Thursday, April 23, 2015

Lactate, V02 and the beach.

This week has CRAWLED by. Isn't that always how it is the week before vacation. Well, it gives me plenty of time for my blog post since I'll likely be MIA next week.

Yesterday I had my Lactate/V02 test done at Provision with Dr. Sprouse. It marks (for me) my true return to structured training. Although the numbers were nowhere near where I had hoped, they were realistic to the amount of time I've been laid up. I'll save you all the boring details about the numbers (they can't help you haha) and just post some pictures!


At least I've got a good front profile to make up for my poor power :)

Really hurting now.

It was the step protocol (pretty standard) with blood taken every 3 minutes (and resistance increasing) until I could no longer hold 70rpm. I had expected it to be hard, but man... it was hard. I actually felt pretty good up until the last 2 minutes or so of the last step, at which point I just smashed into the wall head on. I can at least take a little pride in the fact that I didn't stop the test myself, I went until I couldn't hold 70rpm.

Thanks for checking in on me... Hopefully when you next hear from me I'll have some good beach pictures, a suntan (Vitamin D!) and the hunger to do some work and get that FTP back up!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Review of The Mediator Release Test (MRT Test)

Touted to reliably Quantify Diet-Induced Inflammation, I, in my new-found fervor to become a smarter (and healthier) athlete, was intrigued. The test is around 94% accurate (considerably more accurate than past tests) and *CAN* (depending on how you use the information of course) be a useful tool in the quest for better performance and health. Although I've only just received my results and began to study them, I'll try to give a "layman's" review, or at least my initial impressions.

First, to get it out of the way, the test isn't cheap, pretty much regardless of what tax bracket you belong to. I've found the "home test" system online for around ~$600, (looking at the 150 tests, it is less expensive as you test against fewer things.) and of course once you add a facility and doctor/nutritionist to that, you're looking at a pretty expensive blood test. Is it worth it? Currently my opinion is that it depends on a couple of things, probably mostly how you expect to use the information once you have it, but also just how bad some of your results are. (that is, if you aren't reactive to anything, which is admittedly not likely, but I suppose possible, then you get the green card to eat what you want I guess.)

Here is a sample of what the test results look like

Simple right?

One of the big positives of this test is that even if you haven't read a single thing about it, you can very likely read the results almost immediately and fairly accurately. If you guessed red = bad, yellow = caution and green = ok, then you have the general gist of it.

To break it down a little further, it becomes pretty apparent that Zucchini, Lettuce and Potatoes are a highly reactive food to this particular person, and that (according to MRT) those should definitely be eliminated from the diet. It's worth noting that doesn't mean you're going to have an allergic reaction, swell up and die if you ate a Zucchini... that's not what this test does (and you could be allergic to something in the green for that matter. In other words if you have Celiacs, don't start eating bread if you have this test done and wheat comes back in the green.) but your body does not like Zucchini and will create much more inflammation than if you had replaced it with Carrots.

What does all of that mean for us? From an athletes point of view, inflammation is primarily bad, (I know that is not exactly true and WAY oversimplifying but in this case...) and something you ideally are looking to minimize. Inflammation is a response to tissue damage, and it helps remove cellular "trash" so that the healing can begin. Inflammation is also important for the training adaptations that take place AFTER you break the muscles down. However, Inflammation can also do damage if it lingers (DOMS, secondary muscle damage) and, in the case of endurance athletes, it's very possible that you end up with consistently building fatigue and inflammation due to... well... endurance sports nature really. Constant (chronic) inflammation is not a good thing.

So what the hell does all that mean in regards to the MRT test. Well, take myself for example. I'll spare you the full details of my personal test results, but something struck me almost immediately when I got them back. Two things I had tested poorly against were banana's and yogurt. In preparation (generally starting in my taper and especially in the last 2-3 days before a race) for a race I almost always limited my diet to what I thought was "very clean." Two things I ate in VERY large amounts... Banana's and yogurt. (usually 10+ banana's and 8+ cups of Greek yogurt in the day or two before a big race.) What I was essentially doing was "inflammation loading" during my taper for a big race... then maxing out on it the day or two before! Besides that, both of those had been DAILY (yes, daily) staples in my diet for years... that's not the best way for someone who already produces a lot of inflammation to combat it and is likely one of the contributors to some of my "on/off" performances the last few seasons.

The next step (for me) is meeting with the nutritionist. The other half of the MRT test is the LEAP rotating diet plan. Anything that is a "diet" plan already reeks of failure (in my mind) because it is not flexible enough for a real life scenario. However, that doesn't mean it can't work or that parts of it can't be incorporated in my lifestyle. I do think I will do the suggested LEAP food reintroduction schedule, but I have put it on hold until I return from vacation. I will likely update this post with more on the LEAP half after I have had more experience with it.

So, what do I think.

Knowledge = Power. I'm a firm believer in that. The more you know (especially in regards to your own body) the more informed choices you can make, which usually equates to better choices. This test isn't for everyone, both as a result of it's currently prohibitive cost and the simple fact that knowing the results and not acting upon them is a total waste. (So if you aren't giving up Eggs / Bacon / Ice Cream / Zucchini no matter what, maybe it's not for you.) However, for the athlete who is interested in squeezing everything they can out of their body, or just the regular person who would like to feel a little better day to day, this is a great tool to be considered.

Thanks so much for reading. I'm very excited to be back to "sort of really" training again, and I have seemed to find that for the first time in a long time I'm looking forward to workouts instead of dreading or trudging through them. I'm excited for the future once more!

- Christopher Morelock

Monday, April 6, 2015

Getting back in the swing of things

Slowly but surely, I'm putting in some time. Sure, I'm at a measely 43 miles so far this month with most of my rides being around 30 minutes... but it's moving again and I'm actually starting to feel more like I belong on a bike once more.

Almost all of that has been on Zwift Island. I have to say, it's been a long time (actually...ever) since I actively look forward to getting up in the morning(!) and ride my bike. In the past I've been notorious for not doing bike workouts until afternoon, but on my re-start one of the things I wanted to do was break that bad habit. And so I have, with a little help from my virtual friends...

Zwift is pretty sweet overall, and though there is only one course, the constant influx of people (Laurens Ten Dam is pretty often finishing a ride when I'm waking up)  keeps it interesting. It's easy to forget that Zwift is a video game...and plays like one. (I made the mistake of not using my power ups the first week)  It's also important to remember that it is...JUST A GAME. I've logged on a few times to see people butthurt about what watts somebody can or can't produce... and while yes, it is annoying to see somebody in the orange jersey doing laps with a 7w/kg avg, it's not a big deal. 

My first day getting a green jersey was also on a big wheel! 

So far so good, I'm going to ramp up a little more in preparation for my Lactate test, and then it's off to the beach at the end of the month! Hopefully with lots of pictures!

Until next time

- Christopher Morelock