Thursday, July 10, 2014

The psychology of fat

I'm fairly deep into phase two of summer; that's the part where I pay penance for travel and out of control eating. I teach a summer session course, while the rest of my time is mine. That time is usually invested into eating like a social pariah and putting in 2-4 hours of base exercise a day.

But here's the interesting part: This time around, I'm using the same tactics that worked in that past two summers but I'm not getting the results. Simply doing the calorie math (3500 cals = one pound) I should be dropping more weight. But in reality, I'm only down 7 pounds and 1% body fat over three (3) weeks of penance.

When I wrote Mind Over Diet,  the premise was that each of us needs to engage the content that is available, vet the facts, then decide on our own accord what the best plan will be. Engagement = knowledge = power.

So on this day, I'm circling back to more information, more pathways that might allow me to bust out of this plateau and reduce. Google+ gave me the jump start I needed, through a post by Neila Rey: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+NeilaRey/posts/MZEGd4Jr1L5. That led to a response post that stated:

If you want something thats laid out perfectly for you that I've found to be unbelievably effective, look into Ashley Conrad's 21 day clutch cut. It's absolutely perfect and 100% attainable.

-Holly Yeoman, NASM certified Personal Trainer

So, I ventured into the material by Ashley Conrad and downloaded her free PDF. That led me to revisit breakfast prior to working out...something I never do. It also revived my self-negotiated debate regarding protein intake; Ashley says 1 gram per pound of weight per day.

There's no right or wrong, just relentless forward motion. Social media has some of the answers, if you mine it judiciously and search for gems.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Motorists and bicycles: A dangerous combination

I was doing a solo ride last night (actually, I was the last rider) on our Monday night loop out of Blowing Rock (NC) to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

As usually occurs, motorists come up from behind and need to pass. I have determined there are three (3) types of motorists under these conditions:

1) Astute driver. In this instance he/she looks for gap, gives wide berth, and safely accelerates past.

2) Unskilled driver. This individual knows they need to get around and dart into the other lane, driving right at oncoming traffic.

3) No courage driver. This segment of motorist will idle right behind the rider for a mile or more, missing several safe passing opportunities. When they finally do go around, a backup of 5-10 cars are frustrated and freight train by, creating a cyclist's danger zone.

I bring this up because some angry words were shared between cyclists and motorists on a local Facebook page. I'm sorry that we sometimes delay your day, but it's a matter of trying to recreate and also come home alive.

Let's continue the discussion. Let's keep it civil. Let's keep it safe.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Paris and plant based diet

So, for something completely different, I wrapped up my semester at Appalachian State and transitioned to Paris.

International travel always drives me to embrace and engage new opportunities for change. In true Mind Over Diet fashion, I needed a reboot. I was leaning into veggie Paleo and started down that path; after several mornings of hard boiled eggs and cheese I just wasn't feeling the love.

It's a digestive thing. The food products were too dense, didn't process well, and bound up in my digestive tract.

Check out this shot from today's open air market, near Place D'Italie. Wonderful, fresh, quick-through-the-system options.

And, the fresh bread here is fabulous. So the no-grains edict will also fall by the wayside.

I remain convicted in leaning into the path that works best for me, during the time and environment I exist in. Plant based eating is clean  and I'll combine that with my favorite - smoked salmon baguette sandwiches . So I'll sign off now so I can load up my backpack with some of the local produce.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Cycling is the new golf

Great article on cycling and its disposition for doing business:

http://money.cnn.com/2014/04/29/smallbusiness/cycling-golf-entrepreneurs/index.html

Cyclists getting together to ride and bond, then kick around potential partnerships and projects. One group in Milwaukee has formed a networking group through cycling.

If this is the new business model, I'm all in. So much more appealing than happy hour bla bla bla. Maybe it's time for all of  us to start cycle network business events in our communities.



"Mind Over Diet" on Dirt Dawg's ultrarun podcast

In one section of my new book "Mind Over Diet" I unpack the virtues of digital food. It's about feeding the brain with useful and motivational podcasts and audio books.

