Can a Triathlete Eat What they Want?  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

That was the title of an article I read recently in “Inside Triathlon” magazine.

One of the more nutrition interesting articles I had read in a while, it was more a commentary of the dietary requirements of elite athletes than a how to, or a how much for weekend worriers.

The article started with a breakdown of the infamous diet of Michael Phelps. In case you missed out on the details, look at the pic at the top of the page. And keep in mind, this is not a one or other menu, he eats everything. I feel stuffed just reading about it.

What I took away from the article was that there are a group of elite athletes out there, who among everything else, can manage to eat whatever they want, including foods that would make a nutritionist have a heart attack, and still seem to excel in their sport.

In fact, the article goes as far as to say there is no real documented evidence to suggest an increase in performance with an enhanced or healthier diet.

But hold on before you stop in to Tim’s for a double dozen Boston Creams, the article does go on to state that even though this meal plan worked for Phelps at the last couple of Olympics, it won’t work for everyone.

The article is also careful to point out that although in some cases, a fairly crappy diet might not hinder performance, there are also health issues to think about.

The reality is that at that level of performance, the body burns so much energy, that it’s an absolute necessity to supplement the diet with calorie dense rocket fuel. Think about that last 1 hour long killer kick ass masters workout you barely survived. Now think about doing that same workout for 4 to 6 hours a day, every day, using a body that has been genetically designed to be a metabolic machine. Now those 12000 calories don’t seem so out to lunch, pardon the pun. Can you imagine trying to fuel those workouts on garden salads and tofu?

So in my own words, everyone is different. What works for MP might not work for Craig Alexander or Lance, and certainly not for me. Practice and experimentation is key to finding out what works best for the individual. Over the years, I have found that my body seems to be sensitive to an overabundance of carbs. When I bump up my protein intake, and supplement it with mainly veggies and fruit, and keep starchy carbs to a minimum of amount of high quality whole grains, my body responds positively with better performance and better body composition.

So unless you are a genetic freak, training 6 hours a day, don’t follow Phelps diet, and expect to win 8 gold medals at the Olympics. Stick with what you know.

The Flu, Weather, and Life Modified P90X Program  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

Not sure if it was H1N1, but it sure knocked the snot out of me.

The plan at the beginning of the program was to complete the entire 90 day program before things like our Masters Swim club, and our Cycling club spin class sessions started, but after a couple of weeks of dealing with flu and cold viruses, first with the kids, and then with my wife and I, as well as doing some much needed home maintenance, which is still not complete, I now have to re-juggle the entire P90X structure.

I am sure a lot of time and effort went into the program scheduling, and the group breakdowns. There is definite logic to having a break between Plyometrics and Legs. Or sticking yoga right in the middle of the week, but to fit the program in around my own busy schedule, I had to make some serious changes.

But, before changing the schedule, I decided to list a few objectives that would help me re-plan my program.

1. Fit in the schedule of my NOW current offseason training, mainly Thursday and Sunday evening Masters Swimming workouts, and Tuesday evening Spin workouts.
2. Continue with upper body training. This is what suffers the most when Full triathlon training kicks in.
3. Keep the core and flexibility work. I have seen an increase in my flexibility, and I am banking on that translating into a more aero position on my tri bike next season, as well as helping with my swimming.
4. Keep the plyometrics. I have already praised the plyo session, and I feel this will help my speed on the run next season.
5. Opt for an increase in training volume similar to the Doubles Program, as opposed to a reduction in training volume similar to the Lean program.

So to keep with these objectives, I decided to make the following changes:

1. Stick with the phase 2 Chest and Back routine on Saturday.
2. Keep the shoulder workout on Monday, but instead of a P90X workout, I changed it to a resistance session at the pool, i.e. a swim workout with the paddles, and incorporating lots of sculling drills. Core in the evening.
3. I flipped the yoga with legs, so Legs are now on Tuesday, but instead of a P90X leg session, I changed it to a spin session. And if you don’t think that’s a tough leg session, try one.
4. Wednesday is now a lunch time swim, and yoga in the evening.
5. The Kempo session which was intended to be a cardio session, was switched for my second masters swimming workout.
6. Friday is rest day, although if I have time, and energy, I plan to slip in a little stretching.

So given these parameters, my new schedule looks like this.

Saturday: Chest Back and Ab Ripper X
Sunday: am Plyo, pm Masters Swimming
Monday: lunch Swim pm Core
Tuesday: Spin Class
Wednesday: Lunch Swim pm Yoga
Thursday: pm Masters Swimming

You may note a couple of things, especially if you are a triathlete.

1. No Running. This is by design. I always take the fall and part of winter completely off for a couple of reasons. To avoid injury, and to concentrate on other disciplines.
2. 4 swim workouts. Again, for several reasons. It’s convenient in northern climates. The pools are always open, and not weather dependant. Also, swimming at this time of year is about refining technique, not building fitness, and to do this requires frequency in the water.
3. Only 1 cycling/spin session. Cycling is my weak point, but my long term seasonal plan is to incorporate other spin training sessions into the schedule in the New Year. I have a power builder program I am dying to try, but for now, I am concentrating on my strength training

So if I PB next summer, it’s a hit. If not, it’s a bust. Time will tell. Stay tuned.

Ironman Inspiration  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

Just in case you are on the way to Panama City Beach, or in Missy's case, B to B, and can't seem to get fired up yet, first check your pulse to be sure you are not dead, and have a look at this little inspirational video.

Some of my fellow competitors, and fellow master swim club members are on the way in the next couple of days. Best of luck to all. And get to Walmart early before they sell out of Gatorade?