“Calories Don’t Count”???

Just having a quick flip through the latest issue of Triathlete Magazine and came across an article in which one PRO triathlete fields questions that she states are commonly asked by 'nontriathletes'.

There were some not-so-surprising questions that I, too have been asked, such as 'do you get a break between the three sports' and 'what do you do if you need to go to the bathroom during a race'.  To these, the responses made sense to me.

Then I read the one that put a nail in the coffin.

It wasn't so much the question that bothered me, but the response, which included what an athlete might be eating during training… and the phrase, "the exception is the long ride where calories don't count".


She then goes on to describe various odds and ends and bits and pieces of absolute junk that a triathlete might opt to shovel in while in a depleted state at a desperation stop at a gas station.

OK.  WAY back, when I was first getting started in triathlon, of course, I made lots of mistakes, not only with training but also nutrition.  I under-fueled and ate the wrong fuel.  This is part of the process, and we need to test what works and what doesn't in order to find the winning formula.

BUT, never in a million years did I approach it with the intention to eat a bunch of fast food/junk food/ non food ON PURPOSE just because 'I can since I'm expending a few thousand calories on my training ride.'.

That really doesn't make sense.

You're trying to train your body to perform for the long haul, and it does so, and you 'reward' it with food by-products completely void of any nutrients and engineered to set you up for any combination of GI distress, an acidic pH in the body, a blood sugar crash and poor recovery?

OF COURSE CALORIES COUNT!  And not only that, the SOURCE is so, so important.  

What the???