For most of us, if we are not essential workers, we have been home for a long time. Many of us can feel overwhelmed, particularly if we are spending a lot of time on social media. Either we feel anxiety about getting this disease, or we believe we are being lazy if we haven’t taken the time to declutter the house or learn a new language. The reality is, many of us are stressed out just trying to keep ourselves and our families healthy. Add in the challenge of trying to work from home while homeschooling youngsters, and you may find yourself saying “what free time!”
There is hope and opportunity that can come out of this situation. There are many things we can do now during this time to help our wellness that don’t involve a lot of extra time.
Homeschooling in traditional subjects aren’t the only things our children will learn during this pandemic. COVID-19 and germs have come to the forefront; now is a great time to teach children some habits around cleanliness. Most of them understand why they are at home and can’t socialize with their friends. This may be the only time they will listen to you when you tell them to wash their hands before dinner. Try it, it just might work.
Food and Nutrition
North American self isolation seems to revolve around a lack of toilet paper, flour and canned goods. If you are lucky enough to live somewhere with an abundance of food, and are able to shop or order groceries in, now is a good time to take advantage of the fresh meat, fish, fruits and vegetables available. If some of your favourites are not available, the opportunity exists for the adventurous eater to try something new. If you can’t find beef, try lamb. If you can’t find apples, try mangoes. I just bought a case of mangoes at the grocery store for $8! While it seems crazy, you just may end up eating healthier than you did before.
The abundance of food in North America can also lend the opportunity to explore new types of cuisine. Spices also seem to be plentiful, so try a new ethnic cuisine that you always wanted to try but were afraid to make. Now’s the time to break out either the Instapot or slow cooker, or both. Even though the Instapot and slow cooker cook food differently, using one of these appliances means that you don’t have to spend time in front of the stove. The machine does most of the work, and there is only one pot to clean afterwards.
This is a great time to take care of your bike. Many trails are still closed in some areas due to either weather conditions or self isolation measures. Now is the time to do that maintenance you have been putting off. Some things can be easily done at home, some things may require some skill or the watching of YouTube videos. If you find yourself mechanically inclined, go for it! If not, some bike shops are still open for service (always call ahead first) and would probably be thankful for the business.
With the quarantine, fitness at home programs are booming. Gyms are closed, and community recreation programs have ended. If you are missing your regular gym, fitness class or sport, why not give FitRiders a try. Our program takes only 20 minutes a day and uses no equipment. So, there is no need to rush out an buy any expensive equipment. The program is designed to get you into adventure riding shape when the riding season begins. Right now it feels like it will never come, but it will.
Even with children and spouses trying to get your attention, you can still carve out 20 minutes for yourself. You owe it to yourself. If you’re a morning person, and the family isn’t, try morning workouts. If you’re a night owl, try it after you put the kids to bed. Better yet, get the whole family to join in! They’re missing their recreation programs too! It’s free for 60 days. You have nothing to lose, except maybe a few inches around the waist.
Many of us don’t know what to eat before a day’s ride to fuel our bodies. It’s extremely important to fuel yourself the night before as it is an hour before your ride. For today’s blog, here is a breakdown of what you need an hour before the big ride: clean high energy food that converts into energy, digests fast in your stomach so it won’t sit giving you the full sluggish feeling.
Here’s one of my favourites, I call it the “Avocado Power Breakfast”.
Cooking Time: 20 min
1 slice of Kirkland pre-cooked bacon
1 tbl of cooked ham
1 organic large egg
1 tbl of old cheddar cheese
+ 1 tbl of soft goat cheese
There are two options for baking this yummy concoction. Option one involves scrambling the eggs in advance, then placing them in the avocado. Sprinkle the egg and avocado with cheese and meat. Bake in the oven at 350F to melt the cheese.
Option 2: Scoop out the pit hole a bit bigger and crack a raw egg into it, then cover it with the meat and cheese. Bake it in the oven until the egg is cooked - about 20 min.
This meal will give you:
4 g of Net Carbs
9 g of Fiber
50 g of Fat
46 g of Protein
667 Net Calories
Here’s why it’s a power meal for riders. It gives you lots of clean fat burning energy and protein to fuel your muscles. As it digests within the hour it is ready for your body to use as energy immediately. I added the goat cheese as a side for it is high calcium to strengthen our bones. For some of us, like me, who gently tumble off the bike at least once a day. ;-)
It happens to most everyone as we get older. We have kids, we get busy with our careers. And before we know it, we start telling our friends we could lose 30 pounds, but we don’t. What health implications do those 30 extra pounds have? You may tell yourself your blood pressure is fine, you feel ok, but it starts to add up as we get older.
How we look changes too. A lot of people look older when they are overweight: Skin starts to look unhealthy, a bit grey, maybe some acne, bags under our eyes. Our clothes probably fit a bit too tight.
And then our activities take a hit. Sometimes I notice the overweight people at a staging area, sweating bullets and out of breath as they unload their bikes. I see them back at their vehicle after a single-track ride, red faces, soaked with sweat, out of breath and ready for a nap. Those 30 extra pounds take a bite out of your seat time. If you could lose that extra weight, you would have more energy to spend on the trail. You would have more muscle mass to throw that bike around and you certainly would not have to take a rest after unloading your bike.
