General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Weight Gain During IM Training Rss Feed  
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2010-02-26 9:13 AM

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Subject: Weight Gain During IM Training
I'm sure this has been posted before but I am posting again to get thoughts. I started training for triathlon about 3 years ago and lost about 20 pounds down to 125 from 145. Last season I completed 1 HIM and finished my season with IMAZ. Immediately after, (like the night of IMAZ), I weighed myself and GAINED 5 pounds. I thought ok it's from all the salt and will come off once I cut my training back. I took 6 weeks off from IMAZ, doing minimal bikes, runs and swims. I watched what I ate and at the beginning of the year started IMSG training. I am training for an Ironman! I don't eat crap and in fact, have cut back on alot of the garbage I ate while training for IMAZ and yet I am still holding onto that 5 pounds. Any thoughts on what this is? Is it muscle? Is it salt? I can tell you it's very frustrating


2010-02-26 10:17 AM
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Subject: RE: Weight Gain During IM Training

How do your clothes fit?

2010-02-26 10:18 AM
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Subject: RE: Weight Gain During IM Training
It happens to a lot of women I know who train for IM but men seems to often work the opposite they have a hard time keeping weight on.
2010-02-26 10:20 AM
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Subject: RE: Weight Gain During IM Training
Weight is not the only thing you want to look at. Body fat percentage, body composition, and how your clothes fit should all factor into the equation. It is very possible that you have gained muscle and that is throwing off your weight.
2010-02-26 11:50 AM
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Subject: RE: Weight Gain During IM Training
I've put on 10 lbs since my IM in September (in addition to the 5 lbs... possibly some muscle... that I gained DURING training) and I KNOW mine's not water weight or muscle because I my clothes are fitting in a way they've never fit before and it's not pleasant. However, I did PR my last marathon by more more than an hour so I use that to make myself feel a little better, but I'll have to drop some weight soon or I won't be able to fit my clothes Cry
2010-02-26 12:03 PM
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The Original
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Subject: RE: Weight Gain During IM Training
Here's a comparison from when I was soley running training for the Bayshore Marathon vs. finishing IM Cozumel.  I get VERY bulky when I IronMan train.  I'm currently training for my 3rd IM and cannot wait to finish this one and get my running body back.  I like to be smaller and leaner- not heavier and bulkier.



(IM Cozumel Finish Pic.jpg)



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IM Cozumel Finish Pic.jpg (41KB - 71 downloads)


2010-02-26 12:03 PM
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Subject: RE: Weight Gain During IM Training

Fat tissue is around 0.9 g/cm^3 while muscle is closer to 1.1 g/cm^3.  A scale can't really tell the difference (in spite of the marketing from Tanita), it simply measures the effect of gravity due to your total mass.  While my weight didn't change much during IM training (165 down to 160 and 163'ish on race day), my form was a lot different (I had a number of people asking me how much weight I'd lost, and a doctor friend asked my son if I was sick).  At 160, I was mostly muscle. 

What are you comparing the +5 pounds against?  The absolute minimum you weighed sometime during training?  Your weight the day before the race?  Your weight before you started IM training? 

What would you consider your "normal/stable" weight?  This is the weight that you can average without too much effort or focus on diet?  For me, that number is around 170.  I may be up a few pounds over the winter (I am now).  I may be down a few pounds if I'm really trying hard to watch my diet and/or exercising like a fiend. 

2010-02-26 12:05 PM
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Subject: RE: Weight Gain During IM Training
Interesting question that I have been wondering about as well. I gained 4 mystery pounds over the winter months despite maintaining a healthy base and not really pigging out (my weight is usually VERY stable so this was odd). I hoped I had gained 4 lbs of muscle from all those trainer rides but I don't think it was that. Anyway, the past couple of weeks I decided to cut out eating after dinner (when I was riding the trainer over the winter, it was always after 8pm, with a snack afterwards to refuel). Anyway, the weight has been coming off and this morning I was back to my normal weight. Not saying this is what is going on with you but are you snacking/drinking at night? That food might just be sitting in your stomach when you weigh yourself. Other people had good suggestions too about your clothes fitting, etc. FWIW, I "felt" and looked like I weighed exactly the same- the only place it was showing up was the scale. Granted, 4-6 lbs is not much but still puzzling when you are being good about eating and exercising.  Incidentally, the one day my weight bumped up over the past week was the day after I ate a lot of french onion soup (=salty) so it might be water retention too. How much salt are you taking in?
2010-02-26 12:05 PM
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Subject: RE: Weight Gain During IM Training
Sorry- I couldn't get this pic in my last post but here's the link:


http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/photos/show-album.asp?albumid=10397&photoid=84518

But as I said- there's a huge difference in body comp and built when I IronMan train.  HATE IT!  I'm about 5lbs lighter in this pic from the other one.  Also note:  when I marathon train I can eat whatever I wnt once I get those longer runs in.  With IM training as the volume picks up I gain.

Edited by runnergirl 2010-02-26 12:10 PM
2010-02-26 12:55 PM
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Subject: RE: Weight Gain During IM Training
how the hell can u gain weight training for IM.

I lost 12lbs in the last month

Given that my diet is almost perfect (healthy food 99% of the time.)
2010-02-26 1:10 PM
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Subject: RE: Weight Gain During IM Training
I lost about 10 lbs during IM training. And I ate like a horse. No attention to nutrition... mostly just calories in.

After my IM (Sept) I gained all that weight back... and a couple lbs more. Now I'm focusing more on nutrition, protein, and eating whole foods... I am also lifting a lot more. I don't think I look much different than I did during IM training. I should have taken photos or measurements or something.