And there's no better digital morsel for ultrarunning than Dirt Dawg's Running Diatribe. Educator, ultrarunner, family man and all around good guy Dirt Dawg (Mike) provides an interesting and sometimes humorous outlook on all things in the ultra world...from a unique Detroit-based viewpoint.

I'm on a virtual media tour to promote my book and Mike was kind enough to bring me back for another visit:

http://dirtdawg.podbean.com/2014/05/04/episode-144-master-competitor-and-trail-50k-race-report/

I was last on Dirt Dawg's show about three years ago and this visit was just as fun as the last time. There's something truly satisfying in unpacking a 100 mile finish and also providing a promo for Mind Over Diet.

There are rewards in life, big and small. Being acknowledged as the master competitor by a podcast host like Mike ranks as a gem that I'll pack deep in my hydration pack and carry for a long time to come.

Comments are welcome, let me know what you think!

Friday, May 02, 2014

CatEye does it right

I run a CatEye Strada wireless on both my Specialized Roubaix and my just purchased Litespeed Tuscany.

Here's a bit of back story from the CatEye website at https://www.cateye.com/en/:

CatEye is the leading manufacturer of cycle computers, lights and reflectors to cyclists in the world. Founded in 1954 in Osaka, Japan, CatEye has always been a leader in innovation and technology.

In 1964, CatEye created the first flashing lamp for bicycles. CatEye went on to create the very first bicycle head lamp using white LEDs in 2001. The company is truly a world leader in lens and reflector technology.

CatEye's first cycle computer was released in 1981. Now we offer a full range of computers to meet the demands of cyclists around the globe. Always at the cutting edge of technology, we were among the first companies to integrate altimeter, heart rate, and cadence technology into cycle computers. 

From it's head office in Osaka, Japan, CatEye manages two factories in Japan and one in China, and is an ISO approved manufacturer. On the leading edge of technology, CatEye continues to innovate and lead the industry in bicycle electronics, and is committed to safety and comfort in cycling.

These little jewels are light, simple, and get it done. The mounting bracket on the Litespeed Strada wasn't threading properly, so I sent an email to CatEye customer service. I had a response email in less than a day, letting me know a replacement bracket was on the way. A couple of days later, the replacement was in my mailbox.

Here's a shout-out to CatEye. Great products, great prices and class act customer service.

"Mind Over Diet" on Running in the Center of the Universe podcast

A good friend in the marketing and advertising business told me that if I published my book, it's all about the marketing plan.

I took that advice to heart. "Mind Over Diet" is attaining initial sales on Amazon and I supported the launch as a guest on Ashland (VA) Dave's Running to the Center of the Universe podcast:

http://ashlanddave.podbean.com/2014/04/30/mind-over-diet-by-thomas-mueller-episode-197/

I love Dave's show and it's down home, old school attitude in ultra and endurance sport scene. Dave brings the discussion to his readers with style and enthusiasm. It's also great fun when he gets into the "mail bag" and unpacks updates and reports from listeners.

And it wouldn't be the same without Dave's traditional sign off every show - the National Anthem.

So if you're interested in a 30 minute wild ride on torched feet, 28 hour 100 milers, and the best nutrition and fitness plans ever created, give it a listen:


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Body fat, weight and set point theory

Ever feel like it's game on with your exercise and diet plan, but you're not seeing progress on the scale?

There's a solid piece in my new book "Mind Over Diet" that unpacks how your body reacts to its set point. There's an emotional, psychological and physical dimensionality to how your settle in with a specific weight range and body fat profile.

I was intrigued when the following input came into my inbox today. It's another update from blog reader and Mind Over Diet adherent David Campbell. David is a former vascular surgeon, so I'd give his medical perspective a lot of credence. What resonated for me was that on some occasion, we eat to satiate emotional needs, while on other occasions, our bodies are making a physiological response.

David thanks...and keep us posted on your Mind Over Diet progress!

MOD advocate David Campbell and wife Kristi
I have a couple of thoughts on your set point discussion in MOD.

