31 August 2010

31 AUG 2010 workout

Endurance gear-up for TCTP outlined in earlier blog. 90' EnduranceMiles (EM) spin with 40' of Tempo.

Warmup: 10' 00" of easy spin
Workout: 40' 00" of Tempo (T) spinning (HR 143-147)
followed by 30' 00" of upper-end EM (HR 125-140) (estimated 1331 Cal.)
Cooldown: 10' 00" spin.
Estimated Total Calories: 1700
Day one of this EM workout, purpose being to crank up the "miles" and get the engine primed for the TCTP workout starting next week, and possibly to kick-start additional fat loss. Had no problems getting into a good HR, staying there is a little bit tricky but as I get more adapted I think it will be easier to keep within the ranges.

Shift tomorrow, no workout.

Sleep: 4/10 (couldn't fall asleep, tossed & turned, and then slept fitfully for about 4.5 hours)
Fatigue: 2/10 (very little fatigue, mostly from the sleep issue)
Stress: 0/10 (no stress)
Soreness: 0/10 (not sore)

Resting HR: (68)

30 August 2010

Drink reviews

As noted earlier, I've also used a small number (two!) of the bazillions of different hydration/fuel drinks for cyclists (and triathletes, and runners, and ... and ... and ...), both during and before activity. As with the gels from earlier, I have some more different drink mixes coming from various online stores, and shall have a more comprehensive review of these products in a month or two. For now, the ones I've used recently.

First up is the PowerBar Endurance Fruit Punch, which I have used sporadically since ... I think 2000? I used to buy this back when I first got into cycling for health, and have found it to be SUPER easy to drink. It's tasty, sweet without being too sweet, and in fact makes hydrating so awesome that I've had to stop myself from using it for all my hydration, even when just sitting around the house surfing the internet or reading. Yes, it's so easy to drink, I found myself contemplating just putting a scoop in a glass with water for no reason other than because it was around. That's probably as high a praise as I can give any hydration product: I'd drink it just because.

As for how well it does during extended activity ... I haven't really done any activity so long that I'd be able to tell, at least not in long enough that I feel I have any baseline for comparison, but I can tell you that I will indeed include this in my future plans for actual on-road riding and racing. Probably as part of a two-bottle back-and-forth system. I have used it as pre-ride fuel, and never had any problems with bonking or getting dizzy, or cramping. From that perspective, it works very well.

Second, I have been using the Hammer HEED product as well (specifically, the Mandarin Orange flavor). I have one complaint about the HEED: it doesn't seem to completely dissolve, even when I mix it at the lower end (1 scoop in 16 oz of water), and so I'm not sure if it's really all getting into my stomach, or how much/what is left in the sediment. Maybe this is normal for most dry mix fuel drinks, but I'm concerned about it.

Again, not really much in the way of extended activity to report yet, though I have a planned 1.5 hour ride tomorrow and intend to have a bottle of this for during-fuel, so I can give a better assessment then. I have used it pre-ride, and have never had a bonk or cramp problem after, so it works as expected in that regard. The flavor is very light, which means it is also easy to drink.

Tomorrow, I will be starting day 1 of a week-long ramp-up to the Time-Crunched Training System I talked a little bit about yesterday, beginning with a 90 minute EM ride with a 40 minute Tempo stretch.

Short version of the next three weeks:
Tuesday—90' EM with 40' T
Wednesday—Rest (shift)
Thursday—90' EM with 40' T
Friday—Rest (shift)
Sunday—90' EM with 40' T
Monday—50' EM
which segues nicely into the TCTP (New Century, if you're curious):
Tu—90' EM with 4x6' SS (5' RBI)
We—Rest (shift)
Th—90' EM with 4x6' SS (5' RBI)
Fr—Rest (shift)
Sa—90'–120' EM
Su—90'–120' EM
Tu—90' EM with 3x8' SS (4' RBI)
We—Rest (shift)
Th—90' EM with 3x8' SS (4' RBI)
Fr—Rest (shift)
Sa—90'–120' EM or group ride
Su—90'–120' EM

