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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…