Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Racing Weight: Quick Start Book Review


                                                         Racing Weight: Quick Start Guide        

I want to be the strongest, best runner than I can be and that means, that in addition to a strong training program, I need to look at my nutrition.

I heard really good things about "Racing Weight" and had read it several years ago...unfortunately I didn't really remember very much about the details so I decided to order the "Racing Weight-Quick Start Guide" to help me get started on fueling my workouts better.

I have to say that weight management and the idea of getting into "racing weight" can be kind of a tricky topic since it's so easy for runners to fixate on our weight as a way to get faster or as something holding us back from reaching our goals.

Let's be honest...we're all a little bit of a micro manager when it comes to looking at our PR's and training logs. We hardly need another thing to obsess over.

But Matt Fitzgerald does an excellent job on addressing the need to fuel workouts properly as well as the advantages of racing at our personal "ideal racing weight". I think he handled a sensitive subject in a professional, understanding and responsible manner.

The Quick Start Guide is a great way for a semi experienced athlete (he covers cyclists, triathletes and runners) to get onto a weight management program while not compromising their training.

The very first chapter covers figuring out your personal "racing weight" is and covers the fact that thinner isn't always better. It's possible to be too thin, and compromise your athletic performance. Your ideal racing weight can mean gaining weight so that your body has what it needs to work hard.

The book has calculations to figure out the following:

Body Fat Mass (That's figuring out how much total fat you have on your body, including Essential Fat- the stuff that keeps you alive. You'll need to know your body fat % for this.)

I'm 135lbs and my body fat is .24%

135*0.24 =32.4 pounds of fat

Lean Body Mass (That's what your muscles, bones, ligaments and bits and pieces weigh. It's your fat weighs minus your total weight.)

32.4-135 = 102.6lbs

Calculate your Goal Weight ( It takes your current Lean Weight and divides it by your Goal Lean Weight.)

Subtract your goal body fat percentage from 100.

100- .21% = 79 (then make it a percentage) = 79%

Divide your Lean Body Mass by your goal percentage 102.6/0.79 = 129.8lbs

I really like being able to set reasonable goals that have the basis in actual numbers. I like pace charts, I like prediction tables and I like making sure my goals are reasonable and reachable.

The book has a complicated food rating system that probably helps you not fixate calorie counting and instead on nutrition density. It reminded me a bit of Weight Watchers because it assigns food points based on the nutrition content.

It offers two program lengths as well as goes over the need to adjust the intensity of your training while trying to loose weight. Because you really can't lose weight AND build muscle/strength. It also offers training programs to follow while on the nutrition plan, which I think is really nice, because I'm pretty set in my training and I know I would struggle finding a good balance of what training I should do if I can't follow my normal cycle.

He offers a Low Volume and a High Volume training plan for cycling, triathletes and runners.

He really focuses on improving nutrition and being strong rather than numbers on a scale and I really like that.

Things like:
1. Improve your diet quality
2. Balance your energy sources
3. Time nutrients
4. Manage your appetite
5. Train for your racing weight

He covers how to calculate you Macros (Fat, Protein, Carb) based on your training load, which I found really helpful because all endurance athletes fear "the wall/bonking" while in a race.
We love our carbs and would rather eat more than we need than not have enough in our system. (spoiler alert! Carb loading is a myth.)

He also offers meal ideas as well as timing suggestions. 

I can get behind reasonable goals like this.


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