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Are you in the zone?(15 posts)

Are you in the zone?Seth1
Feb 27, 2003 11:28 AM
Back when I was in college, (less than 10 years ago, but not much less), I rowed for 4 yrs., often worked out 2x a day, and subsisted mainly on a diet of donuts, ice cream, steak subs and pizza. Our coach had us read The Zone and all I really took away from it was that my pizza is better for me if I add sausage and a candy bar is as "bad" for you as a bowl of pasta, so I may as well eat candy. In hindsight, I think I probably missed something. Regardless, my body fat was pretty low those days--I would guess it was 7-9% back then and is double that now. 20 pounds later (some muscle, but by no means all) and a number of years later, my metabolism is much slower.

Anyway, I don't really eat junk food anymore, but I know I eat way to many carbs during non-workout times.

The question--for those of you who are at the age where your metabolism is slowing down and you can't eat all you want anymore, what dietary patterns have worked for (or haven't) you both with regard to cycling performance and lowering body fat. I understand that reducing "unnecessary" carbs and eating more lean protein and vegetables/fruits could help, but I find that when I do this I'm always so hungry. Maybe the answer is just eat all I want and increase my training volume, but I am interested in hearing what you guys think.
smaller portions. lots of fiber. light on the bread/pasta.bill
Feb 27, 2003 11:47 AM
maybe I eat more protein than I used to (relatively). I satisfy the sweet tooth with a small dose of something really, really good. I drink lots of water. I eat before I'm ravenous. I drink (water) whenever I think of it -- never liked sodas and soft drinks, anyway. basically, I ask myself whether I'm eating because I want it or am I eating because it's there. if the former, I don't worry about it too much. if the latter -- skip it, without really missing it. or have a good old orange or some grapes or an apple instead.
remember that it's your life. diets that require more discipline than you can manage for longer than, well, the rest of your life, are stupid, because . . . it's your life. live it.
I'm 44. I weigh what I weighed in college, after years of being as much as twenty plus pounds more (on a 5'8" frame). I deny myself very, very little. I may deny myself the second big piece of it, but I don't find that I miss that second piece very much.
Since it is my 41st birthday today, I probably qualifyPaulCL
Feb 27, 2003 11:52 AM
as someone who's metabolism has slowed.

First of all, I'm not skinny as a rail. I can, and will, lose that extra 10+lbs of winter weight. I've put 20+ pounds on since college also - about 1/2 and half muscle/fat. I discovered weight training in my early thirties.

As an old man of 41 (6'1", 195lbs, 43in jacket, 34" waist) I try simple things: with few exceptions....I don't drink soft drinks, I don't eat fast food, I try not to have second helpings, I consciously try to eat 5 servings of fruit/veggies per day (I keep a bag of apples or oranges in my office for snacking), I avoid caffeine, and I try to avoid getting hungry. I think the key is to always have something to eat. Eat several times per day, not three. For me, if I am 'starved' at lunch, I have a tendency to then eat too much of the wrong stuff - hence the fruit snack before lunch. Oh yeah, I drink about a gallon of water per day.

One other thing I started this winter was to drink protein shakes. I mix two scoops of GNC vanilla protein powder, 24 oz H20, some fruit, some yogurt and ice cubes in a blender. It fills me up for breakfast and I rarely get hungry before lunch. If I get hungry, I go for the fruit (I know, its' a recurring theme). For lunch, I'm big on a bowl of soup and a piece of bread.

This winter has sucked. Usually, by the end of February, I've put about 400-500 miles on the bike. This year: 70 miles plus a dozen+ spinning classes and three-times-per-week lifting sessions. I've loaded on the weight. Losing weight is one of the most difficult things for me to do. But after a month or two of 125 miles/wk, it'll drop off.

Happy Birthday (nm)PEDDLEFOOT
Feb 27, 2003 12:07 PM
Feb 27, 2003 2:34 PM
A birthday can't get more special than staying home with two sick children. Yippee.
in The Principle...SmogRider
Feb 27, 2003 1:20 PM
The Schwarzbein Principle, that is...

a great read on diet and food choices. Can be found for about $12 in stores or Amazon. It's more about long-term health and disease prevention than weight loss. Great tips on carb/protein balancing. BTW - she's against carbo loading due to the release of insulin that happens to counter the rush of carbs. I never used to think past what happens once it's in my gut. A real eye-opener. Especially when Diabetes can result from isulin resistance. I ride with a buddy who has a small pager-like device
i hard-wired
into him to supply insulin. Years of diet neglect have trashed his system. He is a successful attorney, who still goes to McDonalds "five days a week". Yikes.

