Monday, October 31, 2011

Losing Lance 2.0 Update

After 11 weeks on Optifast I've noticed that as long as you follow the plan, you will lose weight no matter what. There are a few things you can do to make it go down a little faster. The obvious one is exercise. But because of the ketosis process, it turns out water is the other item. Besides my "food" intake being only the 5 shakes a day and a pre packaged chicken broth, it's recommended that you  drink around 100 to 120 oz of additional water every day. That's been tough for me.

The last couple of weeks I decided to make an effort on the water front. My daily goal is to drink at least 100 oz a day. Some days have fallen a bit shorter than others. But for the most part I was successful. I actually added the "Alarmed" app to my iPhone and it reminds me every 90 minutes to Drink Water. The result has been pretty impressive: over the two weeks of drinking at least 100 oz. of water I've lost 12 lbs.

Because my ultimate weight loss goal is so huge, I've broken it down into manageable goals or stages. Each stage is based on losing 10% of body weight. (I wrote about this process during the first attempt at Losing Lance) My stages look as follows:

Starting weight: 344.5 (started 8/22/11)
Stage 1 Target: 310.1 (reached 9/19/11)
Stage 2 Target: 279 (reached 10/31/11)
Stage 3 Target: 251
Stage 4 Target: 226
Stage 5 Target: 203
Stage 6 Target: 180

So today, I reached my stage 2 target. Yesterday I went shopping for clothes and found myself buying size XL dress shirts. When I started this plan some of my XXL shirts were pretty tight and I had a couple of XXXL shirts. So it's been a good couple of days on the weight loss front.

Ride On!

Losing Lance 2.0 Update
Starting Weight: 344.5
Current Weight: 279.5
Weight Lossto Date: 65

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

5 Must-haves for a comfortable ride...

Friends, colleagues and students often ask why I like to ride so much. I often answer that I enjoy the feeling of man and machine working in unison to see how far or how fast I can go. Even in a pack of riders, it’s always about what I’m capable of doing on my bike. It’s probably why I actually enjoy long distance rides. Then the inevitable question: “doesn’t your butt hurt when you ride so far?” 
When I first started riding my answer used to be, “you get used to it.” However, the truth of the matter is that if there is pain, you don’t get used to it. And more importantly, if you’re feeling pain while riding, something is wrong. So through the years, by trial and error, I’ve discovered a five things that make my ride much more comfortable. I’ll share them over the next few posts. Today I’ll talk about the most important one:

1. A well fitted bike
    I often cringe when I see riders on ill-fitting bikes. A bike that isn’t set up correctly for the rider can cause a lot of pain and if not corrected, damage knees, backs, etc. 

    First, NEVER buy a bike from a big box retailer. If you’re buying a bike at Costco, Wal Mart, Target, etc. just because the price is cheap, you’re wasting your money; you’ll get what you pay for and it will end up taking space in your garage.  The person selling you the bike there is more interested in getting to their next break than getting you a great ride.
    Second,  assuming you went to a bike shop,  if the sales person’s idea of fitting your bike is to have you straddle the bike and ensure there is some space between top tube and crotch...walk away.  This happened to me once. He didn’t make the sale. 

    So what does a proper bike fit look like? At a minimum, a bike fit should adjust the following: 1)Frame size; 2) saddle angle; 3) saddle height; 4)saddle position; 5)handlebar stem size; 6)Handlebar height. Adjusting all of these elements increase comfort, decrease pain and allow for hours of enjoyment on the bike.

    Depending on the bike shop, and perhaps how much money you spend on a bike, you can get a shop to make adjustments that are very minute. This is usually done for people who race bikes.There are companies that for a few hundred dollars will ensure a proper fit based on body measurements etc. For most everyday riders, careful adjustments of the items I mentioned above will go a long way towards many miles of comfortable riding. 

    Next week... Finding the right saddle.

    Ride on!

