Eating…. and Fuel
As an athlete and coach I am always thinking about nutrition and food as “fuel.” The idea of “fueling” an athletic lifestyle draws a parallel between the idea of stoking a fire with “fuel” and “fueling” our bodies through workouts, recovery and events with solid nutrition and food. I believe that “fueling” needs to be in line with the period in which you are training. Example: during heavy training loads (several hours per day of training), fueling needs to replenish and replace fluids to consistently train at those higher loads. During recovery periods, or “off season” periods – fuel should be matched with lower training loads so as not to accrue excess weight.
So then – what “fuel” should we use during training, recovery, and events?
As I am not a dietition – I speak anecdotally about fueling from my own personal success with fueling and success in sport. Simply put – there is NO MAGIC PILL, CONCOCTION, FOOD or EQUATION that I follow. Living in New England – growing months are short and local fruits and veggies are less abundant in the winter months.
As a rule – I try very hard to choose foods that are “in season” (harvested during the months that I am needing to consume the food), dense in nutrients, fiber, and grown/raised close to home. I seek out local suppliers of meats, fish and dairy to know how the animal is raised and their food sources. Why local? Simple – it’s fresh, it reduces the amount/duration of travel from farm to table (thus reducing carbon output in transport and production) and I am supporting a local farmer with business.
I eat loads of colorful veggies (you can’t eat enough fresh vegetables) from one of our own gardens in the summer months such as: mesculin greens, spinach, swiss chard, kale, broccolini, zucchini, squash, beets, etc. Fruits – I am careful to mix this up and consume different fruits from week to week (mostly organic and local) – again trying very hard to eat locally produced fruits such as: strawberries (in June), blueberries (fall), raspberries (fall), black berries, apples (in the fall), etc.
I don’t avoid carbohydrates as they make up a larger portion of my “fuel” diet during my heavier training loads and racing periods and are necessary. I enjoy hearty grained breads baked locally, steel cut oats, wheat berries, etc.
Snacks: Nut butters such as Almond, Cashew and Peanut Butters, hard boiled eggs, dried fruits, applesauce, old pancakes w/jam, pretzels, etc… all make up a some of the many snacks that I “fuel” with.
I won’t get into the “how much” piece as this is completely individual and depends on your training loads! Fuel up healthy!
The Feed Zone Cookbook! Athletes…let’s get cooking!
I am frequently asked about resources regarding healthy recipes, nutrition and diet. I am slow to provide or give recommendations. Until now!
I am cautious on recommending resources due to the fact that not only am I an avid endurance athlete, but I love to cook and eat real food. I also subscribe to using whole food ingredients in my pre, post and training workouts – minimizing gels, bars, supplements.
Finally I have found a book that seems to agree with my thinking as well.
Recently, a new book by Chef Biju and Dr. Lim has caught my attention. Being an avid athlete and person who enjoys foods in their entirety… I love this book and it’s approach. Simply put – athletes should head back into the kitchen and stick to foods wrapped in their own wrappers :).
According to “The Feed Zone Cookbook” website – the book strikes the perfect balance between science and practice so that athletes will change the way they think about food, replacing highly processed food substitutes with real, nourishing foods that will satisfy every athlete’s cravings.
About the Authors – Allen Lim, PhD is sports physiologist for the Team RadioShack pro cycling team. Lim has worked with Jonathan Vaughters and the Garmin pro cycling team, closely with the top U.S. cyclists, including Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde, and David Zabriskie.
Biju Thomas is the chef behind the menus of many successful restaurants in Denver and Boulder, Colorado. He has worked closely with professional cyclists including Levi Leipheimer and Lance Armstrong to improve their eating habits for better performance. Biju is also a contributor to Map My Fitness, one of the largest social networks in the sports industry.
According to “feedzonecookbook.com” the new book vetted countless meals with the world’s best endurance athletes in the most demanding test kitchens. Now, in The Feed Zone Cookbook: Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes, Thomas and Lim share their energy-packed, wholesome recipes to make meals easy to prepare, delicious to eat, and better for performance.
Check it out if you’re looking for a cookbook that’s been tried and tested by athletes: