Tag Archives: Resting Metabolic Rate

Revisiting Sports Nutrition

One of my goals for this month was to read two books and shockingly, I finished both 10 days before the month’s end.

After not fueling well at SFM, and dealing with growing GI issues I decided to (re)read Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guide and Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. I’ve read both books before but its been about two years and I needed a refresher.

Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook

I first read “Nancy Clark’s Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions.” While it was a good read, I personally got a lot more out of “Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook.” I thought it was a more balanced approach as she also discusses fueling for a variety of workouts (which I do).

My goal this time around was to revisit how to properly fuel before and during a workout (specifically a long run) and how to optimally recover from it. For me this meant getting into the math of just how many grams of carbs to ingest before and during a run, etc.

Having recently done a Resting Metabolic Rate test, I already knew what my caloric zones were and what a healthy amount of calories/day for me should be. Using this information I worked through the formulas listed in the book to determine how many carbs, protein and fat I need to properly fuel my body. In the past I’ve found that I’ve gone to both extremes of either being under fueled and over fueled. After doing the calculations I then punched these numbers into my online food journal to make it easier to gauge.

{Side note: I compared the nutrients breakdown to the numbers that were provided to me from the study I participated in last Fall. They weren’t too far off but these numbers are probably more accurate since they are based on my RMR test.}

As suspected what I found was that I was not fueling my body enough on my longer trainings runs. This is probably why I’ve felt like death during the last few miles. I also haven’t been recovering sufficiently after these long runs.

I now have some ideas of things to experiment with on my upcoming longer runs and will report back on what I find/how I feel.

Racing Weight

I have read several books by Matt Fitzgerald and really liked them all. I try to catch all of his articles that show up the Running channel on Flipboard.

What I like about this particular book is the discussion on the importance of optimal body composition, meaning the distribution of lean mass muscle vs body fat percentage.

Back when I first started working out with Trainer Dave (almost 10 yrs ago!) we recorded my measurements on a regular basis.

August 2003

August 2003

Although my weight hasn’t drastically fluctuated, nor I haven’t gone up in size, my body fat percentage has increased over the past couple of years. If I can lower it and regain the lean mass I used to have then perhaps I can not only lower my injury risk but also improve my running times and overall health.

August 2005

August 2005

Like the first book, this one also provides charts and formulas to calculate different targets based upon personal goals. I’ve set my goal to get back to the body composition I had a few years ago when I felt my healthiest.

August 2013

August 2013

One thing that I personally found helpful was the suggestion to breakdown your daily caloric intake. For example, if your target is 2000 cal/day to break it down as follows:

Breakfast: 20-25%
Morning Snack: 10%
Lunch: 20-25%
Afternoon Snack: 10%
Dinner: 20-25%
Evening Snack: 5%

It may seem like a lot of work, but if you already use an online food journal, once you calculate your targets its very simple to track. As someone who has been obese and continually struggles with portion control, I find this immensely helpful.

It has also been helping me to make wiser choices in the foods that I eat – not just from a “Is this healthy for me?” perspective, but also from a “Is this good for my gut?” perspective, particularly as I’m going through an Elimination Diet process.

Both books also offer a slew of recipes. I’ve tried some, had to modify a few but the ones that I tried were easy to make and tasted delicious.

If fueling, hydration and nutrition are topics you are interested in, I highly recommend both reads. It doesn’t matter if you run long distances or not, its just good knowledge to have on nutrition.

Eating To My Metabolism – Revisited

Somewhere along the way, it seems like counting calories became a bad thing. At times I have felt guilty and embarrassed because I do so. Why do people who look down on this practice care? To each their own. It may not be something that works for everyone, but it works for me.

Last Fall I participated in a study at San Jose State called “An Assessment of Nutrition and Feeding Practices of Adult Female Marathoners.”

Runners World had tweeted a link to it and when I saw that it was with a local university, I inquired about joining the study. I had to complete a questionnaire to see if I qualified for the study, and I did.

For two weeks I had to keep a food diary recording every single thing I ate, and every workout I completed.

At the time I wasn’t counting calories, but was loosely keeping a food journal to make sure that I was eating sufficiently while training for the New York Marathon. I thought I was eating pretty healthily and wasn’t too concerned about total calorie intake because, you know, I was in marathon training and I needed as much fuel as I could get for all that training.

Three months later I received the results from the study and it was eye opening.

I learned that my average daily caloric intake was substantially higher than recommended for my activity level. I was eating 700+ more calories per day than I needed to, even while marathon training.

No wonder I always gain weight during marathon training…

The study also told me that:

+ I had to reduce my intake of carbs, protein, fat and sodium.
+ While I ate many healthy whole foods, but I was also eating some very calorie-dense food.
+ I ate a lot of vegetables, but not enough fruit.
+ My iron levels were very good.
+ I was deficient in biotin, potassium, and calcium.

Now that I’m in a new marathon training cycle for the San Francisco Marathon, I want to do better with my nutrition this time. I started using My Fitness Pal again in January and unlike other training cycles, plan to continue using it through this period of marathon training.

I also got a Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) test last week.

An RMR test calculates how many calories your body burns by doing “lifestyle activities” like working, eating, walking, driving, etc. It also calculates how many calories your body burns by doing moderate exercise. Then it calculates caloric zones giving you guidelines on how many calories to eat to maintain weight and lose weight. It also gives you a zone, which you should only stay in if you are medically supervised.

This is a good link that explains more about the test itself.

All of this is designed to teach you how to eat to your metabolism. Not another person’s metabolism. Not what a generic diet plan says. It tells you what is right for your individual body right now.

I’ve had an RMR test done
a few times, but it’s been a couple of years. It was very useful in helping me maintain perspective on my diet. I’m a person with an addictive personality who loves food, so when I find something that I really love; I tend to go excessively overboard with it. Thank goodness my current obsession is Brussels sprouts. No one ever died from eating too much BS right? {I kid…} :)

We all set marathon goal times, but I also like to set other goals, especially during a training cycle. Eating healthy foods that will fuel my workouts, in amounts that are sufficient to my metabolism is one goal that I have right now. Hopefully I will be able to stay on track with it so that I can maintain an ideal race weight and achieve the race goals I set for myself.

Fortunately for me, I’ve found that changes I’ve had to make weren’t significant, once again proving that little changes can amount to big benefits.