Thursday, January 12, 2012

Three Things Thursday: Experimenting

1) Counting Calories
I have been counting calories since I finished the cleanse last week. This is a total experiment that has been VERY informative because I am learning a lot about what I am putting into my body vs what I am expending through training and learning about the "value" of foods in terms of caloric expense.

For example, olive oil has a lot of good fat in it, except it is VERY calorie dense and is NOT filling. Go slurp down 3 tablespoons of EVOO right now and see if you are full. That right there was 360 calories. Now go eat 3 servings (small bowls) of cheerios with 1 cup of milk. That's 400 calories right there.

Which is more filling? Which will give you more energy to fuel a workout? FOR ME, the cheerios & milk wins out. That is just an example of how I "value" foods with regard to how they will help me train. I do use EVOO, but a teaspoon at a time, to cook eggs every morning for breakfast.

When I am not using packaged products with a nutrition label, I have been using a food scale to determine weight in grams to figure out its caloric content. I bought the EatSmart Precision Pro for $25 off of amazon. Simple, cheap, can measure in 4 different weight parameters.

So far this has been a VERY informative experiment and I have been enjoying it a lot. Email me if you have any questions about this....

2) Intervals F@#^@&* ROCK!!!
Oh the trainer. Its too dark and too cold this time of year to ride outdoors, so I will be inside on the bike for the next 6-8 weeks. Spinning for 60-90 minutes with a good movie on sort of keeps my brain from going to mush, but I find the BEST way to keep from getting bored on the bike is to mix it up! This is the time of year to be building POWER on the bike, not necessarily endurance. Endurance will follow, but POWER is what you want to be building. GET STRONG! (not fast, but STRONG).

My 60 min trainer this session was 15 min warm up, 12x(90 sec @ 220 watts, 90 sec @ 150 watts), 9 min CD. 60 mins FLEW by!

NOT what I did this morning! haha (I think I did this 3 years ago?)
3) Three Day Weekend!!!
Short work week next week due to the MLK Holiday on Monday! YES! Will be down in The City all weekend saying good bye to some friends, rooting for THE Patriots, and running in Central Park. Its gonna be a busy weekend of training, but I also plan to SLEEP and cook all weekend. Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhh.


  1. i'd rather not drink olive oil ok thanks.

  2. "THE" Patriots??? You are starting to sound like THE Ohio State...

  3. Heather weighed and counted all calories in 2010 for like 6 months. Drove me nuts when I made dinner because I had to "report" proper amounts to her haha. However, like you stated, total eye opener on what we put in our systems and what a "proper" portion actually should be. Damn I am a glutton :)

    I don't get MLK day off... does that mean that my bosses are racist? Wonder if we had a black employee if we would then get that day off? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm... ... ...

  4. I'd like to get better at tracking cals cause I want to loose about 5-7 pounds, but I don't have scales, so I'm guessing a lot of the time. I think it's time to buy one. Have a great weekend! Wish I had a 3 day w/e....

  5. I still clock watch with movies on. I have just switched to listening to music to get me through trainer hell.

  6. I am loving my rides on the trainer these days. I continue to train through HR and will make a move to power eventually.

    Eating by proper portion size is a huge help to figure out what goes in and what does not. Using my $50/week budget for eating I am all over the portion size and losing weight without trying.

  7. Going to have to get that scale. Annie and have been looking for a good one!

    Have fun in the city and carb loading on Sunday!

  8. I deal with food the same way...which can I eat more of for the same amount of calories! I'm really enjoying the trainer recently and especially intervals! I agree...they rock! And, now that you've educated me on what I should be working on, I'm happy with how I'm riding. I feel like I'm building a lot of strength even though I'm not on there for hours on end.

    Have a great weekend!

  9. When I use olive oil, I just pour it straight from the bottle into the pan or salad. It's very scientific.

  10. I love my food scale, it has helped me learn what a portion looks like and it was surprising how much larger some things are than we think. I thought I was eating "small" bananas but the gram weight was more like a large plus.

  11. One day earlier this year I was talking to some of my gymnasts... and one of them explained to me how he didn't have any grasp on "calories" or how much is in something. I think his words were "so like a slice of pizza... what is that, like 100?" :D A liiiiitle different than the female gymnast experiences I had growing up...!

  12. I think drinking olive oil might cause me to lose weight... The vet told me to give it to my dog when he was a little backed up. Scary thought!

  13. Yes to #1. I've found that I'm all over the map day by day on how much I get from carbs, protein and fat. A food scale has been on my "kitchen tool" list for awhile, maybe I'll look into that one...

  14. Interesting choice on the trainer over this freakishly warm winter we've been having. I splurged and bought a ton of winter cycling gear and lighting so I can ride in the cold, wind, rain, dark (everything but snow/ice) and my trainer can collect dust. I loathe riding the trainer with every ounce of my soul.

  15. You should be training your system to burn predominantly fat for fuel as nature intended, not sugar (carbohydrates). And don't count calories. It's a waste of time. Our bodies aren't furnaces; hormones complicate the process immeasurably. Yes, this means 99% of nutrition experts are 100% wrong. But it's because the curriculum they studied is wrong

  16. Intervals do rock! Running and biking!!!! Definitely my favorite workouts!!!

    I just started doing them on the bike now that I'm indoors too. Without intervals, my brain and soul both die a little during the winter.

