Glute Power Day

Workout Stage: Build 1

Week: 3

Workout Type: Power emphasis bike ride and hill sets

Purpose

Similar to last week we are continuing with our muscle mass/power workouts for the biking portion of triathlons or for road racing.

We started with a basic warmup and then did 2 x 1 hour sets for building power on the bike which looked like this:

(Repeated Twice – 1 Hour Each)

Warm Up, 5-10 minutes of spinning

3 x: 1 minute high cadence, 1 minute recovery

Exercise 1

Next we moved into one of the main building sets.

5x: 2 minutes at threshold(~170bpm for me) and should be at whatever cadence you feel powerful at pushing a pretty big gear

5 minutes of recovery

Exercise 2

This whole set is completed in TT/aero position.

5 minutes pushing a really big gear at about ~70-75rpm, getting the heart rate up to threshold(again ~170bpm for me)

10 minutes at about ~90-95rpm maintaining the same effort pushing a fairly large gear still

5 minutes pushing a really big gear at about ~70-75rpm, getting the heart rate up to threshold(again ~170bpm for me)

This workout was arguably the toughest spin workout I’ve ever done. 20 minutes at threshold is hard work.

Next we went for a run.

Warmup

Comfortable pace for about 15 minutes(about 4:45min/km for me)

Then find your favorite long hill.

Exercise 1

3-5x: 1 minute hill bounds: Bound up the hill using your glutes, they should feel fatigued near the top

Exercise 2

2-3x: 1:30 of running up hill without the heels of your feet touching, should feel it in the calves. It’s like running calve raises.

Cooldown

15 minutes at a comfortable pace.

This was a real good workout. Unfortunately I cramped up in my quads at the end of exercise 1, and only could do 1 set of exercise 2 because I had to get out of the valley I was in. Oh well, with time my body will adjust! Overall the workout ended up being about 2200 calories burned. So it was ice bath time and lots of food when I got home.

Also, as a side note, I saw a really cool article on Sweat Science(check it out) about age related muscle loss and triathletes. This makes me want to keep with this until the day I keel over: http://sweatscience.com/the-incredible-unaging-triathlete/

Advertisements

Basa, a cheap alternative to white fish

One thing I’ve never really known how to cook well is fish.  When ever I walk into large grocery stores and head to the seafood section, I’m always intrigued by the wide variety of different fish I know nothing about. So as one of my New Year’s resolutions, I’ve challenged myself to cook two new types of fish per month. Although I can do Salmon up fairly well and really love the taste of it, I think it’d be a shame not to try other types of fish especially considering how expensive Salmon is here. One great thing about seafood is that it is a high source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, fish is high in protein and low in saturated fat even if it’s Omega 3 levels aren’t that high.  These acids have been linked to many health benefits such as decrease in the Cardiovascular disease, increased immune system performance, and for athletes, decrease in inflammation.

I found this great table below from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=84, which is a great source of nutrition information.

World’s Healthiest Foods rich in
omega 3 fatty acids
FoodCals%Daily Value
Flax seeds112199.5%
Walnuts16494.5%
Sardines19786.6%
Salmon15852.5%
Soybeans29842.9%
Halibut15925.8%
Scallops12717%
Shrimp11215.4%
Tofu8615%
Tuna15813.7%

The nutritional data base NUTTAB 2006 developed by FSANZ provides the following analysis for Omega 3 fatty acids of various types of fish;

  • Smoked cod steamed 302mg per 100grams.
  • fish finger 161mg,
  • Australian tinned salmon in brine then drained 2456mg,
  • sardines in oil drained 2511,
  • Basa fillet steamed just 69mg.
Anyways, enough about Omega-3’s. To make my cooking challenge easier, and to fuel my cookbook purchasing addiction I’ve grabbed this great book:
My awesome new cookbook!

It’s a massive hard cover book that references many different types of seafood and goes through everything from cleaning them to cooking them. I am quite impressed with it although it arrived after my first seafood purchases and I have yet to try it out.

