Since I’m still in recovery, there are not a lot of things I can do about my fitness.
I’m doing upper body strength work on machines four times a week, because I cannot trust my foot yet to help me keep proper form on the bench or standing, and I am technically not allowed to put pressure on it beyond regular walking.
So, what else can I do to become a successful triathlete this year?
For the past 8 weeks, 90% of my meals have been cooked at home. In the months prior to that, about 90% of my meals were from restaurants. I was gradually gaining weight with the pretext that I was “training,” and of course I needed all those pancakes and fries as fuel. After all, you need to carb load the whole week for your weekend long rides, right?
The truth is, I had an incredibly tough year at school and work, and my stress levels were out of control. I spent 8 months working 50-70 hour weeks (I know this is the norm for many people, but it was incredibly tough for me with an ambitious training schedule and 60+ mile rides on weekends). Something had to give, and what gave was my nutrition.
The fact that I had obligatory medical leave and had to be at home for weeks forced me to reflect. First of all, I cannot sustain that level of stress and be an efficient athlete (or a healthy human, for that matter). Second, though I completed my century ride, I did it slower than I trained for and my fitness was going in the wrong direction.
What I can do to make myself a better athlete is to regain control of what I eat and create boundaries to protect my mental and physical well-being.
I started noticing that I was losing weight just from eating at home. Of course, I’m also losing muscle mass, especially in my legs and glutes, but I am doing everything I can to build my upper body muscles and maintain overall strength. Since I cannot use my legs to train, I can use this time to get lean. This can only mean one thing: tracking macros!
After reading dozens of articles, I believe I need to increase my protein intake, and drastically reduce my carbs. The first day, I tried to set my ratios to P40/C30/F30 and it was a complete fail. One does not go from 50-60% carbs to 30% overnight. So, I opted to do a more gradual transition and tried P35/C40/F25. That went very well, so I will be transitioning to P40/C35/F25 next week.
How can I tell this is working? I cannot weigh myself because I cannot stand barefoot on a scale. I did not take body measurements last week, and frankly, I’m not eager to. The way I can tell this is working is by how I feel.
On Friday, I ate a steak salad with fries, and at night I had a frozen margarita with chips and salsa. I felt sluggish and greasy and weak. The lack of protein and excess of carbs made a big difference in just one day. Next week, I will track physical changes more closely and I will do my first weekend meal prep. I’m so excited to share with you the positive results these changes will bring.