“I’m training all the time, but I’m not losing weight. Where am I going wrong?” Getting the right balance as an athlete can be a challenge when trying to improve body composition and your power to weight ratio.
We all know that in order to lose weight there needs to be some sort of energy deficit somewhere.
But it’s not that easy! Especially when you have a high training load. It’s important to fuel well for certain training sessions and avoid over restricting.
Where am I going wrong with my nutrition?
As a sports dietitian there are a number of areas where I see athletes struggling with their nutrition and weight.
Sometimes it’s a case of underestimating portion sizes and eating too much, other’s its about nutrient timing and not periodising your nutritional intake to match your training demands.
Eating the same amount of food every day – regardless of training
Habitually, most people tend to eat the same thing every day, give or take a little. But that could mean you’re under-eating on training days and over-eating on rest days.
It’s important to look at the bigger picture across the week and see whether your intake is matching what your training plan looks like.
Are your portion sizes distorted?
A couple hundred calories here and there and it’s easy to add an extra 300-500kcal in a day which may be holding you back.
Take peanut butter for example.
It’s a very nutritious food that tastes great and is easy to eat. But because it is high fat and energy, it is also easy to over eat and have portion sizes bigger than you realise.
As an example I once measured my ‘spoonful’ of peanut butter and compared it to a measured tablespoon. My freehand portion was almost double what I thought it was.
That doesn’t mean you should measure everything ALL the time. But it can be a handy tool every now and then to identify what might be leading you a bit astray.
All about nutrient distribution and periodisation
Some days you need more, others you need less.
High intensity training requires more carbohydrate to fuel those efforts.
Endurance, long steady state rides need less carbohydrate and may be able to be done in a fasted state.
Learning how to manipulate what and when you eat certain foods can help you ensure you get the most out of training sessions as well as promote changes in weight.
What’s the solution?
Getting the balance right as an athlete can be challenging. There is no quick fix. Making sustainable change takes time and the key is being consistent with small changes, building on them one by one in a sustainable manner.
Working with a sports dietitian specialising in your sport can help you identify what may be holding you back from seeing the changes in weight you expect and highlight the solutions that are best suited to you, your lifestyle and your training.
When I work with athletes I help them to see the bigger picture to put practical nutritional strategies in place that get the results they desire.