On my latest trip to Superstore, I found an interesting looking fish fillet known as “Basa Fish”. Basa is it’s North American and Australian name, but it also goes by Vietnamese Catfish, Mekong Catfish, Pacific Dory, Bocourti, and River Cobbler (UK). This fish is imported from the US and is also farmed off the Mekong River in Vietnam. There is a great deal of controversy surrounding this fish. Because it is a fairly cheap fish to produce, many restaurants around the world have taken to using this as a substitute for Cod and other more expensive white fish in breaded meals such as fish and chips. While this isn’t a huge deal, fish and chip shops are often doing this while advertising a higher quality fish is still being used. There has also been great concern over the quality of the Vietnamese imported Basa. This appears to be a product of the US fish farmers who are having difficulty competing with the lower prices the Vietnamese exporters are offering.

Basa Nutritional Information

based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving

* Calories/Calories from fat 154
* Protein grams 22
* Fat grams 6.9
* Saturated fat grams 2.6
* Sodium milligrams 86
* Cholesterol milligrams 77
* Omega-3 grams na

Anyway, I’ve found a super simple recipe online for Breaded Basa Fillets which is shown below. Two fillets cost under $4 and were fairly large. Bread crumbs can be found in the bakery section of your local supermarket and cost about $3 for 500g and keep in the pantry for about a year. The fish has a pretty mild taste and is reliant on its breading and sauces for taste. I adapted the sauce from the recipe I linked at the bottom and thought that it tasted good although I think I’m biased towards my own cooking. Any sauce for white style fish will work. This recipe can be prepared in about 5 minutes and cooked in about 10.

Super Easy Basa Breaded Fillets

Ingredients:

2 Basa Fillets

1 Egg

~1 Cup of Breadcrumbs

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sauce:

1 tsp honey mustard

1 tbsp hot sauce

1 tbsp ketchup

2 tsp paprika

1/4 cup mayonaise

1. Crack and whisk egg in bowl. Put bread crumbs in  another bowl. Place each fillet in bowl, coating in egg, then pat each side in breadcrumbs, creating a breaded layer. Repeat twice for each side of the fillet.

2. Preheat a frying pan with Olive oil. I found medium heat worked best(~5 or 6  out of 10). Place fillets in pan, cooking each side for ~5 minutes.

3. Mix sauce ingredients and serve as a ketchup style side to the fish.

Because this is a fish and chips style meal, I also cooked up some hash browns to substitute as my “chips”. The end result of the fish should look something like this:

Another interesting recipe I found after I had already cooked my fillets and was doing some research on the fish is this guy, which would be interesting to try if I ever come back to Basa which I probably will: http://www.healthy-quick-meals.com/basa-fish-recipes.html

Mmm Quinoa!

If you haven’t heard of Quinoa before, you need to check it out. This grain is commonly found in the bulk or health food section of your local supermarket. Additionally, you can find Quinoa at a better price in stores such as Bulk Barn or at Costco.

Originally native to South America, quinoa was once called “the gold of the Incas,” who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors. This is not surprising as it is considered a complete source of protein as it contains all eight of the essential amino acids we need for tissue development. Having as much as 22g of protein/cup makes this grain a great option for those in need of alternative sources of protein other than meat.

Quinoa is also quite simple to cook. You follow the same steps as rice, adding 1 cup of grain/2 cups of water. A good rice cooker can be used to cook the grain, however I find the best way to do it is to bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to a setting of 1 or 2 out of 10 on your burner with a slight crack between the lid and pot allowing some moisture to be released. Generally this will take about 25-30 min however your quinoa will be extremely fluffy and will reach full volume.

If you are really interested in alternative ways to use quinoa besides salads, Quinoa 365 is a great cookbook for incorporating this super-food into baking soups, salads and practically anything else you can imagine. I highly recommend this book.

I am a huge fan of modified Greek salads. I make the recipe below weekly. It can probably feed 3-4 people as a side course, but I generally eat the whole thing by myself after a big workout. Here it is:

Ingredients

2 cups water

1 cup Quinoa

1/2 Cucumber

1 Green Pepper

2 Tomatoes

3 cups of spinach

1/4 red onion

1/2 head of broccoli

1/4 cup Feta Cheese

3 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

Preparation

1. In a pot, bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat adding Quinoa bringing the water back to a low simmer. Simmer for 20-30mins or until the Quinoa is fluffy and no water is visible at the bottom of the pot. Take off burner, fluff with fork and allow to cool.

2. Meanwhile, chop all ingredients with method of choosing and place in a large salad bowl, crumbling feta over top with hands. (Note: Mix feta into salad, before adding Quinoa if still warm or hot. Otherwise the feta will melt and loose its crunchy texture.

