www.Hypersmash.com Beating Lyme

zondag 20 juli 2014

16 week weight loss challenge.... end of week 1

Time since beginning challenge: 7 days
Weight lost: 2.2kg (91.5kg to 89.3kg)
Fat % change: 2.5% (23% to 20.5%)

Really successful week for losing body fat. Due to time constraints I didn't have the chance to do much exercise but I did eat SUPER clean. I also limited my fruit intake. Whereas normally I put banannas, dates and berries in my smoothies, this week my smoothies consisted of broccoli and kale. Not that tasty but effective for burning the fat.

The challenge is really going to be to try and lose (or at least limit the increase of) body fat over the next 3.5 weeks when I will be on holiday.

zondag 13 juli 2014

16 week fat loss challenge..... day 1 !!!

I've written a fair bit about the new sporting challenges I've taken on in the last couple of years; stair running and recumbent bike racing.

I feel now I've got the energy and determination to really get fit so that I can be competitive in these sports, especially in stair running.

To be competitive means getting in good shape and getting down to a good, lean racing weight.

2.5 years ago I weighed 103kg. I've done well since then and have got down to 91kg. Of course that is a much healthier but I'm still about 10kg above where I should be. At 103kg I was obese. At 91kg I'm overweight.

So the challenge for the next 16 weeks is to see whether I can drop enough fat to get down to my goal weight. I've got two primary goals. The first is to get down to below 85kg. I want to achieve that by September 11th. That date will be my 10th wedding anniversary and the last time I weighed less than 85kg was my wedding day.

2nd goal is to get down to below 79kg. My goal for that is November 13th, 16 weeks away from today. Last time I was below 79kg was when I was super fit, having spent 3 months biking around Europe and the USA.

They're both challenging and difficult goals. I've tried many times before to lose the fat but have never been able to lose it and keep it off.

I'll write more about the fat loss strategies I'm using in later blog posts.

I want to sign off today with a photo of the scales when I weighed myself this morning. I'm going to take a photo every Sunday and post it on here to be accountable. Any support is very much appreciated so please leave a message here or e-mail me. And if you also want to tackle some goals in the coming 16 weeks let me know and we can be accountable to each other.

photos 13th July 2014: (23% bodyfat at 91.5kg)

zondag 8 juni 2014

First amateur and first team in tower running competition !!!!

The last 5 weeks been pretty tough. I had a fabulous 2 week holiday 5 weeks ago and since returning I've really had trouble sleeping. Since I've had Lyme I go through periods like this a few times a year. I feel like I'm coming out the other side now but when you're getting by on a few hours sleep a night or less it's hard to stay positive.

So needless to say it's been hard summoning the willpower and energy to train for the stair running competition I'd been targeting.

But I stayed tough and trained and last weekend I turned up with my teammates to take on the 34 stories (600 steps) of the Almere World Trade Centre.

This year there were three categories: business teams, amateur, professionals.

My strategy was to take it relatively easy the first 10 floors, build pace for the next 15 and hang tough for the last 9. The first 10 floors went well, however when it came to the build and sprint for the finish I just didn't have it in my legs. I gave it my all though and passed three people (we start 1 minute apart) so was hopeful I'd put in a good time. Last year I'd finished 15th and I was hoping for a top 10 this year.

After the finish I hung out with my teammates at the top and then we all ventured down to the timing area. To my surprise I was coming first! There were still quite a few runners to go so we milled around outside and watched the invited elite 'professionals' warming up.

A few minutes later all the amateur and team runners had finished and the presenters counted down the top ten teams. He got down to the top two and we still hadn't been called out. Then he announced the winner..... we'd won!!! That was a great moment for us all to savour. As well as being part of the winning team I'd got the fastest amateur time, about 18 seconds faster than the 2nd place getter.

Of course most of the elite category beat me and the top few beat me pretty soundly (I got 4.30, the winner got 3.35). However there were lots of things to be positive about and lots of areas where I can improve for next year and other events later this year.

I'm focusing on a 3 pronged strategy for improving:

Weight - for the race I weighed 90kg with a bodyfat percentage of around 22%. If I could get down to, say, 78kg that would make a massive difference to my results. With stair running you have to lug your mass at least 100 vertical metres, so every additional kilogram is significant.

Endurance - when I was at my fittest 16 years ago the training component that really made the difference to my endurance was running, lots of running.

Explosive strength - I'm aiming to get this through a combination of weight training and plyometrics.

I've got 6 months till the dutch tower running championships. Last year I rang 2.29 and placed 14th. This year I'd like to go sub 2.09. That should get me on the podium which would be pretty cool.

I'm excited about the next few months. I had around 10 years of bad eating habbits and inactivity that left me overweight and unfit. Now I'm turning it around and it's an exciting process. Bring it on !!

vrijdag 4 april 2014

Training PB in the tower! and suffering through cold showers!

