…Through the virtue of training, Enlighten both body and soul — Morihei Sensei

Posts tagged “nutrition

Race Report: Georgia Veterans Triathlon 2012

Georgia Veterans Sprint Triathlon 2012 logo

Another great day at the Georgia Veterans Triathlon (Sprint).  I managed to put up a personal best for this race, despite sucky swim and bike conditions.

My previous posts for this race:

2010 Race Report

2011 One Year In

This may be my last prep race before Augusta 70.3 and then, Ironman Florida.  My main goals were to test some recent equipment changes, some transition tweaks, and nutrition strategies.  From those respects, everything went very nicely.

Down and Dirty

I really enjoy this race.  It was my first triathlon.  This is my third time doing it.  The swim, swim transition, bike course, and run course are all very friendly, and conducive to the first-timer, or the vet looking for something fun.  This time around, the weather was less than friendly with recent thunderstorms creating choppy lake water, and wet bike pavement.  There was a slight drizzle for the swim start, but it was gone by the time we got out of the water. The roads were wet for the bike, making navigation on the older road beds tricky.  However, the roads had dried a good bit by the run start.  I put up a personal best on this course, despite these issues.  It was a good day.

Distances:  400 yard swim, 13.6 mile bike, 5k run.  With relay team option, also

Course:  Loop 400 yard swim in Lake Blackshear;
13.6 mile loop  bike, no aid stations;

5k out and back run, 2 aid stations (can hit them going each way).

Registration:  $55, early mail-in, USAT member.  I hate online registration through those thieves at Active.com .

Host:  Georgia Multisport

Race Results

Weather:   I could see thunderstorms in distance on the road to the race.  It had clearly recently rained, and the race start was delayed 30 min, due to the delay in clearing the course from the recent thunderstorms.  (good thing too, because a tree had evidently needed to be cleared from the bike course roadway).  It was drizzling as we waited to start the swim, but that ended before we got out of the water.  The wind did, however, create the choppiest swim conditions I’ve seen to this point.  Even more difficult than Turtle Crawl.  Good training though–we can’t predict what race conditions will be for any future race, and it is necessary to train and be prepared for all sorts of things.  Same goes for the bike.  The road was wet, and at least one guy I passed got some road rash.  He stated all was good, though.  My front tire was skipping on the older eroded sections of asphalt.  Perhaps I could have taken a few pounds of pressure out of the front tire, but then again it was fine on the smooth sections which make up maybe three-quarters of the course.  Weather for the run ended up being ideal, and I was blowing past people at a high rate of speed.


  • Swim–Start at a sandy boat ramp.   A simple out for 150 or so yards, hang a right for 100 or so, and back.
  • Bike–Fairly flat.  The first third to half is twisty and mildly technical.  A couple of slow risers on the second half.  Virtually dead flat on the last stretch.
  • Run–Fairly flat also, a couple of short rollers between mile 1.5 and 2.5.  Punch it after the last turn.

Competition:   Mixed bag of super fast guys, and first-timers.

My results:  Mid pack on swim, Mid pack on bike, and front on run.  An improvement for me all things considered.  My greatest opportunities still lie in the swim and bike.  Need to work on muscular endurance for swim to better overcome tough swim conditions.  Once warmed up on the bike, I was able to build speed and hold it.  On the run, I kept my strokes short, and continued to build speed after first mile.

General Impression:   I really enjoy this race.  It is well organized.  Safety, especially on the tricky portion of the bike is a priority.  There is roadway traffic, but it is light with no jerks.  Nice looking t-shirt.

Room for improvement:   No complaints.

This time I made the three hour drive from home race day morning with no hotel stay.  This year it is important that I control my expense with two very expensive races on the calendar.  The previous two years I’ve spent the night before in a local hotel.  Also, with more experience, for these shorter races, I can wake up early, make the road trip, bust a race, ride back, all in one day.  Trick being, as with all races, to get a really good night’s sleep the second night before.  How many races can you really get a good night’s sleep the night before anyhow?

My goals were to test some things in preparation for Florida.

  • I had recently installed an new wheel set, which works beautifully, however the new gearing had some kinks to work out.
  • I’ve been training in Vibrams, but don’t want to race in them for a couple of reasons, hence I recently bought some Saucony Hattoris and wanted to test them in a race scenario.
  • New water bottle configuration, and homemade sports drink.
  • New bungee swim goggle straps, which have been working great in the pool, also worked great in the lake.

