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Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance
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Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance

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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  3,251 ratings  ·  193 reviews
In this title, sports nutritionist Matt Fitzgerald offers the first comprehensive and science-based approach to weight management for runners, cyclists, triathletes, swimmers, rowers, and cross-country skiers. For endurance athletes, the power-to-weight ratio is critical. After all, an extra 10 pounds demands more than 6 per cent more energy at a given pace. "Racing Weight ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by Velo Press (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Angela
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, running
I first ran across the first edition of this book a couple of years ago when I was looking for a solid, research-based, user-friendly primer on nutrition for endurance athletes, but dismissed it as probably too numbers-on-the-scale-focused for me. Then earlier this year Fitzgerald released a second book, The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition: A Cutting-Edge Plan to Fuel Your Body Beyond "the Wall", which I devoured in a day & a half & loved. From that book, I really didn't get th ...more
Sebastian
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
And that is how it's done!

I was blown away by this book. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about nutrition, but I found a whole lot of useful information here about things to tweak in my eating patterns to improve my sports performance and to get leaner. Before I go into the details let me pose a few questions for you:

1)Do you think the lowest weight you can achieve should be your target weight to maximize racing performance?
2)Do you agree with low-carb diets being the best way to lose weig
...more
Mirkat
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matt Fitzgerald offers endurance athletes a different approach to weight reduction than the usual "diet" model. Instead, he outlines a system of improving diet quality, managing appetite through nutrient timing, calculating carb needs based on ideal racing weight + training volume and protein needs based on body weight, and finding the appropriate balance of training volume and intensity. He also identifies how to determine ideal weight/body composition.

As a vegan athlete, I will mention that he
...more
Aaron Maurer
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I train for my first marathon I decided to give this a read. I posted several posts last year about the first version of this concept of Racing Weight. I found this book to be very helpful. As I read the Quick Start Guide I found much of it to be very similar to the Racing Weight: How To Get Lean for Peak Performance. That is not to say that it is a bad book, but for being a quick start it was still crammed with information. A lot of good information. I performed the calculations and I unders ...more
Alexandra Chauran
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
I'm probably judging this book more harshly because I actually paid for the Kindle edition. The author seemed to flip-flop on his target audience. The first 40% of the book seemed to oddly enough be geared towards overweight people who have no idea that what they're eating is bad. Then we got into a quality, meaty portion of the book until I was about 54% through and then he flipped back again. I got this book because I thought it was for athletes fine-tuning those last body fat percentage point ...more
Meghan
Jan 12, 2010 rated it liked it
I came across this book when I was in the running section at Barnes and Noble. A woman who was also there recommended it to me as we discussed our upcoming races. I am a runner and she is a triathlete. I found when training for the 2009 Marine Corps Marathon, my training program and everything else I read seemed to focus mainly on the mileage and never on the nutrition. This bothered me because I knew I was not eating properly. Once you take on that type of distance the amount of food and type o ...more
Charlotte
Oh boy, do I feel conflicted about this book.
Parts of it I really liked, parts of it I very strongly disliked - hence the 2 stars.

First of all, this is the first book I've ever read where I've consciously found it to be triggering. I definitely would recommend that people with eating disorders (whether active or recovering) do NOT read it.

It starts out with a very strong "skinnier is faster" message that lasts a few pages, and then as an afterthought it is mentioned that of course it is possibl
...more
Kellie Reynolds
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I did not expect to rate a book about sports nutrition with 5 stars. It deserves 5 stars for 3 reasons- the content is useful and important, the topic is well researched and based on data, and the author (Matt Fitzgerald) is an excellent writer. I do not know how many other authors are an English major, sports journalist, athlete, and certified sports nutritionist. The combination results in a fantastic book!

The main premise of the book is that endurance sports performance is best when the athle
...more
Rainey
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have tried to renovate my diet for years. What I like best about this methodology is that it doesn't put me inside of a box with set numbers or calorie totals, it simply asks me to make choices. I'm awarded points for making good choices in the app with the number assigning, and making poor choices comes with point deduction consequences. He breaks everything down so easily that the real glaring errors in my diet became so apparent and I easily was able to make good changes. This book was reco ...more
Victoria Zabuzova
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sara
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This was fine, and I definitely got distracted reading it. Nothing ground breaking here, although I'm also not sure how much science there actually is to back up his plan (in part because I am not going to read the studies and because most of them seem to be very small). ...more
Mehmet S.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has been a life changer. I am living by this book!
Mark Sloan
Sep 06, 2011 rated it liked it
The meat of this book is contained in chapters 7-11. Fitzgerald includes a Diet Quality Score table and a lot of advice on how to reach your optimum racing weight. He includes specific advice for endurance sports like distance running, rowing, swimming, and triathlon.

