Friday, January 7, 2011

Racing Weight - Reading Reflections: Chapter 2

Chapter 2 was the big chapter for me so far. It was my A-HA moment where I am able to establish some goals and calculate the numbers I should be aiming for. The title is "How To Determine Your Optimal Weight". I will tell you upfront that I was going into thinking that it was going to tell me to drop 20-30 lbs and be something so extreme that I would have no chance in heck of ever achieving. I finished the chapter excited and motivated with support to prove that my goals are realistic and smart.

To start with I should define Optimal Performance Weight - weigh associated with your highest athletic performance level. When I completed the Chicago Urbanathlon in October I was at 215 lbs. I was in the best shape of my life. I had more in my tank when finishing and still ran way faster than my goal time. I remember how great I felt at that level and that was at a time when I was training hard and just eating smartly based on some light reading.

With body weight you have to be careful because body composition is just as important as body weight. Dieting to cut weight may get you to the desired wight, but at what cost? Is your body undernourished because you are cutting calories way back? Do you have higher body fat because of cutting calories back so far that the body begins to store fat because food is not coming in enough? Is your diet something that you can continue with forever. Is it a life habit? Don't get caught up with just cutting weight. In the later chapters there is emphasis on goals. Your goals should be your main priority and losing weight just a natural result from the handwork.

Another very important thing to remember is that Optimal Performance Weight cannot be determined perfectly. It is not a definitive calculation. It provides you with a ballpark figure. You will never really know your OPW until you have achieved it.

Using BMI is not ideal. I am so glad to read this. I hate BMI. According to BMI I am overweight. If you know me you know I am not overweight by any means. To prove the error of BMI the Normal Range of an 5'5'' person can be anywhere from 114 lbs to 150 lbs? Is that not nuts. There is a major difference in 114 compare to 150.

A rhetorical question that crept up in my mind while reading holds so true in so many ways, "Why is it that about everyone you know and ask know exactly  what weight they WANT to be, but have no knowledge as to why that weight is good and healthy?"


There was a study shared that showed that 64% of body fat % is inherited and 36% comes from our lifestyles. May or may not be surprising to you, but for you to have a 36% affect on your body fat is huge because we all know we come in a variety of shapes and sizes that we have no control over. However, our actions do play an important role.

You never know what is possible until you try. I read this and decided to keep this as my motto for the year so get used to this one showing up all the time.

You won't know your OPW until you have achieved it. This backs up my motto from above. You will never know what you are capable of until you try. I never thought I could run 13 miles a year ago, but as I set out for smaller goals I realized that I could do it and I did it well.

As you track yourself it is important to track both body weight and body fat %. You will also need to perform Performance Tests to gauge yourself and your results. For me it is running so I need to perform a performance test of 10 km to gauge my time, weight, and fat %. I need to perform at 95% of my maximum effort. I will do this first test on Saturday when I have time and weather permitting as I will have to go outside. I will continue to test every 4 weeks.

To determine my OPW I had to weight myself. My scale does weight, body fat %, and water weight. Based on the chart in the book for my age group(30-39) my weight of 223.8 and 22.5 % body fat(my original weight for P90X was 224.4 but I lost some weight in a couple days) placed me at the bottom 30th percentile meaning that my body fat % is only better than 30% of people in my age group. Now he does state that the people who volunteered for the study are in better shape than the average American, but this still ticked me off. This was my eye opener and further motivation to move up these charts. Because I was so low I had to set a goal of only moving up 5 levels(which frustrated me). So my goal is to get my body fat % to 18.2% placing me at the 55%tile category.

Next was to determine my weight. I have the fat % figured out and now the weight. I had to find my current lean body mass which was 173.445. You figure this out by taking current body weight and multiplying by lean body mass % (223.8 x .775(100 - 22.5)) = 173.445

Once you figure that out then you take your lean body mass and divide by optimal lean body mass percentage.

173.5/.818 = 212 lbs

So there you have it. My goal is to get down to 212(three lbs less than my last race) and a body fat of 18.2%

I think this P90X workout will be a good start to shed some weight and fat and when I crank up my running in March I think I will be at my OPW for my races.

This is long post, but this was a huge chapter. By now you should be considering your goals and plans to accomplish them. If I can crank out these numbers, you can obtain your goals.

You never know what is possible until you try
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