Racing Weight: How to Get Lean For Peak Performance
By Matt Fitzgerald
Velopress, 2009, 288 pages, $18.95
Reviewed by Charles Kyle
Like many other books on cycling fitness, I picked up Racing Weight purely do to advertising within Velonews. I really had minimal expectation and figured that this book would layout the obvious points that many others do at each publication. The first thing that caught my attention was the second chapter entitled, “How to Determine Your Optimal Performance Weight”. Noticing that it was just a mere 21 pages from the beginning, I resisted the urge and started on page one. Unlike many other writers, Matt Fitzgerald kept my interest peaked as he explained the five steps outlined in Racing Weight. My eagerness to jump to page twenty-one was set to rest as I began highlighting information just in the introduction.
Chapter Two continued information that I have been looking for since my first cycling event over a decade ago. My calculation of what I felt would be a good “weight” was close, but the concept of %body fat and water had only been a reading that I saw on the three hundred dollar Tanika scale that sits on my bathroom floor, not something that I would train towards. Though I had to read chapter two twice, to gain a firm grasp of the concepts, I walked away with the ability to log onto TrainingPeaks and enter a season goal, based on knowledge and research, not a blind assumption on my part. I now know my BMI Goals. Notice I did not talk weight goals, why not, read Chapter Two and you too will be thinking is this manner.
Matt continues his book by articulating the five steps to achieve this Optimized Weight. The steps are simply improving your diet, balancing your energy sources, timing your nutrition, managing your appetite and training right. Though this information is sporadically found in other books, Racing Weight lays them out concisely and provides a simple means of calculation, unlike other books trying to account for the number of calories in that last Mocha. Matt’s methodology looks at food in a more holistic view, based on quality not on strictly counting. Yes, that Snicker’s has carbs but should it really be counted as part of the typical 60-20-20 carb, fat, and protein ratio?
Matt finishes off the book with a chapter showing what a professional athlete consumes, a chapter giving the recipe of some “Endurance Fuel”, and finally the obligatory appendix on some strength exercises. I am looking forward to trying some of the recipes. Matt also includes a very informative chapter on the roles of supplements, which many cyclists will find interesting.
All in all, Racing Weight is well written and a fast read. Mine is now littered with highlights, notes, and sticky flags and will become part of my daily reference library. This is necessary read for all amateur cyclists who desire to take their training and racing to the next step.