One of the questions I get asked the most from our athletes and in my direct messages. How do I lose weight? We've all done it. Gone out for long fasted rides, tried to cut down carbs to next nothing our or track all our calories on phone's all in hopes of losing a couple of lbs. But what we usually do end losing? We end up losing power, energy, and often our minds.
Let me preface this article by saying your race weight should be your actual weight. Please don't take the number you were in high school or the number you were after you had that bad case of mono. You should have an idea of what that number is, and it should be a number that you can maintain a high level of performance.
The goal should be losing weight without hindering performance. The down season in cycling i.e., the Fall and Winter, is an ideal time to target. Chances are you aren't competing in as many races and riding as many miles, which means you have a little extra time and energy to focus on your nutrition. By implementing these ten simple tips below, you will be well on your way to your optimal power to weight ratio.
1. Eat anti-inflammatory foods – Foods with inflammatory properties include avocados, green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, watermelon, berry, nuts, onions, turmeric, ginger, cayenne, nutmeg, quinoa, coconut milk. Eat cold-water fish that have large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids or supplement with fish oil. Managing inflammation is an essential part of athletic performance and progression, and plays a critical role in weight management.
2. Limit dairy and refined white starches, i.e., white pasta, bread, chips.- Too much dairy can make weight loss difficult because our bodies weren't created with the enzymes to digest cow's milk properly. When it comes to bread, choose sprouted or whole grains versions of these foods but in moderation.
3. Limit Alcohol-your liver has two jobs burn fat and rid your body of chemicals. When you drink, your liver has to take time away from burning fat to pump the toxins out. It also spikes your insulin levels. I recommend limiting alcohol to 2x weekly with two or fewer drinks at each sitting.
4. Eat for your activity- More intense riding = more carbs needed. Less riding = more protein, healthy fats. If you have a big ride starting early in the morning, make sure to eat enough carbs the night before. Eat your most substantial carb meal within 30 minutes of finishing your ride to refuel your glycogen storages and aid in recovery.
5. Unlimited vegetables- Eat as much and as many as you want, especially raw. But sweet peppers, zucchini, onions, and summer squash are all great options for grilling in the summer. Conversely, root vegetables are great for roasting and making soups with the winter.
6. Eat small meals throughout the day-
Eating mini-meals throughout the day can aid in weight-loss; you should never feel full. Use smaller plates and bowls and wait at least 15 minutes between helpings.
7. Meal Prep- The key to success comes with preparation. Spend a couple of hours on Sunday prepping your lunches and snacks: cutting your veggies, grilling your chicken, cooking your rice, and sweet potatoes. This way, when mealtime rolls around, all you need to do it heat it or pull it out of the bag.
8. Green and Lean Dinners
Your pre and post-ride meal needs to consist of fast assimilating carbs. But where we can go a little leaner is the meals not as close to the ride to help with weight loss. At dinner, combine lean protein with unlimited veggies and a touch of healthy fats. Eat your dinner at least 90 minutes before bed, if possible. High carbs at dinner include are beans, lentil pasta, quinoa, amaranth, squash, and corn. If you have a big training ride 2+ hours the next day, then please feel free to load up a bit more.
9. Drink water and lots of it- The brain often confuses thirst for hunger. Even mild dehydration can aggravate the digestive system. So start your day off with a tall glass of purified water with freshly squeezed lemon to hydrate and detoxify.
10. Choose organic food- This helps you to avoid ingesting pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified (GMO) foods, and irradiated food. Fresh organically grown food has more nutrient value and tastes better, and organic meats and dairy don't contain hormones and antibiotics. The more nutrient-dense your food is, the less likely you are to overeat because your body's needs are being met.
This Article was Written by CINCH Cycling's Nutrition Specialist Kourtney Danielson
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