Body Weight Effects Running and Roasted Sprouts

by Joanne on November 9, 2010

In evaluating running performance, I look at everything that can be done to run faster, stronger, without pain or injury, and to feel the best I can when running.  Naturally, in my ever questioning mind, I wonder what is the ideal weight to run my best?  Checking out a few resources, this is what I found.

We ARE generally fastest at our leanest body weight which is a matter of power-to-weight ratio or rather lean body mass to fat.  

The general rule of thumb is that for every extra pound of fat, your running performance decreases by 1%.  See this interesting weight performance prediction calculator.

The leaner the athlete the better performance in tests of speed, agility, balance, and endurance. 

In men, the ideal body fat percentage is about 5 % to 9 %.  In women, the ideal is 8 % to 15%.

Given all of the above, we can only do so much to improve performance through body composition.  Weight is determined not just by diet and exercise but by our bone structure, sex, age, and height.  Those are pre determined by genetics.  In fact and also discovered in my reading, there are many world class athletes who, based upon BMI(body mass index), are considered obese!

We can’t get too obsessed with our weight and performance, after all, it’s not something that can be measured every day.  Well, it can but we have to keep in mind that water retention, hormonal changes and heavy meals loaded in carbohydrates will tip the scale in the plus direction. 

So, what’s the final answer about weight and performance? This is my conclusion:   If you eat a healthy diet of protein, high quality carbohydrates, essential fats on a daily basis, AND you incorporated strength training in with your running program (or aerobic program of choice), you will achieve the perfect balance. 

In the book, “Endurance Sports Nutrition” by Suzanne Girard Eberle MS, RD

Endurance sports

there is a quote by Nikki Kimball, ultra racer, US Mountain Running Team Member (2001-2003) that is the epitome of a healthy mind regarding weight and performance:

It’s amazing how many strangers come up to me at races and tell me to lose weight.  I’ve gotten to the point where I really like my body.  It’s strong and it works.  I’m rarely injured. I sometimes wish I were thinner, but I don’t want to be thin badly enough that I get hurt when I fall….I want to still love running when I’m 60.  Fearing food in order to run faster takes my love of the sport away.

If you want to become leaner for efficiency or just because you believe you need to lose weight, don’t have a short term focus.  Eat real food in proper portions and in real life situations. 

Some suggestions on how to reach an ideal running weight without compromising health, fitness, and strength can be found at runningplanet, and in summary are: 

  • add a mid week long run
  • run hills
  • strength train
  • run faster
  • do longer tempo runs
  • increase overall weekly miles
  • avoid simple carbohydrates
  • eat proper portion sizes
  • don’t drink calories


I never liked Brussels sprouts.  This was tough for me to understand since I love cabbage and always thought the Brussels sprout was a miniature cabbage, which Wikipedia agrees and says …

”the Brassicaceae family, is a Cultivar group of wild cabbage cultivated for its small (typically 0.98–1.6 inch diameter) leafy green buds,which visually resemble miniature cabbages”.


But it tasted just too strong for me.  That was until I began roasting the deceivingly delicious little BROOS-suls.


Using about 1 1/2 lbs. of fresh brussels, three of us devoured the following roasted vegetable.

  • 1 1/2 lbs. fresh Brussels sprouts – cut ends off and cut in half, rinse.
  • water – just enough for boiling the sprouts.
  • spices of choice or simply salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 TBS olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Boil water and add the Brussels.  Bring to a 2nd boil and let cook for 5 minutes.

Drain the Brussels and pat dry with clean paper towel.

Use 1/2 TBS olive oil to coat the bottom of a foil lined baking sheet.

Turn out the Brussels on the baking sheet and top with remaining 1 TBS oil. Add spices of choice.  *I added salt, pepper and a little paprika. Stir to coat all sprouts evenly.

Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. 


Any bitterness that might be evident with simply boiled sprouts disappears when roasting.  They take on a sweeter, earthy flavor.  You might try different spices such as allspice, or cinnamon, maybe Old Bay Seasoning.


Very low on the glycemic index and a good source of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium and Manganese.

How do you like your sprouts?

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  • At 2010.11.09 07:17, Heather said:

    Thanks for the info on the weight issue! Unless you’re competitively racing, I think it’s more important to be happy and enjoy life than to be at “ideal race weight”. You only live once!!
    I’m not a fan of brussels……..never have been. I used to gag when my mom tried to make us eat them when we were younger. Haha……so dramatic…… 🙂

    • At 2010.11.09 08:45, Joanne said:

      I agree about the competitive racing and trying to maintain a certain weight. But even then, that’s why I loved that quote from Nikki – she was an all star but still maintained her own sense of well being when everyone else was saying “lose it!”. The bottom line is you have to feel good within yourself.

      Funny about the sprouts – I pretty much forced them down but, like I said, really enjoy them now that I roast them.

      • At 2010.11.09 08:20, claudia said:

        I almost bought some this week, then thought well I really am the only one that eats them, now looking at these I wished I had! Will have to pick some up!

        • At 2010.11.09 08:45, Joanne said:

          Never pass up the brussels 🙂

          • At 2010.11.09 08:38, Alex @ I Eat Asphalt said:

            I think its really interesting how pounds of fat start to disappear just by changing up a routine. For a long time I would only run/spin and take pilates. As soon as I start to lift weights I slimmed down even more while making new muscle mass. I dont know if its made me any faster but I can definitely see little differences.

            • At 2010.11.09 08:46, Joanne said:

              Great comment Alex. I think the weights make us stronger and able to push harder.

              • At 2010.11.09 11:19, nancy jean said:

                Enjoyed the post about weight/running, and the ladies’ comments. As you say, the most important thing is to feel good within yourself. Even outside of running, numbers are only that and if you feel good about how you look and the way your clothes fit, nevermind what the scale says! I believe self-confidence is one of the most attractive traits a woman can possess.
                And thanks so much for the brussels recipe, Joanne. Like Heather, I used to gag from the strong smell of them boiling…the stench used to fill the entire kitchen! But Bob and Mom really love them, so I’ll try roasting them and hopefully won’t need a clothespin on my nose!

                • At 2010.11.09 11:45, Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear said:

                  I used to be the same, I hated sprouts but once I roasted them in summer (and grilled too!) I fell in love. They’re not a regular thing in our kitchen since the bf hates them still but I occassionally enjoy them all by myself 😀

                  • At 2010.11.09 13:01, Lori (Finding Radiance) said:

                    I know I would be faster if I weighed about 10 pounds less, but I don’t know as if I really have it in me to do what is needed to get down to that weight and still enjoy my food, you know? But who knows.

                    I never knew I like brussels until I roasted them. My favorite way to serve is to shred them up, then sautee in a bit of coconut oil, S&P, and top with dried cranberries. Yum!

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