Tuesday, January 26, 2016

This is your brain....this is your brain with strong legs

Leg Power For A Better Brain 

The brain seems to age more slowly when your leg muscles are strong. This finding comes from a 10-year long twin study in the UK that looked at a number of health and lifestyle predictors that can influence brain health. The researchers from Kings College London measured thinking, learning and memory among 324 healthy female identical twins whose average age was 55 when the study began in 1999 and again at its conclusion. They found that the twin whose legs were strongest at the start was mentally sharper 10 years later and had fewer brain changes associated with aging than her twin whose legs weren't as strong. They also reported that leg strength was a better predictor of overall brain health than any other lifestyle factor they evaluated. Earlier studies have found that physical activity can have a beneficial effect on brain aging, and animal studies have shown that exercising muscles releases hormones that can encourage nerve cells to grow, the researchers noted. But they believe that this study is the first to show a specific association between the legs' force and speed and cognitive changes in normal, healthy individuals. The researchers focused on twins because their shared genetics and early life are factors that don't change in adulthood. They noted that further studies are needed to determine if their findings hold true for older individuals and men.
My take? These are very interesting findings. The report demonstrates only an association between lower limb capability and mental capacity, but suggests a possible way to protect your brain from the effects of aging - regular physical exercise to strengthen your legs. (It will also benefit the rest of your body.) Findings from several studies presented at the 2015 Alzheimer's Association International Conference also indicated that aerobic exercise might not only protect the brain from developing Alzheimer's disease but could also lead to some improvements in those already affected.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Steady state 4x10

Sunny and 44 degrees so I went outside. And, it may rain tomorrow. Did these with just small breaks after a 10 minute warmup. Total time in the intervals was about 43 minutes with power from 330-350, cadence low 90's. Felt great! And nice to get outside. Normalizepwoer for 70 minutes at 303 watts.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Missed the storm

We drove to Gatlinburg Wednesday, Asheville NC on Thursday and then back to Cincinnati Thursday night. Once we got to Asheville the forecast was for 12-18" and the concert we were supposed to be attending tonight was canceled. Oh well, it was a good off day. I did the 40 minutes at steady state today broken into 8x5 with 2 between. Cadence wasn't working but it was definitely low 90's. Felt much better at that pace. HR when I checked was 155-160 so pretty close to steady state on that.

power at 301, 306, 307, 311, 310, 306, 309, 308

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

7x5 steady state, 2 minutes between

only had 60 minutes so I did 7x5 minutes with just 2 minutes between; power was 330, 333, 329, 329, 328, 329, 328; cadence from upper 70- to mid 80's; tough to do on the inside bike as cadence is just too low

Friday, January 15, 2016

Cadence test


Steady State Efforts

Some rain in the area today so I did these inside: 15 minutes at 308, 5 minuet at 327, 6 at 310 and 6 at 310 with 3 minutes between each. Decent effort, but would have been higher outside where I can push a little more rpm's. The CycleOps just doesn't seem to allow that 95+/- that I'd prefer.

Saddle Height Test


Crank Length Test


Monday, January 11, 2016

The Importance of Sleep

Weight gain: less time in bed means more time to eat and also increases the level of the hunger hormone, ghrelin

Mood: lack of sleep increases activity in the amygdala which is involved in emotions like anger and rage

Athletic performance: lack of sleep is linked to muscle atrophy as the damage done to muscles cells is corrected during our non-REM sleep which is the majority of our sleep time

The famous Stanford study on athletic performance showed that when college athletes were able to obtain 10 hours per night (a lot, but they're college students) their athletic performance in swimming, free throw shooting, 40 yard dash for football players, tennis serving accuracy, sprinting, etc all improved dramatically

Almost 20% of car crash injuries are associated with driving with sleepy, regardless of alcohol consumption

Compared to those averaging 8 hours per night, those sleeping six and five hours are 1.7 and 2.5 times respectively to develop diabetes

Sleep deprivation is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and some respiratory diseases

Options to improve sleep: get natural light during the day, and sleep in as dark a room as possible; turn off tv's one hour before you want to go to sleep; use the same time to bed and to get up day in and out; sleeping more on the weekends means that your not sleeping enough during the week

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Link to TT Results


Indoor Time Trial

I only had about 5 years of sleep last night. Stayed up too late watching the Bengals make fools of themselves and then had to teach my 8am class. Didn't ride with them given the tt this afternoon. Felt just marginal during my warmup but still rode a 14:46, 12 seconds off my best, and held 364 on my bike, 370+ on the CompuTrainer, avg HR at 169, 179 max, rpms 92. I did feel like my cadence was all over the place. Just could;t get comfortable. I was on my Cervelo P2 tt bike and spent some time in the aero bars. For January, not too bad.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Muscle Cramps...the real story

from Ben Greenfields website...check out his books....he offers some great training and nutrition tips that may surprise you

They hurt, they slow you down, and they negate months of hard training by costing your precious time in a race.
To fight cramps, you’re told to stay hydrated and consume lots of electrolytes. You’re not alone. Craig Alexander, Terenzo Bozzone, Chris McCormack and other top professional triathletes take salt tablets during their racing and training to avoid cramps.
Pretty much every sports nutrition book and magazine you can find will tell you that if you want to avoid muscle cramps, you need lots of water and electrolytes.
In this guest article by Armi Legge, an author at Impruvism.com, you’re going to learn why consuming water and electrolytes probably won’t help you avoid muscle cramps, and what you can do instead.