Nutrition review

Today's blog is a review of several different nutrition products that I've been training with/using during this process so far.
As for the theory ... there are three basic parts to the theory of nutrition while doing endurance exercise or activity: before, during, and after activity. In short, before the activity, an athlete should be full up on muscle and liver glycogen (if possible, but absolutely full up on muscle glycogen), and have some carbohydrates in their bloodstream; after the activity, it is important to take advantage of a glycogen replenishment window (more important if the athlete has depleted glycogen stores and will be doing another workout within about 24-28 hours).

During-activity nutrition is dependent on how long the activity will take. For any activity, hydration is critically important. Outside of that, plain water is fine rehydration as long as the activity is less than about an hour, though adding electrolytes (without carbohydrates) is not a bad idea if the activity is 30-60 minutes long, especially if you know you are a "white-streak" sweat-er, or if the environment tends toward very hot  or very humid (both of which tend to result in higher losses of fluid or electrolytes). For any activity lasting one to three hours, carb replenishment is a necessity; anything longer than that really requires "real food" ... watch the Tour de France riders, or go volunteer at the el Tour de Tucson or similar races in the feed zone, and you'll see what I mean (cantaloupe, banana, pb&j sammys, etc.).

Since most of my spins have been < 1 hour, I haven't done a whole lot of in-ride nutrition, so I'll leave that for another time. What I have been doing is a pretty high percentage of spins (and runs) early in the morning, before breakfast. Since having been asleep (and, not eating) for seven to eight hours, my muscle glycogen stores should be totally full, while my liver glycogen is pretty well depleted (from glycolysis all night). So, I've tried a few different ways to pre-fuel: PowerBar Gel (two different flavors) and PowerBar Endurance (a drink mix) from PowerBar, Clif Shots by Clif Bar, and Hammer Gel and HEED by Hammer Nutrition. I'll review each flavor/item separately; the gels in this entry, then the drinks in the next.

Quick note: all the gels are designed to be eaten but followed by 8 oz. of water, which (of course) I always did. In theory, you could eat the gel by itself but it's pretty concentrated and would take a lot longer to empty from the stomach that way.

My initial choice for pre-fuel for early morning workouts was Green Apple PowerBar Gel. This flavor is caffeinated (has "1x" caffeine ... which is 25 g according to their website), which is great for people like me who are caffeine addicts and can't really function that early in the morning without some.

The taste is really good, it's super-easy to down, and I never had any problems with it sitting in my stomach during the subsequent workout.

I can't forsee using this flavor during activity (since I already drink a lot of caffeine daily), but it makes a really good pre-activitiy fuel early in the morning.

The PowerBar Gel gets their fuel from a proprietary blend called C2 Max, which is basically a 2:1 glucose:fructose mix.

Later, I went and picked up a case of Tangerine PowerBar Gel, which is also caffeinated ("2x", or 50 g according to PowerBar's website). The flavor is again very agreeable, and it seemed to clear the stomach quite readily. I did, however, feel like the extra caffeine in this product brought my heart rate up more than I'd have preferred. I intend to perform a more controlled test of that theory in the next couple of weeks, and will post the results of that.

Tangerine, like all PowerBar Gels, uses the C2 Max blend for fuel.

I also picked up a case of Clif Shot Razz Energy Gel from Clif Bar. This flavor is not caffeinated, and because of that I've used it primarly as a pre-fuel for workouts later in the day, after I've had my daily coffee or Monster.

The Razz is raspberry flavored, and is quite tasty. The base fuel for the Clif Shot products is Brown Rice Syrup, which is thicker than the C2 Max from PowerBar. However, I actually prefer the slightly more viscous Clif Shot; it's easier to hold in my mouth while grabbing the water bottle.

