Month: March 2014

Treadmill Interval Workouts

Have I mentioned several times already that I really like treadmill interval workouts? I wrote an article [HERE] in response to an article in Runner’s World recommending against doing treadmill interval workouts. Here’s a sample:

They claim that in order to bail you need to push buttons, whereas on the track you just slow to a stop. Well, to make it apples to apples, I think you’d need to just stop moving your legs on the track to see what happens. Just kidding, don’t do that. When it comes to bailing, all you have to do is grab the handles and jump up on the frame. It takes a half of a second. – Stay Injury Free on the Treadmill (SevenSummitsBody on Blogger)

I also discuss a few treadmill form tips and how to stay motivated and beat boredom if you want to go read that article.

treadmill interval workouts on an Incline Treadmill
Treadmill Interval Workouts on an Incline Treadmill at 5 AM while the family sleeps – 2013

Back to Back Treadmill Interval Workouts

That’s what I did today, March 27, 2014. First I got on the treadmill set at 3%, did about 15 minutes of warming up at up to about 4.5 MPH (MPH easier to use on treadmills than Pace). I did a test interval of a few minutes at 6.0 MPH followed by walking at 4.0 MPH. Keep in mind that my treadmill is at 9,400′ and that I’m 54 years old. My 100% HR (based on the 220-AGE formula) is 166 BPM. I did two Anaerobic Threshold workouts already this week [EXPLANATION] and one 75% zone workout. I am not recovered from those. That will explain a little bit about the numbers to come.

After my warm-up and cool-down I did an interval of 6.0 MPH followed by 4 intervals at 6.6 MPH. I was using a very simple 1:00/1:00 pattern. A minute high and a minute low. I stayed low then for a few minutes, since I hit my 100% level and needed a short break. I prefer a bit of flexibility which is why I don’t program in an interval training session in the presets.

I then did 3 intervals of (1:00 @ 6.8 / 2:00 @ 4.0). That’s one minute at 6.8 MPH and two minutes at 4.0 MPH. I walked most of the lower speed rests for these last three. At that point, my last glance at the treadmill was that I had gone just under 50:00, like 49:34 and 3.668 miles. I accidentally pulled the safety magnet off the console and it zero’ed out and stopped. Dang. I hate that. I need to superglue the magnet on. Drat. So I rounded it to 49:00 and 3.7 miles for my stats.

I raised the deck on my NordicTrack Incline Treadmill to 32% and began walking at 2.0 MPH. Immediately I realized something was wrong and I was running at what I guessed was about 4.0 MPH. At 32% that’s running. Try it and see. Anyway, I checked the readout and it said I was going 2.0 MPH. I slowed it to 1.0 MPH but still was running at 4.0 MPH. I stopped it and continued running as the belt kept moving. Then I unplugged the treadmill to reboot. This happened before once. The controller forgets to add tension to the motor so it’s nearly freewheeling at a very steep angle.

After the reboot everything was back to normal so after a too-long delay I got it up and running and began to walk on that steep incline at 2.0 MPH. Averaging 2.0 MPH at 32% is approximately 1000 VAM. My primary goal right now is Elbrus Race 2014 so working the VAM is essential to my training. [CLICK HERE] for an explanation if you’d like to know more.

After 9:00 @ 2.0 I did 1:00 @ 1.0 MPH. That’s a very long interval, but when I’m on a mountain I like going for as smooth and long of a pace that I can. Then I did 6:00 @ 2.0 / 1:00 @ 1.0 MPH. Getting a little shorter there but I was feeling pretty beat from my previous running interval. Finally I did 5:00 @ 2.0 / 2:00 @ 1.0 to finish. It felt good. One of my secondary goals was to get as close to 1000 VAM as possible. That’s why I was doing the really long intervals at 2.0 MPH.