Chapters 12-14 felt a little bit like fluff to me. They covered some sample recipes for athletes, a list of what some pro athletes eat, and a quick chapter containing Fitzgerald's opinion on some of the most common available supple
...more
Shira
Apr 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiber
This is a rare thing; a book for runners that attempts to actually help and educate you, not make you buy more junk. His books can be dense with information at times, so skim away (read the part about energy drinks, for example) and then return to different parts of his book as questions pop into your head.
You could absolutely read this straight through, but I found it useful to pick through it in bits and pieces (at least for the second reading). I think Fitzgerald is a gifted author with a ta
...more
Niki
Oct 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great information for nutrition for endurance atheletes...that is if you are an elite competitive runner. Fitzgeralds information and advice was sound, all backed by research and common sense. I learned a lot about the athlete's body and ways to nourish it best. However, for the recreational endurance runner, this is not a practical guide. Still a great read! ...more
An Te
Oct 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Simple tips from the author.
1. Vary the intensity of workout to suits your goals.
2. Eat plenty of carbs (on the whole a sound approach), which can be measured according to activity levels.
3. Quality of the food matters.
4. Keep note of sleep and false calories.
5. Be consistent and turn-up.
Nicole Hoesterey
Dec 09, 2021 rated it liked it
The book didn't offer much new information that I haven't heard before, but it did have a nice way of structuring the tips for achieving your optimal performance weight into the six steps. The author also put an effort into structuring each chapter with evidence & practical tips.

Docking a couple stars for the tone of the writing, however. The author makes his opinions and perspectives abundantly clear, often in a way that feels a bit tone deaf. The last chapter has guidance for specific populat
...more
Jens
Dec 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book serves the same sobering purpose as my last read: "Good to Go". No study claims that carbs diminish performance, no world champion ever claimed to abstain from carbs, so why would you, if your primary concern is bettering your performance? Only doubtful and conflicting science on weight loss advocates it. Yet, if you're training as an athlete, your body will adapt to your training (demand) more than your nutrition (supply). So, go about your set ways but score points in his Racing Weig ...more
Jon Ip
Sep 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Great book for its specific audience (endurance athletes).

Losing weight is clearly a benefit to athletes who have to carry that weight for hours and this book gives many practical tips and flexible systems to help lose weight but still maximize performance.

I particularly liked how the book admits in its introduction that it is NOT scientific in its approach. It doesn't present any new ideas or theories, instead it reports what the very best athletes are doing, and the idea is you can't go too wr
...more
Andrea
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very comprehensive guide to getting to any endurance athlete's ideal weight. This book is easy to read and has very practical information that can be easily integrated into anyone's life. I really enjoyed this book, it helped me understand why I've felt so different every time my body has changed either into a heavier or lighter version and why my best times and feelings have been when I have been on my lightest even though it's at those times when I'm eating more but with healthier and more c ...more
Juliet Mike
Dec 11, 2021 rated it it was ok
A bit dated now in some ways- macronutrient knowledge is very widespread; timing food intake is popular with hobby athletes; and tools such as My Fitness Pal are commonly used. I suppose the book was at the forefront when it was published.
As a swimmer, I found the swimming examples in the book puzzling. The vast majority of pool swimmers are NOT endurance athletes (-Dara Torres is mentioned several times and she was a 50m/ 100m SPRINT specialist - you couldn't be less 'endurance'). Swimmers do s
...more
Maya Goldstein
Mar 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent

Tons of science-based information on the correct way to approach weight management as an endurance athlete, with a focus on practical strategies that are realistic for the average person to implement (ie, how to manage appetite rather than weigh/count all your calories). Perfect for beginners or amateur athletes whose weight might be holding them back from optimal performance.
Joe Moya
Almost a 4 star...

Portions are dated but most of the information is basic information that for a beginner is useful. There is nothing profound or different about the contents but most is easily followed. The only negative is the repetitive use of the same information. It would have been nice had he edited out those repetitive portions and added some discussion about some outlier dieting strategies.
Tyler
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: running
I started running about 5 years ago, and I want to finally focus on improving my performance, specifically my marathon time. one aspect of that will be to manage my weight, and this book has great information on how to go about doing that. The recipes and suggested strength-training exercises are also a plus.
Jeni Burckart
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book with a simple approach to eating focused on eating high quality foods. A good read while training for my next half marathon because anything that hints at cutting calories is just going to starve training. This book takes a realistic approach to changing body composition while training to improve performance.
Jewel
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books about fitness and health. It offers a fresh perspective for those who are looking to go deeper with their fitness. It also includes info from top athletes in a number of different sports. I reread it often.
Mel Edwards
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Guilt-free and sensible

The gist is eat a better balanced diet. About 2/3 of the book was interesting but nonessential to my needs. The essential part was worth the price of the book.
Esther
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: running
I think it is an amazing book. I only give 4 out of 5 stars because I think the Quick Start could have been a bit more elaborate. I know he wants to sell his Quick start book as well but still a brief sketch of a training/ nutrition plan would have been nice
Alan
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fitness, running
Seems well reasoned, and useful. Target audience is runners, swimmers, cyclist, triathletes, rowers, and others who primarily require endurance and are more or less, depending on the sport, hampered by excess body mass in racing.
Tracee
Aug 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great information for all endurance athletes

Useful information in an easy to read format. Helpful recipes and meal plans but customizable to different situations. Highly recommended.
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Matt Fitzgerald is the author of numerous books on sports history and endurance sports. He has enjoyed unprecedented access to professional endurance athletes over the course of his career. His best-sellers include Racing Weight and Brain Training for Runners. He has also written extensively for Triathlete, Men's Fitness, Men's Health, Outside, Runner's World, Bicycling, Competitor, and countless ...more

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“But for endurance athletes, doing so is a little different because macronutrient balance also has a major impact on training performance and many athletes do not consume enough carbohydrate in particular to maximize that performance. Any measure that boosts your training performance will also tend to make you leaner.” 0 likes
“While it pays to be light and lean in all endurance sports, there is thankfully no single, ideal body type for any specific endurance sport. The variety you see in the physiques of world-class cyclists, runners, and other endurance athletes can be surprising.” 0 likes
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