Body composition…the 4th sport in triathlon

My ‘official’ 1 month weigh-in is next Friday on August 5th, to see how I’ve done in my quest to squeeze off a few pounds during my 1 month transition between getting back home after the Vancouver Half Iron, and going back at a more vigorous Ironman training schedule in advance of Ironman Florida.

…alright…if it seems familiar I’ve used today’s picture before…it is a good illustration of a lean body though 🙂

It _looks_ like I’m doing really well, so we’ll see what next week brings.

It seems to be a Matt Fitzgerald roll for a couple of days, as he had an interesting post a few days ago on, where he quotes a study that found a direct correlation between body fat percentages…how lean someone was…and their race performance…the interesting part, was that it even extends to already lean elite athletes.

In part…

Among recreational runners, there tend to be large differences in leanness, and it’s only to be expected that the leanest recreational runners will perform best in races.

Among elite-level runners it’s a different story. All elite runners are very lean, and the small differences in body-fat percentages have little correlation with differences in performance.

Within the special population of elite runners, it’s small differences in VO2max, maximum speed, and running economy that determine who wins and who loses.

Except that nothing I said in the previous paragraph is true.

Believe it or not, differences in body-fat percentage predict races times as well in elite runners as they do among recreational female runners. This was shown in a 2009 study involving 24 elite runners in Ethiopia.

Skinfold measurements were used to estimate body fat percentage in 12 male and 12 female athletes. These estimates were then compared to the runners’ individual race performances.

The researchers found an 80% correlation between skinfold measurements and race times in the men and a 78% correspondence in the women. All of these runners were very lean and very light, but the leanest among them were the fastest.

At every level of the sport, leanness is as important as aerobic capacity, speed, and running economy. And even at the elite level, it seems, some runners could get faster by getting leaner.

Here’s the full content:

…pretty strong summary if you’re considering whether you should drop a few pounds before your next race 🙂

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