Does the weight influence the speed

Training & plans
The interplay of weight and performance

Scarce nutrition - better performance: an approach that ambitious hobby runners should be careful with. Without nutritional care there is a risk of malnutrition and malnutrition. The result: slack and slow instead of fit and fast. "The oxygen uptake limits the performance," explains Prof. Dr. Billy Sperlich, sports scientist from Würzburg, who deals intensively with training topics in the field of integrative and experimental training sciences. “The easiest way is to imagine a burning fire. The more oxygen that comes to the fire, the better it burns. Let's say the muscle mass stays the same and you lose weight. Then it makes a difference in terms of performance whether you consume 4,000 milliliters of oxygen per minute based on 60 kilograms or 4,000 milliliters of oxygen per minute based on 58 kilograms. "

If you diet too much, muscle mass is lost

Oxygen is better brought to the muscles when you are lighter. The aerobic energy production in the muscle can then proceed more efficiently. It remains to be seen how this effect is expressed in seconds and at what percentage of weight loss it becomes noticeable. Dr. Susanne Wiesner also warns against the idea that is quite obvious: The reduction in fat mass while maintaining the muscles would take seconds. The idea is logical, but: "Even if you also do strength training: Muscle tissue is always lost after 15 percent weight loss at the latest." The loss of muscle mass is unfavorable. And dr. Susanne Wiesner puts it into perspective: "The metabolic economy determines the speed much more than the weight." Ever thinner - ever faster?

One could speculate that the psyche also plays a role here. One kilogram less on the scales gives the fighting spirit wings. "One kilogram of weight loss per week - athletes can achieve that with great consistency," says Bernd Wilkens. "To do this, around 7,000 kilocalories have to be saved or burned through exercise." But Wilkens warns at the same time: “With full work and full training, that's enough. You also want to stay fit for everyday life. ”When it comes to performance development, athletes often overlook the time-relatedness in training practice.

Beware of malnutrition

The body adapts to endurance training in fixed periods of time. Methodical feats bounce off biology. The excessive desire for speed and slimness often leads to extreme diets. On the one hand, runners need enough energy for their workload, on the other hand, they want to weigh as little as possible. Especially with women, the aspect that they want external attractiveness and an athletic figure may play a major role. "The sport-related weight loss in runners with the aim of increasing performance carries the risk of developing anorexia," warns Dr. Jacob.

Athletes can control their bodies differently than normal consumers. It may even be that some who are underweight are still performing at their best, while others are already in the hospital with it. Because anorexia has dire consequences: the bone mass decreases, cardiac arrhythmias occur, menstruation does not occur in women, sleep is restless and the skin becomes bad. The susceptibility to infection also increases. Setting athletic goals and losing weight in order to achieve them is okay up to a certain limit, depending on the starting point. But a healthy relationship with food should always be maintained. Eating disorders, and especially anorexia, can be fatal. Sport has sad examples of this.