The Next 12 Weeks...

A couple of months ago a friend, Amazon, suggested that I read the book "Racing Weight." The basis of the book is to find your ideal weight for better race performance. Now I don't have any illusions of being an elite athlete, but given that I'm so injury-prone, I'm open to anything that will help me enjoy the sports that I love without all the setbacks. The book arrived in mid-April but I purposefully didn't start reading it until after I finished my last marathon. At that time, I didn't want to start reading about all the things I should have done. It would have filled my head with all kinds of "coulda, shoulda, woulda's."

I began reading a few days after the race. At first I was skeptical, thinking it might be another "how to diet" book, but it's really not.

Common sense will tell you that if you're lighter, you're likely be a faster competitor and that is what the first half of this book discusses. But not in a "you're fat so lose weight" kind of way. There's a science behind it. It's about improving your body composition.

I'm sure you've heard of the term "fat-skinny" meaning, being thin, but not necessarily fit; i.e., still having a higher body fat percentage. Well the theory of this book is to focus on lowering your body fat percentage and gaining more lean muscle. By doing this, you can find your ideal racing weight. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Admittedly, I'm a slow reader and am only half-way through the book, but I really liked everything that I've read so far and decided to start adopting what it preaches.

So the logical place to start would be to find out what my body fat percentage it. But how? I have a scale that tells me what it is, but I had no idea how accurate it was.

Hydrostic (underwater) Test My company offers this twice a year at the Fitness Center but I missed it by a few days. I was so bummed.

DEXA Scanning I'd never heard of this and out of curiosity, googled it. It's an x-ray scan that measures your body weight, body fat, tissue composition - pretty much everything you wanted to know. It's supposed to be the most accurate way of measurement for this kind of stuff. Nice, I thought. Then I looked at the location that offered the service and it was 12 miles from my house. What were the odds? So I looked up the pricing and it was a lot less expensive than what I thought it would be. Put it this way, when I tried to get a VO2Max test done, I was told it cost $500. A RunSafe analysis is about $200. This test was $69. So I did it. I called for an appointment and got on the 2 week wait list. Yes, there was a 2 week wait list for a 15-minute appointment.

While I was fine with what my weight is (128 lbs), I'm not going to lie to you - I wasn't happy with the rest of my results - 33% body fat. To put this into context, I am 5' 0". Compared to the rest of America, I guess its okay, but America is obese, and I don't want to compare myself to the rest of America! Five years ago, at the same weight, my body fat was 5% lower. With all the workouts that I do, shouldn't it be lower? I *know* it should.

So what do I have to do differently?

1. Build more lean muscle by strength training 2. Eat a better *quality* diet

I have a plan in place that I'll share more of over the next couple of days.

Inspired by Jess and Jo's 60-day Challenge, I am doing my own challenge.

Starting today, I am going to follow my plan religiously and see what kind of results I get by Labor Day, which is 12 weeks from today.

This was me when I felt the fittest:

20051
20051

{circa 2005}

Lean and Strong. I want to feel this way again. And I want to go through my next marathon training cycle without anymore injuries.

It's going to be hard and it's going to hurt. I am going to have to break some bad habits but I am counting on you to help me stick with this, because in the end, I know it will all be worth it!