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on July 17, 2013
Some background on my point of view for this review. I'm in my 40's and am a lifetime runner who's gone in and out of competitive modes over the years. I'm back in that mode now and have finally admitted to myself that nutrition matters, and I should probably do something about it - not only for racing but for general healthy living.

A statement early on in the book immediately grabbed my attention, and that is that the book is not a diet book for the sole purpose of losing weight. It's a book about how to adjust your eating habits to get to your ideal racing weight for the purpose of maximizing your performance. A very important distinction to me.

There were two main ideas I found very useful about the book. The first was in how the author presents a method for generally assessing the quality of your diet. The second was that he provides guidelines on how much of what category of food to eat based on the unique needs of endurance athletes. The best part is that he doesn't get too specific (Day 1, Meal 1: eat this, etc.), but allows you to choose whatever you want as long as you're adhering to the guidelines.

After reading the book, I went through my kitchen and catalogued the nutritional values of everything I had been eating. I compared the results with what I should be eating, and then was able to make some adjustments to get things in the proper balance. It was a process that took the better part of a weekend day, but very informative and productive in the end.

I'm less than a month into the changes, but I have dropped a few pounds, am completing my workouts at a higher level, and recovering well between workouts.

If you recognize the importance of proper nutrition for race performance and are willing to make a change in your eating habits, I highly recommend this book.
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on March 12, 2013
I'm a 46 yo female cyclist, 5 ft 3 and had 15 lbs to shed. I wanted to get back into amateur bike racing after 3 years off due to job changes and a series of knee injuries. I kept coming back to this book because of the positive reviews. I'm glad I did! Excellent program and I have already recommended to several of my biking friends.

After 4 weeks on the program I have dropped 10 pounds and feel MUCH stronger on the bike. I've also lost most of my desire for sweets and other junk food - the eating plan the author lays out is very satisfying and easy to follow (besides being super-healthy). It turned out I was seriously undercutting my calorie and carb needs as a lot of women do - I was training 10 hours a week on the bike and eating 1300 calories/day (with few carbs) and not losing weight. And I was getting seriously tired and frustrated. I decided to follow the Racing Weight plan (and the high-volume cyclist training plan in the Quick Start guide) since nothing else seemed to be working. I cleaned up my eating, added in another ~600 cal a day (mostly high quality carbs), and trained a little differently (added HIIT but kept hours on the bike the same). Wow, what a difference and after only 4 weeks!

I'm going to follow the plan through week 6 (at least) and possibly week 8 to see where that takes my weight. As the author states in the book, my best racing weight may actually be a bit lower than what I had thought.

My only wish - that the author would create additional training plans for cyclists as he has for runners. His Quick Start plan has worked so well that I'd like to continue using one of his plans after my 8 week weight loss cycle!
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on September 2, 2013
I just finished reading this book, and while I do like the general concept of the book, I did not like that the author gives incomplete information with the hope of cross selling his other books, telling you that you can buy his other book to get the detailed diet of the generalities he explains in this book
Also I felt that the book is incomplete in the help you receive with the DQS scoring by food type, where foods are assigned points by type and frequency of consumption during the day, a twist on the weight watchers system where food is also assigned points, but weight watchers gives you many pages listing foods and their points, here you get a guideline where you must categorize all food in seven types and a very small sample of foods and their score, but there are dozens of food I eat I am still unsure how to grade after reading the book, and I get the impression under his system 100% Natural Honey woud be graded to be the same as a Milkey Way Chocolate.
He provides the diet for some endurance athletes but he fails to grade them under the DQS system, that could also be good practice for people starting with his system.
So now I feel that unless I buy the quickstart guide, and his upcoming cookbook I will not be fully able to benefit from this book.
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on December 28, 2012
I bought this book because I was hoping to get some tidbits that would help me with my diet and exercise routine. I did get lots of great tips from this book; more than I expected. I found the what to eat and why sections very helpful. There's lots of info in this book explaining why eating certain ways can help with endurance sports. This book would certainly appeal to pro athletes but I think it has lots great info for those of us who exercise for weight and health reasons.
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on July 4, 2013
Absolutely the best book I have ever had on nutrition and training. Within 7 weeks I dropped 10 lbs, stepped up my training, and took a minute off my mile. Just placed 3rd in a 15k for the first time ever!
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on February 15, 2016
I want to preface my review by stating that I have extensive background in exercise science, nutrition and human performance. There is very little from a nutrition or performance standpoint that I am not already familiar with as I keep up with most peer reviewed academic journals. Having said that, I learned a great deal from Mr Fitzgerald's book. Perhaps more importantly, I was able to put this knowledge into practice. I cannot say enough good things about the brilliance that is this book. If you are serious about honing your performance, you should buy this book.

