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new to whole30 - Triatholon in 10 days - low on energy


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About Me: I am 30 years old. 6 feet, 200 lbs, and ~30% body fat %. I have struggle with overweight for a while. 3 years ago, i did P90X and went from 235 to about 195 (i went up to day 60). Then i picked up cycling, running and a few triathlons, and have stayed at about 195. I have NOT been able to lose much weight even when I eat 'healthy' and exercise regularly. 


My wife, who is pregnant, has decided to also do this with - she is a great support. We have a 16 month old and now are SO careful about what we feed him and 'sugar'


So far...


I have been feeling ok. Training has been very hard as I do find myself out of energy. Other than that, I feel great and I am very excited to be doing this. My wife and I just watched the previous for the movie "Feed up" https://movies.yahoo.com/video/fed-trailer-161051027.html - and we were shocked!!! I have 2 triathlons coming up (Sprints). One in June 1st and june 22. I am a bit afraid I might run out of energy. 4 days/ week I have training in the morning and at night. 


Anyways, I have a few questions:


1. Snacking - Every other time I have been exercising or dieting, I have always been told to eat 5 times a day (3 main meals and 2 snacks + post workout protein). What is the reason why Whole30 suggests no snacking???? Doesn't it help to speed up metabolism??? :S 


2. How can I improve my energy levels during my workout. I have read a bit, and noticed that I am supposed to include more 'heavy carb vegetables'. I will try to do that...but when is the best time, and how much is too much?? 


3. Pre and Post WO meals - I read the generic description, but it would be great to hear what other people are doing


4. Race day - any suggestions on how to maintain good energy levels on race day? I will be on day 19 of my Whole30


5. Any advice on what reduce body fat %???


6. Larabars - I tried them for the first time, and they are SO good... Is 1/day too much???

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Welcome to the Whole30. I will do my best to answer your questions. If you have not read "It Starts With Food" I would highly recommend doing so as it goes way more in depth on most of these subjects than I can.


1. Snacking - This is an area where reading the book will help a lot. Basic idea is that when we are constantly feeding our bodies every 2-3 hours there is no rest time so our hormone responses get confused and out of sync. Eating 3 satiating meals 4-6 hours apart starting an hour after waking is generally best for hormone balance which will positively affect your metabolism. Also by not constantly providing quick carbs our bodies can start learning to use the fat stores we already have for energy something they won't do if they know they are going to get another energy fix quickly. All that said, if you eat enough at your 3 meals you shouldn't need to snack between meals. Some people need to ramp up to this but play with portions until you can do it. If you must eat between meals make it a mini meal with protein and fat.


2. A decrease in workout performance in the first two weeks of this program is absolutely normal. Your body is transitioning from primarily burning carbs to primarily burning fat. When I made the transition my runs absolutely sucked for 2 weeks but then I had a huge increase in performance once I adjusted. Starchy vegetables are a must for the kind of training you are doing. I would avoid them within a couple of hours before your workouts and get some in immediately following and in at least one other meal.


3. Pre workout food is protein and fat (a hard boiled egg is usually enough) and is optional unless you are otherwise going to be working out fasted. So if you are someone that gets up and goes for a run immediately (for example) than eat something small with no carbs first to let your body know you are not starving it and prepare. Post workout food is meant to get protein and carbs back to your muscles quickly. It is meant to be lean protein and starchy vegetables (very little fat) within 15-30 minutes after your workout. This is much more important. A lot of people (myself included) struggle with it. Keep trying things until you find something that works for you. Most people do chicken breast and sweet potato. 


4. There is a lot of good advice on this in other threads in the athletes section already including a lot that is triathalon specific. My basic advice is not to do things differently then when you trained. When I was doing half marathons last year I really just did coconut water in my water bottles and that worked for me.


5. This is outside of the realm of Whole30. This program's goal is to change how you think about food and help you figure out how your body reacts to different foods. Once you have completed your whole30 and reintroduction and know your own context you can start playing with different things to work on this. There are lots of good paleo resources on this. Most of what I read involves drastically cutting activity levels for a short time. Worry about this after your Whole30 though.


6. Larabars: this says it better (and with more authority) than I can:


Larabars: Read your labels, and use with caution

Most (but not all) varieties of Larabars are acceptable during your Whole30, so read your labels. (The Peanut Butter and Jelly bar is out for obvious reasons.)

Tip: We recommend using Larabars as emergency snacks, or fuel during endurance athletics. They're as close to candy as you can get on the Whole30 (with dates as a binder), so don't use them to satisfy sugar cravings. Your brain doesn't know the difference between a Snickers bar and a Larabar!

- See more at: http://whole30.com/2013/06/the-official-can-i-have-guide-to-the-whole30/#sthash.Fo7wD1Hb.dpuf
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I am 6'2" and weigh 195. I went from 215 to 185 with Whole30-style eating. I began lifting weights more seriously and am much more muscular than I was 4 years ago. The first few weeks of Whole30-style eating makes training weak because it takes time to adapt to fat burning after being a carb/sugar burner. The energy comes back after a few weeks. You might suck on June 1, but should be good by June 22.


1. Snacking does not speed your metabolism. That is a load of crap "they" say. Eating frequently keeps your hormones from establishing an ideal rhythm. It is a habit to break because the cooperation of your hormones is critical to getting lean. The Whole30 plan is three basic meals plus a pre-workout and post-workout meal on days you train. The meal template gives the details: 




2. Eat starchy veggies after a workout or during meals. Do not eat them as part of a pre-workout meal as you don't want the fiber in your gut when you are training. A good base is one sweet potato per day and make it two sweet potatoes on serious training days. Sweet potatoes or equivalents.


3. I typically eat a boiled egg as my pre-workout food if I am training several hours after my last meal and might get hungry before I am finished. My post workout meal is a can of tuna packed in water (lower fat) and sometimes a baked sweet potato. 


4. Race day food is something you have to figure out by experimentation. What works for one person may not work for another.


5. Don't worry about body fat. Just follow the plan and your fat will come off. If you try to goose it by trying special stuff, you are likely to screw with your hormones and slow the process.


6. Never eat another larabar again! Seriously? You want to lose fat, but you wonder if you can eat one larabar per day. They are candy bars. The only time you can eat a larabar is during an emergency when you are caught away from home and a larabar is the only thing you have in the pocket of your car. 


Do you think I have some attitude about larabars? I do. :)  I've never had one, but I have seen the damage they cause to people. They are not a part of Whole30-style eating. Forget you ever heard of them. Seriously. 

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Thank you both!! Your advice really helps! Specially since I have not finished reading the book! :)


Also, thanks for the warning on Larabars - I have had 2, and thought they were sooo good (of course because they are so sweet). I was kind of going back to my old ways. I will not have any more!!

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