Nutrition Comments Off on Fuel your Ride |

Fuel your Ride

Guest Columnist Bikey Venky talks about how you can fuel up so that you have a better ride with better nutrition and hydration.

“Nutrition is a valuable component that can help athletes both protect themselves and improve performance” – Bill Toomey (former Olympic decathlon champion).

The two most important aspects that have an impact on any of your rides are – how you train and how you fuel your ride. While many understand the importance of proper training with gradual buildup of efforts, periodization etc., not many understand the importance of properly fueling their rides.

Fueling for a ride includes both hydration and nutrition. Hydration and nutrition have a big say in the quality of your training or just any riding for that matter. They determine how well you are able to train, recover, or just how you are able to enjoy your ride.

Typically, you would end up burning about 300-600 calories per hour of cycling depending on your body weight, metabolic rate, intensity etc., but we don’t need to replenish all the calories that we burn. At any given point, we have glycogen reserves worth 1200-2000 calories in our bodies. Hence, it is recommended that we refuel our body of about 15-25% of the calories expended per hour. That would mean 90-150 calories per hour assuming you end up burning 600 calories per hour. This roughly translates to about 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour and these carbs can be taken in the form of natural sources like bananas, nuts and dates etc., or energy bars made out of slow release items like sources of carbs like oats and dates etc. While this can be your nutrition during the ride, you might have to load up before the ride if you are attempting a long endurance effort.

When you are going for a ride longer than 2-3 hours, it is advisable to have breakfast before you start your ride. The breakfast should ideally be slow absorbing carbs like oats porridge or a bowl of fresh fruits and nuts. This can be 1-3 hours before your ride start time. Once on the ride, you can supply more fuel at regular intervals (every 15-30mins) in form of your favourite energy bars, peanut bars or bananas. This will ensure that there is a constant source of energy to your body and the energy levels never dip. With the right levels of energy, you are more likely to give your best on the ride and enjoy it more.

For intense efforts like races, a quicker absorbing energy source from gels might come in handy.

During the rides, we not only burn calories but also lose a lot of body fluids and electrolyte balance in the body which can be distorted. The resultant dehydration leads to diminishing performance in riders. To keep the performance levels up, we need to restore the electrolyte balance in the body by adding electrolytes to our hydration bottles and drink regularly on the ride. The rate of hydration depends on person to person and the ride conditions. But, in general, about 600-1000ml of hydration drink per hour is suggested.

It is a good idea to make it a habit to drink water in small quantities at regular intervals like every 15-20 mins. Depending on the intensity of the ride, one can use one or two hydration tabs in a 600ml bottle and look to consume one bottle per hour. Something like the Fast & Up reload hydration tabs have all the necessary electrolytes. There are some riders who prefer more natural sources like common salt, lime, and sugar. Whatever is your source, it is important that the body’s electrolyte balance is restored for the body to recover and get stronger.

In summary:

  • Hydration: About 600ml per hour with electrolytes. Electrolyte sources: Fast & Up Reload tabs, Common Salt & lime with or without sugar/honey.
  • Nutrition: 30-60gms of carbohydrates per hour. Sources: Bananas, Peanut bars, Dates & Nuts, Energy bars, Energy gels etc.
  • Post ride: After a hard ride, having a combination of carbs and protein (in approximately 4:1 ratio) for easy recovery. It can be normal food that you take or milkshakes with fruits like bananas etc.

ABOUT THE GUEST COLUMNIST

Bikey VenkyVenky, more commonly known as BikeyVenky in the cycling community, has been riding for more than 10 years. He loves giving back to the community that helped him become a healthy individual in whatever way he can including help organizing rides, races and mentoring young and old riders alike via BVCoaching.in

Read more

Nutrition Comments Off on The “ideal diet” to follow before a big marathon |

The “ideal diet” to follow before a big marathon

Eating well before and after a marathon is a game-changer. Protima Tiwary spoke with coach and nutritionist Sheetal Sood to help us understand the diet to consume before a big marathon.

You’ve been training on the track religiously, making sure you stick to your training routine, carefully mapping out the distances and recording your progress. But you know what they say- the correct diet is more than half the work done. So take a pause and ask yourself a question- have you been eating right to be well equipped to run the marathon? We caught up with a fitness lifestyle coach and nutritionist Sheetal Sood to help us understand the importance of the diet leading up to a marathon.

You’re a lifestyle coach and nutritionist. How did this journey for you begin? What keeps you going?

It started around 18years ago during my first pregnancy.  I started noticing my body and the way it was changing. I had always been an active child, interested in sports and outdoor games before college and professional life took over. I was a lawyer in the Mumbai High Court before I moved to Pune, and it is here when I embarked upon my personal fitness journey. I was recently married, my first baby was on its way and I started taking care of myself with yoga and Pilates through pre and post-natal classes.

