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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tech Tuesdays Ep4-S1 Heart Rate Strap Care

tech Tuesdays

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tech Tuesdays Ep3-S1 - knee Pain

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Question Via Email - How to go to University ? Be Social ? and Train ?

I received this email inspired by  Terry Orlicks 'Wheel of Excellence' If you have never seen or read his work please check out his site here. . The concept of the 'Wheel' is that there are several spokes that lead to Excellence. Among them are Distraction Control, Commitment and Mental Readiness, which we will discuss below. 

"After reading this I thought of two things. One is that of distractions not necessarily in and around the races but now when I'm at school in the USA. I find it hard to participate in events because I don't want to negatively affect my training and health by drinking beer or alcohol for that matter.  I've so far just been limiting myself to two drinks when I drink with my friends but it's hard to fit in without partaking in whatever they are doing and even that amount I don't really enjoy because it's just empty cals, although I do enjoy a cold beer once in a while. I don't know what your take is on it but what did you decide to do while training for cycling throughout school? I still want to have some fun but not involving the consumption of alcohol, is that possible when everyone else around you is drinking? 
Also the other thing was just that I was not very solid on what my routine/mental prep during race mornings or the day before is, I previously would just eat a large breakfast not really paying attention to what was in it but usually involving cereal, eggs and toast. I usually would eat 2 hours before for example a 1:30 race I would eat it at 11:30 then not eat any more after that except for a gel 15 min before and maybe a small chocolate bar. I think I need to come up with a routine that I use every time that works for me and maybe practice it at a few less significant races this spring.


Awesome Questions, Thanks for the Email ! 

My initial thought is that looking at CONFIDENCE in your GOALS would help both these issues. 

Item 1- We are looking more at COMMITMENT here I think ? I think a good first step is to review or create what you want to accomplish (your goals) for the next few years in sport / Health / Career / Social. 

- With those big goals in place we can then look at little steps we need to take each day/month to get closer to each goal. With these big goals and the first few steps planned your commitment can grow as you have your 2 or 3 big goals and know what you WANT to do. This should make that commitment, and the associated decisions easier. 

            An Example of Big Goal - Little Steps concept
   1) Top 10 Prov. Races - 2 quality, focused, limiter directed bike sessions per week + 1x3hr end. WO per week
   2) Graduate with 'X' Average - attend each class, 1 hr of prep for each Class + 20min review of each class 
   3) Social/Long Term Relationship - Meet someone new each day, go out each Friday

For most people a responsible 'social' night (or two) a week isn't a big deal in terms of training, and I think once you map out your objectives and KNOW what you do you WANT you will see improved results in your training and social interactions because you are doing each with 100% commitment. If you don't want to drink, then you just need to stick your ground for a few nights (with full CONFIDENCE) and you should find things subside. If you are having fun, dancing and talking to people it is hard for others to push drinks on you to 'have fun'.  If you do want to drink, some thoughts to minimize damage on 'social' nights would include stopping drinking as early in the night as you can, consuming lighter/lower cal beer if you are going to do beer (gluten free would be good call too). If you are into liquor, a clear liquor would be preferable due to minimal sugar/extra ingredients. Try and follow each drink with a glass of water and as you are able protect your sleep as it is likely the biggest determinant of how you will feel the next day.

For what it is worth, I decided early in highschool, that I did not really like the bar scene and that I wanted to ride my bike, get as fit as I could and learn as much as I could while at school for Kinesiology. I focused on those two things with everything I had. I was fine knowing that SOME social opportunities were being missed as I was happy doing 2 things I really enjoyed. That said, I made sure each week had enough down time with friends as that balance is imperative too! 

