Getting to race weight theoretically is quite simple, eat less than you need and stop when you get to race weight. The reality is not so easy. Firstly loosing weight can be tough, from which an entire industry all of its own exists. I have put together 3 Easy Steps that give you the tools to work out what works for you to loose weight. I’ve been putting my own advice to good use over the last six weeks and can now be found weighing and measuring portions of food and scanning labels in myfitnesspal so that I can log and track my food intake and exercise. My goal is to get to 72-3kg by the end of March 2017.
The big question you are likely to be asking is ‘what is my race weight’. I can’t answer it specifically and my answer is some what obvious with whatever you weigh when you race at your fastest. Some experience and experimentation is needed to figure out your ideal race weight. I’ve got 25 years of triathlon racing under my belt and I know how much I weighed when I was at my fastest, which gives me a rough target for my most important races of the year. Ideal race weight is not a healthy place to be for too long as the risk of injury and illness are high¹ with your body at a very delicate tipping point of not having enough fuel and nutrients to maintain a strong immune system, along with effective recovery and repair processes. This means that when you are around 2-3 kg above your goal race weight, stay there until you are 4-6 weeks away from your most important competition(s) before starting to shed the final few kilos.
My biggest finding, was no surprise as it was the same as when I’ve previously tracked and logged food and exercise, in that I don’t get enough protein unless I make a conscious effort at breakfast and snacks. So I’ve made a few adjustments, mainly eggs with breakfast most mornings and making sure that an afternoon snack has at least 15 grams or more of protein in it. During normal training I aim for 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kg of body weight a day as recommended by the research for optimal adaption² for endurance athletes, which works out to be 15-20% of total calories depending on the amount of training that I’ve done that day. Research has also shown that keeping protein levels at normal levels, rather than reducing them like carbohydrate and fat, help maintain muscle, which is all important for going fast whilst reducing fat composition³.
During the last month I’ve made small adjustments to my daily diet, such as eggs at breakfast and being more mindful of what the tasty piece of cake or chocolate has nutritiously to offer, from which I can decide if it fits with my needs for the day. Some days I won’t log at all, but the knowledge I’ve be gaining over the last month helps me to make good choices. I’ve still enjoyed some wine, beer and whiskey as and when it’s taken my fancy, whilst still hitting daily target of a 200-500 calorie deficit and maintaining normal protein intake.
I’ve made progress going from 78.2 kg on 1st Jan ’17 to 30th Jan ’17 to 74.1 kg on on 13th Feb ’17 by using the 3 Easy Steps, so I’m sure you can too, whilst enjoying the fact that you can choose what your going to eat to meet your daily goals.
1. Sundgot-Borgen, Jorunn et al. “How To Minimise The Health Risks To Athletes Who Compete In Weight-Sensitive Sports Review And Position Statement On Behalf Of The Ad Hoc Research Working Group On Body Composition, Health And Performance, Under The Auspices Of The IOC Medical Commission”. British Journal of Sports Medicine 47.16 (2013): 1012-1022. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
2. Phillips SM, Van Loon LJ. Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to optimum adaptation. J Sports Sci. 2011;29(Suppl 1):S29-38.
3. Longlnd TM, Oikawa SY, Mitchell CJ, Phillips SM. Higher compared with lower dietary protein during an energy deficit combined with intense exercise promotes greater lean mass gain and fat mass loss: a randomized trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2016. 103.3 (2016): 738-746. Web.