks or energy drinks. Two cups a coffee daily.

This seems to be working, any thoughts on this?



BBat50 said...

One more nutritional detail: I often feel very drained after candidate class before the timed run. For energy, I wolf down a pair of frosted pop tarts in the ten minutes before the run. It makes me feel better.

Is that entirely psychological or is there a chance the delicious combination of frosting and filling and carbs could actually get absorbed and become useful in less than 15 minutes?

Rich Holmes said...

Don't overdo the carb reduction. Carbs are vital: for one thing, they're necessary to proper brain function. Studies have shown low carb diets can work, and can work well, at taking weight off, BUT -- only if the carb reduction isn't outweighed by increases in protein and fat intake -- in other words, it really is the calorie reduction, not just carb reduction, that is needed. I've lost about 14 pounds now since January on a diet where I consume more carbs than protein or fat -- but less than I did before the diet. Fat I probably haven't changed that much and I'm sure I'm eating more protein than I used to.

Another important factor is to keep the blood sugar levels from changing too drastically. This means emphasizing complex carbs and low glycemic index foods vs. e.g. refined sugar; also means eating frequently -- I've been having 3 snacks a day (late morning, mid afternoon, and mid evening) -- preferably fairly balanced ones, though often I'll have something that's mostly protein if I haven't been getting enough protein that day.

Agnes said...

My thoughts...
Good thing you cut back on the gatorade. Unless you are working out over 2 hours or at a very high intensity, water is just as good if you don't start losing minerals through perspiration.
Don't see much green vegetables in your diet and I hope you don't eat meat every night for dinner.
Don't rely so much on protein bars for snacks. I would mix it up with natural ingredients too, like fruits, (that is my only source of sugar) nuts and low fat yogurt. The less processed the better.
I believe that the balance is key between protein, carbs and fat at every meal.
You didn't mention starches and bread. Hope that everything you consume in whole grain.
I think you are doing well. Good luck with the training. Make every squat and every situp count !!!

BBat50 said...

OK, a few more details. I often eat a banana before a workout.

My lunch salads rotate around but they tend to be diverse with spinach, romaine, and all the stuff that fancy salad places put in.

At dinner, there are potatoes a few times a week, mixed salads always, and sometimes brocolli or asparagus.

I eat a lot of tomatoes too.Usually fresh, sometimes green pickled ones.

Anonymous said...

Why give up fruits? Apples, pears...loaded with fiber and so good for you! Raw fruits and veggies will keep you healthy and lean! :o)

BBat50 said...

I don't eat that much fruit or nuts or even bread or pasta because it messes up my digestion. I feel more comfortable on a high protein diet.