September 1, 2011

Triathlon Training: Lose It To Get Faster Part 2

If improving your health and performance are important to you then weight management needs to be a key aspect of your training.  Shedding that extra weight will allow you to climb the hills quicker and run faster.  And it will stress your body less when your foot strikes the ground reducing the risk of injury.  In the first article of this two part series on weight management we focused on the nutritional side of the weight management equation but that’s not the end of the story.  In Part II we’ll look into three other factors that might be impacting your ability to trim that extra weight and what to do about them.

Fight, flight and fat. The demands on the body from training and racing, combined with stressors in our daily lives (mortgages and in-laws, for example) can keep your body’s stress dial permanently set on HI, causing dangerous fluctuations in the hormone cortisol.  Spikes in cortisol stimulate fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy and results in an increase in appetite.   Work out your anxieties before they take a toll on your weight and your health.  A quick and painless way to determine whether your stress is out of control is a through a simple saliva test that can be performed by a health care professional.  Just put your lips together and spit… and within days you’ll find out if you are headed toward adrenal burnout and potential weight and health problems.  And no need to worry if your cortisol levels are out of whack, either.  There are some simple lifestyle solutions help you get your calm back!


Reality bites. Researchers have identified a new class of endocrine system disrupters called “obesogens,” believed to be a key cause of overweight in the U.S.  These are the chemicals in our environment that tax our systems by mis-programming our stem cells to become fat cells and may even be altering the function of our genes and impact our metabolism!  Minimize your exposure to the things you can control:  stop cooking or eating foods in plastic containers, Styrofoam and foods that come in cans.  Go organic whenever possible, and steer away from foods containing high-fructose corn syrup and are genetically modified.  Use more planet-friendly cleaners in your home, and avoid dousing yourself with chemical-laden personal hygiene products.  All of these items contain chemicals that are foreign to our bodies, and is taxing an already overworked liver to remove them.  Be kind to your body and it will respond.

Gut-wrenching news. Your dietary and lifestyle behaviors could be causing your gut wall lining to become more permeable or “leaky,” resulting in inflammation in your body, low energy, bloating, skin problems, and may impact your ability to effectively digest and assimilate nutrients from your food.  Maddeningly, leaky gut can show up on the scales as an additional 5 to 10 pounds of “false” fat, too.  As athletes, intestinal permeability does a double whammy on you, since it not only makes you feel lousy, but also puts your overall nutrient uptake in jeopardy!  Remember, you need MORE, not LESS in terms of nutrient dense support than the average person. There is a simple test to determine whether or not your gut lining has become compromised; you can learn about it – and the stress test mentioned earlier, too, from any qualified health care professional.  If it’s determined that you’ve developed sensitivity to a specific food, you can make immediate shifts in your nutritional plan to make you feel and LOOK better within days.  This is truly a life changer!

That’s it for this week.  Until next time train safe, stay healthy, and hope to see you at the races.

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