Thursday, May 12, 2016

Post Workout Options and Why Nuts are an Excellent Choice


Prior to starting IIFYM, I have had a few trainers along the way, all of who would tell me the importance of certain nutrients within a time frame of finishing a workout.  However I never really believed it was a big deal.  Of course I have changed my mind on that the past several months, and have reaped the benefits of actually listening, and DOING.

Getting in protein right after working out looks to be a definite way develop an Arnold-worthy physique, but the form and variety may come down to personal preference.  I have tried several different things, and honestly I tend to always come back to REAL food as my go to!

Whole-food sources can provide all of the building blocks necessary for a full recovery, but lugging a turkey sandwich to the gym in a lunchbox fun, or even practical.  

Also, some gym-goers might find it hard to force down food after exercise. Side note:  I once saw a woman lifting (looking fit and fab by the way) eating McD's French fries WHILE working out at 24 Hour Fitness.  This was before I knew about IIFYM and thought to myself "what an idiot".  However also thinking man she's jacked, looks fab..(jealousy)

Anyway, the reason: During exercise, blood makes its way from the stomach to the working muscles, making it hard to digest whole foods right away.
 
Post-workout nutrition is an intriguing topic and rightfully so. The basic idea is threefold:
The body deals with nutrients differently at different times, depending on activity.
What you consume before, during, and especially after your workout is important.
By consuming particular nutrients after your workouts (aka post-workout nutrition), you improve your body composition, performance, and overall recovery.

Numerous studies have examined everything from the composition of the carbohydrate in post-workout drinks to exact amino acid combinations. Studies continue to reveal effective post-workout nutrition strategies for athletes and recreational exercisers of all types.
Generally, post-workout nutrition has three specific purposes:
    Replenish glycogen
    Decrease protein breakdown
    Increase protein synthesis
    In other words, athletes/exercisers want to replenish their energy stores, increase muscle size and/or quality, and repair any damage caused by the workout.
 
In doing so, they want to increase performance, improve their appearance, and enable their bodies to remain injury-free.
Proposed benefits of good post-workout nutrition include: improved recovery, less muscle soreness, improve immune function, improved bone mass and improved ability to utilize body fat.

These benefits seem to work for everyone, regardless of gender or age.
 
 
The WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY
Some refer to this workout and post-workout phenomenon as “the window of opportunity”.
During this window, your muscles are primed to accept nutrients that can stimulate muscle repair, muscle growth, and muscle strength.
This window opens immediately after your workout and starts to close pretty quickly. Research suggests that while protein synthesis persists for at least 48 hours after exercise, it’s most important to get postworkout nutrition immediately, and within 2 hours afterwards.
If you feed your body properly while this window is open, you’ll get the benefits.
If you don’t provide adequate post exercise nutrition fast enough — even if you delay by only a couple of hours — you decrease muscle glycogen storage and protein synthesis.
 
Downing protein after a workout is often just part of the routine, and for good reason. Consuming protein has been shown to speed up recovery time and increase strength before the next gym session. The magic results from amino acids (tiny parts of proteins), which act as a building block for muscle. After pumping iron, eating (or drinking) foods high in protein supplies the body with amino acids to start repairing the damaged tissue (mainly muscles). Protein shakes offer one method of getting in some muscle-building nutrients after a workout. But are they really more effective than high-protein foods such as chicken or egg? 
 
After pressing, curling, sprinting, and crunching, the next logical step for many is shaking. Protein shakes, bars, and gels are marketed to be as essential as anything for an effective workout. But are these packaged and powdered foods really necessary for an effective recovery, or do the whole-food alternatives have them beat? 

Since I work out after work I typically will just have my dinner.  If for some reason I am low on my protein grams for the day and dinner isn't going to cover those, I will have an extra protein source WHILE cooking that dinner.  That is generally either nuts, egg whites or a protein shake.

I no longer run for super long distances, 10K is the most you are going to see out of my any more; but I do lift heavy several days a week, run one long run (5 miles typically) on the weekend and do HIIT as well several times a week so I workout HARD for shorter periods of time.
 
