Competitor.com » Racing Weight http://running.competitor.com Your Online Source for Running Fri, 31 Oct 2014 20:25:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Should Runners Supplement For Weight Loss? http://running.competitor.com/2014/08/nutrition/should-runners-supplement-for-weight-loss_18256 http://running.competitor.com/2014/08/nutrition/should-runners-supplement-for-weight-loss_18256#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 19:25:15 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=18256

Some supplements on the market do exactly what they claim to do. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Weight loss may never be as easy as taking a pill, but a few supplements can help you shed fat a bit more easily.

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Some supplements on the market do exactly what they claim to do. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Weight loss may never be as easy as taking a pill, but a few supplements can help you shed fat a bit more easily.

If any of the dozens of different kinds of weight-loss supplements on the market worked — I mean really worked — then two-thirds of American adults would not be overweight or obese. It’s that simple. When any type of supplement lives up to its promises, it does not remain a secret or a marginal product that consumers cycle on and off as wave after wave of suckers falls for the testimonials, fake science and celebrity endorsements, discovers it doesn’t do anything, and moves on.

That’s why nearly every weightlifter takes creatine. It works and everyone knows it. But as much as you might hope to discover some supplement out there that makes weight management easy, there is no creatine equivalent in the weight-loss market. In fact, the more you look to or rely on supplements for weight loss, the less likely it is that you will succeed in losing weight, not only because every product you try will fail to meet your expectations, but also because your “magic bullet” mentality will distract you from the measures that really work: eating healthy, training consistently, avoiding overeating, and so forth.

That said, I do believe there are a few supplements that runners seeking weight loss should consider taking. It’s a short list, but some products can slightly enhance the results you get from the measures mentioned above in certain circumstances. These supplements are not magic bullets, nor are they necessary for the achievement of one’s ideal racing weight; however each is worth considering.

Calcium

Calcium plays a rule in regulating a hormone that influences body fat storage. Studies have shown that inadequate calcium intake increases the risk of overweight and that individuals who do not get enough calcium in their diet tend to lose weight when they increase their calcium intake. Adults should aim to get at least 1000 mg of calcium daily. Pregnant and postmenopausal women need 1500 mg.

Creatine

While it’s generally considered a muscle-building supplement and is mostly used by athletes in strength and speed sports, creatine can be useful to endurance athletes seeking to improve their body composition. Research has shown that creatine supplementation enhances improvements in body composition that result from weightlifting. So you might want to consider taking creatine at times when you are prioritizing strength building, as every runner should do during “offseason” breaks between race-focused training cycles.

RELATED: 7 Supplements That Improve Endurance

Fiber

Fiber takes up space in the stomach and promotes satiety without actually contributing any calories to the body’s metabolism. Naturally high-fiber foods, such as vegetables, therefore provide more fullness per calorie than other foods. Men and women who maintain high-fiber diets tend to be leaner than those who don’t get much fiber.

Most American adults fail to meet their dietary fiber requirement of 14 grams per 1,000 calories. While it’s best to get all the fiber you need from whole foods, a fiber supplement is an acceptable way to make up for any shortfall. Studies have shown that fiber supplementation causes weight loss in obese individuals. It’s not likely to have such a large effect in the typical triathlete, but it may yield a small benefit.

Green Tea Extract

Green tea contains a class of antioxidants known as catechins that, among other effects, increase fat burning. Studies show that green tea extract slightly increases fat loss resulting from a reduced-calorie diet. This effect alone wouldn’t be sufficient to make supplementation worth considering for most triathletes, but since catechins have other benefits, including improved cardiovascular healthy, you might want to try a green tea extract supplement — or just start drinking green tea!

RELATED: 10 Essental Foods For Runners

Whey Protein

Studies have shown that a high-protein diet, where roughly 30 percent of daily calories come from protein, promotes fat loss by reducing appetite. Getting 30 percent of your calories from protein is not easy without eating a lot of meat and/or fish unless you supplement. Whey protein supplements allow one to maintain a high-protein diet in a healthier and more calorie-efficient way than gorging on flesh all day.

A 30 percent protein diet is generally not advisable year-round for runners, because it necessarily limits carbohydrate intake, and a high-carbohydrate diet is needed to support heavy training loads. It’s best to increase protein intake to this level during the off-season, when endurance training is reduced.

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About The Author:

Matt Fitzgerald is the author of numerous books, including Racing Weight: How To Get Lean For Peak Performance (VeloPress, 2012). He is also a Training Intelligence Specialist for PEAR Sports. To learn more about Matt visit www.mattfitzgerald.org.

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The Benefits Of Eating A Big Breakfast http://running.competitor.com/2014/05/video/racing-weight-the-benefits-of-eating-a-big-breakfast_32163 http://running.competitor.com/2014/05/video/racing-weight-the-benefits-of-eating-a-big-breakfast_32163#comments Fri, 16 May 2014 17:00:21 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=32163

Matt Fitzgerald discusses the importance of breakfast in an endurance athlete's diet.

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In this video, Racing Weight author Matt Fitzgerald discusses the importance of breakfast in an endurance athlete’s diet. Studies have shown that athletes who eat a substantial breakfast tend to be leaner than those who typically skip it.

