29 July 2010

29 Jul 2010 workout

Today's workout was a zone 2 aerobic workout on the spinner.

Warmup: 3 min slow spin (HR < 110)
Workout: 42 min 18 sec in Zone 2 with 30 seconds of creep into zone 3
Cooldown: 5 min slow spin

HR @ end of workout: 138
HR @ t+1 min: 126 (-12)
HR @ t+3 min: 115 (-23)

Estimated Total Calories: 443

Changed it up a little bit after a revelation. During aerobic exercise skeletal muscle, heart muscle, and most all other body cells are generating energy through the Krebs cycle. When the demand for ATP in skeletal muscle (especially) is relatively constant and moderate, that energy production is fed through both β-oxidation of triglycerides and the pyruvate acid sequence (a.k.a. glycolysis). Whenever the body can feed that cycle through β-oxidation rather than glycolysis, it does so. At low levels of exertion, more fat is catabolized for the Krebs cycle and electron transport chain than are carbohydrates; the harder the exertion, the higher the percentage of carbohydrates, until you reach anaerobic activity which will stop all energy production through the Krebs cycle and switch to either only glycolysis or to the creatine phosphate system depending on how quickly the muscle needs to recycle ADP into ATP.
Short version: slow but still zone 2 workouts will burn more fat than a zone 3 or 4 workout will, and of course a 5c workout will be only anaerobic.
There's a school of thought that says "yes, this is true, but if you put out more effort you will burn more overall calories," a school that I don't disagree with because they're right. Except, what I'm trying to do is catabolize fat in order to lose weight, while also improving my cardiovascular fitness and capacities.
So, I switched today's (and every Thursday workout for the next few weeks) to a 45 minute spin on the bike & indoor trainer gadget at low-to-moderate zone 2 HRs, with the theory being that with a longer zone 2 workout I will be able to catabolize more fat and get smaller sooner. I will not be neglecting the capacity workouts, however, which are still scheduled for Sundays and Tuesdays.
In any event, the goal is still the same: lose weight, lose inches in my waist, neck, and other place where there's too much fat, and add CV fitness.

Sleep: 7/10 (Fitful sleep, as always when I'm on shift, but did get a good solid 5 hours before wakeup)
Fatigue: 2/10 (slightly fatigued, mostly from the shift I believe)
Stress: 3/10 (work stress elevated due to an in-shift incident, as well as LifeNet 12 going down in the city yesterday)
Soreness: 1/10 (slight R hamstring soreness)

Resting HR (@wakeup): Unable to test @ work.

27 July 2010

27 Jul 2010 workout

Today's workout was a zone 4/5a threshold run with a warm up on the Wii Fit.

Wii Fit: 8 minutes of zone 1/2 warmup with stretching
Run: 35 minutes of zone 4/5a workout
Walk: 5 minutes of cooldown with stretching

Estimated Total Calories: 537
HR during  the workout wandered, mostly stayed between 155-163 but did creep to 172 a couple of times during the last quarter of the run; brought it down to a walk when that happened (not really trying to work anaerobic capacity at this time).
Sleep: 9/10 (Good sleep, did wake up twice but went right back to sleep)
Fatigue: 0/10 (no fatigue)
Stress: 0/10 (no stress)
Soreness: 1/10 (slight R hamstring soreness)

Resting HR (@wakeup): 71

26 July 2010

26 Jul 2010 workout

Today's workout was a zone 1 recovery workout with the Wii Fit.

Wii Fit: 8 minutes of zone 1 warmup
Wii Fit: 30 minutes of zone 1 workout
Wii Fit: 2 minutes of zone 1 cooldown
Estimated Total Calories: 275
HR during  the workout was kept very tightly in the zone 1 range, never exceeded 129, avg HR of 106.
Sleep: 9/10 (Good sleep, did wake up twice but went right back to sleep)
Fatigue: 0/10 (no fatigue)
Stress: 0/10 (no stress)
Soreness: 1/10 (slight R hamstring soreness)

Resting HR (@wakeup): 68

After I've been through one whole month, I'm going to start posting weekly weigh-ins with waist and neck measurements on Mondays, and once I've lost the first 15—20 pounds of weight I'll start keeping track of my recovery HRs as well.

