Greener Diet: UPDATE
It has been two months since I started to clean up my diet and make it "greener" or more appropriately stated, colorful. The results are eye opening.
Before I get into the details of the physical changes I want to be clear on some key points. First I train to be fast. My physical appearance is a result of my efforts to get from point A to point B, which more times than not are 70.3 miles apart. I do not train for “washboard abs” or to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club.
Secondly I'm an opponent of frequent weigh-ins. The numbers on the scale are just numbers and weight fluctuates too much day to day to be of any significance over the short term.
At the end of the first week of each month I take what I call "my vitals". On Saturday morning of the designated weekend I wake up and immediately take my resting heart rate. I then proceed to the bathroom, to measure my body weight (I realize what I wrote above) and body fat.
The only reason I do this each month is for health reasons. First I want to make sure that my resting heart rate is steady. If it is raised by as much as 5 BPM it is a sign of my heart working harder than it should. This could forecast an oncoming cold, current physical fatigue and is a signal that I need to focus on rest and recovery.
I measure and log my weight because a dramatic drop in weight is not healthy and a safety concern. As the volume and intensity of training picks up I need to make sure that the deficit between calories going in vs. calories going out (burned) is at a minimum.
My concern with body fat is similar to that of my weight. Having a certain amount of fat is good because it serves as an important energy source (vital for endurance athletes). Without the fat to burn the body will rip through glucose leaving you cooked before the finish line.
My initial vitals
RHR: 53 BPM
Body Fat %: 16%
Body weight: 180lbs
One month on a greener, more colorful diet:
RHR: 55 BPM
Body Fat %: 14.5%
Body Weight: 177lbs
Two months on a greener, more colorful diet:
RHR: 55 BPM
Body Fat %: 14%
Body Weight%: 173.5lbs
My RHR has remained steady. Yes, I should be measuring it on a daily basis for it to be truly useful. As the volume of training increases I'm sure my RHR will slowly drop.
I'm comfortable with the drop in BF. I don't feel that a 2% drop in two months is alarming or is of major concern. At this point in my training I feel I’m right where I should be in terms of BF.
My weight. . . The loss of weight the first month, 2lbs, I was happy with and very comfortable with. It was proof that my efforts with nutrition were paying off. The alarms went off when I looked down at the scale after the second month. I lost 4.5 lbs in a month! This is certainly a concern of mine. My initial reaction was $hit, this is not good. But then I thought about it and discussed it with Matt. I hadn’t been experiencing any headaches and my sleeping patterns have been normal. I'm certainly not starving myself because if there is no gas in the tank the engine won't work. In addition my energy levels are up, my power on the bike is up, my recovery time hasn't increased, my endurance is building, my emotional and mental states are positive and I'm not craving food. Despite not having any current or known negative side effects of loosing that much weight in a month I will certainly keep my eye on my weight and make sure that I continue to consume the appropriate number of calories.
I have no intention of altering my diet in anyway except for increasing the amount of calories when the volume of training demands it.