About 12 weeks out from a goal race is a good time to reduce calories if you're looking to race lighter. However, it's important to avoid cutting too many calories before and after training as doing so could deplete glycogen stores and could prevent the repair of muscles after training. And as we all know, triathlon is all about backing up training from one day to the next, something which is a lot harder to do if you're not fueling the tank with sufficient carb's and protein.
With my goal race, IM Melbourne, being about 12 weeks away and as training gets serious, it's definitely time to get serious about my nutrition in order to train hard, maintain my immune system, allow optimal recovery and achieve my goal race-weight.
Crunching the numbers
As a Dietitian I'm crunching numbers all day long, calculating clients' requirements according to their individual goals and translating it all in to practical food tips. So, I've turned the tables on myself and it looks a little something like this -
Current weight = 59kg (BMI = 21kg/m^2, RR: 18.5-25, healthy weight range)
Goal race weight = ~55kg.
My individual estimated nutrient requirements -
Energy = ~10.6MJ (-2.1 MJ for weight loss) = 8.5MJ/day
Protein = ~71gr protein (with 18gr high biological value protein/meal)
Carb's = ~413 - 672gr/day (tailored around training)
So, it could potentially look a little something like this -
2 slices raisin toast with 1 tspn reduced-fat table spread on each
50g chicken breast, 1 SunRice brown rice Quick Cup, 1/4 avocado, lettuce, tomato and 30gr reduced fat cheese
100gr lean meat/skinless chicken/fish, 2 cups veg, 1 cup rice/pasta/potato. 1 serve fruit with 2 small scoops of frozen yoghurt.
Fruit (total 2 pieces/day)
Milo with Skim Milk (perfect for post-training recovery)
Vita-Wheats with 40gr reduced fat cheese
175gr low fat yoghurt (Chobani is perfect - higher in protein, lower in fat AND and lower in sugar compared to other yoghurts out there)
1 handful unsalted nuts (go for almonds or walnuts!)
Water as the main drink
(Sports drink during long training sessions on weekends)
For any goal to be achieved it needs to be a S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) goal. I think my goal of ~55kg by IM Melbourne is all the above. Breaking it down it'll mean a weight loss of ~1-2kg per month. To track my progress I'm going to do a weekly weigh-in to keep myself motivated and on track; bearing in mind that training means gaining muscle mass so it'll be about becoming lean, rather then simply focusing on the number on the scales (I definitely don't want to lose muscle mass).
How am I going to do it? Well, for me, to achieve my goal race-weight, to start with I'm going to do the following (being brutally honest here!) -
1/ Limit my intake of chocolate/sweets (not including post-training Milo) to once per week. Yes, I'll admit I'm a massive sweet tooth and chocolate, in particular, is a major weakness for me. It's also a high fat, high calorie food choice that's definitely slowing my attempts at achieving my goal race-weight.
2/ Limit red wine with dinner to once per week at most. Again, I'll admit, I enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner, most nights, but alcohol is packed with calories and to help me with my weight goal (and also to help training) limiting the wine to once per week will definitely see me on the right track to achieving my goal.
3/ Do a weekly shop. This will make things A LOT easier when it comes to meal planning and making sure we have healthy snacks on hand when hunger strikes post training. I've picked Sunday for the weekly shop day, which will mean Sunday afternoon/evening will be all about meal planning for the week ahead.
Focusing on 3 things I'm ready to change, to start with, is plenty.
So, here we go! Sh*ts getting real!! :)