    Losing Lance 2.0 Update
    Starting Weight: 344.5
    Current Weight: 288
    Weight Loss to Date: 57

    I found this short video on the REI website that covers these adjustments. While you can do them yourself. I found that it was much better when a trained person is able to make the adjustments while you’re sitting on the bike.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Wednesday: Interval Training

    It was a really hot day in San Diego. I did some interval training but it was so hot I was having a tough time getting my heart rate down during the recovery stages. Feeling stronger though.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Back on the Saddle Again...

    The Losing Lance Project 2.0 is moving right along. Week 7 resulted in my smallest weekly weight loss to date, only 1.5 lb. Total loss however is, even if I do say so myself, an impressive 50 lb. The two week Fall Break was challenging. As I mentioned last week, I attended a wedding in Des Moines and this past week there was a trip to Sacramento for a CTA PAC Committee meeting. Food temptations were everywhere. Moreover, all that traveling made sticking to the water intake requirement (120 oz) difficult. Now that I’m back in school and in a regular routine, I’m hoping things will improve. But enough of that, let’s talk about the bike; this is a cycling blog for goodness sake.

    As I’ve lost weight I’ve discovered that I have more energy. The problem is that my daily caloric intake is only 400-500 calories. This means that long endurance rides are out of the question. When I started the weight loss program I thought my riding would be doomed. What I’ve discovered is that I can ride for about an hour without the risk of bonking. The first time I rode after starting the program I  did an 80 minute ride and had to sleep the ride off for a couple of hours. So I’m relegated to doing 1 hour rides.

    The key to short workouts on the bike is to make them meaningful. Each ride has a goal or a focus. One day it might be improving the pedal stroke, another ride might be interval training another might be climbing repeats; there can even be easy recovery rides, but even those rides have a purpose. The key is to plan.

    The goal for the new training regimen is two-fold: 1) Accelerate the weight loss. 2) Increase aerobic conditioning by the time I reach my goal so that I can quickly build endurance for distance riding. I want to return to El Tour de Tucson in November of 2012 and do the full 109 mile ride. For now, I will be laying down the base for that, one hour at a time.

    I've decided to share the training plan I'm using for anybody interested in a doable plan with limited time. Click on the Training Schedule tab at the top of the page for more info.

    Ride on!

    Starting Weight: 344.5
    Current Weight: 294.5
    Weight Loss to Date: 50

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Losing Lance 2.0: Week 6 done . . . barely!

    Let's get the official weigh in out of the way. For week 6 on the program I lost 2.5 lb. I'm down 48.5 lb. total from my starting weight, and am now at 296.  I know, the numbers are great, especially for only being on the program for 6 weeks. However this was my first truly difficult week.

    I'm hoping the difficulty lies in the fact that I was in Des Moines for a wedding. We spent a lot of time visiting with Molly's relatives, and as these things go, we went from food-fest to food-fest. All the while, I was carrying my Clean Bottle and my Optifast packets, along with diet Sunkist soda in the trunk of the rental car.

    I handled all of the pre-wedding events and the wedding itself really well. It was on the last couple of days that I was really tempted and had to muster some flagging will power. So on the last day I ended up partaking of a single cheese stick and sone marinara sauce; my first piece of solid food in 6 weeks. In retrospect a horrible choice. Don't get me wrong, the cheese stick was really good! However giving in to a fried food wasn't a great choice. It made me think of how difficult it will be to change old eating habits in the future. Yet, I think it was at the very end of a long four days of food temptations so, I'll be kind to myself.

    As I write this, after spending less then a day at home, I'm on a plane to Sacramento for a meeting of the California Teachers Association's ABC Committee. I enjoy the work we do providing local unions with funds for their local school board elections. But food is always abundant at CTA events. So I'm gathering some will power and looking forward to getting home and jumping on my bike this weekend. Hopefully the cold I caught in Iowa won't get in the way.

    Ride On!

    Starting weight: 344
    Current t weight: 296
    Weight Loss to date: 48.5

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Losing Lance 2.0

    So it was over a year ago that I started blogging about my Losing Lance project and I haven’t posted anything here since. There's a reason why I didn't share much more, it was utter failure. Frankly, it was a great plan. But it suffered the fate of many great plans, bad execution.

