Five Keys to Athletic Weight Loss

Runners have to walk a fine line between too little and too many calories if they're trying to lose weight. Photo:

Even runners need to lose weight sometimes. But we can’t do it like couch potatoes.

As an athlete you can’t pursue weight loss the way the average dieter does, through severe caloric restriction. Calories are energy, after all, and you need a lot of energy to train effectively and to recover adequately from workouts. Severe calorie restriction would therefore simply sabotage your efforts to get fit and perform well in races.

You should never try to maximize the shedding of excess body fat and the building of peak race fitness simultaneously. There is an appropriate time to prioritize weight loss, but it’s not within a race-focused training cycle. Rather, it should be done in the several weeks preceding a training cycle. I refer to this period of weight-loss emphasis as a quick start.

Even during a quick start, however, you should not pursue fat loss the same way couch potatoes do. You still have to go after it in a way that supports your running ambitions. In other words, you need to pursue athletic weight loss.

How is this done? There are five keys to athletic weight loss.

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