Friday, November 2, 2007

By the Numbers...

It's all about data, that's what Stacey and I always say. Despite the emotions, the desires, the dreams, the goals....when your looking at all those things nothing can steer you better than data. Not that it's easy or sometimes even fun to analyze yourself or your life all the time but it can be grounding or bring you back to center. Data can help you move forward and gain in so many ways.

Here's how my meeting with Mark went. "How's it been going the last couple of weeks"? "Good, but am still having trouble getting in all the meals". "Well, let's do the numbers and see where we are"! Pinch, pinch, measure, measure and then weigh. I knew I had lost weight and as he pinched and measured I watched the data being entered and could see the numbers were lower. I was sort of getting gitty and excited, feeling very good about it. But.......I got a little ahead of myself. Mark sits down and crunches more numbers and then the news. "You have lost 2 pounds and 1.5% body fat but you also lost .5 pounds of lean muscle". My overly inflated happiness took a bit of turn because I knew why I lost lean muscle. He said, "I am super happy about the fat loss but the muscle loss is not good and I would like to see your fat % continue to come down but the loss replaced by lean muscle mass". "I hope you don't continue to lose weight but if you do, all of it needs to be fat and none of it can be lean muscle". "If you continue to lose muscle then we are not achieving the results you want". Puzzled, thinking what's the big deal but I knew it was a big deal. I have been tested at Seattle Performance Medicine and every year come back with poor results on my ability to burn fat! The cause?????? Not fueling my body for my output! The Result?????? Poor fat burning during exercise, early fatigue in events, poor recovery, slower metabolism and worse.....injury. None of those are good results and none are results I want. The solution?????? Get those meals in especially the complex carbs or cut back on my output. Cutting back on my output is not a solution, in fact it's only going to get more intense. Coach Scott has talked to me about the importance of fueling for the last three years! He talks about the importance of complex carbs and how necessary they are for endurance athletes. Don't you think by now I would have learned????'s all about data! It's been there through my test results at Seattle Performance Medicine but I honestly thought I was fueling better and more efficiently but again this last year when I tested the results were worse. Nutrition is really key to having good results on the trails and off. Dialing in all the elements and being diligent about fueling your body can have such positive results. As endurance athletes, especially female athletes who have goals with fitness and image heed caution. It's so hard for me to think that eating more will help me be leaner and stronger but the proof is in the data! I have never consumed more complex carbs in my life than in the last two weeks and the results are there. No hunger, no deprivation and the fact that I burned some lean muscle because I didn't eat all the food prescribed is so revealing. I am more motivated to get those calories consumed. The benefits are to good to pass up, fat loss and more energy:). What more could a girl ask for! What's next? Two more weeks before my next data point and more eating :).


  1. Wow! I mean, now I am even more scared to get ever pinched...if you're not happy, just picture me at that scale and "well, all fat stays, some muscle lost, go eat more" - I'd freak out and go back to been bulemic again. Darn female genes...those that screw up the head.
    Talk to you tomorrow, need some reaasurance:)

  2. Olga,

    I am super pleased with the loss of fat but surprised at the loss of lean muscle. Mostly because it seems like I am eating all the time and a ton of food. It was just a great reminder that endurance athletes burn a ton of calories and should burn a ton of fat but if they aren't getting enough fuel they will chew off a bicep:). No bulemia here or anywhere, not a goot plan for anyone especially someone who works their body. Fortunately for me my weight has only fluctuated about 5 pounds since highschool with the exception of pregnancy. Food issues are not one my problems. Keep eating :!

  3. Ronda,

    I've been visiting your blog every now and then via Olga's, and I find it all very interesting.

    Of particular fascination to me is this food discussion. Thank you for sharing what you are learning!

    My question, have you learned anything new/different about during-training or during-event fueling from your nutritionist?

    Congrats on the fat lost, and you seem so driven to do what's right that I have a feeling that you will hit the nail on the head with your numbers at your next "weigh-in."

    Good luck!

  4. What a prescription: eat more! Like a dream. But eat more of the good stuff, of course, which is where my challenge lies. I love how you just took the data in stride and saw both the positive (fat loss - awesome! but... what fat, by the way?) and then saw the lean muscle loss as just yet another hill to climb and conquer. Conquering a "fly by" of Starbucks makes me realize what you've got that helped you do the slam last year. Way to go!

  5. Thanks for visiting Meghan! I believe I have a good plan for training and racing, again all numbers and lots of experience. Most everything I learned from Scott Jurek and endless hours of practicing what he taught me. None of it is rocket science but good solid calculations. Email me off line if you want to chat about what I do.

    Kendra, you always make me laugh because you remind me a lot of Stacey, I don't know exactly why but you do. Thanks for all your confidence in ME, your really the inspiration with your speed and ease by which you perform. Also, when I can run around in a running bra and shorts with actual muscles showing like work will be done!