Monday, October 8, 2012


Its been a few weeks since my last blog as I've all sorts of issues to deal with.....such is life. In that time I had my up to date fitness test and am pleased to report that my body fat is now 10.3%. This is pretty good but I am now on a mission to go sub 10% which I suspect I must be at, or close to, already. I also gained an extra 2 kilo's of lean muscle so all is good with my body conditioning. I have been asked how do you do this as it has not been achieved by ultra running, in fact my coach Paddy has stated that if I had done less running during the last 6 weeks I would have dropped even more fat ! So why is this?
   With apologies to the medics and fitness coaches amongst us I shall give the simplified version. There are many ultra runners who are thin but there also quite a few (mostly women) who carry some excess around their waist. It has been argued that they carry this extra fat for energy....this I find a little odd because even someone with 5 % body fat has plenty of stored energy. In one pound of body fat there are approximately 3,500 useable calories, so in a person with even 5% body fat thats 17,500 calories. If I run for 10 hours I will proabably burn 7,500 calories, so if I had no gels or food at all I would still have 10,000 calories of energy left, BUT I would eat at least 3000 calories in gels and food so I would 'need' only 3,500 from stored energy ie one pound of fat. The point is you don't need excess fat to run and you don't burn much anyway.
    Also with some people, (me included) running can stress the body thereby releasing cortisol, a hormone that inhibits muscle growth and increases the metabolic resistance to body fat loss. ie ultra running is stressful and can actually increase or at the very least prevent fat loss, which is the real reason for fat around the midriff of some runners.
  I have achieved my fat loss by high intensity interval training, or HIIT as we call it. Fat is burned during the exercise and for 24 hours after plus there is an anabolic effect whereby if you consume more protein this will help you build muscle and not fat. It also helps to increase your lactic acid threshold......and increases aerobic capacity, great for ultra runners.   The good news for anyone who wants to get fit and lose weight is that my average HIIT workout is 18 minutes.....thats the maximum time I spend in a gym and I only do this 4 times a week, thats a total of 72 minutes!

                                                Just over one hour of exercise per week.

10% Body Fat
  Fitness coaches know this but most people don't. HIIT's are basically short fast bursts of energy be it sprints or press ups, burpees, squats or a myriad of different execises interspersed with short 20/30 second rests. (Look it up). Obviously your nutrition is hugely important. If you drink, smoke and consume large amounts of carbs then no amount of HIIT ing is going to help.Clean nutrition is the key. I eat A LOT, three big meals and two smaller ones per day. I am never hungry and do not diet. For anyone reading this for the first time I know you don't believe me, I was skeptical too but the facts are I have gone from a fit runner with 15% body fat to a very fit runner with under 10% body fat....and its all been done with less running. Did you know that Usain Bolt has never run more than a mile in his life........ and he looks alright.
 So why run at all?
 There are many other health benefits to aerobic activities such as running and so combining the two types makes sense to me.....and besides I like running through the hills and valleys. I wouldn't normally post a half naked picture of myself but sometimes the best way to demonstrate something is to do it visually.
      In relation to my last post about challenges I am booked to do a 33k run around the St Tropez peninsular in 6 weeks time. Its not an ultra but its quite technical and I thought it might be good training to see if I can run faster over a shorter distance.  I might even be a little fatter after it!

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