As things move along, especially after I've been through three months and have my bike for actual road workouts, this thing kicks into a higher gear. At the 1 month mark, I'm going to add about an hour total to the weekly workout, making the desired minimum 150 minutes ( 1/2 hours) and the weekly goal (the preferred total) 210 minutes (3 1/2 hours), by extending two hard workouts from 30 minutes to 45, one of them from 30 minutes to 60 minutes, and keeping the recovery workouts at 30 minutes.

In order to keep from working too hard too fast, the 60 minute workouts will be done at a zone 3 pace instead of a zone 4/5a, with the 45 minute workouts in zones 4/5a.  The 30 minute recovery workouts will still be zone 1.

The 3-month mark will see an increase in total weekly hours to closer to 4.5 (270 minutes), with the longest bike ride or run of the week being a 90 minute affair (probably a bike ride). Ultimately, the workout time goal is to start next year's cycling training season in the 350 annual hours range, and using Joe Friel's periodization hours/week for that training level. The Preparation period for this cycle starts in mid- to late-December, and my goal weight for that time is 210-220 pounds. At that point, I'll re-evaluate where I stand and re-assess my goals in light of that cycling season.

25 July 2010

25 Jul 2010 workout

Today's workout was a zone 4/5a run, with warmup on the Wii Fit and stretching, and a cooldown with stretching after.

Wii Fit: 13 minutes of zone 1-2 warmup
Run: ~2.25 miles, 30 minutes, average speed 13 min 29 sec/mile
Estimated Total Calories: 470
HR during  the run was kept very tightly in the zone 4 & 5a ranges, never exceeded 163 and stayed above 146 almost the whole time.
Sleep: 9/10 (Good sleep, did wake up twice but went right back to sleep)
Fatigue: 0/10 (no fatigue)
Stress: 0/10 (no stress)
Soreness: 0/10 (No soreness)

As a new addition I'm tracking my wake-up heart rate first thing in the morning.

Resting HR (@wakeup): 73

24 July 2010

24 Jul 2010 workout

Today's workout was a recovery/aerobic workout with the Wii Fit and Gold's Gym cardio on the Wii. Did 17 minutes all told with the Wii Fit and another 14 with the Gold's.

Max HR 140, stayed mostly in the 115-130 range (Zone 1) with probably  five minutes in the 131-140 range (Zone 2)

Estimated Total Calories: 348
Sleep: 4/10 (Somewhat difficult night on shift, took a nap during the day)
Fatigue: 2/10 (hardly any fatigue)
Stress: 1/10 (hardly any stress)
Soreness: 0/10 (No soreness)

22 July 2010

22 JUL 2010 workout

Today's workout was a warmup with the Wii fit for about 10 minutes, then stretching, followed by a 30 minute subthreshold (zone 4) spin, a 1-minute anaerobic capacity (zone 5c) spin and 5 minute cool down with stretching.

Estimated Total Calories: 441

Sleep: 2/10 (We were up all night on shift, though I did get about a 90 minute nap in when I got home)
Fatigue: 3/10 (hardly any fatigue)
Stress: 1/10 (hardly any stress)
Soreness: 0/10 (No soreness)

Despite the lack of sleep, I actually felt pretty good after the nap, and got in a very good workout. Confirmed that Lactate Threshold is about HR 160, and ended the workout with one minute of zone 5c effort with a max HR of 173. Kept the heart rate in a really good high-end subthreshold range (for me, 149-159, in this case hovering around 155-156) for most of the spin, maybe 25 minutes worth. All in all a good day.

Shift tomorrow, so no workout. Moderate workout Saturday.

20 July 2010

Book Review #2

Today's book is The Time-Crunched Cyclist, by Chris Carmichael. For those who may not know, Coach Carmichael is Lance Armstrong's personal coach and has coached many hundreds of others from professional to more casual cyclists over the years.

This book focuses on getting the most workout possible in the shortest amount of time, and is (as the title clearly suggests) aimed at the cyclist with family, work, and other obligations and a limited amount of hours weekly in which to train.

Basically, the program is a condensed version of the basic periodization training programs many coaches and cyclists are using today. The major difference is that Coach Carmichael's system uses short, very intense workouts at or even over Lactate Threshold so that both improved Lactate clearance and muscle endurance occur rapidly. The first few chapters describe the program's philosophy, goes over the basic science underneath the program, and nutritional considerations.