3. In a sealable container, mix olive oil and balsamic Vinegar, seal and shake. Pour mixture over salad. Mix dressing in and serve.

Hope you found this useful!

References:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=142&tname=foodspice#nutritionalprofile

Where I came from and where I hope to go.

Sports, sports, sports. At a young age, I was introduced to high level hockey which I played from the time I was 6 until the age of about 15, playing at the highest level for my age group. I also somehow managed to fit in basketball, badminton, and cross-country running through out most of those years as well.

This all changed when in my grade 11 year when I decided to hang up my skates and try my hand at football. My first year was a bit of a mess. I’ve always considered myself a pretty gifted athlete, but getting thrown in with a bunch of guys who’ve been playing one of the most physical, violent, and intelligent games for many years was pretty tough. After taking a year to transition and riding the pine, I managed to start on both sides of the ball as a receiver and defensive back for my high school team. I also picked up long snapping duties on special teams as well as starting on all of the other units. The  end result was me playing every snap of the game.

At one of our inner-city rivalry games, I managed to catch the eye of a university scout and ended up signing a significant scholarship to the University of Alberta to catch footballs as a receiver for the Golden Bears. During my first season with the team, football became a 25 hour a week affair. Between game film, working out, team meetings, practices and games I was left with little time to relax, study, or recover mentally. After a tough year of university football with very little progress made and a disheartened interest, my life changed completely when I decided to completely abandon sports and physical exercise. To top it off, I transferred from Kinesiology into Computing Science.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret my new career path at all. I really do love it, but it is easy to neglect yourself and become that stereotypical computer nerd who has terrible posture, no physical fitness and spend all day, every day staring at that computer screen if you aren’t careful.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time it was for sure the lowest I’ve ever felt both mentally and physically in my life. Sure, the free time was great, but I wasted most of it on video games, tv, and other things that in no way made me a better person. Arguably the worst feeling was watching my body slowly transform from a fairly muscular wide receiver to a fattening university student.

Finally, for better or much financially worse, in May of 2011 I purchased my road bike. So far I can say with confidence that it was the best investment I have ever made in myself. I spent the summer commuting to and from work as well as doing rides on the evenings and weekends for pleasure and for fitness. To justify the purchase I promised myself I would not ride public transit, or bring my car to Edmonton, saving a great deal of money. While this proved to be a large annoyance when it came to getting groceries and other similar tasks, it is a great relief to know that I have reduced my impact on the environment greatly.

I found a new addiction in road biking. In the beginning I could ride no more than 40 kilometres without feeling extremely fatigued. I also joined a road riding club, which I recommend any new rider do and will hopefully talk about it in a later post. I slowly increased my distance and near the end of the summer I managed to put almost 200km/week on my bike and did my biggest ride of near 85 kilometres. It was somewhere in the middle of the summer that I considered I might take my cycling and physical fitness to a whole different level. With the rise of popularity in Ironman, and triathlon in general, I began to become intrigued by the sport and its athletes.

I’ve always been a strong runner, competing on the track team and cross country team when I was younger so I knew I could compete in that aspect. I was also becoming pretty confident that I could become strong on the bike as well with some work. So far so good, right? Oh yaa, I couldn’t swim to save my life. Despite this, I decided I would learn at the age of 19. I also plan to talk about my experiences with learning to swim and some advice I can give some new swimmers as well.

I’ve always enjoyed distance endurance sports. There is nothing better than being out alone, exercising, enjoying mother nature and dealing with what ever may be on your mind at the time. Relationship problems, that tricky solution to that program you are working on, or what you are going to make this week for dinner. I realized the importance and benefit of training with a club through my time spent with the Red Bike crew, so I began researching Triathlon clubs in which I could join to pursue this interesting sport.

Luckily, the University of Alberta has a Triathlon club right on campus.  For next to almost no cost, I’ve had the chance to meet and pick the brains of experienced racers, train on a well developed workout plan, and use the university pool and spin room during the cold winter months each twice a week since September. The club has been nothing but awesome to me. It is great to have the support and training partners with like minded students and community members of all levels ranging from beginner to Ironman level. Since then I have experience a great change in my physical fitness and as a result my overall confidence and happiness has also improved.