On May 1, 2019, I weighed in at 145 pounds at 5’2” tall. While not obese, I felt it was time to lose a few pounds. I wanted to be able to go for longer rides without becoming tired. I enlisted the help of a professional and with his guidance, eating plans and workout schedule (I added 2 more workouts to my weekly schedule) I lost 22 pounds in 5 months and gained 4 pounds of muscle. It was hard, very hard! I went monthly to my nutritionist for weigh-ins and to make sure I wasn't losing any muscle mass and to discuss my progress and, yes, my slip-ups. Beer and sushi were my vices oh, and the daily Oreo cookies. March 2020, I weigh 125 pounds. I feel great, I have no aches and pains, a resting heart rate of 52, low cholesterol, I am stronger and fitter than I was a year ago, I look great and my riding has improved exponentially.
We can all do it despite our age and gender. I'm 48 years old and no way do I look or act like I'm 48, I look more like a 30-something and I act like I'm 12 most days.
Sometimes we have the willpower but not the knowledge. Sometimes we all just need someone on our side to give us a pat on the rear to get us motivated. I remember in my 30s I weighed close to 200 pounds. My doctor kept telling me to lose weight, but she never told me how. I figured it out for the most part but did end up working with a nutritionist. Best money I ever spent on myself.
We should take care of ourselves, no one else will and we only get one body, so why not look after it! Check out Fitriders’ nutritional programs. Do something amazing for yourself.
Motivation. I've written about it before so why am I writing about it again? Because some days it seems like a monumental task to get to the gym. Any one of us has a list of excuses a mile long: it's cold out, I'm tired, I had a rough day at work, I want to sleep longer. I have said the same things out loud. It's the off season and when it's cold and dark out and the riding season is at least 6 weeks away, it seems like you have all the time in the world to get in shape. I'm having that kind of morning. Usually I'm up and at the gym by 8 am, it's now 8:30 am and I'm still in my PJs contemplating another cup of joe.
Right now, I have the luxury of going later in the day, but what about those of us who don't have the luxury of time? Go for a walk if there's not a raging snow storm out, even if there is, it could be a good adventure. Stretching is always a good option, you can even go to the mall and do some window shopping at least you will be moving. Clean the house, pushing a vacuum around will burn some calories and get the joints moving. But don't beat yourself up for being lazy, we are after all human, but make sure you continue at the gym, sometimes excuses are just easy.
The gym I currently frequent has a neat clientele. Big muscly guys, teenagers (because it's part of their school phys-ed requirement) and a few gringos. I was blessed to meet an 82 year old gringo from British Columbia that spends 3 months here in Baja every winter. She is there 3 sometimes 4 times a week. She isn't training for a marathon or kick boxing, she is there to keep out of a wheel chair. Etta told me she sees the old people, younger than she is, barely able to get out of their lawn chairs, needing help getting down the two steps out of their RVs. She doesn't want to be them. She works with her family doctor, a physiotherapist and when in BC she works with a personal trainer. Today as I sit drinking my third cup of coffee, trying to decide what to do, I think of Etta and she is my motivator. The next time I see her at the gym, I'm going to thank her. If I make it to 82, I hope to be just like her.
After spending 2 days playing a roller derby tournament in the U.S., I came to reflect on this topic quite a bit. The biggest problem I had was finding enough quality food to eat to fuel my activity. Roller derby can burn up to 1500 calories per hour. I figure I burned 1000 calories day one and 300-400 day 2 (I spent half the last game on the bench with a groin injury).
The hotel had the usual free breakfast: powdered eggs, white bread, pastries, sugary cereal, yogurt. I didn't have a problem with the breakfast options, but what about lunch, snacks and dinner? Our first game was at noon, so we ended up at a Japanese steakhouse/sushi bar for a team dinner. Our 2nd game was scheduled for 8 pm. I knew eating a steak was the wrong choice, and unfortunately, while you might think the veggies were a good choice, it takes a long time to digest vegetables, so sadly those were out. I chose sashimi and a bowl of white rice. My biggest mistake was the soy sauce. I was most likely on the edge of dehydration from game 1 and the soy sauce defiantly exacerbated the dehydration. While the white rice was a good choice as it has low fibre and is easily digested, I ate too much of it. The end result prior to game 2 was not so good. I was sluggish, tired and my gut hurt. I didn't play that well, in fact the entire team felt the same. We were tired from not sleeping well the night before, the long drive and the lack of quality food and choices.
A lot of us brought food but it's not the same. The best choice for us would have been a small plate of pasta and a good quality tomato sauce. The pasta is easily digestible, and the tomato sauce is low in fat and because the sauce is puréed, easily digestible. Both the pasta and tomato sauce contain carbohydrates for fuel and the tomato sauce has some vitamins and minerals.
The large portions you typically get at a restaurant are sometimes over the top. I would have been better off eating half the food I ordered, and instead paired it with a protein shake after game 1 and a banana before game 2.
Every time I go to the gym, play derby or go for a long dirt bike day, I ask myself “what snacks do I need” and “what am I currently eating and how will it effect my performance?”
There are so many diets out there that promise weight loss and other “results” if you eliminate one food group or another. The reality is you need to think of food as fuel for the adventure. You need to think: “What type of food do I need to have the energy I need to perform?”
With all the confusion around nutrition, FitRiders will be working on a cookbook for riders, with nutrition and calorie content for each meal. In addition, it will take the mystery out of what to eat, when to eat and what activity will benefit from different food types. The right food choice makes a difference. Even with the help of a nutritionist I have got it wrong on many occasions. Through trial and error, I have found what works for me. I can't wait to share my recipes for success and hope anyone who is interested in feeling better will use my experiences to help themselves. So, stay tuned sports fans for more nutritional information and the odd recipe here.
Karl Tettmann, Co-Founder. Avid health and fitness coach who just loves to ride.