How much weight gain do you al­low your­self in win­ter? And how do you main­tain weight through­out the sea­son? Aaron McDaid

220 Triathlon Magazine - - CONTENTS -

For me, in the win­ter, I don’t re­ally think, ‘Okay this year, I’m go­ing to al­low my­self to gain 4.34kg but not a gram more.’ If I’m un­der that weight I’ll head to the pie shop! I don’t see it as weight on or weight off.

Don’t get me wrong, bal­anc­ing your weight is a key part to be­ing a pro­fes­sional ath­lete, be it as a triath­lete, weight lifter or gym­nast, and any­thing in be­tween, well, maybe not darts! Ha! For me, it’s all about bal­ance, both in-sea­son and off-sea­son. I put on any­where be­tween 3-5kg, but this is off the back of my A-race weight, which this year for me was Kona, so I was über lean! Not Jan Fro­deno lean, but who is? Ha!


I think if you’re think­ing about calo­ries in/calo­ries out then the bal­ance of your sport/life, etc might be a bit off. I mean, when you’re train­ing up to 30hours per week you can eat a lot, you have to. Say­ing that, if you put junk food into your sys­tem you’ll most likely get a junk food-type per­for­mance out. If you put in nice, clean fresh healthy food then, man, you’ll have bet­ter re­cov­ery, more con­sis­tent train­ing and will gen­er­ally be health­ier and hap­pier – I know I am.


I al­ways, well nearly al­ways, have a day in the week when I’ll have a pizza or burger (not an Amer­i­can style half pounder, mind you) and maybe a glass of red. Sure, come the off-sea­son, I have a bit more cheese, wine and gin, but I’m also not train­ing at all for a few weeks, then only lightly be­fore go­ing back into full train­ing. So I’ll be above race weight for about 3-4 months, if I’m hon­est.


At my level, in my opin­ion, the body needs that amount of time to just take some load and stress off from be­ing über lean for long pe­ri­ods and train­ing su­per long and hard hours. For me, it’s a holis­tic ap­proach to train­ing and, well, life as well as much as pos­si­ble. I know my key race weight and so do my coaches. I know when enough is enough and that is key to find­ing a good bal­ance.


To main­tain my race weight in the sea­son, I guess I’m lucky as I can do that with­out too much stress – I’m a healthy weight for me. I’m not only eat­ing salad with 42.5g of pro­tein, or any­thing crazy like that. We try and eat to­gether as a fam­ily 3-4 times a week, so if I’m on a kale salad, [my chil­dren] Matilda and Hugo are not go­ing to love that at all!

Af­ter big, long ses­sions, I have a pro­tein shake and a meal, not one or the other. I eat gels, bars and sweets on long rides and when I bonk I have a big Coke and choco­late bar – no pies though! When­ever Clarky [Will Clarke] and I did this ride in Stel­len­bosch, South Africa, called the Four Passes, a 140km hilly loop, at the stop he would al­ways have pie – hell, it worked be­cause I could never drop the bug­ger!


In the last few weeks lead­ing up to big races, I’m more con­cerned about get­ting in the right amount of en­ergy at the right time for re­cov­ery and to be fully fu­elled for the start of the next ses­sion. That’s how I see it, fuel in/ fuel out and find­ing that right bal­ance. I have a few years ex­pe­ri­ence in this as I’ve been do­ing tri since 1842, and have been lucky along the way to have worked with some great peo­ple who helped me un­der­stand what my body needs, not what other ath­letes need. And that’s the key thing here – we’re all in­di­vid­u­als and what works for one usu­ally doesn’t work for an­other. Don’t copy, do some re­search and get some sup­port. They say in 70.3 and Iron­man train­ing es­pe­cially, nu­tri­tion is the fourth dis­ci­pline.

And what­ever you do, don’t diet, it’s most likely not sus­tain­able so just eat healthy and smart. I’m also a big be­liever in stay­ing very hy­drated, not just for the hot ses­sion but ev­ery day, all day; al­ways go to bed with a glass of wa­ter on your bed­side ta­ble and have a bot­tle of wa­ter at your desk at work.


Just be smart, and don’t over­think it, that’s what works for me. Right, I’m off for an­other glass of red!

Need some ad­vice from The Don? Send an email to ask­the­[email protected]


TIM DON is a mul­ti­ple ITU world cham­pion and 3 x Olympian. Now one of the fastest Iron­mans in the world, he’s here to an­swer all your rac­ing ques­tions and con­cerns.

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