Sunday, April 22, 2007

day two for CT camp planning

Thursday, the second day of our CT camp planning trip, we headed out for a run at 6:30am, again on the trail course that we ran yesterday. I wanted to get out a bit further on the trails and make sure they were as good as I thought they were on Wednesday. After a big ride like we did Wednesday, the brain could be a bit clouded on later tasks. We dragged Big Rock's with us. The trail turned out to be even better than the previous day. We went out a bit further and ended up on an overlook with views that were incredible.

We headed back to the Interlaken for a great breakfast and then Baker and I suited up to ride. The biggest bummer about cold weather riding is that it takes 30 minutes to get dressed! The temperature was still in the high 40's to low 50's and overcast. We were exploring another ride we plan on doing. This ride is really challenging and really scenic and really challenging. When we finished the ride, we were both whooped, but fired up at the same time. The course is really solid. I discussed with Baker how it's actually more challenging than the rides we did in Arizona. In Arizona, the climbs were really long, but at a consistent and moderate grade. You could get into a good rythm on the climbs. We'd usually be riding flat to get to the climb, then ride flat after the climb. Great, great riding, just way different than here. The ride Baker and I did Thursday, there were some serious climbs every 15 to 20 minutes. they didn't last too long, but they were quite steep, some greater than an 18% grade. They were on twisting courses where you'd turn a corner and BAM, run smack into a steep climb. It's hard to get a rythm on these climbs. This gives some serious strength and confidence, plus it is really scenic.
I felt strong on the bike both days which always helps in liking a course that much more.
All in all, it was a very productive two day excursion and the CT camp is going to be great.

Of course, Friday, and this weekend, the weather turns beautiful! Man, after writing aboout the weather from Wednesday, I could certainly handle the weather we had this weekend year round.

Hope everyone has a great week. Life is quite short, as we once again learned this weekend here in CT. Make the most of this week ahead.



Wednesday, April 18, 2007

CT Camp Planning

Baker and I have done this almost every year since 2000. We head up to Lakeville, CT for two days in April to scout out some new routes for the May Camp, and plan the agenda. The past two years, Big Rocks has joined us, although he's smart - he meets us up here before dinner for some beers and good food.

I met with an early morning PT client in Greenwhich and then headed up to Lakeville. Driving up 684 and then rt. 22, it was raining quite hard, and windy, and 40 degrees. I met Baker in the parking lot around 9:30am, and prepped to ride. I wanted to check out one of the courses we are planning on doing this year. We headed out on our road bikes around 10:30am. The wind was strong, and it was cold, but the rain was holding off for the time being. It felt great to be back up here and out riding regardless of the weather. Around two hours in after some decent climbing, I mentioned to Baker "How cool is this?! Another year and we are still out here riding!"

We had a serious headwind for the next hour, right to the base of a killer climb. Of course, it also started to rain. As I crested the peak of the climb approximately 5 miles later, wet and chilled, I thought again about how great it was to be out riding. I have been hearing lots of complaints lately about the weather. People really are jonesing for some sun and warm days up here in the Northeast. Many have mentioned that they are lacking motivation because of the poor weather. The way I see it, you have two choices; view the weather as a problem and handicap your lifestyle accordingly, or stay optimistic and forge ahead. Considering all the serious things taking place in the world at the moment, bitching about the weather and letting it hamper our moods seems a bit wussified.

I don't want to seem insensistive, or act like I'm some hard-ass. I understand that many deal with sun light deprivation disorder. All that I'm saying is own your choices and make sure they represent you.

Baker and I descended and stopped at a small convienient store 4 hours into the ride where we downed a couple of hot chocolates and then spun the hour home. We cleaned off our filthy bikes and then headed out to check out a new trail run. I don't want to give anything away but this trail run is incredible! I can't believe that we have hosted 8 camps here at this location and we are just finding this run!

After a few Guiness and some good food, we are quite whooped. I think both courses that we scouted out today are two of my favorites thus far in the past seven years. Tomorrow we have another busy day.



Monday, April 09, 2007

Nutrition 411

Things have been busy since returning from Arizona. There are quite a few anxious to get out there next year since we only have two slots left for 2008's Tucson camp.

I thought I'd discuss some basic nutrition in this blog. Let me preface this by saying that I consumed quite a few Reeces Peanutbutter Cups yesterday on Easter.

