Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Small steps for a big problem

"Big Problem" being relative.

My *big* problem is once again nutrition. I thought once I hit the end of my racing season that everything would fall into place and go back to the way they were before.

All of a sudden, I'm struggling to get through workouts again. (Hey, the positive in this is that I can now identify between being tired from lack of sleep and being tired because I need more to eat.)

I cannot tell you how frustrating this has been for me this year. Every single olympic distance race was a struggle.

Nothing seems to work. I decided to take DRASTIC measures. DRASTIC, I tell ya.

I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I have this completely useless Master's degree in Exercise Physiology.....which really is a long involved story, but one that I am more than happy to share should the time arise.

We spent a sick amount of time on nutrition......all different types of nutrition: daily for athletes and sedentary people, for fueling races/training, what happens at the cellular level, minerals, macronutrients, hormones, fluid intake, blah blah blah....have your eyes rolled back into your head yet? We covered everything.

A couple of days ago, I was getting ready to sign on with a nutritionist. I thought that I owe it to myself to pull out all the information that I have and create a plan for myself.

I still don't like tracking, but I came up with an idea....I will track "how I feel".  I don't know why I never thought about it before. I swim by feel. I ride by feel. Running....well, I always feel like death so that doesn't count.

I should be able to apply the same principle to nutrition. It *SHOULD* tune me in better to when I am missing calories or certain nutrients....I just wanted to test it out.

The first thing I did was calculate my calories and macronutrients. (Keep in mind, they're all estimates since I've never done any metabolic testing, but it gives me a range for hard core training, racing and not so hardcore training.)

My initial thought was "those numbers can't be right." Then, I considered how I've been feeling. I thought I'm just going to do this. If I don't see progress in, say, a month, then I'll get some help.

Instead of tracking, I know what's in the food I eat. It is more a matter of bumping up everything throughout the day.

Day One, I started and got crazy hungry very quickly--par for the course. I made notes to eat XX amount more for breakfast the next.

Day Two: I still got hungry, but it wasn't as extreme, and it took a couple of hours.

This is the game that I've been playing for the past few days. Am I hungry? Do I lack energy? If I had to train right now, could I?

So today, I worked up to a recommendation from my nutrition information. Overall, I felt pretty good. I only ran into trouble when I ended up being at the warehouse longer than I expected. That's going to happen.

It might take me longer than a month just to get "right now" figured out, but I'm ok with that. I'd rather get my stuff worked out before I start getting ready for next season.

I guess the lesson is that I have to take it slow and really pay attention to what I'm eating. If I'm not going to track calories and all that, then I really need to pay attention to the signals and identify what they mean.

The other thing that I am learning is how to prep for the "next day". Let's say I have light workouts today....how do I manage my calories for the next day's 2 hour workouts.

I really wish this wasn't so much work.

BUT....I can see where I've screwed up in the past, doing races completely underfueled, fading fast, even being tired the morning of a race. (NOT a good sign).

I have a couple of really big swims coming up. Those will be my first real tests. All other workouts have been well under 2 hours and more like 1-1.5 hours.


Once again.

Wish me luck....this TIME, this is it. If I can't get my stuff together, I'm heading to a nutritionist.


Carolina John said...

ugh. I just used my blog for tracking, dumping every single day weight, bodyfat, eats, and workouts. it was insanely annoying.

I always found that nutrition was a pattern. once you tell yourself you want to change the pattern, small changes could make a big difference. And sometimes you need to track for accountability, sometimes just to spot the patterns.

Jumper 2.0 said...

You want to feel better? Not be hungry. Eat comfortably and not depend on will power which is in limited supply. I sound like an ad, don't I? Then go with a high fat diet. You'll feel so much better.


And this. It's long but it has info that will help dramatically. http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/07/how-much-carbohydrate-protein-and-fat-you-need/