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Triathlon Training: Weight Loss
In the world of triathlon, one of the most talked about topics is weight loss and nutrition. When I first entered this triathlon world, losing weight was my primary goal. I had just come off of losing 50 pounds and needed a new challenge to keep the weight off. I have successfully kept the weight off over the past few years, using my triathlon training to help with this. I have now entered into a new goal for racing and that is to be competitive. I’m 38 years old and racing as a 39 year old, which means next year I’ll move up to a 40-45 age group and hopefully be more competitive. One of the main areas I need to figure out is my ideal racing weight and how to take off a few pounds.
I currently weigh 180 and am 6 feet 3 inches tall. I have a large frame but have extra fat around my waist. I think I would be more competitive at 170-175. I have been trying to get to this competition weight for over a year now. I just can’t find the discipline to get there. Last winter I hit 190 when I couldn’t go outside to exercise. This winter, I belong to a gym, so I’ll at least be able to run, bike, and swim inside a warm gym. The only area I have to deal with is my diet. The truth is… I absolutely love ice cream and chocolate and cheeseburgers and fries and soda! These nutritional blunders are my enemy and I must defeat them.
The right way to lose weight is not to go on some fad diet, but to gradually lose a pound to 2 pounds per week over the long term. To reach my goal I need to lose 1kg to 2kg per week for about 10 weeks. That would comfortably get me to the weight I need. Some people suggest training with a heavier weight and then dropping the weight as you head into the race so you feel lighter on your feet. This seems like a good strategy, but if you squeeze yourself into the number of weeks you have left, you’ll end up trying to break the diet which will exhaust you more than it should.
I need to figure out how to eat better, but allow my sweet tooth to have a cheat day. I will try to only have one cheat day per week to avoid some of the weight loss pitfalls. I really believe that I don’t need to change a huge number of items to achieve my goal. I train 5-6 times a week at high levels and for 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’s what gives me energy on those long runs. I don’t have to avoid all meat because that gives me the protein to build muscle. I have to eat a balanced diet. I need certain amounts of carbohydrates and a certain amount of protein in my diet. I also have to jam vegetables and fruits down my throat on a regular basis. I need to eliminate all but one cheat day. Gotta see cheat day as a reward.
One of my biggest issues is that I’ll have an incredibly hard workout where I really push myself and then I’ll reward myself that day with a supersonic double cheeseburger from Sonic with a big cheese gator tot. This is what I must avoid. At all costs I have to avoid fried and go for more grilled. I have to avoid french fries and go for vegetables or fruits. I need to be disciplined in these areas to achieve my goal. Nutrition has to be a priority to achieve what I want in this sport for next year.
My goal is to significantly increase my protein intake and reduce my carbs slightly. I want to eliminate most sugars during the week and will set Friday or Saturday as a cheat day. This should be a fun weight loss journey and I will update as I go.
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