315 Pounds to Magazine Cover Model: Donald Sorah’s Weight-Loss Journey

by Donald Sorah

At age 31, I was morbidly obese. I weighed 315 pounds, almost double the normal BMI for my height. Inevitably, my weight would come up in conversation with others, and I’d joke that if I were at a “BMI normal” weight, I’d look like a skeleton.

Donald SorahI had tried a variety of weight-loss programs with some success. The most effective “diet plan” of all my attempts was the South Beach Diet, which helped me lose 100 pounds in 1 year. I didn’t gain it all back, but a few years later, half my hard work was wasted.

Then I got a bike.

My wife presented me with a bicycle for my birthday, and I accepted it reluctantly. I wasn’t really interested in cycling, but I soon fell in love with the invigorating sense of freedom, the coolness of a breeze wicking sweat from my cheeks. Meanwhile, I was burning calories—and lots of them. By the time my weight fell to 260 pounds, I was burning over 1,000 calories every ride. The sense of freedom and the thought of burning all those calories kept me motivated to ride and to ride more. Soon I discovered I’d made a mental switch; I started planning my nutrition so I could get faster at cycling.

Instead of riding to lose weight, I was eating to ride better.

Donald Sorah CannondaleI started setting goals. My private goal, which I didn’t share with anyone, was to start shopping for a brand new road bike once I dropped my weight below 200 pounds. For me, this was the Holy Grail, a goal that seemed impossible.

Then one morning, I stepped on the scale. 197. I stepped on the scale again. Still 197. A third time, just to be sure. Yes, 197.

A few weeks later, I was riding a new Specialized Roubaix. Now that bike has seen 6 states, more than 7,000 miles, and over 300,000 feet of climbing. I’m a cyclist, and no longer a fat one.

Donald Sorah bandage

Battered, but not out of the race

Then I had another realization about my relationship with food. I rode a local 72-mile ride that finished with a very steep 3-mile climb. I finished the ride and made it home, but I passed out unconscious in my driveway. The scar I wear on the back of my head is a reminder of this critical moment.

It was at this point I realized I couldn’t starve myself to lose weight. What I was doing was unhealthy, and I needed a better balance of calories out and calories in. And this is when the Racing Weight series came into my life.

Enter Racing Weight

Although my Ph.D. is in music education, my “hunger” for knowledge led me to search for the ultimate nutrition plan. I interviewed friends and read about experts to analyze their approaches. I bought and read several books on nutrition. I purchased and downloaded the Racing Weight e-book on iBooks, reading it cover-to-cover in a few days.

After the conclusion of each chapter, I would make a collection of notes highlighting the most salient points, including ways this approach could be assimilated into my nutritional plan for cycling. Although the Diet Quality Score system seemed like a wonderful method of data collection for analysis of diet quality, I have decided to stick with my use of the LoseIt! app to catalog all my foods (which I have now done for over a year and a half).

I was intrigued by a mention in Racing Weight of a new cookbook. Being a foodie, a decent amateur cook, and the primary food preparer in our household, I sought to get my hands on the Racing Weight Cookbook. I found a copy at a local bookseller.

Donald Sorah Racing Weight Cookbook recipe

Playing with food (photography)

Before continuing, I should mention that, in addition to my career as a musician and music educator on the college level, I fancy myself a photographer and foodie. This means that my wife often asks if I am planning to eat dinner before it gets cold or if I am just going to keep capturing photos of my culinary concoctions. You must also understand that our lives as musicians and music teachers (my wife is a choir director and adjunct instructor at the local college) are quite complex and are very busy, especially with our growing four-year old!

My wife will be the first to tell you that our menu selections before Racing Weight Cookbook were quite limited and our weekly repertoire was quickly growing stagnant. The Racing Weight Cookbook has provided a breath of fresh air into our culinary repertoire. Thus far, I have prepared over twenty recipes from this cookbook.