Pitting powder against whole food, research indicates that the supplements may have a slight advantage. The quick source of amino acids increased the fractional synthesis rate of muscle (a fancy term for rate of muscle building) more than just a regular meal. In addition to adding size, it proves to be effective at increasing workout performance. One study using whey protein found that supplementation did increase hypertrophy (read: muscle size) and strength in participants. A similar study showed that individuals chugging protein could jump higher following a training program than their shake-less counterparts.
 
A good sports drink has 14-15 grams of carbohydrate in 8 ounces. It should also have about 110 milligrams of sodium and 30 milligrams of potassium in the same volume.
If you're exercising to lose weight, stick to water or a "lighter" version of sports drinks with fewer carbs and calories.
Look for energy bars that have about 5 grams of protein, with some carbohydrate and very little fat.

I mention these only because I know a lot of folks swear by them.  I gave up sports drinks before, during and after my long runs during training.  Even foregoing the stuff at water stops during the longer distance races.

Water is best before and during, then get that chocolate milk in afterwards.  Along with more water of course.

Before your stomach recoils, take a look at chocolate milk's ingredient list. For a high-endurance athlete, Stager's team sees it as a catch-all workout recovery drink. Compared to plain milk, water, or most sports drinks, it has double the carbohydrate and protein content, perfect for replenishing tired muscles.

Remember that "energy" means calories, so watch out for high-calorie bars. They are helpful for athletes on the go, so if you can't eat before a long tennis match, an energy bar can help.
Choose protein powders made from whey protein or milk proteins. Use them within 30 minutes after exercising to provide needed amino acids to muscles.

 
After you've replenished your muscle glycogen with a 4-to-1 ratio of carbs-to-protein, aim to eat 10 to 25 grams of plant-based protein in your post-workout meal from a variety of sources to get a full spectrum of amino acids. Beans, nuts, legumes and organic soy are all options.
 
Nuts and dried fruit. As you work out, your body starts to deplete the levels of glucose in your blood, and must turn to glycogen – carbohydrates stored in your liver and muscle tissue – to fuel your movement. A 4-to-1 carb-to-protein snack speeds the uptake of glycogen back into your muscles and initiates muscle building. Look for foods with the majority carbohydrates and a small amount of protein. I usually grab a handful of almonds and dried fruit, like raisins, to replenish muscle glycogen immediately post-workout. I then wait at least 20 minutes before consuming my high-protein meal.
The final decision on which products you use is up to you. My purpose here was simply to describe why you might be hearing so much hype about chocolate milk. When I create nutrition plans for my clients, I will often choose to use whole foods such as chocolate milk instead of specially engineered sports products. The reason for this is two-fold:
 
For starters, I like to keep cost in mind because athletes tend to need more calories and more food than the standard person. More food means more money so any place you can cut costs without sacrificing nutrition is a good thing to focus on.  Again nuts are economical!
Secondly, I feel that the further away we get from “real” foods, the more complicated our diets become. I don’t like when I see diets in which the majority of calories and nutrients come from powders and pills. No powder or pill can replicate the array of vitamins, nutrients, fiber and phytochemicals we get from eating a variety of whole foods.

Simple is best and an optimal sports nutrition diet can be achieved without the use of supplements or specially engineered foods.

Nuts are easy, portable and delicious!  On a side note I am in the midst of planning a 14 day trek across New Zealand in March 2017 and you can bet I will have PLENTY of nuts (and dried fruit/mix) portioned out in snack bags to stash in my backpack!!!

However, the choice is yours. No matter what product you select just be sure that it is safe, well tolerated by your body, and is something that you enjoy.
 
 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Texas 10 Series - Sienna Plantation - Race Photos

Susan and I post race

Post Race with Susan

Add caption





I am here to tell you ladies...if you are struggling with weight gain, mid-section flab, and overall yucky body syndrome from pre/menopause/post, MACROS WILL HELP YOU CHANGE YOUR BODY!! 
 
