Bodybuilding for Triathletes? Team Awesome says YES!

by Edward Gemdjian and Paer Gustafsson

Former 3 distance Swedish record holder in swimming and current Equinox Tier 3 trainer, Paer Gustafsson, found a new challenge in 2010. When Equinox Fitness hosted an “indoor” triathlon, using spin class cycles a pool and a treadmill, Paer decided to take on the challenge. His top performance earned him free entry into the Escape From Alcatraz triathlon in San Francisco. “I have always been fascinated by endurance sports and athletes. It’s amazing to see the human body adapt to and overcome the extreme stress it is being put through.”
After finishing in the top quarter of Alcatraz and the Montauk Mighty Man Half Triathlon, Paer found that his 6’1″ 160lb. frame had lost much of the hard earned muscle he had before beginning his serious training. This side effect of high impact endurance training was cause for concern about Paer’s future as a triathlete. Since the competitive season was over at least until the new year, a question was posed. How could a Strength and Hypertrophy program help take Paer’s triathlon performance to the next level?
Based on a 6 week hypertrophy cycle, “My body will become stronger and can generate a higher force output in following training cycles. By adding mass around joints in a balanced way, I will prevent injuries. This is not possible if I only do the endurance type of weight lifting. With proper maintenance consisting of endurance and power workouts later in the season I will be able to keep the strength directly applicable to my races.”

Here are Paer’s beginning measurements on October 16th:
Body Fat % 10.2%
Height 6’1″
Weight 163.5

He is on a 4 day split of weight lifting, with an increased caloric intake. The goal is to start at a range of 8 repetitions per set and increase by 2 each week for the first 3 weeks. If Paer responds extremely well to the program, he should be able to lift as much if not more weight each week even though the repetitions increase. Either way, when he returns to 8 repetitions per set in the 4th week he will be able to lift more weight than he was able to in week 1.
Because of the increase in calories and decrease in caloric expenditure, the re assessment in week 4 should show an increase in lean body mass. At this point in his training, we are not worried about an increase in body fat, as this will come back to normal when he resumes his triathlon training. What we will probably see in the end is a leaner physique because his extra muscle mass will require more calories to operate.
Stay tuned for updates on Paer’s training and final measurements and results.

Edward Gemdjian is a NASM certified Personal Trainer and Holistic Lifestyle Coach. Team Awesome is his response to the myriads of misinformation about health and fitness in the media. He currently sees clients exclusively at Equinox Fitness in Chelsea, New York.

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