Our Favorite Racing Weight Recipes

My favorite breakfast has been the the Cinnamon Raisin Wheat Berries (try it yourself!). With the flavor of cinnamon-spice oatmeal and the meaty texture with enhanced “tooth­sinkability” (thanks to Dan Pashman and the Sporkful podcast for the terminology), and nutty flavor of the wheat berries, this breakfast is filling, tasty, and packed full of nutrition. My four-year old even enjoyed a few bites and he is an extremely picky eater.

My wife and I have at least two recipes vying for first place dinner: Beefy Stuffed Poblanos and Asian Chicken with Peanut Sauce.

I have to admit that we have made a few substitutions in the recipes. We have always used 97% Fat Free Ground Turkey for the Poblano recipe and have used tofu as the protein the last two times we have made the Asian Peanut recipe. We did use chicken the first time we made the Asian Peanut recipe and it was just as good if not better than the tofu. We typically use whatever protein is on-hand and is simplest and quickest to prepare. Another favorite is the Black Bean & Cheddar Burger recipe.

We have also selected two dessert/sweet recipes as our favorites so far. The Lemon-Poppy Protein Bars, which I prepare as muffins, were one of my first recipes and remain my favorite sweet treat. My wife is quite fond of the Apple-Raisin Bars.

Have I Lost More Weight?

Truth be told, I have not observed any weight loss since investigating the nutritional guidelines in the Racing Weight book and preparing meals from the Racing Weight Cookbook. This is not to say that it doesn’t work. I am certain it does. However, I think my weight has settled where I need to be; in the low 160s.

What I have noticed is that my cycling fitness has improved, particularly in the area of endurance.

I have ridden seven metric century or longer distances so far this year and have not once “bonked” or run low on energy. In fact, a recent endurance ride of 60+ miles turned into 85 miles because I still had more to give.

It is remarkable how my energy level has surged since incorporating the Racing Weight Cookbook recipes into my diet. It would be interesting to collect data on the implementation of the Racing Weight philosophy into the diet of those who have significant weight loss to accomplish. I would presume that those athletes would be directed to minimize the preparation of those sweeter recipes and to place more emphasis on those designated as high-protein options.

The Cookbook Itself

The layout of the cookbook is well-designed. Although I love to cook and could spend hours in the kitchen even after a long day in the saddle, not all athletes share that same sentiment. The first two sections of the book are designed for athletes who don’t like to cook or just don’t have the time to prepare a more involved recipe. The middle sections are designed for those who can cook and have a little more time to prepare a meal. The final sections are offered to those athletes who enjoy cooking and are able to spend half an hour to an hour in the kitchen. Any athlete can find recipes that are easily within their current ability level and time constraints—and some that may provide a challenge to become a better cook should they desire to improve their culinary skills.

The Reaction

Since preparing these recipes and posting photos to social media including Facebook,Twitter, and Instagram, I have received numerous comments, questions, and requests for recipes from friends both local and virtual; many of them not even athletes. It is my desire that through social media exposure of the photos and recipes, others might begin to seek a healthier lifestyle.

My wife and I were recently featured on the Jan/Feb 2014 cover of Bicycling magazine for our weight-loss because, between the two of us, we have lost over 260 pounds. We will also be guests this summer on the radio show With Good Reason. Kelly was featured on the Half Size Me podcast last month.

Bicycling magazine Jan-Feb2014 Donald and Kelly SorahOur mission aligns with my mission of publicizing the Racing Weight Cookbook; we want others to see that if we can do it with all the time challenges in our lives, anyone can experience the same success and a healthier, happier lifestyle.

At age 31, I was morbidly obese. Now I know there is nothing like the feeling of being healthy and fit.

The daily increase in energy and brain power pays off at work as well as with the family. Why would anyone pass up the opportunity to be healthy, eat real food, raise their energy level, and be at the top of their game?

Donald and Kelly Sorah on bikes with son

The Sorah family

It took me forty years to achieve the best fitness and overall health of my life. With the continued support of family and friends, logging miles on the bike, and through the nutritional advice of the Racing Weight series, I look forward to many more years of healthy living, fun times in the kitchen, and flavorful and nutritious eating.

Donald Sorah is a cyclist, music professor, foodie, musician, photographer, father, and husband. He lives and rides with his wife and son in Virginia. Catch up with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.