Protein seems to keep me "full" longer than carbs do. I was doing a fruit/protein shake, but about 2 hrs. later the bottom dropped out and I would literally eat
i anything
in site that resembled food. Now it's cottage cheese or hard boiled eggs with whatever else for breakfast (oatmeal, bran muffin). Seems to hold me well into lunch and blood sugar is happy. Snack on fruit, string cheese & raw nuts (together).

SR (38)
That is pretty much how I eat.look271
Feb 27, 2003 4:58 PM
I read "The Zone" years ago and though I don't follow it fanatically, I do try to maintain that 40-30-30 ratio, especially paying attention to the protein /carb ratio. I weigh LESS than I did in my early 20's (I'm soon to be 44) and have more muscle mass. The insulin rush thing is very real and I try to avoid snacking on anything that is just carbs, even if it is "good" for me (fruit, yogurt). I do the fruit/cottage cheese/nuts/lean meat thing for snacks and feel great.
With the help of people on this board and lots of research…Ken of Fresno
Feb 27, 2003 1:29 PM
I've lost about 30 lbs in about the last 7 months and have about 30 more to go. At least now, for the first time in my life, I feel like I control my weight and not the other way around. I care very little about the ratio of carbs to protein (or whatever nutrients are a current concern). All I have done is to make sure I average a small (500 or so) calorie deficit each day. If I blow it one day I suck it up the next day and eat less. I don't eat very much junk simply because I can eat more if I choose wisely. Exercise helps, but for most people it doesn't burn nearly as many calories as they think. Maybe worth a piece of pizza or two. While finishing my MA I was tied to my computer most of the day with little time to ride. I simply adjusted my calorie intake and was still able to shed pounds. The main thing (and the only thing) that really works is maintaining a calorie deficit. Although I'm not an expert on the subject it has become an interest. I've sort of put together a short paper for anyone who's interested. It's nowhere near complete, but it contains lots of good (though not unique) information. Also, here are some links that may be useful as well.

My paper:

Useful links:
one of the best resources for someone who just wants to loose weight. His free book is also available for download as a pdf file.

Best of luck,
With the help of people on this board and lots of research…Seth1
Feb 28, 2003 1:23 PM
Ken--I couldn't access your paper.

As someone who doesn't work at it very hard...PdxMark
Feb 27, 2003 2:12 PM
I seem to do it somewhat differently from others here. I'm 42, 5'10" 165# (like in college), 40" chest, 32" waist.

I've never put on lots of weight, even though there were 10 years or so when I didn't do much regular exercise. I've been consistently back into cycling since 1998.

For diet I usually avoid most gratuitous empty calories, like soda pops, chips, etc., as a regular part of my day, but I do eat them sometimes as a snack. I also drink less alcohol now than I have in the past.

Breakfasts are granola (with nuts) and yogurt, dinners are usually low fat and vegetarian with frequent pasta, rice etc. Lunches are probably my main calorie intake and can be pretty bad, from downtown lunch spots, but often are ok. I drink way too much coffee (a Saeco superautomatic espresso machine is NO help, but makes great coffee).

I suppose the main strategy I have is not to eat too much fat too often. A fatty meal sometimes seems to be ok, like that greasy Chinese lunch I had today, but it'll be a couple weeks before I do that again.

I commute by bike year round- 4 miles each way - and try to ride an additional 2000-3000 non-commute miles a year.

Many folks here have thought WAY more about this than I have. My little thought is that my brisk 4 mile commute through traffic, with quick accelerations and occaisional extensions, seems to ramp up my metabolism without making me very hungry - burning calories. I seem to eat lots, and always have, but the bike commuting seems to make things easier.

