Being fit and averaging just over 600 miles a month throughout the in-season – or being a cardio junkie, in other words – has its rewards. Lean, strong body, reduced stress and the need to replace burned calories. Last year I thought I was handling my weight well. To start the year I was about ten pounds over where I wanted to be mid-season. By April (a 501 mile month) I was already within my target weight. In May (606 Miles) I started to drop below that. In June (634 Miles) I was in trouble – I was too skinny and something needed to be done… I needed to eat, and eat I did. July was a vacation month so I missed a few days between driving and trying to figure out where I’d ride while on vacation (only 513 Miles). Also, being on vacation always means lots of food, so my weight stayed where it should have been. In August things took a turn though… August was an amazing month for me – 684 glorious miles. Unfortunately, with those miles my weight took a serious dip. By the middle of August I was five pounds under my ideal weight and still dropping – great if you’re a climber in the Tour de France but not so much if you’re not being paid to ride a bike. I knew one thing for sure: Riding less was not an option.
I turned to food – and not the foo-foo food either – I turned to the good stuff. Put simply, you burn upwards of 5,500 calories on a 100 mile ride. Then you’ve got after-burn (studies show that you burn calories at almost the same rate for an hour or more after a decent workout – there are competing studies that negate this but those studies were conducted under faulty conditions). Add to that my normal daily required calories (2,400) and you’re upwards of 8,000 calories that have to come from somewhere. Now trying to eat 8,000 calories in a day would be crazy, but I found that as long as I spread that out over the week I was good. Where that gets interesting is trying to figure out where I had to be with the other five or six riding days in the week. Sorry to say, but you’re not going to maintain your weight on chia pets and seaweed when you’re putting in miles like that. No, I opted for something a little closer to the famous Michael Phelps diet. By the time I rolled through September (674 Miles) I was back on track and maintaining my weight within a few tenths of a pound of my estimation of “perfect”.
So, in that light, I would like to pass along the Xtreme Eating Awards for 2013. The menu items on the list are obviously given in a negative light, but if you happen to be active like me, the menu is more like a “to-do list”. Dig in. WOOHOO!