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Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance Paperback – December 1, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“I highly recommend reading Racing Weight even if you don't need to lose any excess poundage. You'll come away with a better understanding of your physiology and also of food.” — Joe Friel, founder of TrainingBible Coaching and author of The Triathlete's Training Bible and The Cyclist's Training Bible

“Even if you are already a lean machine, you'll likely still learn something from Racing Weight. From how to determine your optimum weight, to improving your diet and training around it, to controlling your appetite and making your own fuel—it's all in this book.” — BikeRadar

“The mysteries of weight and its relationship to performance are unlocked in Matt Fitzgerald’s Racing Weight. If you've got a basic handle on both training and nutrition, this book offers the means to improve both your diet and athletic performance.” — DailyPeloton.com

“Fitzgerald is going to go down as one of the most competent and prolific authors of books for serious runners covering just about every legitimate aspect of the all-important runner's lifestyle.” — Letsrun.com

“It’s not too hard to convince cyclists that they can improve their performance if they drop their weight to an optimum level. However, that’s generally as useful as a physician telling a client they need to lose weight and then sending them out the office door. There are endless diet or nutrition books out there, but very few specifically catering to the endurance athlete. Into this void comes Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald.” — Pezcyclingnews.com

Racing Weight answers the difficult questions athletes often have about dieting, including how to handle the off-season. The book gives readers a scientifically backed system to discover your optimum race weight, as well as five steps to achieve it.” — Triathlete magazine

“Reaching an ideal weight for endurance sports is important, but doing it the right way is even more important. Matt Fitzgerald provides scientific and sound advice for anyone trying to achieve their racing weight.” — Scott Jurek, 7-time winner of the Western States Endurance Run and 2-time winner of the Badwater Ultramarathon

Racing Weight is the first book written exclusively about an issue that is very important to runners—eating and training properly to get to the start line of the peak race with the right body composition for running fast.” — Letsrun.com

Racing Weight offers endurance athletes a simple approach to dietary quality. The Diet Quality Score system is worth the price of the book alone. It’s easy to follow and makes sense. Amateur to professional athletes can optimize their potential with this book.” — BikeWorldNews.com

“Every now and then someone writes the giant-killer text, the volume that becomes the bible of a subject. Ten years from now most of us will be wondering how we managed before Racing Weight came along.” — RedKitePrayer.com

“Fitzgerald is a fountain of information on current research studies and findings from the sciences of healthy nutrition and exercise performance.” — Ultrarunning magazine

From the Back Cover

A 5-step plan to optimal body composition and better performance.

If you're like most endurance athletes, you're concerned about your weight. You know that every extra pound you carry costs time, wastes energy, stresses your joints, and hurts your performance.

Racing Weightis the first book to explain how endurance athletes—runners, cyclists, triathletes, cross-country skiers, rowers, or swimmers—should lose weight. Using sound scientific principles gleaned from the latest sports research, Matt Fitzgerald lays out 5 easy steps to get lean for races and events. His guidelines will help you hit your target numbers for weight, body composition, and performance, while maintaining your strength and conditioning.

Fitzgerald makes good nutrition simple with 21 great recipes from pro triathlete and dietician Pip Taylor, and a look at the diets of 14 elite professional athletes. He explains how to avoid the most common mistakes in training and embark on a strength-training program that works.

The Racing Weight plan will help you close in on your performance goals while feeling—and looking—great.

Matt Fitzgeraldis the author of eleven published and forthcoming books on running, triathlon, nutrition, and weight loss. A contributor toBicycling,Runner's World, and Senior Editor ofTriathletemagazine, he is also a featured coach for TrainingPeaks.com and Active.com. He is a certified sports nutritionist (CISSN) licensed by the International Society of Sports Nutrition. He lives and trains in San Diego.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Velo Press; 1 edition (December 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934030511
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934030516
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Chad Tibbetts on December 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been searching and hoping to find a book that covers this topic. And HERE it is, like an early Christmas present! There are so many books out there about nutrition, but they are not written for people who train their behinds off 6-7 days a week.
I love the way this book talks about WHEN to eat and how that affects your body.
I am happy Matt included different specifics for different endurance sports. This is not just a running book. It's for rowers, cyclists, triathletes, and anyone who knows what its like to workout for over an hour.
I think that knowing and understanding some of the science behind what happens to your body when you work out and when you eat helps to stay committed to getting to "racing weight".