I stuck with my training regime even after delivery and considered becoming a personal trainer 12 years ago. It was only three years ago that I went ahead with my certification, and I am so glad that I did! I love how fitness has gained importance in our lifestyles, and for me, my work doesn’t even feel like work anymore!

Today, a workout is an integral part of my routine. I want to be a role model for my children, and I wish to motivate my clients, so I guess that is what keeps me going.

A fit foodie at 47, do you find it easy to combine your love for food and your fit lifestyle?

Yes, I love to eat and workout. I do not let myself feel guilty for that one off cheat meal. Apart from that, my food choices are healthy. I satisfy my sweet cravings with homemade all nut butter or peanut butter, and my go-to meal is a mixed salad with good vinaigrette dressing.

Chocolate is my comfort food, so I do cheat sometimes with a rich chocolate cake or ice cream. However, if I can find a healthy option that tastes as good, I will always choose that.

Coming to marathon preparations- how important is the food in your training plan?

Whenever we put ourselves through intense activity, we need a specially curated meal plan supporting the activity. Poor nutrition will always lead to poor performance, even injuries. Preparing for a marathon isn’t an overnight decision- your meals have to be designed weeks in advance.

Carb-cycling is important when you are preparing for a marathon. You need to have days of high carb, moderate and low carbs. Stock your house with good carbs like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, jowar and bajra flour, buckwheat and amaranth for rotis. Nuts, legumes, green veggies, paneer are a must too. Foods like bananas, sweet potatoes and beetroot are a must have. Remove all junk food.

Also, stock up on BCAAs and bulletproof coffees!

What does an ideal diet 7 days before a big run look like?

You need to have foods that make you feel light and energetic. Load up on foods that contain nitrate (eg- beet) Choose complex carbs for every meal. Go on a high carb, moderate protein, low-fat diet.

Lunch can be large but your dinners have to be light and early (but carb loaded) A light dinner could be a big bowl of soup with meat, vegetables and noodles or rice in the soup.

Please do not eat biryanis and pizzas thinking you will burn it off. The sugar in these processed foods are evil!

 

What is the ideal meal to eat post running?

I would highly recommend a shake or juice first thing after a race. This is because our body absorbs liquids with much ease as
compared to solids. An ideal shake would be made of bananas, almond
milk, honey or peanut butter (and protein powder if you wish to)

The second meal after the run can be eggs (in any form) with multigrain bread/rotis. You can also opt for paneer bhurji.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

An Army kid who wishes to travel the world one wellness vacation at a time, Protima Tiwary is a freelance content writer by day and Dumbbells and Drama, a fitness blogger by night. High on love and life, she is mildly obsessed about travelling and to-do lists and loves her long gym sessions like a fat kid loves cake.

Read more

Motivation Comments Off on Cycle with passion or not at all |

Cycle with passion or not at all

Mohan Subramanyam took these words to heart and over the past 8 years has really made long-distance endurance cycling his calling, discovers Deepthi Velkur.

It was in 2010 that Mohan, an IT professional took to cycling for recreation, later making it his office commute and finally graduating to long-distance endurance cycling about 6 years ago.

With his trusted Trek 3700 (2010) MTB by his side, Mohan has notched 65,000KMs to his name over the past 8 years. This includes six 1000KM and four 1200 KM rides in addition to completing the London – Edinburgh – London ride in 2017 (a distance of 1450KM). Apart from India, Mohan’s cycling journey has taken him to Spain, Australia, and Israel.

His passion for riding doesn’t seem to fade away just yet. He has an impressive list of rides that he wants to complete, noteworthy among them are the IPWR (Australia), TransAM (USA), Japan Odyssey (Japan), the TransAtlantic (Ireland) and the TransContinental (Europe). His biggest worry though – how is he going to make time for this given his work schedule?

Despite travelling the world on his bike, Mohan has a special place in his heart for the scenic and challenging terrains that India has to offer. His hope for the future would be for world-class cyclists to ride in India and create globally popular rides.

His passion for the sport, his trusted bike aside, Mohan has his wonderful wife, supportive friends and family to thank for encouraging and pushing him on this wonderful journey.

Mohan took some time off his crazy schedule to share his thoughts on his cycling life so far.

FM: How did your journey into cycling start and when did you know that you wanted cycling to be more than just a passing fad?

Mohan: My father played a big part in my life and a major influencer for me to pick up cycling. Growing up in the 80s, we only had a cycle at home, and he used to take me along to the movies all the way from Rajaji Nagar to MG road. I also remember cycling around the city over the weekends with my friends – such gorgeous memories that I will cherish forever.

It was in 2010 that I gifted myself a Trek 3700 MTB for my 40th birthday. The idea was that I commute to work and explore rural Bangalore over the weekends, but fate it seems had other ideas.

In 2012, on a whim, I registered for the shorter version of the TFN (a 2-day event in Ooty) and got to meet Sundar Rajan from Chennai who introduced me to Randonneuring (long-distance endurance cycling). My 1st long-distance race was a 200 KM BRM in Chennai and 6 years on, my passion for cycling is stronger than ever.

