Without understanding the importance of nutrient timing, in particular carbohydrate timing, it is easy to see why many people think if they train frequently, or have trained that day, they can eat whatever they want, whenever they want. INCORRECT.
“You cannot out-train a bad diet” – one of the most powerful quotes I have come across! It doesn’t matter how many sessions you are doing in a week, you still need to be mindful of what you are putting in your mouth. And if you are training frequently, it’s even more important you think of your food as fuel and provide your body with what it needs to perform at its optimum.
Your body tolerates carbohydrates best in the post-workout window. Consuming them in this window (which can vary but say up to 3 hours after relatively intense training) is important because it enables us to replace muscle glycogen and will assist in the recovery process.
When considering your carbohydrate intake and the timing, consider the 3 main types:
1. Fibre rich carbs – includes vegetables, fruits, legumes. They are loaded with nutrients and absorbed slowly because of high fibre content – eat anytime.
2. Starchy carbs – Quinoa, potatoes, sweet potatoes, oats, cereals. Best consumed after exercise when the muscles will “grab” the carbs and use effectively.
3. Refined sugary carbs – pasta, white bread, fruit juice, processed foods (and the list goes on) – yes they will give you a quick energy boost after exercise but consider what benefits they have to your health. Try to avoid these, but they are best tolerated in the post workout window if you must.
Now…knowing this, I made the same mistake I have mentioned above. A conscious choice, to eat a gourmet burger and chips from “Grilled” for dinner. My training today was an RPM class at 6am, so I was so far outside my window of opportunity that I wasn’t even in the same suburb! I suppose the beauty of knowledge is that you have the ability to look at the situation, say “I know this is not going to get me closer to my goal” …but I’m going to do it anyway. You will certainly have days like that!! I could feel guilty about the fact that in my 1st week of trying to minimise refined sugar to 2 days, is in fact going to be 3, or I can use this to set a more appropriate goal next week. Better yet, I can try harder to resist the temptation of that delicious lamb burger with hummus and beetroot relish because “no food tastes as good as feeling healthy and fit”.
We will have weak moments. Every one of these weak moments is an opportunity for growth but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t fight the urge. I find it helpful posting quotes on a pin up board in my room so I see them frequently… in fact if I was ever waking up after 6am when the sun was up I would see my vision board as soon as I opened my eyes… try writing a motivating quote somewhere you will see it often. The cliché mirror post it, a vision board at your desk, anywhere…
I’ll leave you with one of my favourite motivating quotes…or a question to ask yourself each time you are at one of those cross roads that is a decision…
Dietary record for day 4:
Breakfast: Scrambled egg & smoked salmon crepe (Toast café East Perth), soy long mac
Snacks: handful of nuts (x 2), 2 x homemade choc cups, nut/seed slice
Lunch: bacon & cheese wrap in mountain bread x 2 with garlic kale chips
Dinner: Grilled burger and 1/2 small chips
Not nearly enough fruit & veg. I must carry more snacks on the road – preparation is key!!!