Plus, I've always wondered what the top athletes really eat...and now I know. It's all here, and it couldn't come at a better time for me since I happen to be in the middle of training for the Boston Marathon and struggling to lose these last stubborn 15 lbs.

This book is helping me understand why the pounds are there, why they stay there, and how to shed time...I can't wait :)

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Fitzgerald is a great training resource, and I was very excited to get this book as weight is not addressed enough in the sport of running and how it can affect performance.

Unfortunately, he does fall back into some of the party-line statements about diet and calorie consumption that have been outdated or completely disproved.

For instance, he touts the discredited theory that muscle burns 40-50kcal per pound whereas fat only burns 3-5kcal. This factors heavily into his argument for being lean rather than just light, but it IS NOT TRUE. Muscle does burn more calories, but the two numbers are more like 4-6kcal/lb for muscle and 3-5kcal/lb for fat. It is a small difference overall.

And he also touches on nutrient timing for performance, which is GOOD. But he too easily slips into saying that you can also change up the times of the day that you eat in order to lose more weight. Also, not so much.

So... not a bad book and it addresses an underrepresented topic, but check sources and make sure that you really trust what he is saying before committing 100% to his statements.
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I love this book. Filled with great, down to earth info on maintaining weight and not the latest fads in diet. The fact that it's also "sport specific" is really a welcome feature as well. I learned something new reading each chapter. I also like the fact that when a statement is made, it's backed with research and not conjecture.
It doesn't hurt that the author seems to a likable guy and writes in a nice breezy style. Just the last chapter (Supplements) was worth the price!
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Format: Paperback
Racing Weight: How to Get Lean For Peak Performance
By Matt Fitzgerald
Velopress, 2009, 288 pages, $18.95
Reviewed by Charles Kyle (chuckkyle@me.com)

Like many other books on cycling fitness, I picked up Racing Weight purely do to advertising within Velonews. I really had minimal expectation and figured that this book would layout the obvious points that many others do at each publication. The first thing that caught my attention was the second chapter entitled, "How to Determine Your Optimal Performance Weight". Noticing that it was just a mere 21 pages from the beginning, I resisted the urge and started on page one. Unlike many other writers, Matt Fitzgerald kept my interest peaked as he explained the five steps outlined in Racing Weight. My eagerness to jump to page twenty-one was set to rest as I began highlighting information just in the introduction.

Chapter Two continued information that I have been looking for since my first cycling event over a decade ago. My calculation of what I felt would be a good "weight" was close, but the concept of BMI had only been a reading that I saw on the three hundred dollar Tanika scale that sits on my bathroom floor, not something that I would train towards. Though I had to read chapter two twice, to gain a firm grasp of the concepts, I walked away with the ability to log onto TrainingPeaks and enter a season goal, based on knowledge and research, not a blind assumption on my part. I now know my BMI Goals. Notice I did not talk weight goals, why not, read Chapter Two and you too will be thinking is this manner.

Matt continues his book by articulating the five steps to achieve this Optimized Weight.
Read more ›
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While I did appreciate a lot of the information in this book, I found one piece of very critical information missing: what an acceptable rate of weight loss is for an endurance athlete.

My motivation for buying this book was that I wanted to be able to keep fueled for my training without performance loss while losing body fat. Whenever I've successfully lost weight in the past, I have felt really sluggish and had a tough time getting through my workouts. So I was hoping this book would provide the solution to that.

As instructed in the book, I put a lot of work into counting calories (calories in), calculating my caloric needs (calories out) and determining my ideal weight, but these pieces of information are useless unless you know how to create a caloric deficit. This is where I really wanted guidance. How fast should I shoot to lose the weight? How many fewer calories can I consume without sacrificing performance? I know the standard line is that 2 lbs. per week is safe, but is that ideal? The book doesn't address any of these questions. I feel that it left me hanging right at the point when I almost had my answer.
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