Friday, August 27, 2010

Gatorade G Series

In a quest to find a post cardio workout recovery drink I was delighted to stumble upon Gatorade's G Series drinks (01 Prime, 02 Perform, and 03 Recover). 

As part of my P90x workouts I have been taking a post workout recovery drink (Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein Supplement) which supports lean muscle and exercise recovery. 

Studies show that with proper nutrition during the 45-60 minutes following exercise you can increase your body's ability to recover more than 100%.

Two scoops of this Body Fortress stuff mixed with skim milk gives me what I need after a lifting workout.  I have taken this same drink after cycling or aerobics type exercises.  The problem for me is that it is too thick and upsets my stomach a little bit after a high intensity cardio workout.  Plus it is not a thirst quencher.  The drink helped me recover quickly and was less sore after a hard ride, but it was just something with this drink after cardio workouts that did not agree with me. So it was time to find another drink.

Then I stumbled upon the Gatorade G Series.  I often drink Gatorade G series 02 during a ride, but never tried the Prime or the Recover in this series.  I have been drinking Gatorade for years so I am familiar with their products.

I don't have any extensive or scientific evidence to share with you, but what I can tell you is the experience I have had with each of the Gatorade G Series drinks.

01 Prime (Before)

Per Gatorade, the 01 Prime contains a concentrated blend of carbs, B vitamins and electrolytes, delivering energy and helping to sustain your body's ability to burn additional carbs when taken 15 minutes before competition.

I have taken this a few times and I have noticed a little extra boost during the early stages of my workout. The 4oz package was easy to tear open and was easy to drink.  A lot of people take energy gels that have a a lot of consistency with them.  The 01 Prime was easy to drink and was more liquefied than gels.  Like all Gatorade products it did have a bit of a sweet taste. 

02 Perform

This is, I think, pretty much the same old Gatorade we have all grown up with.  It delivers a unique formula of sodium, potassium and essential carbs to your muscles and mind. 

Again, it does have a sweet kick to it and most of the time I mix this 02 with water in my bottles on the bike.  The 02 does come is a low calorie version for the calorie conscious out there.  My favorite flavors are lemon lime and grape.

Water works great during most of my cardio workouts.  However, if I know I am going to be doing longer rides I will usually bring along an 02.  It just seems to give me the ability to maintain or exceed my limits.  I have done longer rides with just water and seems I always hit that wall.  With the 02 that wall does not exist.

03 Recover

This is the drink I was most excited to try because I have been looking for post workout (specifically for cardio) that tastes good, quenches my thirst, and provides the protein my muscles are graving after a workout.

If I have done a hard cardio workout I will usually drink the 03.  So far I haven't had any stomach issues with this drink.  I wish their was a little more protein in them.

The first time I had the 03 was after a 12 mile sprint on my bike.  I pushed my limits pretty hard that day.  I drank the 03 after the ride and I felt hydrated and refreshed.  I did notice later that evening and the next morning that I wasn't as sore as I normally would be after a ride like that.

The only flavor I have had is the lemon lime orange mix and it was good.


I will not always do the 3 drink system with every workout.  If I know I will be doing a high intensity cardio workout I will do the system because I know the benefits I will get from them. 

I have not had a chance to use the system during an event but look forward to the day I can.

After all is said and done I think I have found a fueling system my body needs before, during, and after hard cardio workouts.  The G Series drinks are readily available and fairly easy to find in your local grocery store.  I will still use the other whey protein shakes after my lifting workouts because that is what I am use to taking for those activities.

No everyone likes Gatorade so it really comes down to personal preference.  I would encourage you to try the 3 drink system at least once.  Do a workout with just water one day and the next time you do the same workout use the G Series and feel the difference.

It's not a miracle drink.  It won't turn you into Michael Jordan or Usain Bolt, but it will allow you to push your own personal limits.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Juggling Family, Career, Life, and Exercise

My wife and I are at that stage in our life where we both have careers, two kids involved in about everything you can imagine, and time commitment demands coming from all angles.

Still we both find time to take care of ourselves through exercising. My family medical history is not in my favor so I need to keep moving and stay in shape, but life just always seems to get in the way.

I can plan my exercise routines but it seems that the schedule only holds about 50% of the time. My daughter is involved in different activities at school along with her sports and my son is just now getting starting in school and sports. There are birthday parties, parent/teacher conferences, soccer games, basketball games, baseball games, holidays, occasional unexpected visits to the ER, etc. My wife's work schedule is unpredictable too. It's a wonder we even have time to sleep.

We both know that everything is subject to change around our house.

When it came down to it, we were tired of using the excuse "not enough time in the day to exercise". My wife and I both knew that our habits and routines would need to change. We both wanted to do workouts but both of us could not do it at the same time because our kids are not old enough to be left alone yet.

We each like to workout about an hour a day and preferably in the evenings. She likes to run and I like to ride my bike.

