This is my first book review for the blog. It is the first book review I have ever written. Is a book review the same as a book report. If so, then the last time I wrote a book report was high school. Here it goes.
This is the first book I have read about diet and racing/training. I was going to write exercise instead of racing/training, but the book does more than discuss it in the context of exercise. I specifically bought this book because I am interested in losing about 10 pounds for race season. For someone who is an active triathlete, or other endurance athlete, this book is appropriate because it discusses nutrition within the context of training and racing. I think if you are active in any endurance sport, all of your nutrition needs to be considered within the context of your sport since they are so dependant upon each other.
The author, Matt Fitzgerald, is a marathon runner, triathlete, and certified sports nutritionist. He is contributor to Bicycling and Runner’s World and senior editor of Triathlete magazine. He is also a featured coach for Training Peaks and Active.com.
The book is broken into 14 chapters with an appendix that consists of recommended strength exercises for endurance athletes. In the introduction, the three parts that make up the chapters are laid out. The three parts consist of, “Finding Your Racing Weight”, “Five Steps to Your Racing Weight”, and “The Racing Weight Menu”. Many of us who have been active in endurance sports for awhile will read the five steps and think, “duh”, but they are things we either take for granted or don’t think about enough. So it is nice to see them laid out and discussed in depth. The five steps consist of, “Improve Your Diet Quality”, Balance Your Energy Sources”, Time Your Nutrition”, Manage Your Appetite”, and “Train Right”. Based on the five steps, you can tell this is not a diet book, it does discuss different, for lack of a better word, “fad” diets. It discusses both the good and bad points of those “fad” diets.
The book is about nutrition taken in the context of training and racing, and contains many references to studies that have been performed to test nutrition and training experiments. I like that the author references studies and doesn’t just reference studies that validate a point, but also points to studies that had no effect or the opposite effect than what was intended. Since it is not a diet book, but a nutrition book, it is more a discussion of recommendations on eating for performance. I am not going to go into any chapter in detail in this review, but there is a chapter on “Nutrient Timing” that discusses what and when to eat before, during, and after training or racing. Nutrient timing is looked at using both specific examples and from the standpoint of how the body uses nutrients when training and racing.
The book discusses racing weight considerations for not only triathlon, but running, biking, swimming, rowing, and cross-country skiing and what consideration have to be made for each individual sport. There is a chapter titled “What the Pros Eat” that gives a snapshot of a daily nutrition intake for pro athletes in triathlon, cycling, rowing, running, swimming, and cross country skiing. There is also a chapter that has recipes and these recipes are supplied by Pip Taylor, a pro triathlete who has an education in sports nutrition and writes the nutrition column for Triathlete magazine. There is also a chapter on supplements that discusses 7 different supplements that the author thinks are of important.
When it comes to books on nutrition, training, and/or racing I tend to read them and pick and choose what I need from them, which I think is something a lot of us do and that is how many books are written. We all have different requirements as athletes and most of us cannot follow a general plan laid out in a book, so we take what we think we need from them and build or own plan.. I think this book is a good reference book, it contains a lot of good information that a person can go back to and use throughout their season, and that is how I plan on using this book for my racing and training needs.