5 Ways to Slim Down and Speed Up For Your Next Race

Your race is right around the corner. Yet even after all the training hours you've logged, you still can't lose those extra pounds. Selecting lightweight components can shave a few ounces off your bike, but it doesn't have near the impact of dropping a few pounds from your derriere!

More: Lose Weight Naturally 

That old weight loss math myth, i.e. calories consumed minus calories used, is only one piece of the weight loss puzzle; your body isn't a bank account, it's a chemistry lab! Here are five other factors you need to consider in order to make a dent in your weight loss efforts and, ultimately, in your triathlon finish time.

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1. Fight, Flight and Fat

The demands on the body from training and racing, combined with life's stressors (mortgages and in-laws, for example) can keep your body's stress dial permanently set on "HI," causing wacky fluctuations in the hormone, cortisol. 

More: Stress and Weight Gain

Chronically high levels of cortisol stimulate fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast enegy and results in an increase in appetite. Work out your anxieties before they take a toll on your weight with simple lifestyle solutions like yoga, breathing exercises and meditation. 

More: A Day of Weightloss

Stress dramatically increases your need for Vitamin C, so be sure to keep your diet rich in berries, citrus fruits, leafy greens and broccoli. And get some rest! Researchers at the University of Chicago found that even if you eat correctly and exercise, less than 8 hours of sleep each night places undue stress on your system and puts you at risk for obesity.

More: Sleep for Better Performance 

2. Where's the Beef?

A review of nearly 400 scientific studies in the Sports Nutrition Review Journal (2004) showed that athletes involved in moderate amounts of intense and high volume training need to consume 3 to 11 servings of animal protein per day since carb-only meals negatively impact protein synthesis and the ability to lose weight. 

More: Protein Facts