A couple of weeks ago I started tower running training monday and wednesday mornings with a group of friends from work.

The tower we run up is 28 stories high (approx 600 steps).

I also trained in this tower last year. Up until last week my personal best time was 3 minutes 31 seconds.

Last wednesday I smashed that with a run of 3 minutes 17 seconds!

Super happy!

Short term (next two months) I'd like to get that down to under 3 minutes. Longer term I think 2 minutes 30 seconds is possible. That would be a stretch goal though!

One of the things I love about tower running is that it's just you versus the stairs. When I was bike racing there were so many variables; weather conditions, road conditions, punctures or mechanical failure. In the tower all the variables are within yourself. It's interesting to tweak something (like what I eat prior to running) and then seeing the effect this has on overall time.

It's intersting (and motivating) seeing my times improve as my weight decreases.

It's also meditative. You go through so much pain running up stairs that you need to be able work through this pain. Maybe block it out, maybe embrace it, I'm not sure yet. It's all a learning process.

Another learning process I've been trying recently is cold showers. There's lots of benefits associated with cold showers:

I guess part of the reason I want to take them is to get used to the suffering. Taking a really cold shower is hard. I'm definitely not there yet and I can't really say it's got easier over the past week but I'm at the stage now where I look forward to the cold showers, relish them even. And I feel great afterwards! Last night I slept poorly. I was completely out of vegetables and fruit (very unusual) so I had a bowl of cereal before I went to bed. Big mistake! Was up at 4am and couldn't get back to sleep.

But the cold shower snapped me out of my funk and set me up for a good day.

Give it a try yourself and let me know how you find it...

zondag 30 maart 2014

Getting in shape for tower running

In 2 months the tower running race in Almere, the Netherlands will take place.

Last year I did it with a couple of friends from work. This year there'll be 5 of us competing (as a team) from my work.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I fell off the healthy eating wagon a bit in the first couple of months of 2014. Over the past month I've climbed back onto that wagon and since then life has been great! I'm sleeping much better, way more energy, happier, and a nice side effect is that the weight is coming off and my fitness is increasing.

A month ago I weighed 95.5kg (211 lbs). Today I'm down to 91.5 kg (202 lbs). It's been a fairly steady kilo a week weight loss. My goal is to keep this weight loss rate going for the next 8 weeks. If I do that I'll head into the tower running race weighing in at 83.5kg (189lbs). That would be an awesome achievement!

With tower running weight is a huge factor in performance. Last year it took me 4min 29 seconds. My goals this year are:

goal: run under 4.29
Stretch goal: under 4:15
Real stretch: under 4 minutes

My first goal is to improve on my time. But really I want to do much more than that. I want to blitz my time from last year! However the 2 months of downtime I had over the winter may put a bit of a damper on what I can do. But I'm going to give it my best shot!

My training program at the moment is:

Monday bike to work (1 hour). Train on the stairs. Bike home after work.

Tue: bike to work and back. Yoga in the evening.

Wed: bike to work (1 hour). Train on the stairs. Bike home after work.

Thurs: day off

Fri: Gym and run.

Sat: Yoga and tabata (or bike ride)

Sun: Gym

woensdag 12 maart 2014

are you not yet fully recovered?!?!

I've been asked this question a couple of times via e-mail recently. It's one that doesn't have a yes or no answer.

My health and well-being is now higher than before I got sick. At least most of the time it is. Both mentally and physically I am stronger than what I was 5 years ago. I have never got a cold or flu since getting sick with Lyme. I'm getting more out of my life now than I was before. Things that I couldn't manage before I was sick (e.g, learning dutch) I am able to do now. I would say that I'm happier now.

However it's not all roses.

In order to maintain this level of health and well-being I need to be super vigilant about what I eat. The eating plan I'm following is very strict. What works best for me health wise is gluten free vegan. I know from experience that if I fall back into my old eating habits then my health will go downhill rapidly.

In the past few years there have been a few times per year when I fall off the diet wagon. Usually these periods begin when I'm on holiday. It's hard to exist on water, green smoothies and salads when your family and friends are enjoying a cold beer or an ice-cream on the beach. Usually in those times I'll waver, enjoy a treat, the next day enjoy another treat and begin a ride down the slippery slope back to my old eating habits.

The trouble is that there's no instant feedback. For a few days, a week or even two I feel great. Then the troubles start. Insomnia is usually the first thing to rear it's head. Loss of energy and nerve pain will follow.

