Monday, April 8, 2013

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

The holidays are still upon us and my training regimen has been pretty slack. My eating has not been much better, although I think I have eaten probably 75% primal. As I think about January, my training and my February Tough Mudder...I realize that Intermittent Fasting is going to help me achieve my goal. It definitely helped last time I used it...I felt better than ever. I would like to implement this as a lifestyle because it just has so many benefits other than simply weight loss. So, in order to psych myself up a bit, provide a source of information for future reference and possibly educate others....I am listing the major benefits of IF. Enjoy :)

Note: Eating Primal, and teaching your body to use fat for energy instead of suger/carbs is key to success when using IF. Otherwise, the hunger pains are rough.
  • Weight loss through caloric restriction. If you give your self an "eating window" and fast at other times, you will naturally ingest fewer calories.
  • Every time you eat there is systematic inflammation. If you are constantly grabbing food, your body is constantly inflamed. I can feel this difference. Fasting gives your body a break.
  • Secretion of Growth Hormone increases while fasting (GH involved in fat burning)
  • Fasting decreases insulin, which is a lipolysis inhibitor. Lipolysis is the release of stored body fat for energy. The decrease of insulin is necessary for fat loss.
  • Fasting improves insulin sensitivity (diabetes prevention or cure, cancers as well)
  • Fasting increases adreniline which causes the burning of certain types of fat in order to create energy.
  • Fasting is tolerable (especially for Primal, fat-adapted eaters). Studies show it is a more tolerable way to lose weight.
  • Cells have increased resistance to oxidative stress (ex. one animal study shows that fasting helped protect normal cells from chemotherapy while the cancer cells were killed. This is due to normal cells going into "survival" mode, making them more resilient. Cancer cells do not have a survival mode.
  • Fasting has been shown to reduce the negative effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients.
  • Fasting (and calorie restriction) has been shown to produce longevity in animal tests
  • Fasting boosts neuronal autophagy - which is the body's "eating of itself"…a process where cells recycle waste material, downregulate wasteful processes, and repair themselves. Brain health is highly dependent on neuronal autophagy.
  • Fasting increases levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is a protein that helps existing neurons survive and spurs growth of new neurons. Low levels of BDNF are linked to Alzheimers.
  • Fasting increases production of ketones, which have neurological protective benefits. Ketones (also called ketone bodies) are molecules generated during fat metabolism, whether from the fat in your diet or fat you were carrying around your middle.
  • Fasting protects against stroke, helps recover brain trauma, spine injury, huntingtons disease, depression and general age related cognitive decline.
  • Fasting offers improved recovery from endurance exercise and weight training.
  • Fasting offers improved glycogen repletion and retention making you a more efficient athlete.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tough Mudder 2013: Let the training begin!

Tough Mudder Arizona 2013 - LET THE TRAINING BEGIN!

My next challenge will be the Tough Mudder, which is a pretty challenging, 12 mile obstacle course run. Several friends and co-workers of mine have formed a team for this event where we are going to kill it like beasts. I have posted several pictures and some videos to give you an idea of the kinds of obstacles there are. One I am particularly looking forward to is the Arctic Enema - which involves jumping into a large dumpster full of freezing ice water. You must submerge.

As you can imagine, after a few obstacles and some running...a guy will be pretty exhausted unless there is some serious conditioning work completed in the weeks prior. And with the holidays approaching, it is probably futile to attempt any training or dieting prior to January 2nd 2013 (I will try). So, below is my training plan, which I may decide to start early if I can.

The training is a mix of running, sprinting and conditioning work, which is all body weight and/or dumbbell exercises. No gym. Few free weights. Mostly just my body and natural surroundings.
Ball Shrinker

The difficulty of the conditioning increases in levels or phases. I will spend two weeks on each phase, doing conditioning 3 times each week. The conditioning exercises will be done in circuits of at least 2 (or whatever I can handle). The idea is to do circuits until failure. Exercises included in the circuits will be push-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups, squats, loaded squats, overhead push-ups, plank, side-plank, reverse chair push-up, burpees, curls/tri-cep curls and military press.
Tough Mudder 10 Week Training

I will sprint one day each week, in bursts of 30 sec to 60 sec until failure. If it is too nasty outside I will go to the inside track near my home.

I will start with 4 miles and increase to 10 over the course of the 10 weeks running 2 times per week. The last week will taper to 8 and then 4. If it is too nasty outside to go for a very long run, I will use the inside track.

I will be following a Primal diet and making use of Intermittent Fasting to accelerate the weight loss process. Typically, running and sprinting days will also be my fasting days. A fast will include "closing the valve" on food at 7pm and not opening it until 16 to 20 hours later (late afternoon/evening the following day). While fasting I can drink water, coffee or tea with cream. No sugar or sweetener.

Primal Rules
1. Think about what you eat
2. Eat when you are hungry. Do other things when you are not.
3. Stop eating when you are full.
4. Eat natural and avoid grains: Meat, fish, fruit, veggies (veggies 50%, protein 35%, fruit 10%, Other 5%)
5. Drink water, coffee and tea (cream ok). Drop everything else. ONE GUINNESS PER WEEK!
6. Intermittent Fasting
7. Make up for it: If you violate the rules skip a meal or two or three.
8. Allow yourself occasional weekly indulgence (the days in red are my indulgence days).