I hung out for a bit cleaning up before I turned off my Suunto Ambit2 S Heart Rate Monitor and plugged it in for the stats. I spent quite a bit of time just under my 100% Heart Rate Zone. Do not do this! Unless of course you know for sure you can. The 200-AGE formula is just a starting point for average cardio training people to start with. When I’m rested I can spend time at 110%. I am guessing my actual Anaerobic Threshold to be around 166. I will get the blood test sometime but it’s much more difficult than it needs to be in CO. In UT it was a piece of cake and I didn’t take advantage of it while I was there. Maybe on a business trip…

Back to Back Treadmill Interval Workouts - stats on Movescount
Back to Back Treadmill Interval Workouts – stats on Movescount

I used my Incline Treadmill Calculator [HERE] to get my stats from the back to back treadmill interval workouts.

Treadmill Interval Workouts March 27 #1:

Time: 49:00
Distance: 3.7
Incline: 3%
Elevation Gain: 586.08'
Average MPH: 4.531
Average Pace: 13:15
Vertical/Hour: 718'
Vertical/Minute: 11.96'
VAM: 218.7

Treadmill Interval Workouts March 27 #2:

Time: 24:00
Distance: .728
Incline: 32%
Elevation Gain: 1230.03'
Average MPH: 1.82
Average Pace: 32:58
Vertical/Hour: 3075'
Vertical/Minute: 51.25'
VAM: 937.3

Treadmill Interval Workouts for You?

So now that I gave you all of this information about my own treadmill interval workouts, how does it relate to you? What information can you get from my examples?

  • Warm Up and Cool Down Sufficiently
  • Be ready to change gears in a heartbeat if needed
  • Get enough rest in the lower speed phases of your intervals
  • Mix it up with different inclinations and speeds
  • Set targets and goals that apply to your larger goals
  • Do a variety of training protocols over the weeks
  • Be sure to keep your eyes open to the big picture

I’ve been doing different types of treadmill interval workouts depending on my current goals, on what altitude I’m at, and what kind of treadmill I’m on. It also depends on what my previous workouts were that week as well as what workouts are coming up in the next week.

Don’t be afraid of these workouts. They’re as easy or difficult as you want to make them. Start out slow and work your way up. Remember that most of the running information you find on the internet, deep down inside, is meant for people running 7:30 miles. If that doesn’t apply to you then sort through it and find what you need and make it work for you.

If you have any questions, comment here or on my Facebook page. I’m happy to offer little suggestions or advice, and if you subscribe to the blog (little box to the upper right) you’ll get notices whenever I post a new article here.

Interval Training is perfect for the stop and go nature of rock climbing
Interval Training is perfect for the stop and go nature of rock climbing

Protein Oatmeal Recipe DIY

I’ve been eating this for quite some time, and have shared my protein oatmeal recipe with several of my friends and those I consult as a trainer. In fact, this recipe is one of the primary reasons that I use the protein that I do – BSN SYNTHA-6 Protein Powder. When you mix most protein powders into something hot, like this protein oatmeal recipe they tend to coagulate. The protein gels up like cooking an egg white and the taste is usually awful. The BSN proteins seem to tolerate the heat better. Just be sure not to actually boil it. I’ll explain the sequence I use below.

Protein Oatmeal Recipe Ingredients:

  • 100 Calories Oats (rolled, cut, crushed, instant, whatever)
  • 100 Calories BSN Protein (vanilla, strawberry, ?)
  • 50 Calories raisins (craisins, dried fruit bits)
  • Dash of Cinnamon
Protein Oatmeal Recipe Ingredients on the counter
Protein Oatmeal Recipe Ingredients on the counter

I’m using an electric kettle for the relative speed and efficiency in boiling a cup of water. You’ll see in the photo I also have a ceramic bowl and hidden is a small round plastic plate that I’ll use as a cover. Off to the side is my battery powered gram scale.

To weigh out my portions I need to know how much 100 calories is for each of the ingredients. I’m going to suggest my Online 100 Calorie Portion Food Calculator [HERE]. I read the backs of each of the packages to get the information on a serving size in grams, and how many calories that is. Plug that into the calculator and you get the grams in a 100 calorie portion. That’s a lot of raisins so I cut that in half for a 50 calorie portion.