I woke up about 3am, got packed, out the door, and on the road by 4am.  Arrived at the venue right at 7am, set up transition, chilled out for a while.  Got a good warm up swim.  Bust the race.  Ate some post race food.  Saw I had no chance of medalling, and made the three hour drive to the princess’s soccer tournament.  After the tournament, drove home one hour.  Showered and made it to Keb Mo / Aaron Neville concert not too late.

Such is the life.

It was a good day.





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Sub 10–Again!

Inverted food pyramid implying that the USDA recommended food consumption is so much "baloney"

Not directly relevant, but highly apropo.

First the low down:  Just came in at 9.8% body fat, at about three pounds over my fighting weight.

I have been ostensibly following the slow-carb diet–of which I have had some success, first going under 10% briefly a few months ago.   I say ostensibly because in Ironman training, my calorie burn, delivery and demands are fairly high–not so easy to fulfill on Tim Ferris’s guidelines.  My monthly training calorie burn had been around 15,000 for the past six months, and just spiked to 25,000 in July.  I expect it to stay in the 25,000-35,000 range until I race.   I have not dropped weight, but I’ve been hovering around 11% the last few months.

The main diet rules I’ve been actually adhering to are:

  • Food selections very similar to my old simple diet rules
  • High protein breakfast, and no fast carbs–generally 4 eggs, and often 1/2 can of black beans.  Coffee is a must.
  • High protein meals throughout the day.
  • No fast carbs in the morning.
  • I’ll increase starch consumption, if necessary, later in the day.
  • Virtually no sugar throughout the week.
  • Religiously observe my cheat day on Saturday–often including two dozen chocolate chip, or peanut butter cookies.
  • Drink virtually nothing but water and coffee through the week.  I don’t even really hit sodas on my cheat days.
  • Consume massive amounts of yogurt (home made, organic)
  • Make my own sports bars.
  • Make my own sports drinks.
  • Drink mucho agua, especially during workouts.
  • Maintain my weightlifting regimen, especially olympic and heavy lifts.
  • Not to mention the 6-10 additional training sessions each week.

That’s it.

Well there are some more, especially surrounding food selection, but these are the gist.  Many of the points above could be technically grouped together, but I’ve separated details for clarity.

For those who’ve paid attention, there are many rules I am breaking.  However, adhering to these above is working.




— Jalal

Find me on Twitter.  Twitter.com/Old454

Slow Carb Update: 4 Months, 10% BF

I finished the Tour de Pike Century bike ride on Saturday.   Sunday, I took some weight & body fat measurements, and was struck by the result.  Hence this short update on my progress with the Slow Carb diet.

I began this slow-carb diet going into Thanksgiving, of all weird time frames.  Given the one cheat day per week, I simply shifted my chosen Saturday to Thursday for that week, no biggie.  The bigger hurdle was that I had to get on the road the evening of Thanksgiving.  Maintaining a diet on the road is not easy.  Tim Ferris has some helpful ideas.

The other immediate challenge was eliminating sugar from my coffee.  I drink coffee black with sugar.  Taking the sugar out was a HUGE leap for me, particularly in breakfasts meetings at restaurants with bad coffee.  In the end, it wasn’t and isn’t that bad.

The three biggest changes I’ve been able to stay fairly consistent on are a high, mostly protein breakfast right after rising, eating high protein meals for most meals, and eliminating sugar. Eliminating  other white carbs, though now greatly reduced, has been challenging.

The slow-carb model meshes well with my other diet protocols.

I also did a 30 day detox cleanse, which I calculate took five pounds of crud out of my intestines and cell tissues.  However, my body fat readings for that period were extremely screwy.  Two days later they stabilized, around 11-12 percent.

As mentioned (and perhaps revealed in the title), I took my body fat measurements this past Sunday, and registered . . . drum roll . . .  9.9 percent.  All last year,  I did not drop below 10, even coming out of Augusta 70.3 Half Ironman.  Whereas, the sub-10 may be the result of several concurrent protocols–slow carb, ongoing nutrition, detox cleanse, training regimen–The slow carb component is the one aspect I have not done or been on previously.

At any rate, I’m down to my fighting weight (top secret), and below 10% body fat (at last measure).  I’m lifting more, running better, and riding harder than I was going into Augusta last year.  Take it for what it’s worth.


