Thursday, October 19, 2017

Training for Triathlons at 69--Body Fat and Racing Weight--Restart Part 3

Just a quick update.  I finished week one down 4 pounds which is acceptable to me.  The weekend was tough and I was unable to stay strictly to plan but close enough.

This week also presents its challenges but as of Thursday (official weekly progress is taken on Monday) I am down almost another two pounds. 

Unfortunately we are throwing (well, my wife is) a dinner party Sunday night which will impact my Monday weight.  If I can finish week two down two pounds I will be very pleased.  But at least one pound is a minimum. 

Also, I note some cheats starting to get into my daily plan.  Got to snuff those out.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Training for Triathlons at 69--Body Fat and Racing Weight--Restart Part 2

Five days in and the new diet is going well.  And it is a diet and not a focus on improving the quality of food.

There are two big things I am doing different.  First I am building my eating daily eating plan the night before based on the training plan and eating challenges (e.g. planned lunches).  The plan is for about 1600 calories and allows 400 more for the unexpected.  So, about 300-500 calorie deficit.  Second, I am building my diet around rice, skinless, baked chicken breast, and broccoli.  Boring but it seems to be the diet the trainers in California put actors on when they want to buff-up for a role.

Granted I just came off vacation where I grossly over ate and weighed 184 pounds.  Yikes!  But in five days I am down to 178 which while still terrible is fast momentum in the right direction.

But the next three days are challenging.  Today, Friday, the grand kids are with us all day and that includes a donut run, lunch at Chick Fil A and a movie.  I have a huge weakness for popcorn.  Sunday there is a birthday dinner.

I will be adding as much training as I can to offset some of the probably bad eating but mostly I have to manage the situations.  The next three days will tell if I have any chance of hitting my weight goals.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Training for Triathlons at 69--Body Fat and Racing Weight--Restart

I haven't written for a while because things have been going badly.  After losing three pounds my weight loss stalled.  The whole idea of changing my food for better food and the weight will come off has one big flaw for me. 

I can't make the right choices consistently.  Almost all of that is my own weakness for the bad foods--I love cheeseburgers for example--and some from my wife who is a great cook and not on a diet.

Then there is the family vacation to Hawaii.  That crushed the diet.  Again, almost completely my own weaknesses that were accentuated by the food available--and lots of it.

Now I weight 180 lbs.  and need to be at 165 and probably 158.  That is a hell of a long way to go. 

So I am scrapping the incremental improve the diet for a much harsher, much more prescriptive diet of mainly chicken, broccoli, and rice with some cereal and eggs on harder workout days.

The plan is to lay out what I will eat each day or so in advance, keep to 2000 calories on training days and under 2000 on off days, keep the training shorter and try and drive this weight down.  My wife is on board knowing that I won't be eating her yummy food.

Maybe this way I can be at 175 by Thanksgiving which, for one day, I will eat!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Training for Triathlons at 69--Body Fat and Racing Weight--Post 4

I carried my granddaughter around one day last week.  For about 8 hours I carried her, played with her on the floor, picked her up and shower her things, and did a lot of walking around carrying her facing outwards.  There were minimal nap and food breaks.

She weighs 15 pounds.

I was exhausted at the end of the day.

I planned on losing 15 pounds of fat and so far it isn't going well.

But carrying that extra 15 pounds around demonstrated to me how much energy 15 pounds takes to carry around.  I definitely have got to get that 15 pounds off.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Training for Triathlons at 69--Body Fat and Racing Weight--Post 3

Monday is a good day to take an official weight.  I am down 2 pounds and since I had two social events to get through this weekend I am thrilled.  Now, can I keep the momentum?

As I suspected a 20.2% body fat does give me difficulties when trying to calculate a racing weight.  According to Fitzgerald’s Racing Weight, page 36, I should aim for a body fat of 18.4%.  Making the weight calculation (lean weight 142 = 178*(1-0.202, body fat = 36, racing weight 171.5 = 142/0.828) racing weight is 171.5. 

That is way too much.

