It is official. The winter break is over, and it is time to get ready for those races you have marked on your calendar. The first order of business is to lose a little bit of that winter padding.
Since, I have a 70 miler planned for this summer, I figure losing 10 pounds would be handy. Here are a few approaches that have worked for me in the past
No more late night snacks
Awhile back I read a book called the 8 hr diet. Like most diet books I find that there are usually a few nuggets that I can use. The author claims that we should really only eat in an 8 hr window during the day. So if you have breakfast at 9 then your last meal has to be at 5.
I found this a bit constricting, especially when I did big runs. However, keeping myself to a 10 hr window seems to work well. I usually have breakfast @ 9:30 AM so I try to give myself a hard deadline of not eating after 7 PM.
To Carb or not to Carb
Ask someone who is trying to lose weight, and I bet dollars to donuts that they are going to tell you that they are cutting back on Carbs. That may be fine for the average person, but endurance athletes need Carbs. Your muscles run on Glycogen, and you get Glycogen from Carbs.
So that’s it, you must eat Carbs. Not so quick! The other fuel that your muscles use is Fat. In fact, at lower intensities your muscles prefer fat to glycogen. Add in the fact that we can store 10x as many calories in the form of fat, and every endurance athlete wants to burn fat. So, a high fat and low carb diet will help.
Ya, me too. So through much trial and error, I have found a work around that seems to work for me. I try to go low carb for most of the day, and then add a healthy portion later in the day, for me this is dinner. I also have at least one high carb day every week. This helps me lean down while still keeping my energy up.
What about supplements?
So, all I can report is what has worked for me. I can say that I have tried many things with varying results. At the moment there are only a few things that I find are worthwhile.
Since, this article is focused on weight lose I will only talk about those. For me, there are only 2 or 3 things that I have found are worthwhile.
- Green Coffee Bean
These are exactly what they sound like. Simply coffee beans that have not been roasted. And no, it is not just the caffeine that helps with weight lose. Green coffee beans also contain Chlorogenic Acid.
There are many benefits to Chlorogenic Acid, it is thought to have health benefits for heart disease, diabetes, weight loss, and others. For weight loss, chlorogenic acid in green coffee is thought to affect how the body handles blood sugar and metabolism.
- Raspberry Ketone
There is less evidence that Raspberry Ketones work. So, this is really a try and see supplement. I have had success, but scientifically there is less proven evidence. I have seen reports that claim it increases metabolism, but like I said nothing rock solid.
Since Raspberry Ketone is a chemical derived from red raspberries, I see little risk in trying them. But I will leave that up to you.
- A good protein
You need protein to build lean muscle. More lean muscle mass will cause your body to burn more calories during a day. Burning more calories will cause you to lose weight. But, lets be clear this does not mean that you drink a 1500 calorie shake and expect to lose weight. Make sure that your Calorie intake is still reasonable.
Burn more calories then you eat
This is really the granddaddy of them all. To lose weight you have to intake less calories then you burn. Simply really, but extremely hard to do.
Ok, we know that 3500 calories equal 1 pound of body weight. So if you want to lose 10lbs then we need to find a way to burn off 35,000 calories. But, here is the kicker. We don’t want to cut it so drastically that we get sick or we can’t perform. The latter being a real worry for endurance athletes. We need to train at an optimal level, and to be at that level we need to have fuel.
For myself, one of the things I fail to accurately track is how many calories I burn during a workout. So, let’s say my goal is to keep my calorie intake to 2000 calories per day. But, then I run 15km and burn 1500 calories. Now, my calorie intake for that day needs to be 3500 ( 2000 + 1500 ). But, what happens if you are guessing at how many calories you burn. This is where training with a heart rate monitor is extremely useful.