Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cycling on ECR

Last weekend I stayed over at the MGM beach resort. Naturally I couldnt resist going out on a ride Sunday morning. My friend and I took our cycles on my car and got in Saturday night. We partied somewhat intensely that night. But I managed to get to bed early because the kids had to sleep.

I had such a rough time that night because of my back and the extra soft mattress. Added to that my wife and I had to share the bed with both our kids. Pretty much of a torture for my already screwed back.

Anyway, got up at 7.30 and took off towards Mahabs. We just went about 8 - 9 k upto corocodile bank as we needed to get back in time for breakfast. It was a glorious morning with a slight over cast sky and a even a light drizzle on the way back. ECR is truly scenic in weather like this. Strongly recommend getting out there early in the morning and hitting the bike. Quite an experience.

I was doing 45 second sprint intervals and it was working out really well. My bike was also behaving even though my Hero was a far cry from my friend's firefox.

Quads got a good work out and I burnt some 750 calories.

Overall great experience.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Readability test

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Just did a readability test on my site! Thanks Amy for this cool link from your site!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Shah Rukh Khan and the Six-pack

Shah Rukh Khan in Om Shanthi Om Showing his abs
I was poring through my favorite potty reading - Filmfare - this morning, and happened on an article on how Shah Rukh Khan achieved his apparently very fine six-pack that he is displaying in all its glory in the new movie Om Shanthi Om or something of that nature. Not much of a Hindi movie fan, so I wont be surprised if I didnt get the names right.

SRK's six-pack training involved 30 minutes of full body circuit training every day. Much like crossfit or army training. Apparently in less than 6 months he developed a "two pack" and then he popped several fat burner pills. In two weeks, voila!, he had his six pack.

I find that line a little simplistic. But then I have never popped a pill as part of my fitness regime. So I wouldnt know, would I?

If any of you out there have tried fat burner pills do let me know what you think.

In the meanwhile, its full body circuit training for me!

Until next time.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Paleolithic Diet and the Vegetarian!

Forgive me as I am about to delve into the mysterious world of my personal opinion, albeit with some research, in this post. Hence two posts in one day!

Ive been doing some reading on circuit training and its associated diet. I came across something called the Paleolithic diet. Apparently Man and his digestive system evolved along with the environment more or less in sync until about 12,000 years ago when agriculture was invented. So until then he (and she) was a "hunter-gatherer" who hunted for food or picked wild berries and nuts. The lifestyle was also such that it was quite active. In fact, the book "Natural Fitness" by Bruce Tulloh that I am currently reading gave me a shocking revelation.

Paleolithic man apparently went out hunting only 2 to 2.5 days in a week - and each day not more than 6 hours per day. Who said that civilized world was better? Im working 40 - 50 hours a week and I get 1 kg of fish for Rs. 400 per week. The rest of the time Paleo man stayed at home and basically enjoyed himself playing with the kids, helping with their home work, eating berries and having sex.

Anyway a study of their life and remains indicates that they were clearly omnivorous. In fact the teeth structure is made for both cutting/slicing and grinding which is an omnivorous predisposition.

Vegetarianism is therefore unnatural, ungodly and akin to devil worship! (Ok . its not ungodly or akin to devil worship - just trying to get a little sensational here.)

Also the human stomach still produces pepsin - an enzyme needed to digest meat. There are several other bits of evidence that Tulloh cites to prove beyond a doubt that eating meat is not only natural but also necessary for a balanced diet.

So Mr. Vegetarian, the next time you want to argue with me about the joys of fruits and vegatables, please explain to me why you have canines and incisors!

There's going to be another post about training to simulate the paleo lifestyle. Look out for it.

Until next time!

Pain, the whole pain and nothing but the Pain!

Well its Deepavali and Im not running this week. So its a week off from running. Whats more my back is hurting like hell when I wake up. I tried to do a head stand last week and simply threw it right out of alignment. Yes, its as painful as it sounds. I rested the whole of Friday (november 2nd) and went out for a long walk on Saturday - from Chetpet to Besant Nagar beach. Needless to say, my back was not happy.

I then proceeded to do a pushup/situp circuit that evening. If my back had access to the internet, it would have booked tickets out of town and left that very night. Anyway for the last one week I have been groaning and moaning at night because my back tends to freeze up due to the air conditioning I think. The pain is in the upper back between the shoulder blades tending to the right side. I have some exercises from my Ortho which have greatly helped. And the pain is subsiding. I am much better this morning. So lets see how it progresses. If I am not ready to run again by Tuesday, I think I will go and see the doctor.

In any case, the timing could not have been better because it coincided with my rest week. So my running was not really affected. Oh, also, my tooth is singing away like the next American Idol. I think I may need a root canal. But the dentist doesnt want to jump to any major job right away. So Im rinsing my mouth with an antiseptic mouth wash three times a day. Need to observe that too.

Anyway, Tuesday is the deadline for my body to fix itself up. If it doesnt by then am I going to be upset!!?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Training for Speed - another post!

