Friday, July 27, 2012

Living in the southeast makes training and exercising outdoors during the summer months really tough. One of the biggest risks while training outdoors is scumming to dehydration. What is dehydration? In the most simple terms it is losing more fluid through bodily functions (like sweating) than you actually take in. Symptoms can occur with as little as 2% loss in total body weight. Symptoms include, dry mouth, lack of sweat, drop in blood pressure and dark urine and in extreme instances it can cause damage to our kidneys. But that doesn't mean it isn't safe to go outside anymore, here are some tips for avoiding dehydration and to stay safe when exercising outdoors.

  • Constantly drink fluid throughout the day, don't wait until you are thirsty, its too late.
  • During intense exercise consider adding an electrolyte replacement solution, especially if longer than1 hour
  • If you are exercising early in the morning, pay special attention to your fluid intake the day before
  • Consider weighing yourself before and after intense exercise, what ever weight loss shows up on the scale needs to be replaced with fluids.

These are just a few tips that I use to make sure that dehydration doesn't effect my exercise performance. I am by no means a doctor but if you follow these basic principles you should be just fine the next time you are out there.

Get Moving. Keep Moving.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Another one down. Muncie 70.3 Triathlon

I don’t know if I have bad luck or what, but Mother Nature has been providing some interesting interruptions on race day for me this year. First, it was in New Orleans where a lake turned into an ocean with incredible winds, and this passed race in Muncie, Indiana record setting temperatures forced race organizers to cut the race distance in half.

To say that I was frustrated would be a severe understatement. Why does this keep happening to me? Why do I drive half way across the country to have a race changed last minute? The answer to question 1, it doesn’t just happen to me, everyone had to deal with it, so get over it. Question 2, well it may seem crazy but I really do love to race, so driving across the country for the chance to push my body to the limit is more than worth it.

My final result wasn’t too bad on the day, I was happy with my overall time, and if it wasn’t for an unfortunate mechanical issue on the bike my good day could have been a great one. If anything, it was an opportunity to see where my fitness is and test out a race strategy in hot weather that will come in handy for racing the Ironman 70.3 World championships in Vegas.

I also found out a little about myself in terms of how my mind isn’t always on the same page with my body. It was extremely hot during the run portion of the race and my legs where ready to rock but my brain kept saying, “it’s too hot, maybe we should take it easy out here”. Sure, it was hot, and for some the conditions were dangerous, but I know that I am in great shape and that I have spent hours training in the heat to acclimatize my body for these situations. So, I pushed through and ended having one of the top amateur runs splits on the day, with a time that I can definitely hang my hat on.

I come across this mind/body battle almost every day when training my clients at Eco Fitness. Earlier this week, I was putting one of my clients through an intense interval session on the treadmill at higher speeds and incline than they would normally do on their own. I could see some doubt creeping in and the reps were starting to take their toll. She didn’t think she could possibly keep going, but somehow, someway she found that little extra to push through. Afterwards, she was in shock, she couldn’t believe she was capable of handling that intensity.  Needless to say she found out a little about herself.

Of course it helps to have someone push you, but testing yourself on a regular basis is great way to help you reach those upper fitness goals. Maybe try to hold your planks a little longer, jack the incline up on the treadmill, stack some extra weight on the bar, or put one more quarter turn of resistance on the bike and have a workout that you can hang your hat on.

Get moving. Keep Moving.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

How do they do it?

The beginning of the summer in the world of endurance sports marks the beginning of Le Tour, or as we know it, The Tour of France. It’s a 21 day race that covers most of France and includes a lot of days where riders are covering over 100 miles a day. I know, it’s crazy right?

What is even more astounding is the amount of calories these guys are going through every day. Stage one winner, Peter Sagan, went through 3,500 calories, and that was considered an easy day. So how do they do it? Well because of their extreme fitness levels, top riders are able to burn a higher ratio of calories from fat. Even someone as lean as 8% body fat could walk from here to Chicago on their fat stores. However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t burning a ton of carbohydrates, the energy source our bodies heavily rely on for intense exercise.

