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Maximize performance without overemphasizing weight

Whether you are an athlete or coach, you know there are constant conversations in sport discussing weight and performance. The constant narrative says that you must lose weight in order to improve as an athlete.  It's as if the only way to be a successful athlete is to be a smaller version of yourself. Although there are truths in the weight and performance discussion, there are also many false beliefs and misunderstandings. While there are healthy ways to optimize body composition and to improve health, the influence and pressures of diet culture, social media, old school coaching methods and beliefs and sport body sterotypes make it difficult for many athletes to maintain a healthy relationship with food, the body and exercise. 

Self imposed beliefs about being "too heavy" for sport are reinforced by the media, coaches, influencers, "experts" and commentators who often highlight an athlete's body shape, size or weight over skill, performance or effort. These messages influence how an athlete feels about his/her/their body and as a result, a vulnerable, self conscious athlete may look to unhealthy, unrealistic and impractical methods to achieve an ideal "race weight" for sport. 

In today’s fad-diet obsessed society, it can be difficult to keep a healthy perspective on your body image. You can still be an athlete even if your body doesn’t match the unrealistic images seen on social media. Athletes come in all shapes and sizes. Every athlete has a "race ready" body weight weight where the body functions the best. This body is not determined by a number on the scale but achieved by consistent training, nutritious eating and proper fueling and hydration.

Weight (and body composition) is one factor of many that may influence your performance. Many factors impact how your body will perform in training and on race day. Sadly, the more time, mental energy and focus that you give to manipulating your weight in order to optimize performance, the less energy and focus you have on the factors that will actually have a direct and more powerful impact on your performance. 

Your training and diet should promote long-term mental and physical and longevity in sport. Eating is not cheating. If you need personalize nutrition assistance, reach out to a Board Certified Sport Dietitian for help.