The hard bit is getting back on the wagon once I've fallen off. It's a really vicious cycle. I'll be existing on a few hours sleep a night so my energy, mood, discipline and willpower is super low. I'll have some chocolate or a few too many coffees to stay alert or a few wines in the evening to wind down. But in order to get back on an even keel it needs to be full on monk adherence to the diet plan. If I do that then I can, over the period of a few weeks, get back to where I was.

I'm in the process of getting back on an even keel now after fallng off the wagon a bit over Christmas. The thing is that I still ate a very healthy diet over that period. Much healthier than I would have eaten prior to lyme and much healtier than the average guy on the street. But that doesn't cut it for me anymore.

Each time I go through one of these 'relapses' the conection in my mind between the return to old eating habits and the subsequent relapse becomes stronger. Plus each time I learn something new about how to stay healthy. The thing I've learnt in the last few weeks is how badly my body reacts to gluten. Usually I don't have much gluten in my diet but eat pasta quite regularly and bread occasionally. Over the past few weeks I've got to see how badly this stuff affects me. When I eliminate it from my diet I'm OK. If I introduce it it hits me like a freight train.

I hope that over time my holiday relapses will happen less and less. However I'm human and definitely falliable. My recovery from lyme has definitely not been a linear progression upwards. There have been many ups and downs over the years. But the general trend has been positive and I hope that continues into the future.

I must add that even when I eat super clean and stick to my exercise plan there are still some times when I go through a bad patch, usually with insomnia. This was never a problem prior to Lyme. These periods do not happen often but I try and accept them when they come along and try as best as I can to hang tough till the good times come along again. Lyme has a nasty habbit of biting you in the bum just when you think you've got it beat! But if you can figure out your own strategies for beating it then it doesn't need to define your life.

zondag 15 december 2013

Dutch tower running championships...

Today was the 2013 Netherlands tower running championships. I had been targeting
this race for a while and my training had been going well, with a fair bit of specific stair
training in our 28 story head office building (which coincidentally was the same height as the building we would be racing in).

The evening before the race I was biking to pick up my daughter from a friend's
place when BANG - my front wheel slipped out on some wet cobblestones and I
fell heavily on my right hip and elbow.

I was gutted. Nothing was broken but my hip was bruised and it hurt to walk. I
spent the rest of the evening applying ice, heat packs and tiger balm. Hopefully
something would kick in and get my hip right for the next day!

I woke up early this morning and gingerly tried walking around. The hip was stiff
but not too sore. I really ummed and ahhed about going but eventually I decided
to give it a go. I'd trained so hard for the race and I would be gutted if I had to
miss it.

The race was in Enschede, about 90 minutes train travel from my house. The trip
went fine. I arrived, picked up my start number and then shortly thereafter I was
lining up at the start ready to go.

My strategy had been to start off easy focusing on my arms and breathing for the
first 8 floors. Then ramp it up a bit for the next 10. And then gradually crank it up
for the last 10 finishing with a sprint.

A sound plan, but the idea of starting off easy does not compute with the
endorphins and adreneline coarsing through your body at the start line! On the
positive side, any thoughts of my sore hip went out the window along with my
pacing strategy!

The first 8 floors felt easy. That got me down to 20 floors to. The next 7 or 8
floors also felt OK. But with about 10 floors to go; BOOMPH!!! I hit the wall, my
hip started to make itself felt, and my pace started to drop off big time. I didn't
really feel like I was suffering that much but it just wasn't possible to coax any
more speed out of my legs and lungs. I managed to clamber up the rest of the
stairs and stagger into the finishing area.

After a few minutes of chest heaving, lying on the ground, I felt well enough to
have a look around. There was a screen showing the interim results and, at that
stage, I was sitting in 3rd position. The top 20 seeded athletes (the toppers as the
dutch call them) started last so I was under no illusions of maintaining this
position but I was still pleased to put in a good performance.

I got the lift down to the 24th floor and stayed there for the next 2 hours
cheering on the rest of the runners. There were all sorts; firemen in full gear,
disabled athletes, children and the super fit 'toppers'.

I waited until the last athlete had gone past then made my way down to the
results area. My time had been 2 minutes 29 seconds which was good enough for
15th overall (out of approx 80). The winner did it in 1.59 which was a course
record. I was only about 16 seconds off the podium.

I was super motivated by this result. I really think that if I train hard, lose some
more weight, and come to the race injury free next year then a time under 2.10
is achievable.

I'm proud of myself for giving this race a go. 3 years ago when I was being treated for Lyme disease I was told by a neurosurgeon that I might end up wheel chair bound and back then even the idea
of being able to walk pain free seemed an unlikely dream. So to be able to reclaim
my health and fitness and compete well in this race is a great result and
something I'm very proud of.

Next month the recumbent racing winter series starts so I want to focus on that
for the next few months. I'll aim to build up my running with a view to competing
in some of the bigger tower running races in Europe next year.