The workouts are brief, but well-explained, and are highly customizable. Coach Carmichael covers a wide range of potential scenarios, and also gives great tactical advice in the latter part of the book. The last two chapters cover additional workouts for adding endurance and strength training in limited time.

Overall, I believe this is a good read for all cyclists, of any level, as the information Coach Carmichael covers is important and useful. A cyclist who has the time to undergo a more traditional periodization training program may not use the training program itself, but the Coach's coverage of nutrition and training tools is worth going over. This is not the only book that covers this material, but it is covered in a pretty down-to-earth manner.

My ratings (out of five stars):

Overall: ****
Cycling Specificity: *****
Ease of reading: **** (Some of the training tools coverage can be somewhat technical).

Final analysis: Recommended for cyclists who have a limited time to train but really want to be at their best. Cyclists with more time may benefit from reading it to gain understanding, but it is not essential.

20 Jul 2010 workout

Today's workout was a warmup with the Wii fit for about 6 minutes, then stretching, followed by a 26 minute run and 5 minute cool down with stretching.

Run details:
Avg HR: 153
Distance: 1.87 mi
Time: 25:52 (about two minutes on the Nike+ site were where I was stretching and listening to tunes, and forgot to pause the workout)
Calories: 359

Sleep: 9/10 (Got a great sleep, woke up once but I think it was from the storm that came through overnight)
Fatigue: 1/10 (hardly any fatigue)
Stress: 1/10 (hardly any stress)
Soreness: 2/10 (a little soreness, mostly hamstrings)

During the run I was trying to pay attention to the place where my breathing crossed over into the Lactate Threshold (LT) zone, and it appears to be somewhere around a HR of 160. Which makes these workouts pretty close to maximal or just barely sub-maximal, but that may be okay this early in the process. Threshold (zone 4) and superthreshold (zone 5a) LT workouts when you're fat and haven't been exercising for several years is probably the norm. Still, zone 4 & 5a workouts a lot of the time == overtraining == early burnout. So the plan is shifting a bit. Wed & Fri are still no-workout, actual resting recovery days (as much as can be had on an ambulance, anyway). Thursday is going to be a wii fit and spinner day, probably at zone 4 & 5a for about 30 minutes, anticipating the resting of Friday. Saturday will be a moderate workout day, probably mostly wii fit with a few minutes of low-range HR spinning. Sunday will be a hard workout day, wii fit with a zone 5a run, then a very light recovery day on Monday with wii fit and very easy spinning. Tuesday will be a hard workout probably similar to Sunday, then back to Wednesday as a complete rest day.

19 July 2010

19 JUL 2010

Today's workout was eliminated due to a need to attend to a friend's child's hospital visit. What I've elected to do instead is to switch tomorrow's workout to very early in the morning, and do an outdoor run as the largest portion of the workout. Nay harm doon, as they say, and it may even work out better that way.

Instead, I'll start my reviews section by reviewing a couple of books I've recently purchased; one today and one tomorrow.

Today: Weight Training for Cyclists: A Total Body Program for Power & Endurance. As clearly stated by the title, it's a book intended to help cyclists incorporate weight training into their training program, structured around the same basic periodization concept that seems to be all the rage (and, IMO, rightly so) in training circles.

Although the book itself is not separated specifically this way, I see it as being in three basic sections: Chapters 1, 2, and 3 are essentially an introduction to basic weight training and gym etiquette, equipment selection, nutrition, and pitfalls to avoid. It covers a pretty good amount of ground, all of which are useful for those who haven't ever trained with weights, or who have never done so in a structured way.

Chapters 4 and 5 introduce the program, explaining the philosophy and physiology behind it, and then covering the general periods for road, mountain bike, and track racing schedules, as well as covering the basic flow of the system.

The rest of the book covers specifics. Chapters 6-9 cover individual exercises, starting with stretching for essentially every muscle group in the body, followed by Legs, Upper body, and Core exercises designed to work the groups in those parts of the body. Chapter 10 covers exercises specifically designed to increase power, which in the case of the cyclist is the ability to quickly produce as much force as possible to the cranks, as frequently as possible, for as long as possible. It's the difference between being able to launch a sprint attack at the end of a race and finish in first, or having to try to catch up after the leaders have dusted off their bubbly and toasted to a win. Chapter 11 offers a sample training program. In the appendices are references for further reading and some example blank logs for those who would like a starting point for documenting their efforts.

