Monday, March 9, 2009

1. I’m committed to a climb that is six months from now. I’m beginning to train for this climb and I want to know what to eat. What foods, if any, should I start
cutting out of my daily diet and what foods can I eat that will help?

Mountain climbing is a serious undertaking. It requires you to be in peak physical condition on summit day. Six months beforehand is not too soon to get started! Well-prepared climbers share a strong nutritional foundation. The foods they eat supply enough nutrients and calories to meet their every-day nutritional needs and fuel daily workouts. In other words,successful climbers eat in a way that sets them for what is really needed--and that’s Vitamin T, as in Training.
Opt for a carbohydrate-rich diet built on nutritional powerhouses like whole grains (brown rice, oatmeal and whole wheat bread) and beans/lentils (chili, lentil soup, bean burritos) and low-fat milk and yogurt. Add quality protein like lean red meat, poultry (skip the skin), eggs and plenty of omega-3 rich fish (at least two servings a week). Load up on powerful antioxidants, which naturally promote good health and boost your immune system, by eating two cups of fruit and three cups of vegetables daily. Avoid or limit foods such as alcohol,soda, fatty meats and super-sized desserts that squeeze out the healthier foods your body needs to tolerate strenuous workouts, bolster your immune system and build lean muscle mass.
How you eat is just as important as what you eat. Plan ahead and be prepared. Choose to eat breakfast, make time for lunch and sit down for dinner—every day. Schedule a regular weekly trip to the grocery store and always keep healthful snacks on hand at your desk, in your gym bag and when you travel. The bottom line: when it comes to daily food choices, the greatest benefits come from eating in a way that leaves you physically ready and mentally
prepared to train.

2. I need to lose some weight before my climb. What is the best way to do this
and still have enough energy to train?

Don’t count calories, make your calories count. Active people often struggle to lose weight because they skip meals or diet during the day, only to backload the calories in at night. Concentrate on timing when you eat your meals and snacks with when you exercise. Plan to exercise one to three hours following a meal so you’re brain and muscles are properly fueled. Missed or sub-par workouts due to being too tired, rundown or unmotivated from poor eating habits won’t help you get or stay fit.
Following exercise, you’ll still want to speed your recovery by taking advantage of the “carbohydrate window.” Don’t rely on sports foods, like sports drinks and bars. Save those for when you really need them—during prolonged and intense exercise bouts. Instead, eat a healthy snack. Aim for real foods from two foods groups –like peanut butter on an apple or lowfat yogurt and whole grain cereal. Better still, sit down to your next planned meal.Remember, fitness leads to leanness. Losing weight does not automatically lead to improved fitness. To reach the leanest weight that’s healthy for your body, eat balanced meals and snacks and focus on training consistently. The following tips can help active people trim calories and keep training:
1. Limit or eliminate “liquid calories:” alcohol, soda, vitamin waters, flavored coffee drinks, energy drinks/shakes and super-sized fruit juices and smoothies.
2. Be smart with sports foods (energy bars, gels, Bloks and drinks): If you’re not training at a moderate intensity for at least 60 to 90 continuous minutes, you don’t need to supplement with sports foods before or during exercise. If you’re not working out that day, you don’t need them at all.
3. Cut the fat, not the fun: It’s tempting to try to avoid all sweets and other high-fat treats when weight loss is the goal. Get too hungry or feel deprived, however, and it doesn’t work. For the long haul, build in modest servings of your favorite “fun foods” at least three times a week. Enjoy at the end of a meal, not on an empty stomach.

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