Additionally, the packaging is superior to the PowerGel (or Gu, or just about any other I've come across). It comes with a LitterLeash® (Registered by Clif Bar). This is really an ingenious solution to the problem of "what the heck do I do with the top of the package?" after opening a serving of the gel. The package is cut so that when you rip open the top of the package, the top is still attached to the base. It's hard to describe, but I'd suggest going to your local outdoor, biking, or sports store and looking at the tops of the Clif Shot as opposed to just about any other gel out there. It means less litter on the trail/road/whatever.

In addition, I found myself in a local bike store recently (BikeMasters, up in Oro Valley), and picked up a bottle of Hammer Nutrition's Hammer Gel (Montana Huckleberry flavor). These multi-serving bottles are intended to be used along with a flask, most of which are graduated with markings to show how many servings are in the flask (the one I picked up is a Hammer-specific flask, and holds up to six servings when completely full).

The flavor of this product is awesome, kind of like a tart blueberry (to which the Huckleberry is related). The thing I don't like about this product is how thin it is; it is really hard to keep in the mouth while getting the water bottle out to swig from. If you like to eat your gel immediately, and then swig from the water bottle separately, then this gel is probably perfect for you. Another thing I dislike about this style (the multi-serving bottle with a flask) is, actually, the convenience! It's weird (I'm weird, so this should not surprise anyone), but having multiple servings available in the flask is a down-side to me. It would take a lot of trial and error to determine exactly how long to squeeze the flask for exactly one serving to come out, either that or I'd have to sit there and take a squeeze, pull back, see how much of the serving was left in the bottle, re-sqeeze, re-check, etc. all while trying to either not crash into the peleton or the curb (or, in my case, trying not to fall off the stationary trainer). However; I can see the utility of the flask-style for longer events. Since each serving is about 21 g of carbs, and at my current weight it is recommended to get 40-60 g per hour of activity, putting 6 servings in the flask, and eating about half of a flask every hour after the first, would be easier than having to decant two gel packets back to back. Some judicious planning, and a well-instructed team in the feed zone, could easily make the flask a preferred in-race solution.

So, what do I recommend? So far, what I'd suggest is that if you are a person who likes and can handle the caffeine, try the Tangerine PowerBar Gel as a pre-ride fuel, especially for competition (though, check with your coach, trainer, or local organization about the current limits for caffeine if you're competing in USA Cycling events. I seem to recall that it's not a banned substance, but does have limits). During the ride, check out either the Clif Shot (if you prefer the individual packets) or the Hammer Gel (for the flask oriented). On a cursory look at the Clif Bar website, they do not offer a multi-serving bottle of their gels, so if you like the flask method you will have to get something else.

Later today, I will post a review of the drinks I've used so far. Also, I have Gu and Accel gel products coming soon, which I will try out and review at a later date.

29 August 2010

29 AUG 2010 workout

Less a workout and more a test. Specifically, the Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) Field Test.
Estimated Total Calories: 1150
Today, I wanted to get a good sense for my current level of fitness and where I was in terms of my Lactate Threshold, as well as get a good baseline for directing further training. The short version of the CTS field test is this:
10' warmup, very light spinning
1' FastPedal (FP) (pedal in small gears as fast as possible without bouncing in the saddle)
1' recovery (easy spin)
2' FP
1' easy recovery
1' PowerInterval (PI) (Max intensity at 90-95 cadence)
2' easy recovery
1' PI
4' recovery
8': Slow to almost stopped, with dominant-side crank at the 2 o'clock position, in a smallish gear (but not too small). Crank up to 90-100 cadence, switching up gears over the next 45 seconds or so until putting out an effort that will be basically exhausting at the end of 8 minutes while continuing @ 90-100 cadence. Go until 1 minute left on the 8 minute clock; at 1 minute left, crank at absolutely full power and do not give up or slow down until the end of the minute. This is Round 1.
10' easy recovery
8': Round 2, exactly like round 1.
15' easy cooldown.
In each round, use HR monitor (and power monitor, if you have one) to record average and maximal HR for the round as well as average power. Also, record average cadence, RPE, and weather/course conditions. Use the highest average HR (and the highest average power, even if they are from different rounds) to determine the training ranges for the Time-Crunched Training System (TCTS).
My results: Indoor trainer, temp 80° F, RH 44%. Round 1: Max HR 177, AVG HR 161. Round 2: Max HR 179, AVG HR 163

