Q: I’m training for an Ironman and I thought I could eat whatever I want, but I’ve gained five pounds. What gives?
This is a pretty common scenario for many endurance athletes: Despite many hours training they find they still struggle with excess body fat. Or when they increase their training load, the number on the scale also increases. Here are some possible reasons why—and how you can shed those extra pounds.
1. You can never out-train a poor diet.
Using junk food as a reward for long hours in the saddle or for the hard yards in the pool is pretty common, but you’ll never improve body composition or race splits through good training followed by unhealthful, over-indulgent eating.
Solution: Reconsider the way you think about the reward relationship with food. You will feel and perform better when (re)fueling your workouts with fresh, whole foods, and those cravings for nutritionally void reward-based foods will gradually dissipate, especially when you see the changes to your body from omitting them.