Lose weight for triathlonAre you looking to reduce body fat for triathlon?

The easiest way to make your triathlon easier, faster and a generally more pleasurable experience is to lose some body weight.

I all too often see LOTS of cash being spent on fancy kit with the aim to gain a few seconds here and there.

However I guarantee that if you have decent road worthy kit with a good position on the bike, and assuming your fitness remains constant, the easiest (and cheapest) way for most of us to get faster in triathlon is to lose body fat.

I therefore recommend you reduce body fat for triathlon to the optimal levels for our sport: <20% for women and <10% for men.

Best Way To Reduce Body Fat For Triathlon

Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) is an increased rate of oxygen intake following intense exercise. Post exercise the body goes into a state of recovery where, oxygen (EPOC) is used to restore the body to a resting state and adapt it to the exercise just performed.

Why is this useful for weight loss? EPOC results in an elevated calorie consumption. In response to exercise, fat stores are broken down and free fatty acids are released into the blood.

The oxidation of free fatty acids as fuel and the energy consuming re-conversion of FFA’s back into fat stores (a futile cycle) both take place. If you are trying to create a calorie deficit then this will help.

How Long Will EPOC Last?

The effect is greatest on the first few hours post exercise and reduces over time. It may last up to 48 hours depending on the intensity of the exercise performed, so if you exercise 3-5 times per week then you will benefit from EPOC calories daily!

Do all types of exercise create EPOC?

Studies show that the EPOC effect exists after both strenuous anaerobic exercise and more gentle aerobic exercise, however if comparing the two, anaerobic exercise has the greatest EPOC effect.

In practical terms for greatest fat loss anaerobic exercise in the form of high-intensity interval training is significantly more effective despite sessions being shorter and consuming less calories at the time!

So How Do I Benefit From EPOC?

Intense HIIT exercising on a regular basis is going to keep your EPOC high through the week. For greatest effects on fat loss it is advised to do high intensity interval training like compound resistance exercises and 20-40second sprints for shorter periods rather than long slow exercise sessions like jogging. Training this way saves you time, makes you fitter and gives better fat loss results too!

What Does This Mean For My Triathlon Training?

This is good news because any good triathlon training plan will involve HIIT sessions that melt body fat through EPOC.

The effect will be a better sports performance, and actually a healthier triathlete too.

You will be more comfortable on your bike with no tummy getting in the way of your aero position, and you will perform your running with ease since this truly is the weight bearing sport of the three triathlon disciplines.

Next steps:

It is easy to lose body fat and you should aim to get to a low healthy body fat percentage in order to maximise your triathlon experience.

It is easy to get lean for triathlon by:

  1. Consuming nutrient-dense foods
  2. Performing HIIT training sessions
  3. Creating an overall calorie deficit (for weight loss).

If you feel that you’d benefit from weekly easy to follow and effective triathlon specific workouts that melt fat and get you fit in less time, then please click the link to learn more about the Project Tri triathlon team.

If you’d rather train alone, that’s fine too and you can start planning some high intensity interval training sessions into your triathlon plan, and you’ll soon see the fat melt away.

Happy training, Nico.