I think one of the hardest parts of putting a training or weight loss program together is nutrition. What to eat, not eat and when are all valid questions. I am not a dietitian or nutrionalist. Let me get this out there before I go on. I have been reading and absorbing this material for years through all my start and stop work outs. I have had some success with simple meal changes not involving a particular fad diet, including dropping 40 pounds and keeping it off till marriage set in. So, when I started my triathlon training, involving longer endurance workouts and multiple workouts per day, I seriously examined my nutrition. I have found what works for me through non-stop trial and error. If something works, I try to stick with it.
First, I do not trust, like or use the inferanl BMI metric. It is pure bollocks in my opinion. But that is a rant for a different time. I what I use to figure calories is Basal Metabolic Rate(BMR). This number basically how many calories you need to consume when you are doing nothing but lying in bed and not moving. The most accurate way to get this number is to go too a specialist and have it measured. But, you can get an idea by using BMR calculator like this one. So I put in my info and get back 2610.41. Then I use another calculator to get the Harris Benedict equation results, which adds in the daily base activity. I like to go with the lowest value and then adjust as I do activity through out the day, so I use 1.2 which gives 3132 calories for light activity and exercise to maintain 297 lbs a day. From there just subtract 1000-500 calories and make that the goal. From what I understand you do not want to go below t his deficit as you deprive your body of the calories it needs to function and lose weight.
Now all of this can be very complex so the simpler solution is to use calorie and nutrition tracker websites. I use Livestrong calorie tracker, Daily Plate, because they take your weight, goals and calculate how many calories you should have through out the day. Then you just add the food you consume, from their fairly large database, through out the day and it subtracts your calories. Also, you can add in your exercise and it will adjust your calorie intake based on calories burned. Its a great program to keep track of what you are eating and all nutritional values and calories expended.
Eating wise, I try to eat more carbs around and after my workouts and taper the complex carbs down through out the day. I try to stick to a simple idea of a portion of protein and a portion of carbohydrates with all meals. Adding in greens and fruits whenever possible and as snacks. So that is really pretty simple. After most of my heavier cardo sessions like running and biking I eat instantly to replace spent glycogen.
Below is an example of what I found works for my running morning routine:
5:20 Get up and eat oatmeal and Chobani yogurt – I give myself an hour or so to process this, usually starting my run by 6:45 which seems to work as the perfect digestion time. 320 Calories/47 carbs/22 protein.
7:45 Immediately after my run, I consume a chocolate almond milk and protein powder, some sort of bar like bonk bar or kashi bar and a Chobani yogurt. 600 calories/80 carbs/46 proteins.
It looks like allot of calories, but according to the formula my watch and heart rate monitor calculated I burnt 1300 calories on my run. Even if this is not super accurate it give an idea of how many calories burnt off during the workout period. I figured this food mixture out from trial and error to be honest. This fills me up for at least an hour, in which I shower and get ready for work. Then I make another meal when I get home as I am usually starving at this point. But it is less calories/carbs and proteins. This meal gets me ready for my lunchtime swim session and allows my body to process the food. On some long days I have to toss in a gel before running to give the body enough fuel to run.
I also constantly drink water through out the day. If I have coffee I try to drink 2 cups of water per cup to balance it out. Occasionally I reach for a diet soda with dinner. So that is my basic nutrition plan, basically put together off of a base of sound principles, but firmed up with experience and experimentation. Til next time.