Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Inactivity, Cereal Withdrawal and Metabolic Efficiency

My last post was my Denver marathon race report over 3 weeks ago. Since then I've been doing almost nothing. Some of that is by choice (rest/recovery from the race), some not so much (darn flu!). All this inactivity is really OK, as I'm in my "off season" or transition period. Not training, just some exercising and giving the mind and body a break from 9 months of solid structured training. Yes, I'll lose some fitness, but the recovery time is worth it. I know my overall fitness foundation is much improved over last year so I'm hoping to make some good gains this year.

The one thing to watch out for when in the recovery/transition period is eating too much. Throughout the training year I was training for long distance events (half-ironman triathlons, a marathon) which require increased carbohydrate intake and increased caloric intake over a sedentary lifestyle (I have a desk job). I trained at least 10-15 hours a week and could easily burn 1500-2000 calories during my weekend long run or brick. If I ate like that when I'm not doing anything, I'm sure I'd put on quite a bit of weight, and the last thing I want to do is have to work off several pounds when the training starts back up again. So what am I doing?

Well, I'm not on a diet. I'm indulging in some things that I stay away from during the training season - beer, chocolate, ice cream. My birthday was in October so I ate a lot of cake. mmmm. cake. Then there was the halloween candy...but really everything in moderation (except the cake - sorry! a weakness!)

I am monitoring my meals and making sure the majority of them are healthy with fruits, veggies and lean means. Today's breakfast was a homemade smoothie. Lunch was white chicken chili (leftovers from last night - I've posted the recipe below) with some cantalope.

Now I'm going to talk about metabolic efficiency. A few weeks back I took a webinar from Bob Seebohar, one of triathlon's premiere nutrition experts, on metabolic efficiency. In summary, as an endurance athlete I want my body to be efficient burning fat so when I'm racing I don't need to eat as much. This saves time in a race and also reduces the chance of GI distress. And to be honest, I've got plenty of fat on my frame to burn through. A nice summary of the webinar was posted by Matt McNamara.

Anyway, now is the time when I've got less going on in my day so I can work on structuring my meals and getting a healthy foundation, especially revolving around fruits, veggies and lean meats. Now let me state very clearly here - I am a carbo-holic. My mom used to call me starch mouth. I was the one who would eat all the dinner rolls at a restaurant before the meal. I love cereal. I could eat cereal for every meal. But during my off season these are extra carbs that right now I don't need. I needed help - some intervention. So I asked Bob what a good metabolic efficient breakfast would look like. And he responded on his blog with some recipes.

Breakfast for me will be the hardest to wean myself off of cereal and oatmeal, as I've been eating it almost everyday since I can remember. But I'm happy to announce that today is day #9 that I haven't had cereal or oatmeal for breakfast. (or lunch or dinner.) Yay me! I've been using his recipies (or slight modifications - the yogurt one transforms in a blender w/frozen berries to a delicious smoothie. As my training will pick up again in the next few weeks, I will now have a metabolically efficient meal foundation to get my body ready to be efficient for race season! And I'm really looking foward to Bob's book on metabolic efficiency that is coming out soon and there is word of a possible cookbook, too!

As a side note, to help with my dinner planning, I'm trying out a website called http://www.dinnerbeat.com/. I'm hoping it will help save time on the weekends when I shop and plan for the week. I've got plenty going on so knowing ahead of time what's for dinner will be great. And if I make extra, it leaves good leftovers for lunches.

Here's the recipe for the white chicken chili I made:
~5 chicken breasts
2 cans northern beans or navy beans (white beans)
1 can Garbonzo beans
2 4oz of diced green chilis
cumin (1-2 T)
chili powder (1-2 T)
salt (1-2 t)
pepper (1-2 t)
oregano (1-2 T)

spray crockpot w/non-stick spray
layer the chicken breasts on the bottom on the crockpot
empty the cans of beans and green chilis into the crockpot
add the spices (season to your liking - I didn't measure exactly)
stir the beans and spices leaving the chicken on the bottom.
Cook on low 8-10 hours.
When you get home from work you have a delicious protein and fiber rich meal. I'm sure you can throw in some veggies as well to modify the chili.


Jess said...

Great. Now I'm hungry. It's midnight. ;)

Terry Odell said...

Gee - recipe sounds very much like "Mom's white chili"

Terry Odell said...

And I seem to recall "Picky Nickie" was another sobriquet

jolly said...

your blog is very nice
Cloud Servies

Nicole said...

you're right mom. Although I just modified a recipe I found, I might have yours somewhere, too. I do remember yours to be quite good. Always looking for good crockpot recipes!