That goes for everyone but for me its the ONLY thing that has worked on this old body of mine!
 
If you want to lose BODYFAT, BUILD MUSCLE, and don't want to worry about the scale OR what you can and cannot eat, hit me up!!
 


Monday, April 25, 2016

Texas 10 Series - Sienna

I love the Texas 10 Series. 
 
When I was starting to reduce my race distances, I quickly learned that the 10 miler is indeed one that I love.
 
I didn't however, love the 10 miler in the warm up series here in the Houston area...I think it was (and might still be) the Space City something or other..Usually held a couple of weeks before the Houston Half at the end of October.
 
The distance though in general seems to be gaining popularity.  As does the 10K but that's a different post altogether.
 
Probably next year I might do more of the 7 races in their calendar but I have done Katy (10) and now Sienna (5).
 
The reason I dropped to the 5 mile option is probably evident.  My focus leading up to this race has been elsewhere as it pertains to running.
 
Which brings me to my next point, I LOVE that they have the 10 and 5 mile option.
 
I hadn't done a 5 miler in probably 2011..something like that.  Back when they had Park to Park which I loved but then they just stopped having it.
 
I believe my PR is about 47min or something like that, I would have to go and look it up.
 
Anyway I dropped to the 5 mile option a few weeks back.  And now I wonder if the 5 miler is my new 10 miler as the 10K is my new half marathon?
 
All I know is I am working on getting faster at the shorter distances (well working might be too strong of a word, but it is my intent to train better with my 400, 800 and 1000m workouts in the near future).
 
So going in to this race first off I was tired as hell.  While I didn't do anything on Saturday, my workouts during the week are 6 days of hard shit man.  And not having a workout on Saturday didn't mean I sat around and rested.  I had a lot of things to do plus the week had just been super stressful with the flooding, and chaos etc.
 
Plus waking up at 4:30am is never fun for me.  THEN the dang race was farther away than I had anticipated which pissed me off too :O)
 
Factor in I had NO idea of a strategy other than I wanted to get as close to top 3 as I possibly could in my AG.  I figured I needed about 48 min to be a contender.  And I was right. 
 
HAD I made my goal I would have been 2nd or 3rd.  Whereas I ended up 6th because I totally blew it.
 
I totally fell apart late in mile 3 and by the time I could recover in the last 3/4 of mile 5 it was too late.  My 6th place was 4 min slower than what I needed; telling me that nothing I did late even mattered. 
 
Even with the 7th place woman 2 full minutes behind me yeah, maybe at least what I did gave me at least that.  Ugh.
 
So I finished in 52:01.  Shit even if I had hit 51:59 I would have felt better.  I actually stopped about 600m from the Finish and selected my go to song.  4 people passed me in those seconds and when that song hit I literally took off faster than I knew I could run.  Looking at my stats I can see that it was a 7:57 pace for the next 600m.
 
Maybe those all-outs at 8 and 9mph OTF are working. 
 
But I will say that my quads were SCREAMING.  I just ran too hard too soon.  I need to strategize better on the next 5 miler (October); then I will have one in Nov and one in Dec.  I WILL get that AG at the distance!  Even today my quads HURT like a muthafocker.  Going down the stairs.  What?  Crazy.  What that tells me is that I left it all out there.  And that's a great feeling.  I didn't know I would EVER be back to running decent for me times again!
 
Honestly the 48 min was a stretch since my PR is at 47 but then I did a 10K at 9:44 pace just about a month ago.  I don't know.  As I said, just wasn't feeling the race.  Plus it was HUMID as hell and warm and well acclimation to that hasn't been attained with it only being April.
 
Thanks flooding and water soaked ground!
 
One thing I hope they change for next year is the course.  It was in a fairly new part of Sienna Plantation and there were a lot of twists and turns through homes being constructed.  Like they really had to WORK at getting a 5 mile loop to work (their races are always 2 loops).  Anyway I would like to see them figure that out for next year.  Just convoluted to me; all twisty turny.
 
