Natalie Coughlin
Natalie Coughlin's basic-training math: If you're working out for one hour, three to four times a week, you want to eat three grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight on your workout days. (Jeff Lipsky)

The Haute Cuisine Route

Our one-month plan (and some inspiring recipes) will help you elevate your fitness goals

Natalie Coughlin
Monique Ryan

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Svelte swimmer and Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin knows that good food and great performance are inextricably linked. She’s also a foodie who has compiled an informal cookbook for her buddies on the UC Berkeley swim team. We worked up a four-week nutrition training plan that accommodates some of Coughlin’s power food and other wholesome eats.* The mouthwatering and engine-firing results are below.

Plate Tectonics

Dig into the world of delicious, nutritious eats, so you can feel great, play hard, live longer—and go for the gusto. CLICK HERE for the full Outside overview.

Natalie Coughlin

Natalie Coughlin Natalie Coughlin’s basic-training math: If you’re working out for one hour, three to four times a week, you want to eat three grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight on your workout days.

Eat To Win: A Monthlong Approach

Weeks 1-2 Basic Training

Fitness Focus
This phase of nutrition kicks in as your training starts to peak in duration and intensity. You should be training at least three times a week—often enough that you’re burning the highest number of daily calories of any point in your year. Quality grub is essential to fuel your workouts and maximize a quick recovery.

Nutrition Strategy
Your daily calories should be 60 percent high-quality carbohydrates, 15 percent lean proteins, and 25 percent “good” fat (see our whole-foods list below). Down a minimum of 100 ounces of liquids a day. While you’re at it, skip the booze for these two weeks, or keep it to an absolute minimum.

Apply and Thrive
If you’re working out for one hour, three to four times a week, you want to eat three grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight on your workout days. For a 170-pound man, that’s a total of 510 grams.

Week 3 Prep For Prime Time

Fitness Focus
You’re in taper mode, easing off on intensity and volume or setting off on your trip. You’ll need slightly fewer calories now, but you’ll want to keep your eye on quality.

Nutrition Strategy
The goal is to maintain your current weight (you may have dropped a few pounds while training) and fine-tune your energy stores. Drop your carbs to two grams per pound of body weight from the basic-training level. Your total calories have receded, but carbs should still be 60 to 70 percent of that total.

Apply and Thrive
For events lasting up to 90 minutes, eat up to three grams of carbs per pound of body weight two days before. An hour prior to activity, eat 100 grams of carbs (say, a bagel, eight-ounce juice, and a banana). During the event, consume energy bars or gels, plus H2O or a sports drink.

Week 4 The Recovery Phase

Fitness Focus
If your activity is more intense—a marathon, say, or a big climb—you have a greater need for a full recovery. Staying mindful of quality, here’s where you also get to do a little dietary exploration. Take this week to slow down, try new foods, and expand your menu.

Nutrition Strategy
Let the ratios of carbs, proteins, and fat roam where they may. Eat for enjoyment and satisfaction, but whittle down your total intake by 300 to 900 calories or you’ll start to blimp out. Drink 100 ounces of fluids each day. Alcohol? OK, but keep it to two drinks a day.

Apply and Thrive
Try to experiment and discover new foods during this period. Use a bathroom scale to monitor your weight.


Get Cooking

CLICK HERE to get additional info on Natalie’s recipes.

Chickpea and Leek Soup (serves six)
12 oz canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained » 1 medium potato, peeled and cubed into 1 1/2-inch squares » 5 medium leeks, outer skins removed, sliced lengthwise, rinsed thoroughly, and finely sliced crosswise » 1 tbsp olive oil » 1 tbsp butter » 2 cloves garlic, minced » salt and black pepper to taste » 3 cups chicken broth » Parmesan cheese, grated » extra virgin olive oil

Cover potato in water and boil for 30 minutes until done. Add butter and olive oil to large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic and add a good pinch of salt. Cook until tender, stirring every five minutes. Add chickpeas and potato and cook for one minute. Add two-thirds of the broth and simmer for 15 minutes. Puree if you like. Add the last of the broth, plus Parmesan cheese to taste. Serve in bowls, garnished with cheese, fresh-ground pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Pork Tenderloin and Persimmon Risotto (serves four)
1/2 lb pork tenderloin, fat trimmed, sliced into 1/8-inch strips » 1 tbsp butter or olive oil » 1/4 cup minced shallots » 1 cup arborio rice » 1 tsp allspice » 1/4 tsp cinnamon » black pepper to taste » salt to taste » 3 cups hot chicken broth » 2 cups dry white wine » 2 Fuyu persimmons, julienned » 1 cup crumbled blue cheese » 3 tbsp minced parsley

Stir-fry the pork in a skillet over medium heat until cooked throughout, approximately 4–5 minutes. Set aside. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté; shallots until tender (2–3 minutes). From now on, continually stir the mixture. Add rice and cook until translucent (3–4 minutes). Turn heat down to low. Add allspice, cinnamon, pepper, salt, and wine. After the wine cooks down, add the chicken broth, one cup at a time, waiting for each cup to cook down before adding the next. Repeat until rice is tender, approximately 20 minutes. Add persimmons, pork, half the blue cheese, and half the parsley. Remove from heat. Stir thoroughly, cover, and let sit for five minutes. Stir again, then serve. Garnish with the remaining parsley and blue cheese.

Mean Cuisine: A Few Whole Foods that Rock

Quality Carbs: whole-grain breads » whole-grain pasta » whole-grain cereals » brown rice » fruits » vegetables » skim milk » yogurt with fruit » rice milk » soy milk » new potatoes » Choice Proteins: turkey » fresh fish » shellfish » lean beef » lean pork » cottage cheese » beans » lentils » tofu » chickpeas edamame » Good Fats: olive oil » flaxseed oil » sunflower oil » canola oil » nuts (almonds especially) » fish (especially wild salmon and sardines) » avocado » black olives » natural peanut butter » sesame seeds

From Outside Magazine, Jan 2005
Filed to:
Lead Photo: Jeff Lipsky

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