Race Weight

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I have been running more lately. Partly due to the weather, we have had a summer that has not been the best for cycling and partly because I have a half marathon to train for. I have also been thinking about weight. Mine, currently not ideal. You really notice anything extra when you run. 

I live in a town that has more Olympic athletes per capita (current, past and possibly future) than anywhere else in Canada. When I moved here I felt (in comparison) slow and unfit. Then I got slow and unfit. A combination of weather (OMG cold), an extended recovery from a car accident and more time spent sitting. I know it is weird to think that you move to a fit town and become more sedentary, but changing my business to being more online and less in person, requires a lot more time sitting.

It has been 2 years since a distracted driver drove into the back of us, we were stopped and he was traveling at least 80 km/hr. A big Chevy truck pulling a trailer can really plow through things. I feel pretty lucky, we were relatively unhurt. Three others had multiple spinal fractures, among other injuries. It was terrible.

I highly recommend air bags.

I have spent two years going to physiotherapy to be able to turn my head. I still hope that one day I will be able to ride my bike without a burning, searing pain in my neck or my hands going numb. I would like to wake up in the morning with feeling in both hands. But, I can still exercise. I can still move. I can still do most things pain free. I also have an amazing physiotherapist. And I was fit when this happened. I never thought about this benefit of fitness, but everyone I have met from the first police officer on the scene, to my physio, massage therapist etc, “good thing you were so fit”.  In the 30 seconds (or most likely less, it felt like a long, long time) between the moment I knew we were going to be hit and thinking “maybe this is it” to when everything came to a stop and I was surprised to see everything was still where it was supposed to be. Fitness may have been one of the most important factors in our favour.

Fitness has made the difference. From my husband’s quick reactions that saved us from being driven under the tractor trailer in front of us. To the fact that we were both fit enough to sustain the forces that moved us and spun us around. Fitness also made the difference for our recovery. It has also been a constant since. Modified, but constant.

Regardless of whether I continue to improve or not, it is time to stop recovering and start pushing it.

Get back to race weight.

I am by no means overweight. I am however, not at my race weight. If you are trying to lose weight for your health you may ask why this matters? Because it is easier to exercise. There does come a time when too little weight is a detriment to performance, but that is not what I am talking about. I actually don’t really weigh much more, but that weight is not muscle and that is the biggest problem.

How much difference can your weight make? It can be significantly easier to achieve your personal best at your ideal weight. Let’s talk about ideal weight for a moment. What is that for you? That depends, but generally it is one that you can maintain without extreme efforts. One that allows you to maintain muscle mass. One that is healthy. How do you know what that is? 

You can use the tools at Race Weight  or Running Tools

Runners are about 2 seconds per mile faster for every pound they lose. 

Cyclist also save time and energy with weight loss, you can calculate that at Bike Calculator.

Why does reducing body weight and ideally body fat make such a difference? The more weight you carry, the harder you have to work. If you have been watching the Olympics you can see the difference in athletes that have to move their body through space efficiently; runners, swimmers, cyclists, gymnasts vs. power athletes shot put, discus throwers, weight lifters, athletes that rely on power for very short spurts. The longer you have to move, the more efficient it is to be at the low end of your healthy weight.

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The more body fat you have the less efficient you are at delivering oxygen to your working muscles. Losing weight won’t have an effect on your lung capacity, but it means you don’t have to move that oxygen as far. Leaner athletes are better at regulating body temperature with less insulating fat and a greater surface area to body weight ratio.

Leaner athletes burn carbohydrates more effectively. 

If you are interested in going faster it all comes down to these factors: technique, how smart you train, how hard you train and your body composition.

If you are interested in going faster it all comes down to these factors: technique, how smart you train, how hard you train and your body composition. Click To Tweet

The best time to lose weight for an event is 4-8 weeks before you start increasing your training. If you have lost weight and start slowing down, you have gone past your healthy weight. The American Council on Exercise recommends that your BMI should stay above 18.5 and a body fat threshold for women of 14% and 6% for men. 

The best time to lose weight for your health is now. Even if you don’t plan to enter an event being lean, (not skinny) with less adipose tissue and more muscle mass has many benefits.

Losing 10% of your body weight, even if you are obese, improves your health significantly

It lowers cholesterol, reduces high blood pressure, decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes by 50%, improves insulin sensitivity, improves sleep apnea and reduces inflammation. By only losing 10% of your body weight.

You can calculate your ideal body weight  for health benefits.  

You never know when you will experience the unexpected benefit of being fit and ready for anything. 

Change your mind, change your health,

Shayla

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