Once I get a race photo back I will post it.  All I saw was the one photographer at the finish.  Definitely not as well planned or thought out as their other races.
 
But this being a new course, I will cut them some slack.
 
Now to be ready to do my next 10K the first week of June.  That one will NOT be a PR kind of race that's for sure! #Summer

Now I am off off off to Costa Rica for a glorious long overdue vacation!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Run Houston! Minute Maid 10K - 2016

 
Official Time: 59:48
3rd in Age Group
 
While I don't discount the effort, which after about a 5, maybe 6 year drought, I broke 1:00 at the 6.2 distance, I know that 'normally' this time would not be good enough for 3rd in my AG.  There are a LOT of much faster women but since the Bayou City Classic was the same day, they were all at that grabbing those HARRA points.
 
Also the usual suspects of choice runners don't really show up for the Run Houston! series which is fine by me.  Personally I love the series since I've reduced my running.  You get 5 races a year, really nice medals, free photo download and shirts, a virtual option, and if you do the 5, you get a holder for the medals at the end.
 
I did the Racepark one (but don't think I've blogged that yet..) on January 1st in the rain, wind and cold.  This one was post rain but the wind???!!! At least it wasn't freezing (until afterwards of course). Plus its 2 loops per usual for Run! Houston, but this one was 4 times over the Elysian.  I didn't realize this until the day before and thought "I thought they were gonna blow that bridge up due to wear and tear!"
 
It wasn't so bad as OrangeTheory and my change in health over the past couple of months prepared me for the up and overs.
 
I WISH I had downloaded at least one of my pics from the 1st race on Jan 1.  But I didn't because they definitely showed the weight and fat gain.  I might try and go back to find them because the difference even astonished me.  Its weird that while I knew I had gained a lot and was generally out of shape due to excessive running and in the steady state cardio zone and not eating enough (yes NOT EATING ENOUGH)...the proof is in the pudding so they say...UPDATED...I went and found the Jan 1st race photo...see below for side by side comparison.
 
I promise to go back and write the 6 or 7 drafts I have saved; my reminders of the topic are at least there.  Its a start.
 





 
Left = January 1, 2016
Started OTF on January 4
Bod pod and started macros on January 20
Right = March 19, 2016
 
 


I've actually only lost a pound or two, but obviously losing fat over muscle is a BIG deal...I am excited to see my official results for %'s etc which is on April 13th.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Downsizing and How Moving towards a Minimalistic Lifestyle has Saved Me AND Saved Me Money


(I don't know why I cannot get the font to be normal, so my apologies!)

I don't believe I have written about my journey into the world of minimalism, but it is something that I have been adopting slowly but surely since probably before I moved to Nebraska. I know I said my next entry would be about OrangeTheory (fitness), but I had some thoughts in my head on this which seemed easier to write about. Really I think its because I follow a few minimalism blogs and I read an interesting one this morning.

Initially it began as early as 2003 when I sold my 2500 sq ft home and moved in to an apartment (which was the case up until 2012 when I had a house in Nebraska; smaller but a house nonetheless). When I was packing the house up initially it began in the kitchen. I had like 3 sets of dinnerware for one thing...which was just ridiculous. Anyway, that;s where it started. BTW I have one full set of dishes (4 of each size in the set), which NEVER get used. I have one set of pasta bowls and 2 small plates from Williams Sonoma that I use day in and day out. And I think I have 4 glasses that match. Otherwise I use 1 of 2 tumblers for my personal use.


Then of course a lot of things went into a storage unit because duh, large house, small apartment. Even after getting rid of a LOT. 3.5 years ago I guess it was, I stopped paying on the storage unit and all that was in there is gone to somebody somewhere who bid on it at an auction. I do wish I still had my 2 very expensive cowboy hats, but then again I never wear a cowboy hat anymore since I quite rodeo in 2005 so again...better use somewhere else I suppose. What was in there had been in there since TWO THOUSAND THREE...And I had never once gone in there to retrieve anything. So basically ten years.  
 
