Slow Fat Triathlete: Live Your Athletic Dreams in the Body You Have Now

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Triathlon and endurance sports are not just for the skinny, the fast, and the young. They?re for you. You?re not too slow, fat, old, or klutzy. You?re just fine. Start today.

If you think that the only people who have any place in a triathlon are zero-body-fat elite athletes, reconsider right now. Triathlon and other endurance sports are a lot more accessible than you think. Jayne Williams, self-proclaimed "Slow Fat Triathlete," is living proof, and she wants you to join the fun. After years of obesity, poor health, and self-doubt, Jayne mustered up the will to exercise and worked her way from walking around the block to competing in her first triathlon in 2002. She got hooked on the rush of the race, and as a Slow Fat Triathlete, laughs at humiliation, embraces her foibles, and accomplishes impressive goals.

Slow Fat Triathlete is for anyone who may be out of shape, undisciplined, or otherwise unprepared to enter a triathlon but is curious to try. With its singular mix of practical advice (do what it takes to avoid chafing), screwball anecdotes (meet the hula dudes from the Big Kahuna Half-Ironman), and off-kilter observations (your wetsuit can make you feel like a superhero), Slow Fat Triathlete proves that you don?t have to lose weight, get your life in order, or have all the right equipment to pursue your athletic dreams. Just get off the couch, start moving, and have fun. You can do great things.

Customer Reviews:

  • Slow and Fat this Was the Inspiration I Needed
    I am fat, fatter since I had two babies in two years and turned 41. I am slow, slower than the author of this book, bless her! Jayne's tome was easy to read, approachable and answered many of the questions I had but other books would not give me. Such as, "Is there life after back of the pack?" Her whit, humor and advice will get me through my self imposed "ordeal" also known as my first sprint Triathlon in a few weeks.

    I needed to know what the transition areas were like, Jayne provided an answer. I was curious about what equipment I really needed. Sure I want a $4000.00 bike but my reality is my $250.00 Trek. Would I be alone on my "kiddie bike"? Will I feel funny being slow? Nope, she coached me right through it. Her tips were for the true beginner in Triathlon, which can be an intimidating sport to those on the outside. Face it most people think it is Ironman or nothing.

