Triathlon is a great sporting event that always keeps you on your toes. With three sports to train for, there’s always some aspect of the three-sport discipline you can try to improve upon. It’s also the ideal lifestyle for those who enjoy being outside and taking on new challenges.
With summer fast approaching, time is running out to lose those final pounds for swimsuit season or a big target event. Don’t take this the wrong way, your reason for triathlon should not be to lose weight. Losing weight can even have a negative impact on performance. But if you’re looking to get a bit more active and want to lead a healthy active lifestyle, triathlon is a great way to do so.
With the increased activity, you’ll also be taking in more fuel. So instead of risking injury and fatigue by counting calories, here are a few small changes that can make a big difference.
Throughout the day and during your training, make sure you stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of water on your desk and ride with two full bottles so you have something to sip on regularly. Drinking water improves your digestive system and will help you lose weight.
Train short and intense
Countless studies have shown that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is very effective for losing weight. If you are hoping to use your workouts more effectively to slim down, consider doing two to three short and intense interval sessions a week (one per sport). This can consist of something as simple as 10x100m sets in the pool, an hour of short hill efforts on the bike or 400m intervals on the track.
Long and steady is also great
If you have the time, fitting in longer training sessions into your calendar every week will help you burn a lot of fat. These rides should be at a steady pace but still hard enough to get your heart rate up. For beginners, start off small and progressively add up your training duration.
Meal prep and recovery
The best way to compromise weight loss is by interrupting your routine and eating foods you otherwise wouldn’t, like easy takeout or packaged snacks. Eating consistently well thought out meals can help you reach your goals much quicker and recover better from your workouts. Build a habit of planning your meals for the week, buying your ingredients fresh from the grocery store and cooking your own food. It’ll take more time than takeout or pre-made meals but you’ll be able to make conscious decisions on what is fueling your training.
Related: Meal prep for the busy triathlete
Getting enough sleep will not only better prepare you for your riding and reduce stress levels, but studies have shown that sleeping between six and eight hours a night helps with weight loss. When you are tired you are more prone to feeling hungry and your body will feel less satisfied when you do eat.
Bike/Run to work
An easy way to get more active without any big changes is by actively commuting to work. Extra time biking or running will energize you for your day but also ensure that instead of a sitting motionless on the subway or in your car, you are moving and burning energy. You’ll get to work feeling more creative, focused and less stressed.
Treat yourself – it’s okay!
If you have cravings or just want to enjoy the odd sweet, don’t worry about indulging every once in a while. Moderation is the key to success when it comes to losing weight because depriving yourself may help in the short term but it won’t be sustainable.
The best weight loss success stories come from people who enjoyed the process. Triathlon is supposed to be fun, not a chore. If you feel bogged down by training, it’s time to break the routine and changes things up. For example, instead of spending a few hours on the trainer, go for a mountain bike ride.
Making healthier food choices will help you feel better, don’t worry about tracking every calorie or meticulously tracking your weight if it doesn’t suit you. If you are enjoying yourself and motivated to ride, you just need to stick to it. Don’ get discouraged if you have a lapse or results are not as quick as you’d hope. A positive outlook and persistence will pay off. Just consistently get out on your bike. Chances are, as a result you’ll be happier and healthier.