I receive quite a bit of email as a result of what I post on this blog. At first all of the questions made me uncomfortable, as I am not an expert, by any stretch of the imagination when it comes to muscle building, running or nutrition. I AM, however, an expert on what works for me.
When I began the Leanness Lifestyle program two years ago and cut my processed carbs to almost nothing, but still eating 150 or so grams of carb a day, via veggies, oats and fruits, and 150 grams of protein via lean meats, many emails were sent to me voicing concern over my nutrition. Whew! That was a very, very long sentence. If I had the time, I would correct it. But I don't and this is just an informal blog entry. Anyhow, many were concerned that I wouldn't be able to run long distance by eating a 40/40/20 diet and by cutting my calories I would lose any muscle I had.
That didn't happen. I actually built muscle these past two years as I lost fat. Of course during the past winter and summer I added back some, not many, of the processed carbs (a pasta, a bread serving..yes A), some sugar, I kept my calories as the SAME range, was running the same mileage, was lifting 3x a week as I have for the past years and bammo..increase of 10-15 pounds.
Since September I have again cut the processed carbs from my diet. I have cut sugar. I am eating on average 1500 calories a day, of course during races I am eating much more and I am eating PBJ sandwiches, gels, carbo drinks, calories as high as 4000, but when running my average daily mileage of 7-10 miles and lifting 3x a week I am eating 1500 calories, approximately 150 grams of carb from fruits, veggies and an oat serving and 150 grams of protein from lean meats/egg whites.
I have lost fat, I haven't lost strength, my muscles look strong, I am not weak. I haven't lost any endurance; actually my workouts are stronger than ever and I'm lifting heavier than ever.
When I read in Runners World that a runner should eat a diet of 60/70% carb, 15 % protein and 15% fat I want to scream. I ate that way when I first began to run and I was a ball of dough, and became even doughey-er, thank you Liz Applegate. It does NOT work for everyone.
Again, I am not an expert on nutrition and ultra running. I am an expert on WHAT WORKS FOR ME. Maybe it will work for other people out there that feel like balls of dough?
Yesterday I was at the gym completing a push up/pull up session. A woman came up to me and remarked on my weight loss. I told her thank you for noticing and she told me she is following a program from Bodybuilding.com and that she is in a 'muscle building phase' and that she is afraid she will lose any muscle by completing any cardio. Well, this woman is a good 40 pounds overweight. She couldn't figure out why I haven't run off all of my muscles. She is SO SURE that cardio will eat her muscle that is under that 40 pounds of fat. WTF? I nicely told her what works for me: lean protein, veggies and fruits. Well, she heard that the fruit in the sugar will add fat as does white sugar. Oh man. I talked with her for over an hour and I don't think anything I say penetrated into her brain. She is sure that she needs to eat 1800-2400 calories a day to lift 3x a week, per bodybuilding.com program, and 10-15 minutes light walking before lifting. Well, that's a great start, but she has been following this for 3 months..guess what..she's gained weight, but she is sure it is muscle.
Thank you for those of you that asked me to post pictures. I guess if Renee can, I can too :)
See, I'm not starving. My body isn't cannibalizing my muscle. I'm doing very, very well, thanks.