Yes, I am pouring ice down my shorts at Ironman Kentucky (2009). This was one of my favorite races because it was great to be in my home state. I loved the rolling hills on the course and I always like to see nature/wildlife when I am racing. I have been known to say out loud "Hello" to the cows and horses that I spot along course - I am sure they say hello back but I am too busy riding fast on my bike.
As far as racing weight goes, I hear a lot from athletes who feel as if reaching a certain weight will allow them to race better. I understand that we should not be carrying more weight on our body than is needed for that can increase risk for injuries. But in terms of a healthy weight vs a racing weight, how can we figure out what is our ideal weight for performing well on race day?
Here's how I see it - from both a coach, an athlete and someone who has worked with many athletes on race day/race week eating along with sport nutrition and weight loss.
Here is the big reason why veterans talk about "Racing" weight. Someone who refers to a past weight and explains that "at x-weight, I performed the best ever so that is my racing weight" is simply identifying the weight as the highlight of the training. In other words, it wasn't the weight loss or change of body composition that happened first (or in the off-season or while doing nothing) and then the performance gains but instead, the change in body composition and "ideal" racing weight was the result of training. You didn't perform well on race day because you stuck to a diet plan and sat on the couch doing nothing but instead, you likely provided your body with the right fuels at the right time to make performance gains and your body took care of itself. It got stronger, faster and perhaps leaner and you performed well on race day. Now you are likely more efficient and may be struggle with getting back to that weight but in hindsight, it wasn't that specific weight that made you have a great race but instead the training that came with it.
IMKY was a PR but I was also at my "heaviest" for IM racing. I do not perform well with a low body weight and also, it isn't fun because I don't like to feel hungry or restricted so that's a choice I make as I will take performance over a number on a scale. I don't like my body weight going under 108lbs (I'm 5 feet "tall" and I create muscle very easily thanks to genetics and good nutrient timing) and that weight only occurs during IM training. Throughout the year I hoover around 111-112. I'm fine with that as I feel energized, satisfied and most of all, healthy and balanced. I know that if my weight gets to 115 - no biggie but more than that, risk of injuries goes up for me and I am aware of that so to be respectful to my body, I need to adjust something with training/diet to get back to a healthy weight. So although at IMKY I was heavier than most IM's, I performed the best ever and at the end of the day when writing my race reports, it wasn't the weight that hopefully inspired others to reach personal health goals but rather my attitude, performance and approach to a fun, active lifestyle. Hopefully you can do the same.
Nutrition Action Healthletter Jan/Feb 2013 issue.
GUT MYTHS: Clearning up confusion in the GI tract.
(there are several myths listed on pg 3-5 so I will share one of them)
MYTH: Got gas? Beans, vegetables and milk are the main culprits.
Beans, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, milk, bran. Those are some of the usual suspects when people are trying to figure out why they're experiencing, ahem, gas. Ant those foods can cause gas.
But most of us overlook a growing source of the problem: inulin, or chicory root extract, one of the most popular ingredients in "high-fiber" foods.
"Of all the fibers added to foods, inulin is the one that probably causes the most intestinal gas, " say fiber expert Joanne Slavin, professor of nutrition at the University of Minnesota. "Inulin contains sugars that our digestive enzymes can't break down."
The enzymes do just fine with sugars that have only one or two basic units (called saccharides). Sucrose, or table sugar, for example, is a disaccharide, that is broken down in the small intestine into fructose and glucose.
But when it comes to sugars made up of three or more units - often called oligosaccharides - our enzymes are useless. So the sugars end up as food for the bacteria in the gut.
"Inulin is quickly and completely fermented in the large intestine," explains Slavin. And when your bacteria finish fermenting it, you get stuck with the gas they give off.
"Beans are notorious for causing gas because they have sugars like raffinose and stachyose," notes Slavin. Raffinose has three sugar units. Stachyose has four.
"If you look at literature on treating or cooking beans to make them less gassy, it's mostly t get the oligosaccharides out of there," she adds.
(Beano tablets can prevent gas because the contain an enzyme that breaks down raffinose and stachyose).
Whether inulin is a problem depends on how much you eat and who you are.
"Our review of studies found that inulin is generally well tolerated at levels up to 15g a day," says Slavin. But at around 20 grams, flatulence or bloating is more likely. "So does is a big issue and there is also individual variability."
Each serving of FIber One 90 Calorie Bronies, Fiber One cottage Cheese and Yoplait LIght with fiber has 5 grams of fiber and much of it is inulin.
Some Fiber One Chewy Bars have up to nine grams.
"If you have a serving of beans you'll get about 3 grams of oligosaccharides, not nine grams," says Slavin. "Any they're more manageable in a real food because they're digested more slowly and usually mixed with other foods."
Another hidden source of gas: sugar alcohols like sorbitol and maltitol. "They're low-calorie carbohydrates because they're not completely digested and absorbed," explains Slaving. "Typically if you are eating sugar-free candy or gum, your exposure to sugar alcohols is low, but if people eat the whole bag of candy, it can cause gas."
Sugar alcohols aren't all equal, though. In small studies, some people complain of gas when doses of sorbitol reach 10-20g but few complain unless they get at least 30-40 grams of maltitol.
Most foods don't have that much. Breyers Vanilla or chocolate CarbSmart and No sugar Added ice creams, for example, have 4-5 g of sorbitol per half cup, but many people start at a whole cup. And Baskin Robbins No sugar Added Caramel Turtle Truffle ice cream has 25grams of maltitol per scoop..
Of course, some people may eat more than one food with sugar alcohols during the course of a day. And people vary. "Most people can tolerate normal doses, but not everybody is the same," say Slavin.
On the plus side, sugar alcohols have fewer calories than sugar and inulin spurs the growth of Bifido bacteria, which may be good for gut health (that's why it is called a prebiotic). But the more bacteria in your gut, the more gas they give off.
"Scientists argue that gas isn't bad for you, but most people say it's not acceptable," say Slavin. "If you hve gas, you should definitely consider what you're eating. If it's a lot of fermentable fiber or sugar alcohols, that could be the explanation."