What People Think Causes Muscle Cramps

The most common explanation for what causes muscle cramps goes like this:1
When you exercise, your body sweats, releasing water and electrolytes like sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chloride.
As you continue to lose water and electrolytes during your workout, your body becomes depleted.
Electrolytes help conduct nerve impulses throughout your body, which allows your muscles to contract. When your body loses enough water and/or electrolytes, the nerve impulses from your brain to your muscles become deranged. This makes your muscles cramp.
This is why you’re told to consume sports drinks, electrolyte tablets, and lots of water during and around your workouts to help prevent or treat muscle cramps. Unfortunately, there’s almost no evidence this works.

Why Electrolyte Loss and Dehydration Probably Don’t Cause Muscle Cramps

There are four reasons why losing electrolytes and water probably doesn’t cause — or isn’t the primary cause — of your muscle cramps.2-5
1. Sweat contains far more water than it does electrolytes.
When you become dehydrated your blood levels of electrolytes actually rise or stay about the same.6
2. Athletes who get muscle cramps have about the same level of electrolytes and dehydration as athletes who don’t cramp.7
In some cases athletes who cramp have slightly higher magnesium levels.Other studies have found no relation of any kind between an athlete’s electrolyte levels and their risk of cramping — their risk of cramping was no higher or lower based on their electrolyte levels.9
Athletes who cramp also have about the same level of hydration as athletes who don’t.10
Another study found that drinking Gatorade did not prevent people from cramping (though there are a few problems with that study, so don’t get too excited).11
3. Not all of your muscles cramp.
If your cramps were caused losing too many electrolytes, then all or most of your muscles should cramp — not just some of them.
When people develop a real electrolyte deficiency, virtually all of their muscles go into uncontrollable spasms. On the other hand, athletes almost always get cramps in the muscles they’re using the most during their workouts. For example, in one study on ultra-marathon runners over 95% of all cramps occurred in the leg muscles during the race.8
4. Stretching, resting, and drinking pickle juice shouldn’t help stop cramps — but they do.
If muscle cramps were caused by dehydration and electrolyte loss, then there’s no good reason why stretching, resting, and sipping pickle juice should help cramps disappear — but they do.3
Stretching and resting a muscle doesn’t increase its electrolyte or water content, but both of these strategies do help muscle cramps go away.
In one study, pickle juice helped cramps disappear faster than drinking water or nothing at all.12 You might think that the salt and other electrolytes in the pickle juice were what stopped the cramps — not so. The cramps stopped long before the sodium from the pickles could be absorbed, so it didn’t work because it was replenishing lost electrolytes.13

What Really Causes Muscle Cramps

The newest and most scientifically supported theory is that muscle cramps are caused by premature fatigue.2
As you get tired, your muscle’s reflex control becomes dysfunctional. Instead of contracting and relaxing like they’re supposed to, they keep firing. Basically, your muscles become “twitchy” and can’t stop contracting.
This theory is supported by several lines of evidence.
1. The muscles you use the most during your workouts are the ones that usually cramp.
2. Muscles that cross multiple joints are more likely to cramp than other muscles. These muscles generally have more activity during exercise when they’re more likely to get tired.
3. You’re far more likely to cramp during a race than you are in training — when you’re pushing yourself harder than normal. Cramps also tend to occur at the end of races when you’re most fatigued.
4. If you don’t pace yourself properly, you’re more likely to cramp. Athletes who go out too hard relative to their training experience are much more likely to cramp than those who stay within their limits.7,14
5. Drinking pickle juice helps cramps disappear faster than drinking water or nothing at all, and this happens before the salt from the pickle juice can be absorbed. Researchers think this is because the salty taste of the pickle juice “tricks” the brain into relaxing the muscles.12
6. Some evidence indicates that athletes who cramp have more muscle damage before races.14
At this point, there’s no direct evidence that consuming extra electrolytes will help you avoid muscle cramps. There’s some evidence that dehydration might be involved, but it’s almost certainly not the primary cause of your muscle cramps.

5 Scientific Ways to Stop Muscle Cramps

1. Train specifically for your race.
Most cramps happen when you push yourself harder than you’re used to. If you make your training more similar to racing in terms of intensity and duration, then you’re probably less likely to cramp.
2. Rest.
If you get a cramp, the best way to get rid of it is to rest. Most cramps don’t last more than about 2-3 minutes at most.
3. Lightly stretch the muscle.
Some evidence indicates that light passive stretching can help muscle cramps go away faster than rest alone. You’re not trying to improve your flexibility with this stretching — just pull on the muscle lightly to tell the brain it’s okay to relax.
4. Drink pickle juice or another salty solution.
Drinking pickle juice may help your cramps disappear faster than drinking plain water or nothing. Since the effect is probably due to the acidic/salty taste, any similar drink or food would probably work well, too.
5. Stay hydrated.
There isn’t much evidence that dehydration causes muscle cramps, but it might contribute.11 It’s obviously worth staying hydrated for other reasons, so keep drinking when you’re thirsty.

