Book review: “Racing Weight” 2nd Edition by Matt Fitzgerald

Can the sum total of your nutritional knowledge be described as ‘I have a carb feed the night before big workouts and I try to keep eating Gu’s and drinking water on my long workouts .. oh and eat more veggies‘? Or maybe it’s more like ‘Oh I eat Paleo and gluten-free so it’s all good‘. Or maybe you’re like me: “I’ve tried so many things and I never seem to lose fat“. The author shows you just how far any of those are from a complete and quality approach to nutrition. There are detailed chapters on when to eat before and workouts, nutrient sources and diet quality, how your nutrition changes around your racing and off season, and how you should change nutrition for different types of workouts. This information is built to give you the tools you need to reach your best racing weight and to become a better athlete.

I’ve never thought of myself as an athlete until I read this book. At the very least I didn’t equate ‘Amateur Athlete’ or ‘Age Grouper’ to be equivalent to ‘Someone who does this stuff professionally’. It doesn’t really work that way. While professionals are often people with physical skills and attributes I will never have, much of their prowess simply comes from being incrementally better at how they train and how they treat their bodies. This book places your nutrition intake in the context of being an athlete. It doesn’t matter if you are an amateur or professional athlete: you are still an athlete with a human body that reacts to what you put into it.

The Racing Weight approach is broken into 6 steps. Each step has a chapter full of clearly written information based in science background.

  • Improve Diet Quality. If you are already eating healthy foods most of this will be review. If you buy your food at Walmart and 7/11 then you have some work to do.
  • Manage your appetite. Straightforward advice on why overeating happens and how to deal with it. For some of us this is a real challenge, good advice or not.
  • Balance your energy sources. Fat, Carbs, Protein, why low carbs defeats your workouts, how high carbs fuel them, etc.
  • Monitor your weight and performance. What to monitor, how to test your performance.
  • Time your nutrition. What to eat, what times to eat, eating around workouts for fueling and recovery. This really locks in when to do what.
  • Train Right. Types of training and how they affect your body (recovery, glycogen stores, muscle building or breakdown, etc.).


Final thoughts.

Best Parts (there are so many)

  • Chart of nutrition timing around workouts throughout the day.
  • Chart of different seasonal training periods.
  • Actual examples of one day of nutrition intake for elite athletes.

Parts I’m not sure about.

  • His suggestions for carbohydrate intake numbers are off the charts high. Apparently that’s what the elite-level folks are doing but I still can’t wrap my mind around it.
  • some information on training (e.g. 80% below lactate threshold/20% above, other specifics on workouts) seems like I would need to go over those with a coach.

The publisher terms this book as a “proven weight-management program designed specifically for endurance athletes” and it truly hits the mark. It gives meaning to your “best” body composition for any race from any starting point and it helps you reach that. The author, Matt Fitzgerald, presents concepts and information clearly and concisely and provides quality science to back it up. I bought the e-book, then I bought the soft-cover. Every time I open this book I learn something new or am reminded of something I’m forgetting in my training. It’s hard to see how any athlete could read this and not take away at some nutritional advice that got them closer to their racing weight.


Racing Weight

by Matt Fitzgerald

Publisher: VeloPress; 2 edition (November 27, 2012)

On Amazon for about $10


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