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Racing Weight: The Myth Of Frequent Eating http://running.competitor.com/2014/04/video/racing-weight-the-myth-of-frequent-eating_12394 http://running.competitor.com/2014/04/video/racing-weight-the-myth-of-frequent-eating_12394#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:00:48 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=12394

Click on the image to watch video.

Eating frequently won't boost your metabolism, but it can reduce your appetite.

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In this video Racing Weight author Matt Fitzgerald dispels the myth that eating frequently boosts your metabolism, but explains how consuming small meals throughout the day tends to reduce your appetite, thus allowing you to stay lean and perform well.

RELATED: Five Tips For Training Your Tummy

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Racing Weight: Are You Really ‘Lean Enough?’ http://running.competitor.com/2014/04/nutrition/racing-weight-are-you-really-lean-enough_30332 http://running.competitor.com/2014/04/nutrition/racing-weight-are-you-really-lean-enough_30332#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 16:00:19 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=30332

Healthy eating leads to leaner runners, which equals faster times. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Everyone knows it's important to be lean if you want to run fast. But how important is it?

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Healthy eating leads to leaner runners, which equals faster times. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Everyone knows it’s important to be lean if you want to run fast. But how important is it?

A couple years ago, Swiss exercise scientists focused their attention on 42 recreational female runners who participated in a half marathon. They quizzed the runners on their training habits and took various anthropometric measurements, and then attempted to correlate this data with their race finish times.

The researchers found that body fat percentage was among the best predictors of race finish times — an even better predictor than training volume. This finding isn’t too surprising. We all know that being lean is critical to running performance. We also know that fitness is critical to running performance, and as fitness goes up, body fat percentage tends to come down. Among recreational runners, there tend to be large differences in leanness, and it’s only to be expected that the leanest recreational runners will perform best in races.

Among elite-level runners it’s a different story. All elite runners are very lean, and the small differences in body fat percentages have little correlation with differences in performance. Within the special population of elite runners, it’s small differences in VO2 max, maximum speed, and running economy that determine who wins and who loses.

RELATED: Are You Eating Enough Fiber?

Except that nothing I said in the previous paragraph is true. Believe it or not, differences in body fat percentage predict races times as well in elite runners as they do among recreational female runners. This was shown in a 2009 study involving 24 elite runners in Ethiopia. Skinfold measurements were used to estimate body fat percentage in 12 male and 12 female athletes. These estimates were then compared to the runners’ individual race performances. The researchers found an 80 percent correlation between skinfold measurements and race times in the men and a 78 percent correspondence in the women. All of these runners were very lean and very light, but the leanest among them were the fastest.

At every level of the sport, leanness is as important as aerobic capacity, speed, and running economy. And even at the elite level, it seems, some runners could get faster by getting leaner. A good case in point is Chris Solinsky, who made a quantum leap in performance a few years back when he set the then American record for 10,000m (26:59.60, which has since been bettered by Galen Rupp) and lowered his 5000m PR from 13:18.41 to 12:55.53. That leap coincided with a visible leaning out that was widely commented on at the time. While it’s impossible to separate the direct effect of Solinsky’s fat loss from those of the training that contributed to the fat loss on his performance, I think it’s reasonable to speculate that the fat loss did have a direct effect.

Many high-level runners who look very lean assume they are “lean enough,” but there is cause to believe that some of these runners could perform better by getting even leaner. What is certain is that leanness is critical enough to performance that every serious runner should monitor his body fat percentage as closely as he monitors his training.

RELATED: Are Supplements Necessary For Weight Loss?

Naturally, there are right and wrong ways to get leaner. Eating too little is definitely the wrong way. Not only will it fail to make you leaner by causing you to lose muscle along with (or even to some degree instead of) fat, but it will also sabotage your training by leaving your muscles under-fueled for maximum performance. The right ways to get leaner are to sensibly increase training volume, add more high-intensity running to your training, lift weights, and clean up your diet.

The last of these measures probably has the greatest potential to yield results in most cases. A lot of runners think they’re “lean enough” when they actually aren’t because they assume their diet is “good enough” when it’s actually not. If you look closely at your diet, you will probably find some flab that is very likely keeping a little extra flab on your body. Even small improvements could yield a small reduction in your measured body fat percentage, which may in turn result in your own Solinsky-style breakthrough.

More Racing Weight from Competitor.com.

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About The Author:

Matt Fitzgerald is the author of numerous books, including Racing Weight: How To Get Lean For Peak Performance (VeloPress, 2012). He is also a Training Intelligence Specialist for PEAR Sports. To learn more about Matt visit www.mattfitzgerald.org.

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How To Rid Yourself Of The See Food Diet http://running.competitor.com/2014/03/nutrition/are-you-on-the-see-food-diet_11709 http://running.competitor.com/2014/03/nutrition/are-you-on-the-see-food-diet_11709#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 19:23:51 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=11709

Ditch the huge dinner plates and go with a smaller option, writes Matt Fitzgerald. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

The first step in controlling your eating is acknowledging that you can't.

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Ditch the huge dinner plates and go with a smaller option, writes Matt Fitzgerald. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

The first step in controlling your eating is acknowledging that you can’t.

