I am now approximately 10 weeks from my second 70.3 distance race, Ironman 70.3 Austin in November. I have set lofty goals for this race and to achieve them I am going to have to do more than just train hard. While in Lake Placid on vacation, I began reading Racing Weight© by Matt Fitzgerald. I registered for Austin while in LP, and decided then that along with hard training I was going to change my diet to prepare.
One of the basic tenets of Racing Weight is to improve your diet quality. Matt’s theory, which he states in the book is not original, is that increasing the nutrition per calorie will allow you to get the needed nutrients for performance with less calories consumed! Put simply, eliminating wasted calories will will result in less eating and better performance. The Racing Weight program focuses on a Diet Quality Score and grades things based upon their nutritional density. For example, Fruits and Vegetables receive 2 points for the first 3 servings, 1 point for the 4th and zero points for each one thereafter. Six high quality food categories receive points for each serving consumed, and 4 categories where points are subtracted sor each serving consumed. Eating too many of the high quality foods, will also result in decreasing scores, so that you do not continue to eat them to just get a higher score!
What have I done?
A brief description of some of the changes I have made:
Eliminated refined grains from my diet. I have begun reading the ingredient lists on the food we buy. Things listed as wheat, have been replaced by items labelled Whole Grain. Many of the Whole Wheat products use enriched grains, thus decreasing their quality. Brown rice vs. white rice (trick: Cook the rice in water & chicken broth vs. just water – tastes much better).
Eliminated low quality beverages! This is a tough one, since I probably drank 2 liters of Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi a day prior to starting this. Water & fresh brewed iced tea have replaced my addiction to WCDP.
More fruits and vegetables. And by more, I mean eating fruits and vegetables. Prior to this I maybe consumed 1 or 2 servings a day. Now they are used in just about every meal. This was evident this past week while Stancie was away and I sent her a picture of a Wok full of vegetables with the message: “I bet that is something you never thought you would see me cook when you are not home!”
A few weeks into this program and I already feel better. As an added bonus, my 9yo daughter picked up the book and seems to be getting interested in it also. As a competitive swimmer, she can also benefit from a higher quality diet. I am going to ease her into it, to prevent her typical 9yo rebellion response.
Hopefully this change will result in improved performance, ie. Better time, on November 8th in Austin! I will let you know!!!
P.S. There is an App for this! (search Diet Quality Scale)