Weeks to the Tremblant Ironman: 22
Now that I’m about to begin my 8th week of training (how did that happen?), it’s probably the right time to really focus on my eating habits (overdue I know!), and my desire to lean out and slowly attain my healthy race weight. Before I get into the details of #projectraceweight and how I plan to implement my goal though, I want to mention a few very important points:
- I believe in tracking healthy behaviours and allowing your body to naturally reach a healthy weight. I don’t track my weight on a regular basis, since my day to day actions (healthy and active behaviours) can be tracked and controlled. My weight, the actual number on the scale, cannot be controlled, and will fluctuate despite my healthiest efforts.
2. I will be working towards an estimate of my healthy race weight, knowing that it is merely a target for me as I work towards reaching the finish line at Ironman Tremblant. (See below about how to estimate your race weight.)
3. Now that my weekly trainings are scheduled and consistent, for the most part, my focus will shift to developing a solid action plan and incorporating more healthy behaviours into my eating habits.
Off season is over and I’m in the swing of my training for Tremblant. I have definitely enjoyed a few delicious but high caloric foods (ice cream! cheese! ) and rested during the off season. The off season is great. It is a wonderful and much needed break in the year that allows your body and mind to reset, and then hit the ground excited and motivated to begin anew. As expected, as my mind relaxed and my body recovered from the intense training season, I also became a bit less focused on my diet, and I gained a handful of pounds. I want to get leaner so that I can be stronger and faster. Climbing the Tremblant hills is hard enough – let’s make it a bit easier by leaning out! In the last few weeks I’ve been making small changes like incorporating more whole foods, more meal preparation, and healthy ready-to-go post workouts snacks. I need a more detailed plan to succeed though.
Ok, back to the topic du jour – how did #projectraceweight begin?
Enter facebook and my triathlon community.
A fellow triathlete friend commented on a facebook post that she is also hoping to reach a certain weight before the triathlon season. Cleverly, she named the project: #projectraceweight. Yes I thought! I am in! I like projects – they are organized and have a clear goal, with well-defined steps. A few of us then started a facebook group and we are committed to supporting one another and providing a space where we can share advice and be held accountable to being the healthiest athletes possible. Dictated more so by performance and fitness rather than weight, we are setting targets to help us remain motivated and accountable.
Here are the basic details to setting up your own version of #projectraceweight:
1.Set a few general objectives for you and/or your group of friends, such as:
1.Have healthy eating habits that match up to our training schedules and volumes.
2.Nourish and fuel our bodies so that we can improve our performance.
3.Aim to achieve a weight that works for us – this is not an ‘ideal’ weight. It is not a diet. It is about eating healthily and planning our meals so that we can ensure our optimal performance.
2.Estimate your healthy race weight:
There are a few ways to go about establishing your race weight. Like I mention above, this number is simply a target so that you are held more accountable to fueling right. I know that my body performs well and simply feels good when it’s a touch lighter than my current weight. (Do not consider this number as an end goal. It’s a sweet spot that allows you to be strong and perform at your best.)
Have you previously raced at a certain weight and felt good? Felt strong? This number is a great estimate of your healthy racing weight. Muscle weighs more than fat and so often we actually weigh more than we think we should when we are our fittest selves.
Your healthy race weight is mainly affected by your body fat percentage, as you will perform at your best when your body fat percentage is at, or close to, an optimal range. If you do not have any body fat to lose, then continue to focus on fueling well. No need to lose weight. (Important side note: Everyone will have a different optimal range, depending on genetics, age, medical history, athletic fitness and athletic goals, etc..) Do you know your body fat percentage? If not, there are several ways that you can figure this one out. From DEXA scans to scales, to skin folds and/or waist and hip measurements, many tools exist to find this number. Start out with this basic calculator: http://www.active.com/fitness/calculators/bodyfat
Once you have your current body fat percentage, you can estimate your goal body fat percentage based on the following table:
If you are well above your range, aim to reach the top end of your range based on your age. Otherwise you can look at the following table to estimate your goal body fat percentage:
In this example provided by Matt:
- Current body fat percentage: 22
- Desired body fat percentage: 17
- Current weight: 140 lbs
Step 1: Calculate current body fat mass.
Body fat mass = current weight x current body fat percentage expressed in decimal form.
In this example: 140 lbs x 0.22 = 30.8 lbs.
Step 2: Calculate current lean body mass.
Lean body mass = current weight – fat mass.
In this example: 140 lbs – 30.8 lbs = 109.2 lbs.
Step 3: Calculate goal race weight.
Goal weight = Current lean body mass ÷ Goal lean body mass percentage. (Note: goal lean body mass percentage is 1.0 – your goal body fat percentage expressed in decimal form.) In this example: 109.2 lbs ÷ 0.83 = 131.5 lbs. Ta-da!
Lastly, if all of these numbers and equations have left you lost and confused, don’t worry. Aim to tone up, train smart, eat quality foods with the right amount of protein, carbohydrate, and nutrients, and your body will fall into a healthy weight. As I mention at the start of this blog post – focus on healthy and active behaviours. Use this target weight equation only if you feel like it will motivate you to reach your performance goals.
3.Give food logging a serious try:
Take an honest look at your current diet. You don’t have to share this list with anyone, and so be honest. Are you snacking every afternoon on high caloric foods? Are you mindlessly eating before bed? Will that food choice help or hinder your performance at your next workout? After logging for a week I noticed that I was consistently craving sweets around 3-4pm. I then looked back at my lunch options and realized that I needed to eat quite a bit more in order to fend off the afternoon hunger bangs. (As a type 1 athlete I also have to make sure that not only is my food intake matching my body’s fueling needs, but the foods I eat also need to work with my blood sugar levels.)
Next up? It’ll be time to get serious about the triathlete’s meal plan!
I will be drafting up a nutritious meal plan that includes menu plans for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for my boyfriend and I. If you’re anything like me, you have been thinking about having a meal prep and menu plan for months, maybe even years. I plan in so many other areas in my life, but somehow still find myself sometimes unsure about dinner right as I’m starting to get hungry, you guessed, for dinner. With all the scheduled workouts I am often preparing meals quickly, and reaching for easily accessible and prepared foods. I know that I can do better.
In a future blog I’ll also post the process of setting up your kitchen for Ironman success! I’ve started the process at home by cleaning out the panty, and writing out a grocery list for the week. Baby steps right?
(Quick update on my last week of training: Managed to have a solid 10km run workout early in the week, before I got sick. I then made turmeric lattes, ginger teas, and ate chicken soup. Did it all! Tried to get in my other workouts throughout the week but cut them all short because I continued to feel quite under the weather. Doctors really do make the worst patients! I finally listened to my body and took yesterday off to rest. Thankful that I managed to get my 2h15 bike workout in today though – as biking is my weakest sport I’m so happy that I felt a million times better today to complete that workout! Woo hoo!)
Animas Canada has graciously chosen to support me with the Dexcom CGM and the Animas Vibe Insulin Pump as I train for and race Ironman Tremblant. I believe in full transparency and appreciate that Animas Canada does not review or approve my blog posts. They want me to share my honest experience with the device. I am also fortunate enough to have been chosen to be a Diabetes Sports Project Champion. Learn more about their great work here. As always, all opinions and posts are purely my own.