21 May 2012


Been doing the high intensity training (HIT) as advocated by body by science (BBS) for a bit now and thought I'd put a few thoughts down.  The premise with the BBS is the slow exercises to failure - approximately 20sec per rep until failure.  Sounds easy enough until your muscles are screaming and you cant even move the weight anymore.  All done on MEDEX (sp) machines so there is no risk for injury dropping a weight on yourself.

Anyway, the weights are going up every week and times vary accordingly.  So the magic question is if weight goes up by 4lb, but time goes down by 10 seconds with time under load (TUL), how does one measure if that was a better week than the previous session.  Jeff sent me a link that shows experiments of number of reps vs 1 rep max capability.  That trendline is shown below:

So, if one figures that 1 rep with BBS is approximately 20 seconds, this can be translated into %1RM vs TUL as shown here:

So for a given exercise, weight is known and TUL is known, so the estimate of 1RM can be determined / estimated by the curve fit above.  For example, if one does exercise X with 100lb for 200 seconds, the estimate predicts that that weight is approximately 73% of ones 1RM capability.  Therefore, 1RM = 100lb / 0.73 or 138lb.

Since about mid-March, the wife and I have been training with via the BBS method and still feel pretty sore for a few days after each session.  And we've been tracking the times and weights.  So using the first week as a baseline, I have been comparing the 1RM capability for the exercises we perform.  Here is my chart:

The wife's looks similar.  In general, the observation is that the 1RM capability is increasing with time - obviously there are better weeks than others.  The pulldown for me has been level for a few weeks with only minor increases compared to the other exercises.  Not that I'm too picky; as long as it shows an upward trend.  Interesting stuff.

Overall, it is really good for several points of view.  It would be really tough to push ourselves to the absolute limit without a trainer.  And sure, we could keep track of all the weights and times ourselves, but the trainer has better insight on how much weight to increment up each week.  What gets me is that we still feel the pain and the burn after 2+ months of doing this.  That's something that always seemed to go away when training solo.

04 April 2012

Food Studies

Been playing around with myfitnesspal now for a bit. Being a data geek, I find it useful to dump the nutritional data into excel to look at trends, see food breakdowns more closely, etc.
But as a background. A few weeks ago I calculated my total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), based on age, height, weight and assume I lead a slug-like activity level. For me that results in a TDEE of 1900 kcal. So now assuming 25% below TDEE on rest days = 1425 kcal. Also assume that I am shooting for 1g protein per lb body weight = 150g protein per day and at 4 kcal/g protein sets target protein intake of 600 kcal day. Now for fat and carbs, assume equal split for remaining calories = (1425-600)/2 = 412.5. With carbs = 4 kcal/g = 103 g/carbs per day and fat having 9 kcal/g yields 46g fat per day. Or in summary:
So the great thing about myfitnesspal is that you can tailor it to whatever targets you want. It only increments the target percentages by 5%, so I set it up for 40/30/30 protein/carb/fat. After baselining, it was eye-opening to see the results.
So first week was a baseline - pretty much paleo, then there were a couple days of family get togethers where the results were off the reservation. But the last few weeks are settling in.
What's most difficult is the goal of 1g protein/body weight. To hit this I've had to supplement my meals with a protein shake usually daily. Had some old NITROTECH (rawwwr) in the cupboard, so been working my way through that. Would like to find something with fewer additives, but I feel that will be an ongoing search.
With eating, one can eat carbs and fat with no problem, but finding that protein while keeping the fat down is tough. I'll comment more on that later, but that's the latest.

21 March 2012

System Reset

Thought I'd put my thoughts down on the proverbial paper. Cant believe it has been over a year since posting. Lot of crap happening including job change, house sale, house purchase, relocation, broken foot, etc. Lot of stress for sure. All settled in to a new home and position now been trying to get back into the swing of things.

So over the past year, cant say I was the gym rat of old, and eating habits drifted a bit. Mostly paleo still but a few more cheats than the usual.

A few changes of note.

- last month I started working out with a personal trainer via the high intensity training advocated by Doug McGuff in Body By Science. I tried this a while ago (the slo mo protocol) and didnt seem to resonate with me. Working with a trainer who tracks everything has made a huge difference. Talk about pain. My gawd, it is 10x as intense with a trainer vs trying to do it myself. Doing this 1x/week and weights and times are showing improvements.

- after talking with my spiritual advisor Jeff (http://ernoj.blogspot.com/), I re-examined the nutritional side of things. In his post here (http://ernoj.blogspot.com/2012/03/recent-fat-loss-experience-and-eye.html), he makes several excellent points and highlights what he calls Paleo trip-ups. I think I have hit every one he mentions, such as over-indulgence in nuts, fats, oils, booze. To that end, I have started using myfitnesspal (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/) to track the nutritional value of the food consumption.

