One of the athletes with whom I work, Evan Cooper, really takes to the diet advice I have given and has followed it to a T. He is currently in college and was a strong Cat-3 last year, consistently finishing top-15. This winter, he’s worked very hard both in the gym and on the bike, very, very consistent with his training. He’s setting himself up for a big 2009…
Evan’s power, now that we’re starting early Build work, is already coming around, and I was wondering if it was because he trained so well, or maybe it was because of his diet? I’m sure it’s a combination of both… But his diet seems impeccable. At 140 pounds and an FT of 275 after Foundation work (where the goal really is not to dramatically raise FT), he already has a solid power-to-weight ratio…
Most successful Cat-3s have a power to weight ratio of 2.0+w/lb… When I was winning Cat-3 races, my power-to-weight was 2.10. Mike Gisler, he won Battenkill-Roubaix with a power-to-weight of 2.13. Well, Evan’s power-to-weight is already 1.96. And this is the winter, where the power is not yet there and his weight is still a bit heavy…
If Evan’s training goes well, and if he sheds some weight, Evan’s power-to-weight (projected 290 FT and weight of 136 — very realistic) is 2.13, right with Mike Gisler who was dominating big Cat-3 races…
Here is a brief summary of how Evan plans his meals…
He eats plenty of whole foods. The most processed thing he eats is cereal, to which he is addicted. He say’s it’s almost an “all-purpose food!” A bowl for breakfast, a bowl on the side of some eggs after a workout, as a large snack, etc. He always uses skim milk.
Other than cereal, he eats pretty much only whole and natural foods. Lots of plain, non- fat yogurt, oatmeal, apples and bananas, TONS of vegetables like carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. He rarely ever eats red meat, with turkey or eggs the main lunch staples and various chicken and fish dishes being his mainstay at dinner, always accompanied by some veggies or salad and some sort of carb like pasta or brown rice.
Evan never eats potatoes, ever, only sweet potatoes, and he eats literally NO foods high in fat, except fish and olive oil, which are good fats. Junk food and soda are “totally foreign” ￼to him and desserts are a rarity. Friends grab some cake or some pigs-in-a- blanket, and Evan’s reaching for the carrots and salsa. As he says, his diet has become second-nature and he usually has little trouble turning down foods that he knows will negatively affect his performance.
Evan’s BMR is about 1900 calories. Then he adds his workouts to that, so he always know how many calories he needs for the day. He has a rough estimate of the caloric content of almost everything he eats, always trying to break even or end at a small deficit…
A typical day starts with a cup or two of coffee, no sugar, and a large bowl of cereal, about 500 calories. After that, and this is CRITICAL, he bases his eating on the needs for that day and what he needs to prepare for the following day.
In the winter, he’s eating more protein because of the gym work, and that’s helped him put on some healthy weight. He weighs a solid 140 right now, and he knows when the training kicks up and when he starts racing, he can healthily lose 3-4 pounds easy. He knows he’ll never have to starve himself, which mentally and physically could seriously affect performance… This winter, he’s added the necessary muscle, and he told me he his legs look noticeably bigger and more defined. Because of his diet, his energy level is sky- high, and he’s been able to add more core work to his daily routine…
Here is a sample of what he ate for a lifting day:
large bowl of cereal (Kashi GoLean, Special K, Puffins) w/ skim milk, coffee – 500 cals
1 apple – 100 cals
plain oatmeal with cinnamon and handful of almonds – 300 cals
whole grain wrap w/ 5 slices of turkey, raw veggies, and salsa – 200 cals 1 liter seltzer water
cup of non-fat yogurt (110 cals)
Grapenuts or Kashi cereal for a total of 200-250 cals, then probably some carrots or a banana (100 cals)
a piece of grilled fish with some veggies and rice or barley on the side. All in all, that comes out to like 2100-2300 calories.
*** Regarding his concession to cereal, his choices are pretty varied but all low-sugar: Kashi GoLean, Grapenuts, Puffins, Special K (all flavors), Multigrain, Honey Nut Cheerioes, and Honey Bunches of Oats.
We’ve already discussed that his body will dictate what it will weigh. We just eat well and see what will happen. We have no intention of making him a lightweight if his body fights that. He told me about his eating habits over last summer, and he realized he was eating far less than he should have. He was eating under 2000 calories most days, and NOW he eats under 2000 only on some rest days, and even then he often shoots for 2000 exactly.
But because of his stellar diet and dedication to training, his weight is not ballooning and he’s stronger than ever. We feel that this year he will be stronger, wiser, and of equal importance he will be far, far better fueled than before.
Thanks for reading.