Overall, I think the book does a pretty good job of covering the basics of weight training, and does a very good job of offering specific advice for different types of riders, from the casual rider looking to improve their riding for joy all the way to the serious competitor looking to move up to Category 2. I do not believe this book will be useful for those who believe they are ready for Category 1 racing, as those riders likely have teams or coaches already helping them develop to that level; that's okay, though, because I don't believe it is aimed at that group.

Overall, any cyclist who is looking for a good starting point for self-coaching their own weight-training program and integrating it into their regular cycling routine will benefit from this book. I strongly recommend that any cyclist looking to compete and win races at least read this book, even if they ultimately decide on a different program for themselves, as the information in the book is quite well researched and will be a good launching pad for further research.

My ratings (out of five stars):

Overall: ****
Cycling Specificity: *****
Ease of reading: **** (may be too easy for people who have a past history with weights; these people can probably skip to chapter 4 without much hassle).

Final analysis: Recommended for all cyclists.

17 July 2010

17 JUL 2010 workout entry

Wii Fit again, with a new run/walk. Did 12 minutes on the Wii Fit, then did a 17 minute run/walk. Not 100% sure on the calories or the speed, but estimated at 12 min/mile for the first part of it, and 168 kcal, 39 kcal for the Wii Fit stuff, and 52 kcal for the other part of the run/walk, total of 259 kcal burned.

Sleep: 4/10 (up all night transporting and covering, but got a good nap in)
Fatigue: 2/10 (a little tired from lack of sleep but not remarkably so)
Stress: 1/10 (hardly any stress)
Soreness: 3/10 (some soreness, mostly hamstrings)

No workout tomorrow, working overtime.

15 July 2010

15 JUL 2010 workout entry

Wii Fit again, did 40 total minutes burning 301 kcal. Good stuff. Did Yoga to psych up, hula hoops and step aerobics to warm up, then boxing and 20 minutes of interval running (in place), with a cool down after.

Sleep: 3/10 (we were up much of the night transporting or covering for other units)
Fatigue: 2/10 (a little tired from lack of sleep but not remarkably so)
Stress: 1/10 (hardly any stress)
Soreness: 1/10 (very little soreness)

So, for the Donovan Standard Week Sat-Fri (working tomorrow, so no workout):

  1. 138 total minutes of cardio
  2. 856 kcal burned during that cardio
6.203 kcal/minute during cardio. Estimated BMR is 1.730 kcal/min, making my current cardio workload about a MET of 3.6, which is not as high as I'd like as an average but is okay to start out. As I add more and harder exercises, that will improve.

Felt good throughout exercises. A couple more weeks of this and I'll be ready to shift into Phase 1B of The Plan™:
  • Continue Wii Fit, ~ 30 minutes to warm up and get a good sweat started.
  • Add running, minimum 10 minutes two days a week to start, gradually working up to an additional 30 minutes twice weekly.
  • Add Gold's Gym Wii game, one non-run day/week.
  • Fourth day will be a light workout day on the Wii fit only.

13 July 2010

Overall workouts 07 JUL-13 JUL

Where I work, the employee union was negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement covering, among other things, a raise. Some of that raise was retroactive, as the process had been going on for a while, so we all got some form of back pay.

Knowing that pay was coming, I made a commitment to change my body, my habits, my exercise, and my eating so that I can stop being a fat paramedic who sometimes struggles to move around, and start being a slim, hot paramedic that girls swoon over and who doesn't struggle to breathe after moving a patient.

Part of that commitment was to make a plan, some of which I've enumerated below. As part of that plan, I bought myself a Wii with the Wii Fit + and Balance Board, with a personal commitment to use them every day I'm not at work for at least half an hour.

A couple of days before that, I started getting myself prepared for the daily exercise routine by ... exercising! Yes, you heard that right. Basically, I wanted to kick-start the process a couple of days early. I have an old beater mountain bike that really never was much fun to ride and didn't really work right (it ran, but the shifters were loose, it's not sized properly, and I never had the time or money to get it fixed up), and I've since put that on a mount and made it a stationary spinner. It's a basic setup, with a stainless steel resistance wheel and adjustable tension, and that's about it. It works fine, though, as a spinner, which is what I started doing.

