Workout March 14th

Did another 10-set of burpees today.

Looking at my calendar, I’ve only worked out once in the last week. It’s been pretty busy with work. I’ve committed to put work (and some other things) in front of exercising as a priority. One possibility to ensure that I work out a bit more is to go to the official spin class at my gym.

I’ve also switched to drinking Soylent to save time. This hasn’t really helped too much since I find that I need to eat considerably more than the entire 2L bottle of soylent per day. So I still need (more or less) a meal on top of all the Soylent. Still, I don’t mind the taste, especially with version 1.4.

Back to running

I took some time off running due to inflammation in the backs of my calves. Today I went to do a 1 mile run. My objective was to start measuring my progress from interval training.

My mile time was 7′ 19″. Not the fastest I’ve run; I ran a 7′ 11″ mile last June. Obviously I haven’t gotten any faster, which is a bit depressing. But it’s time to start pushing now that I can measure it.


Been a while since I’ve posted here, due to a bunch of work and an unplanned trip to somewhere warm.

Did some burpees yesterday, got my HR up to 176 and felt good.

Not sure about the Ironman, since I’m under pressure on a bunch of other dimensions. At this point I want to get my mile times down to something reasonable — like say 3 miles in 21 minutes. If I can actually get to that level of cardio fitness (and I have never done so in my life), then I’ll feel a lot more confident.

The mechanics of aerobic training

Some notes I took based on a very cool website (with citations).

  • Exercise can be maintained so long as ATP resynthesis equals ATP usage
  • ATP resynthesis needs two ingredients:
    • Oxygen supply
    • Fuel supply
      • Glycogen: stored in muscles and not shared
      • Fatty acids: circulating in the bloodstream, from fat
  • Types of muscle fibers:
    • Type I (slow-twitch): slow to fatigue, high blood flow capacity, high capillary density (for delivering oxygen), high mitochondrial concentration, low glycogen content.
    • Type IIa (fast-twitch): fatigues faster than Type I
    • Type IIx (fast-twitch): low blood flow capacity, low capillary density, low mitochondrial concentration, but more forceful contractions.
    • More intense exercise recruits Types IIa and IIx fibers, but these can’t last very long.
    • Exercise does not seem to be able to change the relative composition of each type of fiber. So you’re either genetically a fast-twitch or slow-twitch type.
  • Mitochondria:
    • Exercise generally increases the mitochondrial content of cells, allowing fuels to be processed faster.
    • Additionally, having more mitochondria favors the use of fatty acids over glycogen at sub-maximal levels of exercise. This is good because glycogen stores can run out, and slow-twitch fibers don’t have high glycogen stores (compared to the other types).
  • Muscle capillarity:
    • Exercise increases the number of capillaries in the muscle, providing more blood flow.
  • Blood flow capacity:
    • This is different from muscle capillarity since it refers only to the amount of blood that is delivered through regular blood vessels. In general this capacity does not seem to be binding, so it’s unclear whether the small increases in blood flow capacity we observe from training are very helpful.
  • Training:
    • All the above effects are muscle-specific; muscles that aren’t trained won’t benefit.
    • Mitochondrial adaptations occur relatively quickly, and detraining also occurs RAPIDLY.
      • In the below chart, the x-axis is in weeks.
      • it takes only 4-5 weeks to max out mitochondrial capacity, a 1 week to lose half of your gains.  (This seems hard to believe… if true, can it really be good to take a rest week before a marathon?).
      • fig1Higher intensity exercise over shorter periods seems to lead to a steady state with higher mitochondrial content.fig2
      • The higher intensity exercise recruits the “fast-twitch” fibers and causes their mitochondrial content to increase too. Lower intensity exercise just leaves them out. (Which may not necessarily be bad, since it’s unclear that they would be used much in an endurance race.)fig3


The last couple days have been interesting — I slept 12 hours yesterday, and 10 hours today. I’m not quite sure why, but I think it might be related to recovering from 1) work last week, 2) my workout two days ago, 3) possibly, a sore throat that never really ended up hitting. In any case, my body seemed to really need it, so I let myself sleep in.

Have to be productive today, though. Getting on the bike in a few.

Still Alive

I’ve been in hiding for the last week or so working on a big project. Finally “finished” (more like failed in completing it) after about 60 hours. Managed to make it out with only mild sleep deprivation, a strange rash, and an acne breakout.

Getting back on the bike in a few minutes. The more I realize how monumental is the amount of work I have to do this year, the more I become unsure about committing to the Ironman. I mean, I can work out, but it’s psychologically a lot to do both.


About to get on the bike for the next 13 minutes.  Thought I would quickly run down the electronic gear that I have now and think about what I want to get.

  1. Timex Ironman watch. This is simple, long-lasting, and water-resistant. Great for computing heart rates on the fly, swimming, and intervals.
  2. Garmin Forerunner 10. This rather expensive watch was given to me by one of the most generous people I know. It’s perfect for logging my outdoor runs and bikes in Strava. I’m thinking this will be good for either tempo (short distances near max effort) or distance activities outdoors.
  3. Bike computer. This goes on my bike and measures distance and speed. I don’t have a power monitor, but that seems somewhat excessive… I feel like I already have too many devices.
  4. I may buy a heart rate monitor, depending on how cheap I can get one. It’s a bit inconvenient to have to stop and check my HR all the time. That said, again it’s sometimes better to just stop overthinking devices and actually work out.