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Nutrition: Resting Metabolic Rate

By Eric Davis | In General, Nutrition Tips, Optimal Performance | on January 7, 2015

The Group Ride

Despite the gloomy weather which accompanied us from Mill Valley to Pt. Reyes, it had been a very pleasant ride with Coach Dana Williams and a few members of the Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator Coffee cycling team. A gentlemen’s agreement had been struck early to keep the pace solidly in Z2, with the stronger riders taking pace setting duties while the others would pull through as often as their legs allowed.

My legs felt decent, although after about 2.5 hours I begin to feel a bit sluggish and I start spending more and more time at the back.

“Hey, how are you feeling?” the question comes from my right as Coach Dana pulls alongside me.

I responded with a nonchalant “not bad,” which is not entirely untrue, but I am so blasé at this point that it is all I can muster.

“Are you eating and drinking enough?” he continues.

Dana frowns when I give him a breakdown of my intake up to that point: a bagel with schmear, two glasses of orange juice, a cup of coffee and a Clif Bar. In other words, not very much.

“That’s it?” he replies, almost incredulously.

Resting Metabolic Rate

Physical activity stresses the body and uses up valuable resources which need to be replenished. Calories, in the form of calories of fats or carbs are the fuel that power the body. But not all athletes are the same and not all activities require the same amount of energy. So the question is- how do you know?

Our bodies require energy in order to perform even the most basic functions. Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) may be defined as the number of calories required to perform the most basic bodily functions while at “rest.”

RMR is determined by such factors as gender, age, height, body fat percentage and a quick Internet search will turn up several RMR calculators. But the basic formula is:

Resting Metabolic Rate= Body Weight (in lbs.) x 10.

A Few Facts

I am, on a good day, 140 lbs and stand roughly 5’6”. During the off-season, I may swing a few pounds closer to 150, but only briefly. Although I am somewhat on the smaller side, my stocky build belies any hint of me being a “mountain goat” climber. No, as much as I would sometimes wish it otherwise, I am much more “pocket rocket” sprinter than an angelic climber.

I lead a very active lifestyle, both in terms of my work and my extracurricular activities, although I do enjoy such sedentary pursuits as movie watching, listening to the latest indie music and reading.

My Resting Metabolic Rate or RMR is about 1450, although adjusted for the fact that I am a fairly active endurance athlete having a low body fat percentage compared to lean muscle mass, it is closer to 1600. On days that I ride, that number usually doubles, depending on length and intensity. At this point in the ride, I had probably burned about 1850 calories on an intake of about half that.

You Get Out What You Put In

You get out what you put in- this is a basic, yet extremely important principle that Achieve PTC preaches to all of its athletes. Proper nutrition, hydration, sleep, positive thinking- these are all critical components of ‘what you put in’ to the success for an endurance athlete.

Back to the ride, I had neglected several of these; my body was burning more calories than it had taken in at this point and was in deficit. At worst, I was on my way to bonking (thankfully, I did not).

In our next blog, we will take another look at my ride and explore what I could have done differently in regards to nutrition what comprises the component parts of nutrients.







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