By Tom Demerly.
The single biggest factor controlling our endurance athletic performance is our weight. Most recreational athletes are overweight. I am.
You can still race and be overweight but it makes your racing less pleasant and harder on your health.
There is a psychological component to our participation in triathlons and especially long distance events like Ironman when we are overweight. Our inner voice tells us, “If I can get through Ironman and still be overweight I get a pass on being overweight because I finished Ironman.”
That is shortsighted and dangerous. The reality is we need to be healthy first, and being overweight and doing Ironman is not just slow, it’s dangerous and unhealthy.
There are two truths to losing weight:
- The motive must be entirely and exclusively internal. You have to want it.
- It isn’t easy because it is a long, gradual process that never ends.
Here are the steps (not quick tips) for losing weight, especially in the off season:
1. Start Today.
Don’t put off weight loss. Start now (right now, as you are reading this) and adopt small, tangible steps toward controlling your weight
2. Recognize the Two Factors in Weight Loss.
Weight loss is simple: You must burn more calories than you consume. When you do, you will lose weight. That’s it. Start there. Your weight loss needs to contain two simple components: Knowing how many calories you eat and knowing how many you burn. The first number needs to be smaller than the second. It’s that simple.
3. Keep Track.
If you keep a simple, easily accessible record of your weight on a daily basis you will hold yourself accountable. Better yet, you will see the progress you are making and it will further motivate you.
Using a written graph is most effective when it is on the front of your refrigerator, and your scale is next to your refrigerator. This links the two activities: food and weight. Having your scale and a record of your weight in your kitchen is one of the best decisions you can make toward losing weight.
4. Make Weight Loss a Priority.
You will only succeed if this is a priority. That means putting it before everything else. You have kids and a career you say? Everyone does. And that inability or unwillingness to prioritize weight loss first is one of many factors that keep us fat. When you re-orient your priorities to weight loss you will see benefits in every other aspect of your life from weight loss and a healthier, more disciplined lifestyle.
5. Don’t Get Weighed Down by Superfluous Details.
Your mission is to lose weight, and losing weight is simple. You could read this article, make a decision and start losing weight today without spending a penny or reading anything else. You can, Just Do It.
Avoid distraction by the incredible number of gadgets, foods, programs, books, diets, videos and other distractions that make weight loss appear more difficult than it is. You already know the difference between healthy food and junk food. Don’t eat junk. It’s that simple. You know exercise burns calories. Exercise. Do something. Don’t do nothing.
You don’t need tons of gadgets, coaches, fitness routines. You need to go outside and go for a walk. Then another. Then another. Then another. And keep walking until you are seeing the weight come off. Then start running. And riding.
Are there disclaimers and exceptions? Yes. But you likely aren’t one. So stop the excuses and focus on possibilities instead of limitations.
That’s it. Loose weight and triathlons will be easier and you will be faster and healthier and enjoy the sport more.