Balancing the energy in this angry little redhead..

Sundays are seriously the best thing since sliced bread (or with this group, I should probably be saying since Kashi or something.. 😛 ). Honestly though, so many things I love come on Sundays:

  • Sunday mass
  • Long Runs
  • all the ads in the newspaper
  • the start of a new week (or the end of a long one, depending on how you want to look at it!)
  • family time
  • free meter parking
  • 60 minutes, followed by Extreme Home Makeover
  • Easter
  • drink specials
  • KIDDING! Just checkin if you’re paying attention.. 😉

This Sunday was no exception. I finally got to bed before midnight last night (11:30 – yesss!) which means I got 8 hours of sleep, so that already set a good tone for the day. I actually skipped run club :O this morning so I could do part of my run with my madre. And family must have been the theme of the day, because my dad biked the 2nd half with me! Work at the Tin Fish was fabulous (and crazy busy) as usual, and so was our nightly Tin Fish family dinner. Tonight was another one of our cook’s last nights – everyone is slowly leaving one by one to head back to school! I’m one of the last people to leave.. my last day will be Labor Day. I don’t move until the 4th of September, and we don’t start class until the 10th!

yuck! most definitely not my favorite photo! but better than the other one we took..

yuck! most definitely not my favorite photo! but better than the other one we took..

Annywho.. my dad and I always have a great time catching up when we do our bike/run. (Of course my mom and I do too, but this story is leading somewhere. Hah – no worries mom!) We got on the topic of health, and how for people of my parents generation, a “healthy lifestyle” was just not a priority like it is for many (though still not enough!) today. Which brought me to [attempting to] explain this really great article called Timing of Energy and Fluid Intake by Dan Benardot. It’s all about the benefits of an energy balance throughout the day, not just in the day overall. (What? Hah – yes. There’s a difference.) If you’re at all interested, I strongly recommend you read the article yourself, because I am seriously horrible at giving summaries of anything. (Never ask me to tell you what happened in a movie..)

However, I’m pretty damn skilled at copy/paste. So I wanted to post the “Learning Objective” to hopefully entice some of you to dig further and read the whole thing:

People who exercise may fail to meet the increased requirements for energy, resulting in adaptive thermogenesis (i.e. an adaptation to the inadequate provision of energy) that improves metabolic efficiency through an undesirable loss of fat-free mass. In addition, energy and fluid intake are often mistimed, failing to take full advantage of an eating and drinking paradigm that will aid in fatigue resistance and attainment of a desired body composition and weight. It is the objective of this article to help the reader understand how eating small, frequent meals and consuming fluid at regular intervals can sustain the hydration state and avoid systematic shifts in within-day energy balance that could be counterproductive to exercise performance and fitness.

Ok. Interested yet?

So what does the article mean to ME? To YOU maybe, too? Well, I can’t speak for anyone but myself, so here’s my situation: Because of my training schedule and work schedule, my eating pattern throughout the day is all over the place. Tin Fish “dinner” and “lunch” come at 4:00pm, and 10:00pm. (Haha! I know half of your guys’ jaws just dropped. But that’s what I do when I hear someone eats lunch at 11:30!) Also, working in a restaurant and food all day, there’s no real opportunity to just munch (I believe that’s my favorite word. Cereal Straws commercial.. anyone?!) during your shift. In my old job as a barista, you could have something stashed in your pocket or behind the counter and just grab a handful or take a bite whenever there was time. Not the case anymore! If you’re working a double shift you obviously get a break for lunch, but I usually just work 11-4 or 4-close, so you either eat a hella early (and a hella better-be-BIG) lunch.. orrrr.. I donno! Clearly still working on that one.

And don’t get me wrong – we have an amazing “family” dinner after we close. I LOVE the food. But I’m still wayyy hungry at the end of the night when I get home, which usually ends up meaning that I eat about half my day’s fuel after like 9:00. Which is fine, but sometimes uncomfortable. Like other athletes, I feel like I don’t always have the “luxury” of just “listening to my body” about when I’m hungry or not. You’re constantly thinking about fueling for the next practice or tomorrow’s long run or xyz. You don’t always just get to say “I’m tired – I’m going to bed!”

