Friday, April 23, 2010

WOD - Ride to and From Work

My first ride to work in almost a month. I has happy with the result.

To Work: 20.6 Miles 1h:14m:00s, Nice easy pace.

Ride Home: 20.6 miles, 1h:05m:31s, Avg Speed: 18.865mph, Avg HR: 162bpm, Max HR 184bpm.

All things considered, not too bad. I started easier than normal, but when a group of Team riders decided to challenge me, it was on... Held 174bpm for half the ride, and cranked it up the hill on the finish where I was on the verge of bonking.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Over-training Syndrome - Spin Class WOD

I attended my first spin class in over a month last Wednesday and followed up with another on Monday. I had the following results:


Average Heart Rate: 166bpm

Max Heart Rate: 188bpm

Approx. Calories Burned 830 approx.


Average Heart Rate: 155bpm

Max Heart Rate: 191bpm

Approx. Calories Burned 740 approx.

I made sure to push it a little more than usual at Wednesdays’ spin class, as it was a test to see how well I am recovering from over-training syndrome, and with the results above, I am quite happy. I would have liked to see my heart rate break 190, but my average was what I had hoped, I actually hoped for something around 160.

Now I will enlighten you to what over-training really is and is not. Over-training is NOT the following:

1.) Pushing so hard you pass out

2.) Pushing to the point of vomiting

3.) Being so sore you can’t walk the next day

4.) Getting heart rate so high that you lose you hearing, vision, …

Even though all of the aforementioned are undesirable and should be avoided (most of the time) if possible, they are not examples of over-training. Over-training is the result of prolonged periods with high volumes of exercise without allowing ample time for your body to properly recover. True over-training often takes many months to be realized, as was the case with myself.

Over-training is an endocrine system disorder and its symptoms generally include:

1.) Fatigue

2.) Irritability

3.) High Cortisol Levels

4.) Low Testosterone

5.) Injury of many types

6.) Sickness

7.) Unexplained lack of desire to train or feeling like you must train even when fatigued.

8.) Excessive Lactic Acid Buildup

9.) Decreased performance

10.) Inability to complete a normal workout routine

11.) Decreased Maximal Heart Rate

12.) increased resting heart rate (In certain cases, decreased in others)

I noticed my first signs of over-training when stair racing, I would push hard, and it felt more painful than usual even though I was not moving as quickly. I would get excessive lactic acid build up and my legs felt like they were filled with concrete. I also noticed that I had no race-day adrenaline and my practice times began to slowly regress. I knew something was wrong, but did not realize it until I wore my trusty heart rate monitor in the stairwell on Columbia tower race day. My maximum heart rate in that race was 171bpm with a 163 average. The race only lasted 8ish minutes; I should have been able to easily get my heart rate to the upper 180’s. That is when I realized I must be over trained. I looked back on my results from former spin classes and realized I was slowly degrading my body, not allowing enough time for rest. Ahhh, so this is why professional triathletes have random rest weeks in the middle of their training regimens, something that I thought unnecessary unless you were physically sore, injured, or in some other sort of pain.

So for that past 3 weeks I have been resting, I am not sitting on my ass all day everyday, but I am taking it very easy in my workouts, and reduced my volume by 70 percent. Wednesdays spin class was my first real test to see my progress, and with the results above I can put a smile back on my face because it often takes athletes 1-4 months to recover from over-training, it looks like I am well on my way to recovery in just 3 weeks.

So what did I learn?

1.) That over-training sucks – so get your rest days, and occasional rest weeks into your routine.

2.) I was trying to do 3 separate workout routines, 1 for stair racing and cycling, 1 for strength, and 1 for mountain climbing. I was doing 3 athletes work loads, yet I am only 1 person. So pick 1 spot to excel and focus on it; do not attempt to be everything all the time. If you have a generally good fitness base, you can adapt to the fitness you want within a month or two with proper training.

3.) Eat well, my fast recovery is likely a result of my diet, it is a perfect diet to recovery from over-training for many reasons.

4.) Make sure to eat enough. This is likely where I failed as well, my calorie intake when climbing, and the 1-2 days post-climb was not sufficient for recovery, even though it was healthy. I was too low body fat to get away with calorie restriction in such efforts. So I put on a few pounds purposefully to avoid this in the future.

5.) SLEEP and STRESS AVOIDANCE – This is what really fu*$ed me over. In the midst of all my training I was working long hours in a stressful job and getting far too little sleep. Stress means high cortisol levels, which means no recovery. Yet I would work out anyway because it would make me feel better. And even though it relaxed me, it just made the need for even more recovery. So focus on sleeping more, working less, and avoiding too many high stress situations. Next time I am in this situation I am taking a sick day or two (I don’t give an F if Sea-Tac is not going to be able to fuel their airplanes because I can’t get a pump up and running in the next 3 hours…I don’t give an F if the roofing factory is losing $1,000 per minute because their line is not running…they have some resourceful folks working for them, I am sure they will figure it out).

