Archive for the ‘diet’ Category

Diet and Workouts

March 9, 2010

Working out is getting to be a habit for me. I don’t really know when it happened, but I do not miss them unless my body tells me I need a break. No I don’t ask it within the last 10 minutes before I leave! It must tell me the day before for a morning workout or the morning of for a night time workout. It can always walk instead of run if it really has a problem but tells me too late, but the block of time is already spoken for.

I think the best thing I have done is to use all that I have learned about sports periodization and applied it for use. It helps with the mental aspect of working out. Periodization is the idea that you need to give the body a stress to improve it and the stress needs to increase for your body to keep adapting to it. If you keep giving it the same stress it will improve less and less. But, it also needs a break. You can’t just increase it forever. So if you graphed it’s like a sine wave (wavy line) plus a sloped line to tilt it upward. (Yeah I know, us engineers and our demented ways of thinking.)

So there are micro cycles which are more like a weekly plan. It doesn’t have to be a week, but let’s face it is there anyone that doesn’t use the week to organize their time? The macro cycle which is usually 3 or 4 weeks, then there is the year plan and the life plan, all these cycles come together to look like a stock market chart. The plan is like the simple examples of how stocks move in patterns as you might find in a book, and recording what you actually do looks like the stock market.

Back to the mental aspect I wanted to explain. If I sat down after the triathlon season was over and planned my whole season for the next year and had it all on paper, it would be daunting. It would be like coming into an operation that was half done and taking it over right in the thick of things. Hello Brian, this here is the half completed pyramid, here is the quarry and the forest and the farms and the workers, enjoy finishing it. A tad bit overwhelming! But then there is the cliché to take things one step at a time and such. This is too small but to keep your mind focused on the one thing at hand, the living in the moment, the zen of it all. I like the macro-cycle. I can plan it out easily, I can commit to it without feeling like I am giving away too much, I can have an idea about what is behind the corner for the next one, but I don’t actually have to plan it until this one is over and I am in the resting phase. It is easy to plan something when you feel like you are not doing much and are proud of any progress you made. That is what I mean by mental aspect.

A review of my last 6 weeks. It was a macro cycle because I had to start out slower and wanted to hit 200 pounds before I took a break. If you look close it is actually two macro-cycles that are 3 weeks long. My darn knee of mine had me lay off a bit. I am now in a week that has not been planned except for key workouts during the week. For example, I got this bike workout on Wednesday that I am working on building my power, it is set up for the next 8 weeks, I have done 4 of 12 so far. I can easily add on or back off the week by adjusting another workout that is more flexible. Just don’t mess with the key workouts! Now have a look at my chart of the last 6 weeks.

First, I must confess this is a hard to read chart. All the units are different. I could have scaled them based on calories burned which might be more appropriate to show the equal efforts, but I didn’t. Instead I will give you samples: The peak run week 5. I burned about 2680 calories running and walking each day: 2.1, 3.8, 3.1, 1.3, 0, 5, and 2.5 miles. I basically just stick a short treadmill workout, or a long one on the end of my other workouts, I never actually went for a run on it’s own, that is how I managed to get so much. The peak bike week 5 I burned about 2410 calories riding : 17, 0, 15.5, 0, 8, 16, and 0 miles. On the chart so these don’t spike upward I divided by 5 so the total is 56.5 miles but is just about 11, according to calories burned it should be close to the run line peak but I do not want to redo the chart. The swim peak was week 5, I swam 0, 3600, 0, 4200, 0, 1850, and 0 yards for a total of 9600 yards which is about 5.5 miles and burned 2020 calories. It is interesting to note that I burn about 12 to 13 calories a minute over the week on all the sports so I could just as easily chart by time instead of calories. The 12 to 13 is the average, each entry is recorded as best as possible based on my effort and ranges from 10-15.

The last number is the calories total. This is all calories burned and saved. By saved I mean that to maintain my weight I need to eat about 2500 calories a day, so if I eat less those are added in the total. So with week 5 as an example, I burned 7300 working out 619 minutes and saved 5900 by eating 1655 calories a day average. The main point was to look over the chart as relative values and see the macro-cycle period climb up and drop off. I am proud of how well I did these six weeks.

A note about the calories burned: we are all told that 3500 calories is a pound, but then to accurately measure them, especially regarding workouts, is nearly impossible. The total calories burned and saved that I recorded is 49,300 and that divided by 3500 estimates 14.1 pounds. The weight I dropped was from 212.6 to 198.8, or 12.8 pounds. Close enough! If I really wanted to I could test which is off by doing the same workout times or by eating the same amount of food and vary the other side. But like I said it is close enough for me.

Anyone that wants to figure out these for themselves I had some posts about basal metabolic rate and METS that should get you started. Just remember it is all relative, if you are bigger it is easier to get the deficits. My wife cannot eat nearly as much as me and must then work out for more minutes to get the same numbers, just not easy to do unless you got sent off to a ranch somewhere. So don’t worry about the size of the numbers if you are attempting the same goal, it takes a bit of time to get it down. There is no way I could have done this last year, I did not have a handle on the eating part. I am only barely starting to honestly.

