Friday, July 9, 2010

Can Food Make You Fitter?

So I've finally been able to start running and have done 2 runs in the last 3 days over 30 minutes without foot pain. Basically while seeing my acupuncturist for some help sleeping, I was able to get some help with the last bit of swelling/trauma in my foot from the dislocation in Boulder. 3 weeks off of running doesn't appear to have hurt me at all. Today's run of close to an hour could have gone longer if I'd eaten more. But hey, I'll take what I got. I'll run again tomorrow after my bike ride and swim to finish out the day.

Recently, I renewed my commitment to eat more nutrient dense food. And while I ate relatively well during the week when I was off work, my choices on the weekends while working weren't always the best due to time constraints and energy levels. I think I did a great job last year making changes that made me a stronger and more capable athlete with the eating pattern I used in the 8 weeks leading up to Ironman Arizona. And while I still adhere to those eating principles now, I have wondered what would happen if I went even further? What if I took better care with my meals during my work week? What if I added more variety and nutrient density? What if I gave up things that probably weren't serving my overall goal to become fitter? And could food make me fitter?

Well to find out I hired a personal chef. A vegan/raw personal chef who would not only assist me with making food for me to eat during my work week (Friday through Sunday), but would also show me how make this type of food for myself. Honestly, I had no idea what I was getting into. But as it turned out, this is one of those things you sometimes do with only the vaguest of notions yet becomes something more than you could have ever dreamed.

To put it simply, I have never felt stronger or healthier in my life. Last year when I changed my diet and started my eating pattern in the weeks before Ironman, that change did more for me in 2 weeks than 9 months of training. It was huge. More lean muscle, less fatigue, faster recovery, you name it. But this, change goes beyond even that. The food I have been eating is delicious, and filling, and good for me. It seems both restorative and supportive at the same time. I have more energy and I feel stronger. I know this week I was lifting more weight easily in my workout and running and cycling have felt effortless.

I certainly can't speak for everyone, but in my experience paying attention to my diet is paying a lot higher rate of return than killing myself with volume and intensity. Who knew?


Jennifer said...

I hope you'll share some of your diet learnings here on your blog! What types of food are you eating? Recipes would be awesome!
I've definitely noticed that poor food choices and alcohol kills my training, but I haven't been too good at seeing what improves training.

Fred (aka ace) said...

I do plan on sharing more about my diet as I go along. I am also going to post pictures and recipes too. What I am finding is food and rest are probably equally important to growth in any sport.

Richie said...

I'm a new reader to your blog, but have loved the few articles that I've read here today. Good stuff!