We’ve all heard this one: “I’m on the see food diet. When I see food, I eat it.”

It’s a mildly amusing joke the first time you hear it, but what’s not funny is the fact that, in a sense, all of us are on the see food diet, and it’s one of the reasons weight management is so difficult for many of us.

Research has consistently shown that people are unable to resist temptations and inducements to eat. When presented with delectable foods at times when we are not hungry, we usually eat them. When served larger portions than we need to satisfy our appetite, we usually clear our plate anyway. And commercial advertising that tries to make us crave junk food usually succeeds.

For example, the results of a Cornell University study suggest that people eat more when they place serving dishes on the same table they eat from. In the study, lead researcher Brian Wansink and colleagues had subjects eat the same foods in two different circumstances. In one circumstance they served themselves from dishes that sat in front of them on a table and then ate at that same table. In a second circumstance they served themselves at a counter and then took their plates to a table where they ate without the temptation of additional food in front of them. In both circumstances the subjects were instructed to eat as much or as little as they liked. Guess what? Women ate 20 percent less and men 29 percent less when they ate without serving dishes in front of them.

When we see food, we eat it.

Wansink’s “serve here, eat there” study is only the latest in a long line of studies through which he has shown that we are puppets and environmental food cues are the puppeteers. My favorite is his famous self-refilling soup bowls study. Fifty-four subjects were invited to enjoy a bowl of soup, eating as much or as little as they liked. Half of the bowls were outfitted with a device that slowly and imperceptibly refilled them with soup as the subjects ate. On average, the subjects eating from the self-refilling bowls ate 73 percent more soup than the others without realizing it and without feeling any more full afterward.

So, you’re a puppet. I’m a puppet. We’re all puppets. What can we do about it? A lot, actually. There are all kinds of simple ways to avoid temptations to overeat or eat the wrongs things. Here’s a few suggestions.

RELATED: Why Counting Calories Makes Sense

Use Small Plates And Bowls

Put away the vast serving platters you use as dinner plates (I’m exaggerating) and eat your pierogies off an appetizer plate instead. Stop eating your Cheerios out of those huge mixing bowls (I’m still exaggerating) and start eating them out of a small salad bowl.

The idea here is not to go hungry but to eat from the small dishes that will fit enough food to satisfy your appetite, as research shows that when we use larger dishes we automatically eat more.

Clean Out Your Cupboards

My sister in law is a nutritionist, and one of the first things she does with new clients is visit their homes and empty their cupboards and refrigerators of all the junk. When both junk and healthy food are available in your kitchen you will eat the junk first. I cured my potato chips-eating habit by begging my wife to stop bringing bags of potato chips home from the store. Try it!

Order Small Portions

Many restaurants these days serve huge portions. Remember, you’re a puppet. If you are served more than you need at a restaurant, you will eat it. Ask about portion sizes before ordering and request half portions when appropriate to avoid overeating.

RELATED: Do You Know Your Diet Quality Score?

Keep Fruit Visible

Another study by Brian Wansink found that subjects ate more fruit when it was kept in a highly visible place on the kitchen table. Do that.

Travel With Healthy Snacks

You never know when you’re going to be out and about, taking care of business, and then suddenly and unexpectedly discover that you’re ravenous just as you’re passing by a Burger King. To avoid becoming hungry when the nearest foods are cheeseburgers and fries, get in the habit of having healthy snacks (dried fruit, real-food snack bars, homemade beef jerky) handy wherever you go. Stash them in your car, at your office, and in your airplane carry-on bag.

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About The Author:

Matt Fitzgerald is the author of numerous books, including Racing Weight: How To Get Lean For Peak Performance (VeloPress, 2012). He is also a Training Intelligence Specialist for PEAR Sports. To learn more about Matt visit www.mattfitzgerald.org.

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Racing Weight: Why Counting Calories Makes Sense http://running.competitor.com/2014/02/video/racing-weight-why-counting-calories-makes-sense_31635 http://running.competitor.com/2014/02/video/racing-weight-why-counting-calories-makes-sense_31635#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 18:24:38 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=31635

Nutrition expert Matt Fitzgerald discusses the pros, cons, whys and hows of counting calories for endurance athletes.

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In this video, Matt Fitzgerald, nutrition expert and author of Racing Weight, discusses the pros, cons, whys and hows of counting calories for endurance athletes.

RELATED: Want to lose weight? Then get serious!

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Racing Weight Recipes: Winner’s Circle Yogurt http://running.competitor.com/2014/01/nutrition/racing-weight-recipes-winners-circle-yogurt_93741 http://running.competitor.com/2014/01/nutrition/racing-weight-recipes-winners-circle-yogurt_93741#comments Tue, 21 Jan 2014 17:28:52 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=93741

Photo: Peter Bagi, courtesy VeloPress

There's no excuse for skipping breakfast.

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Photo: Peter Bagi, courtesy VeloPress

There’s no excuse for skipping breakfast.

No time to cook?

That’s no excuse for skipping breakfast. A base of plain yogurt provides protein and calcium. Add whole-grain cereal, an important source of complex carbohydrates and fiber. Top it off with fruit for sweetness and flavor and nuts or seeds for minerals, healthy fat, and a good crunch.

