As we emerge from our tryptophan-induced naps, I want to revisit something I wrote about back in September. I had mentioned my plans to drop some weight at the beginning of my Tour Divide training process, instead of trying to do it along the way, or (shudder) wait until just before race day. Not long ago, I read an interesting piece on the Carmichael Training Systems blog that does a great job explaining why I approached it the way I did. In particular, it articulates why it's important to view shedding unnecessary weight as its own training phase, instead of trying to drop pounds while building mileage:
Fall (read: off season) is also a great time of year to focus on weight loss because if this isn’t a focused race season for you then you can make changes to your caloric intake and nutritional composition with little to no risk to your training quality. Many athletes try to restrict calories and lose weight in the spring, but that creates a conflict between your nutritional needs for high-quality training and the caloric restriction necessary for weight loss. It’s better to focus on weight loss during the period of the year when your training goals are less specific.
Couldn't have said it better myself. The conflict they talk about is exactly what I wanted to avoid, and why I focused on weight loss before the real training mileage began. Well, I'm happy to report that I dropped ten pounds since that post: I'm currently 175 lbs, which, on my 6'3" frame, puts me at a BMI of about 22. Still five pounds away from my ultimate goal of 170 lbs, but good enough for me to transition out of "meltdown" mode and firmly into "mileage" mode.
See, the program I use to burn unnecessary fat doesn't allow for prolonged periods of exercise. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but there are some very good reasons for this that have to do with stress hormones, glycogen reserves, and other things that impact the way our bodies burn fat. As such, my exercise had been limited to an hour a day for the time I was on program. The hardest part of shedding weight is allowing for the passage of time. Just allowing the program to do its thing.
But in all seriousness, the program works - if you let it. And it's only taken a few weeks to achieve something that could very well have gone unaddressed. If you're interested in freeing yourself of unnecessary poundage the way I did - whether we're talking 5, 15, 50, or more - check out my contact information in the sidebar. I'm happy to talk you through the program and how we can make it work for you.
[Side-note: if your reaction to my suggestion is "but it's the holidays..." then I have a challenge for you. Food-wise, 'the holidays' consists of two or three meals over the span of a month. This being the case, are you really going to sacrifice a month's worth of potential progress because of a couple of 'off-program' meals? Check out my wife's blog on the subject for some additional food for thought. And even if you want to wait until the new year to get started, let's talk now and set you up for success come January 1.]
Now that I've transitioned back into a weight maintenance phase, I can build mileage in earnest. I'll write more about my approach to training later. Right now I have to get the bike ready to ride in the morning. It's gonna be a beautiful day.