Thursday, June 12, 2014

Training Weight Gain

Endurance training:  It's so much fun, it pushes you to your physical limits, and for me, it makes me gain weight.  This is not enough of a deterrence for me to stop racing, but I think I need to re-evaluate how I fuel for and recover from distance running and riding.

I was talking this over with Devon before Tour de Rock, and she thought it might be a topic that a lot of people struggle with.  Since I started calorie counting, my weight has been on a nice downward trend.  I spent the week before the race going to physically taxing hot yoga classes, riding over 20 miles and eating tons of healthy food.  I hopped on the scale Friday morning, and I was up 4 pounds.  I was a bit shocked.  I started thinking about the prior week, and I wondered what could have made my weight creep up so much.  Sure, I had had a beer a couple nights that week, but after such long bike rides, I felt it would be ok.  And yes, I had eaten quite large portions at dinner, but this tempeh stir fry was delicious.

I was well trained, well hydrated, and apparently well fed.  I think in the back of my mind, I kept thinking, "Well, I'm going on a 5 hour bike ride Saturday, I can eat this."  It's that kind of thinking that gets me in trouble.  I knew I shouldn't stress too much about it, and my portions for the rest of the day were large as well.  I met my friend, Erin, for lunch.  She also rode Tour de Rock, and we had a good lunch at Whole Foods before picking up a few items for the race.

Hot food + salad was basically two lunches combined, but I still chocked it up to carb loading.  That night, we headed to US Pizza for my favorite LR vegan pizza.

After this dinner, I was sufficiently carb loaded.  I woke up the next morning, had a vega endurance gel and a yerba matte shot, and I was off and racing.  I felt strong and well prepared during the race, and at the stops I snacked on pickles, bananas and oranges.

At the end of the race, the staff put on a huge BBQ and Boulevard supplied free beer.  After riding for 5 hours, there are not a lot of things better than a great beer.  I had planned on not eating anything, since BBQ's aren't really for me, but after triple checking for meat, I got a plate of beans and a roll.

This held me over for several hours after the race.  Josh and I enjoyed the first swim in our pool of the summer, then we ordered more pizza.  I ended up crashing pretty hard after that.

I woke up the next morning feeling the need for nutrients and some healthier food choices.  I knew that I had burned a ton of calories, but I also knew I wasn't re-fueling with the most nutrient dense food.  So, I grabbed all the produce in the house and made some juice!

Race Recover Juice

6 carrots
2 cups chopped romaine
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 lemon
1 jalapeno

Add everything to a juicer.  Be wary of using an entire jalapeno.  This was spicy but delicious.

My final indulgence was Sunday brunch at Bar Louie.  My eyes were still bigger than my stomach, and I was a bit full from my breakfast juice.  I ordered a veggie wrap (no cheso and no mayo), but I only ate a little before we boxed up most of this and called it dinner.

Monday morning, I was a pound down from Friday and back on the healthy food wagon.  I definitely think I could have re-fueled from my race with better food, but sometimes, a race is a nice break and an opportunity to have some indulgences.  I got a ton of sleep over the weekend, and I'm feeling happy and strong this week.

I definitely think that weight loss is 80% or more about the foods you eat, not about how much you work out.  I love fitness, because it makes me feel happy and confident, but I know that how I fuel my body before and after those workouts is the real key to health.

Do you gain weight when you're training for endurance race?  Got any tips and tricks on what to or what not to eat around race time?

Here are a few posts from when I was doing endurance running as well.  As you can see, refueling after hard workouts is a frequent topic I like to re-visit.

Vegan Pre-Marathon Pasta Party
Distance Running makes you Hungry
Vegan Running Fuel


  1. I have never trained for anything quite as taxing as the bike race you just experienced, but I do tend to fall into a bad pattern of eating heavier foods when I'm exercising regularly, because I feel like I can afford the calories, haha, know what I mean?....So not exactly the same thing, but I do understand craving calorie-dense foods when working out. But, it seems like there's a lot of literature out there stating that when you are working out regularly, you could have some weight fluctuations due to building muscle too, which may make the scale go up a little, but will hopefully help burn more fat in the long run. Unfortunately, I've never been dedicated enough to stick with any of it for very long, but I try to not let the scale freak me out as much as it used to....because I can definitely get obsessed with those fluctuating numbers! Oy!

    1. that's a truly good point. i don't compensate for workouts in my regularly day to day eating, because i try to work out almost every day. it's definitely these big races that will push the scale up, but like you said, that's when my body is really working hard to re-build my torn down muscles. i'm definitely not freaking out about it; i just think it's interesting. all that really matters is feeling fit and fabulous!

  2. Looks like you were DEAD ON about the beers after a good work out! Actually progressive. Check out this NYTIMES article. I gonna start doing this today!

  3. Delicious looking food over load! It all looks a-mazing!

    "I love fitness, because it makes me feel happy and confident, but I know that how I fuel my body before and after those workouts is the real key to health." --- so true! I've been running lately and doing workouts ondemand...but on days I don't "feel" like running and want to do yoga instead, theres no reason to feel guilty! It should be for feeling happy about doing the exercise that you want to do, while eating delicious, clean (and sometimes not so clean!) food. :)

    1. i completely agree! i think my problem in the past is thinking i have to maintain a completely clean diet 100% of the time. when i failed at that, i would always consider myself "off the wagon" and binge until i got back on. truly, i know that i need to nurish my body 90% of the time, and every now and then, it's fine to sit on a patio and have a beer. that's life! :)

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