And on this week's up-coming Biggest Loser episode the cast members get all of the inspiration and training they can handle at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
And on this week's up-coming Biggest Loser episode the cast members get all of the inspiration and training they can handle at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
The airline recently upped the fee to ship a bike one way to an industry leading $175 one way, and now the airline will charge double for plus sized passengers.
The new United Airline policy states that passenger who, "are unable to fit into a single seat in the ticketed cabin; are unable to properly
In the first part of this Top Ten list Fred Bretscher wrote," for this Top Ten List I am going to assume that you are familiar with what is available out there to the same extent as most people who have not been living in a cave fashioning spearheads out of flint. So, you can consider this:
The Top Ten List of Weight Loss Ideas for athletes who have already read a lot of Top Ten Lists of Weight Loss Ideas
There is something compelling about Top Ten Lists. They promise to provide the most vital information in such an easy to read format. In less than a dozen lines or short paragraphs we can become as knowledgeable as the most learned expert, and privy to the greatest of secrets. This knowledge is all that is required to change our lives. Sort of.
If you do an Internet search for Top 10 Lists dealing with weight loss, you will find more lists than you can shake a carrot stick at. So, why am I writing another one? Because my editor asked me to. I quote from an e-mail he recently sent me:
The recent excercise study concludes:
"Aerobic fitness alone is a key predictor of longevity," says Glenn Gaesser, an exercise physiologist at the University of Virginia. It doesn't matter whether the individual loses weight or if they have other risk factors associated with disease, Gaesser says.
Increasing fitness just a little bit, he says, "reduces the chances of dropping dead of a heart attack."
Church's study also found that the more exercise women did, the better off they were in terms of fitness. Women who biked or walked on treadmills for 3 hours per week ended up about twice as fit as those who exercised for just 71 minutes a week.
This study shows people don't have to exercise a lot to start seeing some benefits, says I-Min Lee, a professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston."
Now this does not mean that losing weight is of the menu. In fact if you want to go fast the best way to increase your speed is to lose weight.
Less weigh is a big advantage on the bike, and a huge advantage on the run. From a power to weight ratio perspective the thinner you are, the faster you will go. After all you don't have all of the extra weight to carry around with you on the race course.
But from a longevity perspective this new study confirms what many of us Clydesdale's and Athene's have long suspected: that even a little bit of exercise goes a long way.
And immediately I jumped out of the shower like a scalded rat hoping she was gone. And I would have been a scalded rat if I had stayed in the shower since each and every shower was thoughtfully equipped by the university with a CVTD (Continuously Varying Temperature Device).
The year was 1982 and I was a freshman living in the Farrand dorm. We lived on a coed floor, which did not include coed bathrooms, at least not for the first two weeks of school. But two weeks was a long as it took for the girls to figure out that the guy’s bathrooms were usually empty in the morning while theirs were crowded with other young freshman sorority wannabe’s priming for their first class.
We, the men of the 4rth floor of Farrand, didn’t mind the girls using our bathroom as we were all eighteen, horny as horny toads, and even the mere thought of seeing a young lady naked made us giddy with anticipation.
Alas the young lady’s never used our showers, but only our toilets and mirrors. It wasn’t long before we figured out that we had gotten the short end of bathroom stick. All that was left to us was to jump out of the shower every time one of these young ladies’s flushed, or risk getting water fried.
I bring all this ancient history up because I really enjoyed all the discussion that my last story called “The Trainer’s Dirty Little Secret” prompted. You can read the story and comments by clicking HERE.
Thanks to all of you fine folks who commented on the story, and who left some really great discussion points.
Basically the discussion boiled down to whether weight lifting is a good way to burn fat? A lot of you pointed to numerous studies by well known and respected pros in sports nutrition that showed the benefits of muscle building by weigh lifting.
Here’s a good example of one such comment:
“Lifting weights burns calories - of course, there's always the matter of intensity (e.g. how much time is spent resting between sets). Muscle tissue increases your basal metabolism; you'll burn more calories when you're just sitting around. Weightlifting first thing in the morning also raises your metabolic rate for hours. There's a huge amount to be said for weightlifting as part of a program to decrease body fat.”
Here’s another great comment that expound on the first point:
“For most people an hour of vigorous weightlifting in the morning will do more for fat loss than an hour of vigorous aerobic exercise, at least until their gains in muscle mass have plateaued.”
I whole-heartedly agree with this point of view except for my CVTD (Continuously Varying Temperature Device) theory.