The past few weeks, I have had more and more questions about different diets that are out and about and how effective they are. Everyone, it seems, is still looking for that magic formula. The easy way where you can eat anything you want and take one pill and drop weight, or the exact combination of protein, carbs and fat, or the all liquid plan that’s guaranteed to shed 38 lbs in four days.


Losing fat is hard work. Yes, that’s right, it takes work! And it’s not that complex. It’s a simple math equation of calories in vs. calories out. To increase your calories out component, you need to exercise. If you are trying to lose weight without exercise, you’ll gain whatever few lbs you lose back quickly, bottom line. Exercise is simply movement. So again, don’t go looking for that magic exercise that will give you a six pack in one week. Instead, choose exercises that you like to do and do them daily. Stay consistent. The exercise plan that works the best is the one that you do consistently over time. Also, the more variety in your exercise program, the better. Finally, you need to do some strength training if you want to lose fat and keep it off! Cardiovascular exercise is not enough. Strength training increases your lean muscle tissue (not necessarily in size ladies, but in denseness) which will increase your resting metabolic rate, so that when you aren’t exercising, you’re still burning a good amount of calories. It takes fuel (calories) to maintain lean muscle tissue. Also, exercise doesn’t need to be that formal. You don’t need to be in a fancy gym, or on a fancy bike. My mother is a great example. She has been thin her entire life. She never did any formal exercise until the last 10 years or so, but as a kid, I remember that she was always busy. She loved to do yard work and would spend quite a bit of time in the garden. She wasn’t drenched in sweat like you are after a spin class, but she was active, and spent a bunch of time doing this and it also kept her away from the refrigerator.


This leads to the calories-in part. Live by the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, eat really well, and 20% of the time, don’t sweat it. The same people constantly ask me the same questions about diet and nutrition. They know where their weakness is here, but they want to change every other part of their daily habits so that they don’t have to address the real problem or weak area. It could be the snack on the drive home from work, or the double portions at dinner. More than likely, it’s the evening calories. It’s tough changing habits though. If you have something after dinner each evening, well then, that’s a bad habit. Cut this back to two or three nights per week. Sure, it’s a bit tough, but quit making excuses, show some will power, and just do it.

In regards to bad carbohydrates and low carbohydrate diets, here’s the skinny on this; Carbohydrates main function in the body is energy. The dietary carbohydrates are broken down in the body into glucose and stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver. We use this glycogen for fuel – energy. However, we can only store so much glycogen in our bodies. Extra carbohydrates ingested through your diet that cannot be stored as glycogen or utilized right away for energy are converted into fat and stored as body fat. Are carbohydrates bad? Hell no. Do we overdo them? Hell yes. The problem is that most carbohydrate sources, especially high glycemic (fast burning) sources are quite dense in calories. Bread, pasta, sugar – these things pack a lot of calories and it’s easy to overdo these. You can easily sit at a restaurant and down 600 calories in a few pieces of bread before your dinner is even served. However, if you are extremely active, like an endurance athlete, you need more carbohydrates in your daily nutrition consumption than most. An endurance athlete on a low carbohydrate diet is setting themselves up for weak workouts and performances. Keep in mind that the more calories that you burn throughout the day, the more you need to replenish those depleted carbohydrate stores. On your easier days or days off from exercise, back off on your carb intake.

Here’s my idea of a very healthy eating day:

Breakfast #1: an 8oz yogurt and a piece of fruit,
or two eggs and some rye toast

Breakfast #2 (usually about two to three hours after breakfast 1) a small bowl of oatmeal or an apple with almond butter

Lunch: a turkey or roast beef sandwich on rye or whole grain bread w/ lettuce, tomatoe, sprouts, spicy mustard and a slice of low fat swiss cheese.
An apple or a handful of small carrots

About two hours before evening training session: some no fat cottage cheese

Dinner: a large salad, grilled vegetables like green beans, broccoli, asparagus, … a lean piece of meat like a filet, or a piece of fish like Tuna or Salmon, and a glass of wine. If I trained hard that day, I might add some rice, or have some pasta, and maybe a small bowl of low fat ice cream afterwards.

Use the scale, your clothes and your energy level to determine how to adjust your calories- in equation. If you have been trying to shed some bodyfat and it’s not happening, chances are you are not being as diligent as you could in one of the above mentioned areas.

So, to sum up, there is no secret, magic, quick fix. It takes hard work and will power. But if you stay with it, the results will speak for themselves.