Book Review: Racing Weight
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.