As a young person I was the skinniest kid on the block. Even into adulthood I was like a POW, with ribs sticking through, etc. I once had a female doctor laugh at how skinny I was. She remarked, “you don’t have an ounce of fat on you!” All well and good... that is until you start creeping into the master’s ranks and apparently the metabolism must slow down a little. Hence, I put on a little weight. I can’t believe I’m even saying this. After all those years of wimpiness-skinniness.
I should have seen it coming. My dad was told to lose some weight when he was in his 40's and he did so. I remember him telling me though when he was younger he was so self conscious about his own skinniness that he would drink straight cream to try to get some fat. “Dad, ever think of lifting?”
Competing in a sport that places a premium on going fast up very steep hills you can easily see how carrying any extra weight is a liability. When I was wed at age 34 we received a scale as a wedding gift. At that time I weighed 144. We kinda suspected though that it was around 4 pounds light, so I might have been 148. So that was my goal. Get to my “marriage weight” of 148. I would have to lose 6 pounds. A big deal? Not really. Since I started less than one month ago I’ve lost 9 pounds. I’m still not really that fat, so 9 pounds is a lot.
Yet, I’ve read recently about Tour de France riders, they’d train 25-30 hours a week, yet still restrict their diet. At one point in Tyler Hamilton’s book he described how Lance once ate THREE pieces of chocolate cake for desert. His team was all too intimidated by him to say anything, but Tyler thought to himself, “Great, now we’ll all have to ride an extra 5 hrs tomorrow so you can burn off that cake.” Same calorie deprivation with Peter Reid, Canada’s multiple Ironman world champ. He’d go to bed starving even though he too was putting in 25-30 hr training weeks. Any extra weight would just slow him down. So how does my 148 pound goal compare to other distance athletes? Arthur Lydiard wrote that the average weight for African runners at the time was 113....for Americans it was 130. His implication was that the USA boys should lose some. Killian Jornet weighs 125.
Ok, so 1 month into my reduction plan, I’m 145. I think it isn’t unreasonable to get down to 140. My plan? The one that’s actually worked pretty good so far?
Basically 3 things: eat less, train more, embrace hunger pangs. The first 2 are pretty obvious, the 3rd was kinda new to me. In our culture/country, when we have a craving-we satisfy it. Resources are abundant, you’re hungry-have a snack. No more for this guy. However, since I’m taking in less calories I can’t afford to eat anything that isn’t packed with important nutrients. Empty calories aren’t going to work as I won’t get nearly what my body needs. So, I’ve been supplementing just a bit....vit D, calcium, Mag, vit b mega complex. Might need to add to the list, but that’s what I’m taking for now.
A few years ago, when I first noticed just a bit of “extra” around my waist, I noticed an unusual feeling when I redlined it. When I’d creep into the Anaerobic zone, I’d feel a numbness around my mid-section. I can only speculate, but I wonder if that was the feeling of important oxygenated blood moving through my "spare tire" layer. Not only does extra weight encumber me in the uphills, it robs my working muscles of oxygen rich blood.