One for the Foodies: Cinnamon-Raisin Wheat Berry Bowl

Racing Weight Cookbook delivers more than 100 flavorful, easy recipes for athletes that will help you hit your ideal weight without compromising your performance.

With steamed milk and the nutty aroma of toasted wheat berries, this breakfast cereal is worth the wait. If you have cooked wheat berries on hand, scoop 1½ cups into your pot, and wholesome goodness is just minutes away.

Racing Weight Cookbook Cinnamon-Raisin Wheat Berry Bowl

Serves 2 in 1 hour
Recipe profile: High carb, Vegetarian

½ cup wheat berries, rinsed and drained
1½ cups water
1 cup 1% milk (or whole milk, soy, or almond milk)
¼ cup raisins
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

In a dry saucepan over medium heat, toast wheat berries for about 5 minutes, taking care to stir them with a wooden spoon so they brown and don’t burn. Once you start to smell the aroma of the wheat berries, you will know that they are sufficiently toasted.

Add water to wheat berries and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes, or until wheat berries reach the desired texture.

Drain any remaining liquid, then add milk, raisins, cinnamon, and vanilla, if desired. Stir frequently to keep milk from scalding. Continue cooking until milk begins to thicken and raisins become plump, about 5 minutes.

Divide between two bowls and top with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon.

Per serving: 300 calories, 3 g fat, 59 g total carbohydrate, 6 g dietary fiber, 12 g protein
DQS COUNT (per serving): FRUITS ½     WHOLE GRAINS 1     DAIRY 1

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.

An Endurance Classic Made Lean: Turkey Meatballs & Fettucine

Racing Weight Cookbook delivers more than 100 flavorful, easy recipes for athletes that will help you hit your ideal weight without compromising your performance.

Spaghetti and Meatballs; it’s a classic endurance sports meal and for good reason. Complex carbs will fuel you up for tomorrow while the protein will help you recover from today. Enjoy with a glass of red!

Racing Weight Cookbook Turkey Meatballs and FettucineServes 8 in 1 Hour
Recipe profile: High Carb, High Protein

2 pounds 99% lean ground turkey breast
1/3 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs
2 eggs
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
cooking spray
4 cups tomato-basil pasta sauce from a jar
1 pinch of salt
1 pound whole-wheat fettucine

Combine ground turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, garlic, onion flakes, basil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and mix well.

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Roll meat mixture into 40 2-inch balls and place a single layer in the skillet. (They usually have to be cooked in two batches.)

Brown over medium heat, using tongs or a wooden spoon to turn the meatballs so the outsides cook evenly.

Transfer meatballs to a large saucepan and pour in the tomato-basil sauce. Cover and simmer over a low flame for 40 minutes.

While the meatballs are cooking, fill a large saucepan with water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then add fettucine. Cook 12–14 minutes or as directed on the package. Pour into a colander to drain.

Add about ¾ cup cooked fettucine to each plate and top with meatballs and sauce.

Per serving: 400 calories, 5 g fat, 55 g total carbohydrate, 8 g dietary fiber, 38 g protein

TIP: You can purchase a commercial brand of wholewheat bread crumbs, such as 4C, or make your own with bread you have on hand.

DQS COUNT (per serving) VEGETABLES 1 WHOLE GRAINS 1 LEAN MEATS & FISH 1

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:

Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.

Try a Quick Make-Ahead Breakfast: Banana-Pecan Pancakes

Racing Weight Cookbook delivers more than 100 flavorful, easy recipes for athletes that will help you hit your ideal weight without compromising your performance.

These pancakes are a great make-ahead breakfast. Double the batch, and store pancakes in freezer bags to be reheated in the toaster. They are delicious on their own, but you can top them with syrup or additional sliced banana if you like.

Racing Weight Cookbook: Banana Pecan Pancakes recipe

Serves 2 in 15-20 minutes
Recipe profile: Vegetarian, Great for Recovery

1 cup oats
1 cup egg whites
½ cup 1% cottage cheese
1 banana
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
cooking spray (or ½ tsp. butter)
¼ cup (1 oz.) pecans, chopped

Combine oats, egg whites, cottage cheese, banana, and vanilla in a blender and process until completely smooth. Add baking powder and process for just a second or two to mix in.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray or butter. Pour in about one-quarter of the batter to make a 7-inch pancake, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chopped pecans.