Tomorrow: rest day. Starting week 1 of the TCTS Tuesday.
Today's weigh-in and measurements: Weight 232.5 pounds (BMI 36.36), waist 49", neck 19".
Sleep: 8/10 (Somewhat fitful, woke up a couple of times during the night)
Fatigue: 0/10 (no fatigue to speak of)
Stress: 0/10 (no stress)
Soreness: 0/10 (not sore)

24 August 2010

24 Aug 2010 workout

Actually a pair of spins in zone 5a/5b.

Warmup #1: 5' 00" of spin-up
Workout #1: 20' 00" activity (estimated 407 Cal.)
Cooldown #1: 5' 00" spin.
Warmup #2: 5' 00" of spin-up
Workout #2: 10' 00" activity (estimated 204 Cal.)
Cooldown #2: 5' 00" spin.
Estimated Total Calories: 714
Initially started out intending to do a 30' spin in zone 5a/5b, with an additional 30' in zone 2. Got on, got to almost the 20' mark and realized I was actually kind of fatigued, so I elected to get to 20' and cool down, then refuel, hydrate, and go back later. So I warmed up, repeated my zone 5a/5b workout for an additional 10' and did another cool down after.

No workout tomorrow, on shift.

Sleep: 7/10 (woke up a couple of times, did finally get pretty good sleep after the last time)
Fatigue: 4/10 (didn't feel fatigued at first, but did after started spinning)
Stress: 0/10 (no stress)
Soreness: 0/10 (not sore)

Resting HR: forgot to check!

22 August 2010

22 Aug 2010 workout

Since developing the runner's knee after the last couple of runs, I've switched to spinner only. Today, a 30 minute spin in zone 5b.

Warmup: 5' 00" spin up.
Workout: 30' 00" spin in zone 5b (estimated 601 Cal.)
Cooldown: 5' 00" spin down.
Estimated Total Calories: 670
Felt great during the spin, it was a definite 18 on the Borg RPE scale. TSS 60 (for an explanation of estimated TSS, see Joe Friel's Blog on this metric). It was fairly easy to keep the effort in the right HR range, and basically just meant when the HR crept up to the high end (169) I dropped down one gear, then when it got to the bottom edge (164) I would crank up a gear; wash, rinse, repeat until 30 minutes are up.

Tomorrow is a recovery day, probably 45-55 minutes in Zone 1.

Sleep: 9/10 (slept really well last night)
Fatigue: 0/10 (no fatigue)
Stress: 1/10 (a little bit concerned about the knees, but I think they'll be fine once they're completely rested from the running. Once I lose more weight I think it will be fine to go back to the running.)
Soreness: 1/10 (very slight R knee soreness)

Resting HR: 64

17 August 2010

16 and 17 AUG 2010 workouts

16 AUG workout:

30 minute zone 1 spin on trainer.

Warmup: 5' 00" spin
Workout: 30' 00" spin (estimated 296 Cal.)
Cooldown: 5' 00" spin.
Estimated Total Calories: 350
Knees were pretty sore Sunday night and Monday morning, presumably from the run on Sunday morning, so I switched it up. Today's spin was a recovery spin for 30 minutes in zone 1 with a five minute spin-up and -down. Knees felt better afterward, and also felt much better in the morning after I woke up.

17 AUG workout:
45 minute zone 2 spin on trainer.

Warmup: 5' 00" spin
Workout: 45' 00" spin (estimated 564 Cal.)
Cooldown: 5' 00" spin.
Estimated Total Calories: 618
Knees felt much better this morning than yesterday morning, still a little bit sore but not too bad. Spin itself was good, kept a good pace and kept HR in the zone 2 range.

