I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the triathletes community and the similarity and/or differences between them. It is quite sad for me to see that the majority of athletes, especially males, think that a substantial drop in body weight will lead them to faster results on race day. On one hand it may be true that a lighter weight together with a high fitness regime leads to faster running or cycling times but on the other hand it can also lead to the exact opposite and to severe problems that develop slowly such as loss of bone density, sarcopenia (muscle loss),overall inflammations and so on. Triathlon is a cardiovascular sport that must be supported by a huge amount of strength and conditioning sessions and a high protein diet in order to sustain the capacity of the body to repair, reconstruct, replenish muscles and create more power. Carbohydrates and good fats should be the fuel and protein should be recovery, not just for a season but for a lifetime.
Whatever we do when we are young in our late 20s, 30s, 40s has a huge impact on our future and triathlon training is beneficial only if it’s done properly with great food and by also lifting heavy weighs to stimulate bone density and avoid sarcopenia.
If you train consistently there is really no point of going on long training sessions on an empty stomach thinking that you can burn more fat and then let your energy levels rely only on gels and maltodextrins after 75 min in the session. If you train consistently and you want/need to lose “weight”, focus on losing body fat through a new strength training regime, focusing on the quality of the food you eat and be on a small caloric deficit. This will help you to reach your goals in a healthy way and maintain a good level of muscle mass for your current triathlon journey and for your future.
If you want to become a more “fat adapted” triathlete do not go on an empty stomach but learn instead how to use specific macros for specific training sessions.