FM: What is it about long-distance cycling that fascinates you? 

Mohan: Well, I love travelling, seeing new places, experiencing new cultures and what better way to do it than on a cycle. Apart from that, long-distance cycling has been very transformative for me, it has helped me move on from being an introvert to someone who is more open. The challenges you face during extreme situations in long-distance endurance cycling and how you overcome them by taking instant decisions or finding alternate solutions has helped me overcome the fear of failure and made me determined to achieve more.

FM: Which was your first long-distance ride? How did you feel pre-race, during the ride and post the race?

Mohan: My first long-distance ride was a 200KM Brevet in 2013 at Chennai and prior to that I did a test ride of 100KM in Bangalore to know if I was ready to take on the challenge. My friend Satish Krishnan and I planned to ride together. At the start line, I was a bundle of nerves but as we started cycling, we had a chance to interact with some experienced riders like Jaya Ramurthi, Sundar Sir from Chennai and Ashok Sir who boosted our confidence. Additionally, the other riders and organizers provided the extra support that helped us complete the ride within the allotted 13.5 hrs. It was my 1st 200Km BRM and it was difficult owing to the headwinds on the ECR, Chennai. At the finish line, it was a sense of joy, achievement and discovering a new self. Though the ride ended on a good note, my whole body was in pain the next day and I could not sit properly due to saddle soars.

FM: You take Randonneuring very seriously. What inspired you to move from regular long-distance cycling to something so extreme?

Mohan: I love Randonneuring since it takes me to new places, meeting different people, seeing the world from a different perspective, interacting with locals, tasting local food and also getting to know the harsh realities. It’s a wonderful world out there to be explored and it wouldn’t have been possible by just sitting in a room. I follow a lot of long-distance endurance cycling across the globe, the riders and the cycling community keeps inspiring to achieve more. Here you are racing against yourself to see how far you can go and I believe there is no end to it as long as you are disciplined and determined to achieve the set goals irrespective of the challenges you face along the path.

FM: How is the world of Randonneuring organized in Bangalore?

Mohan: Randonneuring is long-distance Endurance Cycling with rides of 200, 300, 400, 600 and 1000 km called Brevets de Randonneurs Mondiaux (BRMs). Audax Club Parisien (ACP) is the international governing body for Randonneuring that administers and oversees the conduct of BRMs worldwide. This style of riding is non-competitive in nature, and self-sufficiency is paramount.

Audax India Randonneurs (AIR) is the all-India organization of Randonneurs, which is recognized by Audax Club Parisien (ACP) for conducting and overseeing all Brevets de Randonneurs Mondiaux (BRMs) and Audax events in India. Bangalore Randonneurs is governed by Audax India Randonneurs and Brevets in Bangalore started in 2011 which was conducted by Bangalore Brevets. In the year 2015, it was taken up by Bangalore Randonneurs to conduct ACP authorized brevets.

FM: Do you conduct a lot of Brevets each year – can you give us a count and break-down, please?

Mohan: We do conduct long-distance endurance cycling called Brevets wherein a fixed distance needs to be completed in the allotted time 200Km (13.5hrs), 300Km (20 hrs), 400Km (27 hrs), 600km (40 hrs), 1000Km (75hrs) and 1200Km (90hrs).

We organize 1 or 2 rides over the weekend every month for all categories. The calendar year for Brevet starts from November 1st to October 31st of the next year. We also have a minimum of 3 Super Randonneurs series wherein a Super Randonneur is one who completes 200Km, 300km, 400km and 600km in a calendar year.

A list of all events across India can be found at https://www.audaxindia.org/events.php and specific to Bangalore can be found at https://www.audaxindia.org/bangalore-randonneurs-bangalore-c-9.

Bangalore has good challenging and scenic terrains to be explored. Last year we organized “Gates of Heaven” 1200KM ride which is a Signature ride and had over 50 participants across India. This ride takes riders on a roller coaster ride across the three southern states i.e. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala, cutting through the exquisite countryside, climbing through the colossal hills of Yercaud, Nilgiris, Wayanad, Coorg, Sakleshpur, and Chikmagalur. These are some winding and deadly rolling terrain with an overall elevation gain of 13000+ meters.

FM: What are the challenges you face when organizing such events?

Mohan: It’s easier to organize smaller events of 200km,300km or 400km for which you need to be on the course for 24 hrs. Above 600Km it’s quite challenging since you need to be on the road with the riders for 2-4 days depending on the distance. There is a lot pre-work to be done before a ride in terms of logistics and complete other registration formalities. During the ride, we need to ensure the safety of each and every rider until they finish. The weather could play spoilsport to both riders and organizers alike – extreme winds, heat or rain pose a challenge to all. In remote locations arranging food, hydration, resting options and getting permission through forest areas are some of the challenges we face and finding quick alternatives will help to keep the event going smoothly.