The above gallery shows the results of calculating a 100 calorie portion for each of the ingredients in my protein oatmeal recipe. Note that as I stipulate in my manual “The 100 Calorie Diet Plan” always round down if fat loss is your goal. Check it out [HERE] if you’re curious.

After turning on the kettle to boil, I weighed out the raisins and oatmeal into the ceramic bowl and then the BSN protein into a small plastic cup. Be sure to zero your scale between items if you’re weighing more than one and don’t make mistakes. It’s hard to separate out some ingredients if you’re weighing them all together. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the uncooked oats. I like to have the flavor cooked in but some people might prefer to add it in on top afterward.

The gallery above shows this portion of the process up to when I pour the boiling water on top. Add in about a cup of water, to taste, allowing for the oats and raisins to absorb some and swell up. Make sure there is enough water to stir in the protein. Put a plastic plate on top to allow the hot water to steam the oats and raisins and “cook” them through.

Let it steam through for a few minutes. Three to five minutes should do it. Take the improvised lid off and stir in the 100 calories of BSN protein. I prefer vanilla in this protein oatmeal recipe, but I have tried and liked strawberry too. In my opinion chocolate doesn’t taste all that good in oatmeal, but you might like it. When it’s all creamy and smooth start eating.

Results of the protein oatmeal recipe - great tasting 250 calorie meal
Results of the protein oatmeal recipe – great tasting 250 calorie meal

Experiment if you like to create your own protein oatmeal recipe. Post pics and instructions on my Facebook Page and let’s share these great tasting, low sugar, balanced meals that totally fit in with a food portion control system.

Anaerobic Threshold Training

What is Anaerobic Threshold Training?

From a paper at Rice University:
The AT varies from person to person, and, within a given individual, sport to sport. Untrained individuals have a low AT (approximately 55 % of VO2 max), and elite endurance athletes, a high AT (approx. 80 – 90% of VO2 max). You can train your body to remove lactate better and to juice up the aerobic mitochondrial enzymes, thus raising the AT.

There is some controversy involved, and in fact some scientists believe that there is no actual biological effect in anaerobic threshold training. Despite that elite athletes continue to train rigorously to increase their heart rate and the amount of time they can tolerate being on the edge of failure. This is also called Lactate Threshold, or the exertion level at which your body switches between the aerobic and anaerobic energy production systems. As a generality the aerobic system is good for hours and hours of effort. The anaerobic system is only good for a short period of time, possibly only minutes, depending on the biology and genetics of the athlete.

Anaerobic Threshold Training setup with Suunto Ambit 2S on the handle of the treadmill
Anaerobic Threshold Training setup with Suunto Ambit 2S on the handle of the treadmill

There are some tests to determine your heart rate at your Lactate Threshold, but I haven’t had one. I plan to this spring season so I’ll update this and more when I get there. From other common calculations my standard Max Heart Rate is 166 (220 – 54). I’m going to use 166 BPM as my estimated Lactate Threshold then. This is greatly flawed by the way. Don’t do this. I know for a fact I can spend a few minutes at 180+ BPM. I can spend about 30 minutes at 170+ BPM. I eagerly await that test. For your own purposes get the test. Some college sports clinics offer them for less than $150. If you’re a student even less. If you want to proceed anyway and hope for the best, be dang sure you have an awesome aerobic base first.

A session of Anaerobic Threshold Training:

My goal for this session is to spend about 30 minutes on a treadmill keeping my heart rate hovering around 146 to 149 BPM. That’s about 90% of my calculated MAX Heart Rate and 90% of my Estimated Lactate Threshold. Keep in mind that either number you go with is fairly severe for the average athlete. Not that I’m being all superior or anything, but I don’t want to get any messages or comments about strokes and heart attacks. If you can’t do a half hour at 75% or 85% you sure don’t want to try to go at 90% for any length of time.

I’m going to use a treadmill because it’s really easy to adjust the pace as needed to ride that fine line of Lactate Threshold. I used the Suunto Ambit2 S HR Watch which I received from an Instagram contest entry last Spring. I’ve grown to like it and have been using it in preference to my Polar RS800 I used to use. The Suunto has adequate Recovery Time estimates that help me plan my workout schedule.

