“Is there a safe rule of thumb to try to lose weight and improve your performance while training but not becoming deficient and risk putting yourself in danger?”
Coach Jessee's Answer:
Great question! It does matter. When we are looking for weight loss AND performance, our bodies struggle with doing both at the same time. Ideally, we want to focus on one or the other. Planning your nutrition and fitness around your race dates will be the best tip to give you. You want to plan on the weight loss portion for the front half of your training when mileage is low. Then, when your miles increase, you will want to add those carbs into your meal plan for fuel and performance. It is still possible to lose weight during the back half of your training, but it’s critical to understand that it’s not the primary focus.
Is it a bad idea to want to lose weight in the weeks before a run? Should I concentrate on my running for now and work on composition after the marathon has passed, or can I strive for both goals at once? If so, how can I go about it?
Coach Eric's Answer:
It is fine to want to lose weight leading up to your run, as long as it doesn’t cut into recovery as your mileage climbs. The timing of your meals while training is just as important as how much you are eating while training for the run. Our recommendation is for you to focus on proper fueling throughout the day while training for the event. I suggest aiming for 5 evenly spaced meals per day. Then on run days, you will want to increase fueling during that run. A steady routine of 5 solid meals a day will help create blood sugar stability. Once you’re able to do this, you will be priming your body to burn off more fat.
Scientifically speaking, you lose weight when you’re in a caloric deficit. How do you monitor this on a daily basis with your increased mileage?
Coach Jessee's Answer:
A common myth about weight loss is calorie in vs calorie out. Since our metabolism adapts, the logic that burning more calories than you eat yields weight loss becomes a fallacy. If your metabolism is acclimated to burning 1500 calories per day and you drop to 1200 calories per day, then YES you would lose weight. However, if your metabolism is acclimated to below 1200 calories per day, then going “low calorie” to help with weight loss will yield little loss because your metabolic rate is already used to running slow. Going under 1200 calories per day, is dangerous, especially for athletes. Making sure your metabolism is revved and thriving will get you to the “caloric deficit” you are looking for to drop the extra pounds. Starting with the elimination of sugar and alcohol is a perfect first step. Take it a step further by looking at meal timing and balancing your macros per meal. Keeping your body fueled and energy stable throughout your day will help get you to those goals.