Do you know your optimal weight for racing?

Do you know what your Racing weight is and why is it important if you want to improve your race results this season?


Put very simply, your racing weight is a combination of your optimal body fat % and your weight. Your racing weight should be a sweet spot for you and determine your performance at future races.


If you’re heavier than your racing weight, you will be working unnecessarily hard. The excess fat will work against you and slow you down. If you’re too light, you might find that you’ve lost essential power and endurance. Your power to weight ratio will be maximised by finding your best race weight. To help you understand just how important your race weight is, let’s look at its impact on some of the endurance sports you might be competing in.


Let’s take the bike first. Unless you live somewhere very flat, like Holland, then it is likely you will come across a few hills when you’re out training. On a bike every extra pound you carry above your race weight makes you 15 to 20 seconds slower for each mile of a climb. If you know you are carrying a few extra pounds, it’s worth shedding the weight before buying a more expensive bike ! You need to see how much time you can gain by being lighter first…and a less expensive food bill might help pay for that bike.


If you run, the research suggests that an extra minute is added on to your Km distance per kg of body weight. Working that through, that means a whole extra 10 minutes on a 10km race finishing time for every kg you are over your racing weight.


What about swimming? Swimming is a bit more complicated because higher body fat can increase buoyancy and therefore speed (a bit like having a wetsuit on) but there’s a balance. I found some research that suggests that every extra 0.5kg of fat slows you down by 0.2s in a 50 yard swim. That means for every extra kg you are carrying you are adding 14 seconds to a one mile swim.


Depending on how much you have to lose, the time to prioritize weight loss is 4-9 weeks before you start ramping up your workouts, while you’re still building your base. You can’t maximize fitness gain and weight loss at the same time so the time to lose body fat is when you’re doing low intensity training, not when you’re doing high intensity training.


Work on losing 1-2lbs per week and no more. To do this, you need to reduce your daily calorie intake by between 200 and 500kcals per day and no more or you will risk losing muscle.


Finally, make sure you measure your body fat percentage and weight every step of the way along with your performance and energy levels. This will help you identify when you have reached that sweet spot of optimum race weight.

If you haven’t already, come and join my Facebook community Eating to Win. Here you will find like minded individuals who want to get the best results they can through optimising their nutrition.



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