Right now I am loving the extra miles in my schedule. For whatever reason, I really do feel better running a bit more and even throwing in a double (ie run in the morning and evening) once a week. I have 40 miles planned for this week with a very nice track workout and a tempo workout already accomplished. It's not very typical of me to get two quality workouts in during a week so I'm making sure to keep those easy miles easy.
I had a fair number of questions about my post about the book "Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance." And I'd thought I touch on how that attention to diet is going and what I think of his latest book. And for the record, no i have no association with the author. I came across the book purely by chance and felt it very relevant to what I was noticing and thinking about my training.
First, I do have a scale which will give me a body fat percentage reading. I have an Omron Body Composition Monitor which has a scale and a hand held monitor. The nerdiness factor in this household can be pretty high from both yours truly and my husband K. K researched the heck out of body composition monitors for me and decided on the one linked because it was a consistent product meaning that it would give consistent body compositon readings. And no, I am also not receiving any compensation from Omron either.
Is it accurate? Meaning is the reading the scale is giving me truly what my body fat percentage is? Well, that is hard to say and something I don't really worry about. I cannot say that it gives me a number which is true and there is no way to confirm that without other types of testing. It does give me a consistent day to day reading. I have noticed that using it for over a year now that at times in training as I've approached times when I have felt very fit that I have a lower body fat percentage. It is now something that I am more accurately tracking instead of a "hunh, that's interesting."
To use these scales, you need to standardize how you use them. You should be well hydrated, you should use them at the same time each day preferably after using the bathroom and you should not have just worked out or taken a shower. As a female, I can have some pretty wide swings in water retention because of my cycle, so I take that into mind as well. As an athlete, I have noticed that I can also have some interesting changes in weight after a long run or a very hard workout (running or strength workout) where I am noticeably sore. I typically weigh myself once a week before my long run (ie Saturday).
I've been tracking calories in and out via fitday.com. There are numerous sites on the web and apps which will let you do this. Considering that most of the meals we cook are all homemade, it can be a bit of a challenge to estimate what I've eaten. I do my best and don't worry about it so much. there are also online calculators which will let you calculate a homemade recipe serving. Most online calorie counters will have you enter height and weight and estimate your lifestyle for a basic calories burned in a day estimate. This can be called Basal Metabolic Rate or Resting Metabolic Rate and gives you an idea of what to aim for with daily calorie intake minus workouts.
I do not like being hungry. Let me repeat that in a way that will make more sense. If I am really hungry, I am brain dead and cranky and DO NOT function well at work or at home and certainly not at play. So it is important for me to get in enough calories throughout the day. My job is more active than a basic desk job and I really notice if I've not eaten enough during the day. These past two weeks, I've been monitoring how much I need to eat given my early morning workouts and keeping calorie intake pretty well tied to how much I'm burning.
Following some of my goals from the initial reading of this book, I am doing very well although I haven't lost any weight that I've noticed consistently. I've been making sure to eat much more on the weekends when I run a lot. Noticeably, I had more energy and was much less hungry on the Monday following. Duh. It's not rocket science yet sometimes I forget that I have a pretty hard running engine that needs to be well stoked to sustain my efforts. I've been consistently eating more and better in the mornings (I run in the mornings most days) and I've noticed that I am less ravenously hungry in the afternoons.
I've not wanted to cut calories very much so have been fairly cautious about that as I've increased miles. This will take a bit of time to figure out and I am ok with that as I do not have a lot of weight to lose. Without really trying, my diet tends to be about 28% fat, 18% protein and 54% carbohydrates. That seems about right for my level of training.
I did get the new book "Racing Weight Quick Start Guide" which seems to be much more directed to athletes who want a plan (diet and workout) with the idea of quickly changing their body composition. I found the science and explanations more complete in his original book. I was sad to see that the section on appetite and managing hunger was gone as was some of the specifics for each type of endurance athlete and those who are new to endurance type events. But this second book may be a more easy to grasp - do this - type of book for more people. Personally I liked the uncertainty inherent in his first book. Everyone is different and it really does take time to figure out what will work for you.
Meanwhile the triple chocolate crack cookies fresh out of the oven are delicious. And yes, we've renamed them crack cookies because it is really hard to just eat one...