Has this ever happened to you or someone you train with? You have your training plan and you’re sticking to it. Everything is going great. You are getting stronger and faster, but you aren’t slimming down or toning up. You actually seem to be gaining a little weight. You think maybe it’s muscle adding the extra weight, but you are feeling puffy, a little bloated, and even get a little frustrated that you haven’t developed that cut physique you thought you would after all these hours of training.
If you have ever felt this, you are not alone! This is one of the most common scenarios I see with marathon runners and distance triathletes.
So, what is really happening here?
The number one reason that this happens is from the over-consumption of sports nutrition products. It can sneak up on you in a combination of ways and because of the composition and purpose of these products, they can pack on the pounds quickly (or prevent you from losing them), despite your training regime.
Over consuming during workouts.
How do you know how much you should consume during a workout? Do you feel the need to stick to a strict schedule of fueling for fear or running out of energy or getting dehydrated? If these fears lead you to gulp down the sports nutrition products, I urge you to back away from the fuel and rethink your strategy. Sticking to a schedule or using a generalized formula doesn’t give you any information about what your body really requires for a given workout. It will inhibit your ability to get the physique you are looking for and make race day more complicated than necessary. The best strategy when it comes to fueling during workouts is to experiment with as little as possible. Workouts lasting 2 hours or less usually won’t require any extra calories.
Consuming unnecessarily before workouts.
I’ve seen enough athletes eating gels and other products prior to workouts that I know this is a common pattern. You should never start a workout hungry, but you will get more benefit from having a proper snack or meal leading up to your workout. This will keep you feeling satisfied longer and provide the fuel you need for the workout. If there is ever a time to skip the product it is before a workout.
Consuming improperly after workouts.
It’s very important to use fuel as part of your recovery strategy. However, in most cases using food to achieve this is your best bet. Recovery and rehydration can be achieved through a balanced meal. Many recovery products are too high in carbohydrates to allow you to get all the benefits out of your workout (and post workout burn). These products will also leave you feeling unsatisfied creating the need to eat soon anyway.
Do you see any areas for improvement in your strategy? Share below!