The Athlete Weight Debate

The weight debate has been going on for many years.

When you look at Frodo, Gomez or Sanders, their body fat is extremely low and some age groupers try and duplicate this which can be dangerous.

First, they train for a living, it is their jobs. They don’t have a 8 til 5 job and they can look after themselves heaps better than age groupers by getting a daily massage, a daily nap and look after their nutritional requirement a lot better than people who have to work a “normal” full time job. Also, they often train in warm climate and try and escape winter.

Here are Coach Stephane’s thoughts:

I was racing at 78kgs excactly 20 year ago. I was calorie counting and I was not really a happy person to be around because I love food & I felt deprived. I had to be super lean because I was doing ITU draft legal format and I had to run fast.

These days, I am 88kgs, much happier and much more balanced. I have stopped binge eating once a week and I have adopted a balanced lifestyle. No diet because I think it is a bad word that no athlete should embrace. It should be a lifestyle, healthy habits & eat to feel good. It also should not be too complicated as you need to be able to sustain it for the long term. So I keep it very simple. I pretty much eat fruits, vegies, meat, eggs, bread, rice, pasta, nuts and dark chocolate.

It works for me, I like it and feel good on it. It is made of fats, protein and carbs, what all athletes should consume daily. The only thing I avoid is simple sugars but not when I am in the middle of a training session.These days, I might be running slower because of my weight but I can ride faster because I have found that I have more power in the legs once over 85kgs. Also, there is nothing wrong with putting on up to 5% of body weight in the off season, especially in you live in an area with cold winter. That extra body weight will help you keep warmer and be healthier.

5 signs that you might be getting too lean:

  • Struggle to regulate body temperature
  • Often getting sick – increased frequency of illness or lingering illness
  • Feeling grumpy, depressed &/or angry
  • Lack of strength on the swim and bike
  • Change in hormone levels (males & females) and possible change in menstrual cycle (females)
  • Recent history of stress bone reactions or stress fractures
  • Poorer recovery
  • Increased incidence of tendinopathy issues in the achilles or hamstrings

So always go healthy over skinny for age group athletes. Think about it as a long term habit, not a diet. If you need help and want to see a specialist, please contact Tim Stewart at The Injury Clinic.

Further Reading:

GPC Squad – Racing Weight

Ali Patterson – Recovery Brunch

Ali Patterson – Nutrition to Prevent Stress Fractures