Treadmill Display after my Anaerobic Threshold Training session
Treadmill Display after my Anaerobic Threshold Training session

I got on and spent about 20 minutes warming up gently at first and then increasing the speed until I got into the upper 140 BPM range. With the watch set on the handle right in front of my face it was easy to keep an eye on it without having to lift my wrist every few seconds. As you can see in the screenshot below I was able to keep my HR in that Zone pretty well level. I wanted to hit 5 miles in 60 minutes as a side goal. I recommend that if you’ve never done this before don’t set a mileage goal. You might be disappointed. Running at 10,000′ of elevation while holding your Heart Rate at 148 BPM is tough enough without adding in all kinds of other distractions like speed and distance goals.

Movescount statistics from my Anaerobic Threshold Training Session
Movescount statistics from my Anaerobic Threshold Training Session

You might not have any issue with elevation, but even so, you’re probably used to drifting in and out of different Heart Rate Zones during a workout and being locked into one might give you fits. After you’ve done this a bit then you can start to set mileage and speed based goals. And that is actually one of the primary reasons for Anaerobic Threshold Training. If you cross fully into the Anaerobic Training Zone you will have only so many minutes left at that speed and you’re done. This is what gets a Tour de France rider into that final sprint. You ration your sprinting and use it in bursts saving for the big one. In fact I found a lot more articles about Anaerobic Threshold Training for riders than for runners. They love that power meter.

Incline Treadmill Calculator Results from my Training Session
Incline Treadmill Calculator Results from my Training Session

So our goal in this training is to ride that 90% line for as long as you can. Ultimately you work your way up to riding that line for the duration of your event. You try to keep your Heart Rate below your Anaerobic Zone until the end and then you cut loose with energy in reserve to maximize your sprint. It’s quite common for someone in a race to spend their Anaerobic Reserves at the starting line and burn out way to early.

My current training goal is Elbrus Race 2014 so I am working up to 3 hours. During that time I will slowly increase in speed and efficiency, as would you if you choose to train this way. In past years I trained somewhat haphazardly going for max speed and max distance and max elevation gained training. I burned out rather quickly since I spent too long in that Anaerobic Zone and it was unstructured. Last year, for Elbrus Race 2013 I changed my training drastically and stayed at a much lower Heart Rate during training and I did finish the race. My protege Todd Gilles came in 3rd place, which was quite satisfying.

It has taken me a few weeks to work this out and get to the point where I could sustain that level of effort for that period of time and work out the technique of adjusting the treadmill to accommodate my Heart Rate Zone target on the fly. Supposedly there are some treadmills that will do this automagically, but electronics being what they are, and treadmill manufacturers not taking things as seriously as we do I can’t imagine great success with that. I suppose a drift of 10 BPM over the course of 5 minutes would be quite acceptable to them. We want nearly instantaneous response to our Heart Rate. This is best done by hand.

Give it a shot if you dare. If you are ready to ride that 90% line and make it work. Please be careful though, okay?

 


I just published a new article for my elite athletes training for Elbrus Race 2014 using Anaerobic Threshold Training as the base of this training cycle: [CLICK HERE]

Slower cardio base training is a key element of my Couch to Colorado 14er Program. Build that cardio base and test it on a 4000 meter mountain. [CLICK HERE]

 If you want any help in your own training, check out my Consulting Programs. I’m available to get you where you want to be. [CLICK HERE]


Update: In discussing this with my Facebook Page it became obvious that I need to add in a disclaimer. This is a very technical specific way of training. If you do not already know that you should be training this way, and understand why, it’s probably not a good idea to just sporadically do it without a good reason.



Ice Climbing Training Upper Body [archive copy]

Part One of an in-season upper body Ice Climbing training program. You should alternate this with Part Two. Since this is an in-season program we’re not going to try to get stronger. Ice climbing training should assist the primary activity of ice climbing, but not take away from it. Proper strength training would require you to take 3-5 days off from training to let the muscles recover fully before training again. This would take away from your outdoor climbing fun, since most of the week you’d be recovering, and in the long run the load would be too high. Begin with about 5-10 minutes of a light duty warmup to get the whole upper body full of hot blood and nice and flexible. I like a full range exercise like the Concept2 SkiErg. You could substitute bands, which I’ll show you in Ice Climbing Training Upper Body Part Two.

