Lean in the Off-season Part 2

My last post focused on nutrition during the off season for weight management. This post follows up on tailored training in the off season. I see off season as a time for shorter sessions that focus on technique, speed and general improvement on the weakest discipline. In general a lot of interval training, technique exercises and some weight training. Really we should do strength training all year round but it’s true that once the season is in full swing it’s hard to fit it in.

For swimming; it’s best to meet with a swim coach specializing in triathlon training at least for 2 or 3 sessions to analyze your stroke, point out 2 or 3 big things that need work and then provide exercises or sessions to improve the 2 or 3 problems. A good coach will film you under water…it’s the only way to see what’s going on under the water. From there weave in technique and speed intervals. For swimming that means 25’s, or 50’s in the main set. The way to get faster is working on speed at shorter distances.

For the bike; the trainer gets a really bad rap. It’s an excellent tool for getting faster. It’s often hard to do interval training outside with traffic, obstacles and really for most of us, it’s hard to go literally all out simply because you are out in the road; you still must be prudent outside. On the trainer, you can push yourself as hard as you can without any other distraction. Always have a plan on the trainer. As in swimming start with short sprints. 15 sec, 30sec, 45 hard effort keeping the rest time equal to or less than the effort.

For the run; if you can’t get outside, the treadmill is great but either way follow a similar rule as the bike; lots of sprints with similar time intervals as the bike.

To lose weight consistently, really it’s about training your body to burn fat when you expend effort. Believe it or not, yes, you actually have to train your body to burn fat. To do this, perhaps a couple of times per week, first thing in the morning, run or bike (on the trainer only) on an empty stomach. Have a coffee without sugar and get started. But when doing this, your effort should be low intensity, no intervals. If you’ve never done this before have something with sugar on you to eat in case you feel light headed. Again you must be at a low intensity. It takes a while for your body to make the switch. How do you know if you are burning fat? Find a center that does VO2 max testing and as such they can also give you a lot of information on what your body does during an effort along with what your body resorts to for energy use. Strength training to come up in my next post!

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