July | 2011 | True Fitness Blog

I’ve been hearing these for years:

Carb-loading:

The myth:  Carbohydrate loading will increase performance.

The truth:  Unless your athletic event is 90 minutes or more, you are not going to be fully utilizing the stores of glycogen in the muscles that carb-loading will produce.  You are better off eating a well balanced meal the night before competition, instead of an all-you-can-eat pasta dinner.  Furthermore, for those of you endurance athletes with competitions running more than 90 minutes, true carb-(or more specifically) glycogen-loading need be done days in advance in in conjunction with a tapering of the exercise regimen to order to fully reap any benefit.

Water-Loading:

Myth:  You have an endurance event tomorrow, so drink all the water you can because you need to stock up on water tonight.

Truth:  You are not a camel.  Your body does not have the capacity to store exessive quanities of water for extended periods of time.   The day before competition, make sure that you keep yourself properly hydrated, no more.  If you try to drink too much water, you will not “store” it, bu you may find yourself up all night, making frequent bathroom trips.

Some tips to keep you safe while exercising in the heat:

Awareness:  If you have an activity planned, check the forecast so that you know what to expect from the weather.  If possible, exercise in the morning or evening when it is cooler.

Acclimate:  If you are unacustomed to exercising in heat and humidity you may have to take it easy at first.  Your body may tolerate less at higher temperatures.

Hydrate:  Drink plenty of fluids.  Do not wait until you are thirsty, by then you’ve already gotten dehydrated.  Water is best, but sports drinks can be useful for long workouts.  Avoid alcohol or caffeinated beverages.

Dress Appropriately:  Wear loose, light-colored clothing, and a hat that shades your face if possible.  Wear sunscreen.

Observe:  Listen to your body!  If you begin to feel nauseous, weak, cramped, confused, dizzy, or develop a headache, you may be overheated.  Take a break, or stop altogether.  Be aware of any medical conditions that can be exacerbated by heat.

Careful planning and safe behaviours mean that you can continue to enjoy your favorite activities, even in the heat!

  1. First and foremost you will lose weight.  I am back on the triathlon trail and have been swimming, running and biking for the last 12 days and I have already lost five pounds.
  2. Your health will improve greatly – lower blood pressure, stronger heart, lesser chance of certain cancers, improved cardiovascular system, this is just to name a few…to list all the benefits would take days.
  3. Try something new – triathlons are one of the most exciting sports ventures you can think of.  If you in an exercise rut, think of how fun it would be to try three new things at once.
  4. Improve your mood – nothing beats an endorphins fix.  The feeling you get after a long swim, ride or run is second to none. I don’t think I have every seen anyone have a bad day on a bicycle or in the pool, and well they don’t call it runner’s high for nothing.
  5. It’s fun – Being able to swim, bike and run is fun.  Most triathletes will tell you, you do one and you’re hooked!
  6. You’ll never get bored – Every workout is different and provides it’s own set of unique challenges and skill sets to complete.  Being able to work towards mastery of the swim, bike and the run is very mentally stimulating.
  7. Lowering your stress level is one of the best benefits of doing triathlon training.  It just comes with the territory.
  8. Become a better time manager – I always find that I am more productive when I am training for triathlons.  You have to be very organized to get your training in and that level of organization seems to carry over into the real world.
  9. Meet new people – Triathletes are very cool, and always seem willing to help out people getting into the sport.  I know my wife and I have asked our share of questions, and I love being able to help out anyone I can.
  10. 10. Bragging Rights – There is no better sense of accomplishment than completing your first triathlon.  You feel like you can take on the world, and that you are ready for the next one!