Unlike fat, we can only store a limited amount of carbohydrate in our muscles and liver. In order to keep pace with what the riders are burning, they have to ingest high levels of simple carbohydrates in the form of drinks, gels and solids to get through the day. Afterwards, they would then continue to take in more simple carbohydrates to aid in recovery, and then finally eat a ton of complex carbohydrates to get ready for the next day.

Ok, so what does this mean for us weekend warriors? Well, let’s say you are doing some interval work on the treadmill followed by an intense strength training session, both of which burn a high amount of carbohydrates.  To finish this workout as strong as you started, you are most likely going to need some kind of carbohydrate to keep you going. Personally, I use a drink similar to Gatorade. Don’t panic, taking in these extra calories is a good thing. We are able to sustain much higher levels of training, which in turn increase our calorie burn and will also lower your chances of overeating following your workout.

Remember, carbohydrates are our friends. We need them more than we realize. The important thing is to watch for the type, amount and the timing of the carbohydrates you eat.

Get moving. Keep moving.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

3 out of 4 ain't bad

3 out of 4 ain’t bad

Plenty of time has gone by for me to recover from my last race, Ironman Texas. Not only is an Ironman (2.4mile Swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) taxing on the body but it is equally tough from a mental standpoint. I invested so much time into preparation for the day that afterwards I needed some time to bring myself back to natural to avoid a dreaded burnout.

As far as the race goes it wasn’t the day I was hoping for based on how my training went in the lead up to the race. I hoped for a better performance and I didn’t meet my main goal. However, that doesn’t mean that the race wasn’t a success. I realize that to have a perfect day a lot of things have to go the right way for you, and there is a good chance that everything isn’t going to line up on the day. That is why I set other goals that are big accomplishments in their own right.

Goal #1. Finish the damn thing, not too many people can say they have finished an Ironman

Goal #2. Enjoy the day, otherwise why put that much time into something if you don’t enjoy doing it

Goal #3. Don’t stop, no matter what keep moving.

Goal #4. Personal best time, came up a little short there, but 3 out of 4 ain’t bad.

So what’s the point to all of this? Goals are a big part of keeping our motivation levels up and can be our reward at the finish line. Maybe your ultimate goal is losing 30 pounds, and that’s great, but what happens if you don’t meet that one goal? Are you disappointed if you lose 25?

Setting other goals like fitting into a certain pair of jeans, lead a healthier lifestyle or run your first 5k, can help you stay on track and keep you working towards that ultimate goal. For me, it’s back to the pool, and more miles on the road because I have a couple other goals I have to meet this year and those goals are why I keep pushing.
 Oh, I almost forgot, one of my favorite clients, Eddie,  finished his first Ironman on the same day and one of his goals was to beat his training partner, mission accomplished. BAM!

Get Moving, Keep Moving,


Saturday, March 17, 2012

One more sleep

It's the night before Gertrude's marathon and the training went really well. She is locked and loaded and ready to run strong tomorrow. She didn't have too many issues with her training and we were able to make minor adjustments as needed. With any plan, flexibilty and coach/athlete communication is crucial. If running just isn't on the cards because of work, family, health that is fine, allow for flexibility instead of forcing a session. Keep the key workouts as the main focus and any other training is a bonus.

We will be posting Gertrude's results after the race along with her true identity. Here is a peak at her highest volume week, 3 weeks out from race week.

Monday- off

Tuesday- 1hr farlek session, using 3minute, 2minute, and 1 minute intervals with decending pace

Wednesday- 45 min easy

Thursday- 1hr 15min steady and easy

Friday- off

Saturay- 2hr with race pace efforts

Sunday- 2hr 30min steady and strong.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Changes vs. Resolutions

Let me start off by saying I am anti New Year’s Resolutions. Not because it isn’t a great idea to make necessary and important changes in your life, but because often time resolutions aren’t kept. I am not talking about resolutions such as trying to be a better husband or making a better effort to improve communication with family members. I am referring to the resolutions I hear about in my workplace, the gym.

