New Page 1

  Discussion Forum   Contact Us

Discussion Forum   Contact Us       

New Page 3

New Page 1

Tri-Newbies Online Discussion's Hot!

Tri-Newbies Online Free Triathlon Training Plans

Preventing Weight Gain During the Off-Season 
By Bob Seebohar, MS, RD, CSCS

As a Sports Dietitian, my office is flooded with triathletes during the February and March wanting to lose the 5-15 pounds that they gained during their off season, also referred to as the transition cycle.  While the body physically needs the much deserved down time and less structure associated with the transition cycle, it does not need the weight gain.  There is absolutely no reason for endurance athletes to gain weight during this time of the year.  Does it happen?  Absolutely!  And much too frequently but weight gain can be prevented by simply following a few guidelines that I will detail later.  First, let’s discuss the concept of nutrition periodization and the logistics of the “off-season weight gain” phenomenon.

Many endurance athletes structure their physical training based on periodization principles in order to achieve peak performance during their race season.  While many endurance athletes watch what they eat and sometimes maintain very strict eating habits, many do not employ the periodization principle to the nutrition aspect of their training (otherwise known as nutrition periodization).

Nutrition periodization is very important for any endurance athlete.  Nutrition periodization allows the endurance athlete to use food for energy needed to support training and maintain adequate glycogen stores but also to maintain a healthy immune system and ward off illness, prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies, speed recovery from hard training sessions, lose or gain weight, and positively alter body composition.

We will obviously focus our discussion on the weight component or more specifically, the prevention of weight gain.

Most likely, you have probably finished your race season, characterized by a high level of fitness and training.  You were burning a great deal of calories on a daily basis because of the amount and intensity of your training and racing.  I would guess that you also remained fairly weight stable (plus or minus a few pounds depending upon your hydration status), which tells me that you did a good job at feeding your body the right amount of calories to support your training.

Since your race season has ended and you are taking a much needed break from the higher volume and intensity of training and have replaced that with more unstructured, “non-training” activities, you must understand that your body will be going through some major changes now.  The most important change is that you are not burning as many calories each day therefore you MUST change the way, more specifically, the amount that you eat each day.  The good news is that this should not be difficult for you to implement.  However, the reason I chose the word “implement” is because it is far easier to develop a plan and implement it than it is following it.

This may sound overly simplified but the only thing you really need to do during this time of your training year is FOLLOW your set eating plan.  If you can instill the following nutrition guidelines during this time of the year, you will not gain weight.  Of course there is a strong psychological component to this also.  You must not only develop, implement and follow your plan but you must also WANT to do it.  That is the key with anything we do in life.  If you don’t want to do it or are not ready to do it then you won’t.

So, what are the secrets to eating during the Transition Cycle?  Here are some guidelines for you to follow:


  1. Control calories
  2. Increase variety of foods
  3. Enjoy food


  1. Put the energy bars, gels and sports drinks in the back of the cupboard for a while to give the body a break from them.  I call this the “pantry shuffle”.
  1. Re-introduce whole foods from all of the food groups to acquire vitamins and minerals from foods rather than bars, gels, and drinks.
  1. Try new restaurants and foods.  Be adventurous and think outside of the box.  Foods prepared a different way or from a different culture are good sources of nutrients and are a break from the “norm”.
  1. If you need to lose weight and are not simply trying to prevent weight gain, do so safely and realistically.  Since there is not much structure or strict training guidelines during this cycle, a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week is safe, realistic, and will not have a negative impact on training.
  1. Don’t overeat.  Managing the amount of calories you put into your body is crucial during this cycle so pay special attention to portion sizes and quantities.  A weight gain of 2 pounds per month can happen by simply overeating by 250 calories per day!
  1. Don’t forget about the environment.  If this cycle falls during the year when there is not much sunshine, it is common to eat more comfort foods, which can be very high in calories and tend to increase body weight and body fat

For those wanting numbers to calculate specific carbohydrate, protein and fat needs during the day, refer to the chart below.  Remember though, ranges of nutrients and calories exist because each athlete is different with a different metabolic rate, medical history and future goals and you may need more or less than your training partner even if you are the same height, weight, age and gender.






5-6 grams per kilogram of body weight

1.2-1.4 grams per kilogram of body weight

0.8-1.0 grams per kilogram of body weight

*Divide the amount you weigh in pounds by 2.2 to determine your weight in kilograms.

**There are 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate and protein and 9 calories per gram of fat.

Develop your plan, implement it and most importantly, follow it and you will be able to prevent unnecessary weight gain during the next few months.

Bob Seebohar, MS, RD, CSCS is the Performance Director at the Colorado Center for Altitude Training and Performance (ATP Center) in Evergreen, Colorado.  The ATP Center provides training, coaching, physiological testing and nutrition services for all ages, types and abilities of endurance athletes.

Bob Seebohar, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS has been a USA Triathlon certified coach since 1999 and is one of the first USA Triathlon Certified Level III Elite Coaches in the United States. He has worked with beginners to Olympians and currently specializes in working with advanced to elite athletes. Bob was on the Performance Coaching team for Susan Williams, 2004 Olympic Triathlon Bronze medalist, as he served as her strength coach and sport dietitian during her journey to becoming the first United States athlete to medal in Olympic Triathlon. 

He blends his extensive education with his experience as an athlete, exercise physiologist, sports dietitian and coach to 

Bob has a Bachelor's degree in Exercise and Sports Science with a concentration in Wellness Program Management, a Master's degree in Health and Exercise Science and a second Master's degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition. 

Bob is also the author of the book
Nutritional Periodization for the Endurance Athlete 

Bob can be contacted at 


New Page 1

» Discussion Forum
  » Tri-Links
» Tri-Club Directory
» Race Calendar
» Classifieds

» Swim Workouts
  » Swim Drills
  » Swim Pace Chart
  » Race Distance Chart

  » Cycling Pace Chart
» Bike Fit Chart
  » Bike Cleaning 101

» Run Pace Chart
  » Treadmill-to-Real-
Road-Pace" Chart

  » Complete Weight
Training w/Photos

» 10 w Sprint - Beg
» 10 w Olympic - Beg
» 18 w Sprint - Inter
» 18 w Olympic - Inter
» 18 w Half Iron


All materials included in this website are Copyright

All materials included in this website are Copyright © 1999-2011 by
Tri-Newbies Online. All rights reserved. No portion of this website may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without permission in writing from Tri-Newbies Online.

For information please contact us: