Thursday, May 27, 2010

Zen and the Art of Coffee

I just listened to a podcast where the podder spent 20minutes (more or less) talking about a specific addiction, it affects his energy, his moods, how he feels dependant on it and hates that he feels that way. he cannot start an athletic endeavour without some. when he gives it up he feels great but still the lure remains, how he has given it up "thousands of times" and that last time never even had a headache.
Sounds pretty serious and interesting until you realise the addiction was to caffeine. 
Seriously, caffeine!
That stuff in coffee, tea and soft drinks. The stuff you drink more or less every day and that even your kids drink. Sure you may be mindful of how much you drink, and maybe you don't drink coffee before you go to bed but its there constantly... everyone drinks it! If you follow any pro-tour cyclist on twitter you'd think those guys cannot get out of bed without it. Lance Armstrong even takes a personal pot with him if last years tour tweets are anything to go by.
To hear the discussion on the podcast you'd think it was going to be something juicy and revelationary like a class a substance or something....not humble coffee. A substance that every shop sells and that even your 10year old kid could go and buy without the need for id!
A really ridiculous podcast effort if ever there was one! If anyone listens and nods in agreement please get over yourself.
(I don't really want to name names/podcasts but if you listen to triathlon podcasts you'll probably find it anyway!)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cyclists using insulin to dope?

I have just been listening to the Real Peloton podcast take on the Floyd Landis accusations this week. 

The nugget of information that caught my attention was that one of the products Landis confirmed he used to dope was insulin. I had never heard of insulin doping before and as a diabetic was curious to see what possible benefit could be gained...

An article from 2007 on the Royal Society of Chemistry website explains...

"...Insulin, when used as a performance enhancer, works to slow down the degradation of muscle tissue, which is attractive to such athletes as bodybuilders especially when they are also doping with a growth hormone. For endurance athletes, cyclists and runners, for example, insulin provides fuel for muscle cells and improves stamina. Although the prevalence of insulin doping is not known, luggage seizures at airports and testimonials from formerly doped athletes suggest that the abuse of this hormone is a real problem..."
On checking further there is this explanation on the Peak Performance website

"...Although it’s more usually associated with the regulation of blood glucose, the hormone insulin can also act as a powerful anabolic agent, helping to drive glucose and amino acids (the building blocks of protein) into muscle cells, thereby helping to increase glycogen synthesis and lean muscle mass. And when combined with anabolic steroids, insulin also helps prevent muscle tissue breakdown. Given the widespread availability of artificial insulin, it’s perhaps hardly surprising that growing numbers of athletes are reportedly using it in an effort to boost performance illegally..."

The next question that comes to mind is how a non-diabetic body will react to having insulin administered externally. The answers i have been able to find seem to indicate that normal insulin production via the pancreas will be suppressed and that if the practice continues the pancreas may stop functioning altogether, in short the administration of insulin to a non-diabetic patient may in fact render them diabetic.

Note: this is anecdotal information rather than something i have been able to locate on a scientific website.
Read the RSC full article here.
Read the full Peak Performance article here.

Friday, May 21, 2010


For those of you that have been following my twitter feed i have been experimenting with vegetarianism over this last nine days and have to report a quite dramatic effect to my physical well being..

The inspiration for this has been reading and listening to @zentriathlon and @richroll on both twitter, blogs and podcasts. Essentially these guys talk about the vegan lifestyle they follow and the fact that they can perform and recover for amazing endurance events while following this diet.

Rich Roll proving this beyond any shadow of a doubt in the recent Epic5 undertaking where he, along with @jasonlester completed 5ironman triathlons in 5 days on each of the 5 Hawian islands. Truly Epic!

My motivation for trying this was experimental, my ACL injury has meant that i am not able to train as much as i want to or would like to and so i had noticed my weight creeping up. I have been swimming a lot, relatively speaking, but it doesn't have the same calorific impact as running. 

I have always eaten a lot of fruit but decided to eat more vegetables than i currently do, this is easier than you think with plenty that you can eat raw. Lunches took on a different complexion with wraps/pitta breads being replaced with a single wrap and a box of raw veggies. Fruit still plays a large part in my diet but is now balanced with veggies. This has meant that my carbohydrate intake has also been reduced.

As a diabetic this is probably the most interesting aspect of this as my insulin levels have been dramatically reduced while keeping blood in tolerance levels. As an example my Novorapid doses today have been 3units with breakfast, 3units with lunch and 2units with dinner. Very small doses and a direct result of the change in diet. 

This is reason alone to continue with the diet then i consider the other benefits, I have lost 5lbs in weight, i feel great physically and mentally know i am doing the right thing.

I'm going to continue with this over the coming weeks and see how things progress. If my energy levels remain unaffected, my diabetes and weight under control then this is something that will stick...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Green smoothie!

Over the last couple of weeks i've started listening to the Zen and the Art of Triathlon podcasts again. One of the things that has been discussed is the whole plant strong thing and the green smoothie

The whole vegetarian thing is sounding quite appealling and so today i thought i'd have a go at aking my own. I went to the Natural Grocery store on Bath Road in Cheltenham and bought some ingredients.
  • Coconut milk
  • Greens
  • Avocado
  • Apple
  • Carrot
  • Beetroot

I prepared the vegetables and put them into the blender. Started the blend and it looked good. I'm a little colour blind so i have no idea what colour it was but i don't think it was green!

I continued blending - adding water to make the consistency drinkable rather than soup. As i took the jug off the base to decant it into smaller jugs to add water the bottom fell off as it had become unscrewed.

Disaster in the kitchen!!

I was covered and the kitchen was covered! Not salvageable but tasteable. Actually it tasted pretty good. Will try again later in the week but be much more in control of the blender, that or i will dress the room in cling film (Dexter style) to make cleaning up easier!!