The Triathlon Body

There are a few athletes whom I work with that struggle occasionally with feeling the need to be at a certain weight or look a certain way. Usually this is a weight that they have previously achieved in a past season early on in the sport. Sometimes an athlete equates being 'fit' with this low number on the scale and sometimes an athlete who struggles with hitting this number, feels the constant need to work harder and harder.

This can be something that is draining both physically and mentally on an athlete. If the athlete feels the need to work harder and harder, they soon compromise recovery and their bodies start to break down physically. After an extended period of time without seeing progress, the athlete can become frustrated mentally, which can cause a negative body image and the loss of believe in their ability to perform in sport.

If this sounds like you, remember this. When most people enter the sport of triathlon, they don't have much background in swimming, cycling or running. This means that they do not have much sport specific muscle developed. So an athlete starts training hard, eating well and loses a lot of weight. This usually keeps up for the first few seasons of racing. The athlete gets leaner and faster at the same time. This can instill the idea of leaner = faster/better.

Here is the problem. Usually after about 2 seasons, an athlete will start to develop a significant amount of muscle in either their upper body, lower body, or both. When this starts to happen, they can actually be leaner then they ever have before, but still heavier on the scale. If the athlete isn't able to see that this extra muscle is beneficial, it can be very frustrating.

In an attempt to get back to where they were, athletes will try to train more and eat less, which usually results in even more frustration. Our bodies become use to being in calorie deficit and go into a mode where they hold on to what they have.

So what can you do? Well, first cut yourself a little slack. Most people become so critical of themselves to a point far beyond what anyone else would see. Train as hard as you can, within the constraints of your life while still being able to recover. Eat healthy....what does this mean...everything in moderation. Base your diet on lean protein, fruit, veggies and natural carbohydrates. Avoid large amounts of sugar and processed foods. Drink lots of water and listen to your body, it has a funny way of telling you what it needs ;) Do this consistently for a season, stay healthy and I think you will be happy with what it yields!



JoeBruin88 said…
Thanks for this article. This helps me put things into a healthier perspective.

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