Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tabata Protocol (continued)

This was my second week doing the Tabata workouts. Still stuck at 4 cycles. The protocol calls for 20 seconds at 170% V02Max which, given the lack of access to a lab and/or proper equipment, is a bit difficult to do. The first time, I went all out and later on, calculated it using the Internet and some fuzzy logic. So, this is how I went about it. Using a 5:55 min/mile as my pace for 3K, which is the V02Max pace (by one of many accepted notions), gives me 710 seconds for 3k which implies 23.67 seconds per 100m. At 170%, I'd need to cover 170m in 23.67s. For 20s (as per the protocol), I need to cover 143m and from online maps, it looks like I'm covering around 140m. The fuzzy logic comes in because I'm doing the Tabata cycles on grass whereas the 5:55 min/mile pace that I used to calculate my V02Max was done on tar, concrete, and dirt. Add to that the fact that I'm using online maps to measure my runs. So, fuzzy gets a bit fuzzier.

Nonetheless, the workout itself is a killer. I can barely finish 4 cycles of the protocol whereas it calls for up to 8 cycles. My RHR these days is around 42-45 but even after 2+ hours of finishing one of these workouts, I'm still ticking away at 70+ beat/minute.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My experience with the Tabata Protocol

This week I started experimenting with the Tabata Protocol. It's a form of high intensity interval training. This is what Wikipedia says about it:
A popular regimen based on a 1996 study[2] uses 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise (at 170% of VO2max) followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated continuously for 4 minutes (8 cycles). In the original study, athletes using this method trained 4 times per week, plus another day of steady-state training, and obtained gains similar to a group of athletes who did steady state (70% VO2max) training 5 times per week. The steady state group had a higher VO2max at the end (from 52 to 57 ml/kg/min), but the tabata group had started lower and gained more overall (from 48 to 55 ml/kg/min). Also, only the Tabata group had gained anaerobic capacity benefits.

On Monday, I tried and could only go up to 4 cycles before I could go at maximum intensity no more. On Wednesday, I tried again and this time I made it to 5 cycles before saying "Na mas". It is quite incredible how exhausting even 120 seconds of high intensity exercise can be. The main thing is to be able to go at high intensity for all cycles. The moment you feel yourself faltering is the time to stop. I'm going to keep at this for a while to see what benefits follow.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Does running make you sweat more easily especially when you eat spicy foods?

These days, if I eat spicy food, my body breaks into a sweat in less time than it takes Usain Bolt to run a 400m lap. No kidding. It's really strange but I think I know why, after all these years of trying to find the truth. Over the past decade since I started running I've noticed this change happen slowly but surely. Back then I could eat any spicy food, even raw green chillies, without breaking into a sweat. I still can, in the sense that I don't feel the need to reach for the nearest glass of water when eating anything spicy. My tongue doesn't feel as if it's on fire, my eyes do not turn red and watery, and there's no steam coming out of my ears like in the cartoons. However, my face becomes covered with sweat - almost instantaneously. It's bizarre and embarrassing especially when you have to explain it to your buddy or whoever is sitting across you at the table. So why does this happen?

Over the years, I've tried researching but haven't run into anything specific. Maybe there are studies but I just haven't seen them. What I've gathered from tidbits and anecdotes here and there and also from talking to a friend who happens to be a doctor is this: my running has resulted in a more efficient cooling system. The body sweats in response to a rise in the core temperature of the body. The more efficient this temperature sensing and subsequent cooling mechanism is, the earlier you sweat. For instance, if you watch the NBA basketball players on TV, they are covered in sweat after about a minute or two into the game. Same logic. Also, the sweat glands are probably more enlarged and possibly more in number as compared to a sedentary person.

The next time this happens to you, think of yourself as a lean, mean, sweating machine. :)

Have to go now, it's time for my afternoon snack - jalapeno Bhoot Jolokia poppers. But, if you have a similar experience to share, send me a few bytes.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Energy drinks work as soon as they touch your tongue

Interesting article on New Scientist. Energy drinks work as soon as they touch your tongue

If you spit out an energy drink after taking a sip, it could still boost your strength. This pre-digestive effect is immediate and seems due to a newly discovered neural pathway that links taste buds to muscles.