The CVTD theory, as I shall call it from here on (after all this is my theory so I can name it what I want) states the following:
There is an inverse (or in fact a continuously varying) relationship between the amount of weight lifting done (sets actually lifted) and the number of calories consumed.
Now please keep in mind that this is only a theory, but I have put it through a rigorous double blind testing program (that being thinking about it in the shower this morning so hard that I got shampoo in my eyes until I was blind in both eyes for a bit).
For all you layman out there, let me explain my theory in layman’s terms.
My theory states that for every 10 sets you lift in the morning, you’ll potentially consume 1 hamburger in the afternoon or perhaps 2 donuts for a midday snack, and that this relationship (here’s the CVTD) part is continuously varying based on a devise in your head called your brain.
In other words, while it is indeed a fact that, “weightlifting first thing in the morning also raises your metabolic rate for hours.” Many of us (read Roman) will use this as a “get out of jail free card” to consume as much junk as possible through out the day.
So here’s an example of what I mean.
I used to go lift religiously three times a week. After spending an hour or so at the gym and burning perhaps 500-800 calories I would go home and make myself a “small” snack. At this point my internal CVTD (Continuously Varying Trick Device) would kick in and I would gobble down two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches like they were Tic Tacs.
How many calories do you think that two PB and J’s have? I bet at least 1000, if not more.
Unfortunately, the same device is still hard at work in my body today. I’ll go for a short run (perhaps 4 miles) and I’ll be ready to gobble down a power bar of three.
If you are like me you are often powerless to fight the adverse effects of your own CVTD. It seems that when it comes to actually, and realistically, measuring calories taken in versus calories burned, we tend to vary, and wildly vary, toward the over optimistic part of the scale.
So next time you are thinking about that donut after an especially grueling 2 mile run just yell “Flush” and grab a glass of water instead.
Before I popped the pill I noticed that it said it was 12-hour non-drowsy medication. It never even occurred to me that non-drowsy is code for this stuff could keep a dog-tired bull elk up all night after an especially busy day of servicing his horny harem.
I spent the first part of the evening tossing and turning until it hit me that I not going to get any sleep for the next twelve hours. So I tiptoed out of the bedroom and plopped myself down in front of the television for a marathon session of Fit TV from our Tivo’s now showing menu.
I must confess to at least one somewhat shameful guilty pleasure and that being watching health and fitness shows. I just can’t seem to get enough of watching ordinary people struggle to lose weight and get fit.
Please don’t send me emails as I know it is wrong to take small pleasure in other people’s fitness pain. But I suspect I like watching other people struggle to get fit because it reminds me of my own struggle, and its sort of fun to watch people work-out and not have to do it yourself.
And I’m betting I’m not the only one who likes to just sit back, relax, and watch other people exercise. My lunch time masters swim class at the local health club seems to be more popular to watch than The Young and the Restless. We may all not be young, but we are certainly restless.
Anyway my newest favorite fitness cable show is called Ship Out, Shape Out on Fit TV. Basically this is a reality show that takes 10 or so pretty overweight average Californians, and puts them on a one week Carnival Cruise to Mexico with 3 Hollywood Trainers.
The cameras follow the trainers around as they divide the group up and work with them to get them back into some sort of healthy shape. So we, the late night audience, get treated to an evening of watching these folks struggle trying to lose weight on a ship packed with enough fatty and sugary foods to feed the entire sub continent of Africa for about month.
The trainers scold their clients on the first night as they pack on the breaded coconut shrimp, fried spring rolls, chocolate puff pastries. The trainers give plenty of disapproving looks as the stunned clients pummel their bread with enough butter to send a French pastry chef into a buttery croissant baking orgy.
The next day the trainers get to work trying to shave a cool 20 to 50 pounds from the nervous clients. We get to watch as the clients try to do a never-ending series of push-up and sit-ups. These two old school exercises seem to be any trainer’s favorite “go to” drill when they first meet their clients. The problem is that most of these clients struggle to do just one sit-up or push-up, let alone 10 or 20 as the trainers planned.
After the initial struggle with the basics we get to witness the chubby clients attempt a variety of different exercise all aimed at getting them to shape up and slim down…and this my loyal readers is the trainer's dirty little secret.
The trainers tend to start each session with what they call a “cardial” session or workout. This usually involves them standing next to the treadmill, or leaning on it, as the clients struggles to rapidly walk for about 5 minutes, while the trainer chats about the weather or evils of coconut fried shrimp. After five minutes the heart is judged to be good and ready for an hour of stretching, strength building and weight lifting.
