I love to run. But an overwhelming amount of evidence is telling me not to.
First, I’ve had this conversation a few times with my trainer. She is pretty focused on weight training, and I’m looking to (many years down the road) be an ironman-type of athlete.
This is my fear – and what I do NOT want to be:
For many of you who grew up skinny, this might be how you want to live your life. Have you ever seen these guys try to run? It just looks painful.
If I want to live to be 120 years old (or for this matter, past 50), I want to have a lean body. I don’t need to be 230-260 pounds and jacked. Actually, this is near impossible. I’ve been watching a TON of youtube videos this summer with all kinds of body builders and the like. What I’m learning is it’s nearly impossible to be “natural” and be over 190 pounds with 8% bodyfat (or less) unless you are not a natural athlete. So – my fears of looking like the above most likely would never happen unless I used steroids.
One of the guys I’m following is Igor at Vitruvian Physique. He’s been a more recent addition, but the information is GOLD. He is a natural bodybuilder from Canada and clocks in around 170 at 6′ when in competition mode, and carries himself in normal life around 181 at 13% bodyfat. Him and some others use a routine of Day 1: Push, Day 2: Pull, Day 3: legs. They may then do Day 4: Push, Day 5: pull, Day 6: off. I think I’m going to do something like this – we’ll see. But I’m also looking for more weight to challenge the muscles and do sets with heavy at 6-12 reps and not so much the sets with 15-20 reps or so.
Part of what I’m doing has been to find a desired physique – and try to go that route. I’m interested in the physique of Igor, as he appears to be slim but built. He may have gone through his life as an ectomorph, so not sure I could achieve that – but it’s the concept of what I’m looking for. I spent a lot off hours understanding his diet, his workouts, how he got like this. Now, I have a goal. The question is then how do you refocus and reload to go that direction?
Getting back to running. I’ve also watched a ton of videos from the KhanAcademy for Medicine. It talks about “anabolic” and “catabolic”. I spent many more hours trying to understand the Krebs cycle, how ADP goes to ADP with phosphate groups, how your body absorbs nutrients….how items are carried through the bloodstream or the lymph system. How items are converted to fat to be stored in adipose tissue. It’s still a mystery to me because I don’t have a chemistry/biology background, but I’m kind of getting the big picture. Igor happens to have a science background, so he also has been a little helpful with some of this.
What this boils down to is this: apparently, there are three different types of cardio: You have the high intensity, like sprinting and HIITS workouts. Then there’s the low intensity like walking. Then there’s the middle intensity like jogging. Apparently, the high intensity can be anabolic in nature because of the type of energy you are drawing from your body to power this workout. Apparently, walking doesn’t move the needle with catabolism and may draw directly from your fat stores? This leaves jogging – and when running for long distance, you have a greater chance for catabolism with your muscles to fuel the long workout.
So – my trainer was on to something, and then I had 800 people back it up on youtube.
While I love the running, I think I’m going to keep it, for now, to 5 minute runs for warm up and maybe 15 minute sessions once a week. It just seems bodybuilder after bodybuilder warns of losing muscle with this when running prolonged periods of time. Ultimately, when you start to deplete your muscle….you also reduce your basal metabolic rate.
I am therefore still stumped by some questions I have.
- I am reading how when your body releases insulin, that this “turns off” fat burning. Leptin apparently is the hormone that “turns on” fat burning. If you are an overweight person and you listen to some people to eat every 2-3 hours, how can you ever burn fat? Apparently, protein spikes insulin like carbs. And insulin is good to take nutrients to cells and deliver amino acids, glycogen, etc. But if insulin is bad for burning fat, how does anyone with excess fat ever tap into those stores?
