I love books. I love exercise books. I don't really like diet books very much. I like books that inspire me to want to adopt a healthy active lifestyle. Recently, my husband found one such book. It's called Racing Weight:How to Get Lean For Peak Performance by Matt Fitzgerald.
I'll be honest, I am not even done reading it yet, but got so motivated by the first five chapters, that it was worth the money, just for the motivation!! And seriously, I'm not quite in the target market for the book. In Chapter Two, you get to do a little math to figure out what your ideal racing weight might be. This is the best weight for your body to be, to perform your best in your races.
I race, but not really for times, more for staying in shape etc. Last year was the first time I actually started racing at a level that I never thought I'd reach (under 60 minutes for a 10km). In my eyes, this was what separated the men from the boys, the casual runner from the competitor. It was the golden standard for becoming more serious and less recreational. It took a lot of work to get to that point. Getting sidelined with an injury, after my best ever 10km and half marathon was frustrating, but I knew, that there was a competitor somewhere inside me.
I might never be the fastest in my age group, but I might improve on those times. It became apparent, while reading this book, that the less I weighed, the better I would perform. I mean, of course I already knew this, but suddenly I was presented with examples from the elite world. And if it is important to the elites, then it's important to me too!!
So there's the calculations. Figuring out approximately what percentage of your body is bones and muscle and water. If there was not one stitch of fat, what would your body weigh. In my case, about 117pounds. That's crazy!! Of course that's not ideal, but it's the portion of my body that exists without adding on the fat. From there, I could do various calculations to figure out what my optimum race weight would be based on adding in a percentage of body fat. So, in doing so, I would perform best if I weighed around 139lbs. It goes on to talk about how that's not necessarily the weight I should normally be, just the weight I would race best at. And since you don't race every day or even every season, the overall best weight for me, is about 150lbs. Wow, I remember when I used to way that. I even remember weighing 141lbs. That was when I started going out with Jeremy. Oh how times have changed!!
In understanding how this book is not really designed for me, at least for where I am right now, when consulting the chart on overall body fat, I'm in the very bottom row for my age, and even off the chart really, since according to the scale, my body fat currently registers around 40.3% and the chart only goes to 40%. See what I mean? This is simply not acceptable. The book suggests you move up 5 rows. For me, that means I'm aiming to be 28.1% body fat, or 163 pounds. At the moment, I'll celebrate if I simply move up one row, to 35.7% body fat, or 182pounds. So, I certainly have my work cut out for me, but it's nice to have done some number crunching and see where I actually stand and what my goals should be, both in the short run, and over the long run.
The book is nice in that it compares a bunch of different sports, since optimal weights aren't necessarily the same for a runner as they are for a skiier or rower for example. I've learned a lot, and I'm only about half way through!!
One of the best things I've learned though, is the importance of counting calories in and out. Food journalling has never been a strong suit for me, but I understand why it is important and finally found a tool that works for me... stay tuned...