FM: When it’s something new you usually see a lot of people attend but the fad passes, and number dwindle. Do you see participation as a challenge?

Mohan: Agree, there are some trails which I believe offers something new every time you ride and there are signature rides like “Anchetty 200Km BRM”, “Gates of Heaven 1200Km BRM” etc where we see the numbers growing and as long as you provide the right spirit of support and motivation you will always have the rider base and don’t really see participation as a challenge.

I personally feel we need to keep constantly exploring new challenging terrains and innovative methods to keep the riders wanting more. One such event we at Bangalore Randonneurs organise in November is the SR5 “Super Randonneur series in 5 days” where riders need to complete back to back rides starting from 600km, 400km 300km, 200km in the stipulated time. Cumulatively it is 1500Km of happiness, 110 hrs of cycling, 9500 meters of elevation and 4 beautiful destinations. This was the first time such an event was organized in India and saw good participation from across India.

FM: What kind of marketing campaigns do you run to educate people and encourage them to attend such events?

Mohan: We at Bangalore Randonneurs have built a culture where we cater to all types of riders in Randonneuring, from beginner to advanced riders and help them graduate over a period of time. We provide Value based Experience to our riders and that’s our selling point and our riders are the biggest campaigners. Gates of Heaven event was sold out in 30 mins when we opened the registration and it had the elite riders across India participate in the ride. Everyone looks for something unique and new and as long as we do that we will have the riders. Sadly, we see a lower number of female riders and hence to promote more female riders to take up this awesome sport “Randonneuring”, we have all female cyclists ride for free and can be a part of any number of events in Bangalore this season. Once in a while, we do encourage deserving candidates’ free registration for our rides.

FM: In your cycling journey you have covered many a mile. Which has been the longest ride you have done so far?

Mohan: The longest ride which I participated and completed was LEL-2017 (London-Edinburgh-London), though I could not complete within 117.5 hr allotted time and took an additional 2 hrs of time to finish. It will remain one of my best rides till date because of the scenic trails, wonderfully organized, awesome volunteers to support and great food. It wouldn’t have been possible without my ride partner Sayi Ramakrishna who helped with all pre-ride logistics and riding alongside me during the course as this was my first international event.

FM: Having explored multiple parts of India on the bike, which route do you think is a must-do on a cyclist/Randonneurs bucket list? Why?

Mohan: We have many beautiful terrains in India itself to be explored and one lifetime is not enough. For Randonneurs in India I would pick “Gates of Heaven”, “Bliss in the Hills”, & Mumbai 1200km to add to their bucket list and Internationally PBP and LEL for the sheer experience one can gain by participating in such events.

Leh-Manali is another ride that should be on every cyclist bucket list something which I have not experienced yet. We have scenic and interesting trails in the Western Ghats, Himalayas, and North East for touring.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.

Read more

Nutrition Comments Off on Foodies, Fitness & Conscious Consumption |

Foodies, Fitness & Conscious Consumption

Runner and Guest Columnist Anjana talks about food, fitness and the art of conscious eating. 

“So many fit aunties and uncles killing it in the gym these days no ?”, between bites, the conversation continues. Before you know it the plate is empty and you’re hankering for another bite of this or another piece of that. All too often the extra is waiting right in front of you to serve yourself. You add a guilty portion onto your plate and respond, “Exactly, so many more options for fitness now than in our parent’s generation. Such a good thing…”.

Every meal, everything we eat has a psychological satisfaction value. Let us call it the Satisfaction or S-index with 0 being, “didn’t even notice I consumed it” to 10 being, “enjoyed it with every fibre of my being and felt alive as every morsel hit my taste buds”. It is appealing to consider that our every meal could have an S-index of 10.

India is a foodie country and most Indian festivals revolve around food. This means that often the food itself will make us pause our conversations and optimize our S-index. However, India is also a very social culture, which means that food is seldom consumed alone. When there isn’t company, a laptop, reading material, the phone or other distractions accompany the meal. This dichotomy sets us up to consistently consume calories on the low end of the S-index. We often eat unconsciously and don’t make the most of our meals.

Consider how quickly pani-puri goes. If you’re one of two or three or the only one at a golgappa counter, it’s a matter of seconds before a round is over. If you go with friends or don’t pay attention, what you’re left with is the anticipation of having pani-puri, the satisfaction of having had it, but not the actual joy of eating it. The puri bursting inside your mouth and filling it with delicious pani, is exactly the experience that the modern food science of spherification holds as its holy grail. We take it for granted and are so familiar with it that we hardly pay attention.

In order to elevate our S-index of every meal, we must plan to eat alone, and truly alone without distractions. A prayer or meditation before a meal can help us focus on the experience and optimize our enjoyment. We must eat slowly and consciously allowing every texture, temperature and flavour to fill our senses. Unless you have a strong belief against water during a meal, use it to cleanse the palate after every bite, to experience each bite anew. Pay attention to how your body responds to the food. Pay attention to the portion size you need. S for Savor, S for Slow, S for Silence, S for Satisfied. You will eat less, enjoy your food more and refine your palate in the process.

