I recently bought Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald:
and of course there are a multitude of diet related products, articles, shows, etc. right now. And it has me thinking about weight, athletes and Americans. Hungry Runner Girl wrote a very brave post about her battles with weight and body issues.
I have been lucky enough to never have a full blown eating disorder, but I have struggled with body issues. I think it started when I was a child and danced at a really competitive ballet school. It’s no joke when you hear about ballerinas being pressured to be thin. Americans are in such a weird place in terms of weight, I just heard that over half of adult Americans are obese (can that be true?!?). On the other hand there is tremendous pressure, especially on young women, to be ultra thin.
I don’t want to be thin I want to be healthy, strong and during race season, lean. I won’t lie that part of the motivation is to look better but mostly it is to help my body (specifically my joints) go the distance.
Soooo that leads me to wonder what my “optimal race weight” should be. According to Fitzgerald the average body percent fat for female runners is 12.4% and 7.3% for men. For triathletes the averages are 12-16% for women and 6-10% for men.
I am not an elite athlete so I think I will shoot for the high end of the range and shoot for a 16% body fat for racing season. I calculated my optimal performance weight by finding my lean body mass then dividing that number by .86. My optimal weight is 14 pounds lighter than I am now, my marathon is May 1st so that gives me four months to lose 14 pounds, that seems doable, right?
I don’t know how I will do it yet, I haven’t read that far in the book yet, but I am happy to have some help calculating a weight goal.
Do you know your race weight, do you think weight affects athletic performance?