Fitness is coming back!

This morning started early.  Straight out of bed, I had my large coffee supplemented with about 2 inches of half and half.  I’m still following the high fat, high protein, lower carb, limited sugar, limited grain eating plan.  Last night for dinner,  I had roasted brussel sprouts, onions and bacon plus a hard boiled egg for dinner.  I stopped eating around 6:30 and by 7 am the following morning,  I was nicely fasted ie. no fats or sugars in my blood stream. The coffee and half and half was the only fuel source in my body.  I laced on a pair of minimalist training shoes because it’s good to go minimal once in a while to strengthen your feet.  These shoes are freaking awesome and I don’t know why I don’t wear them more often.  Wait,  I do know….  My feet and ankles are pretty weak and whenever I wear these shoes,  I go through a few days of stiffness and soreness before things start to feel better. I want to wear these at least once or twice a week for my shorter runs. Longer runs will continue in my regular old Brooks Glycerins which have better stability.

New Balance 101

New Balance 101

I felt great today and had unlimited energy.  I think part of it had to do with a good night’s sleep the night before but I also think that the high fat diet is starting to take hold.  I honestly felt like I could go on for another few miles but work was calling and I had to call it a day.  The life of a sales rep is 24/7. Today’s run was mostly on the trail that encircles Mills College in Oakland.  It’s a beautiful and secure campus that’s smack dab in the middle of a fairly crappy neighborhood.

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After the run,  I had a hard boiled egg for the protein plus I made a kale smoothie with blueberries (great antioxidants), ginger (taste), coconut water (hydration), avocado (healthy fat) and chia seeds (good fats, protein, and fiber).  I’m going to try and do some weight sessions this evening if time permits (update- I didn’t have the time but it’s ok). I feel the fitness really starting to come on again and it feels so good to sweat!  This eating plan is a lot simpler to follow than I thought it would be.  I really haven’t had a craving for pasta or rice and I’ve been able to avoid all of the chips and sugary snacks / drinks that always seem to be in our kitchen.  In terms of weight loss,  I’m now down to about 193 and falling.  I did a few longer runs this past week (8-9 miles each) and they are really helping my endurance.  The key for me as usual is the heart rate monitor.  Others might poo-poo this sort of training but for me,  it really works.  Keeping your HR down by running slower and with good form is the way to go plus it scorches fat.  Less body fat = less weight = better running=more weight loss. >/p>

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Week 14 update: Fat Adapted training and Tabata timers

So here I am in week 14 and I’ve been fairly dedicated to my exercise routine.  The smoothies have been going fairly well and I will typically try to work one into my daily eating plan although there have been a few times where temptation has stepped into the way.  I haven’t been that week however and have managed to stay away from delicacies such as this.  I can only stare at this picture for less than 3 seconds before I have to look away.

Burger and Fries

The temptation is always there but I’ve been diligent about filling myself up with fruits, veggies and lots of protein and healthy fats.  According to Vinnie Tortorich fueling your system with fats while, at the same time, avoiding sugars and grains is the way to go.  I’ve been following his example for a little more than a week and I’ve been able to stay on target.  Vinnie has a great podcast by the way.  He can be a little crass but he does have good information and stories to share.  Sure,  there will be a few lapses once in a while.  For instance,  last night,  we all went out to Sushi House in Alameda for my 10 year old daughter’s birthday.  Sashimi didn’t appeal to me,  especially since there was rice everywhere.  Therefore,  I indulged in a few rolls.  Did I feel guilty? Not really.  You’ve got to allow for some flexibility once in a while in order to keep yourself sane.