For cycling performance, the reading I've done lead me to the conclusion that carbs are what you burn most at higher exertion levels. On top of that, a body stores up to about 1500-2000 calories of glycogen. For me, that means I can ride about 50 miles or 3 hours without having to worry too much about replenishing my calorie load during a ride (though I prefer a sprots drink along the way).

Muuch over 50 miles means I need to replenish the calories I'll be needing for the rest of the ride. (Of course, it's best not to wait until you're shot to start taking in those calories). For those calories, I like slow burning carbs as in some sports drinks, and PB&J on whole wheat goes down far easier than any energy bar.

Afterwards, I'll eat until satisfied.

Good luck.
Feb 27, 2003 3:12 PM
In July last year ago my wife joined WW, I did not, but I read the booklets etc. and joined my wife in changing (and keeping track of) the way we eat. To my amazement it is very simple and works. I've lost 50 lbs (down to 200) and I eat what I want (just in the right quantities). One of the key issues is amount of fiber in your food, more fiber fills you up more efficiently and you consequently will not eat as much.

No ZoneJon Billheimer
Feb 27, 2003 3:34 PM
I'm 58 yrs. old, 5'11", and weight 161 lbs. Five years ago I tried the Zone Diet for one year, while doing some ultra-distance training. The effect was, I got down to 5.5% body fat but was chronically glycogen depleted and lacked top end power. I was also hungry ALL the time.

There are two fundamental ideas behind the Zone diet. One is to control insulin release by always combining protein with carb intake, eating a lot of high fibre fruits and vegetables, and eating six times per day. The second, is calorie reduction, roughly 30% fewer calories than what a dietitian would normally recommend. The insulin control idea is valid. However, no one requires that 30% of their total calories be protein. For an athlete in strenuous training 15 to 20% is more than enough. Also, 40% of calories derived from carbohydrate is simply too low for any endurance athlete to adequately replenish lost glycogen stores. Endurance athletes require 50 to 65% carbohydrate diets, depending on volume and intensity of training.

Since trying the Zone I've returned to my normal eating habits which include eating five to six times per day, with one large meal. I listen to my body and eat when I'm hungry, quit when I'm not. I train year round and always maintain some intensity in my program. The result is that I maintain a pretty constant weight of 161-162 lbs in the off season and drop to about 158 during racing. My body composition fluctuates between 13% and 11% body fat. I think the key is to balance diet with exercise, eat a moderate or low-glycemic diet, except during and post-workout.
Ride 1.5 hrs/day, EXCEL to track kcals and sugar free Kool-Aidteamsloppy
Feb 27, 2003 3:43 PM
1) I started riding to work just to burn more calories. 16 miles one way about 45 minutes and about 1600 extra calories burned per day. That's the energy equivalent to a six-pack of beer or three average meals.

2) I use an EXCEL spreadsheet to track what I eat.

I drop food out of my diet for food that I really, really want (beer, scotch, wine). I haven't eaten my favorite greek salad with feta cheese for a long time. Same with Mayonaise. One and 1/2 table spoon of Mayonaise or Feta equals one beer. Hold the Mayo and no cheese, please. Uno mas cerveza por favor.

4) When I feel hungry (all afternoon), I get oral with Sugar Free Kool-Aid (5 calories per serving). The Tropical Punch flavor is also useful if you're ever trapped in a snow storm and need to write an SOS message in the snow in bright red letters. You need to brush your teeth a couple times a day to avoid looking diseased; but hey, toothbrushing is calories burned too!
I'm in the zone....the krispy kreme zone.curtybirdychopper
Feb 27, 2003 4:09 PM
I actually asked an online triathlete/nutritionist about balancing nutrition, workouts, and weightloss recently. He responded with 'basically use common sense.' My common sense tells me to ride an extra 10 miles to the donut shop, so thats what I do. I eat crap sometimes, but I make sure I work it off . I like to use my desire for donuts as motivation to work out longer and harder. I've lost about 10 lbs, from 190 to 180 in the last few months, but the last few bulges are tougher to take off it seems. Maybe my donuts will have to go..... nah, its not worth it!
I'm a Zoner...DINOSAUR
Feb 27, 2003 5:39 PM
I dropped 35 pounds since July. Went from 230 to 195 and still dropping. It might not work for everyone, but it worked for me....