Item 2 -  Routine/Mental Readiness - Developing a routine is a HUGE area for most of us to improve. The simple answer here is do what you do everyday on race day. Race day should not be any different then a bigger workout during the week, this is an area most people could gain HUGE performance.  From nutrition, to getting dressed, to the clothes/products/equipment you use keep it reliable. If you know that eating a bowl of oatmeal/2 eggs 2.5hrs before the race/workout start makes you feel your best then you have no question morning of the race about amounts/types of foods. **Do play with different foods / amounts in training though **

General rules are 2-3 hrs before would be last meal, no fat, no fiber, keep it easily digestible and carb/protein mix. Common pre-race meals are oatmeal/eggs, toast & honey or for those with weaker stomachs ENSURE. Most people stay away from dairy especially before the workout but yogurt/cereal is actually a common pre-race too. 

And I would try to get the gel in closer to the start (ie. 5min) if you can (see Hammer Nutrition Guidelines in resources page)

Let us know how it goes. 

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tech Tuesdays

from www.trainwithpeter.com

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Question Via Comments - BCAA ?

Great Question Via Comments from My Post on Peri-Workout Nutrition and my use of BCAA, especially on long days (read that post here)

What are Amino Acids? Basically, the building Blocks of Proteins, there are 22 and 8 are essential because the body can not make them, including the 3 BCAAs.

What are BCAA? Branched Chain Amino Acids are 3 amino acids (isoleucine, leucine and valine) that are predominately used in skeletal muscle so have been studied for years for potential benefits in exercise.

So what ? It has been theorized, with debatable success, that taking BCAA before, during and after exercise may increase or support performance in a few ways. By maintaining BCAA supply to the brain (limit central fatigue?) and help to fulfill any protein derived energy requirements (link suggests not really ). Most supported seems to be the anabolic (muscle repair/recovery/immunity) potential that BCAA may offer post-workout (although maybe not?). 

What am I doing with it? I have been playing around with it for sleep benefits (based loosely on these studies on sleep in Liver Cirrosis) and to replace soy/whey protein in and after endurance ride fuels (BCAA+Hammer HEED) in hopes of preventing muscle breakdown. I have been sleeping pretty well recently (but have changed pre-sleep habits a bit too) and recovering decent too, but not sure I would endorse, without seeing a client with all their sleep/stress/training in A+ shape.  

Should You buy it?  
 - For most people it is not worth it. Until you are taking care of your sleep/stress and basic nutrition you have many other cheap ways to greatly increase your performance and recovery. Further most people are not training at a level that BCAA would make a significant difference. Remember that a good diet with quality lean protein (like eggs) contains a LOT of BCAA (see paleo cliff notes)

If you try it, remember to do it smart and track performance, perhaps with some double blind bottles on a few rides, and how you feel on-off the bike and set a deadline to decide rationally if it is worth spending money on.  

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Born to Run?

I like this video for a few reasons, and thought I would share it as we hit the weekend!

1) We should run (exercise) as a group ... not alone
2) Getting 'Old' is not a big deal, performance erodes SLOWLY if we take care of ourselves
3) Get Moving!

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Knee Pain?

Seems like this is the time of year for aches and pains. The volume/intensity keeps going up and, for some, week long 'survival' camps pop up to remind us (in the weeks after the camp) that there is a conseqence for pushing to hard/too fast. It is always interesting to me that athletes will do whatever crazy intervals they have on their 'TRAINING' but if asked to ice, or stretch, or alter diet there is much resistance. We are Human!

Photo From Great Resource and Great People at www.networkfitness.com 

While a good progression rate will help I think there is a few things we can do to avoid injury induced interruptions in training.  Saying hello to your favorite Massage Therapist, Chiropractor or Physiotherapist is always a good idea to keep things in check but any of those practitioners will tell you that the biggest mistake people make is not doing work on their own to keep injury healing progressing and to prevent other issues.