Cook until the bottom of the pancake is golden brown, then flip and cook the other side for a few minutes. Repeat with remaining batter and pecans.

Makes 4 large pancakes.

Per serving: 404 calories, 14 g fat, 44 g total carbohydrate, 7 g dietary fiber, 29 g protein

DQS COUNT (per serving) FRUITS ½ WHOLE GRAINS 1 LEAN MEATS & FISH 1 NUTS & SEEDS 1

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.

Racing Weight Cookbook: Winner’s Circle Yogurt

Racing Weight Cookbook delivers more than 100 flavorful, easy recipes for athletes that will help you hit your ideal weight without compromising your performance.

No time to cook? That’s no excuse for skipping breakfast. A base of plain yogurt provides protein and calcium. Add whole-grain cereal, an important source of complex carbohydrates and fiber. Top it off with fruit for sweetness and flavor and nuts or seeds for minerals, healthy fat, and a good crunch.

Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes Winner's Circle YogurtWINNER’S CIRCLE YOGURT

Start with a bowl of yogurt and add your favorite things for a high-quality breakfast.

TIP: If you like to mix it all together but want the cereal to stay crunchy, stir the nuts, seeds, and fruit into your yogurt, then add the cereal on top.

PLAIN YOGURT: Try Greek yogurt for higher protein.
WHOLE-GRAIN CEREAL: Original or Multigrain Cheerios, Kashi GOLEAN, Fiber One, Total Whole Grain, or Wheaties
FRUIT: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, or peaches
NUTS: Almonds, walnuts, or pecans
SEEDS: Chia, ground flaxseed, or pumpkin seeds

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.

Racing Weight Cookbook: Garden Minestrone with Kale

Racing Weight Cookbook delivers more than 100 flavorful, easy recipes for athletes that will help you hit your ideal weight without compromising your performance. Chock-full of vegetables and beans, this soup is a hearty, warming meal, packed with nutrition.

Garden Minestrone with Kale is a Level 1 Racing Weight recipe, which means it will be easy to prepare, even for athletes who don’t cook.

Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes Garden Minestrone with KaleGARDEN MINESTRONE WITH KALE
Serves 2 in 50 minutes
Recipe profile: High Carb, Vegetarian

4 cups vegetable broth
1 14½-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 large carrot, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
½ sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups baby kale, loosely packed
1 handful fresh basil, shredded (optional)
salt and black pepper

1 Combine all ingredients except kale, salt, and pepper in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes.

2 Add kale and cook for 10 more minutes. Season with fresh basil and salt and pepper to taste.

Per serving: 282 calories, 5 g fat, 55 g total carbohydrate, 17 g dietary fiber, 16 g protein

DQS COUNT (per serving) VEGETABLES 2½ (1 legumes)

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.

Pro Athletes Don’t Diet, They Practice These 6 Racing Weight Steps

The smartest way to manage your weight for endurance performance is to emulate the methods of the fastest men and women on the planet.

By Matt Fitzgerald

The leanest cyclists, runners, and triathletes are typically also the fastest endurance ones. This pattern holds even within the select ranks of the professionals. One study reported that in a small group of elite Ethiopian runners, all of whom were very lean and very fast, those with the least body fat had the best race times.

Genes account for a portion of the difference in body fat levels between individual endurance athletes. But there is a tendency among us age groupers to overestimate the importance of the genetic contribution to leanness in the pros. We like to think that the world-class men and women who were blessed with the right DNA can eat whatever they want without putting on body fat.

In fact, most of the top cyclists, runners, and triathletes work very hard at managing their weight and body composition for performance. What’s more, they tend to rely on the same methods to stay lean. And guess what? The very same methods of weight management that work so well for the world’s best endurance athletes are can help everyday competitors like us achieve our optimal racing weight too, even if that weight is a few pounds greater than the pros’.