Ice Climbing Training: Warmup on SkiErg

Remember, this should not be a workout or cardio. Just crank away till you’re nice and warm and your joints are soft. For most people 5:00 to 10:00 minutes should be good enough warm up for an ice climbing training session. I’ve actually gone without it a few times and been none the worse for wear and tear. But I do recommend it until you know your own body. My first exercise in this upper body program is a very light, fairly quick, nearly full range of motion power rack bench press. Since I’m alone I use a power rack to protect myself from dropping the weights. I set the safety bars about half an inch off my fully expanded chest. If you’re just starting out you might want to set it a few inches higher until you know what works best for you. I usually do a set of 25. I think anything from about 10 up will do, but if you can’t do 25 with pretty good form it’s probably too much weight for this type of in-season ice climbing training program.

Ice Climbing Training: Bench Press

UPDATE:

This is as far as it got when I saved it as a draft on March 13, 2014! I’m only putting it here for historical purposes and will get my new Ice Climbing Training articles up about once a week for the next few weeks. Remember, if you wanted the free pre-season General Physical Prep (GPP) training program – fill out this form. I’ll totally keep you in the loop.

[grwebform url=”https://app.getresponse.com/view_webform_v2.js?u=BLe6u&webforms_id=3882204″ css=”on” center=”off” center_margin=”200″/]

Remember – Train Smart and Hard for Best Progress!

Deadlift at Breck Rec

I did a workout today at the Breckenridge Recreation Center CLICK HERE It’s just referred to as Breck Rec here. The main part of my workout was based around the deadlift today.

Deadlift Video

Here’s a video I managed to take of two sets in my deadlift workout today. I did them with my phone and you can see when I knocked my phone over after that first set. If you keep your eyes open you can see it happen.

That aside, I had a really good workout and I went on to do squats, shoulder presses, and chin-up and pull-up exercises. For the deadlift I did a brief warmup set of 25 @ 45 lb RDL. That’s Romanian Deadlift, otherwise called Reverse Deadlift. I’ll do another article on that soon, but it’s a deadlift in which you don’t break at the knees at the lower portion of the lift. You use your glutes and hamstrings with relatively straight legs. It looks a lot like the ending position in the video, just before I stand up. Again, look for an article with video soon.

Bar Loaded for Deadlift sets of 1 at 244 lb
Bar Loaded for Deadlift sets of 1 at 244 lb

I then did a warmup set of 10 @ 111 lb. These are metric Olympic Bumper Plates so they might not add up like you’re used to. Bumper plates work with a flexible resilient floor, or deck, to absorb the impact of dropped loaded bars. Then I did 8 x 3 @ 199 lb.That’s 8 sets of 3 reps at 199 pounds. Those were intended to be my working sets and then I was planning on being done. I had some fuel in the tank still, so to speak, so I loaded up some more weight and did some singles. That’s sets of 1 rep. I did 5 x 1 @ 244 lb. There’s a lot of reasons to do this. We discussed this at the Steve House seminar I attended. Powerlifters train like this in cycles. It’s recently been recommended that runners train like this. I’m experimenting right now to see how effective it can be for me in my activities.

Deadlift Technique

You’ll see in the video that I set up with my feet a little over shoulder width apart and toes pointed outward. That works for me. I have very long legs relative to my height. I can straddle a yardstick. Yep. It makes some leg training annoying, like squats, but I’ve become accustomed to it. So what I’m saying is that if you deadlift, don’t emulate my technique exactly. Find your own foot and let alignment.

Then I set my hands outside my knees with about a thumb length between my first finger wrapping the bar and the edge of the knurling. Again, this is to clear my knees on the way up. Your position might be different. That being said, powerlifters like to pull the bar up as short a distance as possible, which means a narrower grip. I’m not training for powerlifting, I’m training for uphill travel, so I’m just getting a good workout in. I’m not going to stress over little details. If I ever work my way up to a 1000 lb pull it might make more sense to worry about it though.

