Sunday, February 27, 2011

Journey To The "Six-Pack" Now Complete

If you're so inclined, you can read my final summary and see final photos of my Chris K-inspired quest for six-pack abs here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

That Was The Problem

If you've been following my 6-pack ab travails, you remember how I mentioned I was nearly blacking out upon standing up, almost every time. I did a little research (and got some helpful comments from you guys) and came to the conclusion that I had dropped my sodium levels too low. Well, upon bumping it up (to around 1,000mg/day), I've learned that it was a correct conclusion. No more dizzy spells, no more near blackouts.

However, I've thrown a different wrench into my quest. I'm currently in a low carb phase, which is giving me some new challenges. First, I'll state that I'm NOT a big fan of a high protein, low carb diet (based on only 3 days of it so far). I constantly feel bloated (12 oz. of chicken per day, with insufficient roughage will do that), plus I'm dropping too much weight (which attests to the effectiveness of the Atkins & other similar diets). In addition, it's just not a sustainable diet. I'll try to stick with it for a couple more days, then shift back to a normal macronutrient balance before boosting carbs the last couple of days to replenish my glycogen stores (& hopefully make my muscles fuller) before I take final photos.

Chris K, why did I listen to you? You're laughing at my expense, aren't you?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sodium Concerns

[re-posted from my abs blog]

As I'm in wrapping up the first week of my stretch-drive diet, I have numerical data to analyze. This week, I've been eating about 1900 calories per day. My macronutrients look like this: protein — 28%, carbohydrates — 62%, fat — 10%.

I'm also tracking my sodium intake. Distance runners (or any endurance athletes that sweat) need a good amount of sodium. As a sidelined runner doing very little cardio work (i.e. not sweating much), I don't need as much. Through research, I know that bodybuilders drastically cut their sodium intake as they approach a contest, since this eliminates water retention which will blur muscle definition. With that in mind, I've been keeping my sodium intake low. Just how low I've been keeping it is becoming an eye opener.

I'm averaging about 550mg of sodium per day. I didn't think that was terribly miniscule until I researched what a "low sodium" diet entails. Some low-sodium diets to control high blood pressure suggest keeping sodium intake "as low as 1500-2000mg per day." Wow. I'm WAY below that. Average Americans consume a TON of sodium daily (not literally...but it's a lot!) The US RDA for sodium is under 2,400mg.

Why did I become interested in this number? Honestly, I've been blacking out and nearly fainting about every other time I stand up from a seated position. I believe my body might be in a hyponatremic state. The instances are becoming more frequent, so I'm suspicious that my low sodium intake may be causing it.

I've got two weeks until my final photos. Next week, I'll attempt to raise my sodium levels to around 1000mg per day to see if the dizzy spells & blackouts subside. In the few days leading up to my photos, I'll reduce the sodium back down. I think I may have jumped the gun!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ab Challenge Update, and a Big Congrats

I'm down to the final 3 weeks of my abs quest. They're going to be very challenging, but I think it's going to end long as my wife doesn't kill me before then.

I'm sure it's being said on many a running blog across the interwebs, but I want to add my congratulations for the man who tortured challenged me to get a 6-pack, Chris K of BQ or Die fame, who did as his blog title suggests. No, not die, but BQ! After coming back from a fractured heel last summer, then working on his running form until he was blue in the face, busting out a BQ time in yesterday's Surf City marathon is very impressive. So Chris, again, congratulations! And I don't care what the inmates down at the corrections facility say about you, you're a manly man and a role model to us all. Long may you run fast and injury free.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Another Visit With Doc — Moving Forward

I had another visit with my sports med doctor this morning in regards to the ongoing saga of my heel injury. It's been a good month, in regards to pain...or lack thereof. So, we're on to the next phase of his program, which is STRENGTHENING. I'll be doing various heel raises, daily, for the next several weeks in order to recondition and strengthen my calves and Achilles tendons. I've also been given the go-ahead to notch up the intensity of my rides (and can actually ride outdoors now on a flat course, weather permitting). No running yet. I meet with him again in 6 weeks where, hopefully, he'll okay some very short & easy running.

Numbers-wise, here's how January panned out:

Runs: 0
Running Miles: 0
Outdoor cycling: 0
Cardio (on Schwinn Airdyne): 243 min.
Pushups: 980
Pull-ups: 438
Sit-ups: 955
Dips: 609
Squats: 484
Weight workouts: 10 / 312 min.

Body weight since Jan 1: -7.2 lbs.
Waist, since Jan 1: -1.1"

I'm in the stretch drive with my Chris K induced Ab quest, with both positive and challenging results.

So that's where things stand. Rehab has been a long, slow process, and my patience is certainly being tested, but I've committed to buying into my doctor's program, since I've seen no reason not to. But that means s-l-o-w-l-y getting back into the running game. Currently, the only race on my schedule this year is the Northwest Passage Ragnar Relay, in late July. While I won't be in top shape by then, I hope to have enough training behind me to at least help out the team, and not kill myself in the process.