6.) Allow ample time for recovery, even if you feel you don’t need it. Endurance athletes in particular need to make sure to incorporate rest days once or twice per week into their routines and rest weeks every fifth week or so. This will help the athlete avoid the slow process that is over-training syndrome.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Raw Beet Slaw with Eggs and Avocado

Well I figured it was about time to throw another food post on the blog. So here is my dinner from the other night. Raw Beet Slaw with Eggs and Avocado usually is something I would eat for breakfast, but the other night it seemed fitting for dinner. So what the hell, why not? The raw beet slaw is super fu#*ing healthy and tasty so I really don’t need much of an excuse to eat it.

Raw Beet Slaw: I make this in large batches, so I did the recipe in ratios, that way you can make as much as you want.
2 Parts Raw Beets Shredded
2 Parts Jicama Shredded
1 Part Carrot Shredded
1 Part Red Onion or Challot Diced
1-2 Parts Green Cabbage Shredded
Fresh Cilantro chopped to taste
Fresh Basil chopped to taste
Lime Juice to taste
Salt to taste
Small handful of raw cashews (Garnish)

I used 1 really big beet when I made this (You can figure out the rest based on the ratios above). It makes a good portion (family size for most), but 1-2 servings for me :). I used the juice of 2 limes, and could have used a little more because my limes were somewhat useless. The Cuisinart shredder blade is very useful for this recipe, I don’t know what I would do without it. Anyway, I shred everything separately (Using the food processor) and throw it in a bowl where I add the onion, cilantro, basil, lime juice, and salt. Then mix it all together and you got your self one really good B.A.S. (Big Ass Salad). You can add sweetener if you would like, but I am a purest, and if I wanted it sweeter I would probably just shred an apple and throw it in there.

With the above concoction I fried 2 eggs (Pasture Raised Chicken Eggs from Sky Valley Farms, for the love of God please DO NOT BUY INFERIOR CANCER CAUSING CRAPPY PASTEURIZED EGGS THAT TASTE LIKE RUBBER, it’s worth the extra money to get improved taste and health) sunny-side-up in coconut oil, and topped with 1 small avocado and some hot sauce. It was definitely some tasty vittles.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Soy Sucks!!!

If I walked down the street and asked 10 random people the following: “Are soy and/or soy products good for you?” I am willing to bet that at least 7 of them would say yes. Foods such as Tofu, Soymilk, and Soy Yogurt would come to mind; they would recall the taglines that soy is high in protein and that soy milk is a good replacement for people with dairy allergies. So how would I answer this question? My answer would be no. Soy is not good for you, especially if you are male; it is an estrogen inducing, sperm count lowering, nutritional lightweight. I would go more into this, but you can find all the information regarding estrogen and sperm counts among other things here (

Instead I will focus on the claims and evidence that exists in support of soy being a health food. Here is what I found:

Soy, analysis:

High in Protein – That’s good but unfortunately soy also contains trypsin Inhibitors. What is trypsin? Well trypsin is a glorious enzyme, produced by the pancreas that is responsible for breaking down protein in our digestive system. Thus the trypsin inhibitors in soy will limit the amount of protein that can be broken down and used by our bodies, thus making soy a mediocre protein source at best.

OK, but it’s Rich in Calcium, Zinc, Iron, Phosphorus, magnesium, b-vitamins - Excellent at least it has a good mineral profile right? Wrong because soy also contains a huge amount of Phytic Acid, this is responsible for inhibiting absorption of zinc, calcium, iron, and magnesium. So much for all the great vitamin and minerals; we can’t absorb the majority of them in the presence of Phytic Acid anyway. And here is a note for you people thinking Soy/Soymilk is a good way to get calcium: The calcium is there, but your body never gets to use it!!!! So don’t think that soy is a good source of calcium, because it is not!!!

Yeah, but it’s Rich in omega-3’s – I can’t fault that, or can I? Actually yes I can, unfortunately soy contains almost exclusively ALA, one of a handful of the acids that make up the precious omega-3 army. The downside to ALA is that it needs much more processing by the body (liver) in order to be used; as a consequence it is not nearly as effective in promoting good health as other forms of Omega-3 fatty acids (Such as EPA and DHA that wild salmon is chock full of). When consumed in excess ALA can even promote prostate cancer and macular degeneration. (

Ah but soy does Lowers LDL and Triglycerides – It may lower LDL and Triglycerides slightly, but the jury is still out on this one. However I do know this for sure: the American heart association no longer recommends soy as a good food for lowering cholesterol levels ( I wonder why (Sarcastically)???

Low in Saturated Fat – Well saturated fat is not necessarily a bad thing. I guess this makes soy a low calorie food, so I won’t fault it for that.

In summary we have soy, high in protein, but trypsin inhibitors limit their breakdown; It’s got a lot of vitamins and minerals, but phytic acid renders the majority of them useless; It’s rich in omega-3’s, but unfortunately only ALA which must be converted by the body in order to be used; and its claims of lowering cholesterol levels is sorry at best. I think we should label Soy the food that has all the good stuff that your body can’t use, and it could fuck with your thyroid, lower sperm counts in men, and induce unwanted estrogen production. With all this being said, I still may have a tiny sliver of my heart still accepting of sprouted soy (the verdict is still out), but as of right now I recommend avoiding it completely because there are better alternatives.

New Research on why you should avoid Soy. By Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig: