Feb 25 2011

“Fast Food Nation”

I was recently browsing Facebook today and one of my friends from school had this link up.

McDonald’s Oatmeal

When I saw that, I couldn’t help but laugh and think how many people actually believed that anything from McDonald’s could be somewhat healthy.  Burger King and Micky D’s are notorious for this sort of thing.  Put a solid, healthy meal on the menu.  Then load it with sugar, salt and/or fat.  Or in most cases, all of the above.

However, these two fine, American establishments aren’t the only ones.  Even sit down restaurants are getting to the point where it is sickening.  Some appetizers on AppleBee’s and T.G.I. Fridays are upwards of 2,000 calories!  And that is the first course of your dinner!  One thing that really stood out to me was Carl’s Six Dollar Burger…111g of fat.  No wonder we are the fattest people on Earth.

This is more of rant than anything.  But, one thing I want you to get is that eating out at fast food or restaurants should be a rare occasion for you.  Everything on every menu comes “crispy”, “breaded” and load with creamy sauces.  Even if it is grilled, chances are there is something that isn’t good for you in that meal.  Just cutting out this food will make a huge difference in your training and riding.  You will feel better when you wake up and have more energy throughout the day.  It may not seem like it, but you will actually save money by going to the grocery store, getting fresh meat and vegetables and cooking your own food. That way, you know exactly what is in your food.

Here’s some more depression for you in a list of 20 terrible foods.

Don’t Ever Eat This!

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Feb 21 2011

Training to Failure

Anything in the training realm will have its experts that say to do this and others that say to do that.  One thing that has recently peak my interest is training to failure.  Old school tradition screams “NO PAIN, NO GAIN!” or you will have the same, stagnant results.  With modern medical advancements, exercise physiologist can really tell if this hardcore statement holds any truth.  I must admit, having this weight lifting mindset ingrained since childhood, I almost feel this is blasphemy.

Before I go any further, let’s breakdown the word failure.  Coaches have often called it Momentary Muscular Failure.  This is when you can’t perform another rep with correct form and/or you can’t do another 10 seconds of cardio before you puke.  Lactic acid has built up to the point where there is no oxygen or energy for the body to use.  Exercise physiologist have reported that this high intensity training can be extremely taxing on the Central Nervous System (CNS) and leads to over training.

However, there are certain ways of training such as the Overload Principle that prove you can train to failure and avoid overtraining, if done correctly.  There are certain points in the year when training to failure is necessary in both cardiovascular training and strength training.  During the off season, when you are trying to improve upon your current level, training to failure is needed to make gains.  At this point in the year, racing is kept to a minimum and you can plan your week to get enough recovery.

However, as the racing picks up, you want to back down on the intensity slightly and start to maintain what you have accomplished in the off season.  Pushing yourself to the point of failure during the busy race season would be hell on your body.  You would be exhausted and sore come race day.  This all reverts back to periodization.  Pushing yourself at the right times, you can make the appropriate the gains then back off to a maintenance stage for the races.  Making sure you have enough recovery time will keep you and your nervous system in an optimum state.

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Feb 15 2011

Rough Racing

The 250 riders in the East are crazy.  Barcia and Wilson had an epic battle in the front of the pack early in the race as the fireworks went off between the two riders.  However, Barcia wasn’t content with 2nd place and made Deano aware of this with an aggressive pass.  Wilson countered with another pass, but it was not enough and Barcia took the checkers.

After reading some of the posts in the informative forums on Vital, some were calling Justin’s passes as reckless and dangerous.  I have to admit, Barcia is indeed the wild child, but that is his style.  After all, isn’t rubbin’ racin’?  Making a split second decision on whether to pass or not is usually a difficult one.  As I have said before, you don’t just pass on a whim.  If you want to make a pass stick, it has to be calculated…or you will end up like Blake Wharton and Ryan Sipes.

If you watch on the 4th lap of the main, Barcia plans his pass almost 2 corners ahead.  He takes an alternative line in the rhythm section to clear the triple.  He cuts to the inside and takes the line from Wilson.  But Dean tries to get Justin back in the next corner.  This back and forth passing is great for learning to set up passes.  Below, I’ve got the whole 250 (trying to get rid of the term Lites) program.

What you have to take away from this is whether the pass is necessary or not.  If you can get a front wheel on the other rider, odds are you can make the pass without any major crashing.  However, if you try to bomb through the other rider, you WILL end up like Sipes and Wharton.  Is this is the last lap in the final moto of Loretta’s or just a Saturday night race at a local track?  Obviously, you will go balls to the wall to make a pass in Hurricane Mills.  But, is that pass at the local track going to put you and the other rider on ground?  It is all relative.  As I said before, plan out your passes and be smart about it.

Feb 10 2011

Bare Essentials: Bare Foot Training

Ever heard of Vibram FiveFingers?  It sounds more like a knock off of Edward Scissor Hands, but these are the new kid on the block for running shoes.  Vibram really gets back to basics with this minimalistic foot wear; so minimal that I am almost afraid to call them shoes.  While most other modern running shoes adding cushioning and stability, Vibrams are meant to be worn directly against the sole of your foot.  This approach gives your foot movement as if it were bare.

This style of bare foot training can help with most pain associated with running or jogging.  Typically, when most people run, they land of their heels.  The impact from the heel stresses everything from the heel to the lower back.  This stress can result in injuries like plantar fasciitis and knee pain.  However, by landing on the ball of your foot, you add a “shock absorber” to your leg.

Vibram prides itself on the fact that bare foot training can really help with all athletes.  By wearing these minimalistic shoes, you strengthen your feet and lower legs, which reduce foot injuries.  In addition to this, your neurological receptors in your feet begin to fire more often and send more information to your central nervous system.  In turn, this improves balance and agility.

However, there is a break in period for this foot wear.  It is recommended that you start slow with your running.  You may even want to start with just wearing them around the house and school.  Then you can start with a half mile and work up from there.  Both of my roommates bought a pair and notice a huge difference in their weight lifting.  Some research has reported that the Vibrams and bare foot training can realign your spine and improve posture.

It all sounds a little farfetched at first, but find a Vibram dealer and check them out.

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Feb 03 2011

Racer’s Diet

The high demand of training and racing requires a lot from the body.  If it is not being fed right, you and your body will notice a drastic decrease in performance and results.  In order to provide the right nutrients so you perform at your peak, you need to eat right.  No more fried foods and sweets.  That is like putting diesel in your bike and expecting it to run correctly.

In order to maintain energy, you will need to consume plenty of carbohydrates.  If you have “carbo-phobia”, you need to get with the times and realize that is completely stupid.  Carbohydrates are made of glucose, a form of sugar.  This sugar gets converted into glycogen by the body.  The glycogen is what gives you energy and maintains blood sugar.  I recommend at least 2 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight.  For example, I am 180lb.  So, I would need at least 360g of carbohydrates.  These carbs should come from whole wheat breads, pastas, brown rice and fruits.

The next pieces of the diet puzzle are the proteins.  The main goal is not to build slabs of muscle.  The more muscle, the more oxygen is required to move it.  You want to maintain what you have and use the protein for recovery.  Any amount over 1g of protein per pound of body weight is going to be excessive.  Chicken, fish, lean beef, beans and nuts are excellent sources of protein and fats.  Fats seem to have a bad rep from the low fat fad a few years ago.  Unsaturated fat is essential for any athlete.  They help absorb vitamins and minerals as well as protect your organs.  To get a ballpark number on the amount of fat you need, just take .25 and multiply it by your weight.

To round out your diet, be sure to drink at least a gallon of water a day.  You will stay hydrated and ready for riding.  As with any balanced diet, eat plenty of vegetables.  This is not hard stuff.  It just takes good judgments.  Take a break from the burger/French fry combo and you will see an immediate difference in your mood, riding and training.

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Feb 02 2011

Motivational Aspects

This past weekend at Oakland, Chad Reed finally made his way to the podium.  After a great start on his “privateer” Honda, he held off Stewart for as long as possible.  Although he was passed by Dungey, he made a last minute charge to get 2nd.  I have to admit, I was not a Reed fan.  To me, he was whiney, made excuses and seemed to complain…a lot.  However, the past year or so, he has made me a fan.  After hearing about his privateer effort, I had to applaud the Aussie for racing without a factory steed.  This had me thinking about motivation and how big it plays in any level of motocross.

To me, there are 2 types of riders.  The “can not’s” and the “can’t yet’s.”  This one word makes the difference between making a main and a champion.  For years, Reed could not get a win.  He was second to Carmichael and Stewart almost every weekend.  However, Chad kept chipping away and working his ass off to come back each year.  He could have said, “I can’t beat them.”  Instead, he tweaked his mindset and added “yet.”  This constant battle eventually led to wins against both Carmichael and Stewart.

Even if you don’t race every weekend, this motivational mindset can work for any one.  Novice riders generally have a tough time with larger jumps.  Telling yourself that you can’t jump something only hinders you and your abilities.  Telling yourself that you can’t do it yet will give you the motivation to set a goal and work towards it.  You will better your riding and gain confidence with each accomplishment.  And everyone knows that half the battle in this sport is confidence.

For me and most people riders, this sport is not just a hobby, but a lifestyle.  Putting time in the gym and on the rower sucks initially, but that work stems from the motivation to get better.  If you are around negativity and soak this mindset up, you are essentially setting yourself up for failure.  Carmichael has been quoted that surrounding yourself with good people sets a foundation of positive mindset that you can accomplish anything.

So the real question you have to ask yourself is what type of rider are you?  Are you going to give up at the first roadblock or are you going to bounce back like Reed and make a statement?  You can make it known to you and everyone that it is only a matter of time before you come out on top.  Start small with this “yet” statement and keep plugging along on your goals.  This all sounds pretty corny, but staying motivated keeps you from getting burnt out and giving up.

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