The busiest time of the year for me is January to April, because of two reasons. One, because people made a New Years resolution to lose a certain number of pounds and two, because my younger clients want an attractive beach body for their spring break trip. We will talk about the second reason later, it’s a whole post in its own.

Now, setting a goal like losing 10 pounds is perfectly acceptable, but what happens when your target is reached? Do you go back to the same old routine of little exercise and poor diet? What is the point of taking care of yourself for a couple of months?

I have a better idea. Make a strong effort to live a healthier lifestyle. Here is a list of 10 ideas for you to consider.

1.      Try to get more sleep
2.      Cut out some bad fats, added sugar and processed foods and replace with more fresh fruits and vegetables.
3.      Learn new healthy versions of your favorite recipes. See November 20th and December 11th, 20th posts for ideas
4.      Get 30+ minutes a day of exercise.
5.      Try some new group fitness classes at the gym, like yoga, Zumba, or Spinning
6.      Drink more water, less sodas and juice
7.      Work with a personal trainer to incorporate strength training routines
8.      Find a workout partner, someone who needs you just as much as you need them
9.      Eat something that you know is healthy but have never tried before. Brussels sprouts maybe?
10.  Get a checkup from your doctor

Real quick lets focus on a couple of items on this list. First, #1, Get more sleep. This will be a huge help in your everyday life. Whenever I suggest this my clients will respond “I am too busy to get to bed early". Really? Do you need to watch re-runs of Sex in the City at 10:30? Do you really need to watch the 4th quarter of a blow out on Monday Night Football? Of course not, you're better than that.

 Next, #3, Learn healthy versions of your favorite recipes. For me, my kryptonite is baked goods, I eat some type of baked good at least 4 times a week. Cookies, muffins, pie, it doesn’t matter to me as long as I get my fix. To take out the guilt I learned how to make my favorite recipes with healthy substitutes like apple sauce instead of oil and Stevia instead of sugar. It makes a big difference in the total calories for each serving of some of my favorites.

Finally #4, Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. You may think this is the hardest on the list but it is much easier than you think. Some people believe that a workout takes place at a gym or health club. False. Moving for 30 minutes is a workout. You can go for a jog or walk around the neighborhood with your dog, or play with your kids at the park. Just get moving. If you miss a day, no problem, just keep some consistency and you will be fine.
So this year focus on making changes and adjustments to your lifestyle rather than setting a single target. If you still need some targets, try fitting into an old pair of jeans that have been too tight since the late 90’s or maybe run your first 5k. These targets can be part of your lifestyle changes and prove that your hard work is paying off. Stop saying “this is the year” and change it up, you’ll be happy you did.

Get Moving. Keep Moving.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Marathon Update Number 2

Marathon Update Number2

Sorry for the lack of updates on Gertrude, our favorite marathoner in training. She is starting to get into the tougher parts of her training program which of course means more running. We not only increased the durations of her runs but we are also adding frequency as well. So far she has been responding well to the workload but has experienced moments of frustration during some of your runs. Gertrude would feel great during a run one day but then without any explanation, she would feel lethargic, heavy in the legs and would struggle to hold a decent pace during her next run. I am guessing it is due to the increase in her training volume. So with her feedback we decided to pull back the volume and give her a nice easy week of running.
So far we are still working with timed runs without focusing on actual mileage but we have been steadily increasing the duration. Here is an example what her training has looked like so far. This sample is from her biggest volume week.
Monday- 50min
Tuesday- 1hr
Wednesday- 35min
Thursday- off
Friday- 50min
Saturday- 1hr30min
Sunday - off
 Next week we will start to introduce some race specific workouts to prepare her for race day. We will start out with some tempo work based of her pace at a recent 5k. This doesn’t mean that the workout has to be at her 5k race pace, we are only using the result as a baseline to determine a reasonable pace for her workouts. If we always went all out in our training we would be heading for burnout or worse, injury.  We need be able to train smart so that at on race day we are at our best and we can use the hard work to get us a well-deserved pr.

Get Moving . Keep Moving.