The high fat thing that Vinnie talks about is a new concept to me.  I’ve been buying goos, gels, and Gatorade for years so eliminating them from my training diet and using fats as a fueling source is something that remains untested.  Gone are the days where I thought a big bowl of oatmeal is the perfect breakfast.  Instead,  I’ve been having coffee with heavy cream for breakfast every morning and then doing my workout.  I stop eating around 6:00 the night before so I’m basically in somewhat of a fasted state by the time I lace on my running shoes.  I’ll drink the coffee,  get the caffeine and fat from the cream in my system and then hit the road.  As long as I keep my heart rate low and in Zone 2,  I feel pretty good.  The concept behind the fat fueling protocol is to not introduce sugars to the diet prior to the workout.  Instead,  you introduce fat into your blood stream which the body uses.  Once those fats are depleted,  the body then taps into the normal fat reserves that you carry in the form of body fat.  This is key to going long. It takes some time for the body to become fat adapted so I’m going to follow this protocol for a while and see what happens.  I’m no expert here and will rely on trial and error. I’m hoping that at the end of this exercise,  I’ll have lot a few pounds of unwanted body fat and increase my exercise efficiency at the same time.  I do miss those nice big bowls of pasta and rice though…

Workouts have been going well.  I’ve been trying to lift weights a few times a week but frankly,  time is a little scarce for me.  3 kids at home is a total time suck and by the time they’re all in bed,  I’m exhausted.  I do run in the mornings almost every day and generally spend at least an hour doing so.  I’ll go long on some days and stretch it out to 90 minutes once in a while.  Small steps = big gains.  I don’t want to injure myself by pushing too hard and running with bad form. I’ve been sweating buckets a lot these days and it sure feels good.

This morning,  I decided to do a little brick workout so I hopped on the bike trainer and rode for about an hour. Instead of just plodding along,  I decided to break it up a little by using a Tabata timer which breaks the workout up into sections (high intensity followed by low intensity rest periods).  You can find tabata timers for your iPhone or Android device.  I decided to spend $2 and buy one for my iPhone.  It’s called Tabata Pro and the interface looks like this:

Tabata timer

This is how I set up this morning’s workout.  What I did was set up a 10 minute warm up or “prepare” period.  Then,  I launched into 6 cycles of 8 minute workouts at intensity (for me that would be around 140 bpm) followed by 2 minutes of rest or easy pace.  Then,  it starts over again with another 8 minutes, followed by 2 minutes etc, etc.  Total time for this workout from end to end is around 70 minutes.  I like using the timer because it breaks things up and keeps it interesting.  You can also use the timer for running,  burpees,  jump rope, etc.  After I finished my bike session,  I hit the treadmill for an easy run for about 10 minutes.  That’s it for today!  Done!

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Marshall keeping me company on the bike. The running shoes are standing by for the short treadmill run.

Post Workout Recovery Smoothie

Here a basic post-workout smoothie that’s high in protein and carbohydrates.   I also threw some blueberries in there for flavor plus they also have a lot of antioxidants.  The coconut water is high in potassium and the coconut oil is loaded with healthy fats.  This kept me going until lunch time and it’s a snap to make.  Adding the coconut oil last keeps it from clogging the blades.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup coconut water

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

1/2 cup frozen mangoes

1 small Cutie (tangerine)

1 tbs chia seeds

1 cup kale

1 cup ice water

1 tbs coconut oil

 

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Eggs Benedict (sort of )

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We did a version of one of my all-time favorites this morning after our workout: Eggs Benedict.  The traditional, high calorie dish includes a buttery Hollandaise sauce, an English muffin, and a slice of Canadian bacon.  In the spirit of trying to eat a little healthier these days,  I decided that the poached egg would be perfect but I needed a patty of something for it to sit on top of.  Thus,  the low fat, high protein lean ground turkey patty.  The sauce, the muffin, and the bacon had to go. Why do I even call it Eggs Benedict?  I have no idea but here’s what we did.

TURKEY PATTIES

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground turkey (Costco sells them in 4 packs)

1 tbs Fennel Seed

1/2 tbs black pepper

1/2 tbs salt

2 tbs Oregano or Italian seasoning

1/2 tbs granulated garlic

1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs (used as a binder)

 Directions

Mix well in a bowl using your hands to incorporate everything.  Form into small 1″ diameter balls and drop them in a medium hot pan with 1 tbs olive oil.  I did mine in 2 batches.  Drop the balls into the oil and get them sizzling.  After a minute or so,  mash them down into patties with the back of a spatula.  Cook for approximately  2 minutes or until golden and then flip and continue cooking on the other side.  Place them on a platter in a low oven and bake until firm to the touch. Don’t scorch them or else they’ll be hard as a rock.

