7 Tips to Achieve Your Ideal Racing Weight
Sports nutritionist Matt Fitzgerald lets us in on his no-diet secrets that can help endurance athletes get leaner, stronger, and faster.
Dieting is for folks who are happy with any weight loss, even if it's muscle. As an endurance athlete, the only weight you should be losing is fat. "Any change in weight that doesn't help your performance is not helpful," says Fitzgerald, who notes that if an athlete simply cuts calories, they will be slashing energy needed to feed their muscles and promote recovery. "The whole point is to improve your training and racing outcomes." So instead of using the concept that you are on a "diet," think of this period as performance weight management. Instead of running on empty to lose weight, train hard and focus on the quality of your calories over the quantity.
Reset your appetite
In Racing Weight, Fitzgerald discusses eight methods to manage your appetite, none of which include counting calories. Instead of doing the math, listen to your body's signals to learn the difference between belly hunger and head hunger. Fitzgerald recommends abandoning your regular eating schedule for a weekend to train yourself to recognize true appetite. During this time, don’t eat just because you think you should, but only when you’re really hungry—and feel gastric pangs, emptiness or hollowness, and mental or physical weakness. This will reset your mentality about food, and you can adjust your regular eating schedule accordingly.