Friday, December 10, 2010

Fatboy´s Nutrition Series: The nutritional account - Input vs. output

So - even though its almost Xmas and we´re soon about to devour enormous amounts of foods, fats & cookies, sugar and alcohol - wintertime is a good season to drop a few kilos to get closer to that optimal weight.

The daily account measures the input and output and very simply put, if there is a surplus on this account by the end of the day, we gain weight (normally in the form of fat) and opposite, if we have a deficit we loose weight. So, how do we measure the input and the output?

Input is simply - since all input enters the same way... through the mouth. The unit of measure here is know as Calories, that word we´ve heard our mother babble about over and over again. Calories or actually kilocalories (in the metric system known as Joules, kiloJoules or kJ). So count the amount of kcals in your daily diet, which is easy if you (as eg. Janne) follow the same diet every day. I really don´t want to tire you too much about this, but take a few days or a full week to actually measure (make a log) how much you take in - and you´d be surprised! Consult the Nutritional Data Web as a reference for kcals in almost all food and drinks or just look at the nutritional facts per 100g on the back of all normal supermarket goods.

Output is a bit more complex. These are the calories burned during the day. We have to add up these 3 measures:
1. BMR - Basic Metabolic Rate.
What your body burn at rest. Use a BMR calculator or a body fat scale. My BMR is around 1700 kcals per day.

2. Kcals burned with other activities than training.
This may be 8 hours desk work adding up to around 850 kcals per day.

3. Kcals burned during training.
Well use the HRM calories output or that of the treadmill. A rule of thumb for me is that I burn 1000 kcals during one hour run and 800 kcals during biking - but you need to find this your selves. There are a bunch of online calculators for this.

So - say I follow Janne´s diet, my daily input is 2500. I run for 2 hours, which means my output is: 2000 kcals + 850 kcals (from desk work) + 1700 from my BMR = 3550 kcals or calories burned a day. Hence, my account for this day a deficit of 1050 kcals (3550-2500) and I can expect a weight loss. The morning after a strong deficit on the account, I normally wake up very hungry.

Of course - it´s not only this simple. Later we will discover how smart the body actually is (to help us survive in fierce competition or during times with no or low amounts of input).

Use this nutritional account calculation also in periods where you need to feed for peak performance, eat like a champion - here the deficit can not be to big during several days or we will suffer power loss and may even fall ill. Hence, no diets during peak performance weeks.
Try to log your input for a few days and post here as comments. No shame - we all eat too much marzipan and drink too many Xmas beers these days, but let me see a few daily logs from each of you!

And finally, remember what Woody Allen said:
When we lose twenty pounds... we may be losing the twenty best pounds we have! We may be losing the pounds that contain our genius, our humanity, our love and honesty.

Fatboy´s Nutrition Series:

I: Nutrition - optimal weight vs. peak performance
II: The nutritional account - Input vs. output
III: Nutritional Value - crap vs. performance intake
IV: Eating like a champion
V: Supplements

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fatboy´s Nutrition Series: Optimal weight vs. peak performance

So - Janne had a great point on his HamburgerMan Diet post. I invented "Diet from Hell" based on a the advice of Catalan nutritionist and it works wonders for me too, while trying to control my weight around 71-72 kgs, which is my racing weight.

I read this great book on Racing Weight and it´s definitely worth looking at in terms of understanding better the concepts I introduce in the Fatboy´s Nutrition Series.

Quite easy in theory really - leave out as much processed food as possible; bread, pasta, potatoes, rice and substitute with raw foods, proteins from meat and fish, fruits and veggies - and call it the Caveman Diet if you will. This (and any other diets) works well, especially if you, like Janne, actually starts enjoying its content and make it your normal routine and daily intake, not a hard-to-follow diet!

However - once we get closer to race day and we´ve (hopefully) reached our own optimal weight, some long and hard trainings and also race days will require a different intake of carbs, proteins and what-not. You really can´t get through build and peak periods on a diet - so if you wanna drop weight, do it now before these race specific training pop up in your agenda!

There are many theories on how to eat well for peak performance, but one thing is certain; the body engine burns glycogen, a fuel which is being generated in your stomach based on the input of carbs, proteins and fat (and beers) we pour onto it. The body is so damned intelligent and chooses the best fuel first, which are carbs, then burns proteins then fat. When the reserves stored in our muscular cells are depleted it starts asking the stomach to produce more glycogen fuel, but performing at high intensities the stomach is too slow and cannot deploy enough fuel. The body then starts burning stored body fat (great!!) but also muscle fibers and that hurts. Running at e.g. marathon pace this occurs after approx. 2.5-3 hours and we know the pain as "hitting the wall". During race we can add fuel to the equation by drinking energy drinks, eating bars and gels - but in an Ironman race at some point the body will turn to burning fat and muscles - and through our long trainings in base and build period we are working to getting the body used to the pain following this.

It is recommended to add 100g of pure carbs before a key performance workout. Many think that carbs are the same as pasta and I often see people surprised, when you tell them that an apple is 99% carbs (actually much more than pasta). So chunk some fruit, energy drink, a power bar or maybe muesli before the core training - but of course don´t over eat.

Now and then some (including myself) does long trainings in the morning fasting - that means no breakfast before hitting the road. Hence, you will hit "the wall" maybe already after 1-1.5 hours and start pushing the body´s limits, burning fat and muscle and also getting the body and mind used to work in this situation, which WILL eventually occur for any of us during a Ironman race. Try it first on a 2-3 hour bike ride, bring an energy bar just in case. Great way to get lean fast too.