I rock back and forth subtly, maybe you don’t even notice, to take up the slack in my hamstrings and glutes. I straighten my arms and lock my shoulder sockets, and pull. This is a lot of weight and I’m a bit tired now, having done my working sets already. I’m going a bit slower than I like, but near the top as I gain leverage over the bar I snap my glutes to pull my back straight and hold the bar for a second.

I resist the bar as I lower it, so that I lower it slowly. I’m training the negative or eccentric motion here. The concentric motion is the effort of pulling the bar off the floor. The eccentric motion is resisting gravity as you lower the bar. The eccentric motion is what you use hiking downhill. It’s hard to train for many people, and too much heavy eccentric training in the deadlift or any other exercise can lead to DOMS. That’s Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or the pain you feel the day after your workout. For that reason many coaches have their athletes drop the bar as they step away and let the special flooring take the blow. I lower mine to about an inch off the floor before I drop it. That’s the “clang” you hear at the end of each of the two sets in the video.

Sitting in front of the window taking a break between each set of my deadlift workout
Sitting in front of the window taking a break between each set of my deadlift workout

You might notice that I have a tendency to pull my knees out of the path of the bar a bit early. That’s because I have those long legs and when they’re bent it interrupts the path of the bar. Also since I do RDL training with weights in this range of heavy I have a pretty strong glute and lower back area to pull that bar up. Again, your technique might look completely different.

If you’re not sure how to do this, get some local coaching. Most fitness facilities will have someone who is qualified to teach this to you, or help you get good technique or form that works for you safely. Be sure to subscribe to this blog for more updates, or to get a FREE DOWNLOAD of my “Planning Your Home Cardio” ebook, CLICK HERE.

Trail Running Microspikes in Winter

I normally only wear trail running microspikes, like the Kahtoola Microspikes while doing speed ascents on mountains, like Quandary or Grays, Colorado 14ers. The snow this year has been so soft, and the trails have been so slow, that I tried running in just plain lugged shoes, snowshoes [STORY HERE] and my spiked running shoes [STORY HERE]. A couple weeks ago the Spring Thaw finally arrived and after a couple of good damp snowfalls and a few days of sun the trails became more firm with a good surface for spiked running.

Trail Running Spiked Running Shoes in Winter

I was feeling really good on 19 February, so I took off up the trail with a target of something over 2.5 miles. I ended up with 2.6 miles on my spiked Hoka shoes. I was feeling so good that on the way down I did an interval of just cutting loose and came pretty close to a 5:00 pace. That felt awesome. If you love stats check these out, from Strava and Movescount.

One difference between Strava and Movescount is that Strava doesn’t count standing still in the final calculation, whereas Movescount goes from watch ON to watch OFF. It adds in the dead time when you first start the watch and then when you finally roll in to the bus stop and dig through layers of clothing to turn it off. Not a major deal though.

It was great to average 12:14 after averaging in the 15:00-17:00 range for the last 8 weeks. Did I mention that the snow had been deep and soft up to now? It was inspiring and I decided that I’d rest up a day then try again with trail running microspikes on over my non-spiked Hoka running shoes. Say what you want, but I do enjoy the recovery speed in these shoes.

Trail Running Microspikes in Winter

I went back to the trail then on 21 February after a day of rest and for some odd reason I set my target as a fast 10k trail run on the snow in the trail running microspikes from Kahtoola. Like I said before, I had worn them several times on the mountain trails on my ascents. I just had never tried for a less steep speed run in them.

Trail running microspikes by Kahtoola on my Hoka One One Stinson EVO shoes
Trail running microspikes by Kahtoola on my Hoka One One Stinson EVO shoes

Putting on Trail Running Microspikes – the video

For fun I decided to share this little video of putting on the trail running microspikes. I’m in a bus shelter near the trail head, just for convenience for shooting the video.

