Triathletes are one of the busiest groups of people I know!
The only people busier are probably female triathletes. And girls, if you’re anything like me, you most likely say yes to everything, never miss a training session, have a thousand work or family commitments and your down time during the week is cooking dinner, doing housework or sitting in traffic… But through a few mistakes over the years, I’ve learnt spending time looking after yourself is a non-negotiable - for both triathlon and overall health.
On my journey to my first world champs, I found myself on the road to burnout. I began to feel continuously exhausted (and not just from training), my training loads had almost doubled, and I wasn’t eating enough to support all the energy I was using. This lead to hormonal problems and irregular periods, I began to get lots of niggles (luckily no bone breaks or fractures!) and my performance plateaued. I see this scenario quite often with the triathletes I work with.
We call this relative energy deficit in sport (RED-S). When we under-fuel, our training and health is compromised, and so we can’t race our best come race day. Like a car needs fuel (and the right fuel) to run, so to do our bodies. And our fuel is food. We need to eat enough around training and throughout the day to support recovery to maximise our training and look after our bodies.
To do this, I find a lot of my athletes like to keep snacks in the car, at work or in their training bag so when they’re on the go or need extra food they have it. Over the past year, I’ve learnt to listen to my body better - eat when I’m hungry, rest when I need it. Recovery with good nutrition and rest is key! So this week for Women’s Health Week, I’ve pledge to check in with myself and make sure I’m doing this. But, let’s pledge together to look after ourselves and support those around us.
We can achieve so much more with a strong, healthy and happy body! #girlpower #womenshealthweek
Christie Johnson, SportsDietitian.com