That´s it for now - I´m back soon with more on The Nutritional Account - the daily equation on input and output. Stay tuned

Fatboy´s Nutrition Series:
I: Nutrition - optimal weight vs. peak performance
II: The nutritional account - Input vs. output
III: Nutritional Value - crap vs. performance intake
IV: Eating like a champion
V: Supplements

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My old friends ...

Back with my old friends - the rain and the mountain bike. Not a bad combo though and I enjoyed 2 hours alone on Carretera de las Aiguas with nice music in the ears. It was raining cats and dogs when I left home and I got a weird look from our door-man, leaving home. I guess my Nordic genes still allow me to enjoy the cold rain while training, it almost animates me, makes me go even harder - definitely not something you see a lot around here. Met Guillermo running on the ways back and we kept company through-out the remaining part of his training. Good to see he is coming back from a leg injury! Bad weather can be a friend ;)

Improve running tech ...

Now that winter is really taking its toll, why not spend some time on the belt, trying to improve your running technique. Its never too late. It takes a while, it hurts in the calves - but a good technique avoids injuries and propels you forward faster. I gained some 0:30 min/km once I started running more fore-foot. This video gives a good insight into the mechanics:

Monday, November 29, 2010

My 2011 Challenge - Road to Kona

So - let´s get down to whats it all about really: The Challenge

This year somehow stepping it up. After 3 Ironman races completed, especially after posting 9h50m on home turf in Copenhagen, I felt that taste of blood - Make it to the Mecca of Triathlon, to Kona, to Ironman Hawaii, to the World Championships in October 2011!

For sure a daunting, bone-crushing task, but impossible is nothing. To get on the road to Kona, you need to qualify for one of the 1800 slots offered to non-professionals every year. All Ironman-branded races have a designated number of slots. For my age group (35-39) this probably means staying within the best 8 or 9, which again can be transposed into a required improvement of 25-30 minutes on my time in Copenhagen - that is A LOT !!!

So, teaming up with my buddy and Ironman veteran Guillermo Lladó, who is also our local and trusted Argon 18 bike pusher. Guillermo has more than 20 IM races under the belt and qualified twice for Kona - most definitely an adequate soul to follow and train with, trying to accomplish above objective!

Looking for a qualifying race, we quickly narrowed in on Ironman St. George in Utah, May 7th 2011. A new race with an aggressive profile, both on the bike (1600m of climbing) and on the Marathon that climbs 700m. This year only 3 Pros went under the 3 hours on the marathon and Kona qualification was secured around 10h30m - which proves that we need to focus a lot on climbing both on the bike and run. On the other hand, St. George looks like a beautiful landscape, surrounded by mountains and stunning views. And being accompanied by one the the best chaps in the world, my mate Anders Gramkow and Guillermo´s wife Monica, I am sure we´re gonna have the time of our life. Andy and I head out from San Francisco, make a classical road trip down to Las Vegas to pick up Monica & Guillermo - then all head to St. George a few days before the race! As a (hopefully not-needed) back-up race, I have chosen Ironman Zürich in July where I am joining Pablo, Janne and a bunch of Catalan training mates!

So what does it take? Well - I think I can safely say that I have gear right, so that leaves only hard training to be accomplished! So for the next 5 months leading up to IM St. George, training efforts will be fierce, clocking some 20-25 hours a week in the pool, on the bike and running.
January and February will be focused on volume and running (as its still a bit cold for long bike rides, even around Barcelona) and then March & April will be more quality will be virtue, hitting the bike hard with race specific long and fast training sessions, pushing the boundaries above VO2Max.

Motivation is on full and I honestly cannot wait to get going. My legs are itchinga and I have a hard time (some would say I do...) to stay relaxed and rest these weeks. I have a burning desire to give all that I have to reach this goal - without a doubt the hardest physical and mental test I have ever put myself onto.

Quoting the great Lance Armstrong: “If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell.”

Above all, looking forward to the great company of my training mates and enjoying that taste of blood in the mouth, while the old engine is hauling hard.
We take no prisoners. Hugs T

If You Had One Chance...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Berga Morning Ride

Good day on the bike today, testing the track of next year´s Berga Half Ironman. Leaving BCN early, blazing sun, chilling in the car with Sergio - hitting Berga downtown where we´re met by 30-35 riders and -2 degrees which is COLD even for Spanish snow-covered pre-Pyrenees in November. The folks told me the track was flat, hence brought the E-114. It turned out to be a trap and after hurling downhill at 65-70km/h we hit an easy 12km ascent - not stuff for a time trial bike at all. Good day though and the circuit took us through nice catalan country side with views to the mountains with snow, which may await us for some Randonee and Splitboarding next weekend.

Clean air has always been my favorite breakfast! - Luv T

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Fatboy´s Nutrition Series:

So, based on today´s discussions, decided to write a few little words on nutrition: These are the Fatboy´s Nutrition Series

I: Types of nutritions - optimal weight vs. peak performance
II: The nutritional account - Input vs. output
III: Nutritional Value - crap vs. performance intake
IV: Eating like a champion
V: Supplements

First posts should hit the lights Friday! Luv T

Today´s training - Thomas

12km fartlek at around 4:00, pushing down to 3:30 at 600-800m. Tested the new shoe inlays again and this time better - I am sure I am still having new blister from where the soles are pushing under my feet. The feeling is very stable and no pain in the knee. Guess they are worth the 255 Euros after all;)
Now stretching for a while - then nice dinner! Recovery week rocks!

Dark Side of the Lens

DARK SIDE OF THE LENS from Astray Films on Vimeo.