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  1. #1
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    I thought doing an Ironman would make you lean and fit!

    At the weekend I went and watched the Taupo Ironman. To me the Ironman is like the ultimate athletic achievement. 3.8km swim, 180km ride than just a little 42km (marathon) run tagged on the end.

    Any trathlon is impressive but the Ironman is the ultimate. So I watch the leaders come out of the swim leg then followed them up to the transition area and watched them set off on their bikes. I then watched a lot of other athletes setting off on the bike leg. It was a big field so these guys had finished the swim pretty strongly. Watching both the men and woman competitors I could not believe how many fat, pot bellied, big a$$ overweight competitors I was seeing. All clad in lycra of course. I just couldn't believe it. If I trained for an event like that I would expect to be a lean, mean, racing machine. Not carrying a spare tyre around my gut.

    I just can't figure it out. Either these guys/gals were even fatter when they began training and have actually lost a lot of weight already or they think that all that training gives them licence to totally stuff themselves. Either way I'm surprised .

    I expected to see a bunch of supreme athletes and instead I saw a lot of extreme fatties. Fit fatties I guess but fatties nonetheless.

  2. #2
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    You ever done a bike race man? I've seen some of 'em at every race I've ever done, and sometimes they can really hammer. Since this is the internet, I'm going to go on record and say that I've never been beat by one of them... yeah, never.
    No man yields who flies on my ship.

  3. #3
    AZ
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    In before the carnage.

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    Nope. I'm sure all those fatties can beat me. Just surprises me they are so fat. Energy in vs energy out? With all that training they're obviously eating way too much.

  5. #5
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    swimming is one of the easier legs for overweight people. I've seen overweight people do OK in Tri's. They won't ever be really good, b/c power to kg ratio is horrible. You give someone enough time, and just about anybody in decent shape can finish an IM tri.
    The run is what really separates the men from the boys
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  6. #6
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    Here in the US, we have this extremism culture. Someone decides it's time to get his 300 lb butt off the couch and make a change, he's likely to think big. Like, Ironman big.

    I'm happy for this hypothetical fatty, especially since like you say, finishing an Ironman triathlon is a pretty big accomplishment. Even if it does take all day.

    I think a lot of the time, it's not really a sustainable change, though. A surprising number of people who train for Something Big then sit their less-fat butts back down on the couch and gain the weight back.

    I also wish more people would think in terms of shorter, faster races. They're more fun, but traditional XC MTB racing in my region isn't doing well, and I think part of it is that everybody wants to do 50 miles or something. Which is also fun, but very different, and fits a lot better into thinking in terms of being in good to excellent shape all the time.
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  7. #7
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    That's pretty surprising. I have watched the Kona Ironman several times and haven't seen a single overweight competitor at that event. I guess it depends on how difficult it is to qualify for the event.
    If you are impressed with Ironman as a competition, check out the Ultraman competition. Pretty crazy stuff.

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    How many of these "extreme fatties" were still in it when it counted, at the end? Just because you start one doesn't mean squat unless you're there at the finish.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElDuderino2412 View Post
    swimming is one of the easier legs for overweight people. I've seen overweight people do OK in Tri's. They won't ever be really good, b/c power to kg ratio is horrible. You give someone enough time, and just about anybody in decent shape can finish an IM tri.
    The run is what really separates the men from the boys
    I agree. Swimming is about technique more so than fitness. You do need to be fit, but good technique will trump fitness most days. I am reasonably fit, but slow in the water. However extra weight on the bike is a killer in terms of speed.

    That said I give credit to anyone doing a Tri be it a sprint, Olympic, half or full Ironman. I did a sprint tri last December and did reasonably well. There were some really large people and slow at multiple phases, but at least there were out there doing it. Every Triathlete get a lot more respect from me than all the people that "talk" about it, but never do it. I had friends I tried to talk into doing short sprint tri (1 to 2hrs max duration) and most came up with excuses and bailed out. Hey you can be a fat 300 pounder, but if you are out there doing I give you credit. Anyone tackling an Ironman deserves even more credit. I would die on the run because my legs would give out. I don't have distance running muscle right now.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    That said I give credit to anyone doing a Tri be it a sprint, Olympic, half or full Ironman. I did a sprint tri last December and did reasonably well. There were some really large people and slow at multiple phases, but at least there were out there doing it. Every Triathlete get a lot more respect from me than all the people that "talk" about it, but never do it. I had friends I tried to talk into doing short sprint tri (1 to 2hrs max duration) and most came up with excuses and bailed out. Hey you can be a fat 300 pounder, but if you are out there doing I give you credit. Anyone tackling an Ironman deserves even more credit. I would die on the run because my legs would give out. I don't have distance running muscle right now.
    To add to that it takes more balls to get out there in lycra when you are overweight than when you are fit. It is good that anybody no matter what shape they are in are out there being active
    Wish i could still do tri's but running is to high impact for my jacked up knee.
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  11. #11
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    The 'big' events require qualification in a prior, certified Tri, and the people you describe can seldom do it. Thats why they aren't in the big one's such as Kona. Most events include Team categories, and that's where a good swimmer (not made for running) can do great and have a lot of fun, satisfaction. Our annual Ironman event uses many of our best bikers as team members.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Here in the US, we have this extremism culture. Someone decides it's time to get his 300 lb butt off the couch and make a change, he's likely to think big. Like, Ironman big.