  17. Sorry, got cut off. I know I'm potentially starting a shitstorm, but the sad fact is most triathletes (or any athletes, for that matter) are clueless about nutrition. Because the "experts" are clueless too. It's idiotic to be eating on a bike leg of an endurance race when most triathletes are carrying enough body fat to fuel themselves to the moon and back. Haven't you ever wondered why there are so many fat triathletes, people who are supposedly working out like mad all the time? It's because they are stuffing themselves with carbs and avoiding dietary fat because they've been told to by the "experts", aka, people who have no clue what they're talking about. Ironically, the scientific community 50 years ago understood nutrition better than they do today, because junk science and unchallenged assumptions sent them off on a wild tangent right around the early 70's. It's no coincidence that the obesity/diabetes epidemic began precisely when the USDA started telling us to cut the fat and up the whole grains, exactly the opposite of what to do in order to be healthy.

    Sugar makes you accumulate body fat rather than burn it, and all carbs end up as sugar in the GI in various degrees, regardless of how they start out. A potato is no better than a candy bar in that regard. In fact, wheat bread raises your blood sugar higher than the candy bar does. Hard to believe, but true nonetheless.

    Bottom line, if you want to see radical improvements in your performance, limit your carb intake as much as you can, eat as much fat as you like (and the protein that usually comes with it), and start training your body to run off the nutrients it was designed for again. And don't eat six times a day, or count calories, or weigh your food, or any of that crap. It's utterly pointless. You don't even have to eat every day if you don't want. Just for kicks I fasted for three days and then ran 10 miles just to see if I could. Damn near PR'ed it. And not a GU or gel or sports drink in sight. Everything we've been taught has been a big fat lie.

    Start getting efficient at fat-as-fuel (fat-ass fuel? Perfect), pull your heart rate monitor out of the drawer again, calculate your max aerobic HR (180 minus your age, roughly), and don't cross above it in training. This is the Mark Allen philosophy, but it works. You'll have to practically walk at first to keep your HR that low, but after a few months you'll be back to your old pace but instead of having to max your HR to do it, you'll still be at your max aerobic rate which can run off fat-burning nearly indefinitely.

    I plan on racing Ironman Louisville entirely aerobic next August, at least until the last 10K or so when I will burn the entire match anaerobically to hit the finish with nothing in the tank. And I won't have to eat a picnic on the bike leg to do it either.

    I know this is all probably blasphemy to most of you, but I encourage you to challenge your assumptions. This has been an eye-opening year for me. Everything I thought I knew turned out to be wrong. For HR training, google Mark Allen on the subject. For nutrition, (though admittedly not athlete-centered), see Gary Taubes, or if you're lazy, just watch the documentary "Fathead" on Netflix. The approach is different, but the subject matter and conclusions are essentially the same.

  18. Sorry to highjack your blog, but this subject matter and the resultant discussion got me fired up. If you're still skeptical, consider that I ran a 3:30 marathon last fall mere weeks after giving up nearly all carbohydrates entirely, and my speed, strength, and stamina have only improved since then. Also, my weight and bodyfat % are the lowest they've ever been, and not only do I not count calories, I eat as much fatty, oily, yummy food as I want now, and only when I want. Wheat products are appetite stimulating and addictive. If you don't believe me, try not to eat them. You'll notice they're virtually in every single packaged product in the grocery store, from tomato soup to Twizzlers. They're added to nearly every food for a reason.

    I could go on like this for hours, but then I'd get no training in. (Oh, and I agree, indoor trainers rock! In fact, I'm doing all my training in my garage currently. Even the swim, simulated with a flat bench, swim paddles, and stretch cords). Have never used power because it's expensive as shit, but just got a Finis Aquapulse HRM that I'm going to try out on all three sports. I've been using their tempo trainer all year and it's changed my life. Swimming/Biking/Running to a cadence beep is tough, but worth it. Those things are relentless! Your split times will become identical. I never knew how much your mind tricked you into slowing down when you started to suffer, but the tempo trainer calls it out big time.

    End of sermon. (Finally!)

  19. Ok, I lied. One last comment. I also ran that marathon entirely in Vibram Five Fingers. Not recommending this necessarily (especially as only your second time wearing them. D'oh!), but I'm a big believer now in the New Balance-coined "<=>" philosophy as far as distance running goes. Vibrams are probably too minimalist for the marathon distance, but anything more than a Saucony Kinvara in my opinion is just begging for an injury once the training mileage starts to rack up.

    Also, if you haven't already, read "Born to Run" and "Iron War". Both of themwhave their critics, (especially Iron War, notably the two main subjects, Dave Scott and Mark Allen!), but even if not a word of either of them is true, it doesn't matter. They are awesome reads. Who woulda though that someone could make READING about endurance sports interesting? These things are barely interesting enough to DO.

    1. To clarify, just as carbs don't fuel you, they just fatten you, I also have come to believe modern shoe cushioning doesn't prevent injury, it is actually the cause of it. It is extremely difficult to run properly with a heavily cushioned shoe. They allow you to pound the crap out of your legs without the real-time feedback that barefoot or minimalist running forces upon you.

      Funny how cavemen instinctively knew more about endurance sports then we do now. I wonder if they went aero or stuck with vented?

      Okay, I'm really going now.

  20. Hey! When will you be in the park this weekend?? I'm around if you want company! But I don't know if I can keep up with your speedy @ss.... :)

  21. post comment working for DR!
    must be a home pc thing logged in @ work to see if I could get in.

  22. I find that counting calories every once in a while is so eye opening. And I'm so with you on the cheerios! I need the most bang for my calorie allowance!


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