Another benefit of the macro-cycle it the light at the end of the tunnel. You get to have a moment like I am having now as I look over all my progress. I keep a food log to track the calories, obviously, so I can go back over it and make some nice realizations. In the thick of things last year before triathlon race season, I was more worried about all of the nutrition that goes around working out and making sure the recovery period went well. I peeked back and found a week that I had a day I ate 3100 calories and averages 2200 for the week, the week of my first 10k race. Last week, the worst day I had was 2720 calories, and I averaged 2024 for the week. For the six weeks I averaged 1957 calories a day. I am improving.

I highlight my mistakes in yellow or red depending on if it was controlled or total all out neglect for the plan. I have red and yellow every single week. How well I could do if I was actually able to control myself for weeks at a time? About the best goal I have accomplished is making the 800+ calorie meal a rarity. Last year I made it a goal to not eat out as much and if I do don’t eat more than 800 calories in the meal. I ate 1000+ calories in one meal 10 times in the last 6 weeks, 7 of which while out of town for work. The reason I have been doing so well in spite of this is to not worry about it as it happens, once it is going to happen there is only extra stress to worry. Instead I pledge to remember how full my belly is over the rest of the day and the next day if it was for dinner. I frequently have a big day now followed by a little day when this happens. Examples: 3260-1250, 2400-1390, 2720-1200. Each of these second days was easy because of the full belly from the day before coupled with reminding myself to only eat healthy filling foods so as not to get any empty calories that I had already used up from the day before.

I hope some of these comments help you in some way. I am now planning my race season and will share that next time. These races are what keeps me working out now, I do not want to show up this summer and collapse across the finish line after taking a good hour and 15 minutes longer than the winners and 30 minutes longer than the middle of the pack.

Applebees Restaurant Sucks

June 11, 2009

Go to nearly any restaurant website and you can find nutritional information on their menu items. Not Applebees! Are these bafoons in the dark ages? The shoot extra fat in everything and don’t want to admit it? Here is what they say about it on their website in their FAQ:

We do not provide nutritional information on other Applebee’s® items, except where required by law.

By other they are talking about weight watchers points items they tell you the points. So no they don’t really give you any help unless you are doing the WW points. Oh but they will be happy if required by law, isn’t that special. I have a solution. Never eat there. Then it won’t matter.

That is my solution.

Never Eat At Applebees.

Oh and for anyone still following my epoc journey I think I have a stress fracture in my foot from the half marathon, so I will be swimming and biking only for at least a month. I ran 4 miles the last two Wednesdays and by mile 3 I got the pain back in my foot and had to walk/run and adjust my gait to make it go away. I read up on stress fractures and found that mysymptoms indicate a mild stress fracture. which requires 3 to 8 weeks to heal. Since my foot doesnt hurt except when I run and the day or two after I can solve my problem by not running for a 3 weeks and then start out by running 2 miles a few days before upping it to 3 or 4 as a test to see if its healed. Wearing my running shoes all the time is helping my foot to feel better too.

Weight Loss Secret – Fiber

May 23, 2009

A while back I made some discoveries in my diet that helped immenselyto control my appetite. Still working on applying them all the time, but at least I know about it. I will let you in on my little secret. I still have the days where I find myself in the kitchen eating item after item. It used to be getting up from the couch or whatever other sedentary non-activity I was doing. But I am now finding it happens more when I work out more. I basically use up a lot of muscle glycogen and then my body wants to replace it. No problem really as long as I eat the right foods. Therein lies the problem. Here is an excerpt from a blog I wrote a while back but did not post for some reason.

I have been struggling with the calorie counting for 11 weeks or so now. OK, struggle is not the right word, it has been very successful, but it is a battle to do better. My goal was initially to eat 1800 a day and it didn’t happen, I was still successful at 2200 calories daily but it takes longer that way to lose weight. I have been getting it down close to 2000 on average for a few weeks now. This last week I intentionally added some fiber to my diet and the meals are not only making me full, I sometimes feel stuffed. These days where it happens I am eating less than 1800 calories and I have the feeling of being stuffed! I can hardly believe it.

The discovery was that fiber keep you feeling full. And it is even better if it is the bulky stuff like a cup of carrots, as opposed to something that sounds goofy but many people do, like eating a granola bar that wasn’t all that great for you but is laced with several grams of chickory root that was dried and ground up and added to the bar. Yeah this is what a fiber one bar is, only 140 calories and 10 grams of soluable fiber. Soluable means two things, to those with even a little high school chemistry it means that it will dissolve in water. But the real way soluable fiber is classified that way is that it ferments in the gut. Thats right, you can hear it talking back later. Eat a fiber one bar in the morning and evening for a couple days if you need to win any contests.

Now it is recommended to eat several times after a hard workout at short intervals.  The first item is a liquid recovery drink followed by small meals at two hour intervals. Ideally these would be chosen for their nutritional value and they would involve fruits and vegetables and protien and even some good fats. My problem, is they are trips to the cupboard for a snack not a meal. I eat cheese crackers with a glass of milk. Then I am back later for ritz slimed with peanut butter and another glass of milk. Then that weight watchers popsicle for 140 calories calls me out. Then that wasn’t really a meal so I prepare a small sandwhich to go with it.