PLAIN YOGURT Try Greek yogurt for higher protein.
WHOLE-GRAIN CEREAL Original or Multigrain Cheerios, Kashi GOLEAN, Fiber One, Total Whole Grain, or Wheaties
FRUIT Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, or peaches
NUTS Almonds, walnuts, or pecans
SEEDS Chia, ground flaxseed, or pumpkin seeds

 

Start with a bowl of yogurt and add your favorite things for a high-quality breakfast.

MORE RECIPES:

Eggs 3 Ways

5-Minute Burrito

TIP: If you like to mix it all together but want the cereal to stay crunchy, stir the nuts, seeds, and fruit into your yogurt, then add the cereal on top.

Republished with permission of VeloPress from Racing Weight Cookbook. Try more recipes at racingweightcookbook.com.

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Racing Weight: How Much Should You Weigh? http://running.competitor.com/2014/01/nutrition/racing-weight-how-much-should-you-weigh_14665 http://running.competitor.com/2014/01/nutrition/racing-weight-how-much-should-you-weigh_14665#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2014 19:42:52 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=14665

The ideal racing weight is different for everyone, depending on a variety of factors. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Here’s a rough 'n' ready method to estimate your ideal racing weight.

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The ideal racing weight is different for everyone, depending on a variety of factors. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Here’s a rough ‘n’ ready method to estimate your ideal racing weight.

Every runner knows that body weight affects running performance. Because your body must overcome the force of gravity with every stride, the heavier you are, the higher is the energy cost of running at any given pace. One study found that every 5 percent of added body weight reduced running performance by 5 percent.

All runners perform best when they are near the bottom of their healthy weight range. There is such a thing as being too light, of course. You won’t run well if you’re undernourished or if you don’t have enough body fat to support basic health. Nor is being at your ideal racing weight a guarantee of successful racing. There’s also a little factor called fitness that plays an important role. But assuming you’re fit, you will generally have your best races when you’re about as light as you can be without compromising your health.

Your ideal racing weight is determined primarily by your body fat level. There’s not much you can do about the other sources of mass in your body: bone, muscle, water, etc. No matter how hard you train or how carefully you eat, all of that weight will stay. It’s excess body fat that accounts for the difference between current weight and ideal racing weight in most runners, and thus it’s fat mass that you must lose to attain your ideal racing weight.

So, what is your ideal racing weight? Given the fact that body fat is the primary determinant of ideal racing weight, the best way to estimate it is to calculate how much you will weigh when you’ve reduced your body fat percentage to the optimal level. Optimal body fat percentage is not the same for everyone. There are many factors that affect how lean an individual runner can become. These include gender, age, genetics, and history of being overweight. However, even runners who have all of these factors working against them can get fairly lean.

RELATED: Should You Supplement For Weight Loss?

This table presents optimal racing weight body fat percentage ranges for different gender and age groups of runners. Most runners can expect to get their body fat percentage down within the range associated with their gender and age group through proper training and diet.

You can expect to reach the lower limit of your ideal range only if you typically lose weight fairly easily, you have never been seriously overweight, and you are willing and able to maintain a high training volume. If your current body fat percentage is well above your optimal range, you should aim only to reach the upper limit of that range initially through increased training and improvements in diet.

Estimating the body fat percentage you can realistically expect to attain at your peak fitness level is not an exact science. Just use common sense and the considerations I named above to make an educated guess for yourself. Also bear in mind that the further you are from your peak fitness level currently and the more room for improvement your diet has, the more you can expect to lower your body fat percentage.

The final step in determining your racing weight is to calculate how much fat weight you will have to lose to get down to your goal body fat percentage. Let’s look at how to do this with the example of a 38-year-old female who currently weighs 140 pounds and has 22 percent body fat and who sets an initial goal of getting down to 17 percent body fat (the upper limit of her ideal range) through improved training and diet.

RELATED: What’s The Best Diet For You?

Step 1: Calculate current body fat mass. Body fat mass = current weight x current body fat percentage expressed in decimal form. In this example: 140 lbs x 0.22 = 30.8 lbs.

Step 2: Calculate current lean body mass. Lean body mass = current weight – fat mass. In this example: 140 lbs – 30.8 lbs = 109.2 lbs.

Step 3: Calculate goal weight. Goal weight = current lean body mass ÷ goal lean body mass percentage. (Note: goal lean body mass percentage is 1.0 – your goal body fat percentage expressed in decimal form.) In this example: 109.2 lbs ÷ 0.83 = 131.5 lbs. Ta-da!

For a more complete description of this method and a step-by-step program to reach your ideal racing weight, check out The Racing Weight Quick Start Guide.

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About The Author:

Matt Fitzgerald is the author of numerous books, including Racing Weight: How To Get Lean For Peak Performance (VeloPress, 2012). He is also a Training Intelligence Specialist for PEAR Sports. To learn more about Matt visit www.mattfitzgerald.org.