GUEST COLUMNIST

 

Anjana started running in the U.S. in 2007 and has helped mentor many from the couch to half marathon. She is passionate about empowering women through running and now runs in Bangalore with Jayanagar Jaguars

Read more

Motivation Comments Off on Maffetone Method |

Maffetone Method

Marathoner Ajit Thandur speaks about the Maffetone Method that is aimed at reaching full human potential.

In my previous article titled Endurance and the Indian Runner, I had spoken about how amateur endurance running has so rapidly evolved in India over the last 15 years. The quest for fitness, weight loss, and good health has turned into a quest for speed and better timing, be it in running, bicycling or swimming.

Being an amateur runner and swimmer myself, I have often tried several techniques to improve myself. One method stands apart, I have found the Maffetone Method to be the most effective for me for the following reasons:

  1. You train your body to predominantly use aerobic muscles for energy during the endurance activity. Doing this helps to effectively use your body fat feed energy for the activity. In other words become ‘fat adapted’.
  2. With prolonged 180 Formula-based workouts, people who set out to do some form of endurance exercise for weight loss will benefit immensely.
  3. With this method, you can stay away from injuries due to excessive straining.
  4. Most importantly, as amateurs, we can keep ourselves fresh and agile through the day to work for our living and not feel lethargic or exhausted.

So, what is the Maffetone Method? How does one go about settling into the 180 Formula? How does one track development and be sure the training is right?

The MAF Method is a philosophy developed by Dr. Phil Maffetine over the course of 40 years of scientific research and clinical practice to help individuals of all ages, athletic abilities, physical issues, and personal goals reach their human performance potential.

Maximum Aerobic Function Test or the MAF Test is a key tool to keep track. The concept is simple, straightforward and easy to understand and follow.

How does it work? After determining your Threshold Aerobic Heart Rate, choose a convenient stretch along your favourite running route. Do a warm-up run of about 1KM, then using your HR monitor run 3KM keeping your HR at the Threshold Aerobic Heart Rate and record your pace for the distance.

Note this down. Typically it should look like this.

MAF Test dated:          at Threshold HR of:

Km          Pace

1               6:45

2               6:48

3               6:53

Repeat this test in the same format on the same route once every month. Ideally, you should do this for 6 months, though you might start seeing results as early as 3 months. The results I refer to is you achieving a faster pace at your Threshold Aerobic HR.

A few things to bear in mind:

  • The best way to achieve optimum results through the Maffetone Method / 180 Formula training is to do it alone because each of us have different thresholds.
  • If you’re doing it in as a group, you will tend to stay with the group and not required Heart Rate you need to be at.
  • Do not get upset when you start with this training, as you will not be able to maintain the same pace you have been running so far because you will invariably run at a lower heart rate than you have been running until now.
  • Happiness will dawn on you when your pace starts to get better and better at your constant Threshold Aerobic Heart Rate.
  • Most important of all, be patient!

There are certain factors other than just your pace that can affect your heart rate on certain days. It could be stress, lack of sleep, change in location/weather, lack of hydration, the unsuitable or irregular food you had the previous day. Always remember – 8 hours of sleep, rest and recovery after long runs/rides are of great importance.

What I have covered is a brief insight into the essence and benefits of the Maffetone Method and MAF Test. To know more and understand it even better, please go to this link:

https://philmaffetone.com/maf-test/

In conclusion, the Maffetone method is not a definitive step-by-step process to follow for faster results, instead, it is an approach that if followed well will help us make a healthier version of ourselves.

GUEST COLUMNIST

Ajit Thandur is an entrepreneur and amateur endurance runner/swimmer based in Mysuru taking a keen interest in injury-free training and nutrition. He also conducts Thonnur Swimathon, Tri Thonnur and a run race Chamundi Hill Challenge in Mysuru.

 

Read more

Featured, Motivation Comments Off on Endurance and the Indian runner |

Endurance and the Indian runner

Seasoned runner Ajit Thandur, talks about endurance sports in India and how the love for them has evolved.

Endurance sport in India, especially in the realm of amateurs or recreational runners/bikers/swimmers started out really small in terms of numbers nearly about two decades ago. But this scenario has drastically changed in current times as we have witnessed a surge in the number of people that are taking to endurance sport.

I was amazed looking at the statistics of the first edition of the Mumbai Marathon in 2004 – there were only 17 women and 99 men finishers in the Full Marathon race. 13 years later, in 2017, that number has grown exponentially to 400 women and 4250 men finishers. While the percentage growth itself is quite mind-numbing, what is even more amazing is that the number of amateur or recreational runners has really shot up as well, as people put a lot more focus on good health and fitness.

Activities such as these have over the years continuously influenced more and more people to take on some form of physical activity to improve their overall well-being and good health.

