Given some recent questions, I wanted to briefly talk about overtraining. Overtraining is very personal and is based on a person’s fitness level and diet. However, both a conditioned and deconditioned person can overtrain. For instance, a sedentary (deconditioned) person who rows for three consecutive days could be overtraining. A more fit (conditioned) person who engages in HIIT workouts for five days straight could be at risk of overtraining. I think the important thing is to be able to recognize the symptoms of overtraining. These include:

  • Elevated resting blood pressure and morning heart rate
  • Headaches, depression, poor sleep
  • Muscle soreness, slow healing, and suppressed immunity
  • Performance losses, higher incidence of injury, and decreased self-esteem
  • GI issues

So you’re manifesting some or all of the symptoms. What do you do? First, take a couple rest days. NOT active rest days but actual rest days. Second, take a very close look at your diet. Are you getting what you need for repair and recovery? Third, work with a health coach like me who can get you to optimal health!



Do You Track Your Workouts?

Okay, let us see your numbers!! How do you track your activity? How do you use your data?

Around here we are addicted to collecting, analyzing, and utilizing fitness data. We wear external heart rate monitors during workouts that talk to our wrist devices allowing for real time viewing of the data; that’s really helpful when we need to stay in a specific heart rate zone.

Here’s an example of data from a training run by one of our team.  https://flow.polar.com/training/analysis/1842154018  This is an outdoor activity with gps plots.  It’s 5 miles up a hill followed by 5 miles back down on the same path.  You can easily see how heart rate correlates to climbs and descents.  This run was tracked with a Polar V800 Training Watch (soon to be replaced by the Vantage V) in conjunction with a Polar H10 Heart Rate Chest Strap.

This is Coach Loli doing a low weight high rep rhythmic weight training program:  https://flow.polar.com/training/analysis/2830738024 .  There’s no GPS graph here but you can track heart rate.  Coach Loli was wearing a Polar M600 Watch running Android Wear and Polar OH1 Optical Heart Rate Band on her left forearm.

These are both from the Polar ecosystem.  Other manufacturers have similar ecosystems and features.  Click through the interactive features on the site to get a sense for what sort of information is available to you and how it’s presented.

What do you think?  Can devices such as these improve your awareness of your physical condition?

How Big Is Your Spike? Glucose, that is…

How can measurements help your fitness?

Measuring our physical condition via the scale is probably the most common practice for most folks.  Of course, we understand the limitations of this method.  Primarily, it says nothing of health or fitness.  If you weight yourself multiple times a day, it MIGHT tell you if you’ve been to the bathroom or perhaps if you’re a bit dehydrated.  The observant among us may even notice slight increases in weight after particularly hard training – likely due to inflammatory responses aimed at repairing damage.

Have you also considered monitoring your blood glucose (pretty cheap) or even your blood ketones (well, not so cheap)?  Yes, you’ll have to stick your finger until something better comes along.

To keep this post from exploding into a treatise on metabolism, this is very limited information so please take our word for it for now.  Most weight problems (and many other health problems as well) are not directly due to caloric imbalance.  They’re due to hormonal mismanagement and imbalance.  One of the key hormones in this complex system is insulin (yeah, that thing that diabetics have to worry about)  They key driver of insulin is blood glucose.

Simply put, if you want a metric to help you figure out what food is doing to your weight, this is perhaps the best place to start.  The data provided will be helpful beyond description and the cost for picking up a meter and, more importantly, its supplies is very easy to stomach.

In short, the greater your blood sugar response to a given food, the greater your insulin response will be.  Insulin, being a storage hormone, will trigger weight gain / prevent weight loss.  Pretty simple.

So, see what that steak did to your blood sugar.  Then see what that sweet potato did to it.  Or that bowl of kale.  Or that slice of Heart Healthy Whole Grain Bread.

You can start your search on Amazon here.  Don’t forget to consider the cost of supplies – and don’t get carried away with capabilities you won’t need.

Our personal favorite is the KetoMojo meter.  This kit comes with a few ketone strips (useful, but a topic for another time) and these test strips will get you going checking your blood glucose.  There are many less expensive meters on Amazon as well as down the street.  Just make sure that the supplies are inexpensive and that you keep in mind whether or not you’ll want to eventually measure ketones.