Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The facts of life.

So, I'm halfway through week one of my personalized metabolic exercise program. Sort of. You see, when I kept hearing people/friends/fellow exercisers talk about working in 'Zones 1 and 2" I thought I would give it a try. Sometimes jumping on the bandwagon is a good thing. As a result, I have dabbled in and out of those lower zones over the last couple of weeks and have fallen quite ill with an unfortunate condition called Glycogen Sparing. This is a very, very bad condition for those who step on the scale regularly. Now, don't get all huffy with me and think, "Well, crud. I am going to have to gain weight in order to loose weight and/or get faster." Wait. Maybe you SHOULD think that. Because it will likely happen. To keep the science to a minimum, (there are two substantial reasons why I graduated in Journalism. 1. No math classes. 2. No science classes.) here is a brief definition.

"Glycogen sparing doesn't mean you STOP using glycogen, but you can use it more slowly if you are getting some energy from fat too. At lower intensities, fat can contribute a fair amount of the energy needs, thus sparing glycogen, meaning you are using it more slowly."

O.k. Got it? No? O.k. Let me try to explain. If your body is so completely used to burning carbs/glycogen all day (remember my test results? I burn 74% carbs vs. 26% fat) and you suddenly start playing a trick on it, trying to work your lower heart rate zones and burning more fat, your body kinda freaks out, for lack of a better word. "Huh? I have all these carbs stored up! I (my body is talking here, in case you didn't catch that) love me some carbs to burn but all you are doing is burning fat! So, to get back at you, I am going to store up all of these carbs, plant the extra 'weight' in the most unfriendly of spots, and you will get frustrated and step on the scale and stop." Not today, body. Not today. Because in a week or so, you will figure things out and start being more efficient. Of course, I don't know this for sure. Seeing as this is the first time I have tried anything like this before. But the science is there. And the experts are there. And therein lies my trust. Oh man, I hope the experts are right! :)
Oh. Just so you know. This metabolic thing is pretty important to just about everyone in the following two categories. 1. Those who want to lose some weight. 2. Those who don't. What I mean by this is simply that I didn't sign up for this because I wanted to lose weight. I signed up because a few months ago, I ran this race. I hit the 'wall' pretty hard around mile 21, completely squashing my teeny tiny dream of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. I wasn't disappointed however. Having realistic backup goals in all that we do is a good idea. In this case, my marathon backup goal was to finish in under four hours. And I did. But that's the funny thing about can always get a little....bit....faster. I also think those marathon organizers were up to something. On the way home from the race, I was reading through some literature ("They call this literature?" Name the movie.....) and found a sample diet plan for the five days leading up to the big day. Woah. I haven't eaten that much since high school. Could eating more possibly help me get faster?
And, here I am now. Now I know that yes, indeed, eating more calories (a HUGE benefit of knowing your metabolic rate) +working out how your own individual body needs to work out=the potential of rocking a marathon (insert your own personal goals here). So, all this glycogen sparing stuff will pass and the journey will continue. Tomorrow I have a 60 minute run in my zone 2, a heart rate between 145-157. That should put me on the treadmill around a 9:30 minute mile. It will be hard not to want to speed things up a bit, but sometimes it's good to wait for good things, don't you think?

1 comment:

CDvorak said...

Great explanation of what all that technical scientific jargon really means!