Back to the knee pain. I've never had knee problems, not even while I was in the Army as a tank crewman. At first, I was kind of worried about it, then did some research and though about it; I believe that it's plain-old, ordinary, Runner's Knee, and that I'm feeling it for the first time because I haven't tried running (especially since I've been as fat as I have been) in years. I believe that as long as I keep losing weight, and taking it easy on the running for now, I will be able to go back to running full-steam in a few weeks. As it is, though, I'm going to shift the workouts back to the bike four out of five days per week.

Speaking of which, it's getting to be time for me to shift some things anyway, so here's the shifted workout plan:

Wed/Fri: probably days off, though I may start using the Body by Jake door thingy that Kevin has on the door at quarters for leg workouts (as long as Kevin leaves it up); if so, I will probably also need to add a third day (probably Mondays) to properly manage that process.
Thursdays: 45-55 minute zone 2 spin (weight loss!)
Saturdays: 45-55 minute zone 2 spin (more weight loss!)
Sundays: Zone 4/5a/5b run (30 minute minimum)
Mondays: 30-minute zone 1 recovery spin, possibly leg resistance exercises
Tuesdays: 10-15 minute zone 5a spin, additional 10-15 minute zone 4 spin, finish with 25-30 minute zone 3 spin.

Still, regardless of the actual workout plan, minutes, methods or whatever, the overriding goal is still to lose weight. So even though the plan at the moment doesn't really resemble a periodization training plan for competitive bike racing, it's not really supposed to, either.
That brings me to another point: I'd said in an earlier blog post that I was going to put up the weigh-in weight and some body measurements a couple of Monday's ago, and I still haven't done that. That's going to be next Monday (23 AUG), due to my having forgotten about it. *whoops* I can say that according to the Wii Fit (which I get on every day, even if I don't do any exercises on it that day), I've gone from a high weight of 244 to a current weight of about 236 pounds, which is about 8 pounds in 6 weeks. Though that's not quite as much weight as I'd hoped for, I haven't been keeping track of my calories eaten, either.

So, that's the next step in the progression. I have been doing a better job of choosing food, I believe, in that I choose whole-grain foods for carbs like 90% of the time, haven't had any beef, pork, or other red meat in a long time, I don't eat fried food hardly ever (I've had one serving of Lucky Wishbone chicken tenders in the past six weeks, and that's it), I limit my snacking to veggies, fruit (apples especially), or edamame. Most of my protein comes from legumes, and I eat smaller portions than I used to.

However, I am not discouraged, simply observing. I am committed to the exercise plan, and am working on the meal planning in the background (for now). The weight loss will come.

Sleep: 8/10 (pretty good sleep both nights, though it took longer to get to sleep than I'd like)
Fatigue: 0/10 (no fatigue)
Stress: 1/10 (new knee pain is a touch disconcerting)
Soreness: 6/10 (knees, esp. R knee, sore Monday morning, more like a 2/10 Tuesday)

Resting HR: (66)

15 August 2010

15 AUG 2010 workout

Today, a zone 4/5a/5b jog/walk to improve CV fitness and train LT.

Warmup: 5 minutes on Wii Fit plus 3 minute walk
Workout: 30' 35" jog/walk (estimated 390 Cal.)
Cooldown: 7' 00" spin.
Estimated Total Calories: 421
Road run to improve both cardio fitness and train LT threshold. Sun shining, a bit humid (appeared to have rained some overnight), but still a great run overall. Very happy with today's exercise. Recovery HR: 177 @ t, 154 @ t-1' (-23), 143 @ t-2' (-11 [-34]), 138 @ t-3' (-5 [-39]).

Recovery workout tomorrow, likely a 30' Wii fit activity in MET 2.0-3.0 range.

Sleep: 9/10 (slept really well)
Fatigue: 0/10 (not fatigued)
Stress: 0/10 (not stressed)
Soreness: 1/10 (very mild knee soreness bilat.)

Resting HR: 68

14 August 2010

14 AUG 2010 Workout

Zone 3, zone 2 spin.

