Tuesday 3 August 2010

How to tackle this?

A couple of weeks ago, I threw myself into cycling into work.  I ended up 800kcals under maintenance for the week and putting on 1kg (well, probably not really, but that's what the scales said).  Yes, I get that when I eat more, it weighs more and thus I will weigh more on balance the first week I eat lots more.  So, ignoring that effect when I'm doing it this time, I still have problems around eating.

Today I cycle into work and home again.  I will not be going to the gym.  The cycling gives me an extra 700-800kcals or so for the day.  I -should- eat at least half of those kcals, but I -think- that I actually need to eat all of them and not aim for any loss target kcals as my body doesn't deal with that very well and starts to retain water etc.  I'll be cycling at least 3 times this week, so it's not mad extra work (90km in total, oh arse, and an extra 21-49km on Saturday) but I feel I need to pretty much ignore this week as it's straight after an event, so I'm a bit heavy anyway and there's lots of extra exercise which will throw my body out as well.  I'll aim for "on or under maintenance kcals" each day this week, but definitely not "at or below loss kcals".  Then re-assess next week when things should have settled down a bit.  Of course, then I have only 1 week of normal exercise (3x weights and 2-4x cycling and 0-1 swims) before I have to taper for the final Thames Turbo Triathlon, so it may not be a fair trial or learning.

Anyone else gone through a significant increase in exercise output?  How did you manage your nutrition and what effects did you see?


  1. As I don't calorie count or have an hrm that works well enought to tell me what I'm burning I've found it difficult to balance out eats around my longer runs. I know I need to fuel with more carbs but I don't want to eat too much so that I gain, especially as this exercise is leaving me ravenous! At the moment I'm just trying to eat fairly normally but trying to include more carbs the day before my long runs. Not very technical but it seems to be working ok for now!

  2. As Laura said, I find that eating more *before* significant training sessions helps. But that's because my main priority is speedy recovery, and injury avoidance.

    In the short term, my advice would be to give yourself a break this week. You've done a tough swim, you're carrying a groin weakness, and your shoulders are really sore. You need to eat well to get past that and recover properly.

    From there, if you want to lose weight then it might be the case that calorie cycling is best for you - eat to full maintenance (incl. exercise) around tough days, and then drop them significantly on other days. Personally I don't like the idea, but I know people do have success with this, and it might stop the problems you talk about with retaining water. This will take rather a lot of experimenting - and patience though. With the scales no doubt bouncing around for a while.

    The alternative, Kat, is to stop weighing for a while. You look great, you're fit, and you want to lose some fat. How about switching to tape measure and the mirror? With the amount and variety you do, your body is bound to hold onto water, and show confusion on the scales. In fact you may even get a bit heavier. But that shouldn't matter so long as you're in a healthy weight range, your sport is going well, and you feel good.

    The stage you're at, I can't help feeling it's not about the number on the scales anymore. But if you're not ready to give that up yet, then I'd suggest a break, and then experiment with the calorie cycling.

    HTH :)

  3. Phew, I thought I was the only one out here struggling with the exercise/calories balance. Glad to see i'm not alone!

  4. I think I'm not going to try calorie cycling as such. Just stick to "on or under maintenance" as much as possible for a good while until I get a handle on the extra cardio.

    Definitely paying more attention to the body fat % and how clothes fit than the scales; weighing daily is just habit plus a fascination with numbers and trends. I don't think I'll ever stop weighing ;o)

  5. I'm another weighing addict. unless I know I've had a bad day in which case I bottle it and wont weigh until I've had a good day...

    I suppose I sometimes calorie cycle (of sorts) as on rest days I go over but on some other days I'll struggle to get through the calories - especially if I'm running on an evening so wont have had much tea before and will be in too late to have much after.

    On a seperate note did you see the programme on BBC4 last night on wild swimming?

  6. Rob: I totally missed the swimming thing. Found out this morning about it, so will iPlayer it tomorrow when I'm a bit more awake :o)