{Guest Post} Healthy Living Blogger vs. Endurance Athlete Blogger

19 01 2012

Hi friends! I’m Lauren, and I write about my triathlon training and racing adventures over at my tri blog. I completed my first Ironman this past November and I want to discuss one of the issues I had when training really started amping up: eating enough and being okay with it.

Being in the blogger world means that not only do I write a blog, but I read other blogs as well. I mostly read other triathlon training blogs, but I do read some healthy living blogs. You  know- the ones that document everything they eat on a daily basis. I never thought much of it until I realized I was eating 4 times the amount of these women. Just a smoothie for breakfast? Yea right- I would drink a smoothie and then eat two bagels. And then eat a bowl of oatmeal an hour later. And be hungry for lunch shortly after.

At first, I really struggled with the amount of food I was consuming. I didn’t understand how the healthy living bloggers could survive an active lifestyle with just a small chicken breast for dinner when I needed 3 to be satisfied. As a woman who cares about her appearance, I was scared I was going to gain weight training for the Ironman. I thought my ravenous appetite was not normal for a 5 foot, 115 pound woman. I tried to limit my food intake for a few days but it backfired heavily. I was lightheaded, dizzy, starving and had no energy to get through a workout.

After some research and talking to teammates, I realized I needed those calories to keep me going and keep me healthy during the months of training. After all, I was burning a ton of calories every day. Training for an Ironman means 6 days of working out, 4 of those days having 2 workouts each, and the weekends having both a long run and a long bike ride. I needed more then a damn smoothie for breakfast.

I’m not knocking healthy living bloggers. Those women are happy with their lifestyle and their diet. Endurance athletes just lead a more active (some may call it crazy) lifestyle and therefore need to fuel and refuel appropriately. I may eat 4 times the amount of the typical healthy living blogger, but I also spend four times as much time sweating.

If I were to document my food intake for a day, during my peak Ironman training, it would look something like this:

  • 1 piece of toast with peanut butter before AM workout
  • 2 scrambled eggs wrapped in a tortilla with cheese and salsa for breakfast
  • 1 apple with peanut butter and a granola bar
  • grilled chicken with veggies and rice for lunch
  • pretzels
  • another apple or piece of fruit
  • small snack pre PM workout- such as a handful of almonds
  • protein shake post workout
  • steak, potatoes and a veggie for dinner
  • piece or two of dark chocolate for dessert

Often times, I would need to eat a few more pretzels, almonds or other snack before going to bed so that I would not go to bed hungry.

Now that I have successfully crossed the finish line, and the volumes of my workouts are nothing near what they were, my appetite has subsided. I did not gain nor lose weight training for Ironman but I know that I needed those extra calories during training to keep me healthy and moving forward.  So to my fellow endurance athletes- EAT! You need the calories 🙂