Thursday, October 26, 2006

Perhaps I should have said "re-balancing" instead of Recalibration

I recieved an interesting response from a reader about my post "Recalibration" where I talked about upping the intensity level of my workout, and further chainging my diet around.

"I just stumbled onto your page by accident but started reading. I am an ACE certified personal trainer and a Nutrition and Exercise Science major. If you want to keep from "eating up your own muscle mass" you actually need to not cut your carbs (unless you are eating an unusually high level of carbohydrates.) Carbs are what your body uses for its main source of energy.

I know you want to burn fat so you figure if you don't eat carbs, you will use fat as energy, but that is not true for all body processes. First of all there are parts of your body that can ONLY use glucose, if they don't have it, they will synthesize it from other sources...most likely MUSCLE. Also, if you are doing cardio at 80% of your max HR, this intensity brings the body towards more carbohydrates during substrate utililzation, so once again, if you don't have carbs stored in your body, it will use other sources, i.e. MUSCLE.

Studies actually show that working at 50% of VO2 max intensity results in the highest percentage of fat burn during cardio. Now as you train the HR that correlates with this 50% VO2 max will change and you will need to train at a higher intensity, but the basic point is that 80% HR is going to give you greater cardiovascular benefits, but result in less fat utilization.

And I would watch it on all the protein, a.a.'s, and vitamins. Even if you are heavy weight lifting, your body only needs 1.8-2 g of protein per kg body weight. Anything over this level will just be stress on your kidneys/liver and you will just pee it big waste of money. Eat your carbs, don't cut them, so your body doesn't have to eat up your muscle to make up for its carb deficits. And eat lots of dietary protein too. It is so easy to get all the protein you need just from your diet so you don't need to waste your money on supplements.

Anyway, like I said, I just stumbled on here and wanted to leave a comment. Take it as you wish"

Firstly, I thank you for your advice; and I'm aware of the fast burn needs for simple carbs, and the dangers of too much protein (I am constantly warning people off of atkins, at least without doctors supervision).

You can see my diet and excercise here:

Chris and Mels fitness log

And you'll note that currently, carbs and fat make up perhaps 75% of my caloric intake; and that my overall protein intake is too low for my activity level, my body mass, and my muscle mass.

I'm not getting enough dietary protein, because my caloric intake is too heavily weighted towards bread, potatos, and rice basically.

Just as an example, two days ago my total caloric intake was 2011 calories, and the only significant source of protein I had was an 11oz new york strip, for a total of less than 60 grams of protein; when I should be somewhere up around 200gr. For that same day, my total carbohydrate intake was almost 400 grams, and my fat intake almost 150 grams.

I currently weigh 178kg, and I'm targeting 130kg. For my 130kg target I should be eating at a MINIMUM 130gr of protein a day, up to over 250g. I should also target no more than 95g of fat, and no more than 425g of carbohydrates, with ideals more like 65g and 285g.

Of course at my desired activity level, and current weight those numbers change a bit. I want to have a somewhat elevated simple carbs number, a somewhat elevated complex carbs number, a bit less fat, and to come close to maximizing protein.

Also, the reason I vitamin and mineral supplement greatly, is because, especially for my body mass, I dont eat nearly enough fruits and vegetables; having perhpas 8 or 9 servings a week, instead of the 3 or 4 a day I should be eating. I don't take any other dietary supplements, protein powders etc...

Also, I suffer from ulcerative colitis; which complicates matters further. If I eat too much fat, or too much carbs I have problems. If don't eat enough protein, I have problems. If I eat too MUCH protein or tooLITTLE fat I have problems. I have food sensitivities, I dont digest vitamins and minerals as well from my food, and I can develop anemia very quickly if I'm not careful.

As I said, I've been doing this for 15 years now, very freqeuntly under the supervision of doctors, and especially sports medicine trainers and dieticians. I know whats health and what works for me; I was jsut too lazy, and too busy to do it for the last few years.

Oh, and currently I'm working out in the 70% max range; do you think that a lower intensity would be better? Honestly anything less than that, and I really don't feel much effect; but I was a guy who worked out a LOT before my injuries, and I have a greatly elevated stimulus threshold.

I can be cruising along at 75rpm, and 14mph on the bike, with my heart rate right at 120 for 30 minutes, and I'll barely be sweating with only slightly rapid breathing.

I have to push the resistance level up and the speed up to get into 135-140 range to get into the 70% zone. Last night I did 35 minutes at 15.8mph around 80rpm and I barely broke 133.

Now, doing the circuit training, it's a different story. I don't wear a heart rate monitor while I'm working out; but I am DEFINITELY expending greater energy, and exerting greater effort than on the bike; and my heart rate is definitely peaking higher than on the bike. By the end of the workout I'm breathing harder, and sweating much more.

For the last couple weeks I've been doing the circuit every day but weekends. Right now I'm doing the bike every day, and the circuit every other day. When I was doing the circuit every day, and I found I wasn't giving my muscles enough recovery time. Then I tried doing lighter circuits every day, and it wasnt as effective, and STILL wasn't giving enough recovery time; so I've decided I'm going to do the circuit with a medium weight level, every other day.

I'm going to work that in for a bit to get fully used to it, and then see if I can do a heavier circuit day, followed by a lighter circuit day; and then start throwing in heavier weight training in place of the heavy circuit days as my general fitness level comes back towards where I want it to be; so I can rebuild some of the lean mass, keep my anabolic activity high, and do some spot work.

Once I'm happy with my general fitness and muscle tone, I plan on moving to a heavy weight regimen every other day, with rest days in between; and to maintain the bike every day for cardio.

And yes, I know, I need to eat my fruits and vegetables... but I won't wanna mommyyyy wahhhhhh...

Sorry, couldnt stop myself.