Bicycling Magazine's "250 Best Cycling Tips" had this to tell me:
"The ideal amount of body fat for an elite male rider is 6 to 9 percent, for a woman, 11 to 14 percent."
I found it mildly hilarious that I would somehow have to lose close to 10% of my body fat by spring. Putting it up as my gchat status message, a fellow legal-eagle-cyclist-Belgophile IMed me:
"Story of my life, friend."
Manorexia is old news in the cycling world, but when all a guy has to do is eat 2 cheeseburgers a day rather than 5 to lose weight, where does that leave the girls? When 20 to 24% of the average woman's body consists of fat, how do you shed the pounds? By eating tissues? Doing the Master Cleanse...forever?
Sure women are built differently than men - except for maybe my sister who could probably eat nutella and peanut butter all day and still clock in at an envious 96 lbs - but that doesn't mean I'm not prone to self-conscious pangs of guilt and gluttony. When Brett saw a picture of M1 pre-riding-seriously-several-times-a-week-and-losing-more-than-25-lbs, he [half] jokingly called him fat. When I heard that, I wanted to either run on a treadmill until I lost 20 lbs or eat a whole chocolate cake. Instead I sighed and got back on the rollers the next day.
What can you do? Surrounding yourself with guys who seriously love racing will teach you a thing or two about training and the mechanics of a bike, but it'll also have you inspecting your arms and legs to see if the veins are popping out of them yet. It'll have you wearing loose t-shirts to hide love handles and anything less than washboard abs. "Fat" and "skinny" in the cycling world aren't defined by normal people. They're defined by the Olson twins.
Which is enough to have me - usually the only girl in the crew - feeling like the resident blimp. And it's not too far off base; poptarts and cereal for dinner my first year of law school left me with 10 additional pounds that I've been trying to get rid of since. But now officially in my late-twenties, and with dreams of Kissena, there's a reason to drop those 10 pounds [and hopefully more].
So I've been cutting calories, avoiding refined flour, and riding and running whenever I'm not at a desk. It's slightly embarrassing; it's actually the first time in my life that I've been concerned about my weight, and ashamed by it.
Sounds kind of like confessions of a developing anorexic, huh? Don't worry. As we were discussing the need to drop weight, my legal-eagle-Belgophile friend said:
"Manorexia takes dedication that I just don't have."
I agreed. I'm just too damn lazy.