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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.

Jumpstart your body before you start training
After the off-season but before your next training cycle, perform a four- to eight-week Quick Start. (The more weight you have to lose, the longer this period should be.) What does that mean? During this time, consume fewer calories with a higher ratio of proteins to carbs. Don’t think dieting, but monitor your intake and be mindful of your nutrition balance. Spend most of your time doing strength workouts (save the bulk of cardio for the actual training period) to build a better muscle foundation. Add in three or four fasting workouts—a long, moderate-intensity workout on an empty stomach—to allow your body to move sans bloating or digestion problems. Work in numerous short intervals at maximum intensity to burn fat fast.

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Identify your ideal weight—but be flexible
To find your ideal racing weight, you'll need to hop on a scale that also provides you with a body fat percentage. (Fitzgerald recommends using one with an athlete setting, in order to get the most accurate numbers.) After you have found your weight, calculate your Lean Body Mass by subtracting your current body-fat percentage from 100 percent, then multiply that number by your current weight. Then, to get your Optimal Body Weight, divide your Lean Body Mass by your Optimal Lean Body-Mass percentage for what you would like your body-fat percentage to be. "Don't treat this number as gospel," Fitzgerald warns. "This gives you a number to put out there and even if it is off in the end, it makes you focus your effort and helps you be more disciplined in pursuing your ideal racing weight."

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