Essential Tips on Race Weight and Body Fat for Triathlon Preparation…
Body Fat Percentage For Triathlon
The biggest performance benefit of a low body fat percentage is that it makes you lighter. In other words, you’ll expend less energy hauling your ass around a triathlon. Two of the biggest measures of performance in triathlon are 1) power to weight ratio and 2) running economy.
TOP TIP: Your body weight forms a big part of both of those calculations.
Triathlon Cycling Training and Race Weight
why professional cyclists need to be so skinny.
For example, if your ‘FT’ (your maximal 1-hour power) is 250 watts and you weigh 70kg, your FT power to weight ratio would be 3.57 w/kg.
Let’s play around with this and say you lost 2kg and you now weigh 68kg. That means your power to weight ratio goes up to 3.67w/kg. This would lift you 3 places in the table below, without you having to improve your cycle power output. Not bad eh?
Triathlon Running Training and Racing Weight
Triathlon Performance Benefits at Race Weight
- Thermal regulation – with low body fat you won’t waste so much energy trying to stay cool during a triathlon.
- Aerodynamics – the smaller you are, the less drag you create. Losing a millimetre of fat all over your body is like upgrading to an aero-helmet.
So it’s safe to say that you’ll perform better at triathlon if your body fat is between 5-10% for men and 10-15% for women. Easier said than done.
How to Lose Weight But Not Muscle
The trick is to lose fat and maintain muscle. Research suggests that you can achieve this by reducing your carbohydrate intake slightly, while maintaining your protein intake. One way to do this is to cut out alcohol and sugary foods. The other trick is to lose weight slowly, with a daily deficit of no more than 500 calories. At this rate it would take you a week to lose one pound (or half a kilo) but you should still maintain your existing muscle.
Hitting your race weight is something we recommend you do for your big races, but not necessarily all year round. In a few week’s time I’ll write another blog to discuss three methods that you might help you shed that excess body fat.
By Phil Mosley. Triathlon Plus Coaching Editor, Ironman Certified Coach
Founder, My Pro Coach
Copyright © 2016 Philip Mosley