But I definitely did not GAIN weight while training. I gained it all aftewards! Surprised


2010-02-26 2:14 PM
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Subject: RE: Weight Gain During IM Training
camaleon - 2010-02-26 1:55 PM how the hell can u gain weight training for IM.

I lost 12lbs in the last month

Given that my diet is almost perfect (healthy food 99% of the time.)


The first timem I IM trained I lost about 8-10lbs.  And then about 7 more lbs more after when I was marathon training.  Then for IM #2 I gained all the weight back I lost from marathon training.  When I really started to build I gained a few more lbs.  I'm still a few lbs under what I raced IM #1 at, but not even close to where I was when I was marathon training.  Now mind you- I ate like crap during marathon training and ate a lot cleaner during my IM training and still gained weight.  Crazy I know. I give up and try not to think about it.
2010-02-26 3:14 PM
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Subject: RE: Weight Gain During IM Training
camaleon - 2010-02-26 10:55 AM how the hell can u gain weight training for IM.

I lost 12lbs in the last month


Easy answer.  Eat, eat, eat, and eat.

I'm putting on a bit of weight right now, early on in my ironman training.  I made a very conscious decision that it's better for me to eat a bit too much, than for me to not eat enough.

So, I'm simply allowing myself to eat whatever I feel like I need. 

From a low of about 160, I'm up at 166 now.  There is a bit of body fat which I'd like to get rid of, but it's simply not a priority right now. 
2010-02-26 3:55 PM
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Subject: RE: Weight Gain During IM Training
mrcurtain - 2010-02-26 1:14 PM
camaleon - 2010-02-26 10:55 AM how the hell can u gain weight training for IM.

I lost 12lbs in the last month


Easy answer.  Eat, eat, eat, and eat.

I'm putting on a bit of weight right now, early on in my ironman training.  I made a very conscious decision that it's better for me to eat a bit too much, than for me to not eat enough.

So, I'm simply allowing myself to eat whatever I feel like I need. 

From a low of about 160, I'm up at 166 now.  There is a bit of body fat which I'd like to get rid of, but it's simply not a priority right now. 


Yup.  I haven't lost much weight during either of my IM training programs (I'm just getting into peak phase for my 2nd, but far enough along to draw conclusions from).  Figured out this morning that I probably burned something like 1200 cal's/day for three straight weeks before a recovery week last week and didn't really lose more than 2-3 lbs.  Partly that's because I'm A) at a good weight for my frame (not trying to lose more than about 4 lbs of unwanted fat) and B) I'm only 6 1/2 months past my last IM, so my body comp isn't really going to change dramatically.  So I'm eating a lot to fuel the training and mostly holding roughly steady.

But...

When I have a lower volume week (for recovery or because of injury...like right now as it happens), putting the brakes on the eating is not always easy.  My brain is still convinced that I should be eating what I'd been eating during the peak weeks, and without logging calories, not so easy to downshift properly.  I saw that last summer with my first IM as well.  Really struggling this week--where I've shut down running due to some sciatica--not to balloon up...pretty dramatic reduction in calories burned and my eating has not come down by an equally dramatic degree.
2010-02-26 4:28 PM
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Subject: RE: Weight Gain During IM Training
There are a couple reasons why people gain weight while IM training. It is extremely common, actually.  It's happened to me and many other people (mostly women) that I know.
Some of us have to eat a lot more and the calories lead to weight gain. Some of us think all that cardio allows us to eat anything we want. Some of us get very adapted to the steady-state cardio in it stops being an effective fat burner. Some of us put on more muscle than others. Some of us are experiencing the negative effects of higher cortisol levels due to the excessive amount of stress all that training can put on the body (especially if diet and sleep are substandard). It could be any, all, or none of those things. From the research I have done, it appears that for a lot of women, steady-state cardio is not an effective weight loss tool, and adding more and more to the schedule can dig you further in your hole and lead to other problems.
Once I finished my last IM, I dropped all the cardio and spent about 3-4 hours a week doing high intensity, short workouts and strength training and I lost all my IM fat and got leaner than I had ever been as a triathlete. Now I see weight gain as an inevitable side effect of IM and tri training, so I won't partake in that any more unless I am willing to gain 10 pounds in fat.
PM me if you want to talk more about this.
Jessica
2010-02-26 7:15 PM
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Subject: RE: Weight Gain During IM Training
Here's my take that I've realized recently... I think when you IM train you are (obviously) exhausted and run down. Growing up swimming, when I was low on energy it was because I needed food. I think we eat more because we feel so fatigued from the training but yet the food we eat over what we need isn't giving us energy but making us gain weight! The other tough thing is that if you are training with high calorie nutrition products to be prepared for race day, you don't need to eat as many calories after training as your stomach and brain feel like you need to. For my first ironman, I became aware very early that I was gaining weight and I really put an emphasis on the quality of my diet and limiting empty foods. I tried to make everything I ate as much based on plant products as possible (ie. quinoa salads for lunch, omelets and fruit for dinner) and I did manage to actually get my weight down from 115 to 108 which was as light as I had been in years (I'm 5'1"). BUT it took a lot of conscious effort, not calorie restriction necessarily, but a huge emphasis on the quality of every calorie I took in.Now that I'm beginning IM #2 training, I can't seem to find that same motivation to get the weight off just yet... it'll come though ( I hope!!!)


2010-02-26 8:04 PM
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Subject: RE: Weight Gain During IM Training
I am still months away from IM so I going to keep my diet the way it is for now, and if I keep losing weight 2 months before the IM; I'd definitely add more food.

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