Make sure you don’t tip the scale (too much) this holiday season, especially with Nats around the corner. Photo courtesy of PuuikiBeach via Flickr

by Jordan Dubé

As a student of Sports Nutrition, I got into this gig because I wanted to know, “What the hell am I supposed to be eating, and when should I be eating it to optimize my performance?” A pretty valid question right? The short and sweet answer is, well, there isn’t one – but I’d be glad to help you sort it all out as we take on this little adventure together.Looking ahead into the not-so-distant future we find US National Cyclocross Championships and eek – dare I say – “the holidays.” You know, that giant road block in nutritional success, the everlasting excuse! Dozens upon dozens of amazing aromas and cute little Nanas offering you just one more sugar-encrusted carbohydrate! So how do we as athletes survive the smorgasbord in our pursuit of success?

TIP #1
First things first – we have it a little easier than most, because we all have these great little inventions called “training plans.” Stick With Them. Ahem. Pardon the extra emphasis, but nothing helps you fight holiday watt-killers like workouts. It can be really tricky to get them in amidst the travel and festivities, but in my family, I just pack everyone along for the ride – then we all get the exercise we need.

TIP #2
When it comes to the meals, moderation is key. We’re ’cross racers, and part of the enjoyment of our amazing community is wrapped up in drinkin’ and hecklin’. Save the brash commentary up for Nats, but enjoy your beverages – sometimes they can be a necessary tool of holiday survival! If you’re going to drink though, don’t go crazy – liquid calories add up just as fast as those from food.

TIP #3
Before you fill your plate, survey all the options then try to stick with a balanced meal, based on what is available. Aim to consume lean protein and lots of veggies – especially the raw ones kicking around at the appetizer table, and devour dessert in moderation.

TIP #4
You may not know exactly how many calories each food item contains, but one slice of pie is half as many calories as two, so keep that in mind if you go back for seconds! If you do find yourself refilling your plate, make sure you wait at least 20 minutes before doing so. Chances are you won’t be hungry any longer once you give your stomach time to catch up to your eating!

Lastly, don’t show up hungry, hydrate well, and enjoy! I’ll see you in Madison!

Well, maybe have just the one cookie... © Jordan Dube

Well, maybe have just the one cookie… © Jordan Dubé