Then when I moved to Nebraska, yadda yadda yadda...more purging..
Now I will say even though I was slowly moving towards minimalism I was still purchasing clothing and shoes etc. Even when I wasn't even wearing what I had. A lot of that had to do with what no longer fit when I moved there...and then what began to no longer fit after being there a while...and then by the time I left. But once I was packing to move back to Texas, man oh man did I purge in that area.

 
Or so I thought. Ha! Because now I have been home almost 2 years now and I have since donated like 3 medium size/kitchen bags full. Thankfully the last one took me a while to fill up but slowly I did right before the holidays. Sometime early Fall I started going through things in the closet where I had multiples of like 3 white tshirts, 2 black turtlenecks, 3 pairs of black slacks etc. I now I own ONE of each of those. See where I am going with this? I also didnt need 3 pairs of black boots. Or 2 pairs of brown ones..Now? Yep you guessed it. I had to make choices and while difficult in some ways, it was easier and it felt so so so great!

 
My place is not what anyone would call extreme minimalism but I definitely don't fill up every corner. I don't buy things unless I am replacing something else. I don't buy food or anything like that unless its going to be eaten within 2 weeks, preferably one week. My pantry by Friday looks bare because who needs cans and cans and boxes and boxes of things? Food is one of the things we waste and throw money away on every single day, week, year. Like billions and billions of dollars. Not this girl. I meal plan and whatever is on the menu, then I buy for. Sure I keep PB, cocoa powder, oats etc, the basic essentials I need to complete a meal, but thats it.

 
Other examples would be I have one set of sheets and one set of towels (which means I have 4 large bath towels. 2 orange and 2 gray). I actually just replaced 2 because duh, after 2 years they needed to be.  I actually kept the 2 for use when washing the car.  Point is, one in, one out...but in this case it can be recycled for a couple more months for another use.

 
My latest project in the minimalism forage is that right before January 1, I went in to my closet and turned every single thing on a hanger in the opposite direction. On June 30th, whatever is still on a hanger in the opposite direction means that particular item was not worn for a period of 6 months. At that time all of those items will be boxed up at first and put on the top shelf of my closet. Then on December 31st that box will be brought down, unopened and put for donation. If any time during that 6 months I consciously desire/need (without opening it first) something from that box , then it can be kept out of the box and returned to a hanger to live happily ever after.
 
Additionally during this first 6 month period, I am on a spending freeze. Obviously I have a couple of bills and I need food, gas, a few of my luxury costs...but as far as clothes, shoes, etc., nothing. UNLESS something needs to be replaced because of damage/wear and tear or it stops working. I have almost completed 2 months! Its actually quite easy, but I had wittled down my spending slowly over the past few years, mostly out of necessity rather than choosing to do so, but that has put a LOT of cash in the bank. If I had to average it out, I was probably spending close to $200 a month up (generally on workout stuff!) until about November on some workout/running/work related clothing item.
 
After the 6 months and I deplete what I have even further, then and only then will I assess what needs to be purchased to round out what will end up being my 'clothing capsule'. On average people generally will only wear the same 20-25% clothing items over and over but yet still have 'nothing' to wear, and then spend money on something to wear, but then will go back to the same 20-25%...Which by the way, I recently decided to stop following clothing blogs like LuluAddict, LuluMum to name just two. I really should quit following Apartment Therapy as well, but their small space/design esthetic really appeals to me and can really be tied to minimalism in an off sort of way.

