A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Taking Control of my Nutrition with the 30 Day #ProteinChallenge

I captured this selfie on a recent tour of a large dairy farm in Colorado. I know it looks like I super-imposed myself into the photo but it's all real. Well, except for the (don't) "Eat Mor Chikin" sign. I added that :)
Have you heard of the 30 Day Protein Challenge? Like most other 30 day challenges the 30 Day Protein Challenge is designed to help you make a positive change in your health. But unlike the others there are no burpees, planks or crunches involved! Nor is this challenge restrictive like all the "detox" or "cleanse" diets (my body does a perfectly good job of cleansing itself, thank you!). In fact, the 30 Day Protein Challenge encourages you to eat MORE of the foods you love, like beef, eggs, and dairy products.

I started the 30 Day Protein Challenge on April 1 but you can start any time. It begins that day after you sign up! On Day 1 you will begin receiving daily e-mails with easy-to-follow instructions for taking the challenge. The first five days are simply keeping a journal of what you eat and how you feel. On Day 6 you get to start adding more protein into your diet. This is when the fun begins!

One of things I noticed when journaling (I am using MyFitnessPal) is that I was under-consuming protein at breakfast and lunch but getting enough at dinner (research shows spreading protein intake evenly throughout the day may be the most beneficial for overall health and wellness). So my focus in the second week was adding more protein and breakfast and lunch. 

For breakfast, I've added a lot more dairy products, specifically Greek yogurt, cottage cheese and chocolate milk after my morning workout (I love the new Fairlife Chocolate Milk with 50% more protein and 50% fewer calories). I also love to scramble a couple of eggs with some leftover steak for a high protein, low calorie start to the day.

I like to grill up an extra flat iron steak on the weekend so I have leftovers for breakfast during the week. Flat iron is an economical and easy-to-grill cut of beef that makes great leftover steak and eggs!
The biggest change I have noticed so far is that I feel less hungry at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and when I do, I reach for some beef jerky, nuts or other high protein snacks. As a result I feel less hungry when I get home from work and am less likely to grab a handful of Wheat Thins (I'm addicted) or other high carb snack before dinner.

But probably the best benefit of doing the challenge is becoming more aware of what I eat vs. what I need. I find myself saying, do I really need that donut, bagel, cookie or whatever goodie my colleagues leave laying temptingly around the office? Actually what I say is, "Do I really want that or another glass of wine with dinner?" :)

So join me in taking control of your nutrition. Sign up for the 30 Day Protein Challenge today!

Ride on!

Beefman

Saturday, March 7, 2015

I WON THE RTR LOTTERY! Wait. What Did I Win?


I had a busy day at the office yesterday and completely forgot it was selection day for the 2015 Ride the Rockies lottery. The e-mail notification came at 9:28 a.m. but I didn't see it until around noon, when the Beefwife texted, "You're in! Check the lottery status!" So I checked my e-mail and there it was, sure enough, there it was: I WON THE RTR LOTTERY!

Wait. What did I win? 

Being selected means I also get to add to my RTR gear collection. I love the design this year. May have to get one of these Primal Wind Jackets!
Being selected in the 2015 RTR lottery means I get to pay $500 to ride 465 miles with somewhere around 33,000 feet of climbing (according to my calculations). Not exactly a Powerball type payoff but I feel lucky nonetheless because it also means I get to hang out with my friends from Team Bar2Bar (Paul the Pilot and his crew, Flip Flop Jenny, Hankster and Woody) for a week, visit some cool Colorado mountain towns, and take in some amazing views of the Rocky Mountains peddling along at an average of 15 miles per hour :)

Paul the Pilot is once again serving as Captain of Team Bar2Bar and this year he's bringing along a couple of crewmates!
Being accepted for the 30th Anniversary Ride the Rockies also provides a lot of incentive to get up in the morning and work out (as I am about to climb on my Cyclops Fluid2 Indoor Trainer). My belief is that the amount of suffering on the ride is directly inverse to the amount of training you put in (more training = less suffering). I plan to take a different approach to training this year, however, after suffering a lot on last year's ride (with back, shoulder and hip pain). I'm going to focus less on accumulating miles and more on building core strength and conditioning. I'll share more on my training routine in the coming weeks.

If you got in, stay tuned here for training tips and insights into the route, towns, camp sites, hotels, bars, etc. If you did not get in (whether or not you registered) feel free to come along for the ride! It's always an adventure.

Ride on!

Daren

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ride the Rockies 2015 Registration Deadline is Sunday at 5 p.m. Mountain!


I just registered for Ride the Rockies! If you are still on the fence, the deadline is tomorrow (Sunday, March 1) at 5:00 p.m. Mountain time. I have to admit it was an exhilarating feeling to hit submit and commit to training for and riding in what would be my ninth RTR, if we are selected in the lottery (I signed up with my friends from Team Bar2Bar). We will find out this Friday, March 6, if we are among the 2,000 riders randomly selected.

That little "bump in the ground" is Grand Mesa, the world's tallest flat top mountain.
What we never know for sure is how many riders apply. I have been selected all eight times I have registered over the past 10 years. So I am either lucky or there just aren't that many people who get turned away. My theory is that the increasingly tougher routes over the past several years (especially last year) may have scared some people away. That and the grossly overestimated elevation gain of more than 40,000 feet on this year's route may help our odds!

My first visit to The Vic in 2005
I do hope we get selected. This year's ride, the 30th Anniversary of RTR, should be a great one. The first two days are essentially a repeat of the first two days on my first RTR in 2005, including the brutal climb up Grand Mesa, considered one of the toughest climbs in the Rockies. While the Mesa doesn't look that imposing from this angle (this after the descent on day two of RTR 2005), it is a "long and relentless climb."

Other highlights include stops in Crested Butte and Salida, two of my favorite mountain towns with distinctly different vibes. Between the two is Cottonwood Pass (12,126 ft), a tough climb on a packed dirt surface (fortunately the downhill is paved). The overnight party in Salida always includes shutting down The Vic (bar at the Hotel Victoria).

At the summit of Cottonwood Pass on RTR 2008
Then there the brutal two-mile climb up the south rim of the Royal Gorge, rewarded by a ride across the wooden Royal Gorge Bridge, the highest suspension bridge in North America. hanging 856 feet above the raging Arkansas River below. It's a rush, to say the least!

At the Royal Gorge Bridge on the final day of RTR 2006
I'm even looking forward to a return to Westcliffe, an unplanned part of the 2013 tour, when the Royal Gorge fire forced a long detour through Silver Cliff and West Cliff, on the eastern side of the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) range. it's a beautiful spot to end the ride!

Riding "Woody Style" at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on RTR 2013
Now comes the wait...

Ride on!

Daren