By the way,  1 lb of turkey makes around 10-12 patties.

POACHED EGGS

This takes a little practice but once you master this classic technique,  it’s fairly easy to do and is a killer addition to your kitchen repertoire.   I only did 1 egg but you can probably make 3 at a time

Ingredients

1 whole egg

large pot 3/4 filled with water

1 Tbs Salt

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

 Directions

Bring the water to a gentle, I repeat GENTLE, rolling boil.  Add the salt and the vinegar.  In case you’re wondering, the vinegar helps to keep the white and yolk parts together while they are cooking.  Do not skip this step or else.  Carefully crack the egg and slide it into a teacup or mug.  Do not break the yolk or else you’ll have to start over.  Once the water is gently bubbling away  carefully slide the egg from the teacup into the center of the pot of water.  Keep a slotted spoon at the ready.  If it looks like the whites are spreading all over the pan,  don’t worry.  Let it keep cooking.  After about 30 seconds,  you can use the slotted spoon to gently bring the stray whites back into the center where the yolk is cooking. After about 2 minutes,  it should start to look like an egg so carefully lift it out of the water and onto a folded paper towel.  gently blot dry and then place it on top of a turkey patty.  garnish with paprika and some herbs.  The yolk will be a tad runny but that’s the whole point.  It’s a very rich,  satisfying breakfast or lunch.

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A basic green smoothie recipe

This recipe makes a smoothie that’s fairly satiating because of the protein powder and the fats from the coconut oil.  Thanks to the kale, celery, cucumber, and (occasionally) spinach,  it has a nice fresh green flavor but it’s also slightly sweet because of the apple.  The coconut oil, which has lots of healthy fats, also gives it a somewhat tropical taste.  I’ll typically store it in a mason jar and drink it as a meal, usually at lunch time.  It also has a lot of fiber so it really gets things moving if you know what I mean.  The key to a good blend is to use a good blender.  I use a Vitamix which is,  in my opinion,  the best that you can buy.  Jamba Juice uses them. The Osters and other low power units typically don’t have the power to fully break everything down into a smooth drink.

Serving Size:  1

Total calories: 483*

* See a slightly more detailed nutrition breakdown at the bottom of this post

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup chopped kale
  2. 1 cup chopped spinach.  You can substitute this for a second cup of kale
  3. 1 small chopped apple with skin and core
  4. 2 ribs celery
  5. 1 cup chopped cucumber
  6. 2 tbs chia seeds
  7. 1 tbs coconut oil
  8. 1 scoop protein powder (I am currently MET-Rx which is a whey protein but am l looking for better alternatives).
  9. 2 cups cold water

Directions:

  1. In a quality blender (Vitamix, Ninja, BlendTec, etc), add all of the fruit and veggie ingredients
  2. Next,  add the chia seed, coconut oil and protein powder.  I put these on top of the veggies so that they don’t clog the blender blades
  3. Add water
  4. Blend on high speed until the smoothie is thoroughly mixed. At least 1 minute.

Basic Nutritional Information (courtesy of MyFitnessPal) is as follows.  Any comments would be appreciated.  I also see that my nutritional calculator is a little on the vague side so I’ll look for something a bit more accurate and re-post.

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Body Fat Loss Challenge

In preparation for a hopeful return to my previous, fit and not fat lifestyle,  I’ve decided to really push the envelope and get my ass back in gear.  I’ve been piddling off and on with various fitness routines but my consistency levels have been pathetic.  I’m now 46 years old and am a little alarmed about what I see in the mirror.  It doesn’t help when your own kids start making wise cracks about your man boobs or gut hanging over your belt.  It also doesn’t help matters when I watch all three of them walk into the pool for their year-round club swimming workouts while I just sit there eating potato chips.  My oldest daughter has been asking me when I’m going to START WORKING OUT AGAIN.  I feel like slapping her but of course,  she’s right so I try to weasel out of it by changing the subject.