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As always, your comments are welcomed.

Cleanse Recap

Day Thirty of my 30-Day Detox Cleanse ended three days ago (cleanse recipe here).  I would rate this a success, and recommend it to anyone.

Get it done early. Getting the cleanse done the year has several benefits, some of which I mentioned in cleanse recipe post.  From a training perspective, there are three major benefits to getting it done early:  It is free weight-loss;  It will improve your nutrient absorption for the season;  and It gets the disruption to your diet plan out of the way.

A word on Duration.  There are benefits to doing a shorter time period (say three or seven days), but I didn’t see the real effects until day 10.  That means it took 10 days to get ramped up, and another 20 of full benefit from that point.

Free Weight Loss.  I mentioned before that my second of third go round on a similar cleanse several years ago resulted in a permanent 10-pound weight loss.  This would have been mostly crud and compacted fecal matter lining my small and large intestines.  It is estimated that many people may have 45 pounds of this stuff.  This stuff inhibits nutrient absorption, holds onto toxins, aggravates your intestinal walls.  Eliminating it reduces these issues, and the potential complications arising from them.

Be aware that weight and body fat readings during the cleanse period may be all over the place, particularly if you use a bioimpedence device.  Be sure to take a good weight and body fat reading before you start to compare to what you get the day after your done.

Nutrient Absorption.  Training-wise, eliminating this crud along your intestinal walls increases the amount and rate your body can absorb the nutrients you feed it in your nutrition plan–Get this benefit going as soon as possible.  Additionally, albeit temporary, side effects, of the cleansing process (frequent pooping, increased allergic sensitivity) can create problems during the more intense portions of your training season.

Disruptions.  One issue I had trouble with was the degree to which the cleanse schedule interfered with other aspects of my diet plan.  For example, I am already bad about taking supplements on schedule.  I’ve therefore developed a little morning routine the entails drinking water right out of bed, brushing my teeth, making coffee, and taking my supplements while I wait for the coffee to brew.  Well, the requirements for the cleanse sucked up the supplement time, and then my work day was upon me, and well.  .  .  I’m not too upset as it is only a short interlude, and when it’s over, my supplement absorption and effectiveness will go up.

Another example surrounds my Slow-Carb diet plan, which again entails consuming a fair amount of protein right out of bed.  Again, a temporary disruption, and one with high long-term payoffs.  Well worth it.

TMI.  There important aspects of a detox cleanse, that are not good dinner conversation.  The major action of the cleanse process is excrement.  Your body excretes toxins several ways, the top four are respiration, perspiration, defecation, and urination.  There are a few other more minor ways.  Of these four, you will notice major effect in defecation and urination, and perhaps perspiration.

If you don’t already poop at least once a day, you’re not pooping enough.  When on the cleanse, particularly early on, you will have urgent and immediate need to hit the toilet.  This is why I highly recommend a 30 day cleanse around any trips or major competitions.  You poop will come in all manner of varieties, as your body rids itself of excess crud.  You may notice actual parasites (tapeworms, etc.)  In fact, the majority of Americans (15% at any one moment, some say %25) are infected with an intestinal parasite at one time or another.  At any rate, you should have improved regularity once after the 30 days.

Similarly with urination.  Additionally, with urination and perspiration, there may be some odd odors as your body expels toxins.  Just be prepared and adjust accordingly.

Drink lots of water.  If you already drink a lot, drink more.  If you don’t drink a lot, get it together.  Flushing, expeling, excreting all depend on having plenty of extra water to get the job done.  Funny odors will only be concentrated if you are dehydrated.

Enough TMI.

Common parasites & treatments in the United States

Some good info on the role of intestinal bacteria


— Jalal

Comments are always welcome.

Detox Cleanse Recipe

Detox cleanse ingredientsThis is a thirty-day detox cleanse based on a system from Unicity.  The Unicity cleanse pack runs over $100.  This setup costs closer to $30.  The Unicity system is very good, but perhaps a little pricey, so the Queen and I put our heads together, visited our local longevity/detox expert and came up with a good (equal) alternative.

