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Daily Archives: September 5, 2012

Life Proofing Your iPhone – Apple Finally Makes Life Impossible

Due to hilarious circumstances I needed a new iPhone wall charging chord (my wife’s cat chewed it – while it was plugged in) so I went to my local cell store to pick up a new one.  I actually paid more to get the original equipment chord because it’s gotta work with my waterproof sport case…  For which, I paid over $200 (case, bike mount and arm band).

Unfortunately, Apple started making the chord ends a little wider so they won’t fit into the slot in my Life Proof case.  Houston, we’ve got a problem.

I do have a remedy…  I picked up the after-market version of the USB/Wall Plug charger from Pure.Gear at my local Verizon store and that one works just fine.  If you run into that problem, there’s your fix.

Nice work Apple.  Dopes.

Cycling Progress… It’s good for now.

The last eight days have been pretty surprising for me in terms of cycling and speed.  Generally I try to get at least one or two rides in around 17.5 mph as a recovery ride per week but I haven’t been able to stick to that plan – I’m getting faster.  I did manage one ride at 17.5 last week, but that was not expected – that was due to a dietary change that had disasterous ramifications (too low on the carbs) but that only lasted one day – the situation has been remedied.

The point is, I’ve been progressively getting faster since breaking into the longer distance rides so for now, it’s still full speed ahead.  It’s been quite odd, really, being able to cruise along at 18-19 mph without breathing heavy – it’s certainly unexpected and very welcome.  I’ve also written about some top end increases as well, especially on my Tuesday evening club ride where I’m finally able to hold on into the mid twenties and beyond (though I can only hold 27 or 28 for a mile or two before blowing up).

The gains, as I’ve stated on numerous occasions, are due to higher mileage rides (longer than 3 hours).  The long distances make the shorter distances, well a lot shorter.  It used to be I thought 33 miles was pretty far, now it’s just a walk in the park.

That said, it’s time to start ramping the cycling down for the year.  I’ve been thinking about this for going on a week now and it started to show in my ride on Saturday, which under normal circumstances would have been a 50 mile ride centering on hill climbing.  With the season starting to wind down (I’ve only got a couple of months left), I figured it was time to get back into shape for running so I can make the transition easy – thus my Ride/Run/Ride brick.  It’s kind of funny how I am with running.  I can spend weeks on the bike in between runs, but once I actually lace up the shoes it sure is nice to pound the pavement a bit.

Once I take the cycling indoors to the trainer there is going to have to be some reconciling to do with my diet.  I’ll have to cut back on the calories and go a little easy on the food for a few months.  It shouldn’t be too bad, I’ll be spinning every day for 30-45 minutes, but there’s still a pretty big difference in calorie burn between 45 minutes on a trainer and 50 on the road (let alone 80-150).  Also, my mountain biking season will start in about two weeks – and I’m really looking forward to that.

The trick for next year will be getting into the higher mileage rides earlier.  I’ll do the ride for recovery again at the end of April, and that’s a 100k, but I’m going to want to get into the 50+ mile rides right after that so I can be tip top when the club starts riding again…  Of course, there’s plenty of time to worry about all of that between now and then.

The Athlete’s Nutrition – Carbohydrates. What’s For Dinner Honey?

In part one of this series, I dealt with sodium – mainly because I’ve had some serious low sodium issues in the past where I simply wasn’t getting enough and it had some bad short-term effects. In my use of Slim Kicker though, carbohydrates have been one item where the dietician at SK and I have been way off. Now, when I started using the Slim Kicker diet tracking app, I did so for fun – more to see if I could make my iPhone smoke in frustration at my blowing through the limits that had been thrown at me. The first two days were fun – I actually ate like crap on purpose, just for the chuckle, but on the third day I decided to try to stay inside their parameters – with quite a bit of success I must say. Except for the carbs.

Now I’ve heard friends talking about no-carb diets and all of that hoo-haa and to be honest, I need a diet like I need a hit in the head.  Still, seeing me whizz by the carb limit for the whole day at 10:30 in the morning had me worried. Maybe I was putting on weight that I didn’t know about, couldn’t see (and that the scale mystically wouldn’t pick up).

