Posts 5-8 of my old Row Row Row a Marathon blog posts – charting my journey to the rowing marathon completed last week (can’t stand the thought of them all alone on Blogger!)
Post 5: Going Keto in Acapulco
Had last night off. The gym was closed 3-4 anyway for some refurbishment which might have overrun (yes I was looking for an excuse) so my last workout was the day before when I did 5k in 31 mins. I’m still struggling with my technique- I think when I’m coming back in (there is a rowing technical term for this but I don’t know it- it’s the moment when you’re sliding back down to the wheely thing) my arms & body go at the same time when it should be arms leading the way for the first bit. At least going by the videos I’ve been looking at. Will try to sort it today. Aim to do 10k this afternoon.
Have joined http://www.fitocracy.com to help keep me motivated. It’s a great site. You earn points for exercising & then level up. I’m already level 4. Whoohoo. I’ve also set up a group called Crazy Erg Marathoners & two very nice people have joined so I don’t feel so much like Billy No Mates anymore.
Still really dizzy yesterday. Could be the weather. But this morning (after getting up at 5.30 because I couldn’t sleep) I’ve been reading up on high protein & high fat diets & how they can be good for endurance sports contra to the conventional wisdom that your diet needs to be high carb. I know the debate on all this has been raging for years. But there is one thing that caught my eye- a ketogenic diet is known to be beneficial to those with epilepsy. Now I don’t have epilepsy but I do have terrible night time leg spasms. I’m wondering if it could help with that? I don’t know but it feels like it could be worth a go.
So at 6.30 this morning I was rummaging through all my cupboards looking to see what I had that was high protein/high fat. The answer was very little. My cupboards are a total carb fest. I’m actually ashamed. How much refined sugar does one person need to eat?
When husband wakes up I’m making the keto announcement & showing him all the carb laden food he now has to eat on is own to get rid of it from the house. He’s going to love it ….
Post 6: Nap Time
Did just over 9K on the rower on Fri in 1 hr & 10K yesterday 1hr 2 mins. I know it’s not great as times go but it’s a marked improvement so it’s going in the right direction.
The keto diet is going well – eating lots more salad & protein (& fat of course) & very little carbs. Not feeling hungry at all & this morning made some delicious strawberry protein powder pancakes. Husband was dubious to begin with (not a happy bunny Fri morning when I told him all about it- but in fairness he’d only just woken up) but now he’s doing about 75% of it with me.
My dizziness still remains though. I’m having about 5 hours sleep a night & it’s playing havoc with me. Going to try & have a nap later (during the Queen’s regatta with any luck). Also going to have the day off rowing. No sign of keto diet helping my leg spasms yet but it’s early days.
Post 7: Low Carb High Fat and Very Happy
First – quick rowing update & then onto the food stuff (that’s all I’m thinking about these days- more on that in a sec). Rowed everyday over the Bank Holiday weekend – although thankfully for me not in the Regatta. No- in fact the gym rowing allowed me time away from the incessant coverage of everything Jubilee related. How I miss the innocence of my youth when I actually enjoyed the Silver Jubilee. I remember my neighbour making his own ice-cream & serving it up himself in cones (I was awe struck – I thought only the ice-cream van man could do this) & a street lined end to end with tables (with my father’s big van blocking off one end of the road- I was so proud – I showed off a bit to my friends). My views on such matters have changed as I’ve got older (and my father sold his van) – I’ve turned a tad cynical about the whole thing- convenient celebratory distraction from what’s really going on in the news perhaps?) So I was very glad to go up the gym. Did 12.5k yesterday- longest row so far. Took me an hour & a half (I know I know – I’m tortoise slow – in fact there was a tortoise on the next machine putting me to shame but his technique is poor) but I felt comfortable throughout (who wouldn’t at that pace) & could easily (she says now from the comfort of her computer armchair) carried on & done the half marathon. Maybe next week.
Anyway food. Yes my new diet. I’m not trying to lose weight. But I am trying to give my body better fuel so I feel less tired & dizzy. The dizziness might be down to my sleep apnoea, or my leg spasms, or the anti-parkinson medication treating my leg spasms, or anything really- but from some research on the internet I now suspect B12 deficiency. What annoys me about this is that surely my doctor should have at least done a B12 test before putting me on anti-parkinson medication? Anyway I’m taking a supplement from today so we’ll see how we go.