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Racing Weight Recipes: Lean Turkey Burgers http://running.competitor.com/2014/01/nutrition/racing-weight-recipes-lean-turkey-burgers_93295 http://running.competitor.com/2014/01/nutrition/racing-weight-recipes-lean-turkey-burgers_93295#comments Tue, 14 Jan 2014 18:29:18 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=93295

Photo: Peter Bagi, courtesy VeloPress

4 Servings / 20 Minutes Recipe profile: High protein Lean meats often make for a dry, tasteless burger, but fattier meat doesn’t give you

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Photo: Peter Bagi, courtesy VeloPress

4 Servings / 20 Minutes

Recipe profile: High protein

Lean meats often make for a dry, tasteless burger, but fattier meat doesn’t give you the high quality you want for your diet. The solution: Add moisture with grated vegetables. The result is a flavorful burger without the extra fat and calories.

Ingredients

4 white button mushrooms
1 medium zucchini
1/3 cup sweet onion, minced
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 pounds 99% lean ground turkey breast
cooking spray

RELATED: Eggs 3 Ways

Directions

— Using a box grater, finely grate mushrooms and zucchini into a large bowl. Mince onion and parsley, and add to bowl. Add salt and pepper, and gently mix in turkey until mixture is uniform. Form into 4 patties.
— Lightly coat a large nonstick pan with cooking spray and heat over medium flame. When hot, add turkey patties and cook for 5–6 minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Per serving: 177 calories, 1 g fat, 3 g total carbohydrate, 1 g dietary fiber, 35 g protein

+ Carbs: To add carbs, serve on a whole-wheat bun for 34 g total carbohydrate.

DQs Count (per serving) Lean Meats & Fish 1

Republished with permission of VeloPress from Racing Weight Cookbook. Try more recipes at racingweightcookbook.com.

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Racing Weight Recipes: Eggs 3 Ways http://running.competitor.com/2014/01/nutrition/racing-weight-recipes-eggs-3-ways_93188 http://running.competitor.com/2014/01/nutrition/racing-weight-recipes-eggs-3-ways_93188#comments Mon, 13 Jan 2014 16:51:03 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=93188

Fried eggs. Photo: Peter Bagi, courtesy VeloPress

Try any or all of these delicious methods of cooking this breakfast staple.

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Fried eggs. Photo: Peter Bagi, courtesy VeloPress


Try any or all of these delicious methods of cooking this breakfast staple.

Scrambled Eggs

1 Serving / 5 Minutes

Ingredients
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions
1. Whisk eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a bowl with a wire whisk or fork.
2. Place oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat for 60–90 seconds. A drop of water should sizzle in the pan when hot enough.
3. Pour in eggs and reduce heat to low. As eggs begin to set, gently move a spatula around the pan to form large, soft curds. Cook until eggs are no longer runny but not dry.

Per serving: 178 calories, 12 g fat, 0 g total carbohydrate, 0 g dietary fiber, 13 g protein

DQs Count (per serving): Lean Meats & Fish 1

Tip: Whenever you work with a nonstick pan, as we recommend for all three of these dishes, make sure to use a heat-resistant silicone, plastic, or rubber spatula. Metal utensils can damage the pan’s nonstick coating.

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Racing Weight Recipes: Wasabi Meatballs http://running.competitor.com/2014/01/nutrition/racing-weight-recipes-wasabi-meatballs_93057 http://running.competitor.com/2014/01/nutrition/racing-weight-recipes-wasabi-meatballs_93057#comments Fri, 10 Jan 2014 17:45:07 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=93057

Try this tasty take on meatballs at your next family gathering.

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4 SERVINGS (8 MEATBALLS) | 30 MINUTES

Recipe Profile: High Protein

Ingredients

1 pound 96% lean ground beef
3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 tablespoon prepared wasabi paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

RELATED: 5-Minute Burrito

Directions

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Form meat mixture into 32 1-inch meatballs, 1/2 ounce each.
2. Place meatballs in a single layer in a large nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, to brown outsides.
3. Cover skillet and reduce heat to low, cooking for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Per serving: 157 calories, 5 g fat, 3 g total carbohydrate, 1 g dietary fiber, 24 g protein

DQS COUNT (per serving) LEAN MEATS & FISH 1

Republished with permission of VeloPress from Racing Weight Cookbook. Try more recipes at www.racingweightcookbook.com.

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5 Tips For Limiting Holiday Weight Gain http://running.competitor.com/2013/12/nutrition/5-tips-for-limiting-holiday-weight-gain_18008 http://running.competitor.com/2013/12/nutrition/5-tips-for-limiting-holiday-weight-gain_18008#comments Sun, 22 Dec 2013 17:55:14 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=18008

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Use these tips to balance holiday enjoyment with your needs as an athlete.

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Use these tips to balance holiday enjoyment with your needs as an athlete.

It’s often said that the average person gains five pounds during the six-week period from Thanksgiving week to New Year’s Day. Actually, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the average person gains only one pound over the holidays—but never loses it. So, for the typical American, 20 years of turkey dinners, office holiday parties, and New Year’s Eve toasts add up to 20 pounds of lard around the middle. You don’t want that!

