Triathlon Training Explained | The Ideal Weight For Training And Racing

(lively music) – Welcome back to the Triathlon
Training Explained show powered by TrainingPeaks and
this week we’re talking weight. – We are. We’ve had loads of questions
from the last show, and also from our other videos, and there’s quite a lot of
you asking about weight. – Certainly, it does. So this week we’re discussing race weight, watts per kilo, competing
as a larger athlete, and even gaining weight. – Yeah, both of us have had
fluctuations in our weight throughout our triathlon careers, but we’re not experts on this topic, so we’re also going to be
getting some great advice from a professional nutritionist. (upbeat music) – First question is sent in
over YouTube by Training Tall. They’ve said I’m a big guy at
203 centimetres, 98 kilogrammes. What are your thoughts and opinions on larger guys gals
training and competing? Are there weight classes in triathlon? They’d be really interested
in training and competing, but it seems like being big could put you at a huge disadvantage. – Well Training Tall, just start with there aren’t really triathlon
classes within the sport. Not like you have in rowing
or some other sports anyway. But apparently there are a few events that have a category
for the larger athletes, and these come under the
bracket of Clydesdale or Athena. And the ballpark figure
seems to be if anyone 90 kilos or over in the men’s category or over 66 kilos in the women’s. Which I think it’s surprisingly
low, and it would actually, you know, class quite a few people who maybe wouldn’t class themselves in such a category in that, and I mean, I don’t know what
– Yeah I’m quite – You think I was shocked by that. – Yeah I’m quite surprised. And like you said, I’ve never come across these events before – Yeah – Um, so it’s kinda
good as a guide I guess. – Yeah so apparently those are out there, but we’ve not seen one ourselves. – Yeah, but Dan’s main
question, can you compete? Certainly. I mean that’s kinda the
beauty of triathlon, especially to myself. I think that for anyone
can take part in triathlon. It’s not like going to
a swimming Galloway. You have to qualify to
compete in your swimming team. Anyone can turn up. It’s quite fun as a family. Some longer events do have cutoff times, but they’re generally quite accommodating to allow all abilities to take part. – Yeah well that’s why I
think it’s just so important you find the right race for you. So maybe don’t do a race
that’s got a cutoff time as your first event
until you know, you know, roughly whether you
could do it in that time. But then also, look at the terrain of the course and the profile. So how hilly it’s going to be, cause if you are maybe a bit heavier, but you’ve got good power on
the bike then a flatter course is going to suit you for the cycle section and probably for the run
as well to be honest. – [Mark] Yeah I mean if you take a look at a lot of the top level athletes, they’re all sorts of shapes and sizes, so it’s really a case of
playing to your strengths. – Well following on from this, we’ve got a question in
from Paul Dischler who asks, I’m a bigger guy and want to trim down to a decent race weight
race size, any suggestions? – Okay, so we hear the term race weight thrown around quite a lot, basically referring to being at kinda a prime weight for racing. For example, you might be carrying
a couple extra kilogrammes over the winter than
we’d like to race with, so we essentially trim down for racing. We’ve both trimmed down
for racing over the years, and from my experience, try not to do this in too big of jumps, you kind of do it gradually. Um, losing weight does effect
your buoyancy in the pool, so it effects how you feel as you swim. Also it can effect your power on the bike, and actually whilst you run. So, yeah, try and do it slowly and allow your body to
adapt along the way. – Yeah I mean I find,
following on from you, that I do fluctuate throughout the season, but it happens kind of naturally for me that I tend to always carry
extra weight in the winter just like after the offseason
never kind of loses. But I tend not to panic about it, cause it tends to come
off as the season goes on, and I think as you just get, you know the intensity of your training changes, so I don’t necessarily
consciously trying to lose weight. – Also, there is a benefit
sometimes to having a bit of extra weight on you
– Well yeah – in terms of your health immunity, if you are training in colder climates, and it can actually be good
for increasing your power. – Well I’ve definitely needed
extra weight for this winter, cause it’s been so cold, but genuinely, if you’ve got an A race that’s late on in the season,
and I find that on the whole I’ve managed to stay
fresh throughout the year, and I think that a lot of
that has to do with the fact that maybe I won’t race
at my best early season, but that’s not the main
goal, so it doesn’t matter. But then on the other
hand, I have you know, got it wrong before, I got really light, and I’m sure for those
people who have got light have experienced this
great feeling running, but then my swimming just
was dropped dramatically. – If you are trying to lose weight, then a good way of doing this is to track your daily food intake and
perhaps even your weight. And actually our partner TrainingPeaks has a really good function for this. You can input your daily metrics, so you can input your weight
and track it from day to day, and perhaps even start seeing whether you perform better
at different weights. – And you can take it
another step further, and there’s an app called MyFitnessPal which works with TrainingPeaks, and that you can use to log
all the food that you take in and it actually works
out how many calories and what nutrition
you’re getting from that, so it’s quite interesting, but it can also be a
really good incentive tool, and it’s something I used years ago in combination with the
nutritionist I was working with. And then it kinda works as a food diary, and it was a benefit in the fact that I could see what I was eating, but it also made me aware
of what I was eating, cause I was like I’ve
got to write this down. Oh that little like, those
biscuits from the cafe, I’ve actually got to write those down. Now maybe I won’t bother having them. So yeah, it can work in two ways. – Well beyond diary experience, because we’re perhaps a little
out of our depth in this area in terms on advising on weight loss. So earlier I went to chat to a specialist. Alright so we’re here with Renee McGregor, professional and clinical dietician. You’ve worked with a number of athletes over the past two Olympic