A few ideas to include in your 'TRAINING':

1) Self Myofacial Release and Stretching   (check out resources page for more links)
   - Key things here
       1) find out your trouble areas and address at least daily if not twice daily ... its free and its easy, do it.
        B) Take your time, move slow, don't push to the point of tears but find a low level tension. Hold the point of tension and breath into it for several cycles of breath while waiting for a release in the tension. It should take 2-3min to stretch each muscle/position and 2-3 min to do any given SMR/Foam Roll movement (per side) working from one end to the other 1 inch at a time, taking time to breath.
         C) Make sure you are not balancing during stretches or SMR (foam roll)
              - Aim for 4 points of contact on most of the SMR movements, except when standing.
*** most people do some sort of balancing/core movement, especially on the 'IT BAND' ... this isn't doing a lot, especially if you are rolling quickly up and down the length of the muscle ****
2) Icing - Its well studied. Even if you don't have an injury spend some time with an ice pack massaging or use a cold bath/shower.
  ** for injury/trouble areas I use 15min on every 2-3 hrs but find your sweet spot.

3) Check your shoes/cleats ... if stuff is making noise or jiggling around you are stabilizing that. Best case you are loosing friends to the noise and some energy stabilizing. Worst case you are getting tight/injured and screwing up your coordination/pedal stroke.

4) Don't guess your bike fit - spend some time ... you shouldn't get numb, or rubbed excessively, or have any injury get worse.
  - in extreme cases/big rides/ pushing your limits your going to get a sore butt, and perhaps some muscular fatigue/soreness but we get back to the smart progression of training and risk vs. reward discussion from earlier in the post.
- If you are in doubt a Professional Bike Fit for $200 dollars might be a good investment when considering weeks of Rehab post injury without it. Ask around and find a respected 'Fitter' in your area, who is knowledgeable about functional assessment and anatomy in addition to proper bike bio-mechanics. I recommend Steve Neal but please do look around if you go this route, and see what you can accomplish tinkering on your own first.

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Stocking Your Paleo Pantry


Stocking a Health-Bent Kitchen

Posted on 12 October 2010 by megan keatley
The more prepared you are to eat a Paleo/Primal/Low-Carb diet the easier it is to stick to. We’ve all had times when there’s nothing in the house to eat, and we slip–we go out and pick up questionable take-out or eat something from a can. Not that it’s the end of the world when it happens, but the easier it is to make that decision to cheat or slip-up, the more frequently it is made. This list is a guideline, it’s definitely not the end-all, be-all. This is just what we try to always keep on hand.
We would like to stress the importance of making a menu. I know… it takes a lot of freaking time to make–wa, wa, wa. It is so helpful when we go the grocery store. If you think eating this way is expensive, I would highly recommend that you try  making a menu and see if you don’t save a bit of money. Why? Because we’re not buying all kinds of odds-and-ends that rot and spoil before we even remember we bought them.
Another way to save is to buy in bulk or on Amazon.com. We always buy our nuts and nut butters from the bulk section or from the discount warehouse club (Sams, Costco). Look at the prices and compare for yourself. Another thing, nut pieces are always cheaper than whole nuts, so if a recipe calls for chopped nuts, buy the pieces and save yourself some time and some cash.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Question Via Email - How do You Ride and Be Paleo ?

 Hey Peter,

; I was wondering if you could give me some insight what you use / have used for in race nutrition. I'm asking because I have started to follow the principles of Paleo much more closely. I'm finding that I have more energy and feel better when I follow it. I am wondering what you use for gels or energy while you race. When i would race on the road I never had too much trouble taking in food in solid form, but always found that gels worked best when I was mountain biking. Is there any resources out there that could point me in the right direction?


Thanks so much for the email and for following the site . 

