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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Eating Right: Staying Fit and Slim in the Off Season

I am giving myself a treat. After 9 months of continuous training and racing, I decided to declare October my rest month! Yes, that's right. I am taking it easy the whole month. And by the looks of it, I just might extend my rest to two months.

I had forgotten how it's like to wake up past 6am. It is still a bit disconcerting that I am in no obligation to train and now have so much time in the morning to just enjoy the best part of the day. Not only do I stay an extra few minutes in bed, it sometimes takes me a full hour to get up.

This sudden drop in activity has slowed my metabolism and given my body type, I am starting to gain weight fast. As such, I has to remind myself of the 5 Simple Tips of Eating to stay slim during the off season. This will shorten my journey in getting back to shape in case I want to go back to competitive racing. Here are the basic Tips:

Fat creeps up on you fast.

Tip No 1: Eat smaller meals but do it often throughout the day!

The idea here is to eat more often. Not to eat more! I try to spread out the total calories I normally eat as an endurance athlete in a day to at least 5 meals throughout the day. So for example, if I eat 2,500 calories per day, I spread this out into roughly 500 calories meals 5 times in the day. 80% of the daily calorie burn is just to run your daily bodily functions - keeping your heart ticking, breathing and even digesting. Also the stuff you do like work, study, walking, chores, sleep, day dream, etc. And the body's furnace is most efficient if its made to run on high steam throughout rather than ebb and flow. Eating smaller, regular meals makes your metabolism burn like a fully fueled furnace thus help burn more calories and keep you slim.

Tip No. 2: Don't skip breakfast.

A good breakfast actually keeps you slim. Keep it to 600 to 700 calories though.

Sleep helps you recover and rebuild from the daily grind of everyday life. However, it also keeps you at least 8 to 10 hours without eating thus eventually slowing your metabolism. If you do not "top up", the slower metabolism will only build fat eventually. Breakfast also keeps you more satisfied which in turn makes you eat less throughout the day.

Tip No. 3: Eat more color and greens.

Fiber, lower calories per gram and folate content in green vegetables is a good way of feeling satisfied, getting good volume of food without packing fat and weight gain. More importantly, the folate in vegetables - especially green vegetables gives the extra benefit of reducing fatigue, improve energy levels and enhance your mood. They say it even helps battle depression. Not only do you look better, you'll feel better too.

Tip No 4: Eat more Fiber and Protein.

Fiber cleanses the body and flushes out cholesterol from our system. This in turn keeps our blood sugar levels stable. Protein ensures we have enough muscle mass which burns more energy even if passive. This combination is potent for staying slimmer.

Tip No. 5: Chose Only Health Drinks

If we drink softdrinks and similar sweetened beverages, this adds as much as 500 calories per day to your intake. Cutting this in half can help take off as much as 12 to 20 pounds a year. It's better to stay with water and other low calorie beverages such as healthy, high potasium coconut water.

Stay slim in the off season. It'll make your comeback much more enjoyable.