Ironworks and Ekin Nutrition
- Posted on
- By Griffin Jaworski
- Posted in Endurance Nutrition
The difference between being fit and being healthy.
Nutrition and endurance sports have a fascinating relationship. Many of us, myself included, often justify caloric intake with caloric expenditure. I.E. - Run 15 miles in the morning -> eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s in the evening. In the (very) short term, this isn’t going to cause major issues in my opinion, but…sometimes it becomes a habit. There’s a huge difference between being “fit” and being “healthy” and a lot of times what you see on the surface is misleading.
For example: I’m 5’10”, weigh approximately 160lbs, and if you looked at me you’d probably think I’m really healthy with approximately 10% body fat. I’m pretty close to having the quintessential “runner” build (although these days I’m more of a triathlete). However, looks can be deceiving and I was pretty shocked when I went into Ekin Nutrition and found out I was 19% body fat. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but for someone with dreams of qualifying for Ironman Kona and the Olympic Trials Marathon, it’s not necessarily helping me achieve those goals.
This is where I think Ekin does a great job and they line up with my coaching philosophy perfectly: it’s not about the number on the scale, it’s about what’s underneath the surface. Using myself as an example still: I’m not trying to lose weight, in fact, I would be fine with gaining up to 5 lbs. as long as the compositional changes match the performance goals. Through their system, we’re able to see some pretty cool information: muscle mass, hydration levels, body fat % etc. From there, they take that information and create a specific plan tailored to your goals. Just like training, there’s no perfect plan but rather a continual feedback loop: every 2 weeks you can re-measure and make adjustments based on how your body composition is changing.
For triathletes and runners alike, what I care more about as a coach is the POWER:WEIGHT ratio. Too many of us focus on the second part of the equation and try to losing weight by cutting calories. For normal people without performance goals, this can be a great way to lose weight. For endurance athletes it puts us into a near constant catabolic state with the amount of training we do. As we lose fat, we also lose muscle and therefore power. It’s as if we are decreasing the size of the car AND the engine at the same time. In the short-term, there can be some small performance gains, but long-term it’s not sustainable. We’re constantly hungry, tired, fatigued and on top of losing muscle, this can also wreak havoc on performance enhancing hormones like testosterone. So, to keep the car analogy going, it’s like we’re also decreasing the size of the gas tank!
When we focus on the other side of that equation and put the emphasis on gaining muscle mass, we increase our power output capability (which translates to pace for runners unless you have a Stryd power meter). In time, this increases our basal metabolic rate and we can put muscle on at a higher rate than fat (with the right nutrition and training plan combo), increasing our POWER:WEIGHT ratio if our weight stays the same or even if it increases. This is incredibly important for cyclists/triathletes but also important for runners and swimmers. Along with ability to hold pace/power is the ability to tolerate higher training volume. The biomechanical strain of running, swimming and biking on the body is force that is primarily absorbed through our musculo-skeletal system. One thing we don’t talk about enough as endurance athletes is the tissue loading capacity of muscles. When our muscle tissue is capable of handling high volumes of training, we thrive. When it’s not, we get overuse injuries and our general aches and pains increase. Again - we need a combined approach of nutrition and smart training to perform our best!
The thing is, most of us don’t know what we don’t know. What foods should we eat, when should we eat them, and how do our body composition goals influence those decisions? That’s where Ekin comes in!
Ekin Nutrition customizes nutrition to the individual. They specialize in nutrition for athletes, however they also work with a wide range of people. Their nutrition plans are based on information such as body composition, hydration, current eating habits and activity levels. They will specify the amount macro-nutrients (aka macros) you need at each meal, as well as when to eat and how to fuel yourself for performance. You will also be able to utilize their app. The app helps you track your food and calculate the macros you need. After signing up you will be able to meet with them every two weeks to go over your food logs and make any adjustments necessary.
Month-to-Month Plans are $50/month with a $150 setup fee
3 Month Plans are a one time payment of $199
We’re excited to partner with them and will be encouraging our entire training group to take advantage of their system. Not only will it pay off performance wise, but also in terms of long term health and understanding of how to set ourselves up for success.
Contact them at [email protected] to learn more and set up your initial consultation!