Saturday 5 March 2011

Review: Racing Weight quick start guide

Matt Fitzgerald’s first text on weight optimisation for endurance athletes is a first in it’s field and understandably a best seller-  it’s a rather essential book to have if you are a runner, cyclist or triathlete. Because there is so little well written and scientifically based information on weight management in sport generally, it’s also pretty essential reading for climbers too.
There was only one snag - climbing is not an aerobic endurance sport. Some of the information in Racing Weight was directly applicable to climbers, but the bulk of it still needs some interpretation to shoehorn the principles onto a completely different activity.
On first glance I thought that Fitzgerald’s sequel  - the Racing Weight Quick Start Guide might be not much more than a commercially led follow up with recipes and plans that follow directly from the ideas in the first book. Actually I think it could be better titled, as it’s not just that at all. ‘Quick Start’ actually refers to his ideas for weight loss at the start of a training cycle for endurance athletes. The whole premise of Racing Weight was that endurance athletes who dieted hard to get to their fighting weight would end up offsetting gains by the consequent loss of training intensity. However, even endurance athletes have time in the foundation phase of the new macrocycle where they can afford to absorb this, and they can adopt a more rapid weight loss program. This means a very different strategy.
Conveniently, this fits in a lot better with the types of schedules climbers tend to do. This book answered many (still not all!) of the lingering questions I had on weight management for resistance/anaerobic athletes like ourselves. Taking advantage of some key research findings in the past couple of years, together with his clear and very well constructed writing, Matt has produced another essential piece of digest for everyone whom this subject concerns. 
Most of the really ‘juicy’ scientific information that it’s in the first book fits into about 30 or 40 pages. But It’s well worth it for that understanding in my opinion. The extensive section on foods and choosing them for different situations is really excellent too, and I’m fairly sure the same information cannot be found anywhere else in such complete form and so well tailored to the intended audience.

I got some copies ordered for the shop straight away! It's right here.


  1. Good stuff!

    Thanks for alerting me to "Racing Weight", it's been a great read and I will surely read this one, too.

    I was wondering if you had maybe a page or so to share on climber-specifics, in the style of his short essays in "Racing Weight" early in the book...

  2. Thanks for the blog; always a good read.

    I just wanted to recommend Anita Bean's Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition (good name for a nutrition author, eh).It is not specifically about the benefits of weight loss to an athlete although many of us will have worked that out anyway but it is a really good guide to how to manage your weight within an athletes lifestyle. I found it easy to read for the layman but with tons of good science etc; you can read it at whatever level you are at really.

    Hope that helps!

  3. Hey Dave, Bought his first book after you recommended it. Lost 5kg since xmas following Matts advice. Best book I've read on weight control and sport. Thanks.

  4. I started working my exercises in order to lose weight for a year now. I do have a fitness magazine as my guide because I can't afford to go on gym. Even I'm just doing it on my place but it resulted to good body posture.

  5. Andy morris21 March, 2011

    If you were going to get one, would you recommend this or Racing Weight for a climber? Or do you need to read them both in conjunction?

  6. Dave,

    I've got the book from your shop as a gift and I really enjoy reading it. The author advises to make body fat index measurements. Have you done any yourself? What method did you use?