The thing is I am supposed to eat meals at these intervals when I work out long and hard. The last two Saturdays I did quite a bit. 1.2 mile swim, a 16 mile bike and a 3 mile run here for 1500 calories. Or a half marathon and a 1050 yard swim for 2100 calories. It takes over 2 hours and I get very hungry. I need to skip the dense caloric foods that come prepackaged for quick eating and take the time to eat more like I do during the week.

I eat breakfast during the week, then pack up a snack for the morning, lunch, and a snack for the afternoon. By the time I am out the door for work I know exactly how many calories I will have eaten before I sit down to my dinner, barring unforseen circumstances of course. Things like donuts using Jedi mind tricks to make me scoop them up off the plate when idiots bring them in to work thinking they are being nice. I usually avoid them cause they are not around, but sometimes I am weak. Who the hell needs to eat a 400-500 calorie deep fried pastry slathered with superfine ground sucrose mixed with a liquid and flavors like maple? Maybe I should cut the donut into sixths and take one bite. One 60 calorie bite that is still not worth it. Or better yet take a donut, take a bit, and toss the blasted thing in the trash. That will be what I try the next time, it gets rid of one more donut from the pile so they are gone faster, I get a little taste, and I still only eat 60 calories. I will head out like I am refilling my coffee so no one sees me and gets offended.

On Saturday I have no concept of planning. The only thing I do lately is make sure I get the recoverey drink. And then plan to eat 3 times after each of the next 2 hour periods. I shall plan all the meals the next few times. One of the items should be a soup that has lots of fiber. Another should include veggies, and another should include a piece of fruit. Here is the plan:

  1. after workout: revovery drink (Endurox R4) 270 calories
  2. 1 hour later or when hungry: 1/2 c plain yogurt, 1/2 c fruit, stevia sweetener, with added fiber (T ground flax) and 1/4 c of a crunchy cereal.  200 calories
  3. 2 hours later: 8 ritz crackers, 3 slices lunch ham, 1 slice cheese, 1/2 c baby carrots, 1/2 c raw brocolli. 300 calories
  4. 2 hours later: large bowl of lentil and sausage soup with veggies. This recipe is one of our family favorites and we use turkey sausage now. 200 calories.

Now this 1000 calorie blitzkrieg might sound like I am going overboard. But I tell you I just burned 1500 calories and only ate 1400 (breakfast of 400 plus 1000 recovery) and I am sitting at just about dinner time with a negative calorie balance for the day so far. If I am not just raving hungry I have accomplished my goal. Besides looking back over my calorie counts I notice on Saturdays I have been doing better since I started doing a recovery drink alone, so this is the easy first step to a successful workout and not eating too much later. But I still do poorly when I eat unheathy snacks by the time I get to dinner I still have big hunger cravings. Granola bars, cheese-n-crackers, cheesy-crackers sandwiches, and those darn weight watchers cookies-n-cream popsicles, and the skinny cow ice cream sandwiches are the typical things that find their weigh into my belly. (yeah I spelled it wrong on purpose).

There was one saturday where I ate 300 calories for breakfast, 200 in gel and sport drink during the 1700 calories workout (1.2 mile swim, 14 mile bike, 3.2 mile run). Then went on to have 550 calories for lunch, 600 calories in afternoon snacks, and found myself with such an urge to eat that I ate 1400 calories around what should have been dinner time in snacks that consisted of: girl scout cookies, ice cream sandwhiches,crackers n peanut butter, popcorn, and cereal. Good thing the day ended there.

 I really do think fiber, by way of eating it in naturally low calorie high bulk foods is the key to not being hungry and eating too much. I will leave you with a little more from that blog entry that never got posted where I was dicussing what I learned from eating fiber.

 I am skipping an afternoon snack here and there not because of will power but because I don’t feel hungry. I can really pack away the calories when we go out and eat for example at Red Robin Burger a couple of months ago I had the banzai burger (1000 calories) with steak fries (hundreds more) and then a tase of the kid’s milkshakes and birthday sunday for a total of 1500 calories in one meal. Granted I was full, and a little uncomfortable, but it is the same feeling I had the other evening when I ate about 600 calories of lentil and sausage soup which had about 18-20 grams of fiber in the one serving (lentils are amazing). And get this, less than half of the calories came from the soup, the crackers and milk were more calories. I did not even consider a late night snack and ended the day on 1760 calories stuffed and wanting no more. Every other time I ate 1760 calories or less (11 times about once a week) the following day I ate (2145, 2420, 2320, 2460, 2570, 2000, 2620, 2260, 1935, 2165, 1950) which is an average of 2260 and this time I ate 1920 the lowest followed by another day that was better than my goal of 2000. (It is cool to have the spreadsheet of data for comparisons like this.) And this second day the heaviest workout day of my workouts at 2300 yards swam in 64 minutes and 4.7 miles run in 44 and a half minutes. That is 1380 calories burned and still I sit here without hunger writing this, full for the day on 1850 calories. This fiber stuff is magic I tell you.