BMI is another check and to get a BMI under 25.0 (overweight) I have to weight 164; a good 7 pounds less than Fitzgerald’s book.  At 164 I would have a body fat of about 13%.

A third check is my coach who is exactly 20 years younger than me, only half an inch taller and weighs exactly 30 pounds less than me.   There is no way that I should be 24 pounds heavier than him just because I am 20 years older.

What gives?  What at weight should I be?

Let’s go back to body fat. says 50+ racers should be in the 8-17% range.  If I take 13% as a midpoint I am back to what BMI said.  Hum.  The American Council on Exercise says the range for athletes is 6-13%.  Hum again.

My conclusion is that I should expect my best racing weight to be 163 lbs. (142/0.87).  That is losing fifteen pounds of fat and no muscle.  Not impossible but almost so.

Let’s see how this week goes.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Training for Triathlons at 69--Racing Weight and Body Fat Post 2

It is Sunday September 10th and I managed my way through Wine Tasting and a football party at a local sports bar.  I haven’t lost any weight but I also haven’t gained any. 

I am not “dieting” but cleaning up my diet.  The weight is supposed to come off slowly but surely if I clean it up and manage my eating.  That is the promise.

But I can’t help wondering what my weight should be.  So I have done some research and calculations.

Fitzgerald’s Racing Weight is a good starting point.  I need a current body fat percentage.  I have one of those scales that measures body fat it but the number is way too low (16.7%).  So I go on a Goggle search for body fat charts and calculators.

One site I find,, gives a couple of charts.  One gives the “Ideal Body Fat” for fitness or athletes between 6% and 17%.  The second chart adjusts the body fat percentage for age but stops at age 55 with a percentage of 21%.  It doesn’t discriminate between ideal for average men and those of us trying to be athletes.

My research turned up nothing more specific with almost all using the same “Ideal Body Fat” chart.

Next I calculated my body fat.

The Body Fat Navy calculator says my body fat is 22%. The Health Status site, which took a lot more measurements, calculated my body fat at 20.19%  (  The used a subset of measurements and calculated body fat at 20.2%. 

I like the Health Status number (20.2%) because it uses more measurements (like thighs—I have big cycling thighs) and not just because it is the smaller number.  Actually I suspect the lower number will cause me more problems when I try to calculate ideal racing weight.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Racing Triathlons at 69--Racing Weight Post 1

Aging up next year to the 70-74 age-group makes me want to race better.  I have now done five triathlons (two at 67 and three this year at 69); finishing all toward the back of the pack.  What would it take to be at least mid-pack?

According to Matt Fitzgerald in Racing Weight the number one predictor of finish time is body fat percentage.  The number two predictor is body weight.  And third best predictor is average weekly training time.

I am 5’8”, weight 178 pounds, am 22% body fat, and have a BMI of 27.1 (over weight).  Clearly this is the place to start.  But I have known this for years and have made relatively little progress.  Two years ago I raced at 172 and that was as light has I have been in many years.

Further, no one wants me to “diet”.  My triathlon coach gives about the same advice as Fitzgerald does in his book.  Clean up your diet, reduce calories very modestly (300-500 a day), and keep training. 

Cleaning up my diet is really the challenge.  I do love all the bad foods.  But even more challenging is the activities we have that include food (and usually the bad food).  For example this week there was my granddaughter’s birthday dinner (spaghetti and meatballs, homemade ice cream, and cake), a Labor Day cookout at a friends (cheeseburgers and all the side dishes), Wine Tasting Club (more like wine drinking and eating), and a Saturday night football party at a local sports bar.

Training and racing triathlons is my own obsession and I don’t want it to affect my friends in anyway.  Having friends who are Jewish, vegans, vegetarians, or are on the latest diet craze can drive you crazy trying to entertain.  I don’t want my friends worrying about what I eat.

So my challenge is how to clean up my diet and reduce calories some while not turning my life and those around me upside down.  Maybe I am going at this wrong but I am going to start this terrifically difficult task by writing about it and keeping the impact to myself.