Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The solution to Time-crunched Athletes


I am a full-time Doctor training in Adult Pulmonary Medicine and time is a luxury I do not have. Reports, lectures and patients eat away my daily hours. On top of that, I am an exercise addict and want to sweat to relieve stress and stay healthy. 

I used to train 10-15 hours a week when I trained for my first Ironman 70.3 in CamSur. This was 2 years ago and I was not doing medical training back then. Now, I have to squeeze in a few minutes to hours (if I am lucky) just to run or bike or swim in my hectic time schedule. I can only commit to 3-5 hours per week of training and need to build good quality workouts in my training program. 

In a few days, I will register for the 2013 Ironman 70.3 Philippines and have to be ready enough to finish the 1.9K swim, 90K bike and 21k run. Despite my half-ironman finish last 2010 and 2011, I am still nervous I may not be prepared for next year's race. I have committed to losing weight and be as lean as I can next year. I hope to achieve target race weight of 68 kilos by March next year. So far, I have lost more than 5 kilos in more than 2 months and still losing. I use an accurate weighing scale and a BEI measurement device to  keep track of my progress. I record my weight, body fat percent, Basal metabolic rate (BMR) and Body mass index (BMI) every week. (I will soon blog about how to properly use a BEI device)

I convinced myself to cut down on my daily calorie intake and started to choose high quality foods. No processed foods as much as possible. I eat lots of proteins, drink as much water and regularly take my daily food supplements. I still eat at least 3x/day sometimes as often as 5x depending on my daily energy expenditure. I eat small meals enough to satisfy my stomach and not feel hungry all the time. I snack on high quality foods like fruits or nuts to keep me full. Although I allow myself cheat days, this half of my training regimen has been successful. Losing weight and staying healthy is not just about cutting down on food intake. 

The other half is more difficult. I have to exercise or train with only 3-5 hours to spare a week. I have to make quality workouts on my swim, bike or run training to achieve good results. I can only do my bike training using a trainer to maximize time. Cutting down on bike preparation prior to a ride, I can start spinning and focus on my program immediately after commencing my spin program. I usually spin with Team Reborn mates Jung and Gianluca to bear the pain of spin training. I repeatedly remind myself of my mantra while suffering on the trainer. IWBMATTKYT. "I Will Beat My Ass Today To Kick Yours Tomorrow" I got from The Sufferfest website for cyclists. I keep my runs short and hard. Long runs are faster than my previous long slow distance (LSD) runs. I rate my efforts based in on a RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) scale of 1-10. Interval workouts are usually at 8-9 (sometimes 10) and recovery at 6-7 on the scale. Because of my lack of time, I follow a training principle called HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training.

HIIT principle states that workouts/ intervals need to be hard enough to cause a sharp increase in oxygen consumption (VO2 max) to maximize exercise gains followed by bouts of recovery. This method can help you build power and endurance in only a short amount of time per workout. It also improves weight loss by burning fat hours after your workout. Running HIIT will have more exercise gains compared to an ordinary run workout of the same duration. The only drawback is that you have to tolerate the suffering. It hurts to push your body harder (not longer) with only a short burst of near-maximal to maximal effort followed by a recovery phase and repeatedly doing it. Workout sessions last only 20-30 mins but are as effective as longer programs. And because sessions are shorter, It reduces risk of injury from overuse or overtraining when done properly. 

If you are a time-crunched athlete like me then maybe you should start incorporating HIIT training to fully maximize your exercise gains. Time is never an excuse to not exercise. Make time to exercise. Your body is your biggest investment. See you on the road!!! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

I am joining the 2013 Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines



I was just given the approval to join the next Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines in Cebu, Philippines. I can't wait to register this December 1, 2012.

I missed the 2011 edition of the Ironman 70.3 Philippines since I had already raced in the Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore and will only race once a year. This year, as part of my Adult Pulmonary Medicine fellowship Medical training, I was in Palawan for our Midyear Convention while the participants raced the streets of Cebu last August 2012. Next year, despite the lack of time for serious training I will join the Ironman 70.3 Philippines to be one with my team mates (Team Reborn). I will not aim for a fast finish but will try to do my best to finish strong despite the lack of time to follow our training program. 

I am so excited to resume fitness training once again. I have been trying to lose weight to compensate for my lack of training. If I can't commit to long training hours to increase fitness power then I need to lighten up to improve performance. I hope to be 68 kilos on race day. We, Team Reborn, have been keeping track of our weight, Body mass index and body fat percentage and So far I am on track. Started with 77 kilos prior to resuming training and have lost more than 5 kilos in the past 8 weeks. I will soon blog about how I lost weight properly despite my busy schedule. I am now as healthy as I was 2 years ago when I joined my first Ironman 70.3 race. I still have to lose a few centimeters of fat in my midsection which I accumulated from not exercising and eating more than I should. This time, I am determined to lose weight and control my diet. 

I want to be an Ironman once again. With God's help, I will be successful in my Adult Pulmonary Medicine training and Ironman 70.3 training next year.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My First Race this year


My last run race was last year during the Milo Marathon in Manila. I finished the half-marathon with a painful right knee in more than 2 hours. After that race, I started focusing more on building my cycling fitness and swimming techniques. No runs.

To complete my medical training, I am now pursuing subspecialty training in Adult Pulmonology. I have not been running or training since March. Recently, I resumed training to lose weight and regain my fitness. Started running and spinning when I have the free time and have been controlling my food intake. This is easier said than done. I love to eat.

To save time, I do short hard intervals in running and cycling. This raises my heart rate high enough to promote weight loss despite the short duration. I can only run 10K and sometimes do 14-16k long runs on weekends after work. 

Last Sunday, I was invited to run the Gold's Gym race held in JCentre Mall. I planned to do an easy 16k but made a last minute decision to run race pace for the first 10K split to see if I have improved my 10K run and recover for the next 6K. Thanks to my team mate Jomer Lim who paced for me, I had completed the 10K in 49:57 minutes. My legs then started to sore and felt heavy so decided to just do a run-walk interval to complete the run. I crossed the 16K finish line in 1:24:56 minutes and completed a long cool down of stretches and walking. 

Because it suits my schedule, I prefer to train only for 10K run races. I can't wait to run my next race.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My NEWTON Shoes have had enough.



After countless kilometers and races conquered, my Newton running shoes have had enough. I think its time to let them rest. 


My afternoon run last Sunday was 15Km to Mactan Island. Ran Average 6:00 min/Km under the cold drizzling weather. God has blessed me knowing that I have not done long runs in a long time. 


After my run, brushed off the mud and dirt from my Newtons and saw this. I guess its time for a new one.   


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Need to Lose Weight...


Exercise as much as you can. 

Control your appetite. 

Drink lots of water.

Drink your supplements regularly.

Measure Weight, BMI and Body Fat Percentage. 

See you soon! 


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