5. Shift from carbohydrate to protein
Unlike fat and protein, which are used structurally in the body, carbohydrate is strictly an energy source, and it is the main energy source for high-intensity muscle work. Therefore the amount of carbohydrate in your diet should vary with your training workload. During peak training you may need anywhere from 7 to 10 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight daily, depending on your size and exactly how much you’re training. But during the off-season you need less—as little as 4 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight.
In addition to reducing your carbohydrate intake, you may wish to increase your protein intake during the off-season. Doing so will help you avoid gaining fat despite your reduced activity level. Eating a high-protein diet reduces appetite, eating, and fat storage, thereby promoting weight loss in those who maintain or increase their exercise level and limiting weight gain in those who have reduced their exercise level. Calorie for calorie, gram for gram, protein provides more satiety (e.g., appetite satisfaction) than carbohydrate or fat, so when you switch to a high-protein diet, you feel fuller and eat less.
About The Author:
Matt Fitzgerald is the author of Iron War: Dave Scott, Mark Allen & The Greatest Race Ever Run (VeloPress 2011) and a Coach and Training Intelligence Specialist for PEAR Sports. Find out more at mattfizgerald.org.