Figuratively of Course. A lot of you out there are looking for that magic little button that you can push to get into shape. “High school skinny” some say. Unfortunately, as you get older, your metabolism does not cooperate like it use to when you were downing entire packages of Oreo cookies and not gaining a pound. Fortunately, your metabolism can be trained so that when you do slip up on your amazing dietary prowess, you won’t feel or see the effects as you may if you are a self proclaimed couch cushion.
How do you train you metabolism you ask (no this is not going to be a science based article)? Well you could spend countless hours on one of the many machines that go no where. Wait…that’s fairly ironic because that is exactly what happens with people’s results when all they do is sit on a cardio machine…they get no where. Or…. you can look up and sign up for a local triathlon and make a real commitment to a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Why not get outside and enjoy the fresh air (hopefully it’s fairly fresh), and experience the sites and sounds that we have been blessed with. Cooping yourself up in a gym is one way to kill motivation. On the other hand, there is no better motivation than putting your name on the participant list of an upcoming race.
The sport of triathlon is the fastest growing Olympic sport on the planet. There are over 125,00 active members of USA Triathlon, and that number is growing at a rate of about 25-35% every year! It is a sport that spans all ages and all ability levels. I will never forget the day I had finished a race and all the sudden heard some of the loudest cheering I have ever been around…and my wife was a collegiate cheerleader. I looked just as the announcer was saying that the man setting out on the run course was 89 years old. Take that “I’m too old” excuse! People were screaming their heads off for this guy, and rightfully so. There are plenty of stepping stones in the sport as far as distances. These days many sprint and Olympic distance races also run a super sprint (average distance is about 300-400 m swim, 10-12 mile bike, and 2-3 mile run) on the same day. These are great for folks who are a little unsure about getting into the sport.
I will be honest. I got into triathlon because I no longer had a competitive outlet in my life after graduating college. Once I graduated, I continued to lift weights and run a little bit, but it was not enough to keep up with my unregulated diet. So I put on a few L-B’s and I was soon back to my playing weight of 230 pounds. Accept this time not as solid as when I was bench pressing over 400 pounds. I was coaching at a sport performance facility and one of the other coaches was very into triathlon. She talked me into trying it out and I went out and bought a bike and signed up for my first race, The Mighty Mite Triathlon. To make a long story short, I trained for this race, lost about 40 pounds, and was hooked as soon as I crossed the finish line. Since then I have done countless races of all distances and continue to maintain weight. Yes, I watch what I eat but I do slip up from time to time, and that is just fine when you are training hard.
Although the sport is albeit a little expensive to get into, it does not have to be. All you need are some shorts (tri shorts might be the one thing to splurge on), goggles, any type of bike, and some running shoes. If you are on the fence about it you don’t have to go out and spend a bunch of money. Obviously, if you are a competitive person you may end up spending a decent amount. But it is definitely not required to get started.
Going back to the idea of sitting in a gym, one of the best parts of triathlon training is that you rarely get bored because you are focusing on three different sports. If you don’t feel like swimming one day, go for a ride! Don’t want to ride? Head out for a run. At first you can definitely pick and choose what you train on what day as long as you do train each sport fairly equally. Side note…don’t try to learn how to swim on race day. If you are one of those people who love to talk at the gym and you end up getting nothing done, do a group ride or run. Then you get your workout in and you can talk all you want, pending you are not out of breath.
Triathlon can be anything you want it to be. A competitive sport or simply a personal challenge. Most of the time it starts as the later and ends up the first option. It is not a team sport so it can be you vs. everyone else, or you vs. you. Whether you come across the finish line first or last (don’t tell Ricky Bobby) you are sure to end the day with a sense of accomplishment and a new or revitalized passion for a healthy and active lifestyle.
By the way, there are many different forms of endurance and multisport events. All of which are great for staying active and healthy. There is sure to be one to suit your fancy. In the words of Nike…Just Do It!
And as our shameless plug, we offer program design and coaching for all endurance and multisport events. When you make the commitment, give us a shout! We would love to help you reach your fitness and sport performance goals!