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My Diet as an Endurance Athlete ...

Posted Feb 17 2013 2:07pm
Last week I wrote a couple of posts ( here and here ) that talked about performance gains I have been experiencing with a new focus on optimizing my body composition. Both of these posts focused on the outcomes of being much lighter than previous years but neither mentioned the "how" my diet has changed. I received a few emails and some comments asking to explain the "how"?

Let's do that today.

First, let me step back and give you brief history of my ups and downs with weight loss over the years.

Like many people, after I got out of college and entered the real world I began to slowly pack on the pounds. One night back in 2008, at the age of 32, I stepped on the scale and was disgusted to see the digital read out before my eyes flashing a rather larger number - 210 LBS.

At 5'9",under any metric you choose, that weight would place me squarely in the category of "obese".

It was time to make some changes.

I ordered P90X, everyone's favorite at-home fitness program, and religiously followed the program for 6 months - it worked because I was back to my fightin' weight of around 170LBS (2nd Pic Below) and I looked and felt healthy. After these 6 months and a new appreciation for living a healthy lifestyle I needed a new challenge and found Triathlon.

After 14yrs of Beer and Pizza -
Day 1 of P90X
After 180 Days of P90X

After my first Sprint Triathlon , I realized quickly that compared to the fast people (which I was not one) that day I was still heavy. Through consistent training over the next couple of years I was able to get my weight down to around 155LBS. I looked skinny and felt fast, this was my perfect racing weight ... so I thought.

Now flash forward to October of 2012. I was coming off of being sick (and on the couch) and had once again packed on some extra insulation and was sitting at 163LBS. But what was more concerning to me was that I looked unhealthy and all the weight I had gained was in my stomach. Once again, it was time to make some changes.

This is when Annie, my better half, and I decided to hire a nutritionist who caters to Endurance Athletes.

Below is a description of how I now eat
- Breakfast (5:30):  6 Eggs Whites, 2/3 Cup Starch

  • Egg White Omelets with Hashbrowns/Oatmeal or Egg White Waffle using Oatmeal.
- Mid-Morning (9:00-9:30): Shake or Yogurt/Fruit
  • 1 Cup Egg Whites mixed with 1/2 Cup Almond Milk and 2 tsps Sugar Free Nesquik.
- Lunch (12:00): 6oz LEAN Meat, 1 Cup Starch, 1 Cup Veggies, Vinegar dressings
  • Most of the time I make a bowl of Lean Turkey or Chicken with Corn or potatoes and Leafy Greens with Broccoli and Carrots. It is awesome.
- Mid-Afternoon (3-4pm): Protein Muffins or Balanced Snacks.
  • My Nutritionist gave us a bunch of recipes for this ... Bananas, Veggies, Fruits ...
- Dinner (6-7pm): 6oz LEAN Meat, 2 Cups steamed or raw veggies, fat free dressings.
  • I usually cook a low fat meat (Tilapia, 99/1 turkey breast, LEAN Chix Breast - no rib meat added) and eat a ton of veggies. Starch/carbs are not add for dinner unless a big workout or race is coming up.

So, overall this is pretty simple. We try and keep the fat in our Lean Meats extremely low (less than 10%) and eat a ton of vegetables and take in the carbs at breakfast and lunch.

The key to success for us has been to plan out our meals weekly. Each weekend we go to the grocery store and load up on our proteins. We will toss 6-8 LEAN Chicken Breasts in the crock pot on Sunday and they last us for most of the work week. We cook more than we need and refrigerate the rest for lunch.  

BUT the most important thing we did was buy a digital food scale. Portion control is key and without the scale we would not be able to do this like we have been. Get a scale.

I have heard many a person make the claim that eating healthy like this is expensive and I am not going to lie and tell you otherwise because our grocery bills have been higher then in the past. HOWEVER, our overall expense on meals has gone down slightly because we RARELY eat out anymore. Especially for lunch.

Another important fact that has helped me is having a solid support group in place. Annie, who probably does not want me posting her weight online, looks amazing right now and has been my dedicated partner throughout. We keep each other accountable and give each other a kick in the butt when faced with temptation (like cookies or cake). I have also leaned heavily on  Jason , as we have been following very similar plans and have seen virtually identical results. Jason is a vegetarian and has really helped me with selecting the right veggies and preparing them. Check out  his site  for tons of great recipes for Endurance Athletes.

So, this brings us to the end, and you all are probably wondering where I am today?

-  On October 22nd 2012, my weight was 160LBS and my Body Fat Percentage was an embarrassing 17%. 

-  Today, February 17, 2013 - about 4mos later, my weight is 142LBS with a Body Fat Percentage of a lean looking 9%.  

More importantly, is that I look and feel fantastic. I have never slept as good as I have been in my entire life and between the extra sleep and healthy foods my recovery from hard training days is much quicker. 

Back in 2008 when I decided to "make some changes" I never imagined that would equate to being 68 LBS lighter today, but based on how I look and feel this is exactly where I need to be!


If you have any questions please feel free to email me (jeffirvin@gmail.com) and I'll do my best to answer.

Thanks for Reading,

Jeff 
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