 In medical school ( this was back in the 80's for me) they taught a lot about set points in the body. Not only weight, but things like blood pressure, heart rate, hormone levels and all sorts of things like that. The set points are controlled by feedback loops. On a biological level, too much (or too little) of one product stimulates the production of another product that in turn inhibits (or stimulates) the original product. 

For example, if hormone A gets too high that stimulates the production of hormone B , which then acts back on hormone A to either decrease A's function or it's production. In this way hormone A's activity stays in a preset range or set point. 

I think weight works in much the same way. As you point out there are methods to alter this set point both in a good way and or in a bad way. The more we understand how set points work, the more we can do to reset in a good way.

For me personally, I know when I am burning off fats because my body feels the lack of energy due to the shift from carbohydrate to fat metabolism. Fats are a poor fuel compared to carbs and the metabolic byproducts of fat metabolism (ketones) also make you feel bad. That's the feeling you get at mile 22 in a marathon when all your liver storage of carbs (mostly glycogen which is converted into glucose) are used up from the run. The shift to fat metabolism causes that "hit the wall feeling".

When you are burning fats the quickest way to feel better is to get carbs into your system. Your body craves a carb fix. Consequently the calorie intake goes up to reestablish the weight set point. My personal set point is about 140 lbs which is where I am now. I can already feel the urge to take in more carbs. But as you mentioned, we can fight through that set point to establish a new set point. It takes a lot of determination because the physiology is slow to react. 

 I think exercise is key to changing your set point. Exercise releases a number of hormones that shift metabolism towards fat burning. I think high intensity training especially does this. Exercising hard up to a near failure point fools your body into believing it is in "fight or flight mode" and release stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine which are both huge fat burners. Getting people to exercise to the point of failure is only for the truly motivated!

As for supplements, I don't use any. I'll do my homework and research the topic a bit but most seem like fads to me. 

Enough for now! Clearly I'm enjoying my MOD journey. Thanks!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Sony sport headphones gone forever

One of the best running products ever made is no more.

Several months ago, Sony did away with its Sony MDR-W08L Vertical In-The-Ear Headphones.

Yes, I know they're old school, but the sound is good and they stay in place, all the time. I have run thousands of miles with these headphones and can attest they fit well, lock into place, and offer a nice mix of bass and treble.

I used to buy 5-6 pair at a time from Amazon, at about $8 a pair. I'd run them hard and sweat them out, then go to a new pair in six months or so.

Imagine my surprise when I tried to re-order and found out they were discontinued. I actually went as far as to call Sony, where a disinterested customer service rep tried to steer me towards Sony's more modern wrap-around-the-ear model. I have tried several models and brands and don't appreciate the fact I have to readjust them every 5 minutes. Once you've been on the roads and trails with the Sony MDR-WO8L, anything else is second place.

It's easy to see the value in this product. The re-sellers who still have some in stock are selling them for $89, or more.

I do understand change, but it's hard to understand why a product that worked well is obsoleted by products that don't work as well.

Sony, if you're out there, please reconsider and bring this top performer back on the market.


"Dream a little dream" with Int'l Mountain Bike Mag



Here's another great "free" Internet opportunity: Check out the latest issue of International Mountainbike Magazine @ http://www.imbikemag.com/issue29/.

It's hard to do, but this online pub captures the spirit of adventure in both still photos and a great option for interactive videos that are implanted within many of the pages.

Let' me be honest: My mountain biking experience has little or nothing to do with these youngsters and their ability to get air. However, I also noted that every other caption indicated that the rider in the pic was currently injured! I guess coming down hurts a lot more than going up.

But, no matter the age, we can all dream. I can remember those magical days in the mid 1980's when mountain bikes were just coming out...and we were tearing up the trails...anyone remember elliptical chainrings?

What ever your ability or disposition to taking chances, mountain biking is inclusive (I write about my "stay alive" technique in "Mind Over Diet").

Give the mag a look. You can go web access or download an app for viewing.

Good stuff.