Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Timing of Weight Loss with Training and Racing

One of the topics I'm finding popular with my athletes at this point of the season is their weight. A few are not happy with their weight, wanting to squeeze out another kilogram or two. Here's the problem though, for these athletes that want to do this, right now we are in the specificity part of the training year. We are preparing specifically for the demands of race day, and that means intensity, and a good portion of the total training volume is at that intensity.

For these athletes to be able to handle the load of intensity to prepare adequately, and recover quickly to make the next race-specific workout a success, they can't be actively trying to lose weight now. It must happen passively, without cutting calories and meals.

In my time as an athlete for Bob Seebohar and Joe Friel, I learned a lot about nutrition, but probably most importantly was not necessarily the nutrition, but the timing of the nutrition. I will spare all the details for you, but in general, if you're eating to support training, then eat what you need and want. When you're not eating to support training, such as during a rest day or recovery period, eat only what you need, and make it fruit, vegetable and lean-protein based.

Ask yourself, "Why am I eating right now?" If the answer is you're hungry, or need to pre-fuel or refuel from hard training sessions, then eat without worry or concern, but make sure it's just what you need. If the answer is you're bored, or just because everyone else is eating around you, then adjust it to only what you need, (perhaps not eating at all), and what will support your training and goals, (not junk food, or sugary items).

Another tip most people don't realize, is that for every gram of carbohydrate, (CHO), the body stores, it stores 4 grams of water. If you eat a very starchy-based diet most of the time, the body will horde more carbs, and thus retain more water. Stick with a clean diet of less CHO or processed items when not training, (fruits, veggies, lean protein), and you'll be amazed at how the body can drop weight quickly when it sheds the carbohydrate it doesn't need and loses water weight.

Again, if you're in the high-intensity, race-specific phase of training, now is NOT the time to actively pursue weight loss. Get in what you need and focus on getting the recovery and intensity right. Weight will take care of itself.

Coach Vance

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