If you follow my Instagram account it probably is no surprise that I like food, well to be honest I like to cook. I grew up hanging off my Mom’s apron-strings so I am a bit of a dab hand in the kitchen. One thing my Mum told me though which has stuck with me is “the only thing you need to be able to cook, is to read”. What this means really means is just follow the recipe and typically that’s all I do. I have a few cook books at home, nothing too fancy as Trader Joes and Fresh & Easy do a pretty good job of putting food on the table! But it’s nice to actually get to the source of your food and there are sometimes just too many things that you can’t pronounce in that long list of ingredients on that package of premade meatloaf!
So with that all said I pre-ordered a Racing Weight, which hit the shelves at the end of January, from Amazon. I’ll be honest and say that this review is in lieu of one of FeedZone which was sent to me by the Publishers ages ago but around the time I was moving house and it sat in a box for a while and then it was too late to do a new book review so hopefully this will put me in good graces at VeloPress! I do have several shelves of their books at home!
Anyway on with the review. Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes is the fourth book in the Racing Weight Series, by Matt Fitzgerald and Georgie Fear. I own the first one (2009) which goes into how to identify your optimum weight and body composition and how to get there, the second book (2011) is a Quick Start guide, the third (2012) a revised version of the 2009 book and now the fourth is the Cook Book.
The book is divided into two main sections; Technical Info and Recipes, the Recipes section is them subdivided into sections depending on your level of comfort in the kitchen; Doesn’t Cook, Can Cook, Loves to Cook!
The Technical Info covers topics such as; The Six Point Racing Weight System, What to eat before a workout, Recovery foods, Food Quality, How to Shop and The Gift of Leftovers! There is some repetition from the preceding books but there is a lot of quality information that was either new to me or forgotten by me! It’s all good stuff and find myself referring back to it even though when I got the book I jumped straight into the recipes. All points lead to the bottom line which is that every extra pound you are carrying impacts your performance!
So now for the recipes and food, I cooked the following;
pg75 Homemade Minestrone Soup
pg78 Turkey (sub for Pork but also cooked with Pork at later date) and Peppers Pasta Sauce
pg 138 Marinated Flank Steak w/ Charred Corn Salsa
pg149 Flaxseed & Herb Crusted Chicken w/ Spaghetti Squash
pg151 Grilled Cashew Crusted Salmon w/ Corn
pg179 Veggie Frittata
Well six out of six…these really tasted as good as they looked and the kids love the Turkey and Peppers Pasta Sauce! The also tucked into the Steak and the Chicken, they were a bit meh on the Salmon mostly because of the nuts but it tasted good to me.
These seem to be going down pretty well with Matt himself as he was favoriting my Tweets with the pictures
As mention the Recipes are laid out in sections and they are really easy to follow, yup just follow the recipes. In my opinion a cook book that doesn’t have a picture of the end result and has pages of text is a bad thing and this book has easy to follow instructions and nicely taken but not overly staged pictures. Check out the page image below, I don’t think that picture looks much better than my own above. What is nice is that no special tools are needed, just your regular old pots, pans, oven, grill etc. I found that 99% of all the ingredients were available locally I had to hunt for a couple of things in a couple of different stores but I found everything that I needed. There is noting more annoying than discovering that you need an can of “Handpicked Tuscan olive oil and rosemary infused cannellini beans” which is only available at one store 50 miles away! Some of the recipes call for a bit of planning, as an example of the above I cooked the steak needed marinating overnight. It’s best to check the first few steps of the recipe to not fall foul of that.
All in all I found this book to be informative, the technical info allows you to get a good understanding of what your optimal weight should be and provides you a good structure to get there. This book takes you further along that journey than the others with actual recipes that you can use on a day to day basis. As noted above the kids in the house (4 of them ranging from 6-11 y/o) also enjoyed them, there is not much pandering to kids diets in the house ands the fact that they were happy to chow down on these meals makes life a lot easier in the kitchen! I had hoped to make some of the bars listed but I need with over a 100+ recipes getting the review out took priority over cooking “just one more thing”!
Should you buy this book, well in my opinion yes, here’s why;
- It provides information on why and how you can reach the optimal weight to facilitate your best performance
- The information is well written and structured, there are many books on sports nutrition that zig-zag all over the page
- The recipes are easy to follow with easy to locate ingredients
- The food is tasty and healthy
- If you are nervous in the kitchen there are some basic recipes that will allow you to build up your confidence
- Cooking is fun!
- Impress your partner!
- You get to drink beer with every meal…ok I made that one up!
- It’s less that $20, that’s three fancy Venti Starbucks…well maybe four but I always add an extra shot or two in mine!
For the record if I apply the the Racing Weight formula to myself I get the following;
Step 1. Calculate your body fat mass – multiple your current weight (177lb) by your body fat (20%), I use my Tanita BC1000 to derive the body fat percentage
- 177 x 20% = 33.63 (rounded to 34)
Step 2. Calculate you lean body mass – subtract you fat mass from your current weight
- 177 – 34 = 143lb
Step 3. Calculate you goal weight – find you goal lean body mass percentage (86% or .86. this is 14% body fat, a reduction of 6% and well with a healthy range for my age and gender). To find your goal weight divide your current lean body mass by your goal lean body mass percentage
- 143 / .86 = 166.28lb
So as you can see my goal of sub 170lb is realistic and in line with the my expectations, now I have to temper this with my own knowledge that when I get to the mid 160’s it’s a knife edge to walk along so I dial it back up to the 168-169LB range and that’s just better for me…hey we are all an experiment of one!
There you go, the kitchen is that way!
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