5 reasons triathlons are full of middle-aged people.

I just read this article, which led me to ask the question; Why are triathlons full of middle-aged people? I was going to ask why triathlons are full of middle-aged, fat people, but I haven’t seen that many fat people in triathlons. Not to say I haven’t seen any–I’ve seen some really fat people in triathlons, even in the half-Ironman I did, and wow, that’s impressive. I mean, it’s impressive that I finished a half-Ironman, but some of these people were even fatter than I was. Some of them were a lot fatter. But there weren’t that many people fatter than I was, so I can’t really say I’ve seen all that many fat people doing triathlons. What I have noticed is that although I’m 34, most of the people I race with seem to be at least 30. Sure, there are young’uns there too, but if I had to guess I’d say 2/3 of racers are 30+. But why?

It’s an easy jab to say it’s just a response to a mid-life crisis. But that doesn’t reveal the underlying reasons behind the mid-life crisis, nor the attending question “Why triathlon?” Why not a new, completely impractical, sports car? Why not a new wardrobe from Banana Republic and a new hairstyle? Why not start listening to your kids’ music? Actually, my oldest is almost two-years old, and I have been listening to more Kindermusik than I care to admit lately, but that’s not in response to a mid-life crisis, I swear. Here are five reasons why triathlon is the response du jour to the mid-life crisis many of us are having these days:

1. We’re fat. We weren’t fat 10 years ago, so doing a triathlon never crossed our minds. I mean, who would have the motivation to start this type of thing if they weren’t in a desperate situation to begin with? We weren’t back then, but we are now, so here we are, spending 10-20 hours per week in response to a condition that snuck up and grabbed us around the waist when we weren’t looking.

2. We’re ready to admit we’re fat. You were probably fat at 30, but it took you until you were 34 to admit it and start doing triathlons. Before that, you were svelt, stocky, husky, strong, burly, or manly (I’m talking to the men here, please don’t get offended womenfolk, you probably have your own set of reasons that are different than ours). Then you finally admitted those were all words designed to disguise the fact that you were fat.

3. We have some money. Actually, I had more money 10 years ago…what’s wrong with this picture?

4. Triathlon is real, and real is the new fake. We’re done with anything Chuck Norris is selling, the latest diet drink, lipo, or any and all of those fad diets. We always knew those things didn’t work. We always knew it was going to be hard work to get in shape, and when we looked around and asked “What’s really, really hard?” someone responded “You should do a triathlon,” and we thought “Yep, that’s what it’s going to take, I guess.” Triathlon replaces all those surgeries, diets, and pills sold on late-night infomercials with something we know will work or kill us in the process, and it only costs three times as much as any of those other things.

5. It works. Somehow signing up for an event, training for it because you’re afraid of what will happen if you don’t, changing your diet because you’re afraid of what will happen to your training if you don’t, doing the event, hesitantly signing up for another, and then doing that and realizing your time is 25% better than your first one leads to an addiction, and the next thing you know you’ve lost 30 lbs. but you see no reason to stop doing triathlons, because you have somehow come to like doing them and all that goes with the training, and you recognize that your life has changed forever, and even all those receipts for $40 containers of drink mix can’t bring you down.

  • http://whitehouseofchaos.blogspot.com Rebecca

    Amen! Too many kids and a metabolism that quit at 30 is why I’m fat, and I’m gonna just admit it. Doing a triathlon gives me a goal and a reason to exercise. Its a lot more fun than thinking about a marathon, and it sounds really cool when you tell your friends. Someday I may actually be cool enough to do something harder than a Sprint Triathlon, but those kids get in the way.

  • Nancy

    Panama City is a great race. I set my IM PR there in 1999. What an experience. You should get in contact with the local tri group. They used to be very organized and can help you with logistics. Also, Southwest is starting a flight into PC’s new airport. You could ship the bike and fly to avoid the long drive. Although there are no hills or snow as in Utah, there has been a wind in the past that can make the swim choppy and the bike a bit challenging. I’ve done a couple of IM in other areas. You picked a good one for your first. Good luck.

  • Chris Bald

    Its partly to do with abundance of slow twitch fibres which increase in relation to fast twitch as you get older. Thats why 80 year old fellas can run marathons

  • http://www.TreeHuggersOnline.com Roger OBrian

    Toxins and Obesity

    If you have a difficult time losing weight, it may be a result of the toxins that are constantly being introduced into your bloodstream. The more fat your body has, the more toxins it will retain, and as you lose weight those fat cells will release toxins into the bloodstream. Once the toxins are in the bloodstream, they can cause harm to the body.

    Detoxification is the process of binding up these toxins and releasing them from the body.
    Although the study of detoxification and its impact on obesity is relatively new, researchers do understand some of the mechanisms involved with how toxins impact weight gain. In particular, toxins can impact your ability to lose weight in three significant ways:

    • Toxins slow your metabolism
    • Toxins decrease your ability to burn fat
    • Toxins slow down the satiety response time (the time it takes you to feel full)

    Toxins Slow Your Metabolism
    In the past it was thought that your resting metabolic rate (RMR) declined with weight loss primarily because of the decrease in caloric intake or changes in the ratio of muscle to fat. But clinical studies are now showing just how toxic internal toxins can be to our weight loss efforts.

    One of the first things toxins do when released into the bloodstream is slow down your RMR. So, as you begin to lose weight, those surfacing toxins begin to inhibit your ability to lose weight. However, if you can eliminate those toxins from the body quickly enough during or before a period of weight loss, you may be able to reduce the decline in your metabolism.

    Toxins Decrease Your Ability to Burn Fat
    The last thing you want to hear is that something in your blood is preventing your body from burning fat, but that is just what toxins can do. In 1971, for example, a study at the University of Nevada Division of Biochemistry determined that chemical toxins weakened by 20 percent the co-enzyme necessary to burn fat in the body. In 2002, researchers concluded that toxins released during weight loss had the capacity to damage the fat-burning mitochondria.1

    The damage was significant enough to negatively impact the body’s ability to burn calories and, in effect, fat.

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    Thank you and I hope to be posting more articles on this blog in the near future. I hope everyone will spread this information or their own on the subject.