Please don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with core strength building, weight lifting, stretching and old school muscle building. These are key components to any long-term successful fitness regime…but what these folks desperately need is dietitian and running coach.
To put is simply, what’s the point of building muscle under layers and layers of fat. Won’t that just make you look, and perhaps feel, bigger and fatter? Is this not putting the proverbial cart before the horse?
I’m know that today’s trainers are well aware of the importance of diet and aerobic exercise. But they get put in a difficult situation. Most clients want to see immediate results, they want to have their hands held, they want personal motivation, and they want expertise as they exercise.
It’s very hard to provide all these things on a 4-mile jog and still get $60-$100 per hour. There’s just not enough technical difficulty to running or brisk walking for clients to see value in paying a trainer. And yet that’s exactly what the folks on the boat need most.
Just as importantly, most trainers have a very good idea of what makes a healthy nutritionally sound diet. But they didn’t go to school, like a dietician, for this disciple. So while they can and do make healthy eating recommendations, they don’t have the degree to back up these recommendations.
In the end the trainers on the ship spent a lot of time with their clients helping to build-up their muscles. Using various exercises, techniques and machines to tune-up and perhaps slim down.
But I’m still not all that convinced about the slim down part. I bet I’m not the only one who’s been at the gym and seem lots of very strong people with a bit of wash tub belly and perhaps some well-developed love handles.
But than again I’m now an aspiring triathlete and today I’m more concerned about the size of my lungs and strength of my heart versus the size of my pecks and biceps.
Now I’m no nutritionist, nor do I play one on television, so I must admit that every so often I go out to eat and indulge in a lunch or dinner of fast food. I know that we’re all supposed to shop at Whole Foods or Wild Oats, and cook a healthy and nutritious homemade meal made from organic vegetables, low fat meats like fish and perhaps some Japanese side dishes like endamane (green soy) beans.
Grasshopper, this is the way of the triathlete!
However this is not the way of the modern Everyman Triathlete who has a job, family, dog, a tank full of fish, and mortgage. You know I really love to hate those cooking shows were the Chef prepares easy, light, and healthy meals that "we can all make in just a few short minutes."
I would love to make those meals. But first I’ll need a producer who will gather all the ingredients and put them in those beautiful glass bowls in the perfect amounts. Next a professional kitchen with studio lighting, and how about a team of interns to clean up my mess, feed the dog, change the fish filter, put away the dishes, clip the coupons and pick up the kids at school?
Oh by the way, the interns might as well fill up the car, get it washed and pick up my dry cleaning. Now I’m ready, in a Zen-like state, to cook that perfect healthy meal.
Jeez Louise, someone forgot to inform the producers that my kid will not eat fish, or any sort of bean, or for that matter anything that is green that is not called Sprite.
So gang, for the rest of us Everyman Triathletes who are occasionally forced to partake of fast food, I’ve put together a short list of workable alternatives to the hamburger and fries.
Please keep in mind that I really only have four simple rules when it comes to healthy happy meal fast foods:
1) It must be healthy. By healthy I mean a common sense “healthy” which in my book means that the meal uses mostly fresh ingredients, it is not fried or nuked or in anyway cooked in grease or unsaturated fats.
2) It must be truly fast food in so much that I can order it, get it, and eat it after a 4-mile run over my lunch period.
3) It must be cheap. This means that I can purchase it, get a drink and still get change from a ten-dollar bill.
4) It must taste good.
What’s the use of a tofu spinach salad that is perfectly balanced with all essential nutrients and vitamins if it tastes like paper and glue? I’m not a big believe in healthy meals just for the sake of healthy meals.
Sure you may feel like you are “doing the right thing” when you have one of these healthy meals, but sooner or later you’ll break down and snarf down five dozen chips ahoy cookies like a contestant on survivor, day 30. The meal has to taste good, and you must want it to the extant that you crave it.
So here’s my short list of Everyman Healthy Happy Meal Fast Foods:
You can order either a steak or chicken naked burrito at Qdoba and get it made your way. This means either grilled steak or chicken on a bed of rice and black beans with tomatoes, salsa, lettuce and your favorite hot sauce. To keep this meal truly healthy you have to walk away from the cheese, sour cream and tortia.
I’m not a big fan of any sodas so I tend to stick to unsweetened ice tea with a fresh wedge of lemon. The down side is that it colors your teeth, but the upside is no high fructose corn starch or funky sugar like chemicals. I also like to squeeze a couple of limes onto my naked burrito. I’m not sure that this makes it any better, but it sure feels healthy. All the limes you can squeeze are available by the soda machine.
