Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekly Summary

Sunday weigh in (weight 170, BMI 23.7, caliper test body fat % 11.9, BP 110/80)

- all my formal exercise this week was on my bike. I am trying to build my endurance for some bike Centuries this summer. I did five workouts, covering a distance of 186.09 miles. I was on the bike for 12 hours and 46 minutes and had an average speed of 14.6 mph.
I am not sure how to precisely measure calories burned. I retrieved some data from this source, which said that I burned approximately 700 calories per hour (conservatively) or a total of 8925 calories for the week, or an average of 1275 calories per day. That seems high, but I'll go with it for now.

I felt good on the bike this week, but am looking forward to upping my average speed. To achieve a 7 hour Century (100 miles) I need to average 15-15.5 mph considering 30 minutes of rest time (6 1/2 hours of riding and 1/2 hour rest). Most of the 100 mile rides I would do would be over much hillier terrain that we have around Sarasota, but there would not be the winds.

Nutrition - My nutrition for the week is summarized in the table to the left. Given the time I spent on the bike, my calorie consumption went up to 2723. If I subtract calories burned through exercise, my net is (2723 - 1275) 1428. That seems low since I didn't lose any weight. My weight is 170 and has stayed in the 166-170 range for the past several weeks. Could I be underestimating calories consumed?

My fat intake was 23% of total calories per day, which is a bit higher than I would like. I am shooting for an average of no more than 20%. My Omega 3 intake per day is about 5.3 mg and Omega 6 is 18.5 mg. The ratio of 1/3.5 is within the recommended 1/4 target, but the totals are considered to be too high by some experts. Nutritionist Jeff Novick recommends a max of 2.2 mg/day for Omega 3 and a max of 4 times that amount for Omega 6.

Vitamins and minerals are well over 100% of the RDA recommended targets. One of the issues that I am considering is whether I should continue to take a Vitamin D and a multivitamin supplement. Here again the experts seem to differ. Some argue that each of us absorb vitamins and minerals differently so supplements are important. In addition, Dr. Fuhrman recommends periodic tests to determine blood levels of healthy fats and Vitamin D. I haven't done this yet. Others argue that with a healthy diet we get all the vitamins and minerals we need, so supplements are not necessary. In addition there has been research that suggests that populations that take supplements are no healthier than populations that do not. Antioxidant supplements are currently being debated.

If I look at my nutrition analysis assuming I had not taken supplements, I am short on Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Calcium, Vitamin E and Selenium. There is consensus that vegans should take a Vitamin B12 supplement. There is disagreement about Vitamin D, with some experts claiming that we get enough Vitamin D with sufficient sun exposure, which would, of course, not show up on my nutritional analysis. Others argue that supplements are required to be on the safe side. A test for Vitamin D periodically is a good idea and if blood levels are low, supplements should be considered. I have discovered a way to get sufficient selenium without supplements by eating a small amount of Brazil nuts each day. Brazil nuts are loaded with selenium. One Brazil nut kernel provides more than enough of the required selenium.

Otherwise, my eating for the week was fairly routine. Each morning I had a frozen greens smoothie with varied ingredients. A typical smoothie will have pomegranate juice, cantaloupe, dates, frozen wild blueberries, a frozen banana, a couple of small scoops of beans, a DHA supplement, ground flax seeds, baby carrots and frozen greens(kale and baby spinach). I find that these smoothies, while time consuming to make, provide me with ample energy for my daily activities, including my bike training. I have found an excellent way to sustain energy on the bike while contributing to healthy nutrition. I have concocted a bike energy mix shown below with some good stuff that tastes great and is
convenient to eat while riding or at rest stops. The Bike Energy Mix will be especially good to take along on long training rides or Centuries.

I survived some restaurant meals this week. We went to a Japanese restaurant on Monday night and I had rice dish with mixed vegetables and a sauce that they claimed was low fat. What I am never sure of is whether my conversations with the waiter are accurately translated to the kitchen and what I asked for is what I get. There is an element of risk at each restaurant meal. My wife has nixed the idea of me bringing my own meals to restaurants. On Wednesday, we went to another restaurant with friends and I had a couscous dish with mixed vegetables and a sauce that undoubtedly had too much fat added, but it was good. In restaurants I work with the waiter to do the best I can without getting too compulsive about it (and annoying the people who are eating with me). Even though I ate out three times this week, my weekly totals look okay. The higher than targeted fat content was partially the result of the two restaurant meals.

Last night we were invited to friends house for wine and hor's oeuvres. We had a delightful evening and our guests served excellent vegan treats including Samosas, fresh fruit, dried fruits, and many other delicious small dishes. As a guest, I am a bit of a pain and I am always very grateful to people who work hard to provide healthy eating.

Next week I'll be spending a day and a half traveling on business. That always provides a challenge.


Gary said...

I typically ride a recumbent 3 times during the week for a round trip distance of 32 miles. I ride further on Saturday, either 60 or 82 miles. Last year I rode a total of about 3700 miles. The last half of the year I concentrated on increasing my speed, reaching 18+ mph average for 16 miles. I lost no weight. Muscle gain?

This year, since January, I've lost 15 pounds. The difference? I slowed down. I'm now riding at about 72 percent of my max heart rate (124 bpm). The slower speed seems to aid weight loss. Or, there is something I've overlooked.

Howard Veit said...


Recent research indicates that periods of high intensity (interval training) is great for weight loss. My experience is that my weight is almost entirely a function of what I eat. Hard training will cause some weight loss, but since most of us do not train hard consistently, our diets are the most important factor in weight control. You could argue, I guess, that we should be able to maintain our ideal weight with only very moderate exercise, which is much less than you and I do.

Thanks for your comments.