Update: Several years after this original post, I completed my own triathlon! I was a fat triathlete and it was a really fantastic experience. I learned a lot from the triathlon and discovered that my obsession with triathlons was well founded – they are incredibly fun and challenging.
Not everyone that completes a triathlon is a skinny and fit person.
Triathletes actually come in all shapes and sizes: including fat!
Thanks to my running/triathlon completing friends I am now a bit obsessed with triathlons, especially Ironman. I love reading about formerly fat people completing triathlons and even more, I love reading about currently overweight people doing it!
Though triathlons seem like they are only for thin people who are super in shape, it’s really a sport for all sizes. Below are some sources for inspiration if you are overweight but dreaming of being a triathlete.
Remember, it’s totally possible to be a fat triathlete!
Fat Triathlete Inspiration: Slow Fat Triathlete
Slow Fat Triathlete wrote a book about her tri adventures.
The idea of participating in a triathlon may sound out of the realm of possibility for those without a typical jock-athlete’s honed build, intense focus, and competitive mindset. But now Slow Fat Triathlete opens the door to those who may not come quite so equipped. After years of obesity, poor health, and self-doubt, Jayne Williams took part in her first triathlon in 2002 to prove something to herself and became hooked on the rush of the race. Today she is a self-proclaimed “slow fat triathlete,” unafraid to overcome humiliation, laugh at her foibles, have fun, and accomplish impressive goals. Slow Fat Triathlete is a book for those who may be overweight, out of shape, undisciplined, or otherwise unprepared to enter a triathlon but are curious to try. Through personal stories, practical ideas and suggestions, and uproarious anecdotes, this book inspires, encourages, and proves that with a little training, almost everybody can have a great time and reap huge rewards from pursuing their tri dreams—and that everyone can become a participant and an athlete.
Fat Triathlete Inspiration: When Big Boys Tri
Michael Pate at When Big Boys Tri is a great inspiration for bigger athletes. He wrote a book too all about when bigger guys compete in triathlons.
If you’re a male that is wanting to do triathlons, Michael is a fantastic resource and inspiration.
Update: unfortunately Michael did not renew his website but I’m leaving him in this post as an example because he was so inspiring! You can still find interviews and info about him around online.
Fat Triathlete Inspiration: Triathlon for Every Woman
Triathlon for the Every Woman is a hilarious, fun and informative read–full of expert advice, training tips, and stories to turn a tired, busy woman into a tired, busy woman TRIATHLETE–no matter her size, age or place in life.
Meredith Atwood, an overweight and overworked wife, mother and attorney, went from the couch to the finish of a half Ironman triathlon in a little over a year. Her book, full of contributions from expert coaches, nutritionists and athletes, takes the reader through the disciplines of swimming, biking and running.
Even for those lacking in time, motivation or hope, Triathlon for the Every Woman will turn everything around and make any woman a believer. There is a reason this book has hundreds of all 5 star reviews – it is super inspiring to those of us who want to compete in triathlons!
Is It Possible To Be A FAT Triathlete?
Of course you can be a fat triathlete! You might now win a triathlon while you are overweight but it is definitely possible to participate in one.
Being fat doesn’t have to hold you back from living your life. It doesn’t have to stop you from participating in sports!
Unless you are competing in super elite events, you’ll likely see a range of body sizes and types at a triathlon. Some will be like me and be overweight, and others will be much more in shape and have the traditional “triathlete body” that is much slimmer.
Losing Weight As A Triathlete
You may find that doing triathlons inspires you to lose weight so you can compete better and achieve better results. That’s great!
If you want to lose weight while doing triathlons there are a few keys you need to keep in mind:
- You must be vigilant with your nutrition and keep an eye on what you eat. It’s far to easy to consume more calories than you need with convenience training foods and an increased appetite from all the running, swimming and biking.
- Train your muscles with weight lifting. You need to have muscle mass to eat away at the body fat that will hang on while you are training. Using weights in addition to your cardio activities will help shed the weight.
- Skip the extra convenience training foods. It’s super easy to add up calories with energy drinks, gels, and bars designed for athletes. If you are overweight and hoping to shed some pounds, you’ll need to skip all of these. Focus on a clean eating diet and getting good nutrition to your system.
- Focus on recovering well. Let your body recover and don’t continually push until you hurt yourself. Find a plan or a coach that can help you schedule your workouts and rest periods effectively for maximum benefit.
Remember that if your focus is losing weight while doing triathlons that you can’t out train a bad diet. If you aren’t eating properly and healthily then you will not lose the weight that you want to lose.
Just Keep Believing!
I actually completed my first triathlon when I was overweight and have loved reading about others who did the same. If you are fat but still want to be a triathlete – don’t worry, you can! Enjoy this inspiration and let it guide you to new experiences in the world of triathlons!
Want more on triathlons? Check out the list of Beginner Triathlon Training Resources!