RELATED: The Dos and Don’ts of Holiday Eating

The holiday season coincides with the off-season for most runners. Training is typically reduced at this time, which further increases the likelihood of weight gain. In fact, for the runner who enters the holiday/off-season at a very high level of fitness, a certain amount of weight gain is unavoidable. But what you want to avoid is the common problem of gaining entirely too much body fat at this time of year, which will sabotage your efforts to take your racing performance to a new level next year.

The five tips on the following pages will help you avoid excessive weight gain this holiday/off-season.

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Racing Weight Recipes: 5-Minute Burrito http://running.competitor.com/2013/12/nutrition/racing-weight-recipes-5-minute-burrito_91549 http://running.competitor.com/2013/12/nutrition/racing-weight-recipes-5-minute-burrito_91549#comments Tue, 17 Dec 2013 16:09:28 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=91549

This souped-up version of a burrito contains 460 calories and 13 grams of protein. Photo: Peter Bagi, courtesy VeloPress

Try this healthy version of a burrito for a quick meal.

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This souped-up version of a burrito contains 460 calories and 13 grams of protein. Photo: Peter Bagi, courtesy VeloPress

Try this healthy version of a burrito for a quick meal.

Once you’ve ventured into the frozen-foods aisle, it’s easy to think there’s no hope for a nutritious meal. Not so! A good-quality frozen meal or burrito can be made even better with some quick additions. Start with a product containing whole-food ingredients that you can pronounce, and with no trans fats. We recommend brands such as Amy’s Kitchen or Kashi, which make great-tasting and healthy all-natural frozen foods. Try to find a product with at least 15 grams of protein.

We made this burrito into a completely nutritious meal in just 5 minutes.

Ingredients

— 1 Amy’s bean and cheese burrito

— 2 plum tomatoes

— 1/2 avocado

— 2 tablespoons salsa

RELATED: Spruce Up Your Meals With Frozen Foods

Directions

Remove plastic wrap from burrito. Wrap burrito loosely in paper towel, place in microwave, and heat for 2–2½ minutes or until hot.

While burrito is cooking, quarter tomatoes and cut avocado in half. Scoop avocado flesh out of the skin with a spoon. (Refrigerate leftover avocado in plastic bag.)

When burrito is heated through, transfer it to the plate and add tomatoes, avocado, and salsa.

Per serving: 460 calories, 20 g fat, 60 g total carbohydrate, 13 g dietary fiber, 13 g protein

TIP: If your favorite burrito is short on protein, consider adding a hard-boiled egg, canned tuna, or cottage cheese as a side to bump up the protein.

Republished with permission of VeloPress from Racing Weight Cookbook. Try more recipes at www.racingweightcookbook.com.

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Racing Weight: The Compensation Effect http://running.competitor.com/2013/04/video/racing-weight-the-compensation-effect_12230 http://running.competitor.com/2013/04/video/racing-weight-the-compensation-effect_12230#comments Tue, 30 Apr 2013 06:11:55 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=12230

Racing Weight author Matt Fitzgerald tells us how to compensate for the effect of training on our appetite. MORE: Why Counting Calories

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Racing Weight author Matt Fitzgerald tells us how to compensate for the effect of training on our appetite.

MORE: Why Counting Calories Makes Sense

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Racing Weight: Beverage Consumption And Weight Management http://running.competitor.com/2013/04/video/racing-weight-beverage-consumption-and-weight-management_12043 http://running.competitor.com/2013/04/video/racing-weight-beverage-consumption-and-weight-management_12043#comments Tue, 23 Apr 2013 16:03:14 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=12043

cutting wasteful beverage calories from your diet is one of the easiest and most effective ways to manage your overall caloric intake

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Racing Weight author Matt Fitzgerald explains how cutting wasteful beverage calories from your diet is one of the easiest and most effective ways to manage your overall caloric intake and get lean for peak performance.

RELATED: Are sports drinks making you fat?

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Racing Weight: The 8 Percent Rule http://running.competitor.com/2013/04/video/racing-weight-the-8-percent-rule_11823 http://running.competitor.com/2013/04/video/racing-weight-the-8-percent-rule_11823#comments Mon, 15 Apr 2013 16:00:05 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=11823

Racing Weight author Matt Fitzgerald says it's okay to gain a little weight--a little--in the off-season.

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Racing Weight author Matt Fitzgerald says it’s okay to gain a little weight–a little–in the off-season.

More Racing Weight: The Benefits Of Eating A Big Breakfast

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Racing Weight: Training To Be Lean http://running.competitor.com/2012/11/video/racing-weight-training-to-be-lean_12551 http://running.competitor.com/2012/11/video/racing-weight-training-to-be-lean_12551#comments Thu, 15 Nov 2012 16:57:20 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=12551

The point of getting leaner is to enhance race performance; getting lean is not an end in itself,

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The point of getting leaner is to enhance race performance; getting lean is not an end in itself, advises Racing Weight author Matt Fitzgerald. In this video learn how proper training can help you get lean for peak performance.

More Racing Weight: The 8% Rule

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Racing Weight: Beware The Weekend Binge http://running.competitor.com/2011/08/racing-weight/racing-weight-beware-the-weekend-binge_35777 http://running.competitor.com/2011/08/racing-weight/racing-weight-beware-the-weekend-binge_35777#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2011 15:36:52 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2011/08/nutrition/racing-weight-beware-the-weekend-binge_37229 Don't reverse a week’s worth of progress over the weekend.

