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.
Score your daily food intake
"If you are only going to make one change for the sake of pursuing your ideal racing weight," Fitzgerald says, "improving your overall nutrition would be the very first thing you should do." Fitzgerald has turned eating healthy into a game where each day ends with a Diet Quality Score. The idea is simple — add more high quality foods to your diet (fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish, nuts and seeds, whole grain, and dairy), and stay away from low quality foods (refined grains, sweets, fried foods, and fatty proteins, such as bacon, beef ribs, or bologna). "You are automatically taking in fewer calories simply because you have increased the number of high quality foods in your diet," he says. (Racing Weight discusses in depth how to score what you eat.)
Eat at the right times during the day
When you eat can be just as important as what you eat. Fitzgerald lists seven rules to follow, but he says the most crucial thing is to keep a consistent schedule, which helps stabilize energy partitioning, promotes immediate energy use, and maintains muscle strength. You should also eat early in the day and throughout the day, which reduces your overall appetite and keeps hunger at bay. Always eat within two hours after exercise (protein, carbs, and plenty of water) to help with recovery and promote fat burning.
Track and test your progress
Fitzgerald recommends weighing yourself once a week and measuring your body fat every four weeks. As you work out and lose weight, you’ll note improvements in your times and feel better after you’re done. At the first week mark and four week mark, test your performance with the same, super tough workout to compare your progress. This will help you see how decreasing your weight and body fat boosts your performance.