As we age our BMR, Basal Metabolic rate, decreases. Basal Metabolic Rate is the number of calories required to keep your body functioning at rest. I do a lot of exercise and need to check caloric intake versus caloric burn to ensure I have the right balance of intake and output.
I check this every few months and adjust based on training demands, body weight, percentage of body fat, and the food I am eating. Getting this as correct as possible improves recovery times along with optimizing sleep as well as fat, carbohydrate and protein intake.
Staying aware of my BMR changes helps to monitor intake, which differs in quantity compared to when I was in my 20s. You can use the internet to find all sorts of calculators to find your numbers.
When I was competing in cycling, running and swimming I never seemed to get enough to eat. As an archer the caloric load is significantly reduced. For example, while training for the Ironman World Championship I was burning about 6720 calories a day on top of my BMR. Archery, alone, burns 777 calories a day. (Based on my weight, height and hours of training) Add daily supplemental training and I burn 2572 per day on top of a BMR of 1472 for a total of 4044. That is significantly less than what is required for Ironman type conditioning. Heck, add my BMR needs to triathlon caloric needs and you’ll be looking at 8372 calories per day.
When I raced my percentage of body fat ranged from 3% to 7%. Now that I’ve switched to archery that percentage has increased to 10% – 12%. If I didn’t do any cardio work and ate the same amount per day as I did before archery I’d expect a much higher percentage of body fat.
Because I am 65 and plan to compete in the Men’s Senior (rather than Masters) Division of Olympic recurve it is paramount I maintain a focus on fitness. Part of that focus is optimizing caloric intake and output. Part of the benefit is not having hypertension (high blood pressure) and I don’t require medication to control it. Beta-blockers, a drug of choice for treating hypertension is a banned substance in competitive archery. I doubt a therapeutic exemption would be allowed for a beta-blocker in archery. Nevertheless, I rather be fit and not need it to begin with.
My mother, an 87 year old, walks two miles a day with a Labrador retriever on a leash, mows nearly an acre of land using a push mower, and works on her property everyday except Sunday. She takes no prescription medication. She gets a physical exam every 6 months and is in superb condition. As she describes it, “It is better to exercise than to take drugs to maintain health.”
Her physician follow her last exam told her, “Mrs. Lain, you have the blood chemistry of a 35 year old. I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep it up.”
Finding the right balance of intake and output is critical for athletes. Archery is no exception. For that matter, life is no exception. Eat right and exercise and you’ll be healthier than if you didn’t.