But back to food. Yes this is my new obsession- specifically high fat, high protein & low carb diets.
There’s a great deal of info out there that says that getting your body to burn fat not carbs is a better way to have sustained energy as opposed to the quick burst and follow up slump of carb fuel. As most of you probably know the process of burning fat is known as ketosis. I only really knew about it from the horror stories I’d read about the Atkins diet including the dreadful headaches that would follow, the atrocious breath and the urine that would destroy the enamel in your toilet. I remember once watching TV AM and hearing Lorraine Kelly exclaim “It’s eating your body alive” as if she was auditioning for a trashy B movie.
But things seemed to have moved on since then. Or things are more complicated than I realised. A lot of current studies focus on the dire impact of blood sugar spikes, insulin resistance and sugar getting converted to fat.
The key to all this, it is said, is lowering your carbs and instead taking in higher amounts of fat & protein (60% 35% 5% ratio crops up a lot).
I started with this – which meant eating c25 grams of carbs a day & much more fat & protein. I’ve now slightly amended this. I’m going for anything less that 100g carbs a day. This is so that I don’t scrimp so much on salad and veg & can reintroduce beans (contain some carbs). It also means I can include the odd slice of whole grain bread. That said today I’m only on 18g of carbs, so I’m actually now finding it much harder to eat more carbs.
I’ve been horrified at the amount of carbs I was eating though. Of course these were all highly processed things. I’ve always watched my calories but what calories I have taken in has been very carb focused- bread, rice, pasta, low fat chocolate bars, cereal etc. Now the carbs I take in are salad & …well salad…although I did have a small dish of blueberries earlier & may have two wholemeal slices of toast with some peanut butter for supper.
What I will say is that my experiences so far are very positive. My energy levels are up. I feel fuller longer. I think the key to it all is that it has made me stop eating the highly processed & sugary food I was eating and instead I’m eating more veg, salad, tofu, quorn (I’m vegetarian) eggs, nuts & cheese. And that definitely is making me feel better & fuller – far less snacking. My mother will stress out about saturated fat & cholesterol of course but there’s so much research arguing against these being a problem or having any link to heart disease (I’ll cover that in a later post - which I’ll then send anonymously to my mother).
So far so good – and amazingly no craving for chocolate or pizza! Result!
Post 8- Glee made me do it
Was able to row 2 hours in the gym on Saturday. Really pleased. Felt fine. Could have gone on longer but I’d made my poor husband stay up the gym long enough (he ran an hour and a half then did some resistance training but after 2 hours he’d had enough). I did 17K. Would have been good to have been 22K but I’m not really complaining. I did it. I survived it. And I felt fine.
What helped me through was my discovery of a great Glee podcast called Gleeful.
I love Glee. It’s one of those things I sometimes feel I shouldn’t love and feel guilty about but then I remember my passion for the Kids from Fame & realise it’s really a step up (mind you I can still sing most songs from the Kids from Fame & frequently do on long car trips). I’m starting to get into Smash too but I think it’s a tad bit too hardcore for me. I like the fun & froth of Glee & Lea Michele is of course amazing (particularly when she does anything with Idina Menzel who I love). (Oh and just looked up Lea Michele to find out she’s dating Fynn in real life – well I never knew that. Now I feel even more upset about the final episode & for some reason).
So the Glee podcast- basically criticising the Prom episode (which was pretty bad I have to say) got me through the first hour. Then I enjoyed half hour comedy with the Friday Comedy show podcast & then I think some Film Sack. My strategy is going to be to have so many available podcasts that by the end of the 4-5 hours I’ll want to redo it all again because I’ll still have more to listen to. We’ll see how that works out.
Diet is still going well. Made protein brownies this evening – protein powder, egg, peanut butter, water, 60 minutes in microwave. Delicious. Husband was well impressed & said it made him regret eating the chocolate Club bar he’d had two secs earlier (he still ate the brownie as well though- so not that guilty).
Had Sunday off from rowing, went back up yesterday to do an hour, but haven’t gone up tonight. And I’m having withdrawal symptoms. I really want to go up. But I know I have to pace myself. Decisions. Decisions. Perhaps I can beg my husband to drop me up for half hour…I mean football is on so I might as well not be here anyway (grump grump). We’ll see.