Anyways, that was the long winded version of how I got to here. I hope to go back and talk about some of my earlier experiences such as early training with the club, learning to swim, my cooking experiments, road biking clubs, and some cool stuff I’ve gotten to do as a programmer in Edmonton in later posts. In the mean time, I’m training for 4 Olympic distance Triathlons this summer, hoping to complete my first Half-Ironman in the next, and perhaps a full Ironman the year after.

God, yet another Blog?

Yes, yes, it’s been done I know. How many food enthusiasts, triathletes, or  software engineer blogs are out there? Millions, but I don’t know how many combinations exist with all three topics. So why do it? For me of course! I plan on using this to keep track of cool recipes, interesting technologies, and most importantly knowledge I’ve gained in training for triathlons. I hope to include cool workouts, share experience about training with a full course load, tips for recovering, and anything else a new, but dedicated triathlete might find useful.

Bike Power Day

Workout Stage: Build 1

Week: 2

Workout Type: Power Biking and Stair Sets

Purpose

Last night we started with a new workout for Tuesday nights. Instead of doing the regular 1 hour run, 1 hour bike, we did a 2 hour run followed by some running. The basic idea of this new workout day is to build more muscle mass for the biking portion of triathlons or for road racing. Now that we have developed some muscular endurance and have cardio in place, the advanced or more serious members in the club are doing this to help gain some more power on the bike and muscle in the legs.

We started with a basic warmup and then did 2 x 1 hour sets for building power on the bike which looked like this:

(Repeated Twice – 1 Hour Each)

Warm Up, 5-10 minutes of spinning

Exercise 1 – Big Hill Climb x 3

The trick with this one was to try and be at maximum threshold by the time you reach standing climb and maintain that until you enter recovery in Aero. The target heart rate should be between 165-180 bpm.

2 min aero(90-95  rpm),

1 min seated(Up intensity, 85-90 rpm),

1.5 min seated(Up intensity, 80-85 rpm),

1.5 standing(Maintain intensity, 65-75 rpm),

2 min aero(Maintain, 90-100 rpm),

3 min aero(recovery, 90-100 rpm).

Exercise 2 – Max Effort 1 Min On/1 Min Min Effort Recovery x 5

This exercise is designed to work on power as well, target heart rate should be between 165-185 during the sprint. During recovery, back off as much as possible to allow the legs to recover. You want to be pushing the biggest gear you could manage on a flat straight away while still feeling powerful. I find I am the most powerful at 95-100 rpm so I tried to find the highest resistance that I could hold at this cadence over 5 sets.

On the 4th set, try and beat your 1 set cadence by approximately 5 rpm. On the fifth, set try and hold your first set cadence.

Cooldown – 10 minutes

Cooldown Speed Set:

Start at 80 rpm, build up 10 rpm / 20 seconds until you reach 120 rpm, hold for 30 seconds, then reduce cadence by 10 rpm every 20 seconds. Make sure to put enough resistance on at high cadences so it feels like you are pushing against something to avoid doing damage to your legs.

For the remaining time do whatever it is that you normally do during a cool down.

After doing this twice we went and did a great run workout also emphasizing leg power.

Warm-up

10 laps around the track or approximately 2km run.

Exercise 1 – Stair Set w/ Lunges

Next we did 3 stair sets with approximately 24 stairs per set and 10 stair cases in the set. In between sets we did active recovery by performing 60-80 walking lunges(30-40 each leg).

Exercise 2 – 5 Lap Recovery w/ Karioka and Buildups

Next we did 5 laps or so to get the legs going again after some inducing some heavy stress from the stairs and lunges. Following this we did 3 sets of Carioca(video linked below) going each way once per set for a total of 6 times over a distance of about 30m. After this we did 4 sets of build ups which consisted of about 15 butt kicks, 15 high knees, then accelerate to ~90% of top speed over 25-30m followed by gradual deceleration. These are designed to work on quick twitch muscle development and helps allow the body to coordinate movements at higher speeds.

All in all this workout took about 3 hours. My Garmin said I burned about 2400 calories so be sure to bring a bunch of water, eat well before the workout, and bring some snacks to eat during the workout as well.

Note: Living in Edmonton, Alberta in the winter means we ride spin bikes until the snow goes away in March or April. While the spin bikes are awesome, they are no replacement for getting out on the road and actually riding.