Good, Feel Good:
Simple Steps to a New You
Bob Seebohar, MS, RD, CSCS
The time to relax a little, have fun with exercise with a
little less structure, and most importantly, change the
way your body looks-strength training, yoga, Pilates, and
of course proper nutrition. But this article isn’t about
what you should eat in the off-season. It’s about how to
get your body to look good and feel good in preparation
for next season. Lose or gain weight. "To early to
think of that", you ask? I think not. If you want to
successfully change the way your body looks and how much
you weigh without it having a negative impact on your
triathlon training, then NOW is the time to do it.
my previous article, I introduced the energy balance
equation and all of its components. In this article, I
will explain how you can successfully attain any and all
of your body weight goals.
a quick review, the energy balance equation has two sides:
the energy in (made up by carbohydrates, protein, and fat)
and the energy out (made up by the thermic effect of
feeding, the thermic effect of physical activity, and
resting metabolic rate). Resting metabolic rate (RMR)
constitutes approximately 60-75% of total daily energy
expenditure and for this reason is the most important
component of the energy out side of the energy balance
you have your RMR measured, you can now make a plan to
achieve your body weight goals. RMR serves as the basis
for body weight changes. Chances are you have not known
what your metabolism was or you were one of the
"lucky" ones who found one of those outdated
equations that you used to estimate your RMR.
doubt you have heard of the terms "yo-yo
dieting" and "weight plateaus". These
phrases are so popular in our society but why? Because, we
as a society have not had access to all of the tools
necessary to be successful and not "yo-yo" or
hit a weight plateau. Stated another way-try balancing
your checkbook without knowing how much money you are
spending-it’s impossible! The same situation applies for
changing how much you weigh without first knowing RMR-you
have no idea how many calories you should eat and how many
calories you should burn because you don’t know how many
calories your body needs.
energy balance equation is based on hard science and can
be easily used to change how much you weigh. However,
there is a catch-you must take personal ownership in
your health and be motivated enough to WANT to make a
lifestyle change, rather than a quick fix. So, if you
are ready to make that change and you have the motivation,
support from family and friends and the willingness to
change the way your body looks, then here are the steps
that you can follow to be successful:
Get your RMR measured now and re-measure it
when you lose or gain a significant amount of weight
(usually about 5-10% of your body weight) or you hit a
weight plateau where you are not losing or gaining
Get the help of a health professional,
ideally a registered dietitian, to help you set up your
individual energy balance equation that is centered around
Log the food you eat. It has been proven for
years that if you write down what you eat, you will be
more successful at changing your body weight.
Log the exercise you do. This should be easy
since you are a triathlete since chances are you are
keeping a training journal anyway.
Re-adjust your personal energy balance each
time you get your RMR measured and it is different.
If you find that you cannot do this on your
own, join a program that focuses on successful behavior
change that is done at your pace.
take a look at each of the components in more detail.
your RMR measured now and re-measure it when you lose or
gain a significant amount of weight (usually about 5-10%
of your body weight) or you hit a weight plateau where you
are not losing or gaining anymore.
previously mentioned, the first step in any weight
management program is to get your RMR measured. RMR must
be re-measured at consistent intervals throughout your
program because it will decrease with a loss of body mass
and vice versa. Once this occurs, you must re-adjust your
energy balance to account for the new RMR measurement.
This is where all other "diets" fail-they do not
account for the change in RMR, which can have a
significant impact on the amount of calories you should
eat or the amount of calories you should burn.
the help of a health professional, ideally a registered
dietitian, to help you set up your individual energy
balance equation that is centered around your goals.
must consult with a nutrition professional (registered
dietitian) initially to determine the correct amount of
calories that you should eat and burn to meet your weight
goals. Be sure to keep in contact with this person because
you will need to visit him/her throughout this process to
re-adjust your energy balance equation. Hint-find a
registered dietitian who specializes in weight management
and who is also an athlete (triathlete would be best but
endurance athlete will work).
the food you eat. It has been proven for years that if you
write down what you eat, you will be more successful at
changing your body weight.
will be more successful at achieving your weight related
goals if you log how much food and drink you consume,
guaranteed. This is a great awareness tool. Various
software programs exist that can help you accomplish this
more easily than the old "pen and paper" method.
The benefit to software programs is that you will be able
to actually see your daily progress real time and use the
software program’s food database and not have spend the
time to search for this information in a calorie reference
the exercise you do. This should be easy since you are a
triathlete since chances are you are keeping a training
same principle applies with logging purposeful exercise as
it does with food and beverage. You will be more
successful if you keep track of your exercise to help you
know how many calories you are burning.
your personal energy balance each time you get your RMR
measured and it is different.
mentioned in the first component, if the energy balance
equation is not re-adjusted with each RMR measurement, it
will be impossible for you to remain successful at
attaining your weight related goals. For example, one
12-week weight loss study1 showed that at week
4, participants lost 8 pounds and RMR decreased by 89
calories. If the participants did not re-adjust the amount
of calories they ate and expended, they would not continue
to lose weight. In fact, the researchers in this study did
re-adjust the energy balance equation at certain intervals
and at week 12 the mean weight loss was 18 pounds with a
decrease in RMR of 125 calories.
you find that you cannot do this on your own, join a
program that focuses on successful behavior change that is
done at your pace.
is one of the most important components and is often
overlooked because you may want fast weight loss or weight
gain without making it part of your lifestyle. I hope this
is not the case and if it is, I hope that I have been able
to change your mind by reading this article. This is the
"magic pill" approach, which has never been
proven to be successful over time. If you choose this
option be sure to look for a person and/or program that
will provide you the following:
to determine if you are ready to change and take
personal ownership of your health by identifying
small, incremental steps that will lead you to
attaining their long-term goal
of a support network that can be used on a daily basis
to help you be successful
of barriers and bypasses
in group discussion sessions
sum it all up, here are your success principles to focus
on during your quest to looking good, feeling good, and
being more comfortable with your body:
the energy balance equation as the foundation of your
personal journey to look how you want to look and
weigh what you want to weigh.
your RMR measured on a consistent basis to
successfully re-adjust your personal energy balance
control and personal ownership of your health. You
have the power to change if you want to.
Alexander, H.A., et al. Efficacy of a resting metabolic
rate based energy balance prescription in a weight
management program. Obesity Research, Abstract presented
at Nutrition Week Conference, San Diego, California, 2002.
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
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
Bob is also the author of the book
Periodization for the Endurance Athlete
Bob can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org