Health Connections

About a month ago, I wrote a post on the Health Coach that I have through work that's part of my insurance benefits. Well yesterday was my monthly check-in session that I had forgotten all about! It was such a nice surprise to get a phone call from my Coach! We reviewed my fitness goals which are:

* to run my first marathon at the end of April * to complete my first baby triathlon at the end of September (I refuse to use the term "sprint" because there will be no sprinting on my part).

Being relatively new to swimming and cycling, my plan all along has been to build a base through the cross-training that I'm doing while training for the marathon. This way, I can learn the fundamentals of each sport, then start to seriously training for them after the marathon. That would give me 5 months to be able to swim 400 meters in open water and ride 11 miles.

During my previous sessions, we've had in-depth discussions on training plans and my diet. My coach provided me with these valuable training and nutritional resources:

Training: * The ABC's of Fitness * Workouts * Marathon Training Plans * Swim Workouts

Nutrition * The Food Pyramid * Live Strong * Healthy Eating Tips

Today, he also recommended that I visit to find more information on training.

Then I unleashed a bunch of questions on him:

Q: Now that I'm taking a Strength & Conditioning class twice a week, I've dropped my weight-lifting workouts from twice a week to just once a week. Is this a good or bad thing? A: Adding more muscle could throw my body out of whack. Its probably better to stick with the no-weights Strength & Conditioning workouts because it builds overall fitness which he believes will help me better prepare for my goals. You can't go wrong when you vary your workouts; it keeps your body on its toes.

Besides, in ancient days, there were no weights, there was only physical movement and labor. Weights were an added bonus over time. However, be cognizant of any feelings of weakness anywhere in your body and incorporate light weights if/when necessary.

Q: And as for swimming? A: Definitely continue with the swimming, but like he mentioned above, variety is good so I should mix things up. Use a kick-board and pull buoy. (I was so excited to tell him I just started doing that!).

Q: "I don't take any vitamins or supplements because I feel that a balanced diet will provide me all the nutrients I need. Given the events I'm training for, would you recommend that I take any supplements?" A: First he gave the disclaimer that he isn't a nutritionist, but could only share what he does personally, which is to drink a protein shake after a game or hard workout, primarily for muscle recovery.

Then he told me that through this coaching program I have free access to a nutritionist! I was so excited to hear this! I have not been very happy with my scale (actually I've been flat out angry with it) lately and I know for a fact its definitely not for a lack of working out. I mean I am either running, swimming or working out at the gym for 10-12 hours a week, with two-a-days on Mondays, Wednesdays and sometimes Thursdays and/or Fridays. So I know the increasing scale is due to diet, and probably stress too.

So I made an appointment to see the nutritionist next week! Needless to say, I can't wait!

The last thing he left me with was this information on Sports Nutrition for Athletes. These are just basic nutritional rules that I'm sure many of us already know, but its always nice to be reminded of them:

The Basics of Good Nutrition: * Less than 30% of calories consumed daily should come from from fat. * Less than 10% of the fat calories consumed daily should come from saturated fat. * Drink a minimum of 8 to 10 glasses of water per day. * Never skip breakfast! * Eat when you feel hungry, not when the clock says it is time to eat. * To make sure you are getting enough of all the vitamins and minerals you need, make sure your meals have a variety of colors. The more colors of foods you eat, the better your chance of getting all of the nutrients you need. * Consume a majority of carbohydrates as complex carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta, rice and bread) rather than refined carbohydrates (soft drinks, candy, cakes and sugar sweetened food).

The Basics About Carbohydrates: * Carbohydrates should contribute 60-75% of calories every day. * Eating a high carbohydrate diet all of the time can increase endurance. * Eat a high carbohydrate snack or meal within two hours after exercising to help replenish glycogen stores. At least 300 calories of carbohydrates are recommended for a 150 pound person. Depending on your weight, you may need a little more or less carbohydrates to replace your glycogen stores. * Example of a carbohydrate snack: 1 cup of orange juice plus 1 bagel or, 1 bowl of cereal with milk and 1 banana or, 1 low fat granola bar and 1 cup fruit juice.

The Basics About Protein: * The optimal protein intake for most athletes is 15% of total calories. * Example: An athlete requiring 2,200 calories per day needs approximately 82 grams of protein per day. Five ounces of meat and 3 cups of milk provide 59 grams of protein. The remaining 23 grams can be obtained by eating starches like rice, pasta and cereal in amounts recommended each day. * Adequate protein must be available for muscle building.

The Basics About Fat: * An optimal sports diet can contain up to 25% of calories from fat or about 60 grams of fat per day for an athlete consuming 2,200 calories. * Overeating fat generally results in under eating carbohydrates. Eliminating fatty foods is best.

I've been using the Daily Burn for a full month now and I love seeing the breakdown of my daily diet - how much of it was Carbs, Fat and Protein. I also like being able to scan the UPC bar code of a food product and having it automatically be entered as "a food I created." It definitely takes more effort to track my diet this closely, but for me, I've found that its necessary to keep my diet on track.

NOTE: One thing I don't like on the Daily Burn is that, in my opinion, its functionality is limited when it comes to logging your workouts. So when my workouts fit within their framework, I'll enter it, mostly so I can see my caloric balance for the day. But as for keeping a fitness journal, I use the Daily Mile.

Workout Update Wednesday AM: Total Body Workout Wednesday PM: Interval Run on Treadmill Thursday AM: Swim

For the first time in weeks, I have no plans for Thursday night! I'm debating if I should do anything or just rest. I'm leaning towards resting. I once read in an article that you need to rest to "let your body absorb your training." So that's what I'll probably be doing tonight - as I finally watch the season premiere of Lost! I have a love/hate relationship with that show - but I'll leave that for another day.

Happy Thursday!