Last week was a baseline week to see if I ate 'normally' albeit a bit liberally, how the macro-nutrient panel summed up. It was pretty eye opening to see it. I am still 'digesting' the data as it were. On a quick glance, it looks like not enough protein, too much fat, and overall too many calories to be in any kind of 'cutting' phase.

This week the goal is watching and tracking the nutrition more closely with the limitation on fatty foods, bad foods (of course) and striving to hit around 1g protein/body weight. That last item is really challenging. To that end, we've loaded up on cans of fish of all sorts and chicken.

Next week is incorporating an off HIT workout day and adjusting the food intake as needed. Speaking of food, the grill is calling.

01 March 2011


Been taking it easy over the winter here, but March 1st is my traditional game to get off my @ss. Think that comes from years of running where from Nov-Feb the outdoor activities are limited here in the northeast.

Body Fat measurements this morning: ab/chest/thigh -> 20/8/8 mm -> 12.4% body fat at 150 lb.

Also want to shout out to a cubemate who was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Check out her blog here:

Heather's Update Spot. Wishing her the best thru the start of this difficult journey.

29 December 2010

Making Strides

Ok, not quite the success with the super strict December challenge, but the worst has been a few more nuts and more dark chocolate than usual. Also interesting is how much caffeine that chocolate has. The stuff keeps me up at nite making it tough to get to sleep. Yet another reason to dial that back. But overall, been a little better than average all considered.

Knee rehab coming along. Did some light squats yesterday along with some leg presses and lunges. Muscles were limiting factor as they have not seen those exercises in 5 months. Feeling it today, but still erring on the conservative side.

Also, before getting back into sprints, been doing some easy treadmill work. Mainly consisting of 0.25 mile walk at 4.0 mph + 0.50 run at 6.0 mph + 0.25 walk at 4.0 mph. Been expanding the running section time each time.

What's more interesting / challenging is transitioning to running solely with the vibrams five fingers. Been tough transitioning from the heel striker slap to ball/instep strike. Think I am finally getting the hang of it. Yesterday's effort definitely felt more natural landing on the mid-foot and ball. And the sound of the strike on the treadmill was more like a THOCK THOCK THOCK as opposed to previous heel striking SLAP SLAP SLAP. Feeling the effort much more in the calves than the quads.

20 December 2010

Food Pics, Dec Challenge Update

Pretty standard issue quiche I make about once a month. Vary the recipe a little here and there but the basics are:

Preheat oven to 350F.
Fry 4 strips of bacon. When done remove and let dry on paper towel.
Sautee half an onion and some mushrooms in bacon fat.
In a large bowl, add 2cups of shredded cheese, and some chopped spinach (about 4-6oz, I usually get some prepackaged stuff there)
Crumble up bacon and add to cheese and spinach.
When onions are carmalized and shrooms are done, add those to bowl: mix together.
Grease a 9" pan with butter lightly.
Then I sprinkle maybe 2-3 tablespoons of almond meal and shake pan so it sticks to sides and bottom; this makes a small but effective crust.
Add spinach/cheese/bacon/onion/shroom mix.
Then take 6-8 eggs and beat them separately.
Pour ontop of mix in pan.
Put in oven for 45-55 min until top start to turn brown.
Top with tomatos if desired and enjoy.

Beef roll up with cheese, spinach, bacon + sauteed squash:

3 lb chuck roast seasoned and awaiting braising followed by slow cook in crock pot. Didnt' take pictures of the final product but there was none left after dinner.
So, on to the December challenge. I have cut way down on fruit, nut, chocolate intake. And of course tried to avoid the Holiday pitfalls. Cant say I have been 100% compliant as a relative's wedding derailed me for a day or two, but nonetheless scale is indicated about a 4lb drop in weight and 1% drop in body fat. Calipers will tell the tale in a few weeks, but it is interesting.
Getting back to the gym a little more often as the major crunch at work has finally passed - like a kidney stone. Doing a little bit of treadmill time and the knee is feeling good. Maybe 90% recovered; still erring on the conservative side.

03 December 2010

December Challenge

Utter madness at work over the past few months. Knee recovering well from surgery. Only been making to the gym about 1x/week and started doing about 0.5 miles of walking. Had been revisiting the old Devaney 15/8/4 protocol and had seen some gains. Been so sporadic at the gym, I am unworried about falling into a routine.

Interestingly, despite zero cardio since July (5 months now), through stricter adherance to proper diet the body fat percentage has been falling a bit. I think in October it was around 15%, November 14%, December readings 13.5%.

So made it thru Thanksgiving with minimal fallout from all the temptations. Obviously the month of December is a challenge for all. So this month I am seeing how long I can do 100% Paleo compliance. Meaning zero refined carbs and obvious sweets. I am taking a break from dark chocolate, dairy, fruits and nuts. While the latter are less non-compliant, for me the fruit and nuts seem to keep that body fat up.

Going to be very busy at work thru the end of the year, so gym time will continue to be sporadic at best. A few good food pics lurking around on the hard drive from Hawaiian vacation, so I'll post those when I get a chance.