Saturday, 11 January 2014

Happy New Year 2014!

As we head to New Delhi, I am writing this from the LHR airport lounge, I’ll reflect a little bit on 2013 and look ahead to what’s coming for 2014!

So, What’s in store for us in 2014?

  • Get married!
  • Get settled: a car, a house, taxes??
  • Continue some resemblance as endurance sport athletes after the damage done from the wedding! :D
  • Hopefully travel a bit, participate in some races and have fun!
    • Plan is for both of us to do a destination race this year…nothing fancy. We’re thinking about visiting the East Coast (Nova Scotia, in particular) for the EPIC Dartmouth race (Sprint/Olympic/Half/Full distances) as well as a few cycling/running races thrown in.
    • One of the other highlights will be the 1st edition of MSC Niagara Half Iron distance Duathlon, unique because of its point-to-point course and run next to the Niagara Falls! Cant wait!

Finally, 2013 in review from a sports perspective:

The good:
  • Represented Canada at Age Group World Duathlon championships: CHECK.
  • Had fun? : Mostly! CHECK
  • Didn't get injured: CHECK
  • Didn't get fat: CHECK
  • Maintained motivation to train for 2014 despite no specific goal race in mind: CHECK
The bad:
  • Focused on my swim: Uh...a tiny bit. FAIL.
  • Improved bike times: Yes, but not much. Sort of FAIL.
  • Improved 10k and marathon: Sort of FAIL. 
    • Had a nice meltdown at Goodlife Marathon, 
    • But running strength (not speed) improved overall by a lot, especially on hills and trails, which helped for Powerman
  • Cured my nagging neck/shoulder/trapezius ergonomic chronic pain: FAIL.
    • Things got much better than 2012, for sure, because of chiro/RMT and semi-focused rehab exercises, but these neck pains still keep me from getting stronger shoulders/traps...
The effort:

I don’t have Garima’s stats since she conveniently chooses not to keep track, but I jotted down a summary of my exercise related activities for this year. 

  • I try to record all of my activities, including weights, swimming, running and cycling, but don’t keep track of any walking or calories burnt from day-today activities. We walk on average about 4-5 kms a day to the gym/work and a lot more during summer wandering around town.
  • So, from exercise alone, I burnt an average of 29,100 kCal a month. That’s a staggering 350,000 kCal in the year and an average of almost a 1000 kCal a day! When you consider that we usually don’t work out on weekends unless there is a race, its even more surprising! We both do a lot of weight training (3X-4X/week: 5-6 hrs/week), so this is not just from aerobic activities like cycling and running.
  • For perspective, what does 350,000 kCal look like? 
    • Approximately 39,000 grams (39 kgs) of pure FAT. LARD.
    • Approximately 87,500 grams (87.5 kgs) of carbohydrates and proteins including sugars, breads, meat, dairy, whatever.
    • Since during any given aerobic activity, you burn a combination of ~40% fat and 60% carbs on average, it is probably closer to 16 kgs of Fat and 52.5 kgs of Carbs.
    • Yes, in simple terms this means that if I ate like I did during the year, and not do a single exercise related activity, I would easily gain ~30 kgs in bodyweight of FAT at the very least. In a single year. Of course, I wouldn’t eat this much if I just sat on my backside all day! Or would I…?
    • Keep in mind that without exercise, a person of my size and build would need around 2500 kCal a day, just to do daily activities like walking, sleeping and going to work. So all these calories are in addition to the 900,000 kCal in a year that anyone like me would normally NEED.

-   Garima is generally in the same neighborhood of calories and time, except a few instances per month where I generally worked out longer than she did (curse of long distance racing!). So if you adjust for her weight and size, she would also have incinerated around 210,000 kCal in 2013, or 575 kCal/day. Pretty wild.

2013 - Total Exercise Time
Of course, you can dig into my numbers and find that they may be overestimated by about 5-15% because they’re mainly based on my custom estimate of calories burnt per hour of a specific activity, but not based on any actual metabolic testing. I’ve found it to be reasonably accurate (in the same ballpark) since I don’t really track calories on a day-to-day basis for eating and rather go by feel, like everyone else. Our weight and eating habits have not really changed since the last few years.

However, I’m not highlighting these figures for bragging rights, but rather to show those unaware how calories work and how they can add up due to lack of attention to one’s diet, (even an excess off by 200 kCal/day = 1 large cookie is 73,000 kCal in a year and 8 kgs of fat!).

Nobody needs to count calories every day, just be attuned to your body’s daily needs and be aware of what you really put in your mouth everyday! Its not as simple as counting calories for most people (although it can be!) You can consult your family physician about your personal goals for nutrition and be careful of any approach with radical changes to your routine.

Another interesting fact is that if you compare this with any serious endurance athlete around the world, we are probably on the lower side of things. Most of these “serious” or professional athletes my size can easily burn up to 50,000 kCal a month and don’t “waste” so much time doing weights like we do. However, what I’m proud of is the fact that we stay consistent throughout the year and there are not too many deep peaks and valleys, except my 6 week trip to Europe/India in September/October…

So as we embark on 2014, everyone needs goals. Do you have yours?

Alrighty, on to the connecting flight to Delhi! Familia, here we come!

Toronto Pearson Airport - iPad equipped seating is everywhere! And free!

Keep pedaling.

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