I thought I'd focus a bit on weight training that my coach and friend Jagdeesh suggested. Jagdeesh was my junior in college - didnt know him then since I had finished college the year he joined. He ran for college (Madras Christian College) and Tamil Nadu. He was a national level sprinter whose best timing was 10.70 for the 100m.

His weight training sessions were most interesting. First off a sprinter's weight training session was a full body session and did not follow a split routine like a body builders. Makes sense when you consider that a sprint involves the entire body.

The weights used were always very light - 5kgs at the most. So if its a dumbbell - its 5 kg per dumbbell. If its a barbell exercise, its 5kg per side.

We would start with shoulder presses. They were usually performed fast and furious for about 30 reps. Three sets of this with about 1.5 minutes rest.

Next would be Bench presses. Again a light weight. Obviously this an exercise where I can handle a bit more weight. So I was using 20 kgs on a 7kg bar. Again the presses were some what fast. The idea being to bounce into a thrust. Much like a plyometric bound or box jump. The muscle was allowed to coil and burst into the movement. Three sets of 30.

Trunk Twists then focussed on the core. Little to no weight. just the rod - 7kg.

Alternating Lunge jumps with 10kg on 7kg bar.

Calf raises. These were the only exercise where I had to use heavy weights and work on slow reps. Still put in about 25 reps for each of the 3 sets.

Finish off with Ab work. This was some what hard core. On an incline bench, I had to do 25 situps - full situps not crunches. Without rest move into side situps - 25 on the right and then 25 on the left. With no rest. After a minutes rest crunches on the swiss ball. 50 reps for 2 sets.

THe warm for this would be 10 minutes of jogging, followed by 10 minutes of warm up exercises for each body part from head to ankle with a lot of stretching.

The work out would end with a full fledged stretching session.

Try it out or mail me for details.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Training for speed!

Here's my first post on how I train for speed.

I recently competed in the 400, 100, 800, 4x100, 1500m and did fairly well. While individual event timings were not top class, what I found most interesting was that I did a bang up job on every event. My wins were emphatic.

My training goals were:
1. General Endurance - to last through 5 events of maximal performance.

2. Strength - all the events required a significant amount of pounding the track. Since the events were fairly short (compared to the middle distances), the legs had to propel maximally on each foot strike.

3. Strength endurance - none of the events were pure endurance events. All (except the 100 of course) needed some amount of strength over a sustained period of over 1 minute.

I did several things for this mainly
1. Weight training - two sessions a week. One session was medium to heavy weights upto 15 reps on each set. The other was light weights at 30 reps or more at high speed. Strength and strength Endurance.

2. Plyometrics - bounding and hopping type exercises for 30 minutes, once a week. (there was a 20 minute warmup and 7 minute cool down sandwiching the Plyo session. Explosive Power.

3. Redline training. This was simply a case of getting the body used to hard running for more than a minute. Once a week, I would do a 7-8 minute warmup jog - probably 800 meters or so. This followed by six 400m repeats at near full speed. The speed was always kept at a level where form could be maintained. Between each of these runs, I would jog/walk 400m and allow the heart rate to come back down to about 68%. At the end of 6 repeats, I am totally wasted.

Every one of these sessions was closed out with either abs or arms workouts.

What this did for me was that it gave me a very fast recovery between events. Also since the events were no where near as long as my training sessions, I was able to bring the entire strength to the event and focus it on moving from point a to point b in the shortest possible time.

Do try out your own version of the above and let me know if it works for you.

Until next time.

Meet report!

Now that I have done my bit to popularise my blog, its time for another post!

I recently competed in the Inter Table Athletic meet on October 21st at Nehru Stadium. Its a meet that is held for members of Round Table India. Its a non-profit social welfare and fellowship organisation that I have been a member of for the last 10 years or so.

The competition is fierce, the athletes not so fierce. I basically use this as a good anchor to focus my training and allow me to get fit atleast once a year. The rest of the year I wallow.

This year's meet was very interesting for me. I competed in the 400m, 100m, 800m, 4x100m relay and 1500m. Did fairly well too with 4 golds and 1 silver (in the 1500). I was very happy because all the running was at a hard - balls to the wall - pace.

I barely managed to win the 100 - by a whisker. I think I won because of my lean at the finish line. But I was running really relaxed and also started late. I was having a chat with one of the race organisers when the gun went off. So I had to catch up a bit.

I hammered the 400, 800 and 4x100. Felt really good. I really felt the breeze in my face. Now I know what "wind assisted" means.

I ran the 1500 within 5 minutes of completing the last leg of the 4x100. So it was a little hard. But I think I could have done better. I ran too conservatively in the last 100 meters and kicked only with 50 m to go. I wasnt sure I would be able to hold out for a 100m kick. But after I finished I was kicking my self for not kicking earlier. Sorry for the gross pun.

In my next post I'll write a bit about speed training and why I think its important for endurance. Many of my friends in Chennai Runners think I am against long distance running and that running anything less than 5k is, whats the word?!, sissy?

So look out for a little about the red line training and weight training I've been doing to to improve my running in general.