I do get quite a bit of questions about exactly what I eat on those days when I'm training long. A 5k swim, followed by a 5:00 ride and a 1:00 brick are not exactly workouts you'd want to go into empty!
While I've written posts including sample days of what I eat on days when I've got shorter workouts, I've not detailed a long day's meals as of yet.
So, here it is!
Keep in mind that I will have had yam or sweet potato with dinner the night before to top off my glycogen stores in both the skeletal muscle and liver... Also, water is consumed throughout the day, to ensure I don't get dehyrdated.
7 am breakfast
My signature smoothie (chilled, plain green tea, banana, raw almond butter, egg protein, whizzed in the blender). I also like adding cinnamon, ginger and turmeric. One the side- some baked yam with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, indicated for endurance athletes who follow TPD. Black espresso.
8AM- 90' masters swim. I bring a water bottle with a gel mixed into it to sip between sets. As those of you who've been reading my blog for a while already know, the carbohydrate gel is the sole non Paleo food in my own diet that I use for racing and training.
9:30 AM- banana, eaten at the pool, post swim.
I live just round the corner from the pool, so I have the advantage of going home for my next feeding.
10:00 AM- more yam, a runny egg, some avocado and/or olive oil and a bit of sliced turkey...
Five hour bike ride with high wattage intervals, followed by one hour brick run done at ironman race pace.
One gel every 30 minutes. Since I weigh 52 kg and I adhere strictly to the rule of thumb of 4 kcal/kg bodyweight/hour of endurance exercise lasting upwards of 90 minutes, I consume one PowerGel every thirty minutes, each of which is 110 kcals. This puts me at just slightly over the necessary 208 kcals that I personally need per hour.
If I were doing a longer, more aerobic ride, I might bring along more yam with salt and almond butter on it, as well. However, at higher intensity, so much blood is diverted away from the GI tract in order to deliver to the skeletal muscle, eating solids would end in undigested food sitting in my stomach and a very delayed emptying of calories from the gut into the blood.
HOMEBREW! If you don't know what it is, read The Paleo Diet for Athletes. It's a homemade, Paleo recovery drink made with fruit, protein, glucose and some salt. I also like to add a bit of L Glutamine to help further with the recovery process.
Now comes the time of the post workout window for which I receive a LOT of questions. Many of my clients previously tended to over think this before working together to sort it.
TPD for Athletes teaches us that the recovery window time should equal that of the workout time, and during that, there is a gradual shift from eating the higher glycemic and starchier foods, back to typical Paleo meals.
I'll get questions like "how many grams of CHO should I eat in the second hour of recovery" or "what if my body is telling me to eat something salty and nothing else sweet?".
I can tell you, based on six years of racing with great results as a top age group, PALEO, ironman athlete, that you should absolutely let your body guide you, after you've had your recovery drink.
I usually want protein, fat and salt. Here is just ONE example of what that might be:
grass fed burger (No bun, obviously), salad & yams
And, not surprisingly, since I'll have expended several thousand calories that day through training, I'll be hungry again before too long...
Sea bass, spinach with garlic and oil, more salad, an orange... and yams on the side to prep for the next day, if my coach has another big day in store for me!
- I get in exactly the right balance of calories, in the proper Paleo macro nutrient ratio. How can I tell?
- I sleep wonderfully
- My training and racing continue to improve and get stronger
- I am rarely ill
- I easily maintain my lean body weight
- I have great, constant energy levels
Wondering how to do it for yourself? You've got to approach it as an experiment. Read the books, arm yourself with knowledge and know that you've got to use your self as the test for what works FOR YOU and what does not. You CAN sort it out while remaining PALEO and you'll be all the more fit, healthy, lighter, faster and stronger!