    While Jayne's book is not technique oriented there are many, many books on the market that are. What Jayne does provide is a Big Mac size helping of inspiration, movitvation and the "heck if she can do it I can too" challange to get out there and Swim, Bike, Run with the big boys. ...more info
  • Ready to tri? This book is for every shape and size.
    You don't have to be slow or fat to read this book and learn the joys of getting started in the tri world. Ms. Williams' practical advice mixed with humor keeps you reading. I even read the chapter about equipment; something I'd skim through in most books. Whether your fitness goal is a tri or just getting started at the gym, you will feel motivated to get going! I haven't decided if I'll train for a triathalon yet, but I will use Ms. Williams' tips for getting myself in better shape....more info
  • Good read..inspiring for a beginner...funny...good tips
    I read this about a month before my very first triathlon. I had just lost about 25 pounds on Weight Watchers and was about as fit as I ever had been. I went from 164 lbs to 139 lbs and needed to add in more exercise to continue losing. I was very nervous about doing a triathlon but it gave me a reason to train (I didn't want to die or better yet, look like and idiot so I had to do SOME training!) This book was hilarious and gave quite a few good tips for newbies. It is a quick read, very witty and fun. It makes you wonder why you would ever want to put yourself through an event such as a tri but justifies your feelings once you are hooked on the sport! Definitely worth the read...I have now completed two triathlons, one duathlon and am now training for a 1/2 marathon! ...more info
  • Inspiration for FCO40....
    Jayne's literary masterpiece is an inspiration to all of us "Fat Chicks Over 40"!!! With humor and candor, she accurately represents the life of the average age-group triathlete. Triathlon is for anyone that wants to do it, not just upper-echelon Kona competitors, but the weekend warriors that just like to kick back and do something really cool on the weekends. Jayne tells-all - sore muscles, chafing, bike wrecks and flats... it may not always be fun in the moment, but the entire triathlon experience is one to be enjoyed over a cool brewsky - buy the book for inspiration, buy the book for a huge laugh, just buy the book!...more info
  • Life Changer
    I am an overweight athlete and wanted something to focus on for my workouts. This book changed my perspective on what I am capable of. After reading this book I had the confidence to sign up for and complete my first triathlon. I placed third place for the Athena category! I am looking forward to doing more this season. I emailed Jayne to tell her thanks and she even emailed me back! Its a great read and kept me laughing. ...more info
  • I'm Inspired Now!
    Loved it! I am totally motivated to try new things and have a great attitude about it. She is hilarious - I found myself laughing out loud repeatedly while reading - plus she gave extremely practical information that someone new to the sport (me) needs to know. As someone who's not beginning a quest to be the fastest, most competitive athlete out there, her suggestions of how and where to begin, stay motivated and have a great time doing it are exactly what I'm looking for. She is quick to admit to her biases, but mostly seems to give a fair account of pros and cons on many topics related to the sport. And did I mention it's funny? :) ...more info
  • motivating and fun read!
    I'm not quite new to the athletic world... still, I found Slow Fat Triathlete impossible to put down. In a very unusual twist for books like these, it is wildly entertaining with its conversational style and humorous slant.
    When you finish this, you'll feel like you can take on the world-- and certainly, the triathlon....more info
  • cute
    Cute and uplifting a fun read but light on any real help.
    You cant help admire the author but the story would have made a better long article .
    Real advice is somewhat lacking ...more info
  • sincere motivation for the beginner
    This is a very funny, and truthful account from a woman who is going through the lumps that so many experience while breaking into triathlon. She perserveres where many fail, and inspires with a "train through the pain while smiling" attitude....more info
  • Getting motivated
    I enjoyed this book and have already recommended it to my friends. I'll be doing my first triatholon in a few months. It is a very good motivation and introductory book. I'm reading another book for more detailed information into the actual training....more info
  • Smartly-written. Now get tough and get going....
    I am just starting to gear up for a sprint-plus distance triathlon in 9 months, and this was the first book I ordered to help me sort things out. It is very well-written, thorough, and motivating. But beware - you can start out slow and fat but at some point you will need to pick up the pace, as the author herself demonstrates. She lost considerable weight (and I have already lost 35 lbs. myself) and is a real competitor. I'm not that competitive, but I do want to finish in the middle of my age wave, so I will be reading this book over and over till it all sinks in - and there is quite a bit to assimilate, from your mental timeline for the race, to your transition area set-up. I also read Triathlon Training in Four Hours a Week, and I believe that these two books together will be all the background, detail, and motivation that one would need. Highly recommended. But realize - you DO have to work, you DO have to sweat, you WILL be huffing and puffing. But it's good. It's actually great....more info
  • Amazing, Inspiring
    This book is written in a very humorous, conversational tone. I read straight through, not wanting to put it down, and passed it immediately along to a friend.
    I am not quite at the beginner level the book is aimed at, but it did inspire me to ignore the whole mindset of not being fast enough, thin enough... and to sign up for a triathlon.
    If the author ever reads here, thank you for the wonderful read and the inspiration....more info
  • Needs to read up a little more on her sport.
    This book seemed perfect, slow, fat, I'm all about that; triathlete, I would LIKE to be all about that. I've read so much about swimming, biking and running my eyeballs could do a triathlon. This book is very encouraging and inspiring, especially for people who, like me, left their fitness behind in college. However, this is just the beginning. A good book for inspiration, but not to guide your training or to consult when you are in need of expertise. The main thing is you don't want to hurt yourself, or put your rear on the couch for 3 months with some injury. I don't think this book helps enough in that respect. ...more info
  • Just Do It! And this book will give you the courage to Just Do It!
    I have just completed my first season of competing in Triathlons. I owe being able to compete in 4 triatlons to this book.

    I started training in September a year ago. I was really serious and read the Joe Friel books and Triatlon 101, which are full of great information. However, they all left me feeling like I was crazy and would never be able to do this. Primarily because I was still way over weight and way out of shape and I was afraid to be with all those skinny athletes. Then I read the Slow Fat Triathlete. I was so motivated that when I finished it I was pumped and ready to take on the world.

    I'm still heavier than I would like to be, but I'm in the best shape I've been in all my life. I'm over 50 and I'm in better shape than I was when I was in the Marine Corps over 30 years ago (oh and I was skinny then).

    I learned a lot from Jayne's book, the biggest thing I learned was don't wait until you loose the weight, start now. I know a lot of people who say I'll start working out when I loose 10 pounds (or 20 or even 5) and it never happens. Heck, I was one of those people. But now my motto and my Tri Buddy's motto is JUST DO IT! She completed one this year and I completed four. We are now training for next year. All I can say is Thanks Jayne you are my hero.

