Weight and Running Performance (Recipe: Apple, Preserves and Gouda Grilled Cheese)

As I’m sure most of us know, our body weight and composition impact how well we run, bike, swim, etc.  Body weight is also one of the most influential and controllable factors in running performance.

Each person’s ideal racing weight is extremely individual just as the type of training plan you need to reach your goals. However, in almost every case, a runner’s optimal racing weight is the lowest weight he or she can attain without overtraining or consuming too little energy to support optimal running performance and recovery. Individual racing weights are influenced by a variety of factors, including height and frame type.

What’s true of all runners at their individual racing weights is that they have low body fat levels. In any single runner, it is primarily the amount of fat on the body that determines how close he or she is to racing weight.

If you’re trying to lose weight to get closer to your racing weight, it’s vital that you consume as many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as possible while also getting the carbs, protein and heart-healthy fats your body needs to support your training.

So you may be wondering how you calculate your ideal racing weight.  By definition, your optimal racing weight and optimal body fat percentage are the numbers that are associated with your highest level of fitness. Thus, the surest way to determine your racing weight and optimal body fat percentage is to get in the best shape of your life and then weigh yourself and measure your body composition on the day of a big race.  Great answer, huh?

No matter what your optimal racing weight,  you can’t expect to maintain your racing weight year-round any more than you can expect to hold peak fitness from January to December.  It just ain’t happenin’.

When you are trying to lose weight and you are training hard, you are often hungry.  A tip I read from a dietitian is to eat a big breakfast, eat often, resist the urge to gorge, and consume high-satiety foods. As a general rule, try to consume eat least 25 percent of your total calories for the day within an hour of waking up. Eating frequently throughout the day is an effective way to prevent your hunger from becoming extreme. When selecting the best foods for your caloric buck, choose foods high in fiber, long-chain fatty acids, calcium and protein.

Some runners make the mistake of thinking that losing weight is more important than how they do it. This mindset may seduce them into eating less in order to get down to that magic number. While this approach is fine for nonathletes, it’s not right for runners. Artificially restricting caloric intake while training intensively for a running race seldom turns out well. The body needs sufficient energy to fuel workouts and to bounce back quickly between workouts. If you deprive your body of some of the energy it needs you are likely to see your training suffer even as you lose weight.

The bottom line is this: If you train and eat for maximum performance, your weight will take care of itself. But if you train or eat to lose weight, your performance will probably suffer.

Food for Thought:  Yogurt and Cheese.  A recent Australian study found that eating full-fat cultured yogurt and cheese for three weeks can lower inflammatory markers linked to heart disease, compared with eating low-fat, noncultured dairy.  The combination of calcium and probiotics in cultured dairy may help regulate blood pressure and mitigate other heart-disease risk factors.  Eat a serving or two of yogurt (a serving is one cup) or cheese (1.5 ounces) daily.

Want more Italy pictures?  Of course you do!  And if I split the up the Cinque Terre pictures, you’ll get more posts that involve Italy!

It was raining when we got to Manarola!

It was raining when we got to Manarola!

But the city was still gorgeous!

But the city was still gorgeous!

Look at that view!  (I say that a lot...)

Look at that view! (I say that a lot…)

They had the best focaccia!

They had the best focaccia!

DSC_6616 IMG_6363

Quote of the Day:

“A goal is just an awesome way to force growth on yourself.” -Deena Kastor

Want a grown up grilled cheese sandwich?  Well, here you go!  Delicious!

Apple, Preserves and Gouda Grilled Cheese

Apple, Preserves and Gouda Grilled Cheese


Spread preserves on two slices of multigrain bread.  Layer one with sliced smoked Gouda, slices of tart-sweet apples (I used Honeycrisp because they are my fav!), and top with other bread slice.  Cook in a skillet with melted butter and EVOO over medium until cheese melts, about 4 minutes per side.

Courtesy of Rachel Ray

This entry was posted in Nutrition, Overall Health and News, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.

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