I got onto the trail and began running. And I just kept on running. And running. It felt good. I enjoyed the traction and the extra few ounces on my feet from the trail running microspikes was almost negligible. I felt like I was going pretty quickly and that inspired me to just keep going to the turn-around point of the run near the bottom of the Santiago Express lift at Keystone Resort. This road is used by the ski patrol and maintenance crew for the Outback area of the ski resort. That’s why the surface texture varies quite a bit. When the snow is soft it’s shin deep snowmobile chop. When the snow is firm and packed it’s the corduroy snowcat tracks. Like that day.

I felt good at the lifts so I took a chug of water and then took off back down. My goal on the way downhill was to let gravity help me to achieve a smooth even speed at about my maximum endurance level. I hung on hard for the whole downhill and it felt great. I don’t know for sure if the extra traction of the trail running microspikes helped, but I’m very happy with the 6.7 miles I ended up with. At a 12:19 pace. Here are the stats for you that are interested:

The most fascinating thing to me is that in the 2.6 miles I was in Zone 6 (anaerobic pace zone via Strava) for 1:45. In the 6.7 miles I stayed in that zone for 9:30. Freaking amazing to me. In trail running microspikes in the snow. To go 2.5 times (two and a half times) as far and only lose 4 seconds per mile (12:14 vs. 12:19) proves that something I’m doing in my training is working. Gives me a lot to think about, for sure.

Trail Running Microspikes by Kahtoola, Hoka running shoes, and UA gloves, drying out after my run
Trail Running Microspikes by Kahtoola, Hoka running shoes, and UA gloves, drying out after my run

Trail Running Microspikes in Action – the video

Here I am holding a camera out away and trying for different angles without breaking my 8:30-ish pace or falling down and breaking me. I love the shadows on the corduroy snow the best. Then the trees blowing by. Enjoy…

So, how do I feel about the trail running microspikes, now that I’ve had a chance to use them? For one thing I can feel them, even through the thick sole of these shoes. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When I picked up the pace I was moving fast enough to ignore them. I loved the traction. The weight is obviously irrelevant. I’m going to experiment with what’s left of the Winter going back and forth between the trail running microspikes and the spiked running shoes to see if I can refine my opinion. If you want to be alerted when I write more articles like this, please subscribe to the blog for updates. Thanks.

Losing Weight While Gaining Muscle

Losing weight while gaining muscle is a topic I hear a lot about. From the people I coach, from other trainers, on message boards and comment threads. It’s a popular topic. A long time ago I went to a seminar for personal trainers. I had lunch with a handful of them and the topic of losing weight while gaining muscle came up among us. One of them was an online and phone remote trainer. There’s nothing wrong with that. I do that now, so I can respect that. He worked for a national chain. When I pointed out the extreme difficulty and unlikelihood of losing weight while gaining muscle, he replied:

That’s just not true. 100% of our clients lose weight while gaining muscle. Our system works for everyone all the time. You’re just wrong.

I didn’t bother talking to him after he quoted their marketing materials. I’m sure there’s some weird set of conditions for claiming that grossly exaggerated number. The fact is that it is very difficult. If it were as easy as he claimed everyone would be doing it. You could buy it in a pill bottle labeled “Lose Weight Gain Muscle”. You could read a $.99 ebook and wake up the next morning totally buff and without body fat.

 

losing weight while gaining muscle is very difficult - 12% bodyfat
losing weight while gaining muscle is very difficult – 12% bodyfat

Are you tough enough for losing weight while gaining muscle?

Sadly, losing weight while gaining muscle is asking your body to do two completely different things at the exact same time. In general, to gain muscle, you need to train your muscles with a bodybuilding protocol. You will do a moderate volume of training at heavy weights. You will go to failure. Your muscle cells will grow and multiply. With more and bigger muscles you will weigh more. This is simple math with simple proven medical science. Your metabolism will adjust so that you can rest more while muscle growth occurs. Sometimes you will have to eat more. If losing weight while gaining muscle is your goal, the trick is to interrupt the resting process and lose more fat weight than the weight of the muscle you gain. This (lose weight gain muscle) is a fine line to walk metabolically, physically, and psychologically.

