What’s your ideal body fat percentage and optimal weight for race day?
Your race weight should be a sweet spot for you and your performance at races. If you’re too heavy you will be working unnecessarily hard. The excess fat won’t work for you, it will only slow you down. If you’re too light, you may find that you’ve lost essential power and endurance as you’ve lost weight. Your power to weight ratio will be maximised by finding your best race weight.
To calculate your optimum race weight, you need to decide what your target body fat percentage is going to be based on your age. I wouldn’t recommend going any lower than 15% for women and for men no lower than 10%.
- Identify your target body fat %
2. To calculate your goal weight to reach this body fat % do the following:
- Calculate your current body fat mass (kg) to do this multiply your current weight in kg by your current body fat% expressed as a decimal e.g. 20% = 0.2
- Calculate your lean body mass (you don’t want this to change) to do this subtract your current body fat mass (kg) from your current weight (kg)
- Calculate your goal weight to do this subtract your target body fat % from 100% and express it as a decimal e.g. 80% would be 0.8. Divide your current lean body mass (kg) by this decimal to get your goal weight.
Finding the perfect race weight for you may take some trial and error. Once you have calculated your target body fat percentage and race weight, you need to monitor your performance against this weight. This can take at least a year of measuring before you spot any useful trends so be patient.
It is unlikely that you will maintain this weight all year round so it’s best to get to it & hold it just during your competitive season.
You shouldn’t worry about emerging from the off season a little cuddlier. As long as the gain isn’t too much and you eat foods which feed and nourish your body then once you start to increase your training volume and intensity, you should shed that fat reasonably easily. You don’t want to have to shed too much weight though so it’s best to limit the gain by setting a target and making sure you limit your weight gain to around 8% of your optimal racing weight.
If you want to find out more about getting to optimal race weight as well as many other aspects of endurance nutrition then come and join my Facebook community Eating to Win