and Paralympic cycles, and a number of elite athletes. So firstly, we’d like to pick
your brain on race weight. So if you think we should be
striving for a race weight? – Um it’s a really good question, Mark. I think race weight’s a term
that’s used continually, and I think that some people don’t really know what that means. You get a lot of athletes
that say, well I know that when I’m a half stone
lighter, I race a bit better. So it may be that yes
they have worked out, it’s an optimal place for them. My concern is when you have somebody who’s already probably
at a really good weight for their height, for their training, they’re actually performing quite well and they then feel they need
to drop a little bit more because they believe that
they’re gonna be quicker, or they’re gonna have improvements, and I think you have to
be very, very careful cause it’s a very fine
line between being optimal and then actually dropping to a point where you start losing power and speed. – And on the flip side of all of this, someone that is perhaps
trying to gain weight, we’ve had quite a few people asking this, and maybe people who’ve
got crazy metabolisms, so how would they go about this. – I think you do have to be realistic. I mean we’re all different
body types and body shapes, and some people will just
naturally, genetically not put on as much muscle mass no matter what they try and do. But I do know that if you are working with somebody like that,
what you can do is obviously, you put them into a
positive energy balance. You do need to be mindful about the types of food they’re
eating, it doesn’t mean – So not just eating a lot of chocolate – No, exactly. You do need to think about, you know, getting the composition
of carbs and protein is generally the best way of doing it is increasing carbs,
proteins, and essential fats and just having a surplus
energy calorie intake. And then combining that with actually really good resistance training, so probably three to five times a week you need to do for 12
weeks and you can start to see some real changes to body. Again, whether you’re going to get huge amounts of hypertrophy
is very genetically dependent- – Sure – So I mean that I don’t
change no matter what I do. And but whereas some people literally just need to start picking up the weights and they do and that is your body type, so I think be realistic about what is possible and what’s not. – Okay next question in from John Bicycle, and he’s asked about watts versus power. He’s actually suggested this needs a separate video all to itself. I think you’re right, but we’re going to try
and cover the basics here. He’s asked, I’m thinking
about Wiggins and Froome here. They lost weight, but increased
their power-to-weight ratio. – Well I think before we get started, we need to just explain what we mean by power-to-weight ratio. So it is the comparison of the power that you can put out on the
bike compared to your weight. And it’s measured in watts per kilo. So to work this out you need to know what your watts are and your weight. And then you divide your
watts by your weight, and you get that result. And it’s a good idea to do this over different durations for your watts. So for example, you could measure
your average for your FTP, maybe your average output of watts for a five to ten minute effort, and then maybe your race
duration, whatever that might be. So you’ve got different markers and you can see how your
watts per kilo changes as you progress with your training. – Well to put this into some context and explain why watts
per kilo is so important, you could be a 90 kilogramme
athlete and riding at 400 watts. That’s impressive, that’s
some crazy wattage, but then a 65 kilogramme
athlete riding at 300 watts would actually have a
higher watts per kilo, so they could actually be
faster, particularly on a climb. – Well it’s one thing losing weight, but it’s not necessarily
going to make you cycle faster if you lose so much weight
that you drop your power, so you need to at least maintain the power if you’re gonna improve
your power to weight ratio. And to do that, you’ve got to be careful, cause if you do it like in
the middle of your season, then it could end up being
a little bit detrimental if you’re dropping that power too much. So again, it’s about
doing it very gradually, and making sure that
you’re still fueled enough cause if you’re not then you’re
then getting muscle wasted or you’re not able to train
to your full potential. You’re not going to get
stronger on the bike, so it’s very much about
that happy balance. – Yeah, I’ve actually got
some experience in this area whilst I’m not sure that
it was great experience. When I came to triathlon, I
came from a swimming background, I was slightly bigger built, and I was swimming and biking well, but it was my run that
was kinda letting me down. So I really focused on my running, I was doing double run days, all sorts. And I dropped a lot of weight,
and my running was superb, best running I’ve ever done. Swimming and biking, not so much. I lost muscle mass. I was very lean, and I
just lost all that power. So from my experience, it
sorta backs up what Renee said. Actually trying to maintain
your training programme, just maybe cutting out some
of those naughty snacks, but maintaining your fuel
intake required for the training was far more beneficial, and actually that has helped shave off some of those unnecessary pounds. – Yeah and I mean we’ve talked
a lot here about cycling seeing that that referenced the question, but cycling is all about
the watts per kilo, but don’t forget, you
know, we do triathlons, so you still need to
be able to be efficient in your running and your swimming. Well that’s it for this week’s Triathlon Training Explained show, and a really interesting topic, and one that I find fascinating, but thanks for the questions that, you know, helped open this topic up, and make sure you keep your questions coming in for the next show as well. – Yeah and thanks ever
so much to Renee McGregor for stepping in and
giving her expert advice and really fascinating information there. If you haven’t done so already, click on the globe and subscribe to GTN, and if you’d like to see our first Triathlon Training Explained
video, just click down here. – And we obviously been
talking about weight loss, well if you want some
tips on how to do that as a triathlete, there’s
a video just here.

