Nutrition….meh. Sport Nutrition…now you have my attention!

I’m not a nutritionist.  I don’t even play one on TV, but that would be pretty cool if I did. I’m not even sure what a nutritionist is or does when compared to a dietician. Wait….Google to the rescue!  [10-minutes pass] Ok, so now I know there are a lot of similarities, but that in some states a nutritionist doesn’t have to be licensed [scary] where a dietician does.

Ok, that’s as far as I want to go on that topic. So why am I writing a blog post about nutrition? If you follow me on Twitter, The Daily Mile or happen to be friends with me on Facebook then you see my status updates include what I did that day for my workouts 6 days a week. Yes, I train 6 days a week. I don’t just “workout”. I train with a purpose and most of the time I am on a specific training program to prepare me for an upcoming race/event. My next race is a full-marathon November 5th. You’ll note that I have a lot of goals and aspirations when it comes to my training including weight loss (57 lbs so far!), running a half-marathon (Done!), a Full-Marathon (Done!), The WDW Goofy Challenge (Jan. 2012), an Ultra Marathon (50K in 2012), The Boston Marathon (20??) and maybe someday do an event that involves something more than running like a duathlon or an Ironman.

Some of you may have these goals too.  First, that’s awesome!  Congrats on making some ambitious goals! Next, let’s chat briefly about nutrition for you and me as opposed to nutrition for the guy sitting in the next cubicle over.  Let’s refer to that guy as “Gen-Pop” for General Population. He may even workout several days a week, but he isn’t really trying to PR with a sub-2 at his next Half…runner lingo…

If you are on a specific training program, have plans to continue to train for future events/races, and want to keep pushing the envelope then you are not a member of the Gen-Pop when it comes to nutrition.  You are an athlete like me. Heck, I’m registered for 4 races in 2012 already and that just gets me to May 5th! We don’t get paid (do you? Hook me up!) to go for a run. We don’t have sponsors (most of us…I don’t). And, we are not an elite athlete. We might on our best day be considered sub-elite…again not referring to myself unless you add a couple more “subs” on there. Regardless, we are not Gen-Pop when it comes to our training and we shouldn’t fuel [eat] like the Gen-Pop.

What sparked this blog topic was a conversation with my Trainer this morning.  [This is where I would link to her new website if she had it up yet!] 😉  We were talking about protein shakes for training recovery and she mentioned that one certifying body for personal trainers doesn’t put much stock in them.  I made the comment back about that certifying body being focused on the Gen-Pop, not sub-elite athletes like her or I. To give you an idea, she’s gearing up for a half-ironman and spits out 7-minute miles like they are a breeze. It’s Friday and if you asked her if she wanted to run a half-marathon tomorrow she’d say yes, but might tack on a few more miles so she could consider it a “long run” for the week. Yeah, makes me sick too, but she does give me a lot of motivation to train harder! I just like to give her a hard time in my blogs because she subscribes to it.  Hi Tatum!  LOL.

We then briefly spoke about the book I had lent her, Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. It’s a book that really opened my eyes as to my nutrition as a sub-elite athlete. It’s about Sport Nutrition for endurance athletes and very well written for the non-nutritionist/non-dietician. It talks about the signals we send our bodies by how much we eat and the amount of exercise we do in training for events. In my case, I found that I was eating too little each day. Basically, I was cutting calories and sending the signal that my body should store fat “cause the lean times were comin” and at the same time sending a totally different signal by training for endurance events essentially telling my body to get leaner. One signal says to store fat and the other says to not store fat…guess which one won the coin toss?…stupid genetics. My weight didn’t budge for months. Sending mixed signals = not good.

Once I corrected my caloric intake based on that book’s suggestions I started to get leaner. A couple weeks ago I pulled out my size 33 waist jeans. My fiancee says I’m looking good.  My speed on the run is improving. And my trainer told me this morning that I was looking like an athlete!  Yeah, it’s been a good day so far! Finally, I’m eating MORE.
Gen-Pop trainers might say I’m eating too much…..but I’m not a Gen-Pop and my results speak volumes. Remember, I’ve lost 57 pounds and cut nearly and hour off my half-marathon time in the last 18 months. Not bad!

In thinking about the book if you are a sub-elite athlete or like me a “sub-sub-sub-elite athlete” then some things to consider nutritionally are:

  1. Total daily caloric intake when you have a training session (For me…Mon-Sat)
  2. Total daily caloric intake when you have a rest day (Sunday)
  3. Pre training/event nutrition
  4. Post training/event nutrition (Whey Protein perhaps)
  5. During training/event nutrition (Accelerade, Gatorade, etc)
It might seem complicated at first glance, but it really isn’t. The book lays it all out in a neat package starting with the basics. If you haven’t given much thought to sport nutrition as it applies to your training then pick up that book and have a look. It covers more endurance sports than just running. If you don’t want to buy that book at least start asking questions or using Google to find some information on how athletes fuel for their training laced lives and how it differs from the Gen-Pop diet.
Happy Training   …and Happy Fueling!
-Brian

5 thoughts on “Nutrition….meh. Sport Nutrition…now you have my attention!”

  1. Okay, so I am a little slow to read and respond. You are funny, you know? 😉 Yes, thank you for the book it has opened a new world for me. I typically like to eat my calories and don’t think much of supplementation but with my training schedule, the kids and work, I need something quick and convenient when it comes to getting the protein and calories I need and so it here goes…

    Maybe I will have a website and my own review on protein supplementation…someday. I am working on it….

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