About me: I am a serious runner in my mid 30's who averages about 100 miles per week. I mostly stick to 5k's and 10k's, but did my first marathon last year and came in at 2:59. I was a state runner at high school, but never quite fast enough to make the college grade. My 800m repeats are fast as are my miles, but I knew that in order to make serious PR gains I needed to drop weight in a healthy way. This book has been by blueprint for getting there. The book has proved to be so comprehensive, well-researched and insightful. It's principles are beautifully and artfully laid out. For the past 4 months I've been following closely the dietary quality score approach and managing my hunger and I've gone from 165 lbs to 155 (I hit my goal weight a few days ago!) The last 5 lbs were stubbornly difficult to shed, but I got there. This spring I'm going to see how my new racing weight will allow me perform at my 2nd marathon. Stay tuned!

The Dietary Quality Score is such a holistic, refreshing approach to eating. I found it so outstanding that I created a family DQS chart for our little boy with magnets on the refrigerator. We challenge him to get as high of a score as possible every day. Thanks Mr Fitzgerald for your comprehensive work!
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on March 2, 2014
I found this book very useful. As a lifetime member of Weight Watchers who started running in the last three years, the book reemphasizes that nutrition plans have to become a way of life. I'm just beginning to try the Diet Quality Score in addition to my traditional points that I track via Weight Watchers. The advice to eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper, sticks out and was an easy way to remember when we should eat what. Examples of real food journals from athletes was helpful, and it would have been interesting to go ahead and figure the Diet Quality Score as practice. I will probably get the cookbook and Quick Start Guide, but I'm thinking a good tracking journal would be a nice compliment. While it is an easy read, the challenge is taking this knowledge and making the appropriate behavior changes.
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on March 6, 2014
I feel this book would be most useful to the new endurance athlete who has not given much thought to diet. There is useful information to be gleaned from this book, but one has to read through a lot of verbiage to find it.

I believe the book is worth purchasing as an additional source of information about nutrition for the endurance athlete, but I don't think it will add much to the knowledge of any athlete who has already given nutrition some serious thought. It may, however, reinforce the racer's desire to stick to a healthy diet, because the book does present a sensible nutrition program. I do believe that most athletes who follow the suggestions in the book will attain racing weight. -- Jack Quinn
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on June 3, 2013
The author does a fantastic job of simplifying a complex subject!

This isn't your typical diet book. It is written specifically for athletes or active individuals, but the principles presented are offered in a way that they can easily apply to anyone.

The author makes no sweeping generalizations, but rather offers advice on how to find out what your body needs and what will work best for you. He not only advises to listen to your body and what it needs, but gives specific advice on how to listen and interpret.

This book is highly recommended for anyone(athlete or otherwise) who wants to discover and maintain their optimum weight for physical performance and general daily life!
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on August 20, 2013
Serves as a good resource for the experienced athlete. It will probably be challenging for someone just learning about nutrition for athletes. Includes information on weight management strategies, eating for energy and performance , and includes food journal examples from a myriad of famous athletes. Also strength training exercises. My personal favorite was insight into why we over eat and how to manage appetite and a few recipes for quality snacks.
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