    I'm happy for this hypothetical fatty, especially since like you say, finishing an Ironman triathlon is a pretty big accomplishment. Even if it does take all day.
    This is what I was also thinking. While I'm no skinny boy (205lbs) and race the Clydesdale class, I think a lot of people go this route as a test of individual determination.

    Also, when you come down from being huge, there's a lot of loose skin left over that turns into a "spare tire", so for those of you who have never been "big" - just a little education for the outsiders looking and judging.

    For me, Sea Otter will be the last race I do +200lbs, then I'm going down to a more suitable sub-200. I'm not a fat guy (34" waist, which I think is pretty decent), but I have years of weightlifting. I want to be light because I move better when I'm light. Climbs are easier and I expend less energy hauling extra weight.

    I'm sure most of these people (what the OP calls "fatties") are on their way to getting lighter - but if they aren't, I would say they are missing out on some valuable benefits to being lighter which I have found has improved my riding a lot.

    Loose skin, though... it can only be removed through a tummy tuck. It looks like fat under lycra.

  13. #13
    dwt
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    I thought doing an Ironman would make you lean and fit!

    Part of the problem is that too many of us fatties (that would be me now) think exercise alone will get the lard off. Unfortunately diet is an important part of the equation, maybe the more important part. So you can do all the training for a tri but not be buff if you don't eat right. Me, I have a pig out problem and like beer. Oops.

    Speaking of training for tris, I don't friggin get it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not afraid of training, which I have done extensively for mtb, road bike and XC ski racing. But tri training is all of some of these people's lives. Every hour of every day us planned out and centers around tris. It's a lifestyle and a subculture. Frankly the people bore the crap out if me. You can't do that **** and have any sort of a real life. No family, no kids, no non tri- geek friends. It's go to your job, train, maybe have a partner who is also a tri- geek, and train some more. BORING

    The great thing about mtb is that fun and exercise are combined in the best way I can think of besides skiing/snowboarding.

    Maybe the tri-geeks think I'm boring too. Fine. It's a free country

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  14. #14
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    Kona is the world championship, & you can only get there if you have completed a qualifying Iron Man event the same year. 2 Iron Man events in a single year is not an easy feat for even the most fit triathletes. And just completing a qualifying event is not enough: you need to either have a qualifying time or be chosen in a lottery.

    So you might see some fatties starting an Iron Man, but you'll see fewer finishing one & fewer yet competing or finishing at Kona.
    Last edited by burtronix; 03-04-2013 at 02:33 PM. Reason: typo
    Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.... (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    Part of the problem is that too many of us fatties (that would be me now) think exercise alone will get the lard off. Unfortunately diet is an important part of the equation, maybe the more important part. So you can do all the training for a tri but not be buff if you don't eat right. Me, I have a pig out problem and like beer. Oops.

    Speaking of training for tris, I don't friggin get it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not afraid of training, which I have done extensively for mtb, road bike and XC ski racing. But tri training is all of some of these people's lives. Every hour of every day us planned out and centers around tris. It's a lifestyle and a subculture. Frankly the people bore the crap out if me. You can't do that **** and have any sort of a real life. No family, no kids, no non tri- geek friends. It's go to your job, train, maybe have a partner who is also a tri- geek, and train some more. BORING

    The great thing about mtb is that fun and exercise are combined in the best way I can think of besides skiing/snowboarding.

    Maybe the tri-geeks think I'm boring too. Fine. It's a free country

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    To be sure, there are people who spend way too much time training for triathlons - just like there are people who have screwed up priorities about so many things in life. Bit it's not necessary to wreck your life in order to compete in a triathlon. Joe Friel writes the Triathlon Training Bible & lays out a reasonable training schedule that allows you to have a life.
    Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.... (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

  16. #16
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    I have friends that have done an iron man and (in 11 hours) were extremely fit. There is huge difference in the training to do an 11 hour ironman and a 17 hour ironman (cut off time). Fairly likely that some of those heavier folks didn't finish in 17 hours or at all or walked the entire run. Kona is the world championship, there are no fat people there.

