A Skinny Waist Does Not Always An Athlete Make

If you’re training for a marathon with the intention of losing weight, you may find yourself engaged in a complicated battle. According to The New York Times, having a lower weight can have a serious negative impact on your athletic training. Meaning, if you’re shedding pounds, and using that as a motivator to increase your athletic performance, you may take the edge off your strength.

This is not to say, however, that all reduction in weight is bad, but that there is a tipping point: “Beth Parker, the director of exercise physiology research at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, said that, for runners, the general rule is that a 1 percent reduction in weight leads to a 1 percent increase in performance. So, why not just be as thin as you can be? The problem is that everyone has a point at which further weight loss actually makes their performance worse.”

How can you determine what your ideal exercise training weight is? Everyone’s numbers vary, unfortunately. But achieving it is simple enough, explains running coach Tom Fleming, “Your body will tell you [your perfect weight] and you will feel fast, race fast.”

So the question is: What feels better? Whittling down your waist, but not getting a runner’s high? Or carrying some extra baggage, but running like the wind? [New York Times]