Book Review: Racing Weight

The Underwear Gnome Plan To Weightloss

I know it’s a bit misleading to call this article a “Book Review”, but “Book Review” soundsbetter than “Jump To Conclusions After Reading One Chapter and Publish Those Conclusions”.

Like most cyclists, I suffer from the belief that I’m overweight (I am).  In a world of rising obesity, I am thrown strange glances and receive accusations of “being anorexic” from my colleagues when I comment that I won’t have a cookie or slice of Birthday cake because I’m trying to lose some weight.  The fact is, despite being generally thinner and fitter than the average citizen, cyclists suffer from the same self-image problems that everyone else does.  Not only that, we struggle to lose weight just as much as our non-athletic friends.

Athletes generally lose weight through piling on more miles – a theory based on Physics and the wonderfully useful principle known as The Conservation of Mass; what goes in goes out and if you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. (The Conservation of Mass is actually our best friend; it’s behind almost everything that makes bicycling possible and also being out of shape incredibly frustrating).  Owing to this simple theory, it’s generally unsurprising that there are very few diet programs for amateur athletes and as such I was thrilled to pick up a copy of “Racing Weight“, by Matt Fitzgerald, a book seeming written for just this audience.  I prepared to read it and readied myself to lose those last few (dozen) pounds.

I found the book very disappointing.  What I’m gleaning is that in order to loose weight I should “eat right,  “eat less”, “train more”, and – worst of all – “stop drinking like a fish”.  Not only that, but the book insists that I should diligently collect data on my training, diet, and weight and track it over several training cycles in order to even understand what my ideal weight might be in the first place.  Basically, by the time Winter sets in again and I’m ready to eat turkey and drink Scotch from the bottle, I’ll have some idea as to how fat I really am.

I’ll be honest: that’s not really the program I’m looking for. I was looking more for the program where I get to eat Cadbury Eggs, chips and salsa, and watch clever videos on the internet while dropping weight like a heroin addict with giardia and at the same time not losing muscle mass (it would even be nice if this diet even helped me gain some).  Isn’t there something I can inject or a pill to make myself a better cyclist? Come on, Matt, I’m getting tired of unhelpful authors.

And with that, I’m left with no option but to stick to my usual plan of eating hamburgers, drinking beer, and spending loads of money on lighter cycling equipment in lieu of losing weight.

Related Posts

69 Replies to “Book Review: Racing Weight”

  1. Here’s a question I just got on my “health assessment” questionnaire for lowered insurance co-pays. What is wrong with this question?

    “How many days in a usual week do you do moderate activities for at least 10 minutes at a time, such as brisk walking, bicycling, vacuuming, gardening, or anything else that causes a small increase in your breathing or heart rate?”

  2. I like that they list “at least 10 minutes” like 10 minutes of any of those activities are going to do a bit of good for you in the long run. Way to make the lowest common denominator feel like they are doing “well”.

    Everything I’ve ever heard is that 30 minutes of vigorous activity is a daily minimum to see any sort of health benefits, but we all know most Americans need far more than that…

    Though I guess you could consider your 10 minutes of vacuuming sort of like interval cross training.

  3. frank:
    Basically, by the time Winter sets in again and I’m ready to… …drink Scotch from the bottle

    OK Frank, let’s see what kind of man you really are. Ice or no ice?

    BTW, this is what I like:

  4. @frank
    Absolutely no ice. Just bought, and brought, some 18 year old Glenlivet to a party tonight and a friend and I were watching who used ice or not. No ice for the real men!!! Although, I must admit, I am more of a bourbon fan (esp Pappy Van Winkle) than a Scotch fan!

  5. Ice or no ice are both perfectly acceptable for scotch. So sayeth I.

    Cyclops–I am holding my almost empty bottle of 15 year old Balvenie even as I type this. I’ve also enjoyed the 21 year old, but now this Velominatus Budgetatus may be sipping his last Balvenie for a while.

    @Buck Rogers
    Let me know when you’re settled in San Antonio. I’m looking forward to driving over and getting in a Hill Country ride with you. Of course, you are welcome to bring the Glenlivet for any post-ride debriefing. I won’t object.

  6. @Cyclops, et al
    Y’all are making me thirsty. I’ve been nursing some Glenlivet for awhile (no ice in my scotch, thank ye). I also usually stock Bulleit Bourbon — great stuff, highly recommended for the discerning V. Bugetatus. Most recent pickup is that old classic, Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, which, along with Bourbon, I pour on the rocks. It’s not as good, but there’s no arguing with the name on the label.

  7. @Jeff in PetroMetro
    Jeff: Absolutely! I’ve built a decent little bourbon collection while I have been in TN over the last 2 years. I have some AMAZING 23 year-old Van Winkle bourbon that is just as smoothe as a freshly shaved pair of legs. I will be there at the latest by Sept 1st and we’ll have a ride and a little post-V bourbon tasting!

  8. frank:
    No ice, obviously. And not just any Balvenie; nothing but the Port Wood touches these lips.

    Here, here. Oh, wait, sorry Oli. Hear, hear.

  9. My sister was married last year at an exclusive country club here in town (doesn’t hurt that my dear ‘ol mum works there). Since I was taking the role of my late father in walking her down the aisle, and due the fact that my mom is an employee, I was given free reign to order any liquor I wanted from the bar (free of charge), while everyone else had to ‘suffer’ with the standard beer and wine selection.

    You better believe I drank the most top shelf scotch and whiskey they had. As a dedicated velominatus budgetatus, I generally limit my liquor purchases to bottles in the $15-25 dollar range. I can’t even remember the names of what I drank, but god they were all very good. I remember many of them were smokey and had strong peat flavors. Good times, good times…

  10. Actually Gentlemen if I may interject. Every self respecting bar in Scotland has a little jug placed on the bar with water in it. The purpose of which is to pour a “dash” of water in one’s Scotch. A wee dash mind. Not in order to water down the scotch but to chill it ever so slightly in order to bring forth all the delicious aromas and taste. In much the same way that red wine needs to be served at the right temperature (which is not room temperature if the room is 78f!!)

    For that reason I believe it is not neccessarily a crime for one to have a single wee cube of ice in lieu of a dash of water. Try it once, one small cube..let the ice melt and the scotch chill ever so slightly for five minutes, then drink it. I think you’ll be pleasanly suprised.

    BTW chaps if you love your Port Wood finishes one could do worse than to try the Glen Morangie in a Port Wood finish..wonderful stuff.

  11. @paolo

    Actually Gentlemen if I may interject. Every self respecting bar in Scotland has a little jug placed on the bar with water in it. The purpose of which is to pour a “dash” of water in one’s Scotch. A wee dash mind. Not in order to water down the scotch but to chill it ever so slightly in order to bring forth all the delicious aromas and taste. In much the same way that red wine needs to be served at the right temperature (which is not room temperature if the room is 78f!!)

    For that reason I believe it is not neccessarily a crime for one to have a single wee cube of ice in lieu of a dash of water. Try it once, one small cube..let the ice melt and the scotch chill ever so slightly for five minutes, then drink it. I think you’ll be pleasanly suprised.

    BTW chaps if you love your Port Wood finishes one could do worse than to try the Glen Morangie in a Port Wood finish..wonderful stuff.

    And it’s worth noting that Scotch can be bought cheaper in the US than in Scotland. Taxes, taxes, taxes . . .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.