I put a lot of thought into this and decided that I should really get back on some sort of program.  I will also log my current weight on a regular basis and keep it on the right side of the page.  I’m currently at 199.6 lbs and 5’11” tall.  Yes,  my BMI is terrible….  Anyway, here’s what I’m going to do:

Intermittent Fasting:  The goal here is to substantially lose as much body fat as I can.  I’ve been listening to the experts including Ben Greenfield and Rich Roll and decided that I can work that into my schedule.  If you Google it,  you would get the phone book but basically,  what you do is stop eating at a certain time of day and then ingest nothing for 10-12 hours.  The best method is to commence with the protocol at night.  For instance,  I’ve stopped all intake of food around 7 p.m and do not eat until around 10 a.m. the next morning.  I’ve been doing it for several days now and while the hunger pains came and went (prior to bedtime), it’s gotten a little easier.

Early Morning Cardio (EMC):  This dovetails with the intermittent fasting and again,  I owe a lot of this information to Ben Greenfield.  His podcast is chock full of great information for blobs like me.  The morning cardio sessions are at an easy pace and within what’s called your “fat burning zone”.  Mine zone is 131-137 bpm.  These cardio sessions are around 30 minutes. After the cardio session,  I like to throw in an easy jog on the treadmill.  I also plan on getting in some EMC on the bike trainer, again with the focus of keeping my HR within the zone.

Diet:  This is a tough one.  My career is in sales and because I have to entertain or am away from home for meals,  I have a tendency to overdo it with the high caloric meals.  I’m a sucker for a good cheeseburger at lunch for example.  We bought a Vitamix a few year’s ago which my wife uses on a daily basis to make green smoothies.  I, on the other hand, do not have the discipline that she has and only use it occasionally.  This week,  I’ve been experimenting with some of the recipes that I use to follow and have started to enjoy drinking them again.  I store them in a mason jar for easy sippage / storage.  I’ll post recipes in a later post.  For lunch,  I’m sticking with grilled, skinless chicken and grilled veggies. For the veggies,  I love broccoli, red peppers,  asparagus,  tomatoes.  COSTCO is the best for bulk items. I thought about Gluten Free, Paleo, Vegan,  and decided that it would be too difficult.  How bout I just eat healthy, wholesome foods and avoid the processed foods?  I think I can do that.

 

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Resistance Training:  Utilizing my forgotten home gym,  I’ve been doing some moderate weight training that focuses on the major muscle groups (legs and back mostly).  This mean that I need to do some squats,  lunges,  dead lifts, bent over rows, etc.  I can’t afford a gym membership so I’ll have to rely on the gear that I have at home.

Swim / Run / Bike:  I do want to get started in Triathlon again but need to resume my training slowly so as not to damage myself.  I’m going to stick with the above protocol for 2 weeks and see how I feel.

God help me….

 

Fat, out of shape but running again

I’m 46, I weigh 195 lbs, my height is 5’11″ and feel like shit. I’m getting back on the proverbial training schedule again. Started hitting the treadmill about a week ago and actually feel a LOT better. Reverting with more updates and hope I can keep this up!

Base training and some reflection

It’s been forever since I last posted. To all 10 of my readers, I apologize. As is so often the case, life gets in the way and I’ve neglected this blog.

My last few posts were dedicated to my training for Vineman 140.6. While I wasn’t completely up to the task on race day. I did have enough fitness in the bank to get through the course. My plan was to be conservative and I was. The swim was fine and I think I finished somewhere in mid pack taking it nice a easy with bilateral breathing, long strokes and a few occasional breaks which consisted of treading water. One of the lifeguards was giving me a hard time for stopping. What did she care? I felt like telling her to F-Off but that would have been bad karma so I bit my tongue.

Transition to the bike was a muddy mess and the Vineman folks need to do something about that next year. Mud was everywhere.. bikes, clothes, water bottles, bare feet, etc. The bike course for me was torture, not because of the distance but because my ass was killing me. Fortunately, it started to go numb at about mile 60 and I was good to go after that. I was a slave to my Garmin watch as I watched the miles tick by. The good thing about this course is that the scenery in the Sonoma Valley wine country is absolutely stunning. Lots of fields, pastures, cows and miles and miles of really pretty rolling vineyards. The course was a two looper and I was really glad to finish #1 and start out on #2.

