Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Climbing Out of the Off-season

Shortly after the holidays, I stepped on the scale and discovered that I “accidentally” gained 8 lbs in as many weeks during the off-season.


Yes, I did read nutritionist Reyna Franco’s article on Off-Season Nutrition and Exercise. (Says Reyna: “We are not bears who hibernate and need the extra fat to keep warm.”) Though somehow between my third helping of Thanksgiving turkey, my second helping of Christmas ham, and sixth glass of New Year’s champagne, the thought of cutting calories never quite crossed my mind. Not discouraged in the least bit, I’ve since made a few simple changes (other than not eating and drinking like rock star) during my pre-season phase, aka “base training” period, that have done wonders:
  1. Low calorie electrolytes. Instead of drinking very sugary isotonic drinks (like the kind they throw on winning coaches at the Superbowl), I’ve been dropping Nuun electrolyte tablets in my water bottle during training. 360 mg of sodium with only 5 calories. Seems to be working beautifully.
  2. Keeping a food journal. I got this idea from an article by Lee Gottheimer, who lost 70 lbs with simple healthful changes in his lifestyle. Somehow I feel more accountable for what I put into my body when I write it down. I shudder to think what my journal would’ve looked like through the holidays. (Wed, Dec 27th: “Bacon Cheeseburger + 2 Beers + Chocolate Cake… for brunch!)
  3. Fruits, vegetables, and tofu. I’ve been going to town on the greens and legumes. The tofu has also been giving me a good source of light protein. Plus I feel like I can actually workout within an hour of eating.
  4. Afternoon snack. I munch on a Clif bar at about 3pm every day. It keeps my energy levels consistent through the rest of the day and prevents me from bonking if I go for a run after work. Equally as important, it also keeps my hunger in check, which prevents me from eating too much at dinner.
End result: I’ve already lost 2 lbs in the last 10 days! Looks like I’ve plenty of time left to get back to race weight well before the racing season begins. Perhaps I’ll celebrate with a beer! Uhhh… or not.

Got any good tips for dropping off-season weight? Please do share.

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