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  1. #1
    Senior Member Stallionforce's Avatar
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    Athletes and Diet

    Well I am putting on my asbestos jacket...

    I've noted that many endurance athletes (myself very much included) place little emphasis on their diet, and a great deal on their training regime. In fact, most of the guys I know don't eat very well at all, and of our little group, I'm probably the worst. I'm not a fast-food junkie by any means, and I do consume my oats, brown rice, eggs, poultry, spinach, etc. Problem for me is excessive sugar cravings, chocolate, and pastries mostly.

    Now I know it's 'legal' to ingest such things after a hard ride. Problem is for me that it has really become a bit of a compulsive behaviour, and I find I am 'rewarding' myself or 'carroting' myself through the day often with these foods.

    So I intend to break this habit. What I am wondering is how to optimise my diet. I'm open to suggestions, or any little bits of advice, or even general advice (such as books I might seek out). I know that the raw food fad is really big right now.

    I'll leave it at that and see what sort of flames stir up here.

  2. #2
    NorCal Climbing Freak
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    To be honest, I say reward yourself. At the level we train / race at, fine tuning your diet isn't going to lead to marked improvement. As long as you are eating well, on the whole, I think you're fine.

    And at some point, you need to break the 'rules' a bit when there is the need to replace some 2k calories after a training ride.

    My weakness is currently chocolate, the Ritter Sport variety.
    Last edited by grebletie; 02-16-07 at 07:19 PM.

  3. #3
    Where's the pack? race newbie's Avatar
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    I got chocolates for V-day, I ate back the 800 calories I burned today, reward realized! What type of riding are you doing? I have the sugar and pastry cravings as well. There's an interesting book called "The Diet Cure" by Julia Ross that supposedly cures your cravings by balancing your body chemistry with the proper foods. I'm not sure I buy it but the concept definitely interests me.
    "The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success." -Vince Lombardi

  4. #4
    Senior Member Stallionforce's Avatar
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    Yes then there are those days when nothing but pastry gets eaten until dinner...muffin, giant cookie...etc. So I sort of need to make a break in that routine to at least establish control for a month or so.

  5. #5
    c'mon up front and work jamesstout's Avatar
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    so make sure you have a good breakfast i.e oats/eggs.wholegrain toast and a recovery drink on returning from riding these will help curb cravings at least i find they do

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Yeah, cravings are usually caused by low blood-sugar; your body is telling you something. Just eat a small portion of your pastries or favorite snack and that should hold it off. If you don't overdo it, you can pretty much eat anything.

  7. #7
    Senior Member duckliondog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    Yeah, cravings are usually caused by low blood-sugar; your body is telling you something. Just eat a small portion of your pastries or favorite snack and that should hold it off. If you don't overdo it, you can pretty much eat anything.
    This would sell bicycles so well. I ate two apple fritters after my ride today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stallionforce
    What I am wondering is how to optimise my diet. I'm open to suggestions, or any little bits of advice, or even general advice (such as books I might seek out). I know that the raw food fad is really big right now.

    I'll leave it at that and see what sort of flames stir up here.

    Lance Armstrong's personal trainer, Chris Carmichael and some nutritionists put out the book Food for Fitness. It's a guideline on how to eat well for both health and athletic performance. It's recent and very well done.

    Those who do population studies that include non-western populations find that the diet of western affluence is unhealthy because of too much animal product consumption. The more plant based diet, like in rural China for example, results an order of magnitude less heart attacks, cancer, autoimmune diseases and diabetes. The most credible source of that research is The China Study by Campbell. It's also recent (2005) and reports on about 3-decades of work by many researchers.

    Lastly, the USDA updated their nutrition guidelines in 2005 and put out and 80 page guide and did away with the Food Pyramid. It's available as a free download. Carmichaels' book seems consistent, but the guide is more for couch potatoes. I believe there is a lawsuit against the USDA for stacking the board of scientists/nutritionists that developed the guidelines with representatives from the dairy and Meat industries.