I finally made it into T2 which is in the town of Windsor, CA and quickly walked to the racks where my shoes, glasses and hat waited for me. Figuring that I had a marathon to run, I decided to take it easy and not rush through transition. I think my T2 time was something like 8 minutes! The marathon went OK but my legs were stiff and sore so I focused on a quick turnover with some walk breaks thrown in every half mile or so. This strategy seemed to work for my body and I actually felt like I was getting a second wind. Nutrition was right on and I kept cool by putting ice cubes under my hat (good tip by the way). Anyways, right at mile 20, I felt a stinging pop in my right foot and could feel my toenail peel back and lift off of my foot. Total pain. “FU#K” I said as I hobbled to the side. I then committed one of the worst mistakes anyone doing a distance event can do, I sat down and took off my show and sat there for approx 5 minutes. While I was examining my toenail, my muscles started to cool and then quickly cramp. I put the shoe back on and took a few steps and realized that my legs were totally locked up. I also started to shiver uncontrollably. After about 5 minutes of effort to get back on the course, I realized that I was finished. Total FUBAR!

DNF-ing was not something that I intended to do that day. I had put so much time, money and effort into the training only to see it wasted. I took the shuttle bus back to the starting point in Guernville (where the swim and T1 took place), got my car and then drove BACK to Windsor to get my bike. Realizing that I had DNF’s only made this chore more depressing. I drove home by myself and almost went off the road a few times because I kept falling asleep. The only consolation was that we were heading to Maui a few days later so I would have something to take my mind off of this whole affair.

My training took a nosedive after the race and it’s been a while since I was able to think about getting back on the bike or in my running shoes. Oh, the brutal case of plantar fasciitis didn’t help matters either. I’ll save that ordeal for another post.  I’ve been running and riding for the last two weeks now and am glad that I started up again.  Nothing is more depressing than realizing that you’ve gained weight and lost fitness.  I’m now in base training mode and will be following (hopefully) a strict protocol of aerobic-only training for the next 2 months.  This is not a period where I will be pushing myself in interval sets or cranking out the long miles.  Low heart rate and easy effort will be the focus.  Will share more of this strategy on my next few posts.

Just grinding along: Week 13 of triathlon training

Oh man,  it’s hard to keep yourself motivated and current on your training plan.  I’ve been doing pretty good with my bike and run workouts but it’s the swim training where I’m seriously lacking.  Getting to the pool,  undressing,  swimming,  showering, dressing again and getting to work is a huge time chunk.  Look at it this way:  If your workout calls for a 50 swim,  what you’re really talking about is at least 90+ minutes of time devoted to getting the pool time in.  That an hour and a half! My swim training is therefore falling behind and I need to get my ass in gear. Time to break out the wetsuit and go to Aquatic Park in SF, a superb open water swim area. I need to see how far my training has gone and how I do in actual open water. I just wish it wasn’t so damn cold…

Other than that,  the rest of it is going pretty well.  I’m currently in week 13 of my 34 week training plan.  The fitness it coming along and I’m starting to lose some body fat thanks to the longer and longer aerobic sessions that I’ve been doing.  My run is OK but I’m having problems with keeping my hear rate monitor at a reasonable level.  Oh,  and my Garmin 305 battery has decided to only give me around 3 hours of total charge so there’s no way that I can use it on an extended bike / run session.  I’m also depending on this unit for the actual 140.6 mile rate as well so I’m going to have to send it back to Garmin and have them fix it.  Triathlon costs so much $$$

Immersing myself into the lifestyle and really taking my training personally is where I find myself these days.  I’m constantly trying to squeeze in workouts here and there throughout the day.  I kind of feel like this guy in the video below but shudder to think that this is what I’ve become. What do I have in common with this dude? Well, let’s see:

1. I wear Newtons
2. I have a blog
3. I’m obsessed with my bike fit
4. I train on a bike trainer
5. I constantly complain about my aches and pains.
6. I’m always on the lookout for new crap to buy
7. I love triathlon to the point where it’s becoming ridiculous.

Multisport Geek is live on Facebook

I’ve taken the plunge and now have a dedicated Facebook page.  Please make sure that you take the time to check it out and click the “LIKE” box.  There’s not much there in terms of content however so please be patient.