A couple of days later, I was able to go get my Wii and I was off. That was basically this past weekend.

So, for the week of 7 to 13 JULY 2010:

30 minutes of spinning
rest day
42 minutes of various Wii Fit activities, including step aerobics, running in place, and yoga
rest day
43 minutes of various Wii Fit activities
55 minutes of various Wii Fit activities, plus push-ups and crunches
43 minutes of various Wii Fit activities

For a weekly total of 213 minutes of exercise on five days, averaging a little over 42 minutes a day. All told, estimated calorie expenditure was 1642 kCal from exercise. Combined with estimated calorie intakes from Sparkpeople.com, the total weekly deficit was about 3000 kCal. Since 3500 kCal is a pound, that's a little less than a pound of weight loss (estimated) for the week.

From here out, I will post a daily workout blog on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday (my work days are Wednesday and Friday, and I don't have any chance to workout usually, so I treat them as built-in rest days).

Nutrition and food goals

As with the workout and weight loss goals (of which, this is a part!), these are a starting point and definitely subject to change.

Short-term goals (3 months):
  1. Track daily calorie intake (via Sparkpeople) every day
  2. Track fat, protein, carb, sodium, and fiber intake every day
  3. Meet daily calorie goals on > 80% of days
  4. Meet other daily nutritional goals > 70% of days
  5. Shift foods away from high-sodium and high-fat items
  6. Increase daily ingestion of vegetables
Medium-term goals (3-9 months from now, end of March 2011)
  1. 95% of work food brought from home (occasional meals out okay)
  2. Meet daily calorie goals > 95% of days
  3. Meet other daily nutritional goals on > 95% of days
  4. Planned meals, snacks, recovery/in-training meals tracked daily
Long-term goals (longer)
  1. Continue to bring > 95% of work meals from home
  2. Calorie goals met 99% of time with allowances for occasional overages
  3. Daily goals for fat and sodium on lower end of RDA (allowing for replenishment during exercise/training), with protein, carb, vitamin goals met 99% of days
  4. Continue to refine & update plan

Workout and weight loss goals list

This list will be revised over time, and regularly updated as things change.

Short-term goals (next 3 months, by the end of September):
  1. Start with working out 30 minutes per day, minimum 3 days per week (prefer 5) on the Wii Fit & Gold's Gym
  2. Add short- to medium-distance (1/2 mile to 2 mile) running twice weekly after a few weeks of #1
  3. Lose ~30 pounds (to ~200)
Medium-term goals (3 to 9 months from now, end of March 2011)
  1. Add road biking two days a week, 30-45 minutes each day
  2. Continue running, increasing distance or decreasing times as needed
  3. Lose additional 45-60 pounds (to ~145-155)
  4. Start process of race-specific bike training
Longer-term goals (> 9 months from now)
  1. Add some mountain biking for variety
  2. Begin periodization training
  3. Register with USA Cycling/ABRA
  4. Maintain body weight between 145-160 lbs.

The New Me, same as the Old Me. But better.

Hi there. I'm Donovan, and I'm overweight. I'm here because that's about to change, and I'm putting up my experiences, goals, missions, successes, failures, and thoughts on the matter so that I can learn, and maybe others can too.

First, a very slight bit of background. I currently work as a Paramedic, and a long time ago I was a soldier in the U. S. Army. I have pictures that prove that I used to be in shape. I also have pictures that prove that I'm way past that point right now.

I just recently got a raise at work, and used that as an opportunity to jump-start a weight-loss and conditioning program with the ultimate goal of me getting into shape enough to compete in local bike races, and do so at a reasonably healthy BMI.

So, this entry is just really the quick backdrop and starting point for the remainder of this process.

With this blog, I have several specific goals:
  1. To list and publicize my exercise goals and activities to create accountability;
  2. to list and publicize my nutritional goals, for the same reason.
  3. To create a review system and evaluation system (in my personal training, I intend to try several different items, in-game/race/training fuels, hydration products, nutrition products, and other things, and report on my results).
  4. To criticize and evaluate my progress, the training/workout plan(s), and anything else related to this process, to learn more about myself, workouts, training, and human endurance/physiology
  5. To explain and dig deeply into the things listed above so that others might also gain insight
Please bear with me as I get this party started. Bad 70s, 80s, and other decades' catch phrases are free with your meal.