Many people have the flawed belief that if you are training for an endurance event (half marathon, marathon, triathlon, etc) that you can eat whatever you want and still lose weight. THIS IS NOT TRUE, it is far from it! A lot of people I know in real life and in blogger world have gained weight while training for these events. Tina, Julie and Monica have all talked about gaining weight while training for endurance events. I often find that when I am in high volume training I maintain. There are many reasons that I think that this happens but these are just my opinions, I am not a nutritionist or fitness expert.
1. There is less time to focus on nutrition and food choices. After a 4 hour training session it’s easy to just grab whatever food is closest
2. You are hungry ALL the time! You may burn more calories but it seems like your appetite grows more than you burn
3. Endurance training isn’t the best way to rev up your metabolism and burn calories. I think interval training, HIIT, etc are better exercises if you are just looking to burn calories.
In the Book Racing Weight, Matt Fitzgerald suggests that you not try to lose weight while training because you need to be eating enough calories to get through all your workouts not keeping a calorie deficit that you need to lose weight.
Where am I going with all of this? I decided that even though I knew all of this, I still wanted to try to get closer to my ideal racing weight while training for my ironman. And since we started training I have taken off 14 pounds, I am happy about this and have about 10 more pounds to go to get to my “Race Weight”. The last 10 pounds will come off slowly but I am ok with that, I don’t want it to compromise my training. Also I am now and was even at my highest weight in the healthy weight range for my height, I just would like to be leaner (specifically getting down to 16% body fat, I am about 21% now) while putting in so many miles.
Here is how I have lost the weight so far and hope to continue to lose weight this way as I go:
1. Focus on the types of food I eat. I think I have a good idea of what healthy foods are and I try to fill up on them.
2. EAT! If I get too hungry I usually eat things I shouldn’t so I allow myself to eat a lot, I just try to eat fruits, vegetables and lean meats.
3. Plan ahead. If I don’t plan what my next meal will be BEFORE a big workout then inevitably I eat unhealthy foods if I have a plan before hand than I almost always stick to it.
4. Don’t listen to others. I sometimes get crap from friends or coworkers about how much I work out and how I must be able to eat anything. Sometimes they give me a hard time if I turn down junk food. But I know it’s not true that I can eat whatever I want so the the longer I stick to my guns the less crap they seem to give me.
For me it’s that simple and that difficult to lose weight while training.
Have you gained weight while training for an endurance event? Do you have any tips?
Speaking of healthy foods, enter to win my Chia giveaway!
Ha! As I’m reading this, I’m chowing down on cereal at 9:30 at night because I’m hungry. I usually maintain or lose just a bit but I end up eating whatever is in front of my face…not always good stuff. I do try to only keep healthy food in the house for the most part so that I’m not tempted to snack on crap. My weakness is the pirate booty that I get for the kids…so tempting. Lots of eggs, veggies, almonds, cottage cheese, good bread, peanut butter….
Hahaha you’re like my twin; I am in serious love with pirate’s booty (or anything crunchy salty that is in chip or cracker form 😛 ), and I was pretty much doing the exact same thing as you last night (cereal) bahh!! But yea I definitely agree that keeping a fridge stocked of only clean foods helps with the hunger pangs in the evening–it forces me to get creative and develop a recipe that’s filling AND nutritious!
Great job on dropping the weight! That is a big accomplishment. I love the tips as well. thanks!
I almost always gain weight when I am training for a marathon. I’m really going to try maintaining my current weight for this season, and hoping to convert some of the fat into muscle.
I would take that too!!!
Heather Iacobacci-Miller says
Congrats on the loss. I have found that I fall into the gaining category when training.
J. L. says
Congrats on the 14 pounds! I’m one that hangs onto every pound while training. So thanks for bringing up this topic. I also know it’s food choices and an insatiable appetite. What kind of cupcake is that? Almost looks like pesto frosting. 🙂
HA! It looks like that because of my awesome photography skills 😉 It’s oreo frosting from Whole Foods and one of my favorite things, luckily I haven’t been able to find them lately.
I hear you! I am training for my first marathon and I seem to be hungry all day at all times! I try to fuel up on healthy food just like you but I am confronted with sugar cravings I’ve never had before! But you are right that mindset of “you work out you can eat what you want” is a serious step back in training.
I know what you mean, I want sugar and salt, it’s crazy.
Great post Beth. You are totally right that just because you are training like crazy, doesn’t mean that you can just eat everything. I’ve seen it happen to me.
PS – how did you add the ability to comment on your blog comments? Maybe you wrote about it, but could you shoot me an email about it. I’ve been searching forever for this! cbkingery @ gmail.com
2 Slow 4 Boston says
All that food looks good to me. Hard to lose weight when working out makes you so hungry.
2 Slow 4 Boston says
BTW, I’ve added you to a Running Blog Database I’m working on. Please check it out: http://2slow4boston.blogspot.com/p/run-blog-database.html
kusaram yadhavan says
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Ariel Amador says
That’s true Beth! Your exercises and workouts will be useless if you are not eating the right food. And the popular belief that you can as much you want and burn the calories on your next workout is absolutely false. Getting fit should always be accompanied by discipline in all aspects – and that includes subsisting on a healthy and right diet.
Allison Garrity says
Could you provide an example of your daily meal plan? What you eat for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks?
Christian Hou says
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Julene Mangrum says
I like idea no. 2; yes, eat! Eat when you’re hungry, but make sure you eat healthy food. I will never starve myself just to be in shape. For me, nutrition and wellness are far more important than being slim. =)