Why Weight?


The subject of weight comes up daily in my life. It comes up in regards to my own training as well as the athletes that BZ coaches and rightfully so. Competitve endurance sports boils down to moving weight through space and time so the less we weigh the faster we will go. For instance, wearing lightweight racing flats in a 5K running race can save you 15 seconds.
When I started getting fit in my adult life I began as a gym rat and did all the usual strength training and no aerobic exercise and built up to a solid 170 pounds. After a year of this I had no practical application for this muscle and desired to get into running. I bought a pair of running shoes and began with 18 minute runs. I was hooked. I went into monk mode with my diet (maybe too much so) and paired down to 148 pounds in about 6-8 months. After a year of running I then began training for tri’s but it was very hard to eat so little and train frequently so I began eating more. The above picture was from 2006 (I think) and I weighed 160 pounds. To be honest I love to eat good food but also eat healthy foods. My healthy diet consisted of staying away from:
-Alcohol
-Dairy
-Fried foods
-Red meat once every 7-10 days
During 15 years of tri training I never really buckeld down to focus on losing weight in a serious fashion even knowing how much it would help with racing espeically my running, which has always been my Achilles Heel. Even through training and racing two Ironman’s I just didn’t put the time and effort into managing my diet in a strict fashion.
Four years ago I went to a largely Gluten Free/Soy Free diet and was able to manage 155-158 pounds regularly. It felt good to be lighter and also this is a KEY component to staying injury free as there is less impact on the joints. I went for five straight years of tri training without an injury.
It wasn’t until 6 weeks ago I started the discipline to focus on my diet. Starting weight was 156 (71 kilos). Funny enough this was at the same time I stopped training for tri’s to focus on bike racing. In cycling POWER TO WEIGHT RATIO (P2W) is everything. We all have a certain P2W and losing weight is one of the keys to improving P2W. So when I started 6 weeks ago I was able to produce 3.8 watts per kilo on the bike. Now after losing almost four kilos I am at 4.2 watts per kilo. To put it in perspective the Tour de France winners produce ~6.8 watts per kilo. Unreal!
What is ideal weight? Ideal weight loss can vary but generally 1-2 pounds per week is good. For me, I don’t know. In consulting with a knowledgable Italian cycling coach I could hold 66 kilos comfortably. So as I write this I have one more kilo to go. Unfortunately, as I developed in my early years my swimming background left me with a propensity for more upper body mass as opposed to those kids who grew up running and cycling. The Slovenian cyclist who recently won the Dauphine bike race in Europe is the same height as me but weighs 9 kilos less. Now that is crazy skinny but that is what his body can do.
I sat down today with an athlete who is also my height and weighs 160 pounds and has lost 20 pounds in the last six months. Bravo. He is very strict and disciplined and we calculated that by the time his goal race comes up in 15 weeks he will be comfortable at 150 pounds. This is a very healthy weight loss. We can expect his running and cycling to really excel with the combined improvements in conditioning and weight loss.
The other picture is Pro cyclist Michael Rasmussen. Dude needs a sandwich. His doping violations aside this is pretty disturbing but he has an unreal P2W ratio. In the sports arena it is unrealistic to hold tip top form and thus perfect weight all year around and most competitive athletes can time out their weight loss to peak and hold at a certain time for a certian time because it is all just numbers. You can just run the numbers you want to pinpoint what you want to weigh and when you want to weigh it.
I did not run any numbers in the last 6 weeks but just altered what I ate and when I ate it. Some of the stratgeis I use:
-Lots of fruits and vegetables to snack on instead of energy bars or cookies (love my cookies) but the fruits are less calorie dense
-Salads and soups for meals as these have less calories but are still filling
-I love my weekly pizza but had to forego it. Not fun but oh well.
-No evening bowls of cereal, once again a piece of fruit
-Lots of water
-Morning meals are complex carbies and protein, ie. granola pancakes and egg whites
-Protien shakes after a hard cycling session
-Plain old discipline

So today I am 67 kilos or 148 pounds. Because this is all numbers I can look at the Power Profile sheet here: http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articles/cycling/power-profiling.aspx and see where I fall in the range of competitive cycling.
I think it’s pretty neat.

Is there a ceiling to where I will be? Sure. But I dont know where that is. This has been a fun and challenging mental/physical test and expereience. It’s enlightening to break out of the old and try new things. I hope it all comes to fruition in the bike races. I do crave my burritos, pizza, cookies and chocolate so please don’t send me any gift baskets. Thanks for reading and good luck with you own goals!

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