For a beginner, it can get quite daunting at first – this is where a running club or a group helps. By joining one of these clubs, a beginner can get the right level of support, better training, encouraged to push themselves further and to develop their stamina and endurance more efficiently.

It’s only a matter of time before the beginner starts thinking of competing in races – peer pressure plays a large part here. Suddenly, you find yourself losing sight of the actual purpose you started the activity for but instead you now focus on comparing yourself with fellow runners and pushing yourself to improve distance, speed and with it your timing. Now, while improvement itself is good, the urge to be as good or better than someone else especially for an amateur sportsperson is not a healthy trend.

Most of us amateur endurance sports enthusiasts would in most cases have taken to endurance sports to shed a few extra kilos. As a consequence, we would have followed a very commonly touted advice of “eat less, burn more”. It is very essential at this stage for an amateur to understand that each individual is made differently and we all have different physical, metabolic and genetic capabilities.

First, the term “eat less, burn more” is very misleading. While burn more refers to exercise, eat less is a very ambiguous expression. The key here is to figure what to eat less of – I will cover this piece in my next article on nutrition.

Keeping in mind our end goal of “weight-loss” and looking for fast results, a lot of amateurs push themselves to the limit and inevitably fall into the “speed” trap. I have seen enthusiasts push themselves during their practice runs instead of doing so only on race days.

This begs the question – is pushing yourself to the limit wrong? Well, the truth is, for an amateur endurance sports person, it can be very wrong.

I would like to draw attention to Dr. Philip Maffetone’s, 180 Formula. https://philmaffetone.com/180-formula/.

I urge each one of you reading this article to visit the link above and understand the importance of doing all your endurance workouts at a heart rate of 180 – (your age). I shall briefly touch upon the principle and science behind it here.

There are aerobic muscles (called so because these muscles use oxygen and your own body fat for energy) and anaerobic muscles (called so because they don’t use oxygen but only glycogen (sugar) stored in your liver and muscle cells).

Logically thinking about it, we should be using more of our aerobic muscles, right? Because they use your own body fat for energy and that is what you desire.

It is important to understand that aerobic muscles work most efficiently at lower heart rates and is calculated as 180 – (your age). For example, if you are 40 years of age it will be 180 – 40 = 140 Beats per Minute (BPM).

At heart rates beyond this threshold, your aerobic muscles function less efficiently and the anaerobic muscles take over. Therefore, it is important to function at your optimum heart rate level so that you expend the fat in your body and not use the anaerobic muscles. The glycogen stores in the anaerobic muscles last no more than 2 and a half minutes at heart rates higher than the threshold aerobic heart rate.

Another advantage of aerobic training is that over a period of time (this may be anywhere from 3 months to a whole year depending on the individual) your pace, speed and performance efficiency improve at that same threshold aerobic heart rate. This helps your body become fat adapted and it starts to use and rely on your body fat and not sugars to generate energy for that activity. Excess sugars or carbohydrates is what made us fat in the first place and that is exactly what we need to avoid.

Let me reiterate that just one read of what I have written here isn’t enough for you understand the principle behind this thoroughly. I urge you all to read the link I have provided above on the 180 Formula and also listen to this wonderful interview on Heart Rate Training, Nutrition and Recovery (https://youtu.be/_TPrenWWK9U) between Dr. Philip Maffetone and marathoner (Floris Gierman) who completed the Boston Marathon in 2 hours and 44 mins.

Enjoy your sport, stay injury free and achieve your goals, but in the process be mindful of overtraining and burning out.

GUEST COLUMNIST

 

Ajit Thandur is an entrepreneur and amateur endurance runner/swimmer based in Mysuru taking a keen interest in injury-free training and nutrition. He also conducts Thonnur Swimathon, Tri Thonnur and a run race Chamundi Hill Challenge in Mysuru.

 

Read more

Gear Comments (1) |

Energy Gels – are you a believer or a skeptic?

Energy gels are a great source of energy that help fuel your endurance run or training. But, are they a must-have or just another fad? Deepthi Velkur explores this topic in conversation with two runners – Vijay and Brijesh.

There is one question that niggles runners especially when training for a long distance run – how do I avoid hitting the dreaded wall?

For an upcoming race or endurance event, you’ve probably thought through your fuelling strategy. Be it energy drinks, bars, natural food sources or gels, we all rely on some form of carbohydrate supplement to sustain energy levels to cover longer distances and help you get over the finish line.

With energy gels, you either are a believer or a skeptic. You usually end up a skeptic because you have probably read about the side effects such as gastro problems that these gels can cause. For a believer though, these gels hold a place on its own.

Simply speaking, energy gels are designed to replenish the carbohydrate stores that deplete while running. Sounds like these gels are a big saviour, right? Unfortunately, these energy gels do not provide a one to one replacement as the glycogen we intake through gels is not always absorbed by the working muscles. So why do we need to use them?

