Monday, March 17, 2008

How Are You Gonna Eat?

The other day I was hanging out at a Tri shop when a couple of the local pro's came in after their day of working out which from their conversation was a brick consisting of a 4 or 5 hour long ride followed by a 10 mile run.

When asked by someone in the shop if they were going to eat something, one of the athletes said he was okay for another 30 minutes or so because he'd had a sports drink and a bar within the last hour or so. After hanging out for a bit the two then discussed what they would eat for dinner. Long story short, they were eating pizza. Yep. Pizza. The kind you get from Dominoes or Mr Gatti's.

I think it was then I started thinking about the questions we ask ourselves in life. Basically, I'm coming to understand that it is far more important to ask the right questions than to know the "right" answer. When we finish our training, or race, or even when we wake up in the morning the question that comes to mind immediately is "What am I going to eat?" Seems like a logical question. And most of us will answer it with a mental inventory that is a mixture of what might be on hand, our learned eating habits, and our cravings. Because of the conversation the two in the tri shop had, I have decided to ask myself a different question, "How am I going to eat today?"

By asking myself "how" I am going to eat as opposed to "what" I am going to eat I find I am opening myself to other possibilities and choices. For instance, am I eating to fuel, or to recover, or to detox? Or some combination of the three? And once the "how" is answered then I can move to the "what." The "what" at this point supports the "how" which in turn supports me and my goals.

I think it is common for most people to assume that because they exercise, they can eat as they wish. I know I once did. But now I'm beginning to feel that exercise should allow us to tune in to our bodies so that we come to refine our eating much as we refine our equipment based on race conditions.


Jason said...

I really liked the take of this post. Ask the right question. It is something that has always been at the back of my mind ever since I read Douglas Adams' book, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Where the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42.
The problem is know one really knows what the question means, and therefore don't understand the answer.

I also did the test. I missed the bear.

Triteacher said...

You know what -- I've found that my body seems to want different things when I'm training. All of the sudden during IM training, I kicked my sweets addiction - with no effort. My body wanted tuna and greens, not (as many at least!) M&Ms.