Selasa, 16 November 2010

My latest obession: What goes out, must come in

I realized recently that it didn't make much sense to think only about output, that's to say, exercise, without controlling the input - calories. I previously thought that you could think of your stomach as a kind of bank account where you would make deposits and withdrawals and, as long as you didn't get overdrawn or deposit too much (haha), it would all work out in the long run. Apparently, it doesn't work like that. The human body responds to the stimuli we give it and I was giving mine mixed messages. If you burn more calories in a given day then you should eat more that same day. In fact, trying to always eat less is counterproductive because your appetite forces you to compensate eventually - either that, or you start to lose muscle mass which isn't good if you are planning to run a Marathon. Much better to work in harmony with your body rather than against it and try to match your calorie intake with your consumption. What you should be doing, according to the latest research, is eating smaller meals more regularly and taking advantage of the "window" of about 30 minutes after exercising, when your body is particularly predisposed to absorbing nutrients. In practice, this means counting calories which is, as the Spanish would say, un coƱazo.

I found a pretty cool ipod app which makes it a bit easier to keep track and, the surprising thing is, in spite of the huge error margin (I mean, does a croissant have 150 or 450 calories??) it more or less seems to balance up at the end of the day and - get this - it is working! I've been running for 3 years now and I wouldn't say that I am overweight, but I could be a bit leaner  if only for the reason that, if someone asked me to carry a plastic bag with a couple of kilos of fat around the Marathon, I would gracefully refuse. Also, if you look at how much money people spend on shaving a few grams off their bikes, I can safely say that I am saving myself an absolute fortune (which I can then spend on other triathlon related goodies, of course).

I now find my days off training quite annoying (I used to look forward to them) because I have to be careful what I eat (around 2,000 kcals a day); on a good day I may have to pack in 4,000 kcals, which is quite a feat. I've managed to shave off 3 kilos so far and, according to my bathroom scales (which I'm sure have an incentive to flatter me), my percentage of body fat is down to an unbelievable (for me) 8%. Its definitely true that the belly is shrinking away, but I fear that those abdominal muscles that I last saw 22 years ago will never see the light of day again. But that is not the aim! At least, that is what I keep telling myself...

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