What you eat is just as important as how much or how fast you ride. The Flywheel Challenge Nutrition Plan created by Heather Bauer RD, CND, was specifically designed to fuel your rides and keep you satisfied over the next four weeks. Here, we’ve gathered the answers to your pressing Flywheel Challenge nutrition questions. Remember, active Flywheel Challenge participants may email their instructor coaches with their nutrition questions directly, or share via Facebook, twitter or instagram with the hashtag #FlywheelChallenge. We want to hear from you!
What if my goal is to eat clean and be healthy but not lose weight?
If your goal is healthy eating and not weight loss, you should still use the FLYPlan as a foundation because it emphasizes the food categories that are good for you and give you energy, such as fiber, healthy carbs, veggies, and protein, but de-emphasizes the foods that provide no nutritional value, such as refined carbs, alcohol and certain condiments. For maintaining instead of losing weight, you can air on the higher end of the ranges provided for each food category (two healthy carbs, three fibers, three fruits, unlimited veggies) and double your protein at meals where you feel hungrier. You can also afford the occasional indulgence, such as one refined carb a few days a week and/or the right type of after dinner snack (suggestions provided below).
Roughly how many calories a day should I be eating if I’m following the Flywheel Challenge Nutrition Plan?
I don’t believe in counting calories – I believe that if you follow the FLYPlan, you’ll be successful. This said, if you want calorie parameters, The FLYPlan is loosely equivalent to 1,200-1,500 calories per day for women and 1,800-2,100 calories per day for men. You may need to eat closer to the higher end of the calorie range on days that you ride. On these days, if you get hungry, you can eat an extra protein and fruit or veggie provided in the meal plan.
How should I adjust my eating if I have more muscle mass than the average person and ride more than four times per week?
In the beginning, I recommend riding four times per week and avoiding any other cardiovascular activity so your body can adjust to the FLYPlan. Assuming weight loss is your goal, you should stick to the FLYPlan (with a few extra proteins or veggies on ride days), and not modify regardless of your muscle mass or other indicators.
Is a blackberry really 3 oz., and is that really how much protein females should have at lunch and dinner?
My recommendation for protein is an iPhone 6 (not the 6 plus) which is equivalent to about 3 ounces. You can also look at the palm of your hand to measure 3 ounces. Please note that protein measurement is more important in weeks three and four. For weeks one and two, if you are focused on your carb quantity, fiber, fruits and veggies, it is okay if you consume a little more protein. I suggested 1 “iPhone” serving at lunch and another at dinner plus there is protein at breakfast and during the afternoon snack.
I’m vegetarian, what should I eat?
Here’s what I recommend for vegetarians:
- Breakfast looks the same
- Any time you use beans as a protein choice it does not count towards your healthy carb count for the day
- Protein choices at lunch or dinner could include: veggie burger, eggs or egg whites, tofu, beans, edamame, chickpeas, quinoa, one serving of almonds, nut butter, low-fat cheese, chia seeds, hemp, (note for all these you must check label and stick to the serving size of protein on the label because many substitutes can be higher in calories. When buying soy products make sure they are non-gmo)
- The Amy’s meals are all vegetarian and are excellent frozen meal options
- When dining out try to make it more of a veggie night because the alternatives tend to be pasta… you could do slightly more dairy however so start with a caprese salad and do the arugula or beet or another salad for entree and share two side veggies
- “Protein Day” can be modified by doing greek yogurt 2% plain for breakfast, egg white mushroom omelet for lunch and for dinner 3-4 ounces grilled tofu, mixed green salad and steamed asparagus and mushrooms
I don’t want to spend money on snacks and meals. What can I make at home?
There are great, simple recipes in the Flywheel Challenge Nutrition Plan — healthy breaded chicken, toaster salmon etc. I also like the cookbook Eating Well because all of the recipes serve two people so it’s great for singles (split it into dinner and lunch) or multiplied for a larger family.
I’m breastfeeding. How should I adapt the schedule?
You will need roughly an additional 500 calories than what’s on the FLYPlan. You can add this in with one additional (optional) healthy carb so two to three carbs a day and I would also eat more protein at lunch a dinner, so 6 oz. at each meal. You should also eat a mid-morning snack that’s under 80 calories like 2 Fiber Rich and one to two Laughing Cow light or a Justin’s or Barney almond butter packet.
What if I want to get fiber without eating the fiber bars?
I recommend approximately 25 grams of fiber per day. In addition to the various cereals and bars that I recommend (examples are in your folders), there are several good natural sources of fiber. These include lentils and beans which offer 13-15 grams per cup, dark, leafy vegetables, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts which provide five grams per cup, and raspberries which offer eight grams of fiber per cup. Avocado is also a great source of fiber in that a ½ avocado provides six grams of fiber.
How do I replenish electrolytes if I’m working out a lot?
If you are doing one ride per day or less than one hour of cardio per day, it’s not necessary to have a sports drink. I recommend a lot of water intake before and after riding. Ideally, you should have 7-10 ounces of water 10-20 minutes before a class, eight ounces very 15 minutes while in class, and 20-30 ounces after class. If you you take two classes in a day and/or you love sports drinks and absolutely need one, I recommend Nuun Active Hydration or G2.
Can I eat something sweet after dinner?
If you are still hungry after dinner and you’re craving something sweet, try to eat something under 80 calories within 30-45 minutes of dinner. Ideally, you should only do this two to three times a week during the 28 days if your goal is weight loss. After dinner sweet options that I love are (everything in individual portions): Yasso Yogurt Pops, Ciao Bella blood orange sorbet pops or mini cups, or you can freeze your favorite low-fat Greek yogurt, 1 cup frozen raspberries, 1 tray chocolate LifeIce or 1 square of daily dose of dark by Nibmor.
Do I have to eat exactly what’s on the 28-day Nutrition Program?
No – The program doesn’t have to be followed as outlined. I provided a lot of options so you have variety and ideas, but you’re more than welcome to eat the same breakfast every day if you find something you like and it’s easy. You’ll be very successful if you follow the FLYPlan even if you eat the same foods.
What is the “Protein Day?”
In the video, I referenced a “protein recovery day” and a “controlled volume recovery day” but the labels were inadvertently left off the 28-Day Nutrition Program. The “protein recovery day” is Monday of Week 2 and the “controlled volume recovery day” is Monday of Week 3. Both days are designed to help you get back on track if you have a bad day – you can try them at any point during the challenge, even the first week!
Not participating in the Flywheel Challenge but interested in learning more about Heather’s nutrition planning? Learn more about her nutrition counseling program and her healthy snack delivery service, Bestowed.
Check back for more Q&As with Heather throughout the Flywheel Challenge, and be sure to share your experience on social media and tag #FLYWHEELCHALLENGE.
Whether you’re part of our Dawn Patrol crew, a lunch-time frequent FLYer, or an evening pulser whose version of “hitting the barre” calls for spandex and a resistance band, these healthy snack suggestions will be just what you need to #nevercoast.