Saturday, May 5, 2012

Eat Like an Athlete -- The Feed Zone Cookbook

On a recent road trip to see our oldest son, Ian, play ball at Ashland University, my husband and I stumbled upon YouTube videos of Allen Lim cooking for Team Garmin during the Tour de France. He was making little rice cakes and potatoes and wrapping them to be easy to eat on the bike. I was intrigued by the portable "real" food. I've never found the gels and bars that endurance athletes typically use very appealing, so I set out to learn a little more about Allen Lim and his work. 

Allen Lim is a sports physiologist who has worked with many professional cyclists. He partnered with chef Biju Thomas to develop The Feed Zone Cookbook. I ordered it mostly because I was fascinated by what I had learned from Allen Lim, but I didn't expect it to be particularly relevant to my level of fitness. My husband and I are training for triathlons, but we're not exactly professional athletes burning 6,000 calories a day.

What a great surprise! For an athlete in training, The Feed Zone is a practical, thoughtful, and (most importantly) useful book that cuts through the hype and focuses on "what works." It has a wonderful introduction that is packed with useful advice; I particularly appreciated the section on food timing broken into pre-workout, workout, post-workout and dinner. 

Here's an example, "After racing or training more than 4 hours, it's critical that you eat at least 4 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight within 30 minutes of finishing. For exercise lasting less than 2 hours, the goal is 2 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight... We need to eat immediately after exercise because our muscles are extremely sensitive to insulin during this time. Insulin brings carbohydrate into the muscle, where it can be stored as glycogen. Consequently eating right after exercise helps to better restore muscle glycogen."

The recipes are organized by breakfast, portables, après, dinner and desserts. They're all made with whole foods and can be prepared quickly. Each recipe includes a beautiful photo and the nutritional information. There are lots of 300-400 calorie options and many vegetarian and gluten free choices.
Patrick and I with our son, Ian, at Ashland University

In short, I am a fan. This book is a necessity for anyone training for endurance, but would surely be appreciated by anyone who is trying to eat well and be fit. I wish I would have had this book when our boys were young. Ian would have loved the rice cakes with bacon and eggs in lieu of his standard PB&J between games during a doubleheader. At just under $14, The Feed Zone Cookbook is also a real bargain. 

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