Thursday, July 5, 2007

Like to eat? Ride a bike!

The prevailing wisdom is that we've got an obesity crisis in our country today. We're dying from too much food, rather than not enough. The "diet industry" is a multi-billion dollar business, as people desperately try to get a handle on it.

It's not really rocket science. You consume calories of energy via food intake; you expend calories of energy by engaging in physical activity. Burn more than you eat... lose weight. Eat more than you burn... gain weight.

Ironically, at the same time as lifestyles have become more sedentary, food has become more high-calorie as "fast food" and "junk food" have become more prevalent in our diets.

I tend to be "calorically challenged." At least since I became a married man. (When I was eating my own cooking, it was much easier to moderate my intake. ANYBODY could lose weight eating MY cooking!) It would be convenient to blame it on "glands," or heredity. But, the truth of the matter is, like so many people, my natural tendency is to eat more than I burn.

At least... if bicycling weren't part of the picture.

When I'm riding 500-600 miles a month, I can pretty much eat whatever I want (within reason). I can enjoy the "sea food diet." (See food? Eat it!) If I ate totally sensibly, I could lose some serious poundage. As it is, I tend to lose 15-20 pounds in the summer... typically gaining it back over the winter. (Holidays are TOUGH, aren't they?!?)

Here's some more wisdom from the Bike Cult book... I post it in recognition of the about-to-start Tour de France. (THOSE guys would leave me behind on the bikes, and at the dinner table!)

Tour de France typical Daily Diet
(Source: Bike Cult)

1-2 cups coffee or tea
1-2 bowls muesli or cereal with fruit and yogurt
2-4 slices bread with jam or honey
1 glass milk
vitamin supplements

1-2 bowls rice or pasta
2-3 eggs with ham or cheese
1 plate fresh chicken, fish, or steak
1-2 bottles carbohydrate drink

4 oz. glucose concentrate or fruit nectar
1-2 pieces of fruit
2 pieces sweet bread pudding, or 1 bakery tart
1-2 energy bars
1-2 pannini rolls (meat, cheese, or rice, and jam)
1-2 bottles carbo drink

2 musette bags, each containing:
3-4 muesli bars
1 energy bar
1-2 pieces fruit
4 oz. glucose concentrate or fruit nectar
5 bottles water
5 bottles carbo drink
1 bottle caffeinated cola

3-5 bottles water or juice
1-2 pieces fruit
1-2 bread rolls or biscuits
1 bakery tart

1-2 sandwiches, or 1-2 pieces quiche or pizza
1-2 cups yogurt
1-2 pieces fruit
1-2 bottles juics, carbo drink, or water

1-2 bowls pasta or beans with light sauce
1-2 bowls salad
1-2 bowls soup
1-2 plates fresh chicken, fish, or steak
1 plate vegetables and potatoes or rice

3 slices cheese, or 1 cup yogurt
1-2 pastry desserts
1-2 pieces fruit


db said...

Weird - that menu must be from the '80s or something, because I don't see any EPO or oxygenated blood on there. ;)

This is the main reason that I HAVE to bike to work. I love sugar. And fat. And the combination of the two.

Bikeboy said...

"Oh - a wise guy!"
- Curly

It's tragic that bicycle racing has become inextricably tied to performance-enhancing drugs, etc., isn't it? In reality, it's probably no more prevalent in cycling than it is in other professional athletics, but always with the results come the allegations, it seems.

If somebody brings donuts to the office... I grab one. And I'll look longingly at a second. But usually I'll think, "It would take 20 minutes of hard riding to burn that donut... how bad do I really want it?"

db said...

It is tragic. And cycling probably suffers because it tests its athletes more than any other sport.

Regardless, it's hard for me to care that the Tour's opening ceremonies took place today in London.

Yokota Fritz said...

db is right that more cyclists are caught doping because pro cycling tests *much* more. Like Lance Armstrong said the other day, "If you went to Major League Baseball and said, 'We're going to have random, unannounced, out-of-competition controls,' they would tell you, 'You're crazy. No way, we're not playing another game.' The NFL, they would never do that. NHL, no way. Golf, forget it. Tennis, forget it. Of course, cyclists get tested more than anything else, and perhaps that's why they get caught more than anyone else."

That written, I don't doubt that doping is common in all pro sports including cycling.

Back to topic: Cycling does enable me to eat more, but be careful that cycling is not a eat anything for free pass. Garbage in, garbage out, and increasing the burn rate only permits that much more garbage to get passed into your system without you really noticing it.

db said...

... be careful that cycling is not a eat anything for free pass. Garbage in, garbage out....

I know, I know. This is the part I suck at. For example, this morning I was pretty much fueled by last night's curry, which I topped off with a half-pint of Haagen-Daaz (hey, it was their "light" version of coffee). So, uh, it was not what you'd call a clean burn during the commute in. :P