To understand this better, I had the opportunity to get different views from two runners, one an ardent energy gels believer while the other is largely skeptical of them.

Do read on to see what each of these runners have to say on the topic –

Vijay AM, an ultra-marathon runner says using energy gels has worked for him during marathons and long runs. According to Vijay, “Gels are the best food source you could carry on long runs as they are convenient, lightweight, no water
needed(tried and tested) and can be consumed on the go”
. You need to plan when to use them during the run-in Vijay’s case, he consumes the gel every 15kms during the run. The best source of energy for long runs are acquired from body stored carbs and fat, but Vijay’s view is that carb storage is limited and fat reserves of the body alone cannot meet the various surges in energy that you require during long runs. Also, eating during a run is challenging and can lead to some ugly after effects. As a result, gels present a good source of carbs as they burn faster and provide immediate results. That being said, gels can only complement the carbs and fat stored in the body that still remain the best source of energy.

On the other hand, Brijesh Gajera, co-founder and coach of Ashva ( running club, Bangalore) and a marathon runner himself, thinks otherwise. It’s not that Brijesh is completely against energy gels but his view is that running gels need to be used sparingly and he does not use gels much during training except a couple of times during long runs before the main event to ensure that every minute detail is taken into consideration for achieving his end goal.

Brijesh recommends that you use the gel only for marginal gains with caution and proper consideration and definitely not as a replacement for solid food. In his opinion, gels only make a 2-3% difference and are not very efficient, the remaining 97-98% comes from the actual training itself.

According to Brijesh, a lot of hype has been created on social media around using gels and its benefits, this can be very misguiding to newbies. Frequency and timing of the usage are critical factors to ensure they are effective else it could lead to stomach distress.

 

It is important that you practice the fueling strategy suited to you during your training phase so that it works the way you want it to come race day. If gels are not your thing, not to worry as you have plenty of other alternatives out there. Choose wisely!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.

 

Read more

Training Comments Off on Running your first 10k – Part 1 |

Running your first 10k – Part 1

Are you considering endurance running as a serious fitness activity? If yes, great decision!, writes Coach Pramod Deshpande. In this two part article learn how you can achieve this dream.

As someone who enjoys running himself, I have to say that endurance running will bring about an extremely positive change in your life while making it an enjoyable and fulfilling journey.

No matter the reason – an influential social media post, well thought out decision to correct some fitness parameters or just the curiosity to try something new, this is an activity for everyone and learning a few aspects of it will help a long way in preparing for it.

Let us start with some basics – the 3 fundamental truths of Endurance running:

  • Current fitness level – Fitness is not like a positive bank balance that you can draw upon at any time. You have to start from the baseline of your current fitness level. All your glory day medals and trophies are of little use if you have not been active in the recent past. We all have that friend who cannot stop talking about his sporting achievements in school and college and we often wonder – if he/she is healthier than I am? Fear, not my dear friends, if he/she has been as inactive as you in the recent past, he/she has very little advantage over you when this journey begins.
  • Patience is name of the game – “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time” – Leo Tolstoy.
    You may be in hurry to post a pic on social media of you taking a bite of the finisher medal of your next big race but your body is going to take its time to prepare itself to cover that distance. So please give enough time for preparation.
  • Perseverance and discipline – You might run fast for the first couple of weeks but that is short lived as your body will start complaining as weeks go by. Do not focus on speed at this juncture but your emphasis should be more on getting out and putting in the mileage day after day as per your training schedule.

Preparation before the start of your journey

Before you get down to training, there are a few things to sort out:

  • Clear your calendar – This is going to be a dedicated preparation and will require changes to your daily routine. Keep aside 90 minutes of your dedicated time (preferably in the mornings) for training minimum thrice a week for the next 10 weeks from the start of this journey.
  • Make a commitment to yourself – You can always find ample reasons to miss that training – but if you stay committed, you can always spare those 90 minutes no matter what the situation might be.
  • Prepare for lifestyle changes: You will see a lot of positive changes in your nutritional discipline, proper sleep and rest patterns – open your arms and embrace it, you’re becoming a healthier version of you!
  • Select a target event – It becomes easier to achieve your goal if you have in mind an event to participate in such as a 10k, to begin with. To give yourself enough time for preparation, choose an event 10 weeks away and always choose a reputed event as the support on the course and other facilities are better.
  • Guidance for preparation – Running is natural to all of us, however, serious preparation for such an event requires proper guidance and monitoring. One of the options where you could receive this guidance would be to join a running club as they have well-designed training modules, the services of an experienced coach and group running is fun. While the other option you have is to select an online program but these programs typically lack personalization, monitoring, and most importantly encouragement when you’re feeling low. A note of caution here, an advice from some runner friend, knowledge nuggets from ‘Google University’ are not really effective ways to prepare and can have serious drawbacks. Be wise in your selection.
  • Running gear – Having the right gear is motivation in itself – always have a dry fit t-shirt, comfortable, light and flexible running shoes, water bottle and exercise mat before you start.
  • Health Checkup – It is always recommended to get a health checkup and get your doctor’s opinion before you start this journey.

