{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 🙂

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6 responses

19 01 2012
sarah

What about the froyo for dessert or a snack 🙂

19 01 2012
Ryan

As a 6 foot, 155 lb endurance athlete, I completely agree! I actually consulted with a nutritionist in order to drop a little weight for Ironman – I didn’t think I was overweight, but I had shin splints and was trying to minimize the impact and effort needed for the 26.2 mile run. In order to lean up appropriately, and still be able to train, the nutritionist suggested a modest 2,800 calorie a day diet (The accepted average is 2,000). Needless to say, it was a hungry time. I was successful in dropping the weight, but endurance athletes need to remember that you need to fuel the body for performance and recovery appropriately. If that means your friends and coworkers shoot you angry looks when you’re enjoying breakfast, 2nd breakfast, 3rd breakfast, pre-lunch, lunch, post-lunch, afternoon snack, pre-workout, post-workout, dinner, and post-dinner meals, so be it. As long as you are fueling correctly (no twinkies, a balance of protein-carb-fat, etc), eat and be happy!

19 01 2012
Shannon @ Mon Amour

When I first started reading blogs I thought I needed to eat like the healthy living bloggers and I quickly found out that was a bad idea. The one thing I hate about the blogging world is how easy it is to compare yourself to others.

19 01 2012
Emily

Geez, seriously. The whole healthy-living-blog thing is basically irrelevant for athletes training at that level. I did my best not to think about the volume of food I was eating during IM season as long as my body was performing the way it should 🙂

19 01 2012
Beth

I’m surprised my eyes haven’t rolled out of my skull for as many times as I’ve ready “healthy” diets that are only 1600-2000 calories a day. That’s how much I eat by lunchtime when I’m in training. Endurance athletes are COMPLETELY different and shouldn’t even compare themselves to “healthy living” bloggers.

19 01 2012
kmwpro

This is a great post – and I agree, it does sometimes seem excessive how much you have to eat to fuel all the workouts. I keep finding that while I’m super hungry, I have little to no appitite sometimes and I wonder if anyone else feels that way?

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