Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fit by Fifty: The Close of Week 2; and More Penis Talk

Two gold stars-one for each week. While you might find my calorie counting and routine mapping compulsive, it is important to me because if I don't measure these things two things will happen. Thing 1: Without measuring, I'll not be able to systematically map my progress or monitor feedback; Thing 2: I'll lose focus--and likely not do it at all. Having an outcome (a graph etc) ensures that I complete the process.

In order to measure my physical activity in terms of quality and quantity, I set up an Excel worksheet. Here's WK 1. I exercised for 86 minutes. You can see that I've kept track of my time in each zone. (My hrm does this for me).

Because each zone is different in terms of load, I've adopted Sally Edward's point system. I get one point for each minute in Z1, 2 points for Z2....

Here's WK 2. I exercised for 233 minutes--144 minutes longer than WK1. It was a little lower in WK2 @ 2.31 v 2.39. But I had 5 days of activity.

I'm sure that you must be asking, "Why bother measuring time in zones?" It is an excellent question, and I promised in an earlier post that I would discuss the importance.

Your body burns different types of fuel at different workout levels. The fuel your body burns is the same fuel that you stuff in the gas tank: carbs, fats and protein. Protein is nominal in all zones. Your body is smarter than you are and alot more efficient. Accordingly, it is going to burn the most effective fuel for the exercise load. As you can see from the figure below, as your exercise intensity increases, your body switches to stored glycogen (carbs).

You understand, then, why it is important for athletes who must compete at these high intensity levels must carb load. They have to have as much glycogen in their muscles to fuel their activity (to include replenishing it throughout the activity). When the fuel runs out, you bonk (you get stopped dead in your tracks, maybe pass out from low blood sugar).

It is true that you burn more calories at higher intensities and ultimately a calorie deficit enables you to lose weight. Nevertheless, it is useful to keep in mind that if you are fat and not fit then you cannot exercise at a higher capacity for very long--you risk injury to yourself by overloading your heart and your body's infrastructure.

I have to put myself in this category (though no one would call me fat to look at me). Exercising more moderately will help you build a base from which to condition the body. You will NOT be uncomfortable, and you will be improving your fitness. The key is to exercise for longer periods at these lower intensities more frequently.

As I'm building my base, I want to be in the 2.3-2.5 range for at least the first month--maybe two-- to get in the habit of exercising and to not re-injure my foot. Understand that I'm doing the same types of exercise as I did with a 5 year younger body previously. Accordingly, I'm trying to listen to this older body! So far it is not yelling at me.

I've been surprised by my lack of foot pain. Also, my ankles have not rolled in the past two weeks.

Here's my final chart. I took Macy and Daisey out for a 2.6 mile walk/run. I saw a neighbor on the way. He was diagnosed about 3 years ago with Type 2 diabetes. He took control of his health at the time by losing 60 lbs, stopping smoking and exercising. I asked him about how he was doing. Well....he's not doing so much. We commiserated. I evangelized a bit, and I told him that by managing his diabetes, he would help keep his penis healthy. His ears perked up. He was surprised to learn that diabetes contributes to erectile dysfunction. If you'd like, you can read about it here.

As I was going through my cool-down, I encountered two dogs, Toby and RJ....both are un-neutered males and were intent on sniffing my two girls (who are spayed). This could not happen as a dog fight would ensue. I had a nightmarish vision of leashes tangled around limbs (Daisey already had Macy's tangled around her leg) and then great skin burns and bone snaps from them tightening. When we have these dog threats, both M and D start snapping at each other.

You can see the spike in my heart rate. I was already tired, and I was putting a load on my heart by tugging my two girls and commanding "This way". They dutifully followed with the boys wistfully following behind.


Dr. Bob said...

I am amused by your recent posts. You are correct about your concern over metabolic syndrome. But as a physician, I think the problem is deeper than that. In fact, to save Medicare, the best thing everybody can do is to work hard up until age 65 then drop dead (preferably at home; it's much cheaper). The problem isn't metabolic syndrome, but people like my grandma who lived to age 100 and my mother who died last month at age 90. When Medicare was first structured, life expectancies were much shorter and medical costs were much, much less. So altho staying healthy will help you to a longer and better retirement, you will ultimately cost Medicare more $.

By the way, I again thank you for your reference to Gary K.'s radio site. I find it is often helpful. I, too, heard the stocks mentioned. But I believe that it was the following day that he again stated that he had not invested any of his client's money in the market at this time. They are still 100% cash.

I tried one of those sites to list foods eaten as a way to lose weight. I lasted one day. I will try again soon. Best of luck to you.

Have you ever seen the blog Slope of Hope? Very well written. The author is the developer of Prophet charts. He tends to be bearish even in the best of times, but with the exception of the past week he is having an extraordinary year.

Leisa said...

Dr. Bob--I'm certain that you are correct about the initial structure on Medicare!

Nevertheless, the incidence rate of chronic diseases--particularly those that are implicated with metabolic syndrome--(CAD, diabetes, CKD) increases every year. And they are expensive. I saw the Medicare claims costs on the chronically ill in Medicare....I haven't received in my lifetime the amount of medical care some of those folks get in a year. So, I'll stand by my comment (good naturedly of course!) and do my best to relieve Medicare of avoidable costs from my being ill--and hopefully not from kicking the bucket too early!

Further, when roping in hypertension, now we've got huge contributors to CKD. And no equation is more tilted toward saving a few nickels than ESRD patients. It costs on average 100K per year (and the costs vary rather remarkably across health plans)--but that was the average.

And....performing unnecessary procedures on folks who are at end of life is also problematic.

Slope of Hope---I sure hope that is it on my info mosaic. I love Tim Knight--I used to post there frequently! I sent him a bear reading book end as an appreciation for his work. He has quite a community there. A few years ago, it was just a handful of comments daily.

Gary K is superb. I'm glad you are tuning in.

My food diary told me some nasty secrets! But, I find that if I have to record it, and it is something naughty v. nutritional, I'll make a better choice.

dr.bob said...

Now I see Slpoe of Hope on the side of your blog. I should have known that I could not find anything new for you. Then again, perhaps you would find this interesting. Altho it is long, it is broken into chapters so it can be consumed a few chapters at a time instead of all at once as I did last night.
You may find portions too elementary, but it is a good summation of our current economic circumstances.
By the way, I believe that the above link came via Slope of Hope (2sweeties).

Brad Hefta-Gaub said...


Thanks for mentioning on your blog.

BTW, this post about your fitness zones is really great. Very well written.

Dr. Bob's comments about the best way of saving medicare is for all of us to promptly die at home on on 65th birthdays is funny... sad... and probably true... but still funny.

Anyway, you're post about zones is great, and a good explanation. It's exactly the kind of content we believe people want to read from their peers. So please, write some great stuff like that on your Sweat365 blog!



Leisa said...

Hi Brad--thanks for your comment. I'll post this on my sweat365 blog.