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Don’t reverse a week’s worth of progress over the weekend.

Written by: Matt Fitzgerald

Dieters often dread the Monday weigh-in. On any other day they look forward to stepping on the bathroom scale in the morning. But Mondays are different. All too typically, Monday’s number is larger than Friday’s. A week’s worth of progress toward their body weight goal has been reversed over the weekend.

Studies confirm what dieters experience. A 2008 study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that men and women on a one-year weight-loss program lost weight during the workweek but not on weekends because they binged. While they succeeded in losing 8 percent of their body weight on average by the end of the year, it was estimated they would have lost almost twice as much weight if they had eaten consistently seven days a week.

The problem is not that we tend to eat more of the same foods on the weekends. Rather, we indulge in foods and drinks that we don’t consume during the week: buttered popcorn at the movie theater, a couple of cocktails with a heavy restaurant dinner, and so forth.

What makes runners and triathletes different from dieters is that they do a lot of exercise, and typically do the most exercise on Saturday and Sunday. Because they burn the most calories on the weekend, runners and triathletes often assume it’s OK for them to relax their normal dietary standards and eat whatever they feel like having. The catch is that it’s all too easy to overcompensate.

Suppose you normally run for 45 minutes on Wednesdays and 75 minutes on Saturdays. Those extra 30 minutes will burn an extra 300-400 calories, or thereabouts. Now suppose you reward yourself with a bowl of ice cream after lunch and two glasses of wine with dinner. Those indulges will add about 600 calories to your normal intake. Not good.

How can you avoid letting weekends sabotage your effort to attain your optimal racing weight? Two ways.

Be Aware

Weight management is a numbers game. To lose weight, you need to take in fewer calories than your body burns each day. And to do that, it’s helpful to know how many calories you’re consuming and burning. Next weekend, use online food calorie resources such as Calorieking.com and online calorie burn calculators such as Caloriesperhour.com to determine if you are in fact taking in more calories than you’re burning over the weekend. If you are, make some adjusts to your food choices to put the totals in a more favorable balance.

Spread Out Your Treats

It’s not that you can’t have the occasional treat such as a bowl of ice cream or a glass of wine. You just need to avoid packing them all into two days of the week. Research shows that the most successful weight managers eat most consistently throughout the week. To improve your dietary consistency, follow the one-in-10 rule: Allow one of every 10 foods or beverages you consume to be whatever you want, whether it’s Wednesday or Saturday.

[sig:MattFitzgerald]

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Racing Weight: Keep It Simple http://running.competitor.com/2011/03/racing-weight/racing-weight-keep-it-simple_23074 http://running.competitor.com/2011/03/racing-weight/racing-weight-keep-it-simple_23074#comments Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:58:14 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=23074

Research shows simplicity is a virtue in the matter of weight management.

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Research shows simplicity is a virtue in the matter of weight management.

Written by: Matt Fitzgerald

Several months ago a friend of mine purchased the Food Lovers Fat Loss system, an expensive kit of slickly packaged books and CDs and DVDs that deliver a weight-loss program based on the concept of food combining. Not only did the sheer volume of material in the kit seem totally overwhelming to me when I looked it over, but the underlying food combining concept—the idea that the key to weight-loss is eating certain types of foods together—also struck me as rather abstruse.

I didn’t want to undercut my friend’s enthusiasm for the program, so I kept my reservations to myself, but I did not expect her to stick with it very long and she did not. It was just too complex.

Research has shown that simplicity is a virtue in the matter of weight management. Those who lose weight successfully tend to focus on fewer rules than those who fail in their weight-loss efforts.

For example, in a 2010 study, American and German psychologists compared the perceived complexity and adherence rates of two diet programs—Brigitte, a simple German plan consisting of readymade meal plans, and Weight Watchers, a complicated plan based on a points system. Three-hundred ninety women currently following one program or the other were surveyed at the beginning, middle, and end of an eight-week period. The researchers found that, the more complex a dieter perceived her plan to be, the more likely she was to give it up before the end of the eight-week period.

If there were truly only one right way to eat for health, performance, and weight management, it wouldn’t matter how simple or complicated the rules were. You’d just have to do it. But in fact there are many different healthy diets. Vegetarian, Mediterranean, low-fat, “primitive”, and various other diets have been validated by scientific research. It’s not only the food that matters, however. As the study described above demonstrates, how you perceive the dietary rules you live by is also important. So instead of trying to figure out which diet is the absolute best, choose a diet from among the many healthy options that seems especially “doable” to you.

It doesn’t even have to be a diet per se. Studies have shown that a majority of the most successful dieters—those who have maintained a weight loss of at least 30 pounds for at least one year—do not follow formal diet plans. Instead, they choose a small handful of their own rules and heed them consistently. The typical runner knows enough about nutrition—and enough about himself or herself—to set sensible rules.