A normal routine is one of us will pick up the kids after work while the other person comes straight home to do their workout. When the first person working out gets back home the other one can go. Then whoever went first usually prepares dinner for the family. The amazing thing is that 85% of the time the entire family eats together.

There are a few days a week where neither one of us works out due to other things going on or the weather just sucks. We have just grown accustom to the fact that yes we will workout 4 times this week....we just don't know when.

In the summertime it is a lot easier because the sun rises earlier and sets later. This gives us more flexibility. Since I like to bike and do P90x I have had to commit to getting up early in the morning to do one of the those two workouts. Early morning workouts work good for me, getting out of bed is a struggle, but I feel energized the whole day.

As you can see we have a lot of stuff going happening on a daily basis. The best advise I can give is that you set out a plan on a weekly basis knowing that things will come up and derail your plan. With our schedules being a moving target it is easier to look at the week in front of us and take it one day at a time. Don't plan workouts for every day of the week because you'll just get frustrated when can't workout for whatever reason.

My thought process when planning my week is usually:
1. I want to bike x number of miles, run x # of minutes, and do my strength training"

2. Then I write down each day (Monday-Sunday)

3. I write down which days we have commitments (kids activities, social events, etc)

4. By this step I have an idea on which days I can workout then I decide when I want to do them based on availability.

5. Sometimes there is a two-a-day work out and sometimes there none.

You can't always do exactly what you want when you want, but if you remain flexible it will make attaining your weekly goals easier.

It's tough to balance everything, but once you get a routine it becomes a lot easier. Don't get sucked into the "excuse" vortex but instead seek opportunities or windows where you can squeeze your workout in. It take about an hour to get a good workout in.

Just keep moving, Just keep moving, Just keep moving.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

P90x Works

In February 2010 I started P90x.  The main goal for me from this program was to add a workout program that included resistance training.  I hate going to gyms for many reasons.  Some of which include; the time commitment, the cost involved, and working out around meat heads. 

I hear about this program from friends doing this program so I decided to do it.  I was told it wasn't easy but the results are well worth it.  Before I started I was in pretty good shape so I felt I was ready.  The goal wasn't to bulk up with massive muscles.  Instead, I just wanted to tone things up.

I followed the workouts to a T with the exception of the yoga workout.  The program also comes with a suggested nutrition plan which I did not follow.  I tried to do the nutrition plan at first but it was just to complicated to plan meals that the whole family would like.

As the weeks went on I was starting to notice a difference all the way around which keep me motivated to continue on.  As I got to the last 30 days I modified the program a little by reducing the P90x cardio workouts.  That was because cycling season was starting.  But doing the P90x cardio workouts and the plyometric workouts for 60 days made a big difference in my first month of cycling.  I noticed I had more power and endurance than I had in previous cycling seasons.

So all was good.  I finished my first 90 days of P90x, logging good cycling miles, and feeling really good.  A decision needed to be made though.  The main focus was cycling, but I did want to lose my results from P90x.  So what do I do?  There are only so many hours in the day and most of those hours are consumed by my job, my family, my kids activities, and sleep.  What it boiled down to was I wanted to do another 90 days of P90x AND continue my cycling routine.  This meant a lot of days of doing two workouts per day.  On the second 90 days of P90x I decided not to do any of the cardio workouts.  This meant Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings were my strength and resistance training with P90x.  Tuesdays and Thursdays were bike days.  Depending on my families activities I would bike in the afternoons on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with longer rides on Saturday and Sunday.

This agenda worked well and was able to focus on both programs at the same time without sacrificing one for the other.

As I write this today in August 2010 I have one more week left of my 2nd round of P90x, logged over 1,000 biking miles, did a triathlon, and even started running more.

Since I plan on doing more triathlons in 2011 my workout routine will change a little.  However, P90x will be involved in some form or fashion.

I recommend P90x for anyone who is in halfway decent shape as it is a difficult program.  You have to stick to the plan and BRING IT every day.  If you can commit to 90 days you will certainly enjoy the results.  Below are my Day 1 and Day 90 pictures.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Why a Triathlon, Mike?

There are many reasons that ran through my head while I contemplating doing my first triathlon. I broke my thought process down into two categories; emotional and logical.

The logical reasons are obvious:

  • Wanted to continue to improving my fitness, but wanted something different
  • Signing up for a triathlon would force me to cross train.
  • To do something that would cause me to train and think differently
The emotional reasons were across the board:

  • Wanted to do an athletic event I have never done before
  • Be part of the small percentage of our population that is able to say "I have done a triathlon"
  • To prove to myself that I still got my competitive fire.
  • To kick ass on the bike portion
Through the rigors of training in the weeks prior to the race, the jitters and emotions at the start of the race, and the emotional feeling I experienced after the race, it was made obvious why I did a triathlon.

I did a triathlon to prove myself wrong, to regain my competitive focus, to get that pre-game emotional high, and to say, "hell yeah, I did a triathlon".

