The Epic Guide

Cape Epic Plan Train Ride Finish

Cape Epic Guide Planning Training Riding Finishing Team BBB


Health and Nutrition
Calorie count and goal weight

Other Cape Epic Resources

Mountain Bike Tours in South Africa


Calorie Counting and Making Race Weight

Getting down to race weight and staying there during training can be quite a challenge. It is not always easy to know what to eat and what not to eat. Getting the balance just right by not over doing it or not under doing it is the challenge. Even after 3 epics now I have found myself not quite where I think I can be for race weight. Now that I have some of the other aspects under control I have decided to explore the calorie count option. Lance Armstrong used calorie counting by weighing everything that he ate to great effect to control his food intake and get it to match up to his energy expenditure. Many other athletes, dieticians and nutritional experts use this as a principle in establishing eating plans. It seemed like quite a drastic step, to weigh all my food, list it all and then spend time counting up the Calories, but I must admit it is not quite as bad as it seems. As an exercise to do to learn about what, when and why you eat it is really valuable.

First thing was to understand the energy measures and what they all mean. Energy is measured joules, this is essentially the scientific term. Often though the energy capacity of food is measured in calories.

The measures are as follows:

1 KJ = 1000 joules 1kcal = 1 Calorie = 1000 calories 1kcal = 4.2 KJ

Note the difference between calories (small c) and Calories (capital C). Often these are mixed up creating confusion, but most of the time they are actually referring to Calories as in 1000 calories, despite using the word calories.

Measurements on a food item can be either KJ or Calories. So you just need to know how many Calories per serving that you ate or know the weight of your serving and use the Calories or Kilojoules per 100g of food.

The basics of calorie counting measures the energy contained in the food that you take in vs the amount of energy that you put out per day. So you need to know how much energy you are using per day. This is worked out using your BMR(base metabolic rate), this is the amount of energy that your body needs per day to function. It is calculated using your age, weight, height etc. To get an idea of what it should be you can consult various books or look up some references on the internet. The BMR will vary depending on your level of activity as well, if you sit at a desk all day you will use less energy that say someone who is a tour guide and walks around all day. But the calculations and formulas help to take this into account.

By using a heart rate monitor which also calculates calories burned you will be able to record the amount of energy used during exercise. Adding this figure together with the BMR figure should give a reasonably accurate total energy expenditure for the day.

Counting the calories of everything that you eat is not as difficult as it seems. There is a lot of information available on calories in food, and just about every food stuff has this listed under nutritional info on the pakaging. There are also a ton of websites dedicated to calorie counting. Unless you are a seriously adventurous person or a food critic, you will probably be like the rest of us and eat much of the same food and meals on a regular basis. So all I did was draw up a little spreadsheet and started to keep track of everything I ate. Slowly the list started to grow and now I only have to add a new item every now and again.

The calorie count has taught me a few things Now I actually realise what I eat everyday I pay attention to the calories in all of these items and how they compare to each other I am getting a feel for how much I can and should be eating, it stops me from over eating, but also allows me to eat extra when I have been training It is also going to help at race time when I will be more aware of how much food I need to take in to stay fuelled up.

Now I can comfortably know how much to eat based on the amount of training that I am doing. So I will be able to sustain my energy levels during training while at the same time losing a bit of weight.

If you have specific questions or comments then contact us, or discuss and share your experiences and advice for others to see at the Epic Guide Discussion.

Sports Nutrition Books
... Buy now ...



Mountain Bike Tours in South Africa - LIVE2RIDE