Limit weight gain – without limiting the festive blowout!
Dreading what the festive feasting will do to your weight? Fear not, we have the perfect solution – you can eat plenty and still keep off the kilos.
I’M SURE MANY OF YOU HAVE SET CYCLING GOALS FOR 2015, AND WOULDN’T MIND ARRIVING THERE IN GREAT SHAPE.
However, ’ tis the season to be jolly, and keeping weight off is jolly hard. But fear not; here is my three- step strategy to keep you riding – and keeping the weight off – while enjoying the holiday festivities.
CHANGE THINGS UP
With minimal racing happening this month, it’s a good time to mix up your riding and hit new routes, to keep your training fresh. Given the longer days, there’s even time to fit in some weekday rides in the early morning or late afternoon.
Mountain biking certainly gives a good full-body workout, so if all you normally ride is road, then hit some trails – they add a whole new thrill to the sport.
The added bonus to all this, of course, is that you’ll create a kilojoule deficit, which will allow you to eat a bit more when the parties come round; and if you don’t eat as much as you’ve burned off, you could actually lose some unwanted mass.
Be conscious, though, of maintaining a decent (and continuous) output – heart rate 70-80%, on long rides – so you consume a reasonable amount of energy while stimulating excellent aerobic adaptations. A three-hour ride at 200 watts average power, for example, will use around 2 400kCal, or 10 000 kilojoules.
EAT HEALTHILY – AROUND THE PARTIES
There isn’t a party on every night; so be conscious of your quality real-food choices and portion control, so that when the gettogethers do happen, you can enjoy yourself guilt-free.
Choose your food carefully for on-the-bike nutrition, too. You may discover a revelation in the way you feel and perform when you take the time and effort to prepare your own fresh food, rather than settling for the convenience of a gel or bar.
STAVE OFF HUNGER PANGS
Often, thirst can be disguised as hunger; so develop the habit of drinking regularly, rather than only when you feel thirsty.
The moment you finish your ride, have a chocolate milk, chicken sandwich, or similar. Most people try to start their ‘diet’ right after a ride – that’s never worked, and it never will. You need to refuel for training adaptations; and if you don’t eat right away, serious hunger pangs will follow, making you eat more than you should when you eventually cave in.
Finally, don’t reward goals with sweets and chocolates – rather save the money, and celebrate your achievements with new toys for your bike on Christmas Day.
Mark Carroll is the owner of Cadence Cycling Performance (cadencecycling. co. za) and chair of the Cycling South Africa ( CSA) Coaching Commission.