    Over the last two or three decades I've slowly drifted towards plant based. It's amazing how your energy level increases.

    Al

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    Have a look at 'Super Foods Rx' by Steven Pratt, MD.

    Get a database driven calorie counter (I know CalorieKing has a free download and 7 day trial). If you're honest and put _everything_ in, you'll be amazed at how many calories you're actually eating and what they're made of...

  10. #10
    Pat
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    I have noticed the desire for sweets also and it is something I indulge in to a degree. I keep fats low and try to completely avoid saturated fats. I think as long as you eat the sweets on days when you have done sustained aerobic activity, you should be OK as long as you don't go really overboard. Your body should just slurp them up and use them immediately.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    There, exists of course, the optimal "food" for every situation. I think every athlete pretty much knows he is not doing his athletic goals any favors by eating things that he knows have little nutritional value.

    For instance, I pigged out on turkey, ham and beef over the Christmas holidays but ate virtually no cookies or candy. To take your post, one point farther, most athletes know they are not eating the optimal quantities of food either.

    Big deal, so what. Think how much better we all would be if we simply maintained our "perfect lean body mass" weight for racing -- all the year round?


    So you have figured out that athletes appear to focus on training more than nutrition. Don't worry, another kind of athlete, with a balanced interest in both training and nutrition exists, but he's way up the rode - out of sight.

  12. #12
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    eating well has done wonders for me this year. i finally took the plunge and made myself eat better. fruits, veggies, nuts\berries, whole grains, lean meats, etc. i try to follow the USDA guidelines for my gender, age, and activity level.

    it took a while, and the affect was slow, but i realized over time that a) my mood improved, b) i slept better, c) i was more alert throughout the day, and d) i didn't get bloated or overly full anymore.

    once you do it for a while, it becomes second nature. i still treat myself once in a while (we had fried chicken last night for example), but by and large i no longer find unhealthy foods appealing to me.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Stallionforce's Avatar
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    Thanks to everyone except for Mr. Cranium.

    I will certainly look into the suggestions that have been made. I appreciate the advice and support.

  14. #14
    Micro Gameboyist
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    This would sell bicycles so well.
    /r/ link to that dude that ate an entire bike. (and a cessna, among other things)

  15. #15
    Where's the pack? race newbie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stallionforce
    Thanks to everyone except for Mr. Cranium.

    I will certainly look into the suggestions that have been made. I appreciate the advice and support.
    Yep, leave it to old Mr. Cranium to make you put your asbestos jacket on.

    For me to avoid indulging the sweet tooth I find two things that work:

    -Don't have it in the house, if I have to drive to go get it it's a lot less likely to happen.
    -Eat something sour or salty instead. I'll often eat a Klaussen pickle or two and I find it sort of rewires my craving. Good luck!
    "The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success." -Vince Lombardi

  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    When I can eat whatever I want to eat, whenever I want to eat it, I either maintain my weight or lose weight.

    I discovered several years ago, that the more "fit" I am, the more my cravings changed to be what my body needs rather than what some portion of my brain wants. And I also learned how to read my cravings.

    For example ...

    -- Immediately after a long ride (and sometimes even during a long ride) I will desperately crave MEAT!! I rarely crave meat - I lean toward being a vegetarian - but I do on occasion, and I believe that is my body's way to tell me I need protein to help rebuild my muscles.

    -- On some rides I'll crave oranges, and I think that is my body's way of telling me I need Vitamin C or carbs or both.

    -- Usually about once a day I crave salt, lately often right after my trainer ride. It can be very tempting to have a bag of potato chips waiting for me, but instead I try to have a box of baked crackers with a lower calorie and fat count available.