Minimalism has not only made me richer in my pocket but in my heart, my soul, and my mind.  Its truly freeing when you don't have stress surrounding stuff in your house or in your life...Here is one tidbit:  If you are buying more containers to store more stuff to 'get organized' then you have too much stuff.  If you own something it should be USED.  If you are not using it RIGHT NOW and you haven't lets say in months, then FOR GOODNESS SAKE GET RID OF IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
And lastly, I suppose this could count towards minimalism as well, at least thats how I feel after a week of not being on Facebook! I gave up Facebook for Lenten and wow. My quality of everyday life has improved a lot I would say. I no longer am on it first thing in the morning...instead I enjoy my coffee and my news phone/iPad free, I fix my breakfast and lunches not in a rush, I cook dinner not in a rush (I found myself rushing a lot because I would get caught up in catching up!)...I watched the Grammys without interruption or commentary from the masses, just to name a few. Masses is exaggerating since I even have minimized my friends list. It was tough the first day, but its now literally an afterthought that I have no idea whats going on! You know as far as Facebooks newsfeed of drivel. 


 
Anyway, here are 4 tips that I found to be important! Any questions regarding starting this process (its taken me a few years but I am ALMOST DONE!!!), working through it (and yes its work, and can be overwhelming especially when faced with parting with something that was your great-great-great-great aunts or something that cost a lot of money...) feel free to email me!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

When The Running Bug Goes Away

Most recently I wrote something along the same lines as this next entry...
 
There have always been times I suppose where one gets on a 'kick' and it may last a few months or a few years.  I myself  have been through it many, many times.  My most recent example would be from about year 2001 to 2004 as it pertained to music and the road.  I am not going to rehash any of that (it was another blog too; long retired) and clearly before I took up running.
 
Then from about 2005 up through 2012 my life seemed to center around running.  Even in the few years after, but as I previously mentioned, it started to wane. 
 
And as in other ventures, once I start leaving something behind, while others don't I wonder why.  As in why do you still never sleep?  Why do you still go out 5 nights a week?  Why do you still drink alcohol?  Why do you still do 3 half marathons in 4 weeks?  Why?  Why?  Why?  And then there are those that run like insane distances ALL. YEAR. LONG.  Like it is consuming their life.  WTF?
 
I don't know maybe I am just coming off of a long training cycle where I typically begin to loathe the training towards the end and then just kinda fall in love with minimal miles again.
 
But I think it might be something more.  Honestly I don't even know if I will sign up for the half again this year which I've already dropped to 1 half marathon a year, but will this be the year where I go without not only a marathon but a half marathon too??  I guess I will make that call in June when it opens up.  Normally I would have signed up as soon as they open it up after the race for a certain number of folks, but eh, I was like, I'm just gonna take a nap..Then the next thing I knew it was Wednesday and the window was close for early registration.  Ha!
 
I mean I still have 2 races I've done that I haven't even blogged about.  Crazy.
 
I guess my point is that I have realized that running long distances is not doing me any favors.  It certainly doesn't detour weight gain, and in most cases it actually does the opposite right along with taking precious muscle along with it.

What I will tell you that I personally have found out is that the key to having a healthy body is 80% food and 20% exercise.  Eating enough.  Not eating too much.  Watch sugar and sodium intake.  And GET YOUR PROTEIN in.  Lord the protein! At least at this stage in my life.  And probably in yours as well.  Regular exercise WILL benefit your overall health but in the grand scheme of losing weight or fat?  Nope.
 
I am running about 12 miles a week right now.  TWELVE.  And I love it.  And the bonus of being fitter than I have been in a very, very long time.

AND half of those are done in HIIT (OrangeTheory; NEXT blog post I PROMISE!), with a run between 5-6 miles on either Saturday or Sunday.  I do have a 10K coming up and I kinda need to be able to at least do that.  :O)
 
Once I move in to March I will up the mileage on the weekend so I can finish a 10 miler I have in April (hindsight I wish I hadn't signed up for but whatev)
 
I don't know when this happened.  I mean I still love running for the most part, just not for long distances.  The need, or what I thought was the need, is just not there.  I have found other ways to be healthy, and running all those damn miles (even though it was just half marathon training) as I said was hurting me more than it was helping.
 
I wonder if I am just going through a phase?  So weird if I am because I am finally upping my fitness, and I can run faster, but I don't want to.
 
