Monday, 30 January 2012

Dragon 2012 Preparations. Week 4

More than a stone lost in 4 weeks! 

An epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, "manifestation, striking appearance") is the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. The term is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify that the claimant has "found the last piece of the puzzle and now sees the whole picture,"

It's fair to say that after 4 weeks of hard exercise and sporadic dieting, I have finally discovered how to lose weight! On top of that, I've had wisdom imparted to me from a T-1000 Terminator .....

This week I've managed to lose over half a stone. The reason behind this sudden and fairly dramatic dip in weight is due to exercise. The thing is, I've been exercising all month but struggled to drop a fraction of the pounds. In fact, in the second week I did probably twice as much exercise as I did this week, but lost only a portion of the weight.

This discovery is dependant mainly upon my own ignorance; rather than unearthing some exotic weight-loss secret. Lets face it, the answers are all out there. There's little we don't know about exercise as a species. It's just as individuals we sometimes fail to see the bigger picture.

I've failed to comprehend the concept of effective training for weight loss. I blame Mike Vaughan. The eponymous cycle shop man has been informally training me up through 2011. On our regular Mike Vaughan rides, he will offer the occasional piece of advice. The Warwickshire Countryside is rolling and rarely hilly. Responding to my constant attempts to become faster and stronger, Mike has been pushing me to hit every slope in the big ring.

I have become faster and stronger. I even started gaining comments from some of the other riders for my big diesel engine approach to cycling, as I started taking longer pulls at the front. It's a reputation I was proud of, so I kept hitting the hills in the big ring, slowly grinding harder and harder gears on my cassette. As I became faster and stronger, I became bigger. My quads are sizeable as a result. They're not Chris Hoy quads, but for a 3rd year cyclist, they're pretty sizeable.

The problem with this style of cycling is that it's no good for weight loss. Mike was advising me based on my request for MORE POWER!!!!! However, as I bulked up my legs, so I bulked up my belly. I wasn't so much working my cardio as overpowering my legs with turtuous revolutions. The body wasn't efficiently burning fat.

This week I decided to ride a longer way to work. Instead of powering through the country lanes I decided to have a go at spinning in the little ring. Keeping away from the big ring forced me to ride at a cadence above my normal "comfortable" rate. After a few minutes I found my legs responding well to the low power/high activity. Although travelling slower, I was sweating profusely but far less exerted than I am when forcing the massive gears on the bike up hills. It made for an enjoyable ride with the benefits soaking through every layer of clothing.

I got to work feeling totally elated and looking like I'd climbed out of a swimming pool. I have discovered what I've been doing wrong these last few months. I shall resume the big ring cycling when my weight is down to acceptable levels. But in the future I'll be mindful to mix it up a bit every week.

I cannot emphasise the difference this has had on my weight loss. I'm hoping the pipe dream of 2 stone in 2 months is now attainable.

Further to my cardio discovery, I've been chatting to an all-round good bloke at work. Described by some of his colleagues as "freakishly fit", I asked Steve Malone if he had any diet tips. On top of being very, very fit, he's also rather well schooled in the arts of dietary science. With his proviso that what you are about to read isn't written by a are his tips which can lead to effective weight loss. Knowledge as they say, is a dangerous thing  .... See you next week!


Food is in 3 basic types with loads of sub groups..