    ...more info
  • Great Great Great
    This book is amazing! Very motivating, helpful advice, let's you know that triathletes are not perfect Greek Gods. I love all of her little anicdotes and race day diaries. I have never felt so capable of accomplishing something in my life. This book is real and down to earth. Lots of help about finding equipment that will suit you. I have always been a nervous cyclist. I am scared to death of those skinny-tired death traps they call road bikes. This book let me know that bikes of all sorts are welcome in triathlons, especially if you're in it to finish, not just in it to win it. Maybe one day I will get over my fear of road bikes, until then Mountain-bike hybrid it is.
    Buy this Book!! It rocks. Especially for normal everyday women. ...more info
  • Great book
    As an out of shape 40 something, I decided to try a sprint triathalon. I registered for a Labor Day sprint in February to allow myself plenty of training time. I looked at a few triathalon books and was almost frightened off the idea. As soon as I saw the title of this book, I knew it was for me. It was full of very helpful information and is laugh out loud funny. I felt the author was having a conversation with me. I have attended a womens triathalon training seminar and recommended this book to the group, it's that good....more info
  • Perfect for the lapsed athlete
    This little book is perfect for your typical lapsed middle aged athlete. Written with a light touch, and in the guise of a personal journal, it's packed with specific learnings applicable to any high-performance sport. There are mounds of hilarious lessons offered - a visualization exercise involving Godzilla, the proper use of the term "squid lid", the intricacies of Post Race Stupidity Syndrome.... Ultimately, the book gives straight talk in stating the need for a balanced approach - it has honest words about eating intelligently in suburbia, and stresses the need to respect a loving support team. Jayne Williams gives inspiration and specific advice to those of us who should get off our butts and get back in the game....more info
  • Lose Weight and Get Into Great Shape!
    This is a good book for someone who wants to start triathlon training for fun or to help lose weight and get into very good physical shape. Easy to read and understand....more info
  • Great, great, great first read for beginner tri-athlete
    Great, great, great first read for beginner tri-athletes of all ages, shapes and sizes. I've already recommended this book to several of my friends. Jayne Williams is hilarious. She gives practical advice, but keeps you laughing from beginning to end. I plan to do my first triathlon in the Spring of '08, after reading this book, I now believe I can do it!...more info
  • A beginner's Bible
    She's funny, she's devoted and she's fat. And she's not young, either. So if you're a woman, no longer a teenager or a 30-something, you will find this book funny (sometimes hilarious) and refreshing. It will answer all the questions you'd be afraid to ask a seriously competitive athlete. (Not Ms Williams is not competitive, but she sees it from the light of a person who's happy she can move, much less win.)

    I'm 53 and getting ready for my first paddle/bike/run (I hope!)
    While I'm sorry there isn't a simliar guide for paddlers, I'm just as happy I won't have to wriggle in and out of wetsuit. This book was just the guide I was looking for to give me some idea of what my first event will be like. And since I too tend to injure myself a lot, due to back issues, I was happy to see that others are just as willing to risk that as I am... gave me perspective. (However I'm more likely to injure myself carrying my boat or bike than riding and paddling!)

    Enjoy the book and enjoy your race.
    ...more info
  • This is for ANYONE just starting out....
    Do not let this title fool you! This book is for ANYONE who has just discovered the thrill of wanting to compete in a triathlon. "Slow Fat Triathlete" will help ANYONE who has never experienced a triathlon - even if they are rail thin. Also, just calmly brush aside the word, "fat,"(which the author amusingly refers to as the "f -word" in her first sentence) - because if you get involved in THIS sport, you may soon be a LOT slimmer.

    What if, after a lifetime of HATING to exercise, you suddenly woke up WANTING to exercise? We ALL know the reasons to exercise as a means of achieving better bodies, better health, and increased longevity. Yet how many of us EVER find that "magic pill" that will suddenly make us ENJOY exercising?? Exercise for many of us has ALWAYS been B-O-R-I-N-G.

    Well, for me that "magic pill" came in the form of wanting to start competing in triathlons.

