When you’re looking to achieve all-round fitness, you may be concerned with your lap times and distance speeds. And most of us would love to improve them! But if you’re carrying a few extra pounds right now, it’s easy to wonder if shedding them could help you speed up a little. It’s important that we hold onto some body fat. It’s an insulating layer, a reserve, and protection for our bones and organs. So is it worth the hassle?
If you watch a lot of marathon races, you’ll notice the best runners are pretty slim. But they’re also toned. They have a fair amount of muscle mass, but little fat reserves. The truth is we need a good balance of both fat and muscle to be able to stay healthy, lean and fast. If you want to pick up your running times, then it does make sense to be lighter and stronger to do that.
There are a few ways to slim down if you’re already enjoying a healthy diet. When you’re looking to sweeten things you could avoid high-calorie sugars and try natural sweeteners like the miracle berry. You could try different vegetables to create the foods you love, like mashed cauliflower instead of potato. This can bring down the number of calories you eat in a meal too.
Of course, if your body is already at the optimum weight and composition, you could try some other things. If you want to increase your speed, you could try investing in some new kit. For cycling, it makes sense to use cycling wear that isn’t loose, lightweight helmets, and a lighter framed bicycle. For running, you could try lighter running shoes, ditching the tee, and improving your posture. The technique can also play a really huge part. Why not join a club or invest in a specialist trainer?
If you do much of your training outdoors, it’s important to remember that the weather and environment play a huge part too. Damp and cold weather will affect your breathing. Your intake of oxygen may be affected as well as your ability to process it. Hot days will cause you to sweat more. You’ll need more water that could affect your stride. And if you’re running or cycling on the road, the traffic is always going to be an issue!
It’s true that reducing your weight and improving your technique can help you gain the speed you want. But handling the distance, and having the strength to see it through is another issue that could affect your times. Stamina can only be achieved with practice. You need to keep pushing yourself harder to increase it. You might try bursts of a sprint to help you with this. For strength training, focus on the muscles you use to hold your posture well for technique.
Sometimes slimming down can provide great results. It’s easier to carry less weight after all. But without the right reserves in your body, you could fail to improve your stamina and strength to succeed. Enjoy your next training session.