Carbs 4kcal / gm
Protein 4kcal/ gm
Fat 7kcal/gm

Carbs: (sugars, wheats, oats etc) are stored in the blood as tri-glyceride, a fast burning energy source used for running away from tigers etc back in the day. This sits in the blood stream and powers the muscles when required. It's an efficient energy source. The average male has about 30-40 minutes worth at any one time, the body releases it at a fairly steady rate. It is made in the guts buy absorbing and converting carbohydrate. Simple carbs are converted quicker as they have shorter chains, complex carbs take longer as they are longer and more erm - complex. Simple carbs are ace just before or during training if you want endurance and power, they will be used up without being stored as fat whenever you are at 65% + max heart rate if eaten any time 20 minutes before end of session...
Complex carbs are good for after training as they provide a long energy release for repair of muscle damage and stop you gorging on the crap food that intense exercise makes you crave. In gereral, avoid simple carbs (sugar, white pasta, white rice, crisps etc) unless it's just before a training session lasting more than 30 minutes. Complex carbs will make you feel fuller for longer and are less likely to be converted into fat.
Tri-glyceride is turned into lipid (fat) if is is not used up as energy, this is why it's best to avoid any carbs a few hours before sleeping.
Sugar is a carb and is evil, worse than fat and one of the only carbs to be converted 100% to visceral fat (belly fat). Only use just before or during more intense sets.

Protein - Is the don, can be converted to a quick energy source and cannot be converted to fat, gets turned into other handy stuff by kidneys or passed out in wee. Protein is the only energy source which can be used to repair damaged muscle into an improved state (stronger and more dense muscle). Always try to get 20-30gms in after a session (1 x tin tuna, 1 x chicken breast. soy milk, almonds (no other nuts), pint skimmed milk etc). Repairs muscle damage, absorbs lipid cells (fat) left over from unused energy release at end of session and makes you feel artificially full for long time as it has amino acids in it, these are just as long as complex carbs but do not get turned into triglyceride, they just allow the protein cells to patch up micro tears in muscle. there is nothing bad about protein, aim for 1 - 1.5 gms a day when training.
Muscle burns twice as many kcals per hour at rest than fat. it is heavier so your belt is a better indicator than scales.

Fat - Is not all bad.. Saturated fat will kill you fairly quick, the general rule is fat that is liquid at room temp (olive oils, yoghurt, the stuff that can be pressed from almonds etc) is 'good fat'. It is a slow energy source and can not be converted into visceral fat (the stuff around your waist). Saturated fat (chocolate, chips, the white stuff on meats, crisps etc) can not be converted to energy from the blood stream unless you have fasted for about 3 days and have no protein, no complex fat or triglyceride. The visceral fat on the body can be converted into energy as below....

1 -  Long cardio session (jogging, rowing etc) sessions at no more than 60% of max heart rate (you can count 1-20 without taking a breath whilst training). These sets are best done hungry  / before breakfast. The body presumes nothing is trying to eat you and you are jogging from cave to cave. It only burns visceral fat from the body and leaves your trygliceride alone in case something tries to kill you on the way. Best done hungry as the body has no choice to cheat, you will have no tri glyceride in your blood. Needs to be hour plus to really work.

2 - Intervals - These are hard.. they shock the body into dumping your trygliceride reserve very quickly, if you feel giddy doing them you are probably not dying, it's adrenaline being released to double your glucose burning rate, you will notice you get very hot so have some water / a fan, this is literally 'burning'.
An example for a run - 5 mins warm up, slightly faster than walking, 2 mins steady jog, like set 1 - 30 seconds flat out - 2 mins steady - 30 secs flat out - etc... There are loads of mixtures to this, called threshold training, consists of longer harder max effort sets with shorter but much easier rests - 2 mins walking - 1 min flat out etc..

3 - Burst training - flat out to failure (can't go on) rest for 3 mins, repeat 5 times. Will feel too short but causes 'afterburn'  - Your body will keep burning energy for hours afterwards.

4 - Slow/Sprint training - Do an hour at just harder than easy pace (count 1-15 with no breath) then 20 mins plus 15% of easy pace, this burns visceral fat and causes the body to keep burning it once you have finished, the hour just over easy will burn all your triglyceride in combination with fat stores, the end bit forces the body to burn fat.

Core training -

Sit ups etc do the beach muscles but there is a slab of muscle behind those which is much stronger. Planks and anything which invloves holding your body straight using the core is better for stability and strength.
Swiss balls are good, check the web for 1000's of exercises on those.



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