    -- When I crave sweet stuff, I know that it is my body's way of telling me that my blood sugar level is low, and that I need to eat something ... but not that I necessarily need to eat something sweet. It is my choice what I want to eat ... the crackers and cheese will raise my blood sugar level just as well as the chocolate bar. But this is a tough one for me, and for a lot of people, because once we give in and have the high calorie sweet item, and our blood sugar levels spike and drop, we want another high calorie sweet item ... and it seems like any thought of eating something more healthy leaves our minds entirely. However, when the first sweet craving happens, if we reached for something with complex carbs and proteins, which would raise and then level out our blood sugar levels, we would be so much better off.

    One trick I stumbled on last year was to have a bowl of little toffee candies sitting on my desk at work. When I have a craving for something sweet, I eat one of those and then if I'm still hungry, I'll go for some whole wheat crackers or something that is better for me.

  17. #17
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    Fruit, fruit, and more fruit. It is the only thing I eat for breakfast, and makes a great snack. Energy bars/gels? Screw that.

    Stevia is a natual sweetener that can also help kill sugar cravings. If you have any doubts, the Japanese have used it for around two thousand years with no ill effects, although the FDA/sugar industry might want you to think differently. Get the white powder type, the green type only tastes good in tea. I like mixing it with natural peanut butter (peanuts only) and cinnimon for a healthy snack...although I still eat junk food ...

  18. #18
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    up your fats by means of raw almonds and walnuts, mono fats such as fish oil too, EPA/ need fat to loose fat

    cravings are derived from insulin, blood sugar spikes. Eat more often, well balanced meals 5-7 times a day

    not only will metabolism churn like a race horse, cravings will stop, and u will lean up!

  19. #19
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    BAM, SUMMED IT UP brilliantly, How bout sugarless gum for those sugar cravings?
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    When I can eat whatever I want to eat, whenever I want to eat it, I either maintain my weight or lose weight.

    I discovered several years ago, that the more "fit" I am, the more my cravings changed to be what my body needs rather than what some portion of my brain wants. And I also learned how to read my cravings.

    For example ...

    -- Immediately after a long ride (and sometimes even during a long ride) I will desperately crave MEAT!! I rarely crave meat - I lean toward being a vegetarian - but I do on occasion, and I believe that is my body's way to tell me I need protein to help rebuild my muscles.

    -- On some rides I'll crave oranges, and I think that is my body's way of telling me I need Vitamin C or carbs or both.

    -- Usually about once a day I crave salt, lately often right after my trainer ride. It can be very tempting to have a bag of potato chips waiting for me, but instead I try to have a box of baked crackers with a lower calorie and fat count available.

    -- When I crave sweet stuff, I know that it is my body's way of telling me that my blood sugar level is low, and that I need to eat something ... but not that I necessarily need to eat something sweet. It is my choice what I want to eat ... the crackers and cheese will raise my blood sugar level just as well as the chocolate bar. But this is a tough one for me, and for a lot of people, because once we give in and have the high calorie sweet item, and our blood sugar levels spike and drop, we want another high calorie sweet item ... and it seems like any thought of eating something more healthy leaves our minds entirely. However, when the first sweet craving happens, if we reached for something with complex carbs and proteins, which would raise and then level out our blood sugar levels, we would be so much better off.

    One trick I stumbled on last year was to have a bowl of little toffee candies sitting on my desk at work. When I have a craving for something sweet, I eat one of those and then if I'm still hungry, I'll go for some whole wheat crackers or something that is better for me.

  20. #20
    truthisntalwayswanttohear jacob's Avatar
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    book: La Medicina Natural al Alcance de Todos by Manuel Lezaeta Acharan
    supplement: colloidal minerals
    therapy: cold showers
    foods: fresh and organic

    Jacob Vickery
    "Always continue with an attack you have begun." - Manfred von Richthofen
    "Mysteries are not necessarily miracles." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    "Back then, a half-a-century ago, the situation was totally different. Economically, we were practically on our knees, and politically, we were still excluded from the community of nations. Today, in this respect, we have a totally different and much more stable basis." - Franz Beckenbauer

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