Restaurant Chain: Noodles and Company
Meal: Penne Rose
From the companies web site; “Spicy red pepper-flaked tomato cream and penne pasta tossed with white wine, mushroom, fresh spinach and roma tomato. Parmesan or feta cheese.”
Once again I would skip the cheese and order some grilled chicken instead. They now offer this meal as combo with a fresh salad and drink. Try it and I believe that you’ll not only like it, but you’ll feel good about eating it.
This Boulder based chain has some of the freshest food in the fast food world. Not only do I like many
of their meals, but they also serve a wide selections of healthy bottled drinks and waters that go beyond your usual soda machine
Most Whole Foods Markets have a tremendous salad bar with about every organic vegetable and salad you could ever imagine. Build your own perfect salad in about 3 minutes and take it to the express lane check out for a quick, healthy, and easy meal. I also love their fresh soups if you want to go the soup and salad combo route. My personal favorite is the Matza Ball Chicken soup with a fresh roll from the bakery.
Word of warning. While it is easy to eat healthy from their giant salad bar, it is just as easy to overdo it. I especially recall the young ladies from my freshman collage days who somehow still managed to put on that freshmen fifteen, even though they only grazed at the cafeteria salad bar. And that’s just it…avoid the temptation to graze by creating a salad pyramid of eggs, cheese, nuts and creamy salad dressing.
So I must admit that I have a guilty pleasure left over from a misspent childhood of fast food fare. But before I get to that I’m convinced that McDonalds offers only one truly healthy food item, besides bottled water, on their menu. This would be the fruit salad plate that if eaten without the sweetened nuts and sweetened yogurt-like white sauce, might actually be healthy as it has fresh grapes and apples slices.
But if you are like me and you must have a true fast food fix, I would recommend the All American Hamburger meal. You won’t find this on the menu, but almost all the restaurant server it as a left over from the times when you could get this meal for just $1.00 at MacDonlads. It is a hamburger, small fries and, small drink. Today it cost just over $2.00.
The good news is that if you stay away from the Soda and get unsweetened ice tea, this meal is only about 500 calories...give or take a few ketchup packets.
The bad news is that it is still 22 grams of fat that you’ll have to swim, bike, or run to remove from your body. But for just over $2.00, every few months, it is a guilty pleasure that I like to indulge as it leaves plenty of money for dog and fish food, as well as that monthly mortgage check that I still have to write.
Types of People
When it comes to food, people come in three types.
1) Those who like to eat
2) Those who like to cook
3) Those who like to cook and eat
Which one are you?
I love to eat.
I don’t like cooking because I grew up in the restaurant business. I’m sure it must be that way with most people feel about their day jobs. Do you think the plumber likes to fix toilets at home after a long day of fixing toilets, or do you think the accountant likes to do his own taxes after three months of working on other people tax returns? It makes you really wonder why anybody would ever marry a porn star.
The reason I don’t like to cook and eat is that I tend to eat while I cook. This means that by the time I’m actually ready to sit down and eat what I have cooked, I’m full. I eat a little bit of this and I taste a little bit of that and before you know it, I’ve put away 5000 calories of semi-cooked food and my meal is done.
When it comes to stretching there are also three types of people.
1) Those who stretch
2) Those who don’t stretch
3) Those who stretch act.
I fear that I fall into that third category. I know how important stretching is to any endurance sport. I’ve relearned all of the “correct” and “proper” stretching techniques after having to unlearn the muscle tearing methods of jerk stretching I was taught in grade school. But somehow I still don’t spend much time and effort stretching.
When I get to a trial head for a run, I seem to always be running late, so I do some stretch acting. This is a subtle but valuable acting tool I’ve mastered that allows me to portray an real athlete who is stretching without actually having to stretch.
I’m sure you are familiar with the types of acting moves I’m speaking about. The pull your foot by your toes to your butt technique, while leaning against the car and grimacing. The try to push over the car “stretch” while gritting your teeth and squinting your eyes in faux pain.
And unfortunately it only gets worse when I get back from a run. By that point I’m not only tired, but also hungry, so the stretch acting is completely abbreviated to perhaps a quick warm-down shake followed by stab at touching the toes.
And the Oscar for portraying the best stretching after a 14-mile run goes to…..me.
When it comes to swimming there are also three types of people.
Floaters are all those collegiate swimming weasels who jump in the pool and lay down 3000 yards in the first 30 minutes without ever looking back.