As you can see the emotional factors really outweighed the logical factors. Being able to ride my emotional reasons ultimately caused me to meet my logical reasons subconsciously.

The fear and emotions I experienced before, during, and after my first triathlon have got me sucked into the sport. How do I know just after one event? I know is because I am already planning how many triathlons I will do next year and planning my training schedule. I know because my blood still gets pumping thinking about the last race.  I know because I want to experience that fire, desire, and adrenaline again.

Why not Tri?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My First Tri...Success

In August 2010 I did my first tri.  It was a mini triathlon in Champaign, IL (Champaign Mini Tri).  400 yard swim, 6 mile bike ride, and 2 mile run. 

This was the perfect race for me to get my feet wet in this sport they call triathlons.  It was close to home, swim and run distances were short, and had plenty of time to train.

I finished with a time of 41:17 placing me 23rd overal and 3rd in my age group. 

I lost a little time in the run portion due to my calves cramping up during the first 1/2 mile of the 2 mile run.  Nonetheless, I am very pleased with how my first triathlon went.  I am officially addicted.

My Story

In my childhood I was a skinny athletic kid who was always active and always hungry. Meals were homemade and if it wasn't fried it was considered an average meal. No worries though because as soon as dinner was over I was out of the door and in the neighborhood playing until the street lights came on.
If I wasn't at home I was at basketball or baseball practice.

Fast forward to my college years. Yes, I gained the "Freshman 15", or in my case it was actually 10. However, I became more active in playing softball, baseball, and other sports through my fraternity. I still never missed a meal or a large late night pizza with some beer. Not to worry because I subconsciously knew that my activities would counteract the intake of the food I was consuming.
A few years later I graduated college and started my first "real" job. This job had me traveling the Midwest the first 8 weeks of my employment. I lived out of a suitcase and bounced from hotel to hotel. About 90% of my meals (lunch and dinner) were fast food or all you can eat buffets. In case you were wondering there was minimal exercise taking place.

This was the real beginning of my weight gain over a period of about 7 years. The eating habits never changed and the exercise practically stopped. Life was good though. Got married, started a family, and had a good job. My weight gain was the least of my worries.

I wasn't until you start looking at pictures of yourself and deep inside you know you need to change, but where do you start? I didn't like the way I looked.
I was addicted to caffeine, more specifically, Coca Cola. I could down a case of Coke in a few days. I love milk too. In fact, I drank a very tall glass of whole milk each night before I went to bed around midnight. As you can see my habits needed to change.
So here I was....overweight at 220 pounds. I've got the gut and the "man-boobs" going on at this point.

My wife and I joined a gym, but getting the motivation to get in the car and drive to go do a workout was a chore.

My wife is a runner and encouraged me to start running. My excuse was that "I hate running" because it gives me shin splints blah blah blah.

So I got a road bicycle and started to really like this type of exercise. I slowly started biking more, but then again, nothing real consistent.

It wasn't until the spring of 2009 when my wife got real serious about losing weight herself and challenged me to do the same thing. I was seeing her lose weight and I wanted to join the party. She had downloaded an app to her iPhone called "Lose It". I was amazed by this application. This fits me perfectly. I can track my calorie intake, calories burned, and track my weight with charts right from my very own iPhone. It was too easy. It took a little while to get used to tracking all this stuff, but once I got a routine down it became second nature.

I knew exactly what I was consuming and then determined how much exercising to do to get down to my maximum calorie intake for my weight loss goal. This kept in line and kept me motivated. As a result, I started eating healthier and exercising a lot more.

After a few weeks I was losing weight which kept the fire inside me burning. The best motivator to me was the results I was seeing. By the Fall of 2009 was down to about 175 pounds and feeling good. During the winter months I gained a few pounds, but then as the spring of 2010 arrived I got back to exercising a lot and I am at my current weight which fluctuates between 165-175.
I still struggle with the food part, but I have gotten better.

In August 2010 I decided to try a triathlon.  I did a mini triathlon just to see if I would like it.  Well I was hooked from the first race.  During the off season before 2011 I decided that I would be doing more tris.  This means more swimming, more running, and probably less biking (I am used to biking about 1200 miles per year). 

In 2011 I did several tris, a few 5k's, and a half marathon.  Having training that involves running, biking, and swimming has made me more fit than any single sport has.

2012 was an awesome year.  I smashed personal best times in just about every race that I did and competed in some longer distance triathlons.  I also qualified to compete in the 2013 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship which will be a very rewarding yet humbling experience. 

As I get older I know there things I can't do now that I could in my 20's, but this won't stop me from trying.  From what started out as a little competition with my wife on weight loss has led to 5k's, half marathons, marathons, triathlons, and championship events.  But I am not done yet.  I have aspirations of doing a full Ironman race someday.

I am a happily married man of 12 years, have two beautiful kids, have a great "day" job, and an enjoyable second job (photographer).  Life is good!