Slim Kicker (again) is proving to be for people who are trying to get to where I already am.  If I were to try to stick their recommended amount of carbs as I did last Thursday, I’d have exactly what I had last Friday – every day… A terrible performance.  The lack of fuel for the muscles is why I had such a rough go on a dinky 25 mile ride.  Of course, if I wanted to be terse, I could suggest that their limit on carbs is why they only have 17.5 mph listed as their “very fast” speed, but I don’t think it’s necessary to go down that road.  Even so, my recovery rides are faster than that (18.9 this evening though I must admit, I did get on it for a few miles). The larger point is that I would be stuck at 17.5 mph on their standard diet because I didn’t have enough fuel to do any better.

Slim Kicker allows me 194 grams of carbs a day. On a typical day I’m consuming right around 400-450 grams give or take. You start seeing numbers like that and you take notice. Until I started doing the math. And there is my downfall – I don’t take many BS talking points without doing a little math first. Going off of the USADA Optimal Dietary Intake Guide for Athletes (how ironic that I’m quoting the USADA after they railroaded Lance, eh?):

Depending upon the training routine, athletes need to consume at least 50 percent, but ideally 60-70 percent of their total calories from carbohydrates. This percentage is only a guideline for estimating carbohydrate needs. Depending upon the length of training sessions, an athlete’s carbohydrate intake should be between 2.5-6.0 grams per pound of body weight, with longer training times requiring the higher number of grams.

Hmmm… Let’s get the pencil and paper out… 155 x 2.5, carry the 1… 465 grams. And that’s the lower end of the equation – I’d like to think I’m a little better than low man on the totem pole, but whatever, I’m not that much of a stickler.

Now, so far I’ve only discussed day-to-day eating. The night before a long ride, say 75 miles or more, I eat like a horse.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I were in the neighborhood of 6-700 grams of carbs. Say what you will about carb loading, it works well for me and I like it. In the last two months I’ve done 2 centuries, a 90 and a bunch of 50’s and didn’t bonk on one of them. For me, that’s a pretty good record and I’m not planning on changing anything.  There is a caveat though.  If a diet is constantly too high in carbohydrates, you can train your body to only burn carbs and that’s bad too.  What has me curious, specifically, about that last link is this statement:

According to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, endurance athletes on a high-carbohydrate diet can exercise longer than athletes eating a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. Eating a high-carbohydrate diet constantly is not advised. This conditions the body to use only carbohydrates for fuel and not the fatty acids derived from fats.  [ED. Well thanks for muddying the water, care to define that?]

And just to make it confusing, there are very respectable others who recommend a diet exactly like mine throughout the season (my season is 8-9 months long).  To be specific, the way I interpret my diet, I do have a medium to high carb diet throughout the season with an additional burst in the day(s) leading up to a long event (3+ hours).  Lest we not forget, my typical Saturdays are almost always just as long as an Olympic Length Triathlon.  Taking all of this into account, the diet that I’ve been sticking to works, and that’s what is important.

Now this doesn’t mean that the calorie trackers are all that bad – with Slim Kicker I can adjust my settings… The only trick is knowing enough to change them…and to what.  And there in lies the important lesson, especially for a guy who has lost all of the weight he wants to lose and has maintained his weight by simply eating by feel.  This is my experience, and it turned out to be so close to right on it’s surprising.

Getting out of my little comfortable box, I would guess that if you wanted to lose weight, you might have to adjust the carbs a little bit on the calorie tracker but here’s the trick – this has to be done with a bit of trial and error unless you have a dietician.  The goal is to get into a zone where you’ve got enough to burn for your exercise, but not so much that you’re adding extra.  Also, it must be taken into account that initially you’ll want to burn fat too.  Truthfully, that’s a little out of my league.  Last year when I got into cycling I only had about ten pounds left to drop and I was terribly inefficient in going about it…  I just kept going, and going, and going, and going until I was satisfied.  I put in a ton of miles on those last ten pounds.  To recap, the information contained in this post is mostly tailored to recreational athletes, distance runners, cyclists, triathletes, etc.  I’m certain I’ve left out some important information that a dietician or trainer would shoot to smithereens for a competitive athlete.  This is for the tweeners – those of us in between the occasional exerciser and the elite athlete.  Your diet is your responsibility, not mine.  I happened to tailor mine through blind luck – and in my case that squirrel got the nut.  I’m simply sharing that experience in the hopes it might help others who are flummoxed by the calorie trackers.  The point is, the no-carb, lo-carb diets are for losing weight – not maintaining weight and athleticism.

Perhaps I’ll get into weight loss and carbs in a future post.

Next up…  Protein!  WOOHOO!

Part 5, on Sugar is available here

Part 4, on Fat is available here

Part 3, on Protein is available here

Part 1, on Sodium is available here