Warmup: 5 minute spin
Workout: 45' 30" spin (estimated 601 Cal.)
Cooldown: 5' 00" spin.
Estimated Total Calories: 735
Spin-up for 5 minutes in low zone 1, then 10 minutes of zone 3 spin and 35 in zone 2, with a 5 minute spin-down in zone 1. Felt good, nice spin.

Tomorrow: 30+ minute run in zone 4/5a/5b.

Sleep: 3/10 (got basically no sleep on shift, took a nap after getting home)
Fatigue: 5/10 (fairly high due to lack of sleep & running traffic all night)
Stress: 2/10 (little stree)
Soreness: 0/10 (no soreness)

12 August 2010

Workouts from 10 AUG 2010 and 12 AUG 2010

Missed blogging the 1o AUG workout due to business at home, taking care of laundry and housework and whatnot.
Spin in zone 2.

Warmup: 11 minutes on Wii Fit
Workout: 51'00" spin (estimated 735 Cal.)
Cooldown: 4' 00" spin.
Estimated Total Calories: 804
Good zone 2 for 45' and about 7' of zone 1 as a ramp-up. Cool down was a little over 4 minutes of slow spinning.

No workout tomorrow, on-shift.

Sleep: 9/10 (Excellent sleep)
Fatigue: 2/10 (somewhat fatigued)
Stress: 1/10 (some work stress)
Soreness: 1/10 (slight R hamstring soreness).

Workout for 12 Aug:
Two-stage spin, 10 minutes in zone 3 and 35 in zone 2.

Warmup: 11 minutes on Wii Fit
Workout: 52' 00" spin (estimated 695 Cal.)
Cooldown: 7' 00" spin.
Estimated Total Calories: 762
Started off ramping straight to zone 3, did ten minutes there then slowed it down to a zone 2 spin for 35 more. Cool down was a little over 7 minutes of slow spinning.

No workout tomorrow, on-shift.

Sleep: 9/10 (Got great sleep, more than 7 hours straight even though it was on shift)
Fatigue: 1/10 (hardly any fatigue)
Stress: 2/10 (some work stress)
Soreness: 0/10 (no soreness).

08 August 2010

08 Aug 2010 workout, review of new wardrobe items

Today's workout was a zone 4/5a/5b/5c walk/run.

Warmup: 10 minutes on Wii Fit.
Workout: 32'40" walk/run (estimated 408 Cal, Min HR 145, Max HR 179, Avg HR 157.)
Cooldown: 5 min walk.
Estimated Total Calories: 470
Busted out with a good hard walk/run, essentially interval training (see the run graph). Felt great starting, had a good run throughout, and finished with a pretty good nearly full-effort sprint toward the end (recovery HR: 175->1' 151-> 2' 143->3' 138 (-24, -32, -35)).

Got new workout clothes and running shoes! I went and spent some money to upgrade the wardrobe, and I'm ecstatic about the results.

The shirt is a loose-fit Under Armour Ringer Tech Tee, which was really comfortable. No places where it bunches up, squeezes, or felt too loose. In addition to the shirt, I got a pair of Under Armour Compression Heatgear Compression shorts (really, just tight boxers meant to keep everything secure), and a pair of Under Armour Men's Blitz Microshorts, the combination of which worked really well. The pockets in the shorts are very deep, which I like, but they're only attached at the opening, and so if you put anything heavy (like, keys), the pockets sway really badly. Outside of that, they're excellent.

The pinnacle, though, is the shoes: Under Armour Prophet II running shoes. I freaking LOVE these shoes. They don't roll, they compress properly, the shock absorption is excellent, and they have great rebound. These aren't the top end of running shoe, but they're quite excellent for a guy like me, just re-starting his exercise activity.

Sleep: 9/10 (Excellent sleep)
Fatigue: 2/10 (hardly any fatigue)
Stress: 1/10 (little work stress)
Soreness: 1/10 (slight R hamstring soreness)

Resting HR (@wakeup): 67.