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
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.