    As Jayne Williams reveals in her witty and utterly self-confident style, triathlons do NOT have to be of an "Ironman" caliber where you swim 2 miles, ride 120+ miles and run 25 miles. In EVERY state (including Alaska), you will find many "sprint" triathlons consisting of a 400-yd.swim, 12-mile bike, 2-3 mile run/walks. They also have "Olympic" triathlon events that increase the ante to a 1/2-1 mile swim, 25-mile bike, and 6- mile run/walks. Likewise, they have 1/2 Ironman triathlons as well.

    How is this possible to suddenly ENJOY exercising? Well, for many of us, it is the lure of the fun and competition. Come Race Day and the pay-off arrives after all the hours of hard exercising. You race, talk and have fun with fellow competitors, get a "goody bag" with t-shirt and neat free items, often enjoy a dinner or gala event following the race, travel to different events, and most of the time you get a medal just for crossing the finish line! Likewise, if you are REALLY good (or it's a really small race!) you get a prize if you are one of the first three finishers in your age division.

    Having expressed my enthusiasm for my newly found sport, let me say that Jayne Williams and "Slow Fat Triathlete" saved my passion and "career" as a triathlete! I am the type of person who when interested in a subject, promptly logs onto After perusing various books, I generally order a great deal as I seek to gain different information.

    In this case, I promptly ordered the top 15 triathlon books and virtually ALL of them were written for the seasoned triathlete hoping to shave a few pts. off their time. With the exception of Dave Scott's book, they were written so far above my level of competing, that I was absolutely discouraged and ready to throw in the towel. Even the various websites online (even for beginners) did not offer the kind of information that I was seeking.

    And then I finally got to "Slow Fat Triathlete," which answered all my questions (and then some!) in a captivating, somewhat quirky style. It was the "Siren of the Triathlon" and it called to me with every page...

    After I read the book, I actually sat down and read it again, with notebook in hand, to jot down the various advice that it contained. Now remember, I had already read about 10 other books on triathlons that contained none of this information! To be fair, although these top books were written by GREAT triathletes, I often think that the authors are so far removed from their first triathlon experience, that they cannot comprehend the vast amounts of knowledge that those training for and entering their first triathlon need.

    I didn't even know what T1 and T2 were and suddenly I was confronted with various charts full of abbreviations in other books! I even signed up with the most elite and widely recommended online coaching forum (and certainly not cheap) - and they didn't have a clue as to the level that a real beginner needed.

    Jayne Williams' book is smart, funny, and somewhat "indelicate" in spots. (After a look at her website, I have to side with her mother...) But it is the most inspiring, knowledgeable book on triathlons that I have ever read. The author hails from Harvard and Berkeley and yet her writing is so hilarious at times that you will swear that she writes for SNL! She covers everything from what equipment is a must, to which flavors of energy gel taste great, to pre-race instructions, to how to get out of your wetsuit, to what brand of sports bra can enable even the most "abundantly endowed" woman to compete!

    For the first time ever, I actually wrote Oprah's staff, BEGGING for this author to be on the show. (I hope that Williams' editor and/or agent follow through!) This book DESERVES to become a best-seller!

    If you are thinking of entering a triathlon or simply want that "magic pill" that will lure you to WANT to exercise, BUY THIS BOOK. It has my HIGHEST recommendation. The resources and websites in the back (and her husband's terrific artwork sprinkled throughout) just contribute to help make this the BEST TRIATHLON BOOK OUT THERE!...more info
  • thank you :)
    I have been doing sprint triathlons only for a few years now, and went up and down in both fitness and weight during this time. I am actually gearing up to lose at least 20 lbs before the spring/summer season begins all over again. Not for vanity but for health (My BMI actually puts me at very overweight, because I'm very short!)
    However, going back to this book, knowing that the author has overcome, and that not ALL triathletes are super-thin and genetically "made for this" inspires many more of us than she would know :) I know that I'll continue to do triathlon no matter what i might look like at the time, and also do my very best to stay healthy, not so much for what I wish to look like, but for how good I know it feels... and how this in turn inspires others to pursue health, fitness and their dreams. ...more info
  • Size Doesn't Matter
    A woman who's almost 300 pounds ventures into the world of triathlon. Read about her successes and failures as she tries to lose weight....more info
  • Aging Ex-runner Loves This Book!
    The body I have now won't now let me run those 10Ks, half-marathons, and even one whole one as it once did, but boy did I enjoy reading this book. Jayne's anecdotes gave me the thrill of anguish and exhilaration all over again. Her fun became mine as I chuckled my way through the pages. I've given copies to two of my old running buddies, knowing they will get as much pleasure from the book as I did. You don't have to even think about being a triathlete to find this a good read....more info
  • Triathlon insider information and funny too!
    This is a great book! The author writes in such a way that you don't want to put the book down. It is very motivating and provides detailed information about every aspect of preparing for a triathlon. I watched my daughter and her friends do the Danskin triathlon and it was an amazing event. There were women of all sizes, ages, and in all shapes. It made me want to prepare to do the Danskin. This book, takes you where you are at, and helps you succeed. Jayne Williams talks about equipment needed, and things you can purchase that she or other triathletes have found to make their training easier or better.
    Jayne also writes and sounds like you or your neighbor, not someone who has been an athlete all of her life, but someone who has some extra weight and wants to accomplish a triathlon. She talks about the day of the event and includes things like how to keep your sense of humor or how to deal with a variety of injuries that might occur. There are also a list of resources provided such as magazines, organizations, [...].

