NEW YEAR, NEW HABITS

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - Front Page - BY PIP TAY­LOR

THE NEW YEAR is typ­i­cally a time when most of us set new goals for the com­ing year and di­etary changes are of­ten top of the list. While some res­o­lu­tions can feel like a to­ken ef­fort, sim­ply be­cause it is that time of KNOW YOUR NUM­BERS: Ditch the calo­rie count, which can be frus­trat­ing, dif­fi­cult and un­re­li­able. In­stead make a habit of track­ing (even just men­tally) how many serv­ings of veg­eta­bles and fruits you get in each day. Try and hit five or more veg­etable serv­ings and two to three for fruit. Whole, fresh, nu­tri­ent dense foods will sup­ply an ar­ray of nu­tri­ents (mi­cronu­tri­ents, an­tiox­i­dants, polyphe­nols, healthy fats) and al­low your brain to tune into your body’s sig­nals in re­gards to hunger. Did you know: Less than 10 per cent of us meet the rec­om­mended min­i­mum daily in­take of fruits and veg­eta­bles. Ath­letes, with higher en­ergy ex­pen­di­tures and high phys­i­cal stress loads, are likely to need higher lev­els again.

KICK-START THE DAY: Ath­letes of­ten start the day with a train­ing ses­sion – it helps set the tone for the day and en­sures that your train­ing ac­tu­ally gets done, rather than be­ing swamped by life and a to- do list later in the day. Sim­i­larly, healthy di­etary as­pi­ra­tions are far eas­ier kept when the day starts well. A nour­ish­ing break­fast, aside from boost­ing en­ergy and fu­elling train­ing and re­cov­ery, also as­sists in healthy brain func­tion and mood. Tip: Add fruits and veg­eta­bles to your break­fast to help set both of these habits. Try spinach or kale in a green smoothie, av­o­cado and tomato with eggs or fresh berries with yogurt.

SAY YES MORE OF­TEN: Next time you are at the gro­cer, or even bet­ter, the farm­ers’ mar­ket, try and pick up some­thing new. A new type of veg­etable or fruit, a dif­fer­ent cut of meat or type of cheese. Keep it fresh and min­i­mally pro­cessed and you can’t go wrong. Ex­plor­ing new foods is not only a way to add en­joy­ment and con­nec­tiv­ity to food and food pro­duc­tion, but adding va­ri­ety to your diet will un­doubt­edly boost nu­tri­tional value. Make friends with the farmer, gro­cer, butcher or shop­keeper, ask them about the prod­ucts, what’s fresh, what’s in sea­son, what will work best with what you have planned to cook – they will al­most al­ways be more than happy to give friendly ad­vice. Tip: If you’re strapped for time, fruit and veg­etable de­liv­ery boxes can be a great op­tion. Sea­sonal boxes al­low for va­ri­ety and show­case the best lo­cal pro­duce.

RE­AL­IS­TIC GOALS

Di­rec­tions Place cashews in a bowl and cover with wa­ter. Leave overnight. Pre­heat oven to 400 F. Cut cau­li­flower into bite size flo­rets. Place half in a bowl and set aside. With the other half, steam on the stove with the clove of gar­lic un­til soft, about 10 to 15 min­utes. Toss the other half of the cau­li­flower with the tsp of olive oil and roast on a parch­ment pa­per cov­ered bak­ing sheet for 10 to 15 min­utes. Cook pasta ac­cord­ing to in­struc­tions. Mean­while, in a blender, com­bine soaked cashews, steamed cau­li­flower and gar­lic, the nu­tri­tional yeast, salt, onion pow­der, gar­lic pow­der, mus­tard and pep­per. Pulse un­til com­bined. Slowly add wa­ter un­til sauce has a thick al­fredo con­sis­tency. Com­bine all of our in­gre­di­ents. Drain pasta and im­me­di­ately toss with sauce and roasted cau­li­flower. Top with chopped cashews if you would like.

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Triathlon is typ­i­cally a warm-weather en­deav­our. Dur­ing race sea­son we find our­selves try­ing to fig­ure out how to en­dure blis­ter­ing heat and hot sun. Then, in the off sea­son, we get used to set­ting our bikes up in the base­ment, re­al­iz­ing that we’re in for lots of cold treks to and from the swim­ming pool and do­ing our best to run out­side as much as pos­si­ble.