I’ve spent a lot of time studying the diets and weight-management practices of world-class endurance athletes. In 2009 I collected the top five and linked them into a systematic program in my book, Racing Weight. Since then I’ve identified a sixth key practice and added it to the recently published second edition of Racing Weight. Let’s take a look at these six methods.

Step 1: Improve your diet quality

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 2007 as a five-time NCAA champion, Chris Solinsky moved to Portland, Ore., to run professionally for Nike. He also decided to improve his eating habits. Instead of adopting a diet with a name (e.g. vegan, paleo, gluten free) and lots of weird rules, he simply improved the overall quality of his diet in commonsense ways, eating more vegetables, fewer frozen pizzas, and so forth. As a result he lost several pounds and achieved a performance breakthrough, setting an American record of 26:59:60 for 10,000 meters in 2010.

rwc_website_background_1500.jpgIncreasing the overall quality of your diet is the simplest and most effective way to shed excess body fat and move closer to your optimal racing weight. That means eating more of the six categories of high-quality foods—vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, lean meats and fish, whole grains, and dairy—and less of the four categories of low-quality foods—refined grains, fatty meats, sweets, and fried foods. In Racing Weight I present a unique scoring system that enables athletes to easily rate the quality of their diet and systematically increase it.

Step 2: Manage your appetite

At the height of his training for the Ironman World Championship each year, triathlon legend Peter Reid kept no food in his kitchen—none—so that he wouldn’t be tempted to overeat. It was an extreme measure, but Reid knew his ideal racing weight was 164 to 165 pounds (or 7-10 pounds below his natural off-season weight) and he knew that he could not reach his racing weight if he fully indulged his appetite. It’s hard to argue with the results: three victories and three runner-up finishes in Kona between 1998 and 2004.

Research conducted by Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating, and others has demonstrated that most people automatically eat more food than they need unless they take conscious steps to control their “food environment” and eat more mindfully. These measures do not need to include removing all of the food from your kitchen, but they may include removing all of the low-quality temptations from your kitchen and replacing your current dishes with smaller dishes on which you serve yourself slightly smaller portions.

Step 3: Balance your energy sources

The world’s best runners come from Kenya and Ethiopia. The diet of the typical East African runner is 76 to 78 percent carbohydrate. Compare that to the diet of the average American, which is only 48 percent carbohydrate. Research going all the way back to the 1960s has consistently shown that a high-carbohydrate diet best supports intensive endurance training. Unfortunately, the low-carb diet craze of the late 1990s and early 2000s has cast a long shadow, causing many age-group athletes to eat too little carbohydrate to properly support their training.

Actually, not every endurance athlete needs a high-carb diet. Carbohydrate needs are closely tied to training volume. The more you train, the more carbs you need. Use this table to determine the daily carbohydrate intake target that’s right for you.

Average Daily Training Time(Running and Other Activities) Daily Carbohydrate Target
30-45 minutes 3-4 g/kg*
46-60 minutes 4-5 g/kg
61-75 minutes 5-6 g/kg
76-90 minutes 6-7 g/kg
90 minutes 7-8 g/kg
>120 minutes 8-10 g/kg

* 1 kg = 2.2 lbs

Step 4: Monitor yourself

When Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France in 2012 he weighed 158 pounds and had 4 percent body fat. Four years earlier, when he won his last Olympic gold medals as a track cyclist, Wiggins weighed 180 pounds and his body fat level was a few points higher. His slimming was a major factor in his Tour de France triumph, and he achieved that slimming in part by continuously monitoring his weight and body composition.

Photo: Michael Pereckas

Photo: Michael Pereckas

In business there’s an expression: “What gets measured gets managed.” If you’re trying to reduce your weight and body-fat percentage, it only makes sense to measure these things regularly. The pros do, and research has shown that nonathlete dieters who weigh themselves often lose more weight than those who avoid the scale. I recommend that all endurance athletes weigh themselves at least once a week and use a body fat scale such as the Tanita Ironman to estimate their body-fat percentage once every four weeks.

