So Here We Are Early Season...
Perhaps one of hardest months to be cycling, or adjust our eating behaviours after going off piste over xmas with our diets, and often riding less than the rest of the year? And yet in the early days of 2019, we have to be able to motivate ourselves from a state of ambivalence onto the conveyor-belt to performance improvement and goal-attainment. This is should good news, in the sense that should be ready to make the necessary changes. Although there is also a significant risk that we we lose momentum as we get into February or March. And so here are my top tips to get you started in 2019
Know Your Weight. We are not always keen on weighing ourselves in the early season, or perhaps we wait a few weeks staying off the drink and eat less, and eat healthier, and then weigh ourselves. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but knowing our weight, knowing how much we want to loose and over what time period will help us plan better early season. On balance I recommend that you weigh yourself now.
Assess your ideal training load - how much time, intensity of training and how long do you have to train?
For example if you have 7kg to lose (or just over 50,000kcal) and you want to lose this by spring and you have up to 6 hours to train, the focus has to be on your habitual diet. Whereas if you want to lose 4kg and training 8-10hours a week, it may be a case that the focus is not on your habitual diet but on planning your nutrition around your training and losing fat mass during the process. These elements should be quantified and planned. It should not be random.
Make a Plan
Making a plan with some small goals - for example 1 kg reduction in 3 weeks, and having negative energy deficient days on lower intensity days, avoiding over eating on rest days and fuelling effectively for HIT sessions. By making a plan more often we are more likely to stick to it. It may be as simple as jotting these down in an email or on a piece of paper. But using a spread sheet, training program or coach which will help reinforce these changes.
Not All At Once!
Just as it is not a good idea to try and decorate all the rooms in your house all at once - it’s also not necessary to try and change everything with our diets and training simultaneously . Although we do need to make an impression at first, as it’s not motivating to get 2 weeks in and find that you have not got any pleasing results.
Losing weight is all about making some changes and so by definition, you have to pick on something. We often know what that it i - it might be the snacking, full fat products, excess sugars or alcohol that needs to be reduced? Also if we make too many changes in week one, it is unlikely to be sustainable and secondly we are unable to make further changes the following weeks - it has to be reasonable to be sustainable.
Avoid Extreme Diets or Negative Energy Balance
Not only does this often lead to reduce performance and lean mass loss. It’s not uncommon to have a low body weight and high fat mass. Too low an energy intake, and the body will catabolize lean body mass over fat mass. And when you reduce energy intake you can also often reduce necessary micronutrients - this can lead to a high risk of nutrient deficiencies which can be detrimental, even on relatively light training loads. It’s helpful to note that nutrients work in synergy and deriving too much from a nutritional supplement is not always a good thing.