The program:

30 Days, broken down into ten-day sections.

The goods:

  • Parafree–flushes intestinal parasites, and loosens intestinal gunk and compacted fecal matter.
  • Bentonite solution–binds with inorganic compounds (typically toxins) in your intestines, and also draws them from body through intestinal walls
  • Psyllium husk fiber.  A good fiber plug moving through your system is like a bottle brush, and is perhaps the most important part of the system.  Not all fiber is created equal.  Metamucil and it’s clones are generally inferior.
  • Senna tea.  Naturally stimulates intestinal movement, provides that extra kick in the last third of the program.

First 10 Days:

  • Two droppers full of Parafree.
  • One tablespoon of Bentonite.
  • One tablespoon of Fiber.

Each morning:

  1. First thing in the morning, on an empty stomache, 2 droppers full Parafree, and one tablespoon Bentonite, together in about 8 ounces of water.
  2. Wait twenty minutes, and take the Fiber in a tall glass of water.  Mix well, and drink straight away.  The fiber gels quickly and will become a thick mass if not drunk straight down.  You can mix with orange juice, as a more palatable alternative.
  3. Wait about twenty minutes, then feel free your breakfast as normal.

In the event this takes too much time in the morning. . .

Protocol option B (a lessor, but viable alternative)

  1. At night:  Take the Parafree and Bentonite mixture at night, just before bed, after allowing any dinner to clear you stomach.
  2. First thing in the morning:  Take the fiber first thing in the morning.  Wait twenty minutes, then eat breakfast as normal.

A couple of key points:

  1. It is important to take the Parafree and Bentonite on an empty stomach, to allow the supplements to work without interference, dilution, or unnecessary absorption from actual food.
  2. Wait the twenty minutes between the detox mixture and the fiber mixture and your first meal, again to allow the fiber to work as a cleansing unit, without unnecessary dilution from actual food.

Second 10 Days:

  1. Continue as above, plus:
  2. Add a dropper of Parafree in the evening right before bed.  (or first thing in the morning, if you were on Protocol B).
  3. After Five days, increase that dose to two droppers.

Third 1o Days:

Add the Senna tea in the evening, time is not super important.  The key here is gradually increase the steeping time.  Start out with two-minutes, then increase 30 seconds each day to reach five minutes.  This is a very important point, Senna tea is a powerful “motivator” and you will definitely regret going too strong, too soon.

Some thoughts

I’ve found this regimen to be extremely effective.  You’ll want to be sure your not traveling too much during this time frame, because the bowel movements can be unpredictable as you settle in.

It’s been a few years since I’ve done this cleanse, but the last go round I lost 10 pounds–mind you this was not fat, but gunk lining my small intestine, and compacted fecal matter in my colon (TMI?).

At any rate, you’ll likely experience some strange effects as your body starts to unload toxins and crap in your digestive tract.  Parasites, tapeworms, acne, multiple bowel movements, frequent urination.  Just ride it out, and try not to plan any long trips.  I waited until my first half-marathon was out of the way.  For me, getting this done as early in the year as possible is ideal, as it is usually the slowest time, with the least travel demands, and the race season still a few months away.

From a training perspective, this cleanse is great because clearing the gunk from your intestine is free weight-loss, but also will increase the nutrient absorption, making your training diet, and nutrition strategy much more effective.

More of my post-cleanse recap.


— Jalal

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My Siestas — Polyphasic Sleep Quickies

I’ve been experimenting with polyphasic sleep, among other things in my preparation for the 2012 season and my new Ironman goal.

The one version of polyphasic sleep I’ve been able to implement with some consistency is the siesta.  Essentially, exactly what you expect, it is a short nap in the afternoon.  I look to carve out 20 minutes each afternoon between Noon and 2pm.  I’ll look at my watch, make a mental note of when twenty minutes from now is, and try to catch a quickie power nap.

Studies show that a single 20 minute nap in the middle of the day can knock down the total amount of sleep needed for the day.  In my experience, this assumes your not sleep deprived to begin with.

The problem is most of us are operating on a sleep deficit.  This is evidently my case, because though I haven’t sleep less at night, I have been waking up more refreshed and ready for the day.  I generally, roll of bed about 5:30am, on  a good day.  Now, I can get up fairly easily at my actual target of 5:00am.

Another, benefit is that if I’m indoors around 2pm, my productivity is usually terrible anyhow.  May as well catch a quick nap, and come out of it more productive and focused, instead of zombie-ing through the afternoon.

When I’m in the field the zombie thing isn’t such an issue, but it is nice to get home with energy in the tank.