- Along the lines of the above – glycogen stores. When people talk about ketosis, they say it takes 2-3 days, if not a little more, to tap into the fat stores for energy when glycogen stores are depleted. And, apparently, according to the Krebs cycle, fatty acids cannot be converted to glycogen to replenish your glycogen stores. I’ve seen some graphics on what kinds of energy your body prefers, in order…and fat stores are a little down the road. Short of a ketogenic/paleo/atkins type diet, how does anyone ever burn fat? I know I’ve taken off 77 pounds…but I am left scratching my head when all of the science comes out. One thing that looks EXTREMELY important – has been the makeup of my macros. I’m finding on days that I hit my 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fats, that I do see loss. When I hit 50% carbs or more on some days, I’m noticing no movement or slight gains. I’m wondering if this has anything to do with replenishing glycogen or adding excess carbs to fat stores. Again, I’m told fat cannot go to glycogen stores, but carbs can be converted to fat stores.
What the above is more or less telling me is this:
- I need to re-focus more on strength training. I’ve been doing it one a week with my trainer and then walking 4-5 days a week with my dog, and perhaps running 1-2 days per week for medium-long distance.
- I need to think about sticking closely to my macros even more so than before. I may even consider reducing my carbs from 40% to 35% or 30%. That being said, I’m going to seriously try to keep my carbs 40%-45% for the next month. I need carbs to fuel my workout and recover.
- I need to reduce/eliminate my long distance running. I may re-take this back up when I’m at my last 20-40 pounds of weight to go. What you also find on youtube are SCORES of people who lost 100-150 pounds in 6-12 months and they all dealt with lots of running and “loose skin”. My plan is a 3 year plan. The first year I took off 77 pounds. I am writing today because I finally took off the 19 pounds I gained over a 5 day adventure last month with booze and great food. So, a MONTH of my life I have had to deal with taking that weight back off. Anyway – this next year, I’m shooting for 60-70 pounds to take me to 225-235. Year three will attempt to take me to 185-195 with 15-20% body fat. The hope is:
- By doing this over three years, I will give my skin time to tighten up and my body as a whole adjust to less weight. This also means reducing the size of bones over time to support the bigger structure.
- I will properly hydrate consistently
- I will provide collagen and omega 3s to help with the elasticity
- I will use strength training to build a solid lean body mass while burning through fat stores.
- I will keep my BMR relatively high and increase it through building muscle.
- I will keep my macros balanced and not fall prey to “gimmicks”.
- I will use cardio with HIITS and sprints to build muscle and condition my heart
- I will continue to eat cruciferous vegetables, reduce BPAs, reduce estrogen-type foods to assist with keeping my testosterone/estrogen levels favorable. This can help with the “soft” appearance and “harden” things up.
- I will continue on the path of blasting my visceral fat to ensure my internal organs can properly function and I don’t get diseases based off of this, like diabetes.
- I will continue to keep my blood sugar in check. I rarely eat sweets, and I’ve mostly eliminated refined sugars completely from my diet. The hope here is to reduce inflammation and ingest “real” vitamin C to help repair/eliminate whatever damage I may have done to my arteries over the years. Dietary cholesterol is important for brain function – but heart disease is a function of sugars that produce tiny cuts in the arteries where cholesterol is mobilized to repair the tissue. This results in hardening of the arteries and buildup. Sugar might be the devil. This is about one thing that just about every fitness person agrees on.
I’ve got a nice rhythm going with my food, but I have to say, my favorite meals seem to be the chicken/rice/broccoli. I know this is a staple of most “bro” diets, but I am finding I like my chicken pretty damn spicy. This makes it extremely interesting to eat, and I use one of several different hot sauces as a condiment for this. Additionally – I must have screwed up rice 800 times before I got it perfect. To make perfect rice, soak for 24 hours in a bowl. When you put it in the rice cooker, salt then. This results in the fluffy rice that is flavorful and re-heats awesomely. Without this, I would always get sticky or clumpy rice. It would be much worse if I didn’t rinse. Anyhow, soaking for 24 hours, then rinse it off to get the starches off. Makes PERFECT rice.