Have you over-indulged this Christmas and New Year? We’ve got some excellent tips to lose the festive paunch in a sensible and healthy way.
Changing your body weight can lead to performance gains, but for triathletes this doesn’t always mean leaner is meaner. The need to be at “race weight” should not become your be-all and end-all. Your main focus should be on making sure your training is optimised, appropriate nutrition is in place to support the training, and health is maintained. An injured and sick athlete is no good to anyone. People are very hit and miss with their diets and common mistakes include deliberately trying to lower body weight when training hard, cutting out certain nutrients all together, particularly carbohydrate, and thinking leaner is better. The key to finding your optimum bodyweight is consistency. If you consistently follow a sensible diet and you train consistently you should find that your body takes care of itself. My list of top 10 dos and don’ts should help you achieve a sensible long-term solution to your nutritional needs. Stick to these rules and train regularly, and you’ll soon find that your body finds its own optimum weight and body composition.
Cut out the booze. Not only is it useless for training, but alcohol- containing drinks generally contain large amounts of calories. Drunkenness also gives you false signs of hunger, encouraging you to eat unhealthy snacks that your body doesn’t really need. Booze has no nutritional value, so it should be the first thing to cut out.
2. Protein Intake
Maintain your protein intake. Research has shown that proper protein intake is key to losing weight. It helps to maintain muscle mass, which keeps resting metabolic rate high. It also fills you up so you are less likely to overeat.
3. Junk Food
Cut out snacks and fizzy drinks. Sounds obvious, but this can be very effective. The odd chocolate bar or bag of crisps may seem OK, but they really add up. If you genuinely want to lose weight, they are empty calories and do not have any real nutritional value.
4. Fruit and Veg
Increase fruit and vegetable intake. This is a great way of filling your plate or snacking. Fruit and vegetables have a low calorie amount for their size and bulk. They are essentially “free foods” and can help you fill up without fattening up.
5. Eat Low G.I. Foods
Foods with a low glycaemic index (G.I.) release their energy slowly, decreasing the insulin response to the carbohydrate. Low G.I. foods include brown pasta, rye bread, brown rice and sweet potatoes.
Don’t try to deliberately drop body weight during a hard training period. This is a fairly common mistake and can lead to overtraining, illness and injury. Identify the blocks of training where you will be training hard and make sure you fuel fully.
2. Crash Diet
Losing weight too quickly can be dangerous. Look to make slow, gradual decreases in your body fat to ensure you can still train and do not become too fatigued. Crash dieting will not only hinder your training, but it will compromise your body’s ability to refuel and recover properly.
3. Miles More Smiles
Don’t think it is all about the miles. Quite often a change in training can be as effective as doing more mileage. Increasing the intensity of training can be very effective in helping to keep your metabolic rate higher for longer.
4. False Hopes
Don’t be unrealistic. This can be very dangerous and unrewarding. If you set unrealistic goals you are not likely to hit them, potentially then further decreasing your calorie intake to reach your goals. This can lead to overtraining, injury, illness and unhappiness – and you wouldn’t want that.
5. Skip Meals
Skipping meals is a common mistake that leads to dizziness and lack of energy. It can often mean you end up eating more in subsequent meals because you are over-hungry. Decrease your portion sizes across all meals, or bulk them with veggies, rather than missing a meal altogether.