Let me start by announcing I love to eat. Actually, I obsess over eating. I have been fueling my body for performance ever since I was a little kid, carb loading on spaghetti feeds for the next big swim meet. I went through my teenage years feeding on anything and everything in sight and this continued into my 20s as I force-fed calories and supplements to bulk up for body building.Almost four years ago I found a new hobby, cycling. I quickly learned that I was going to have to lose weight to be competitive — a lot of weight. The first 20 pounds fell off as just the increase in cardiovascular exercise and considering what I put in my mouth had an effect on my physique. I began racing in the local Reno Wheelmen Race Series and realized I was fast but much larger than the competition. At the end of my first season I made the decision to get serious and really lose the weight. I am a creature of habit and have been following a strict nutritional plan for the last three years.The key to my whole plan is quality food at the right time and right amount. It is all about teetering on the edge of starving your body to stay light and getting just the right amount of nutrition to fuel and recover from the last race or training ride and, of course, the occasional binge. People always make comments that I can eat whatever I want because I ride and train so hard — they are wrong.Not only will I gain weight, my performance will suffer. Here is a sample diet plan for a normal training day:Breakfast3 cups coffee (2 tablespoons cream, 1 tablespoon sugar)32 ounces waterBig Bowl O Oats:1 cup rolled oats, 1 tbls flax seeds, 1 tbls wheat germ, 2 tbls dried fruit, 1 banana, 1 tbls Molasses, 1tbls Peanut Butter, 1⁄4 cup nonfat Greek YogurtRide Nutrition1 bottle of water per hour1 bottle of Clif Shot drink mix per hour1 Clif Bar every two hoursPost Ride/Lunch32 ounces waterHand full of pretzels or chips and 2 tbls HummusRecovery Shake (1 cup almond milk, 1⁄2 cup frozen berries, 1⁄2 cup fresh fruit, 1 scoop BCAA's/Glutamine)Sandwich (2 slices whole grain bread, 2 ounces turkey, 1 egg, 1⁄4 avocado, mustard)Dinner32 ounces water6-8 ounces lean meat or fish1⁄2 plate of steamed or sauted veggies (1 tbls olive oil, 1 tbls Bragg's soy sauce substitute)200 calories worth of starch (sweet potato, pasta, rice, quinoa, couscous, tortillas)Note: I usually find a creative way to put this all together, usually stir fry, tacos, pasta dishes, etc.Dessert1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt (big time low glycemic index protein for sleep)1 large apple1⁄4 cup GoLean Crunch cereal1 tbls peanut butterThis is what I eat 90 percent of the time. I always adjust calories and portions with concern to how many calories I burned that day. Everyone should know their approximate Basal Metabolic Rate plus calories burned from exercise and try not to exceed it.The law of nutrition and weight gain/loss is 3,500 calories equals 1 pound. If you want to lose weight you need to eat 3,500 calories fewer than your body burns. So if you want to lose 1 pound a week, put yourself at a 500-calorie deficit a day. You will also notice that there is a balance of all three major macronutrients in each meal. If you want your body to perform and maintain a healthy weight, you need all three. That's right, low carb or low fat diets are not the answer for a healthy body, especially for athletes! With all this said, when I have a huge day of training or racing I go big. I give my body what it deserves — sushi, pizza and burritos the size of Arnold's forearms. Check back at www.marcpro-strava.com soon for some of my favorite recipes.— Justin Rossi is the author of this week's Marc Pro-Strava Racing column. For more information, results and upcoming events from the Truckee-based cycling team, visit http://marcpro-strava.com.
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