Sinkers are the extremely unfortunate runners and cyclist who jump in the pool, and because of their total lack of body fat, sink to the bottom like a lead anvil.
I used to swim next to a great guy who was so lean and ripped he could have been a model for a muscle anatomy class. Unfortunately he was so lean he had to use all of his energy just to stay afloat. He eventually became a breast stroke expert as this was the only stroke that allowed him to barely keep his nose above water so that he could breath and swim.
I, on the other hand, am a tugboat. This is the type of swimmer whose upper body floats due to an access of body fat, but who’s lower half sinks. This means that I have to kick furiously to keep my legs floating creating a) a huge amount of splashing without much forward motion b) a massive wake which is perfect for any sinker to follow.
So I do have my fans in the pool. They just happen to be all the sinkers who always seem to appreciate a nice tugboat to pull them along.
Finally, when it comes to cycling there are also three types of people.
I’m sure you know what a climbers and sprinters do. But do you know the special talent it takes to be a whaler? I know because I am one.
A whaler is a cyclist who has the uncanny ability to harpoon the last rider in a drafting line and stick with him through thick and thin. I may not be able to out ride any given cyclist, but I can hang on to his or her back wheel for eternity. It only seems fair, as I’m usually the pulling them along in the pool.
1) Eat Less
2) Exercise More
Because it really is that simple…or is it? Of course it’s not! Weight loss is one of the hardest things to do in today’s modern society. We are constantly bombarded with enticing food advertising not to mentions hundreds of quick, easy and cheap eating opportunities.
My mother, like so many others, has spent her entire life fighting the good fight, and for the most part losing the war. I wish I had stock in Jenny Graig for when she’s on the program the company’s profits must sore.
So why is it that so many of us fight the battle of the bulge and lose every time? Logically we all know what must be done (eat less and exercise more) and yet we try the newest diets, eat the newest low-cal foods and go to all kinds of extremes to shed the increasing pounds.
I really need to add a few chapters to my book. Two to be exact:
4) Be honest
5) Stay motivated
I find that when I’m trying to lose weight I turn into one massive liar and I develop an ability to rationalize that would make Kirstie Alley proud. What’s worse the harder I try to lose weight, the more I lie to myself. I come up with all sorts of rationalizations for my poor eating habits like, “I just ran for half hour so I can eat this peanut butter cup and Oh what the heck, the other one as well. And I might as well wash it all down with a Coke since I just burned all those calories running.”
But it gets worse. When I’m really working hard to lose weight I’ll rationalize my poor diet with the expectation of a heavy workout. For instance I’ll do things like, “It’s OK to have this burger and fries and a chocolate shake for lunch since I’ll be going for an extra long swim tonight.” The problem is that by “tonight” I get tired and that extra long swim turns into an extra long nap.
To help me stay honest I’ve put together a little cheat sheet that translates caloric intake into the actual amount of time needed to burn those calories. It’s kinda like Deal-a-Meal
(the weight loss card program that lets you choose foods by mixing and matching cards) except that it lets you eat empty calories based on how much work it will take to actually burn them off.
For instance, the above mentioned lunch at my favorite burger joint is about 1700 calories:
Total lunch 1700 Calories
Now this may seem like a lot but my favorite local hamburger place is Red Robin and their burgers and shakes are big and their fries are bottomless. Remember we’re being totally honest.
So how much exercise do I need to do to burn off my lunch?
2.0 hours of swimming (at 1:15 per 100 yards) that’s way fast for me so figure
2.5 hours for me.
2:00 hours of biking (at 20 mph) and that’s way fast for me so figure about
2:30 hours of biking for me.
1:15 hours of running (at an 8:00 minutes per mile pace) way fast so figure
1:30 of running for me.
You can use the following as an easy rule of thumb You’ll burn:
That means that if you have a 12 ounce can of coke (140 calories) plus a Chocolate Hershey bar (130 calories) as a snack you better figure on spending a half an hour on the bike or in the pool just to burn off that 5 minute snack.
When I look at it this way, I begin to wonder if that snack is really worth all the effort. And the problem, of course, is that I’m assuming that I’ll actually do the work. If I get lazy I’m in trouble. Watching Television burns about 100 calories an hour.
That means that if I go to Red Robin for lunch tomorrow I’ll have to watch 17 hours of television to just stay at no weight gain. Or I could always type on this computer for 10 hours (typing on a computer burns about 170 calories an hour) to get that much need work out.
Next time: Chapter 5 Stay Motivated