Another contributor to this effect has been my reduction in consuming refined sugars and crap carbs, but more on that another day.

Siesta improves memory

Siesta improves brain function


My Non-Training Diet: My simple nutrition rules

Technically, I don’t have a training diet.  Since I’m training nearly all the time in one fashion or another, and since my obsessive mind becomes utterly bogged down by complicated logging methods, etcetera, I’ve developed a few basic rules which work for me quite well.

1.  Focus on Fiber.  First and foremost, I focus on fiber. I’ve found that by focusing on fiber, most of the other healthy and wholesome foods fall in line.  Since most processed, sugary and “bad” food is virtually devoid of fiber, consuming anything approaching the FDA daily requirement necessarily entails things like whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables.

However, I take it a step further, my target daily fiber intake is 33g from natural sources (i.e., no fiber supplements).  Studies have shown that the FDA 25g of fiber is too low.  Based on my weight & activity level, my number looks more like 33-36g.  Though, I do take a psyllium husk supplement during certain cleanse periods, but outside of that, no.

2.  Stick to foods I know work. Second, I stick to foods that work. I don’t constantly go out and try to find new, exotic foods with miracle micro-nutrients.  I know what foods fulfill my dietary balance, and I stick to those generally. This takes a little work up front, but once you learn them, it makes things very easy. I’ve developed my list from following the “Abs Diet” by David Zinczenko (get the book at the library).  It is very simple to get a hang of it.

I’m not afraid of exotic foods. I love eating good, new foods. I love to cook, and to cook new foods. The same goes for restaurants and traveling overseas. But from a practical everyday, block-and-tackle standpoint, I stick to what I know works, and I don’t need to put a whole lot of thought into.

3.  Don’t Get Hungry. The easiest way to sabotage your diet is to hit the wall at 1pm, be on the road, and stop off for a taquito and a cinnamon bun.  The easiest way to avoid this scenario is to first Eat BreakfastEat a good, fiber-rich breakfast.  There is all sorts of science behind the value of eating an early breakfast.  But from a daily perspective, it is the best way to avoid the midday hungries.  Secondly, plan for lunch.  Yes, actually think about it, and prepare a lunch ahead of time.  No excuses about you don’t have time.  It’ll take 5 minutes.  Just do it.

4.  Stay Away Froms.  What I avoid:   Corn syrup, High fructose corn syrup, any level of hydrogenated oils, added animal fats, bleached or processed flours (“enriched” flour), diglycerides and triglycierides. I don’t eat pork. I don’t do tobacco.  I don’t drink cheap alcohol.

When it comes to training nutrition, I follow a few simple rules.

5.  During Actual Training or Competition. Before a training session or competition, I’ll drink a protein shake. Low carbs.  I want the protein available in my blood stream exactly when my muscles call for it, either to rebuild or to fuel.  No HGH, creatine, etc.

Immediately following a training session, I’ll drink a sports drink (Generally my own homemade recipe).  I want the carbs available to my muscles when they’re able to absorb the most.

Prior to competition I’ll try to carb up.  I’m not completely convinced this has a tremendous impact on the top-end.  It does seem to prevent seriously “bonking”.  There must be a dozen different approaches to carbo-loading.   More importantly, beginning several days prior I focus on hydration.

During extended endurance competition, I’ll try to drink a protein/carb mix, again homemade recipe.  However, this isn’t always practical in a race, so I don’t stress over it.  Being hydrated in competition is the most important item.  In competition I’m not interested in training my muscles–I’m interested in giving them ideal circumstances.

6.  Drink Water. Water makes everything work better.  Your digestion, your performance, lowers your heart rate.  Dehydration can give me debilitating headaches.  I generally stay hydrated, but don’t obsess over it. I’ve found that in certain endurance and survival situations, it’s good to train your body to use water efficiently (i.e., function at below complete hydration. Again, this could technically be a completely separate topic.

That’s about it in a nutshell from a day-to-day standpoint.  I also take vitamins, supplements–Again, not obsessively.  I don’t overindulge on sweets and alcohol.

Disclaimer:  I am neither nutrition, nor health expert.  I am expert in many things, none of which are covered in this post, not even in what actually works for me.  I am an expert, however, in my opinion of what works for me.  And that is all that I have covered here, my opinion of what works for me, in the hopes that you may glimpse a glimmer of something useful.

Please comment below.

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