Step 5: Time your nutrition

A naturally big guy who once tipped the scales at 200 pounds, professional triathlete T.J. Tollakson stays lean by frontloading his daily energy intake in accordance with the dictum “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”

With respect to weight management, when you eat is almost as important as what you eat. The most important times of the day to eat are in the morning and within an hour after workouts because calories eaten at these times are less likely to be stored as fat and more likely to be incorporated into muscle tissue and used for immediate energy needs.

Step 6: Train for racing weight

Nearly all professional endurance athletes train by what’s known as the Lydiard method, which entails doing a high volume of training, about 80 percent of it at low intensities, 10 percent at moderate intensities, and 10 percent at high intensities.

While a low-volume, high-intensity approach to training has gained popularity among age-group endurance athletes lately, it is not the most effective way to train for endurance performance or achieve a lean body composition. Research provides clear support for the Lydiard method that is used almost universally by the elites.

Obviously, few age groupers have the time, energy, or durability to train as much as the pros do, but that’s not the point. The point is to maintain a training volume that is close to your personal limit and to keep the intensity low for four out of every five workouts. If you do this you will burn far more calories and build greater aerobic fitness than you possibly could by doing the small volume of training you can handle if you go hard (or even moderately hard, as a majority of age groupers do) in most workouts.

When it comes to training and eating to attain your optimal racing weight, the best thing to do is the same thing you do in races: follow the pros!

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.

Run Oregon’s Racing Weight Test Kitchen

Beginning in March, a team of runners who blog for Run Oregon began testing recipes from Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes by Matt Fitzgerald.

What did they think of the recipes? Take a look!

Tomato & Beef Florentine Soup
Cauliflower, White Bean, and Cheddar Soup
Pumpkin and Maple-Nut Oatmeal
Pork & Pepper Sauce over Rotini
White Bean, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad

rwc_website_background_2.jpg

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.

Fit Bottomed Eats & Racing Weight Cookbook Recipe One-Pot Quinoa, Chicken, and Veggies

“[The Racing Weight Series] focuses on incorporating high-quality foods based on an easy-to-understand point system designed to help athletes become lean and strong and healthy…Racing Weight Cookbook is …WAY more than just a cookbook.” — Fit Bottomed Eats

Sample a Racing Weight Cookbook recipe: One-Pot Quinoa, Chicken, and Veggies!

Fit Bottomed Eats Racing Weight Cookbook

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.

Your Weight Predicts Your Race Performance More Accurately Than Your Training

You are not going to believe this: your weight is a better predictor of your race performance than how much or how well you train.

From Chapter One: Get Leaner, Go Faster in the new edition of Racing Weight:

The advantages of being light and lean for endurance performance are so obvious that they hardly needed to be scientifically proven, but exercise scientists have gone out and proven them anyway, and the proof is interesting. In a 1986 study Peter Bale and his colleagues at England’s Brighton Polytechnic University compared a host of anthropometric measurements in a group of 60 male runners (Bale, Bradbury, and Colley 1986). The subjects were divided into three groups of 20 based on their best 10K race times. The average weight of the men in the “average” group was 152 pounds compared to 145 pounds in the good group and 141 pounds in the elite group. Body composition measurements followed a similar pattern. Average body-fat percentages were 12.1, 10.7, and 8.0 in the average, good, and elite groups, respectively.Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

It bears noting that even the runners making up the average group were somewhat lighter and significantly leaner than the average nonrunner. The sport selects for naturally lighter and leaner individuals because they generally find greater initial success. The selection pressure continues within the sport right up to the top level. While most world-class runners have similar body weights (with women being lighter than men, naturally), research has shown that within the population of world-class runners, those with the lowest body-fat percentages tend to have the fastest race times.

Studies involving other types of endurance athletes have yielded similar findings. In 2011 Swiss researchers compared anthropometric variables against Ironman® swim, bike, and run split times in a group of 184 agegroup triathletes (Knechtle et al. 2011). Body weight was found to have a statistically moderate effect on total race time, while body-fat percentage had a large effect on total race time and a moderate effect (bordering on large) on swim, bike, and run splits. Both body weight and body-fat percentage were more strongly correlated with split times and total race time than are training variables such as average weekly training time.

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.