Saturday, March 16, 2024

4 on - 4 off x 4 VO2 max workout

Peter Attia sugests one workout a week being at VO2 max, with the rest of the workouts building out a solid aerobic base.   The workout he suggests for the hard one is 4 minutes on, 4 minutes off, 4 times. This is something I haven't done in years, and am a little nervous about  (as in nervous enough to want to do this in an environment with an automatic external defibrillator). 

He describes this a little bit like I used to think of a 2000m test on an erg, but condensed.  The first minute is relatively easy, if it's not, you've gone out too hard and are going to blow.  Minutes 2 and 3 are really uncomfortable, and you only get through minute 4 because its the last minute and you can go for broke.  I would suggest doing negative splits here, where you get progressively faster, but he admits that he is pretty much universally positive splitting.

The rule Attia uses is the 80/20 rule, so if you are going to do 5 workouts in a week, 4 of them (80%) ought to be base training, and 1 of them (20%) ought to be as I described above.

He also notes that he warms up significantly before doing this workout.   I could see doing VO2 max after a full base training workout as a warmup.

I'm not a doctor, and this isn't medical advice... I'm also kind of OK with dying on a treadmill as a honorable end.   I might strongly consider actually asking my doctor before doing this.  There is something called a cardiac stress test which would get you up to this level of exertion in a controlled way in a medical environment where a resuscitation team was nearby.

The final note is that I'd be tempted to start slow, like wearing a heart rate monitor play with where you are in the zones.  Don't go for broke (dead?) all at once on the first interval.

What are the zones on a Polar heart rate monitor?


Friday, March 15, 2024

Heart rate training and after-workout stretching/cool-down data.

 My temptation with a heart rate watch is to stop the tracking immediately after I stop the activity and then do my stretching / cool-down.  The problem with this approach is that the data around how quickly the heart rate comes back down during the cooldown is useful data.

It's obvious looking at a longitudinal heart rate graph where the cool-down is, so including the cool-down in the data doesn't really meaningfully pollute the data in any way.  Also, my cool downs tend to be of a fixed 5 or 10 minute duration.  

The only problem with doing this is the stretching time is included in the volume calculation for the week.  Honestly, if getting some credit for actually stretching motivates me to stretch, I'm OK with the volume number being inflated by 5-10 minutes per session.  Again, for any individual workout, it's obvious where the work was done, and where I was cooling down.

Another way to look at this data is in a weekly or monthly report from Polar Flow or your tracker's software.  Here I can see the number of minutes total in various heart rate zones.  Looking at the total minutes in the green 70-80% zone, and the blue 60-70% zone gives me a good idea of where I am, and where I want to be for the week.  Looking at these numbers tends to leave out the stretching, even if I don't shut off the watch immediately after the actual work is done.

Looking at total min in zone 2-4 in Polar Flow's reports excludes most of the stretching.

Friday, March 8, 2024

A Concept2 RowErg might be too loud for a 1 bedroom apartment.

Whether it is actually too loud, or whether it would just be a nagging sense of guilt for disturbing neighbors, either way it's not likely that I'd buy one of these for my current living situation.

Comparing a recent meal-delivery keto meal to my favorite $20 meal at Outback Steakhouse.

This is another "journal" entry.  The values and weights below reflect where I'm at, and may not match your needs. 

Outback Steakhouse: 8oz sirloin and double broccoli.

  • 700 calories
  • 40-44% protein
  • 36-38% fat
  • 8-12% carbohydrate
  • Satiation: completely satiated at end of meal, lasting for hours, or until the next day if eaten for dinner.
  • Social: I am friends with the bartenders at this restaurant.
  • Cost: About $22 with periodic dining rewards and tip.
  • Similar meals: 
    • package of boneless, skinless chicken breast, dry rub (no sugar) and salad, prepared at home.
    • strip steak cooked at home (more expensive)\
    • Smoked salmon platter at restaurant (similar price), somewhat smaller meal.
    • smoked salmon and tomato, at home (more expensive)
    • Salmon fillet and veggies.

Factor75 Loaded Bacon Shredded Chicken
  • 640 calories
  • 25% protein
  • 67% fat
  • 9% carbs
  • Satiation: I'm satiated after eating this meal, but convince myself that I'm hungry hours later.
  • Social: Eaten alone in front of computer
  • Cost: About $14.
  • Similar meals:
    • Other Factor75 meals.

Conclusion: In general, a plate that consists of about a 8oz of protein, and a veggy, cooked without sugar or much oil, is optimum.  Try dry rubs, or cajun spices.  Whether cooked at home or eaten out, this might be a bit more expensive than the meal delivery.  Both chicken and sirloin have about the same protein percentage at around 30%, while fish has a protein percentage a bit lower at 24%.  You might have to experiment with a larger portion of the salmon to get the same protein and calories.

Ted Naiman is not the enemy.

 Dr. Naiman has been arguing agains the carbohydrate-insulin model of obesity, and arguing for vastly increased protein intake.  He even goes so far as to suggest some low-fat items to substitute in the diet.  The hypothesis is that it's the ratio of protein to carbohydrate and fat that matters -- carbohydrate and fat being sources of energy, and protein being a source of nutrient. The more protein for the least energy, the better.

The thing that brought me around to his way of thinking is his recounting of his personal journey as a physician on the diet doctor website.  He prescribed a traditional low-carb diet to his patients for 20 years, but found that some of them stalled out.  The culprit was too much fat, and the P/E diet was born.

Dinner inspired by Dr. Naiman was an 8oz sirloin and double broccoli at my favorite restaurant!  $20 +tip, but I got my usual $5 discount that happens every so many meals.

My 2023 Fitness Infographic


There is a lot of room for improvement in my workout schedule.  There were a couple of 2-month long periods where I was exercising pretty regularly, but there are also intervening months where I am doing nothing.  I'm not 100% sure this log represents all activity, but it's reasonably accurate.