Friday, September 20, 2013

Review - Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald

It's been ages since I've done a book review so I'm a bit rusty. I've talked about books I've read in my podcast but that's always been a bit of a glance at a book and not a review. So, let's break out the WD-40 and see if my gears still work.

First off, the cover is fairly appealing with both front and back covers showing thin and muscular athletes. Kind of like that ideal Greek Adonis look that everyone strives to achieve. But so few of us actually do. The content itself is broken down into lots of mumbo-jumbo science followed by some recipes and some exercises. The recipes and exercises are all things that can easily be found online and don't really add too much to the value of the book. And the section on what professional athletes eat is a bit daunting as it just reminds you that you're not an elite athlete no matter how much granola you eat.

The real heart of the book, for me at least, is a reminder of what really works when it comes to dieting. And using the word "diet" is part of the problem. It's not so much a diet like Garfield thinks, it's diet as in what you eat. Let me explain it another way. To be healthy, you need to exercise and eat right. To eat right, you need to eat the right foods in the right amounts. Take salt for example. Too much salt is just as dangerous as not enough. So cutting out salt isn't the answer, the answer is moderating how much salt you consume so it's the right amount.

But that doesn't mean you need to eat like a devout foodie and be a snob. Like Alan Alda said, "in all things moderation, including moderation." So eating that brownie isn't the best thing to eat but hey, you need to let loose every now and then. If you don't splurge too much, you'll be fine.

Anyway, back to the book. This is pretty much the meat of what Fitzgerald talks about. Eat healthy foods, eat healthy portions, and exercise. But it's the "race weight" formulas he gives that make things a little interesting. I really did enjoy how it made me sit down and figure out what my "ideal racing weight" should be. It was a tangible goal. It wasn't like I sat down on New Year's Eve and said "I want to lose weight." No, instead it was more like "okay, your current weight and lean body mass is this, your ideal weight and lean body mass is this, then you need to lose this amount to reach the ideal race weight."

That was awesome. It gave me a concrete goal to aim for, something I put in a spreadsheet and measure, and it felt reasonable. The formula didn't tell me to lose the 50 pounds I wanted to lose, it told me to lose just 16 pounds. Much more reasonable and it felt more within my reach.

And there were other parts of the book like that. Things Fitzgerald said that made sense. Scientific studies that were done on various runners, swimmers, cyclists, and more that proved his various points. When to eat, what to eat, even what macro-nutrients to pay attention to. Things were all good in this arena and he makes valid points throughout.

But. Yes, everyone, I had a big but just waiting there. This book isn't really designed for beginners. For average people looking to better themselves. For normal people like me that are bigger than they should be. This book is designed more for the athlete that can place in their age group or can perform better than half of the others out there. Thankfully there wasn't a condescending tone in the book, it was just implied. Buried deep down, it was there. Or maybe I just read too much between the lines and don't feel comfortable with myself. Either way, I still think this book is for those looking for that extra edge to put them on the podium or at the top of their game. Especially those that have plateaued and can't seem to squeeze another minute off their time.

My bottom line is the book is good. But not for me. I like the goal it gave me and that kept me motivated for awhile. But once the book delved into the nuances of food, appetite, and scientific data, I got bored. I know I eat like crap and I know this book won't help me. Unless I eat it to curb my appetite.

1 comment:

John Zeleznik said...

I've never wanted to look like a Greek Adonis....I've always wanted to look the World's Strongest Man. But then again, I'm weird.