  17. #17
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    I say good for them, and never under estimate a "fattie". Will is # 1

    Plus let's not forget getting too shredded hinders strength/endurance. For me once I get under 10-13% body fat my strength and surely endurance falls off some.
    Round and round we go

  18. #18
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    Re: I thought doing an Ironman would make you lean and fit!

    I passed a LOT of larger people on the bike at Madison. And even more on the second lap of the marathon.

    Swimming is easy, and being plus-sized isn't something that hurts you in the water.

    You don't see many of them at the finish before the 13-14 hour mark though......

  19. #19
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    I also do want to make a point, that shredded muscle heads seem to have the WORST cardio I've ever seen. I was a competitive bodybuilder, and I was one of those guys. How embarrassing to be muscle bound with 3% body fat and can't climb a tiny hill without feeling like dying. It's a trip to see shredded gym rats with their shirts off on a MTB standing off to the side puking a lung on a climb.

    Another thing about dieting was a good point made above. I fast after 7pm, and I'm a vegetarian - but recently have been going vegan. I don't eat pastries, sweets, drink sodas or anything like that except for on rare occasion. It takes a LOT of work to stay on diet, but the weight came off very easily just by switching things up. But, people are right about eating - some people believe they need a million grams of protein and end up ingesting a lot of animal fat, salt, and extra unnecessary calories because they are "training" and feel that a ton of protein is necessary.

  20. #20
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    To me, a total non tri athlete type I take my hat off to anyone completing an Ironman. It's an achievement in itself. It's just that as a guy with more of a ball sports background I had the (clearly mistaken) impression that to complete an Ironman the amount of training required would make you as lean as can be by default.

    Clearly not the case. However it was a hot day and I don't know how many of these competitors finished the race or beat the 17 hour time limit.

  21. #21
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    Interesting discussion, because I'm a fat guy (formerly 300+, now 230 - have been as low as 215 before I hurt my shoulder last summer) and I've been thinking about doing a triathlon lately. Sprint distance, maybe Olympic, but not Ironman, though. Won't be fast, except maybe on the bike (I can hammer pretty good on the flat, slow climber though). But for a formerly completely out of shape guy like myself, finishing even a sprint tri would be a pretty big accomplishment.

    I apologize in advance to anyone that may see me in Spandex.

  22. #22
    dru
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    I'm a twig but remember seeing this guy who's one of the big guns at Forest City Velodrome postitively beating everyone into submission while sporting a rather large gut. He was over 50 and rode with a teammate (in some paired event?) who's in his early thirties and held the track record at one point. I was astounded at the speed thse two put down on the wood. Stupidly, stupidly fast, gut and all!

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigTex91 View Post
    Interesting discussion, because I'm a fat guy (formerly 300+, now 230 - have been as low as 215 before I hurt my shoulder last summer) and I've been thinking about doing a triathlon lately. Sprint distance, maybe Olympic, but not Ironman, though. Won't be fast, except maybe on the bike (I can hammer pretty good on the flat, slow climber though). But for a formerly completely out of shape guy like myself, finishing even a sprint tri would be a pretty big accomplishment.

    I apologize in advance to anyone that may see me in Spandex.
    Do it. (A shorter tri, that is)

    I went from 228 the day I registered down to 178 at weigh-in for my IM. That was 2008, and I've stayed around 185-190 ever since. (I'm 6-1)

    You won't regret doing a tri

  24. #24
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    Why tri? Why not MTB racing?

    I'm mostly just asking for the sake of argument. But one of the things that I like about MTB racing is that it's a competitive version of something I already do for fun. So training for it doesn't take time away from MTB. That gives it some side benefits - I meet more mountain bikers and I've learned about some trails that I've returned to to ride non-competitively.

    I'll be honest - part of my affection for XC racing is the head-to-head competition aspect. Last summer, I tried track and liked it even better for that. But if you're looking for the aspect of completing a long endurance event, MTB racing scales that way too - there're endurance races over different distances and formats. So, "MTB does."

    As an element of a larger fitness plan, I like MTB XC because one trains for a season. I don't build up, do my event, and then hang up the bikes. I build up, start doing races, in some theoretical world I might peak for an 'A' race, I have some more races, and then if I'm not getting enough, I transition into 'cross for the Fall. Racing series races is a great way to stay in great shape long-term and have fun doing it.
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  25. #25
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    Good on the big rigs for having a go, all the power to them, it takes serious determination to do tris, to carry round the extra kgs must be real hard, full credit to them.
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