Basically, My answer is that it depends on a few variables.

a) What are your goals (see yesterday's post). If you are performance oriented you will likely need more carbohydrate, and more processing in your food.  Most people working 40hour type weeks are not going to be training a ton and are generally more concerned with maintaining markers of health and performing pretty good in their chosen sport. If you are not 100% trying Paleo then 'cheating' for your rides isn't a big deal. Picking a 'good' cheat, such as a honey/dried fruit/fruit or non-paleo maltodextrin based drink like Hammer HEED. *which is worth doing to see how you feel with everything removed.

b) how long are your workouts? if they are generally under an hour and even under 1.5hrs then fueling during the workout isn't a huge concern. things like well cooked yams/sweet potato can make easy snacks for riding, regular potatoes (cooked well/skin off) can do well too. Cover either with Olive oil/ coconut oil and makes a tasty snack for longer days. Things like bananas, dried fruits can be an okay option if you are good with fruit/fructose/sugar, keeping in mind Paleo is not a licence to over consume ... Honey is just Sugar ... Fruit is Sugar.

c) how intense is your workout ? If we are racing for 2hrs or doing a hard interval set, definitely no solid food. For me I use Hammer HEED or Gels, usually adding some BCAA to that mix, the latter especially for longer workouts. Raisins/fruit would be great substitution for gels but remember that sugar is basically sugar so watch over-consuming or using when there really isn't a reason for it (ie. No one eats/drinks in a 1hr cross race)

Lastly, a few resources you may be interested in, they may give you some ideas, but as I say, there are no easy answers just things to try and some general principles based on your goals. Robb Wolf's Book is superb for getting your Paleo gig started but really is more health oriented and leaves the endurance athlete wondering what they should do.  Joe Friel's book starts to address the Endurance approach to Paleo but I think perhaps goes to far for most 'regular' people, and leaves a few key questions about quantity and variation to the imagination.

Please follow up and please keep following the blog.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Where Are You Going ?

It is February, have the February Blues got you down ? Those Intervals getting tougher to get through?

It might be time to go through and look at your goals again (or for the first time!). A big issue I see in athletes who are struggling for motivation or to improve is a lack of goals and/or a lack of goals that are fun/motivating. If we think about each day as part of a journey towards the top of a mountain (a goal) then the problem with having no ideal mountain to work towards becomes an obvious problem. We end up just walking around with no purpose/motivation/progress. Each day we are presented with many diverging paths (choices in training, nutrition, rest, stress). Any given path could take us closer to or further from a given Mountain. While two people may share the same 'mountain' no one can take the exact same path to get there.

So choosing/using the Mountain/path idea to Goal Setting:

1) Look At The Horizon: What Mountain(s) are you aiming for ?

So are your daily actions moving towards something? Do you enjoy what you are are doing? Try writing down what you want to happen in your life in the next 3 months, 6 months, 12 months ... what will make you happy ? Make sure you know when you reach the top, people don't always hand you a trophy at the top.

2) Then do some rough planning on the paths you think will help you get there. 

What does your event/goal require?
-Do you need to be fast for 5 hours ? or just 3min ? do you need to be leaner/less lean ? stronger ? More recovered ? More food/less food ?

What are your limitations right now in this event and what do you think will improve them?
- Do you need to get better at shorter durations? build a better muscular endurance capacity? reduce injuries? Improve recovery ? Eat better ? sleep more ?

 - Plan out a rough direction you think you need to go to move towards your goal on paper

3) Learn to Use a Compass often: Plan out how/when you will assess if your progress

If you are a health based Athlete then you are more in the feeling good and optimizing health factors like Blood Pressure, weight, blood profile, weight etc.

Athletes will be more into performance metrics like a Lab Test like FaCt Testing + a handful of 'field' tests they can cycle through every couple weeks on their own. I like to include a Ramp Test (see this post), a 3 Min Time Trial, a 20min Time Trial and a MaF Test (30min at a HR around LBP depending on a few factors = watch for change in performance over the 30min at stable HR).  Obviously the tests you do will depend on your goal event/outcome but they will give you a measure on whether you are moving towards the right mountain and whether you need to change paths before you end up on the wrong mountain!

Most of all enjoy the journey ... its the best part regardless of what path you are on!

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