Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Body of An Athlete in Training

I've been down this road before, but it's been a while since I've eaten my weight in pasta or sweated so much that my shirt could be wrung out. I'm not necessarily at these extremes yet, but I know they're just around the corner. I know the day will come when I will order the biggest meal out at a restaurant, polish the plate till it shines and still want more. I also know the day is coming when the clothes I just bought won't fit properly anymore and the time will come too soon when I'll need to purchase new runners because the ones that are only two months old have been worn down to the bare minimum. Yet, I keep doing it, despite all of the changes. Some of them I welcome and others are just a byproduct of engaging in way too much physical activity that I learn to live with.
For those of you who have ever begun a new exercise regiment, whether for leisure or to get fitter, have you ever noticed  that the first place for you to lose weight is in your boobs? I mean, really now. Why is that the first place for it all to start disappearing? I think it is some kind of unfair law that says, "you ran and/or walked today so it's time for your chest to shrink." How does that sort of activity even effect your chest anyway? I have been blessed with a very good metabolism and so I don't feel I need to lose weight, but there are a few squishier spots I wouldn't mind tightening up. Of course, these aren't the places that tighten up first; go figure. Let's  take the one place on my body that doesn't need  shrinking and shrink them! The irony of it all.
The funny thing is that some body parts  are shrinking while others are expanding. When I was swimming my back was quite wide at the shoulders. After being out of the water for three years, my shoulders look more feminine, but after using a Gravity Machine twice in the last few days, I can already see my shoulders slowly expanding out again. Today our workout is in the pool and I know that in a few months my shoulders will have filled back out because of all of the water sessions.
There is another thing that is not shrinking and that is my appetite. When I was still training and competing in swimming, I ate like a horse. I probably weighed about 120 pounds and could out eat guys three times my size. I can remember coming home from practice one day and shoveling in six chicken legs, two huge helpings of salad and mashed potatoes and probably three pint sized glasses of milk. The food just kept coming and I just kept eating. Another time while out with friends for chicken wings, I ordered twenty and ate them all, including the celery and carrot sticks and plate of fries that came with them. The server was astonished and told the table of guys behind us that they should be ashamed because "that little girl over there just ate more than all of you."
We aren't even that far into our training regiment and I already ate a sandwich and a piece of cake for breakfast. Okay, perhaps I could have foregone the cake, but when I get hungry like that I just eat whatever is available and the cake was right there! Eating is something I should not stop doing though if I am going to be training in triathlon. It is a long distance event, utilizing three different sports, which employs a whole bunch of different muscle groups; feeding those muscle groups so that they can recover and continue on training is so important. Sure, if you are working out to lose weight  you should adjust your diet and make a healthy lifestyle change, but when you are training for a sport, calories are important. That said, they have to be good, high energy calories. I don't think that cake I ate this morning is included in that category, but it was right there!
Not that this is a particular change to my body, but I also need to be aware of my water intake. calories are important, but if you are not hydrated, your body is not able to process anything you have just eaten. Our bodies are made up of 75 percent water, it's no surprise then that keeping oneself hydrated during exercise is an integral part of training. I think a huge mistake most athletes make, me included, is that as soon as you're out of the training environment it is easy to forget that water bottle. I'm really good at having my water bottle on me at the gym and on the pool side during swim practices, but as soon as I get home, I get busy and forget to keep drinking. Just because the workout has stopped doesn't mean the after care, such as hydration, should stop. Actually, that is probably the time to be hydrating. Having a glass or a water bottle around and sipping from it all day long is a really good and easy  way to stay hydrated. Guzzling a glass of water really doesn't do much since your body pretty much just passes it through your kidneys and you just pee it out. The small, spaced out sips allows for better absorption and thus better hydration.
None of the stuff listed above is inherently bad. In fact, they are more changes than anything and I don't view them as negative changes. These changes just come with the territory of training seriously for a sporting event. I am just astonished that only after a week and a half, these changes are already apparent. Perhaps, if I hadn't been an elite athlete  before I wouldn't be as sensitive to the changes as I am, but it is still interesting to me that your body responds so quickly to physical activity. So, despite the sweating, sore muscles and needing a whole crap load more food, I am very excited about my progress and can't wait to see where all of this takes me.

1 comment:

browndogcbr said...

Hi Y'all,

You're training a lot harder and more consistently than the average person...the average person being a non-athlete. Therefore you will see results far more quickly.

Furthermore, you will always see results more quickly than the average because you have a "go to". When you have something to "draw from", even when you are no longer training as an athlete, you will find that small exercises give results far more quickly for you than your non-athletic acquaintances.

BrownDog's Human