Here, for example, are the main rules that govern my current eating habits:

1.   At least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

2.   No sweets except a bit of dark chocolate, except for the occasional treat.

3.   No beverages with calories except for my evening glass of beer.

4.   Whole grains instead of refined grains whenever possible.

These few rules help me keep my weight in check because they address the specific dietary mistakes that had previously caused my weight to creep upward, and in a way that I find sustainable. But you might find that a completely different set of rules works for you. Here’s an example of an alternative set of rules that might work especially well for someone whose primary dietary mistake is overeating:

1.   Six meals and snacks per day.

2.   Stop eating when satisfied, not full.

3.   Protein with every meal and sack (to manage appetite).

Interestingly, research has also shown that successful dieters tend to eat a smaller variety of foods than the average person. While we’re used to thinking of dietary variety as a virtue (and it is), using repetition sensibly in your diet is another way to take advantage of simplicity in the effort to control your body weight. As long as you include a good balance and variety of foods within the day, it’s OK to eat more or less the same foods every day.

Weight management is difficult for most of us, no matter what. That’s because it requires resisting some foods we like that promote weight gain and also resisting the urge to overeat. Nothing can be done about these requirements. So don’t make weight management any more difficult than it has to be with a complicated diet. Keep it simple.

[sgi:MattFitzgerald]

Check out Matt’s latest book, Racing Weight Quick Start Guide: A 4-Week Weight-Loss Plan for Endurance Athletes.

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Start 2011 With Quick Weight Loss http://running.competitor.com/2010/12/features/start-2011-with-quick-weight-loss_19665 http://running.competitor.com/2010/12/features/start-2011-with-quick-weight-loss_19665#comments Thu, 23 Dec 2010 15:50:58 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=19665 New book shows endurance athletes how to make a fast leap toward their ideal racing weight.

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Racing Weight Quick Start GuideNew book shows endurance athletes how to make a fast leap toward their ideal racing weight.

Written by: Matt Fitzgerald

According to scientific surveys, more than half of competitive endurance athletes are above their ideal racing weight at any given time. And never are endurance athletes more likely to be above their racing weight—or farther from their racing weight—than on the first day of a new year.

Most of us train less in December than we do in any other month. And why not? Our last race of the year is behind us and the first race of the next season is far off. You need to dial back your training sometime, and December is the right time for many. Of course, reduced training tends to promote weight gain unless there is a commensurate reduction in food intake. But the typical endurance athlete eats more, not less, in December, because it’s the holiday season, after all. The result is five or more pounds of body fat accumulation between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.

January 1 is the traditional day when endurance athletes begin the effort to turn their body weight situation around. How has that effort worked out for you in the past? Has the process been slower and ultimately less successful than you hoped it would be? Why not try something different this year?

This coming January 1 happens to be the official publication date of Racing Weight Quick Start Guide, authored by—Yours Truly! This book presents a comprehensive four- to eight-week weight loss program designed to give endurance athletes a “quick start” toward their racing weight goal before they begin focused training for an important race. You can use the program to drop excess body fat anytime, but it’s particular useful at the start of the year for those athletes who follow the typical routine of racing between late spring and fall and taking the winter as an off season. Based on scientific research and real-world best practices, the quick start program (I believe) represents the most efficient and appropriate way for endurance athletes to pursue rapid fat loss, and I’m confident you’ll find it to be more effective than whatever methods you’ve relied on in past New Year’s weight-loss resolutions.

The Quick Start Guide is a companion to Racing Weight, which was published around this time last year. If you’re familiar with Racing Weight, you might wonder how the Quick Start Guide is different. I’ll tell you.

One of the important premises of Racing Weight is that it is impossible to maximize weight loss and fitness gains simultaneously. The fastest way to lose weight—significant calorie restriction—just does not provide enough energy to fuel optimal performance and recovery during periods of heavy training. Therefore, within a race-focused training cycle you need to make fitness your clear top priority and pursue weight loss only as a secondary means to that end. In most cases you can and should get leaner as you get closer to a big race, but you can’t lose weight as quickly as you would if you didn’t have to worry about racing and were thus free to cut calories more substantially. Racing Weight is all about how to lose weight in the right way to maximize race performance within a race-focused training cycle.

One point that I try to state very clearly in Racing Weight is that there is an appropriate time to flip your priorities, putting weight loss first and fitness second. The best time to do this is during a period of several weeks immediately preceding the start of a new training cycle. Shedding a few or several pounds of excess body fat quickly before you turn your attention to developing race fitness sets you up for maximum success in that fitness-building process. Racing Weight does not discuss the ins and outs of such weight-loss focus periods in any depth, however. The Racing Weight Quick Start Guide does. It is all about how to lose body fat fast in the right way at the right time as an endurance athlete.

I designed the quick start program to take all of the guesswork out of shedding body fat in a way that serves the special needs of endurance athletes. It shows you exactly what and how much to eat and how to train to drop body fat and retain muscle without going hungry and while also establishing a solid foundation of endurance fitness that you can build on when you transition into the training cycle.

I know I’m biased, but I am certain that you will be very pleased with the results that you get from my Racing Weight Quick Start Guide.

And it makes a great gift for the athlete you love!

Buy Racing Weight Quick Start Guide.

[sgi:MattFitzgerald]

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