47 thoughts on “Triathlon Training Explained | The Ideal Weight For Training And Racing

  1. Phil Gaimon recommends 5% body fat for a competitive cyclist. Sure also helps with running. Can‘t imagine the brownleys have much more.

  2. Its really weird to hear you talking so much about watts per kilo. And not even mentioning watts per cda. I thought this is a triathlon channel.

  3. You guys rock, I am a absolute newb to triathlons and you answer so many questions. I would like to know what my ideal weight should be, 6'0 and 42 yom. I am running right around 90kg (197lbs) and I run a 1:53 1/2 marathon. Swim and bike are a work in progress.

  4. <<<is 95kg and am always at my race weight unless I use the portaloo on race day morning…lifes to short eat the cake 🙂

  5. Ironman used to run Athena and Clydesdale classes, they ended those a few years ago. USA Tri sanctions Athena and Clydesdale classes for Age Groupers. Most Clydesdales I've run into are 6-2 or 6-3 and jacked…but most lighter end Athenas are really fit, whereas the Clydesdale weight you won't see many competitive AG for the men.

    Make sure you're doing strength training!

  6. What’s this about weight and buoyancy? Do you mean that someone heavier would have more power and therefore faster in water due to the weightlessness with buoyancy?

  7. You've never seen an event with Clydesdale/Athena classes? In America, every triathlon has these classes. Maybe we are just fat over here. Haha.

  8. Most strong age group triathletes have a V02 max in the 50s-60s. My question is what's the watts/kg ratio for the same group of athletes?

  9. Hi GTN. You’re videos inspired me to start a VLOG! I used to race in junior cycling races around Europe such as KBK, Junior Tour of Flanders, Junior Tour of Basque Country etc! Take a look at my first video which is the start of my transition into triathlon! It’s going to be interesting✌🏼 From the Isle of Man…

  10. Thank you for this great video. When it comes to cycling, not only body weight matters. I think a plus of one kilogram on your bike feels like 10 kg of additional body weight. Would you agree?

  11. whats about this cage at left side background ? can u make some better than this? i hope u are not making this video at prison cell )

  12. I would have loved you put it more into the pro and amateur. Because i dont think the normal AG athlete, should strive to look like e.g. Jan frodeno in Kona. Also there was a pro athelte (you mentioned her in one of your shows) that got caught up in the "light i is better", but ended up finding out she had no power.

  13. Almost every race I have done in Australia has the Clydesdale and Athena Categories, some also have a larger version of Clydesdale for 100kg or more

  14. I totally agree with the fact that weight is an important factor but its not everything. Combining your triathlon specific training with strength training, having good meals and rest will make you reach your optimum condition. You will loose weight along the way and will be fit for your race, planing is the key

  15. I've been competing in Triathlon and Duathlon with my weight hovering around 99kg / 220lbs. According to USA Triathlon, Clydesdale category is 220lbs or heavier, though it is not often offered. Even in the normal age categories, I've collected many top 10 finishes and many top 20 finishes. I just choose my races carefully (avoiding super hilly races if I am looking to be competitive).

  16. A great book to read is "Racing Weight" by Matt Fitzgerald, which explains exactly what is discussed and more. Worth the read.

  17. You guys talked a lot about weight, but not a mention of body fat percentage, which is probably a better metric to judge potential performance / health issues.

  18. Great video, I've been trying to lift weights to gain more muscle and have been struggling to do so.

  19. My Fitness Pal is useless and gets the calories on so many things wrong that it makes the benefit of its use complete null and void.

  20. What about having a low body fat percentage but possibly too much muscle? Is it worth it too loose some muscles for speed

  21. As an 18 year old at 177cm I was about 61kg which is borderline underweight. I'm managed to put on 8kg of lean muscle over the past year

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