Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good hour on the road with Coach Troy

Did a good hour doing some rolling hills in Madison, WI. Not as hard this time. Got lots of liquids. Still need to get a computer with cadence. Will do that next week.

1 hour - other stats, unknown.

Getting used to the Tracstand

I've now ridden on the trac stand three times now. 55 minutes the last two times. The DVD's I have are tough. The last one I did is the Hardcore 100 by Troy Jacobson. Man that is a brutal one. I don't like how he says I have to do the whole thing or not at all. I'm sorry, I just don't have 5 1/2 hours to workout. So something is better than nothing man!

I'll tell you I really need to get a computer that gives me cadence cause I don't think I'm going anywhere near fast enough to be on course with the athletes in that video. There is one girl in the DVD that looks very uncomfortable knowing that she didn't wear an appropriate top. It's funny cause she looks at the camera after she sees herself in the video while it's being recorded and she looks very uncomfortable giving everyone a show. Troy should have sent her home to get a neck high jersey.

Anyhow the year isn't ending anywhere like I wanted, but now it gives me an opportunity to work hard like I did at the beginning of last year. Plus it isn't like I gained everything back, I can get back down in about three weeks if I stick with my goals of:

  1. Swimming four times a week
  2. Biking four times a week
  3. No more sweets

I have a party tonight and this will be the real test of #3. Plus I need to bike when I get home. Lately it's been really hard for me to get up before 7 am. I used to get up at 5 all the time. What is up with my body needing more sleep lately!?

Friday, December 26, 2008

First Day with the TracStand

For Christmas I bought myself a TracStand for riding my bike in the winter. I got it when I bought my bike, but it's been in storage all this time so that I could have a significant present for Christmas. Well yesterday I went on a ride with it.

I went for 48 minutes. I rode along with Coach Troy out at Lake Placid. Only thing is I don't have a computer to tell my cadence. I used a GPS all this year for movement stats and ignored cadence. Now I can't do that on my stand. I get no data whatsoever. So I'm going to have to get something to tell me my cadence (and might as well get speed as well since that would work too on the tracstand).

I probably went around 15 miles or so and had a pretty good pace going. When I get a computer I'll have better stats. My back tire was wearing out. There is some burned rubber all over the metal disk in the back where it rubs. Maybe I have it on too tight?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Feel good run

Haven't run since Thanksgiving break with Cathi. I remember being pretty sore for a few days afterwards. Figured it was time to get another run like that one so I went down on the treadmill at lunch:

1.5 Miles - 1.5 miles @ 6.0 mph
1.25 Miles - 5 x (.10 walk, .15 Run) @ 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0, 8.5, 9.0 mph

2.75 Miles @ 2% grade

Not bad. Felt great and my knees didn't give me trouble.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Body Fat Testing vs. BMI measurements

I've read a little about BMI and have been concerned a little that people put too much value on their BMI "number". A better method for making informed decisions about the composition of your body is through Body Fat Tests. Here is a good article explaining the differences.

Body Fat Testing Methods

Today when you go after health insurance quotes, it's good to be armed with as much detailed information about your overall physical condition as possible. America is an obese nation, so people with a lower body fat percentage may be able to argue for better premiums or deductibles on their policies. There are several methods for calculating body fat including:

  • Hydrodensitometry or Underwater (UWW) Weighing - This underwater method calculates whole body density by measuring volume. The subject sits or lies down on a suspended scale over a pool or tank. The subject is weighed, then submerged and weighed again. Fat is less dense in water, so an individual with greater bone and muscle mass will weigh more when submerged. Using standard formulas, a body density figure is calculated. Although considered the "gold standard" for body fat measurement since the 1940s, many subjects are frightened to be submerged and cannot adequately expel air from their lungs to achieve the most accurate numbers possible. Prices vary widely and tend to be high. Only fitness labs, universities, hospitals, and upper end gyms tend to have access to or actually own the required equipment, which can cost in excess of $50,000.

  • Anthropometry (Skinfold Measurement with Calipers) - Hand-held calipers are employed to measure skinfold thickness at 3 to 7 key body locations. A sum of the measurements is then used to calculate a body fat percentage. Since more than 3,500 equations have been validated according to age and ethnic group, this can be an extremely challenging method of calculation. It is, however, easy and inexpensive. Accuracy is, however, questionable with this "old school" methodology in the hands of anyone but a skilled practitioner.

  • Absorptiometry (Dual Energy X-Ray or DEXA) - This relatively new and highly sophisticated method used a whole body scanner and low dose x-rays that divide the body into total body mineral, lean, and fat tissue mass. Requiring 10 to 20 minutes, the procedure is non-invasive and comfortable and is rapidly replacing total body immersion or UWW as the "gold standard" body fat measurement due to convenience and price. Depending on location, expect to pay $125 to $250.

Other methods of body fat calculation that are used with less frequency (or exclusively in laboratory settings) include:
  • Near Infrared Interactance (NIR)

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

  • Total Body Electrical Conductivity (TOBEC)

  • Computed Tomography (CT)

  • Air Displacement (BOD POD)

  • Bioelectrical Impedance (BIA)

In addition to body fat percentage measurements, BMI or Body Mass Index is frequently mentioned in fitness and weight loss literature. BMI is an assessment of weight in relation to height and is often used for the morbidly obese as calipers lose any accuracy with overly large skin folds and UWW tanks may not be large enough or may represent a danger to the subject. BMI does not, however distinguish between fat mass and fat free mass, so no fat percentage calculation is achieved nor is there any accurate sense of where on the body fat is stored, which suggests specific risk factors for various obesity-related disease. Given these limitations, body fat calculations give a much clearer picture of a person’s current physical condition and the goals to which they should aspire.