Monday, December 21, 2009

Periodization of Diet

Nice image (above) huh? Well, I didn't draw it. I just thought it was funny. I don't know about you..but this is probably what MY food pyramid REALLY looked like for the month of December (so far). It's probably the reason why I'm at least 10 lbs. overweight. But the REAL reason I chose this image (besides it being funny/realistic to some) is to highlight the title of the blog- Periodization of Diet. (TM Joe Friel)

Just like your Training Plan (I hope you have one by now) has a Periodization should your diet. Your Periodization of Diet not only differs from person to person (depending on age, body chemistry, etc.) but it's different at certain times of the year. For example, during the racing season most professional cylists are consuming up to 60% (or more) calories from carbs, 25% protein, and 15% fat. During the off-season these percentages will change dramatically. Why? Because these same athletes aren't training at the volume and intensity they are during the racing season and they just don't require the high percentage of carbs to maintain their high energy output. For some of these athletes, their off-season percentages may change as much as: 50% calories from carbs, 25% protein, and 25% fat. Notice that protein input stays constant throughout the year?

Personally, I like to adjust my off-season caloric intake percentages to: 50% carbs, 25% protein and 25% fat. It's just hard as hell to do during the holiday season when everywhere you go and everything you see is nothing but carbs (booze, candy, cakes, cookies, etc.). If I'm successful at keeping to these percentages I know I have a good chance of dropping some weight. And, THIS IS the time of the year to drop weight..not during the Build Phase of your ATP. BTW, this is the time of the year when I'm also at my highest body weight (10 lbs. higher than my summer riding weight). And, why am I sooooooo concerned about my body weight? In case you didn't know..the lighter you are the faster you're going to be able to climb hills. And, unless you live and ride at the shore (all the time) where it's're going to have to climb hills. Did you know that for every pound of excess body weight you have, you MUST pedal 2 watts more (on average) to pedal up a hill? So, if I lose 10 lbs. that means I can climb the same hill (at the same pace) at 20 watts less. I don't know if you realize it but if your FTP is 240w that's almost 10% increase/decrease in power. Trust me, as Tiger Woods would say, "That's HUGE". (BTW, where is Tiger?) Do you think you can increase your FTP by 10% by training on your bike as easily as you can by losing weight? I don't think so. So, think about that next time you pick up that cookie or have that 3rd or 4th beer. Listen to as I say..not as I do. haha

What should your optimal weight be (if you want to be a good climber)? According to Joe Friel, in "The Cyclist's Training Bible" (a must-have read), a good way to determine your optimal weight for climbing is by your weight-to-height ratio. Just divide your weight (lbs.) by your height (in.). So, if I weigh 180 lbs. and I'm 71 inches tall, my weight-to-height ratio is: 180/71= 2.5 lbs/in. Good climbers, according to Friel, are less than 2.1 pounds/inch. Wow! I'd have to drop 30 pounds. Well, that aint gonna happen anytime soon for me. I'll settle for 165 lbs. and a weight-to-height ratio of 2.3 instead. Wait a minute, that's 15 pounds less than what I am right now. Phew, I got a long way to go..bleh.

In addition to adjusting your percentage of carbs/fats/protein throughout the year, you should adjust them throughout the day as well to meet your training demands. In the off-season, particularly the Build Phase we're in now, my highest carb intake is typically during breakfast (cereal/pancackes/etc.) and lunch (wheat bread) and prior to my daily workout before dinner. I try to refrain from eating carbs AFTER dinner. Notice I said TRY? It's hard. I always IMMEDIATELY follow a workout with carbs and protein to assist in muscle recuperation. I just read an article the other day that said if you pop an advil/aspirin after your workouts, particularly for old farts like me, it will help build muscle strength:,6610,s1-4-21-17040-1,00.html

Adjust your Food Pyramid or Periodization of Diet Plan...not only during the year but during the day. In case you're wondering, the only way you're going to be able to determine your percentages of carbs/fat/protein is with a calorie counter software program. You can get a bazillion of them (FREE) on the internet. I use a program called I like this one because I can use it on my PC as well as my Blackberry. Just make sure the program graphs daily carbs/protein/fat percentages. Start countin' NOW. Power ON! Coach Rob

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