For my own reference I am listing here the principles of my nutrition to achieve my hill climb weight this season and in preparation for the forthcoming National Hill Climb Championship. Climbing hills is as much about weight as it is about power.
Remember fat does not push the pedals you will not go slower losing it.
I’ve found the following habits have helped me to reduce body fat quickly and support a fairly high training load. This may be useful to look back at in the future to correct bad habits and get body composition back on track. I track my progress using Tanata scales that measure body fat and muscle mass. Over the long term this is good keeping an eye on your progress or lack of.
**Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or qualified nutritionist this is just what has worked for me this time around**
The top 10 habits for hill climb weight
This list is in no particular order of importance. It is impossible for me to say what items have made the biggest impact on my body composition.
- Food is fuel. Anticipate the nutrition demands of the day and start early. Use this workout calculator to estimate workout calories. For lunch time training ensure a good breakfast of carbohydrates. Don’t wait until post-exercise to refuel. It is a poor habit to binge eat after your workout. Most days I am taking in 3,500 calories.
- Train before a main meal this removes the requirement for a separate recovery meal.
- Be conscious of your macros. Carbohydrate is energy, protein is for rebuilding. Keep that in mind when choosing food during the day. I.e Evening meal should have more of a focus on protein than other meals in the day. Supporting the body’s increased tissue re-synthesis while you sleep. Whilst cycling, walking, shopping and work require energy so during the day carbohydrates should be available to your body.
- Avoid or limit the following foods where possible:
- Wheat. No bread.
- Dairy. It’s for baby cows and you’ve seen how big they get. Unsweetened Almond Milk is my favourite substitute.
- Drinks other than water
- Processed foods
- Cooking oil
- Takeaways. Least bad options are rice dishes and tomato based sauces see slip ups.
- HQ Cake
- Eat the following foods:
- Lots of vegetables. Frozen broccoli, peppers and stir fry vegetables mixes. I find frozen packs of mixed veg very useful. Stick in a pan with chopped tomatoes add some Lazy Garlic and Lazy Chilies with some five spice.
- Lean meats from animals with two or less legs
- Fruits but don’t overdo the bananas
- Spices instead of salt
- If a snack is required choose nuts including peanuts. Eat one by one do not toss a handful in.
- Become mindful of food. Using MyFitnessPal app to track food will keep you honest and force you to justify none essential food.
- Eat well after training but the 20min window is mostly rubbish unless a second training session is required within 24hrs. Far better to have proper food that takes slightly longer to prepare.
- Eat big portions. Satisfy your stomach and mind by including lots of high water content foods such as tomatoes, peppers, carrots, kale, peas, onions and broccoli. They stack high on a plate won’t cause weight gain. You’ll be stuffed. Stir fry it all mix with rice or rice noodles, don’t over cook.
- Avoid tea around sources of iron. Tea prevents iron from being absorbed by the body.
- BONUS: Take a multi vitamin and cod liver oil capsule daily. As an athlete multi vitamins with iron and magnesium are a good insurance policy. The Omega 3 cod liver oil is for organ function and helps with any inflammation. Vitamin C can inhibit training response so I don’t supplement this http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/87/1/142.full
It’s ok to make a mistake or have a treat occasionally. If you do, try and ensure the ‘slip up’ is close to training, within an hour pre or post training session. Mistakes usually are with high sugar foods such as cake, biscuits etc. Your workout is more likely to mop up that highly available energy before it is stored by the body if you keep within that hour range. Big mistakes usually happen due to a binge and this is because you held out. Don’t hold out on food, you are not dieting! Eat when it is necessary or you will inevitably make poor choices.
Alcohol isn’t a problem for me as I’m not a big drinker however choose a low alcohol drink or red wine. Drink bottles not pints. Avoid white wine if you must dry whites are better, red is preferable. And don’t make the mistake of thinking a bottled fruit juice will be better for you they are just as high in sugar as the alcoholic drinks.
The “I’ve eaten cake” workout
If you feel really bad over a food choice the following workout will minimise the guilt. Remember ideally do this within an hour either side of the poor choice. It is essentially a carbohydrate loading technique.
- 3x 90 seconds @ zone 4, 3 min recovery
- 3x 30 seconds @ zone 5/6, 1 min recovery
- 5x 10 second sprints @ near maximal power, 30 sec recovery
Similar workout to the above have shown to boost carbohydrate stores in the muscle by 90% over 24hrs. Incidentally this is also my leg opener ride the day before races.
Have I missed anything? Let me know what has worked for you in the comments below.