Nutrition, What I would tell my 19-year-old self

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Nutrition, What I would tell my 19-year-old self.

If you want to fly a jet you must put jet fuel in the tank.

I want to tell my 19-year-old self back in 1975 what I have learned about nutrition.  Like a reverse time capsule.

The lessons I have learned have been mostly through trial and error.  I am the expert on my body, how I respond, and grow.

My wife Maripat is instrumental in my nutritional support.  She does a great job of looking out for me, keeping me balanced and adding variety.  About 4 years ago I did a nutritional analysis.  I sent a sports nutrition expert a one week food diary, my workload, and my body composition analysis.  The conclusion was that I was getting exactly what I needed and in the right proportions.  I was taking a protein supplement at the time.  The supplement was over and above what I needed.  I was afraid I was not getting enough protein from my diet.  When I was not eating well, l I needed the supplement.  As I started eating better, the supplement  was not needed and was in fact hurting me.  I was having kidney, liver, and bladder issues.  It took about a year for my body to be re-balanced after I stopped the supplement.

I am going to use an example of my normal routine and what I have learned through the process.  I live in a suburb of Chicago.  The skating rink that I train at in Milwaukee is 75 miles away.  The drive takes about 90 minutes in the morning.

I wake up at 5am and take my heart readings with my ithlete device.  This device tells me how well rested I am, and how hard I can train today.  Then I start the coffee and get ready to leave.  I eat breakfast at 6:15 and in the car by 6:30.  Breakfast is usually granola cereal, oatmeal, or eggs.  I sip coffee on the drive.  I arrive at the rink about 8 am and start the warmup process.  I do stationary bike, dynamic stretch, static stretch, some slide-board, and imitation turn strokes.  Then I change into my skin-suit to get onto the ice.  I am on the ice around 9am.  It has been almost 3 hours since I ate breakfast.  I eat half a banana as I walk a short distance through the tunnel to the ice.  I have found out the hard way that if I do not fuel now I will surely bonk in about 30 minutes.  My ice workout usually lasts about 90 minutes. When I train on the ice I am doing warm-up laps, technical work, intervals, sprints, etc. I sip water with some natural grape juice mixed in for a little flavor and sugar.

When I am doing anything for more that 20 minutes I need some type of liquid that not just replenished my fluids but adds sugar as well.  When I am doing long runs or a triathlon I need to consume something besides water every 20 minutes or so like “GU” or I run out of gas.  I have tried Gatorade, etc, but water with a little grape juice works best for me.

Then after I get off the ice I immediately eat the other half of my banana.  I need to start refueling right away or my body will start eating its own muscle to replace the glycogen I just burned.  The last part of my workout on the ice starts the flushing process of the lactic acid I have built up during the workout.

Then I change out of my skin suit and into bike shorts and I am on the stationary bike again for 30 minutes at low heart rate (110 for me) to continue the flush and I keep sipping my water.  After the bike cool down, I do my static stretching for increased flexibility and injury prevention.  Then I change for the drive home.

Next I head for a restaurant.  I like a burrito with no tortilla, rice, black beans, chicken, lettuce, cheese, and guacamole.  The guacamole is a good fat to help with the protein absorption.  If I wait till I get home to eat, my body will eat its own muscle to replace the glycogen.  That would be counter productive. I need to eat now, not later.  The banana that I had coming off the ice held me over till I could get something more substantial.

This is what has worked for me.  My mantra has become, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”.  I got that from a book called “In Defence Of Food”.

I make several dozen decisions every day that affect my heath and they are mostly around food.  I am healthier than ever.  This in turn affects my skating performance in measurable ways.  This example illustrates many important applications of my nutrition strategy.

Bruce, my 19-year-old self, line up on the centerline of the runway, release the brakes, push the throttles forward and get ready for takeoff.

I would love to hear from you what is your best snack between meals!  I will announce which is the most popular.  Please chime in and be heard!

P.S. I have turned the corner with my over-training and am back on track, training harder, and ready to race again soon…

Bruce and our dog Lilly on our front deck, she is a Yellow Lab mix 85 lbs, about 15 months old and adopted 6 months ago. Who rescued who?

4 thoughts on “Nutrition, What I would tell my 19-year-old self

  1. At 19 I was in the military they had physcial program requiring a programmed diet to keep us going, it was monitered by our leaders, and worked. Later in life I negelected a sensible diet, paying the price, however at 65 I am back on track and feeling great. The old saying; “If I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself” is so true.

  2. Great post Bruce …..I really find Coconut water mixed with a little grape juice and water really helps me work out much longer and harder.

  3. I read it. Vey interesting for me. My method of nutrition is very simple All fresh and cold, not warmed, boiled, fried, baked, no meat, no potatos 🙂

  4. Excellent, Bruce. At any age, it is never too late to strive to be healthier and stronger. I love the feedback comments and the strategies shared by everyone. Obviously, each person needs to find what works best for them, but you have reminded us that better health, exercise and conditioning never occurs by itself – never. Stay strong with no regrets, Bruce.
    Thanks for the reflective insight,

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