Most people cannot do it. When you set your goal on losing weight, you generally cut your calories down to a really small number and do lots of cardio. You could lose weight for a while, but a lot of that would be muscle weight as well. You won’t be getting enough calories to keep your muscle mass intact. You wouldn’t be stimulating your muscles to preserve themselves with weight and strength training. This is one major failing common to most of the unguided attempts at losing weight.

Get Guidance Now: Lose Weight Gain Muscle Newsletter [CLICK HERE]

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” — Abe Lincoln

225 pounds of Charles Miske in August 2005
225 pounds of Charles Miske in August 2005

When your goal is to lose fat you cut your calories down to a specific level, do cardio at a specific level, and weight train at a specific level. Normally you could train either at high weights and low volume, or low weights and high volume. The idea is to create just enough stimulus to your muscles to preserve them as you lose fat. I recommend that most people start here and work their way up to the body composition they dream of. Turn your dream into a goal with directed action that follows a specific plan.

Losing weight while gaining muscle: My Experience

It is possible. I’ve done it a few times. But losing weight while gaining muscle is tough. Dang tough. Without a support system, without logging and journaling, without an accountability partner system in place, without proper goal setting and achievement, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I was training for Elbrus Race 2010 the first time I successfully put on muscle while losing fat. I was really motivated to suffer, no matter what.

Your major directing goal should be something that wakes you up in the morning and rolls you out of bed and gets you moving. You should be excited every minute of every day. — from the Steve House seminar in Ouray Colorado

180 pounds of Charles Miske in November 2011
180 pounds of Charles Miske in November 2011

I did it a few other times as I trained for Elbrus Race 2012 and 2013. I’m doing it right now for Elbrus Race 2014. And having been through it a few times now I can honestly say that most people shouldn’t even worry about losing weight while gaining muscle. Most people should lose that fat. Stabilize. Then they can work toward their sports performance goals. Then they can work toward their body composition goals.

You want to gain the most muscle in the shortest time?

The way I see it training volume is the amount of work you do in a workout, averaged over time. Work is loosely defined as force x distance in elementary physics. We’ll think of force as the amount of weight or resistance you’re going to generate to move a weight. The good old fashioned iron weights work best for explaining this train of thought. If you lift a 100 pound iron weight 2’ that’s work. The math becomes a bit trickier when you add in pulleys and cables and bands and bent fiberglass wands or fan blades in a cage. You know which machines I mean, right?

But even if you are using one of those machines you can still use many of these principles to measure your training volume for all practical purposes. My own experience is that I subtly decrease my training volume when confronted with a plateau in my training. My clients have reinforced that opinion over time. It’s surprising how you do it and don’t even notice. — from Weight Training Secret Manual: 8 Hacks to Beat the Plateau

Don’t fall prey to the plateau! For the optimum goal – lose weight gain muscle – combine the diet plan book below with my new “Weight Training Secret Manual: 8 Hacks to Beat the Plateau” and get on the fast track to muscle growth and strength.

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You really want to give it your best?

You really want to try losing weight while gaining muscle. What’s that worth to you in time and effort and ambition and sticking to it with rock solid tenacity? I trained for up to 4 hours a day. Now and then even more. I had partners I shared my training and nutrition journals with. I had 100% support from my family and loved ones.

How about you?

Would you train for 2 hours a day 6 days a week and log every single last set and rep and tenth of a mile in your training journal? Would you eat strictly according to simple 5th grade math and sound scientific principles? Would you do that over and over in 6 week cycles until you had achieved your goal? What is that worth $100/mo? $80/mo? $60/mo? What if it were only $10/week to have your

  • Training and nutrition journals analyzed and assessed
  • Your strengths magnified
  • Your weaknesses countered
  • Your success amplified

Would you sign up for all of that if it meant losing weight while gaining muscle?

Losing weight while gaining muscle – Diet – the starting point to success

In my book “The 100 Calorie Diet Plan” I outline some of the steps in this plan. I describe journaling, food portion control, how to determine your actual scientific caloric needs, how to create your own daily menu, how to create your own weight training program. Most of all I explain how to create goals and measure progress. CLICK HERE if you want to know more.