Electric Shock Therapy!!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

TC 10 Mile Barefoot Race Report

10 miles barefoot, maintaining a 10 minute mile pace. I completed my goal (basically...did half of it in socks)! 

It was Sunday October 7th at 7:09am and 39 degrees. I went to the start line with my Vibram KSOs but took them off right before the race (and held them). I had sprayed Plasti-Dip on my toe socks and so there I was, in reinforced toe socks...unsure of how this was going to work!
I stood next to another runner in Vibrams and we chatted a little about the whole barefoot running thing. She had injured herself years back and had since healed from plantar fasciitis and an IT band problem. She attributed her healing to running barefoot (in Vibrams). This is actually the first person I have talked to in the flesh, who has a story like that. I've read about it on the internet and have experienced the same thing myself. However, it was cool to talk about it in person with another runner.

It was cold. I was doing knee lifts to stay warm and balancing on one foot for a while, then switching in order to keep my feet warm. I had taped hand warmers to the top of my feet in hopes off keeping my feet warm through the race....but it did not seem to be helping at the moment. Some older lady behind me said running without shoes was popular in the '70s...that it was a "fad"....I think she thought I was crazy. I did explain to her how it helped my plantar fasciitis and hip problems. She seemed perplexed so I went ahead and explained how to adjust running form and how it's actually better for your body/less impact. I think she was like..."sorry I asked" lol.

So the gun goes off and the race starts. I'm in Corral 5, and so it was a slow start. Once the crowd started to thin I was able to pick up the pace and pass several people. At about 2 miles I was flying, dodging in and out and around other runners...feeling great. Feet nice and warm. So this continued until mile 4 where I decided I felt so good and my feet were so warm, that at mile 5 I was going to get naked.

Socks came off at mile 5...along with the hand warmers on top of my feet. So now I am totally bare...and it's pretty cold. Probably about 41 degrees. But I feel pretty good. A little worried I admit....but optimistic.

Mile left calf starts to cramp. I start to run more delicate to compensate and slow down a bit in hopes of warding off the pain. Mile 9 comes and the cramping just gets worse. I attribute this to the change in my form, going from socks to bare feet. So, basically I fought through the pain the rest of the way...and it did slow me down considerably.

At the finish it was cold and windy. After I stopped running the cold really set in. I looked down and one of my toes had dragged against the road and was bleeding. Otherwise, my feet felt fine....just a little numb from the cold.

In summary, I would say I basically accomplished my goal (although I ran the first half in goal was 100% bare). Even though I slowed at mile 9, I still maintained an overall 10 min mile pace.

Lessons Learned:
  • Cold weather running requires preparation. I did a good job of keeping my core warm. I wore a warm hat, neck covering and layers of performance sweat wicking material. If your core is warm, blood will flow to your extremities.
  • Use hand warmers for your hands and on the tops of your feet. They really kept my feet very warm until they fell off when I removed my socks. Maybe I should have found a better way to keep them stuck to my feet.
  • Train in cold weather. Unfortunately I could not do much about this. In the weeks prior to the race, the weather was very warm. Then suddenly the temp dropped into the 30s.
  • Stretch. I should have stretched better.
  • Strengthen. I should have strengthened my calves more.
Times/Results (pulled from Nike running App):
Average: 10:29 (official results averaged me at 10:03)
Mile 1: 10:46
Mile 2: 8:29
Mile 3: 9:30
Mile 4: 9:25
Mile 5: 9:36
Mile 6: 10:02
Mile 7: 9:54
Mile 8: 10:08
Mile 9: 11:33
Mile 10: 10:39

Overall it was a great experience and a true accomplishment for me. On to the next!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Warrior Dash 2012 Race Report

There is nothing better than an ice cold beer and a smoked turkey leg after 3.2 miles of barbed wire trenches, muddy pits, logs on fire and other obstacles! I ran the warrior dash a few weeks ago...kilted. It was a blast! I didn't really consider it a race though and I have no idea what our time was. It was more just for fun although I did beat my daughter's boyfriend...who just got out of army basic training and is 14 years younger than me (I feel less old because of this).

We decided early on that we would run hard right out of the gait. One of the first obstacles were high walls followed by a trench crawl under barbed wire. There were about 5 of these lined up...quite a work out getting over (and under) them. After that we slowed down considerably. There were also a few high climbs up cargo ropes and several trenches where we were forced to crawl through mud. The fire logs were a was like jumpin gover a camp fire...LAME. I did not go barefoot...although looking back I probably could have. I wore my Vibrams. Some of the grassy areas were full of sharp long stiff grass....I could see that penetrating a foot. Also, there were a couple of rocky stretches and climbing over the rope could have been a problem. But...with another year of barefoot running under my belt...maybe I will attempt it barefoot next year.

Overall it was a fun time, but too short...and the obstacles were just too easy except for a couple. I am looking forward to next year though. The course and obstacles look better and maybe I will do it barefoot in 2013.