Ironic.
 
ps Sorry for the rambling posts as of late.  I promise I have 4 interesting posts to write; actually have them in draft so I don't forget.  I just need to write them already!
 


Monday, February 8, 2016

IIFYM - If It Fits Your Macros aka Flexible Dieting - How This Might Be the Answer More Mature Women (and all women really) Have Been Searching For!

 
 
 As I have documented here off and on, and certainly on my Facebook to friends and family, for the past almost 4 years I have struggled with the change in body composition.  I wish I could blame it all on the thyroid, but since I've proven that to be something you can overcome through diet and exercise (as I proved once I was diagnosed and put the work in to get better.  The meds alone can't fix it all.
 
But then came a move to Nebraska and the later stages of pre-menopause and those coupled together were just a nightmare waiting to happen.  I just didn't realize it.
 
I wanted to document my journey through a few blog posts...if for no other reason than for older women to know they aren't alone in the struggle and how I am FINALLY figuring out what has worked for me.  I am almost 3 weeks since my initial bod pod and a complete over-haul in the way I eat AND in the way I see and think about food.
 
Let me just list a few things I have tried over the past few years that DIDN'T work:
 
Run more
Run less
Lift more
Lift less
Eat less
A combo of any and all of those things in no particular order
 
Here is what happened with all that:
 
I got hungry
I got slower
I got fatter
I got depressed
 
Some time around Spring of last year I remember my niece, her girlfriend and I were going to do a 'biggest loser' thing and at the time on my digital scale at home I was weighing in at 127ish.  So for the past year, I thought that is how much I still weighed.  Clearly I was wrong as documented on my post with the bod pod.  On someone as short as I am 5 lbs is a size up in pants and well overall just looking like a person in photos I didn't recognize, being as even THAT weight was 6 more than I weighed when I moved to Nebraska mid-2012.
 
Oy, oy, oy.
 
I had some success late Spring and in to Summer with a boot camp(ish) kind of workout being offered at my 24 Hour Fitness...but it was expensive, and well it was 24 Hour Fitness and the fast paced/circuit type program just didn't really work in that environment.  Having to compete in a HEAVILY crowded gym was just more frustrating than anything so I stopped after 12 weeks.  I have since embarked on something else, which I will write about in a separate post but right now...I just want to talk about what I have done with food and how even though its only been 3 weeks it has changed my life.
 
 
IIFYM - If It Fits Your Macros
 
 
So, what does this mean?

It means:
I run less
I am faster
I eat more
I sleep better
My clothes fit like they are supposed to
My aches and strains have disappeared
I am no longer depressed

It also means I’m measuring and recording all my food in order to reach a particular number of macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) each day. I’m using My Fitness Pal and a food scale to track everything and have found it’s pretty easy to take a few minutes to enter in my food. So far, I’m really enjoying the process and it feels good to take full responsibility for how I fuel my body.
 
Right now, I’m aiming for a 40C/30F/30P macronutrient split and with some planning, I’m find it pretty easy to reach those numbers. For my needs, that works out to be 140 grams of carbohydrates, 47 grams of fat and 105 grams of protein on a training day. Those numbers vary slightly for a rest day.  It took a few days to figure out how to budget those macros throughout the day but I’ve found by making my meals and snacks well-balanced, I end up with a good amount of each macro left by dinnertime and even leave some room for dessert!  These numbers are tailored to me; my current situation, my goals...etc.  Once I get to where I want BF wise etc., the numbers will be raised to be in maintenance mode.
 
Before I get into what I learned these past couple of weeks, I want to be clear that this isn’t a diet and it’s not about being restrictive, in fact I’m eating even more than I was before I started. I will not be fulfilling my macros with fat-free, sugar-free and low-carb products, I will still be eating plant-based, whole foods, just in different proportions than I used to. I will not be eating junk food because “it fits my macros,” in fact, I really don’t plan to change much about how I eat at all but rather just be more conscious of how I feel, what works best for me and have the energy I need to reach my fitness and health goals.
 
