June was a funny month which felt like not much progress was being made, this was I think largely due to the amount of rain we had which made me somewhat reluctant to go out and put some road miles in. The purchase of the Turbo trainer definitely turned out to be a good decision because this allowed me to still be on the bike, clocking up miles without getting wet, which was a real bonus and allowed "on the bike" training to continue.
Of course if I were offered to chance to ride in the rain with this chap, I wouldn't be such a softie and I'd get on with it!
Towards the end of the month I had my performance assessment at Total Cycling Performance (details of this session are in earlier posts on the blog) which gave me an accurate picture of my current fitness levels and identified the aspects of cycling fitness that I need to work on in the coming months. One of the most important things to come out of the day was the identification of a need to re-introduce a significant amount of carbs back into my diet in order to provide fuel for an increased training load. Carbs are the fundamental source of energy for the body so with hindsight it's pretty obvious why I was running out of energy after around 90 minutes, when my diet contained almost zero carbs on some days. Lesson learnt, and I am now taking on board more carbs and managing my nutrition even more carefully than before to avoid what cyclists know as the "bonk". The bonk is what happens when your body simply does not have enough energy to carry on working and is caused by the body having insufficient fuel to work at the level being demanded of it.
As far as weight loss is concerned I guess compared to previous months June would appear to be a bit of a disappointment as total weight loss for the month was 7 pounds, however during June I gradually increased my calorie intake as even I knew I wasn't eating enough to fuel my training load. This will have had an impact on the rate of weight loss as will the development of muscle tissue. All in all, June was still a good month for weight loss and as I get into a more intense and structured training plan I suspect any loss of weight over the coming months is likely to be minimal. For the record when I was weighed at Total Cycling Performance on the 29th June, I weighed in at 12 stone 4 pounds, which is a bit different from the just over 17 stone that I weighed in the second week in January. If you are reading this and want to know how I lost this amount of weight without using fad diets, gimmick dieting products or paying a monthly subscription to a diet club, contact me and I will happily talk it through with you.
So, what did June look like in numbers?
- 34 training sessions completed during the month
- Total training time was a little over 33 hours (so a little over an hour a day on average)
- Average heart rate during all training sessions was 125 beats per minute
- Average maximum heart during all sessions was 155 beats per minute
- 14,600 calories burnt as a direct result of training sessions (so about 4 pounds lost due to exercise completed)
- Total weight loss a little over 7 pounds
- 369.5 miles covered on the bike
July's training summary should look a little different from the previous two months as I have been working to a new training programme from the 15th July. I have also changed my nutritional goals from 1st July to reflect the fact that I am now not concentrating on weight loss, and focusing on maintaining my current weight, reducing % body fat and building strength and stamina which requires a significantly higher intake of calories to fuel the required training sessions.
Understanding my own percentage body fat figure has been really enlightening for me and I would recommend that for anyone who partakes of sport and is considering taking steps to lose the "spare tyre" having a body fat measurement and focusing on reducing the actual fat content of the body is likely to be the most effective way of losing the "spare tyre" and maintaining (or increasing) sports performance. Focusing on weight alone is likely to result in a loss of muscle mass as well as fat, which is bad for performance. My own % body fat measurement is currently 14% or measured in weight around 26-27 pounds, the aim is to reduce this number by around 12-14 pounds which should take me to just over the 10% body fat figure that seems to be close to optimum for cyclists competing in endurance events in mountainous terrain. This will be a long process and I am anticipating that losing those 12 pounds of fat will take around 26-32 weeks - quite a change from the rate of weight loss experienced over the last six months.
The above chart is a generic one pinched from the internet and really should only be used as a guide, if you are reading this and want to know more about % body fat, I can only recommend that professional advice and guidance is sought. Talk to your GP (if they aren't on strike and you can get them to talk to you about something other than BMI or absolute weight) or better still talk to a sports nutritionist or coach. Personally I would recommend Simon at Total Cycling Performance - no nonsense advice and approach, contact him via his web site or on twitter @bodybullet
As always, thanks for taking the time to read my blog and I hope you are able to find time to visit it again in the coming months as I progress towards l'etape 2013.