Category Archives: Health

Biomarker testing

My last post included a link to a video by Dr. Rhonda Patrick on vitamin D and the importance of that vitamin. She made a reference to testing relatively frequently to make sure you are in the optimal range (40 to 60 nanograms).

I test every six months with InsideTracker. They have quite a suite of biomarkers that they test for, including vitamin D and many others that are performance related (testosterone, cortisol, hemoglobin, among others). I’m used the information I’ve gained to alter my diet and make adjustments to my other routines.

Send me a note if you’re interested in finding out more. I may have a discount code that I can give you if they aren’t running any specials (no benefits to me; I’ve asked for one in the past and they’ve obliged for clients/referrals).

Preventing Colds and the Flu

Now that the season transition is in full swing, cold and flu season is upon us. At least here in the northern hemisphere, the days are short and it’s harder to train given the limited daylight and uncooperative weather. The last thing we need is to get sick to further disrupt our workout schedule.

I came across this article from RealAge.com and found the advice to be pretty good common sense. You can read the details for yourself, but basically, the gist from a nutrition standpoint is:

  • Vitamin C supplementation might be helpful for athletes who work out outdoors
  • Echinecea won’t help prevent colds but might help reduce the length of a cold
  • Probiotics are like echinecea in that they won’t prevent but may reduce length of a cold

Other healthy habits mentioned include washing your hands and disinfecting surfaces likely to harbor cold germs, such as doorknobs and faucets.  That extends to your work environment of course, so if you wash your hands and then have to open the door, you may have contaminated your hands again — keep some disinfecting gel at your desk to help with that.

From a cyclists perspective, the other things to consider include making sure you keep up on your fuel intake and don’t let yourself get too drained and become susceptible.  Keep up with your hydration as well, since the air tends to be drier in the winter time.  If you have any other thoughts or tips that work well for you, feel free to post your favorites.

Ramping Up With Spring

Here in the mid-Atlantic over the last week or so, it’s really starting to feel like Spring is on its way.  Anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, though, the days are getting longer.  Warm days are not too far in the future.  Early season races are starting to show up on the calendar (and even being raced).  The enthusiasm for racing is building and so are the thoughts of getting out there and going for epic rides, especially when a warmer day (or not so cold day) comes through.

I want to ride until my legs falls off.  Depending on your training to date, that might be a short ride or a long one.  Remember that training load is:

Duration  x  Intensity  x  Frequency

How often you ride, how long you ride (miles or hours), and how hard you ride, all determine your “base fitness”.  Duration and frequency are the easy ones to track.  Intensity becomes somewhat harder unless you use a power meter on your bike (and then it’s relatively easy).

The rule of thumb.  Since this is a cycling blog, let’s use the rule of legs.  A pretty common training concept is to increase weekly mileage or duration no more than about 10%.  If you have a good base in your legs, that works fine to help manage fatigue and prevent injuries that might occur from ramping up too quickly.  If you’ve got nothing else to go on, then use that as a guide.

More rules.  Okay, not rules but more like guidelines.

  • Keep track of your morning weight.  Do this to track hydration status more than anything else.  Some folks are better than others at replenishing after a ride and if you’re not as good as you can be, this is something that might help you.  If you have weight loss as a goal, you can see the longer term trends by gathering more data points.
  • Use morning heart rate.  I’m not a big fan of heart rate in general because of the myriad external (non-performance) factors that influence it, but here is a good example of how heart rate can provide some insights.  An elevated morning heart rate might just indicate that you have not fully recovered from your previous workout and that you may need to go a little easy or take a day off.
  • Learn to listen better.  Get in tune with how you feel and use that as a guide for when you might need rest.  Your body is talking to you; it’s up to you to listen closely.  However, don’t let poor motivation be an excuse to skip your workout.
  • Eat better and sleep more.  You’ve heard it before.  Good nutrition can have a significant impact on your health, energy levels, and recovery.  Sleep is critical to recovery as well.  Plan these as much as you plan your workouts because you only get better with good recovery.  Don’t waste your workouts by not recovering properly.

Sometimes it’s okay to break the rules.  Just know the consequences (fatigue, soreness, etc.).  Now get out there and ride until your legs fall off!