But this talk of “energy balance” really struck a cord with me. What if the way I’m eating fueling is [negatively] affecting my athletic performance? I’ve definitely got the eating enough part down pat, but I could use a course in timing. I’ve told myself I was going to “try” and work on it before, but there’s trying, and then there’s TRYING. It would be really nice though to just come home from work and just crash if I want to. SO…

…if it takes legitimately WRITING OUT a plan for a little while of how to spread things out more evenly throughout the day, I’ll do it. I’m not a fan of meal planning.. but just grouping like “this much by lunch” or “this much by dinner” could be a helpful guideline. I’ll be keeping a mental note of how I feel, if it’s any different than usual, and how my training is (or isn’t) affected.

thank youuuu fickr! credit goes to PetiteFamily93

thank youuuu fickr! credit goes to PetiteFamily93

So then what about YOU. Anyone else with a job like mine? How do you handle it? What do you think about this whole “energy balance” idea. A bunch of BS? Credible? Worth my time to actually make some changes? I’d love to hear all your responses!

OH. So I guess I should explain the angry little redhead part. Some jerk-face stole my bike out of our garage two nights ago after I biked home from work. And my bike is my main transportation to.. EVERYWHERE. I’m looking on CraigsList to replace it.. but c’mon!! Who the hell raises someone to think it’s just OK to take something that’s clearly not yours? I’m still pissed. Grrrr.

[This will be edited to add photos tomorrow, but I’m WAY tired! Night!!]


11 Responses

  1. Oh, no! I’m so sorry about your bike. Grrrr.

    Thanks for the link to the interesting article. So timely for me because I was wondering yesterday, why is it that I always have so much MORE energy throughout the day on weekends than weekdays– even when I run for a couple of hours in the morning? I think it’s because I graze all day and also am able to take in the majority of my calories after my run instead of in the evening on weekends. I definitely feel a difference.

  2. I definitely think there’s something to be said about the “energy balance” idea. I know that personally, on days where I eat smaller, more frequent meals, I feel much more energized and have a much more effective workout than on days where I take in the same amount of calories in three bigger meals.

    I’m not a hardcore athlete, but I do know that when I eat more frequently, I tend to avoid the massively severe stomachaches that started earlier this year. It has something to do with my digestion (ick). So avoiding the stomachaches means I feel energized and able enough to enjoy my work out, and I don’t strain myself. Otherwise, I feel too sick to do anything.

    I’m kind of rambling at this point, but basically I think that timing out meals so that you eat them more frequently will only make your training that much better. It’s definitely hard with a crazy work schedule, but if you can figure out a way to make it work, I say go for it.

  3. Oh and I’m sorry to hear about your bike. That actually happened a lot in my neighborhood when I was growing up. Those damn Minnesotans. Whatever happened to Minnesota Nice, eh?

  4. I work in shifts that are either from 6:30-2:30 or 2:30-10:30, so YES, I definitely know how you feel! I prefer my two biggest meals to be early AM (or whenever I wake up for my 2:30 shift…usually between 8-9:30)… Now it has become fruit with some instant quaker oats (reduced sugar, apple + cinn… I USED TO HATE OATMEAL, but I like it now, kinda. It’s like my third time ever eating it this morning lol) a little fage and about 32 ounces or so of English Breakfast Tea. PERF. (That was this morn, at least).

    I usually do a long Yogadownload Advanced Power Flow (My right foot = no pounding AT ALL since I did bad fracturing in multiple places earlier this year from overuse and being a Doomahss.) class between 11 and 12:30, which is what I am about to do right now (weeeee!) then shower, grab a TJ’s protein drink with tons of crushed Ice (21 grams protein) and drink that on the way to WF (my work) while eating a Gnu bar or something of the sort. (Light and easily digested.) I’ve never been someone who can eat a lot or constantly throughout the middle of the day so this is just about as much as I can stomach. Weird, I know, but it’s just how my body works man!

