Eating right in cycling is really important, more so if you're in training, and crucial for racing. It's remained a mystery to me, but then again I never looked at it closely till now. Long story short, I'm definitely not eating enough, evident in the past when I'd bonk, a term to describe when you've completely run out of fuel, and suffering because of it. Nothing's worse than running on empty with 10 miles to go. I've learned my lesson and remain hyper-aware of how much I eat before and during a ride, more so now that I've increased my hours on the bike. Now I don't go anywhere without having had a proper breakfast of either granola or oatmeal with bananas and a little coffee. Before I'd skip it completely and pay the consequences.
I started counting calories, and it's interesting to learn how much is in everything you eat, how certain foods have more than others, and which things are just plain bad for you. To keep track of calories I'm using an iPhone app called MyFitnessPal, which is pretty good so far. It has a barcode scanner that automatically finds the product and it's calorie count, however for home made meals it's a bit more difficult since you have to break it down per ingredient. On average I expend between 4000-5000 calories, depending on the ride, which is more than twice on any given day I don't work out.
The problem I'm running into now is that I find it hard to build an appetite. Despite eating at least five or more meals a day I'm still coming up short. The other issue I'm figuring out is finding the best things to eat that take little to no time to prepare, as I'm usually consumed with work during the day. I've often wondered about protein powders and weight gaining formulas, but that stuff really freaks me out. I'd rather do it naturally and with simple foods. It's tricky because I want to stay relatively light weight and gain strength at the same time. I recently purchased this cook book by Dr. Allen Lim and chef Biju Thomas called The Feedzone Cookbook. I haven't made anything from it yet since I've been traveling so much lately, but it looks promising.
The month ahead looks to be brutal. Not only is the weather beginning to get colder I start power intervals for the first time. These are basically sets of all-out sprints for a couple of minutes at a time over 20 minutes. This means I really have to have my daily nutrition under control if I'm to survive this training block. Luckily I love to eat and live in a great city for it.