    What became apparent to me during my year of on-again off-again struggle with weight loss was the realization that I just had too much weight to lose to nibble at the edges by modifying my calorie intake slightly. For me, constantly thinking about food and tracking daily intake seemed like too much effort. So I found myself on a lose two pounds gain three roller coaster. I needed something drastic.

    After years of rejecting the notion of surgical solutions I was ready to give it serious consideration. I quickly decided not to have bariatric surgery. So that left lap band surgery. As I talked to friends who had had the surgery and looked into whether my healthcare provider offered the surgery I found something drastic, but non-surgical, through Kaiser's Positive Choice Wellness Center, Optifast.

    Optifast is a drastically reduced calorie liquid diet program. 400 calories per day, served up in a shake that you mix yourself. It's a 70% protein 30% carbohydrate drink. Enough to nudge the body into mild ketosis, with enough carbs to allow the brain to function normally. In other words, because your intake of carbs is so low, your body shifts into burning fat stores, and I have plenty of those. So, like a bear in hibernation, I'm living off my body fat.

    I'm four weeks into the program and have lost a total of 35 pounds! About 10% of my starting weight. Which by the way had turned into an all time high of 344.

    Weight Chart 9 22


    So the goal is the same. To reach a weight of around 180 lb.

    As far as bike riding is concerned, because the calorie intake is so low, I can’t do long bike rides. The first time I went on a bike ride after starting the program I was exhausted after a 1 hour and 15 minute ride. I’ve gotten better. As I’ve lost weight, the rides have gotten easier, but I still don’t push it much past an hour. So my rides are now shorter, but are pretty focussed. So far I’ve been working on improving pedal stroke. Next week I’ll start working on some short climbing. I still see a personal trainer twice a week. I want to ensure that I don’t lose muscle mass.

    My goal is to update this blog at least weekly as life allows.

    Ride on!

    Sunday, July 18, 2010

    Salvaging my riding year...

    After a few posts on Operation Losing Lance, it's time for a post about cycling. For a cycling fan,  July is a  three week Superbowl. It's Tour de France time. Although Lance Armstrong has spent more time than ever asphalt body surfing, July is about a lot more than Lance.  I'm always impressed by how these pro riders get up day after day and ride around the French countryside. Over 2,200 miles up and over the Alps, the Pyrenees and on to the Champs Elysee in Paris. It's truly inspiring.

    This year, July has been simultaneously inspiring and frustrating. Not only have I been watching the Tour de France every day, but in June I was able to watch the start of the Race Across America, (RAAM) in which riders race from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD. Oh, and by the way, no stages, you have 10 days to complete the mission. And as if that weren't enough, Molly's colleague, Rocco,  has used his summer break from Palomar College to ride alone across the country. All of this just makes me want to jump on "The Girl" and ride.

    The frustration comes from how little I've ridden this year, especially when compared to the last three years.  By this time in each of the last two years I had ridden close to 1,000 miles. Last year, not only had I ridden that many miles, but I had participated in the Tour de Palm Springs, Spring Ensenada-Rosarito, Solvang Half-Century, San Diego Metric Century and the Los Angeles River Ride Century. This year, I've only ridden in the Tour de Palm Springs.

    Milagae comparison.jpg

    While being involved in union leadership and logging lots of miles on the saddle don't mix well at all, it's time to do something about it. I'm obviously not going to stop teaching. Given the challenges on public education, this is not the time to sit on the sidelines either. So, training needs to be less about accumulating a large number of miles, and more about making every ride count. I can probably ride three maybe 4 times a week. Every ride needs to be either about improving technique, increasing hill-climbing strength, or developing endurance for long rides. The work I'm doing with the personal trainer has really improved my core strength, which has improved to more comfort and strength on the bike. the next few months will be about fewer miles, but more purposeful miles.

    I also want to salvage the last part of the riding calendar. I'm committing to riding the September Rosarito-Ensenada ride, the Solvang Prelude in early November as well as my favorite ride of the year, the Tour de Tucson. Having these rides as goals helps me stay on track with training. I will be away next week, in Asilomar, CA for some CTA work. However I will take my bike. I'm hoping to carve out some time and ride the 17 mile Drive. I'll post pics on facebook.

    Ride On!