I’m not trying to lose weight persay, my goals are improved athletic performance, improved recovery bust mostly a change in body composition. This is about seeing how good I can feel, how strong I can get, how much energy I can have and what I can accomplish if I really put my mind to it. This is not about being hungry, feeling restricted or being obsessive, it only takes a little bit of extra work to hit my numbers each day and I’m actually really enjoying it. It’s like a puzzle that you get to solve each day! There were a few nights where I didn’t feel like measuring out my dinner but I’ve found that adding my recipes to the app ahead of time makes it really easy to enter my food in just a few seconds.
 
I won’t be doing this forever nor will I be doing it every single day over the next few months, I have some summer trips (Costa Rica In May!!!!) and vacations planned and at this point, I don’t feel the need to worry about it when I’m away from home. I’ll do my best to stick to a general guideline but I won’t be busting out my food scale at our family reunion or the music festivals I’m attending this summer.
 
Yes, I was already eating very healthy before taking this on but I didn’t pay any attention to macros or really put much thought into how I was fuelling my body. On weekends, although still eating healthy for the most part, I was all over the map, eating way too little or way too much without any consistency to my diet. Some days I was eating a ton of carbs and fat and some days I wasn’t eating nearly as much as I thought. When you want to get the most out of every workout, that inconsistency can really hold you back.  I have been tracking for almost a year off and on actually, and when I went back and looked...well guess what my diet was mostly carbs.  I was NOWHERE NEAR eating as much as I should have been and certainly not the right macros!!! 
 
So, what about micronutrients? Well, of course, they are still important to me too! That’s why I’ll be continuing to eat a whole food diet. Vitamins, minerals, fibre and other parts of the food we eat are still an important factor in my overall health and I’ll always ensure I’m getting what I need.

The biggest takeaway from my findings so far has been I need to eat more and in the form of proteins.  Previously, since I didn’t pay any attention to my protein intake, there would have been days when I didn’t eat all that much. It was enough to be healthy, workout and feel OK but not enough to reach my current goals. Without a conscious effort to include, high-protein, plant-based foods in every meal and snack, I won’t be able to reach 107 grams a day. When I go in to maintenance I will have to even eat MORE food! Ha!
 
MyFitnessPal is great that as I log and track, based on the goal numbers loaded in, it automatically tracks my nutrients in both grams and in percentages in a pie chart so that I can easily see if I need more of any of them or a combo.  An example is earlier planning out the rest of my day I was short on Carbs and Fats but didn't need any more protein planned.  So guess what got added?
 
Ice cream and chocolate syrup!
 
Its quite amazing..
 
Yes it can be a bit daunting with the weighing and measuring but after about a week or so you get used to it and honestly it doesn't take that much time.  Its just an excuse people will use because they aren't serious ... they want the easy answer... can't I just eat less?  Nope.  Maybe for a while but screw up your insides like I did after years and years of that...and well.  You're going to have to fix it.
 
I believe wholeheartedly that IIFYM, flexible eating and reverse dieting CAN fix a broken metabolism and assist with body composition as a woman ages and hormonal fluctuations become more and more common.
 
I have my 3rd weigh in on Wednesday so I will come back with that number but since my goal is BF loss and retaining muscle, my numbers in macros are to aid in that.  Losing .5 lb a week is optimal.  Losing weight too quickly will result in a higher BF percentage and a lower muscle mass percentage aka SKINNY FAT.
 
I am very much so anticipating my follow up bod pod sometime in April!  In the 3 short weeks since I started, the change in body comp is definitely noticeable and really that's the most important thing to me.
 
If you would like to know more about maybe what your percentages would be, please do not hesitate to email me.  Or you can google IIFYM to do more research on their website; or any of the numerous folks out there who have excelled with this no nonsense approach to nutrition and being the best you at any age.
 
Anyway for anyone reading...stay tuned as I will documenting some of my trials and tribulations as I navigate the IIFYM world!