    The whole time you are getting all of the triathlon information, you are smiling because Williams has such a great sense of humor throughout....more info
  • Long on motivation, short on technique
    I picked up this book because the title really spoke to me. Having recently lost a significant amount of weight, I wanted to prove to the world how much more active I was by signing up for a triathlon. Realizing now that this is insane, I'm looking for help wherever I can find it. I was really hoping that this book would help me with some of the technique, since I'm still slow, fat, and lazy on the inside. I don't have good running or swimming techniques, and probably could use some pointers on cycling as well. Not much there in Slow Fat Triathlete. While this book was very amusing and fun to read, I don't feel any more prepared for my triathlon after I finished it than I did before I read it. It is more of a "Your Triathlon FAQs Answered!" than anything technical....more info
  • Loved It!!
    I am proud to call myself a Slow Fat Triathlete. Jayne really captures the humor that can be found in this sport if you don't take yourself too seriously....more info
  • Slow Fat Triathlete
    What a wonderfully informative and entertaining book. An inspiration for every athlete that is not stick thin!...more info
  • Wonderful NewbieTri book!
    This book is absolutely wonderful! From the race reports (those are real page turners) to the detailed information on how to get yourself (and your family) prepared for this sport. I'm probably not going to get up right now and start tri training, but it definately has given me the strength to get off (...)and start working towards some other fitness goals. OH...and did I mention that this book is funny? OH my gawsh, I think there is a laugh on every page! I do wish there were some more illustrations, especially in the injury section....more info
  • Best Intro to Triathlon ever!
    Highly recommended. I've read so many triathlon books, but this one is the best for anyone wanting to try out the sport for the first time. Its funny and smart...and Jayne is quite the babe if I do say so myself! However, this book contains all the essential info you'll need to train and compete in your first race. If you're a first timer - ignore the other books for now, they are way too complicated, long and often they assume you are already an athlete. This book is for everyone.

    - info
  • Informative an a HOOT
    This book is not for the seasoned trialthlete but offers an honest insight to those of us who love to compete but may never actually be competitive. A solid, honest beginning for someone looking to "Try a Tri".

    ...more info
  • This book ROCKS!
    This summer, I decided to find a goal that would really challenge me, and after a lot of searching, I decided that a triathlon would fit the bill. Next thing I did was look for books about triathlon training. Everything scared me. Then I saw Jayne Williams' book and said, "Ahhhh, now we're talking."

    I love love love this book. It is on my nightstand, and I've read it twice. The title was funny to me, but it could be confusing to other people. (For example, I told a friend about it and she said, "But you're not fat ... or slow, for that matter.") So if you're skinny or not quite fat, don't let the title put you off. This is a book for people who want and need to get moving more, no matter what their size.

    Now that I've devoured the book, I have to get as serious about training! Williams has the right tone between serious athlete who'll push you and a good buddy who'll laugh with you as you struggle out of your wetsuit. You just want to sign up for a triathlon TODAY as you're reading it because she makes you feel this is something you can absolutely accomplish.

    I highly recommend this book if you dream of achieving your triathlon goals but worry how you'll actually go about doing it. This book will cheer you on the whole journey. Go for it!

    (1/13/06 update) I completed my first sprint-distance triathlon in July 2005 -- woo-hoo!-- and I'm training for two more in summer 2006. And yes, I'll be reading this book again. And again....more info


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