Nutrition Discipline

Nutrition planning is more an individual aspect and therefore instead of getting into specific food aspects, let’s talk about ‘Nutrition discipline’, which is essential for endurance running. Doing a lot of trial and error during this training phase will help you find out what suits you best. Here are a few pointers:

Regularity in food intake: Endurance running is a long duration activity and gastric distress (running on an empty stomach) is an important aspect especially during early morning runs. Regular food intake and the right quantity play a major role in setting your body clock for this long duration activity.

  • Fixed time for food intake: Set a timetable for food intake based on your daily routine and stick to it. Have an early dinner so that you digest your food properly and are ready for the morning run.
  • Smaller quantities: Train your body to eat meals every 3 hours as this helps to reduce the quantity of each meal without compromising on nutrition and absorption.

Before the Run: Typically, the training begins in the morning and with an 8-hour gap from your last meal, it is important to eat a snack rich in carbohydrates like a banana or slice of bread with peanut butter as the body will need the energy to run.

During the Run: For workouts that last more than an hour, carry small qualities of some carb-rich snack e.g. couple of groundnut bars, glucose biscuits, dates, jaggery, energy gels etc. It is important to get used to eating during the run.

After the Run: Eating a protein and carb snack within 20 minutes of your exercise gives you the maximum benefit. Carrying your post-run snack with you is best as eating after you get home or after 45 mins is not ideal. You can carry boiled eggs, protein shake, protein bar, an idly with lots of sambar etc.

Hydration: Your general hydration requirement will increase as you will be sweating a lot. Keep a water bottle handy. You can also get hydration from buttermilk, fruit juices, fruits, coconut water etc.

  • Before your run ensure you have water at least half an hour prior to the run.
  • During the run drink whenever you feel thirsty. It is all a matter of practice and you should not worry about the loss of pace due to water stops as dehydration at a later stage will slow you down even more. Adding carbs & salt supplements to the water e.g. Fast & Up, Enerzal, Gatorade or a homemade mix of sugar, salt & lime is a good option.
  • After your run, remember to drink water or water plus supplements immediately after the run. However, you need to continuously hydrate yourself in the first hour of completing the run.

In the next part we have a training plan and much more. Keep reading!

GUEST COLUMNIST

A reputed coach and mentor for the Jayanagar Jaguars and a technology innovation head with a leading MNC who over the past 4 years has trained more than 2500 athletes complete Half-Marathons, Full-Marathons and Ultra-Marathons

Read more

Nutrition Comments Off on Healthy eating during your rest days |

Healthy eating during your rest days

How you spend your rest days is equally important as how you would spend your training days – especially when it comes to eating, asks Deepthi Velkur.

In order to achieve optimal results, planning your meals around your workouts is essential and on your rest days, fuelling your body with the required nutrients needed for repair and muscle growth is paramount. How and what you eat has a huge impact on your overall recovery from the previous day’s work out and also impacts your performance on training the next day.

There are more ways than one to achieve this and it mostly comes down to individual goals, but following a few key principles helps:

Do not cut back on calorie intake: While many think they need to watch their calorie intake during rest days, it is not necessarily so. A proper intake of nutrients is essential as this is the time when the most recovery and adaptation happen.

A steady supply of calories through the day: People usually tend to start their day with a light breakfast followed by lunch and end with a heavy dinner. This does no good because energy depletes as the day progresses making us more susceptible to a breakdown. Hence, spacing out your calorie intake through the day is the best approach. Additionally, eating fresh fruit and some nuts in between meals will balance it out.

Balance your macros: For a strong recovery, you need macronutrients such as protein, fibre, and carbs and micronutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, and iron. Intake of whole foods like your meat, vegetables, and fruits are also essential in replenishing your body. Ensure you fill half your plate up with fresh veggies, fruits, and whole grains to bring a balance in your meal. A serving of high quality-protein topped with un-saturated fat ensures you are getting fatty acids which also aids in the recovery process.

No to eating junk food: You probably thought you will finish that leftover slice of pizza for breakfast but remember all that saturated fat will do you no good in your recovery process. A rest day does not mean you overindulge in your favourite cheat food.
Food rich in lean protein, complex carbs and healthy fats should be your go-to food options on these days.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: You may notice that you do not feel as thirsty as compared to your training days. However, it is important to be mindful of your water intake to prevent dehydration.

Choose anti-inflammatory foods: While you’re giving your muscles and joints time to heal on your off days, filling up on anti-oxidant rich food such as pecans, blueberries, cranberries and maybe even dark chocolate help your body gear up for the next day’s work out as they all have anti-inflammatory properties.

If you’re serious about staying fit and seeing results from your training days, eating right matters. Additionally, monitor your results and make dietary changes from time to time to derive the best out of your workouts.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.

Read more