A couple weeks ago I began reading a book called Racing Weight which is written by fitness guru Matt Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald has written a number of books on training for triathlons. He put a lot of research into a book that is quickly becoming known as one of the best on the topics of the importance of being lean in order to compete at peak performance in endurance sports. Each week during a mid-week post I plan to write some of the most interesting and important points I get from this book related to triathlon race weight. The book is written for any endurance athlete.
This is a topic I knew I needed to be reading about as I begin training for the 2011 season. It is possibly the number one factor in how fit I get. Before my injury I weighed in at 153 lbs. That was 10 lbs. lighter than when I earned my professional license. I could tell a huge difference by being just 10 lbs. lighter. Some of the things I've gotten...by memory...since I left the book at school are...
1. The difference between weighing 160 lbs. and 150 lbs. is about 6.5% effort in running. I know this. I have felt the difference. I'm currently about 172 lbs. and I can tell how much more difficult running is at any pace than it was when I weighed 153.
2. The body has a crazy way of knowing when you are getting ready for a big race. It wants to help you get to peak race weight and it will happen naturally if you are training hard and eating healthy. There is no diet pill in the world that will help more than training hard and eating healthy.
3. It is very normal to gain weight in the off-season. This should be expected due to the change in training and the message the body gets that a peak race is nowhere on the radar. Fitzgerald recommends gaining no more than 8% of body weight during the offseason which I have exceeded by about 3%. Not good...I have lots of work to do. The good thing is I have many months ahead of me to do this.
4. Peak racing weight should include considerations of both body weight and body fat percentage.
5. Peak racing weight will yield the greatest benefits in running, next in cycling (especially on hilly courses) and finally in swimming.
6. Adding lean muscle will help to lower body fat % (another benefit to strength training) because muscle will burn many more calories at rest than fat will. I believe it was something like 1 lb. of mucle burns 50 calories each day while 1 lb. of fat burns about 2 calories each day.
I'll remember the book for next week's notes but hopefully you are able to learn something from these posts. Train hard...eat smart...DREAM BIG!