Book Review: Chris Carmichael's Food for Fitness

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06/3/2004| 0 comments
by Ian Melvin

Book Review: Chris Carmichael's Food for Fitness

Eat right to train right.

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As cyclists we spend hours reading through our favorite magazines for the latest bikes and trick kit in the search of propelling ourselves just that little bit faster.  Maybe we want to win our local road race, maybe it?s just beating our club mates to the local coffee shop, what ever our race, we?re always looking for that extra edge.  One thing often overlooked or rather eagerly dismissed is the role that nutrition can play in helping us in this quest.  One more slice of your favorite cake, just another beer; surely it won?t matter?  The problem facing athletes of all disciplines is distinguishing between the age-old myths; the tabloid endorsed ? <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 /?>
Hollywood? diets and, those few facts that are actually relevant to us.


So what should you eat?  How much should you eat?  When should you eat it? How on earth should you cook it?  Lance Armstrong?s coach and Director of Carmichael Training Systems, Chris Carmichael, has laid down the answers to these questions and many more in his latest book: Chris Carmichael?s Food for Fitness: Eat Right to Train Right.  The book is crammed with almost 400 pages of nutritional do?s and don?ts and athlete friendly recipes.


By now, most of us are aware of the term periodized training.  What the guys at CTS have come up with is a way to adjust both quantity and also the make up of your fuel to coincide with the adjustments in your training program as you go from burning off the excess Christmas turkey to finding your full fighting weight in the peak of your season.  Welcome to the concept of periodizing nutrition. 
Carmichael explains in detail how during the stages of your season, your intake of carbohydrate, protein and fat should change to mirror the demands of your cycling, helping you to perform and recover better than ever before.  A full chapter explains at length how the system works and complimentary tables help to show you what percentage of each food group you should be consuming at any given time.


The book discusses in detail each of the major food groups, vitamins and minerals and, the essential role that hydration plays in your performance. Quite literally the reader is exposed to the good, the bad and the ugly of nutrition.  Unlike many other sources this book realizes that not everybody?s demands are equal and individual chapters are dedicated to Adolescent, Female and Older athletes.


Drawing on his experience as a rider and coach, Carmichael advises on preparing your pre and post training/race food and drink as well as ideas to maintaining your fuel levels when your biggest concern is just holding that wheel in front as the peloton snakes along another open wind swept road.  We?ve all seen the high-energy bars and glucose drinks in the shiny packs.  Which is the best for you?  What does the job and which is simply a fancy marketing campaign?  Included in the recipes at the back of the book are some fantastic snacks,


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