    2:30-10:30 = nuts as I am running back and forth from kitchen to counter to aisles to lifting to doing nuts-o stuff at Whole Foods, literally, it’s so much fun though. I love the fast-paced enviro! Anyways, around 8 I usually take my 30 min break (instead of 2X15’s) that is paid for (don’t take another “meal” break…this is it) where I try and pound down some fruit and vegan split pea (protein + fiber) or something else easy on the tum like that and try and gulp down some H2O.

    Get off at 10:30 and usually eat a huge WF salad from saladbar that I bring home or something like that.

    My body has been VERY happy with this recently, but we shall see what happens as my schedule changes and my foot continues to heal… Hopefully Cortisone Shots will be MIA soon eough 🙂

    It’s def a work in progress, though, as always! I’m missing being able to run, step, etc (though about every 2 weeks or so, I can push out a 4-6 miler before my foot begins to curse me off). What would you recommend for a foot injury like that + healing? Have you ever had any?

  5. I notice that when I eat smaller more frequent meals, I feel better, and thus, have better runs/workouts. I don’t usually get to do this just because it takes more thought and planning as if I don’t already do enough. It’s something that I want to start working on and getting in the habit of though. That totally sucks that somebody stole your bike! My car has been vandalized a few times, so it’s kind of the same thing. like you said…who is raised to think that it is okay to take someone’s belongings (or in my case destroy them)? It’s not right and makes me so angry! Insurance covered the damage, but I still had to pay $100 each time! Good luck finding a new bike, or even better yet, I hope you find that SOB!

  6. I snack all the time. I really never eat meals…EVER…except maybe breakfast. Otherwise, with training, and being on-the-go I just snack all day long. It works, but I definitely also feel like sometimes I can’t listen to my body. I have to eat before workouts, even when I’m not hungry, which can be frustrating when you are trying to learn how to read your bodies cues! In the end when I still come off hungry, I know it was the right thing to do…but it just stinks sometimes only having one day a week where I can eat intuitively.

    And I’m so sorry about your bike! What a bummer! That’s just awful!

    P.S. your Kashi/sliced bread quote was hilar

  7. Sorry about your wheels, I hope you find a replacement.

  8. OMG that SUCKS about your bike!!!! And I don’t really do the balance thing….I try to eat every 3-4 hours but with class and stuff that is SO hard. And I love Sunday’s too. Church…cupons in the paper….free lunch from mom and dad….and NASCAR (Hey, I’m from the south…I can’t help it. Please don’t hate.) LOL.

  9. Just wanted to say thank you for posting a link to that informative article! It’s making me reconsider my energy intake throughout the day.

    I tend to eat decent during the day, and frequently, but since I need to eat a pretty large amount of calories, I tend to save a lot for the evening just because it’s “more fun” to be able to eat a large dinner and LARGE bowl of pre-bed oatmeal. 🙂 I know I would benefit from consuming a good deal of those evening calories during the day.

    And I know a part of “saving” calories for the evening comes from the “what ifs” – what if I go out to eat at a restaurant for dinner and therefore consume a large meal, what if I am REALLY hungry after work and want to eat lot, etc. Which is just ridiculous!

    So thanks to this article, I’m going to make a conscious effort and actually TRY 🙂 to better distribute my energy (and fluid) intake. Thanks again!

  10. Haven’t even finished reading your post, but I can tell you I am obsessed with the Sunday paper ads. Who needs news when you can save money on stuff we don’t need?? Hah.

    P.S. Yes I will not be in Boston anymore (single tear, or a flow of them, depending on a number of things) but I am only an hour away. We will catch a sox game!

  11. So…I’m the Dan Benardot that wrote the article in ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal. Glad you found it useful. You might be interested to know that I’ve authored or co-authored MANY articles and a few books as well, but the one you’ve highlighted has really captured the attention of MANY people. The within-day energy balance concept works because it deals simultaneously with supply and demand. It’s not magic. It’s just the way the body works…
    Best wishes…

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