Some mul­ti­sport ath­letes don’t have to en­dure all that in­door train­ing, though. Those lucky enough to live in places with “real win­ter” with lots of snow who can en­joy ac­tiv­i­ties like cross coun­try ski­ing and snow­shoe­ing get to en­joy the out­doors all year long. If you’re one of those peo­ple and are look­ing for a des­ti­na­tion race to take in this win­ter, you should get to Que­bec City for the Pen­tathlon des Neiges or the S3 Win­ter World Cup.

This nine- day fes­ti­val, set in the heart of Que­bec City on the Plains of Abra­ham, is the largest win­ter mul­ti­sport event in the world – the 2016 event had just un­der 6,000 par­tic­i­pants. In­cluded in the Pen­tathlon are cy­cling, run­ning, cross coun­try ski­ing, skat­ing and snow­shoe­ing. Ath­letes can par­tic­i­pate as part of a two- to five-per­son re­lay team, or in­di­vid­u­ally. There are both sprint and long dis­tance com­pe­ti­tions, en­sur­ing the event caters to all ages and lev­els, in­clud­ing races for kids. Last year race or­ga­niz­ers added a day of ac­tiv­i­ties for se­niors 50 and older, too, in­clud­ing events where ath­letes could ski, skate or snow­shoe in in­di­vid­ual events at their own pace, along with a triathlon sprint. They also added a Skiathlon race which in­cluded clas­sic and skate ski­ing. The ba­sic idea is to cel­e­brate win­ter. “We want to en­able ath­letes of all lev­els to en­joy the win­ter sea­son and take up a chal­lenge, what­ever it may be,” said François Cal­letta, gen­eral man­ager of the Pen­tathlon des neiges. “In ad­di­tion to pro­mot­ing health through phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, our goal is to also con­trib­ute to col­lec­tive health by help­ing young peo­ple from un­der­priv­i­leged

ar­eas ac­cess ex­tra- cur­ric­u­lar sports via the À l’école moi j’bouge project of the Réseau du Sport Étu­di­ant du Québec, in the Que­bec City and Chaudière-ap­palaches re­gions. Since 2010, over $90,000 was do­nated to the pro­gram, help­ing more than 3,000 el­e­men­tary school chil­dren.”

For those look­ing for a more com­pet­i­tive op­por­tu­nity, a few years ago the Pen­tathlon des Neiges kicked off a new for­mat of win­ter triathlon rac­ing called the S3 win­ter triathlon. This new for­mat is dif­fer­ent to the ITU’S typ­i­cal win­ter for­mat (moun­tain bik­ing, ski­ing and run­ning) and in­cludes snow­shoe­ing, skat­ing and cross coun­try ski­ing. Last year’s race was deemed an of­fi­cial ITU world cup event, which re­turns in 2017.

“The S3 for­mat: snow­shoe, skate and ski is very ex­cit­ing,” con­tin­ues Cal­letta. “The ITU wants to de­velop some­thing in win­ter. They’ve been try­ing with the ski, run and bike for­mat. This is the new for­mat that they’re be­hind.”

The week-long fes­ti­val show­cases some of the most spec­tac­u­lar parts of Que­bec City, adding to the unique na­ture of the event, ac­cord­ing to Cal­letta.

“The Plains of Abra­ham is one of the most beau­ti­ful, if not the most beau­ti­ful, parks in the world,” he says. “We have the priv­i­lege to play in this park. To be able to skate, to snow­shoe, to ski, to bike, to run in down­town Que­bec City on natural snow, it’s ab­so­lutely unique.”

In ad­di­tion to tak­ing in the park and the spec­tac­u­lar views of the St. Lawrence River you will en­joy dur­ing the race, there’s lots more to see and do in beau­ti­ful Que­bec City. One of North Amer­ica’s old­est cities, the pic­turesque Old Town is des­ig­nated as a UNESCO World Her­itage site. The cob­ble­stone streets are lined with pic­turesque shops, boutiques, cof­fee cafés and restaurants. Even in the win­ter walk­ing through the Old Town is a treat and of­fers some spec­tac­u­lar views of the his­toric city walls and the im­pres­sive Chateau Fron­tenac.

For those look­ing for a cul­ture hit dur­ing the trip there are nu­mer­ous mu­se­ums (in­clud­ing the Musée Na­tional des Beaux-arts, which is right next to the race site, and the renowned Musée de la Civil­i­sa­tion) or a trip to La Ci­tadelle.

Even if you do noth­ing other than train, race and en­joy some great meals, you’re sure to have one of the most mem­o­rable race- cations you’ve ever en­joyed.– KM

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