Welcome! My name is Michael Gilday and I am a Short Track Speedskater from Yellowknife, NWT, Canada. I currently train at the National Training Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I've created this blog primarily to let family and friends know about competitions and travel. I also hope to educate a bit about short track and maybe even entertain. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Nascar Nutrition

One question I often get asked when the subject of skating comes up is "do you follow a specific diet?". The answer I give is normally quite simple. No, I'm not on a diet, but I do eat a certain way in order to help myself recover the best I can from workout to workout and from day to day.

The way I eat is actual a bit more complicated than that simple response. The key in my response is that I am not on a "diet". To me, a diet means that one is eating in a specific way in order to achieve certain changes in ones body shape. This is not something I am normally trying to do, although as an athlete I will occasionally try to achieve a certain body weight that is optimal for me just prior to major competitions. For me, eating is about two things. The "what" and the "when". Everyone today knows all about the benefits of eating in a healthy and balanced way. This part makes up the "what". The "what" is very important, but I have learned from experience that to get the most out of the "what" part, it is important to pay attention to the "when".

By this I mean paying attention to the timing of your meals. For example, picture your body like the gas tank of a car. Before you go on a long or difficult journey, you would fill the gas tank to full. If you don't start full, you may run out of gas before you reach your destination. For me, filling up before leaving means breakfast and the long journey means the hardest workout of the day, which normally occurs in the morning. Running out of gas means I bonk in the middle of the workout and don't get the full benefit of the work I am doing.

Once you get back from a long journey, you need to fill up your car with gas again, so you don't run out of gas later when you head out to do some errands. Also need to do general maintenance to repair the wear and tear the long journey has put on the engine. For me, general maintenance comes in the form of a protein shake immediately after the hardest workout of the day. Following that, I will eat my biggest meal of the day (i.e dinner, but at lunch time). Think of this as the refilling the gas tank at the end of the journey so that I can be prepared for shorter journeys later on. Think of these shorter journeys as errands, or in my case my second workout of the day which is normally a bit easier than the morning one.

But running errands also takes gas and the tank the gas needle will slip farther away from F and closer to E. You know that you have another long journey the next morning, so you take the time to top off the tank and do some more general maintenance to help the car be ready for the next time you need to use it. So in my case, general maintenance again occurs right after the second workout, and then following that I will top of my tank with my second biggest workout of the day (i.e lunch for dinner).

By repeating this process day in and day out, your car will never run out of gas (or energy in your body's case). Also, by filling the tank the fullest before and after the longest journey, you are never carrying more gas than you need, which is inefficient as it is just extra weight. The same can be said about food. I always try to eat to most (by volume) when my body needs it the most (after the longest/hardest workout) and eat less when I haven't drained my own personal gas tank as far.

1 comment:

quick_draw said...

That's a lot of gas.