Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lighter = Faster (maybe)

So one thing I've been thinking about for a while is losing some weight to get faster. Nothing drastic - at 6'1" and 168lbs, I feel pretty lean and healthy.

But when I look at the top 5 age groupers in my division, they are leaner than me. So, it's worth a try.

Statistically, 'they' say ('they' being people who seem to at least know how to post scientific looking studies on the Internet) - that all things being equal, a pound is worth about 2 seconds off your race time. That's pretty substantial - although certainly there are practical limits. That pound lost needs to be a 'useless' pound (like fat that never gets used in a race) - not something useful like muscle or bone mass.

So just pinching around my body, I'd estimate I have around 5-10lbs of 'useless' stuff left before I'd start shedding the useful stuff. And if I keep to a gradual process - I should be able to quantitatively and subjectively determine if things are getting faster or slower.

At this point, my goal for weight loss isn't 'health' per say - it's about getting faster. I'm sure I'll look a little too lean to a number of people. But I also think we're built to be a whole lot leaner than we've come to expect of ourselves as a species. If you look at other mammals (like dogs) - a vet will tell you that when the dog looks a little emaciated, then he/she is actually quite healthy. Our little Indy-Unit (as we call her) is sleek and light with some ribs showing. And man, is she fast :-)

So as to the 'how' - that's pretty easy - especially since running alot creates quite a furnace. No real 'diet' per say needed - in fact I think we actually eat pretty healthy overall. We've long ago eliminated the 'usual suspects' such as soda, fast food, sat / trans fats, etc..

But you can almost always make small tweaks to nutrition that go a long way through accumulation over a few months. And these are changes that I've been meaning to make anyway. So here are my new 'diet' rules:

1. Unlimited fruits and veggies. This includes things like avocados and bananas. I've often been of the opinion that despite the nutritional articles you see every once in a while, you WILL NOT get fat eating lots of fruits and veggies (even things like bananas and avocados). I would be willing to put big money on this strategy to anyone that disagrees.

2. No carbs (except fruits and veggies) after 7pm.

3. Smaller portions at dinner. Go to bed a little hungry. Cut out the snacking (except.... fruits and veggies and small portions of nuts).

4. More 'timing' of calories around key workouts. There is some really interesting stuff around this and I've had some good success doing it here and there. The idea is that you put more of your calories either before or after a hard workout instead of just spreading them evenly throughout the day or week. So on 'recovery' or 'off' days - I eat much less overall.

That's really about it. There are some more micro things underneath each of those 'rules' - but in essence, the idea is just to time better quality fuel into the body. I'm also going to keep my focus on strength training. I've developed a pretty good upper body lifting routine over the past couple months and it's showing some good results. That should remind my body that the 'useful' stuff is still needed day to day.

btw - did I mention that red wine classifies as a fruit? And it's got tremendous anti-oxidant powers to it..... Yeah - I might be reaching here, but my nutritional dedication only goes so far!! :-)

I'll let you know how it goes!!

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