Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nutella dreamin'

Ale enjoying Nutella, March 2011
After the late-October snowfall in Pittsburgh, my body's internal regulator switched to wintertime Nutella mode. This craze isn't anything new; ask my Ohio State friends, Nutella has been there all along, ever since our first introduction during grad school. Last winter I figured out how to incorporate Nutella into everything: peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches; Greek yogurt with berries and Nutella; eating the hazelnut goodness straight out of the jar (and consuming significant portions of a jar in one sitting, see photo to right). Unfortunately, my Nutella consumption is currently under strict regulation. No funny stuff here. I'm tracking types and quantities of calories this winter as part of my training plan and, unless it's a special day, I have to put the Nutella aside and focus on other foods that will let me reach my training goals and ride hard this winter.

Despite my participation in athletics throughout my life, the concept of "nutrition for improved athletic performance" only recently became a focus of my training plans. While running cross country, or playing basketball or rugby, I ate whatever I wanted, which usually consisted of a high percentage of carbohydrates and refined sugars (think: pancakes, all of the time). However, the need for building and sustaining muscle only became a priority within the past year, so I'm focusing on a nutrition plan that reaches beyond the general goals of eating whatever seems reasonably healthy coupled with a few (or substantially more than a few) tasty treats here and there.  Coach tapped in to my scientist side a few months ago, and suggested I start collecting data on my meals, snacks, and carbohydrate, protein and fat ratios. I've been tracking everything through My Fitness Pal, both through the web and an app on my Android. Facing reality with the numbers is keeping me on track, although I still have my wholesale club-sized jar of Nutella waiting for whenever the nutrition plan allows for a tasty treat.


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