My biggest issue with winter is that it gets light so late and dark so early. Let’s face it, it sucks waking up and it’s dark and cold!
I also love to eat! So coupled with the cold dark mornings and large portions I’m used to make weight gain an inevitability.
So what are the secrets to staying lean:
- Many of the same foods you’d eat in the spring and summer time work for winter, too – just watch portion sizes, snacking and fluid intake.
- Snack on whole foods. Fend off mid-morning and mid-afternoon hungriness with fruits, raw nuts and vegetables. Reintroduce whole foods from all of the food groups to acquire vitamins and minerals from foods rather than bars, gels and drinks.
- Eat more fibre: Fibre helps you feel full, so you’re satisfied even though you’ve consumed fewer kilojoules. It also helps reduce cholesterol. Great sources of fibre include oats, oatbran, legumes, whole-grain breads and pasta, brown rice, fruits and vegetables.
- Stay away from too many liquid kilojoules if you are off the bike, as overuse can lead to weight gain, so opt for fat-free or low-fat milk, which is the easiest way to get your calcium requirements.
- Carbs are still king and kilojoules provide the necessary heat needed to keep our body temperatures up in cold weather. Bananas, gels, raisins, breads, pretzels and pasta are all good examples of appetising foods that help fuel our bodies for a winter ride.
- Pack a lunch and eat in. Bringing a lunch from home insures that you’re getting the right foods in the right amounts when at work.
- Keep a simple food diary in the winter that charts what you’e eating and when you’re eating.
- Moderation, variety and whole foods are key concepts.
The ones that resonate most with me are the portion sizes, fluid intake and whole foods (does a whole chocolate bar count?).
I thought Carbs were out and protein was in? Have we done another 180 degrees?
The 8 rules to shed weight are also brilliant and tie in nicely with the secrets to staying lean:
At The Table:
- Skip three bites. “Eat two or three fewer bites at every meal than you normally would, and you’ll automatically save up to a couple hundred kilojoules a day,” says Bonci.
- Restock, don’t stockpile. You want to replace the glycogen you burn during a ride, but you don’t want to create a huge energy surplus. “For weight-loss, it’s critically important that you don’t gorge yourself after a ride,” says Bonci. If you sucked down Gu and Powerade during your ride, you’ll have less glycogen to replace.
- Play up protein. Though cyclists shouldn’t jump on the all-protein-all-the-time craze, it is important to have protein with every meal, says Bonci. “Protein foods are more filling and they take more time to chew, so your body has time to register that it’s full, and you eat less than if you were shovelling fistfuls of bread. It also helps build lean muscle and boosts metabolism, so you burn more kilojoules.”
- Strive for five. “Slight hunger pangs mean your body is doing what it needs to do to lose weight,” says Bonci. On a scale of one to 10, with one being hungry and 10 being stuffed, you want to be at five.
- Eat in the a.m. Skipping breakfast leads to depleted glycogen stores, low energy levels and the likelihood of burning precious muscle tissue during a hard workout. Eat a well-balanced meal to stoke your metabolism and have energy to burn.
On The Road:
- Add iron. Weight training just two days a week can replace muscle tissue you naturally lose with age, which revs your metabolism and increases the number of kilojoules you burn each day, making it easier to lose fat faster. In one study, increasing muscle mass by about 2.5 kilograms boosted the average daily metabolic rate by about 9 percent – that’s 1,050 kilojoules for a 10,500-kilojoule diet.
- Double up. Whenever you exercise, your body’s metabolism remains elevated for hours afterwards. What’s more: Your body secretes growth hormone, which increases fat-burning after a workout to aid recovery. Take advantage of this afterburn effect by adding an extra ride or workout to your day when you can, even if it’s only 20 minutes.
- Stretch it out. Long, slow endurance rides are fat-fryers. Stretching out your normal hour-long workout by 30 minutes can double the amount of fat you burn. Include at least one 90-plus-minute ride in your regimen each wee
MTB Strength Training Systems have some great workouts. Now all I have to do is get onto doing some of them. I’ve recently started running in preparation for the Xterra Triathlon next year in February. I wanted to start the swimming training today but as Murphy would have it, I’ve got the flu from someone! The other point that is also very valid and being as supple as a plank causes a bit of a problem, but stretching is imperative! Hopefuly, by the time the Xterra comes round, I’ll be able to touch my toes without bending my knees.
Let me know your training tips and hints and any diet habits you’ve tried and that worked for you.