Triathlon Training: Weight Loss

In the world of triathlon, one of the most talked about subjects is weight loss and nutrition. When I first entered this world of triathlon, weight loss was my primary goal. I had just gotten off of losing 50 pounds and needed a new challenge to keep the weight off. I have successfully kept the weight off for the last few years, using my triathlon training to assist with this. I have now entered a new goal for racing and that is to be competitive. I am 38 years old and racing as a 39 year old, which means next year I will move up an age group to the 40-45 year olds and hope to be more competitive. One of the primary areas that I need to discover is my ideal race weight and how to take off a few pounds.

I currently weigh 180 and am 6 foot 3 inches tall. I have a big frame, but have some extra fat around my midsection. I think I would be most competitive at 170-175. I have been attempting to get to that race weight for over a year now. I just can’t seem to find the discipline to get there. Last winter I ballooned to 190 when I could not get outside to work out. This winter, I belong to a gym so will be able to at least run, bike, and swim inside a warm gym. The one area that I must tackle is my nutrition. The truth is… I love ice cream and chocolate and cheeseburgers and fries and soft drinks too much! These nutritional blunders are my nemesis and I must defeat them.

The correct way to lose weight is not on some fad diet, but to gradually lose a pound to 2 pounds a week over the long term. To achiever my goal I need to lose a pound to 2 pounds per week for about 10 weeks. This would comfortably get me to the weight I need. Some people suggest training at a heavier weight and then losing the weight as you head into the race so that you feel lighter on your feet. This seems to be a good strategy, but if you squeeze yourself on the number of weeks you have left then you will end up trying to crash diet which will leave you more exhausted then you need to be.

I have to figure out how to eat better, but allow for my sweet tooth to have a cheat day. I am going to attempt to have only one cheat day per week so as to avoid some of the pitfalls in weight loss. I truly believe that I do not need to change a tremendous amount of items around to achieve my goal. I workout 5-6 times per week at high levels and long periods of time burning between 700 and 2000 calories per workout. I don’t need to go on a fad diet where I eliminate one type of food over another. For example, I don’t need to avoid all carbs because that is what gives me energy on those long runs. I don’t need to avoid all meats because that is what gives me the protein to build muscle. I need to have a balanced diet. I need a certain amounts of carbs and a certain amount of protein in my diet. I also need to jam vegetables and fruit down my throat on a regular basis. I must eliminate all of the cheat days except one. I need to see the cheat day as a reward.

One of my biggest issues is that I will have an incredibly difficult workout where I really push myself and then I will reward myself that day with a supersonic double cheeseburger from Sonic with a large cheese gator tot. This is what I must avoid. At all costs I need to avoid fried foods and go for more grilled foods. I need to avoid french fries and go for vegetables or fruit. I must be disciplined on these areas to achieve my goal. The issue of nutrition has to be a priority for me to achieve what I want in this sport for next year.

My goal is to increase my protein intake sightly and decrease my carbs slightly. I want to eliminate most sugars during the week and will set Friday or Saturday as my cheat day. This should be a fun ride of losing weight and I will update as I progress.