I thought I would start a blog about something that can have a huge impact on your ability to take it to the next level on your machine that 1) doesn't
cost money and 2) can have a positive influence over to other areas of your life. These are some of the things that are currently working well for
me. Feel free to respond with comments, questions, etc.
I'm going to take a swing at diet first because it's incredibly easy on paper and the most difficult to maintain. I would add that of the 3 topics, a proper diet can have the biggest impact again, not just on your riding capabilities, but also on your general well-being. There are multiple opinions on what foods should make up a diet, athletic or otherwise, and unfortunately, one size does NOT fit all. It takes some experimenting (just like setting up a snowbike or sled) but for myself, I have found a combination of the Keto (high fat, low carb) and Carnivore (high protein) diets has helped me in ways I haven't experienced while training for more than 30 years. In the past 6 months, this diet has allowed me to lose significant weight, decrease body fat percentage, lower blood pressure, decrease LDL cholesterol, and lower my resting heart rate. I didn't state the actual numbers on purpose as I say this not to gloss myself as a superhero, but to give the information that I stand behind while writing this blog (message me if you want the actual numbers). Here are the high points:
-huge health benefits
-energy is maintained throughout the day
-far from a starvation diet
-the penalties for cheating appear to be less severe
Let's take a moment to talk about time restricted feeding. The quick definition of this is to eat (or feed) during a specific part of the day on a regular basis. For example, I eat my 1st meal at 10am, 2nd at 2pm, and 3rd at 6pm. So I have a 6 hour feeding window and an 18 hour fast every day. Weight loss was expected but what I didn't expect was a more consistent energy level throughout the day. I can still get tired, depending on my physical output, but I don't have the overwhelming desire to take a nap after lunch like in the past. Lots of good information online about this and I urge you to check it out. If this seems too hardcore or unrealistic, try only eating when you're actually hungry, as in stomach growling hungry. Most would be surprised at how much they eat based on impulse (sight and or smell) vs. actual hunger. Unfortunately, the down side to this or any type of diet (hence why most diets fail) is the fact that your eating habits have been formed and engrained throughout your whole life. Changing these habits can be done, but it's not easy. Be prepared to dig deep for a significant amount of discipline, and if you fall off the wagon, don't beat yourself up. Someone said "It's not the amount of times you fall; it's the amount of times you get back up."
Let's talk about nose breathing. The thought is that in order is to fully exhale the stale air from your lungs, and subsequently completely fill your lungs with fresh oxygen, it has to be done via the nose. Does it work? I believe I have experienced benefits but it's weird and feels unnatural when you first start. I would recommend starting slow (like walking on a treadmill) and focus 100% on nose breathing. From there you can incorporate it, again gradually, during more exertive training. When your heart rate rises, it will feel like you can't get a full breath but that's when you need to control your breathing and inhale/exhale deeper. An old track and field trick is to hold a mouthful of water before, during, and after running sprints. If you try this, have someone video you as it's pretty amusing at first. How can this be of benefit in our sport? Have you ever almost hyperventilated because you are breathing so hard, with a helmet restricting airflow, at altitude? Enough said. One interesting thing I have noticed, however, it that nose breathing doesn't allow your body to dissipate heat as efficiently as mouth breathing. Think of why a dog pants when it's hot. This is really noticeable when your running 5 miles in 99 degree heat...