Reduce Your Risk of Muscle Cramps

Nothing can guarantee that you’ll never get a muscle cramp. However, using the best available scientific evidence, you can reduce your chances significantly.
For prevention: Train smart and stay hydrated.
For treatment: rest, lightly stretch the muscle, and maybe drink something that tastes like salt or vinegar.
Do you have any questions about muscle cramps? Leave them in the comments section below and Ben and I will respond.


1. Miller KC, Stone MS, Huxel KC, Edwards JE. Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps. Sports Health. 2010;2(4):279–283. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3445088/.
2. Schwellnus MP. Cause of exercise associated muscle cramps (EAMC)–altered neuromuscular control, dehydration or electrolyte depletion? Br J Sports Med. 2009;43(6):401–408. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2008.050401.
3. Schwellnus MP, Drew N, Collins M. Muscle cramping in athletes–risk factors, clinical assessment, and management. Clin Sports Med. 2008;27(1):183–94– ix–x. doi:10.1016/j.csm.2007.09.006.
4. Schwellnus MP. Muscle cramping in the marathon : aetiology and risk factors. Sports Med. 2007;37(4-5):364–367.
5. Schwellnus MP, Derman EW, Noakes TD. Aetiology of skeletal muscle “cramps” during exercise: a novel hypothesis. J Sports Sci. 1997;15(3):277–285. doi:10.1080/026404197367281.
6. Sawka MN. Physiological consequences of hypohydration: exercise performance and thermoregulation. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1992;24(6):657–670.
7. Schwellnus MP, Drew N, Collins M. Increased running speed and previous cramps rather than dehydration or serum sodium changes predict exercise-associated muscle cramping: a prospective cohort study in 210 Ironman triathletes. Br J Sports Med. 2011;45(8):650–656. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2010.078535.
8. Schwellnus MP, Nicol J, Laubscher R, Noakes TD. Serum electrolyte concentrations and hydration status are not associated with exercise associated muscle cramping (EAMC) in distance runners. Br J Sports Med. 2004;38(4):488–492.
9. Brouns F, Beckers E, Wagenmakers AJ, Saris WH. Ammonia accumulation during highly intensive long-lasting cycling: individual observations. Int J Sports Med. 1990;11 Suppl 2:S78–84. doi:10.1055/s-2007-1024858.
10. Sulzer NU, Schwellnus MP, Noakes TD. Serum electrolytes in Ironman triathletes with exercise-associated muscle cramping. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2005;37(7):1081–1085.
11. Jung AP, Bishop PA, Al-Nawwas A, Dale RB. Influence of Hydration and Electrolyte Supplementation on Incidence and Time to Onset of Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps. J Athl Train. 2005;40(2):71–65. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1150229/.
12. Miller KC, Mack GW, Knight KL, et al. Reflex inhibition of electrically induced muscle cramps in hypohydrated humans. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010;42(5):953–961. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181c0647e.
13. Miller KC, Mack GW, Knight KL. Gastric emptying after pickle-juice ingestion in rested, euhydrated humans. J Athl Train. 2010;45(6):601–608. doi:10.4085/1062-6050-45.6.601.
14. Schwellnus MP, Allie S, Derman W, Collins M. Increased running speed and pre-race muscle damage as risk factors for exercise-associated muscle cramps in a 56 km ultra-

Read more http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/09/ways-to-stop-muscle-cramps/

3x5 steady state efforts

Todays efforts were in preparation for the indoor time trial on Sunday. We do a slight taper for these since they're a good test of mid-winter power and also one of the key events in the state time trial and nationals in 2017. I misread the instructions and did 3x5 instead of 3x3...oh well...felt good...held 334, 341 and 350 riding inside on a rainy day. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Fox 19 Interview


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Training Mediocrity

This is the time of the year when I meet a lot of athletes bringing their training indoors or contacting me regarding upgrading their self-made plans. The one thing I see is the lack of intensity in their training. I think this is due to the fact that it just hurts to do it and without someone telling you to do it, why do it?  I have no doubts that doing 30 second, one minute, two minute, or three minute efforts knowing that you will be submitting the data to a coach is motivational. I actually have athletes apologize for efforts that they feel are below expectations! Thats not necessary but I get it. If I don't do as well as hoped I do feel like I let my coach down.  There is so much time still left before the season starts that any training that falls short isn;t a big deal. In fact, it could be that you're just pushing extra hard, and that is fine.

Off Day

Only exercise today was walking the dog a few miles late in the day. Will go at it tomorrow in the 8:15 indoor cycling class and the 9:15 circuit class. Having a slight taper for the weekend indoor time trial at Club 51. These are good test of where my power for a 10k sits in the winter. Hoping to equal last months time if not improve slightly, Going for 4.8 wits/kg for 14:40 or faster.

Sports Nutrition Seminar 1-27-16

January 27th, 7:00 pm at the Cincinnati Sports Club
Dawn Weatherwax from Sports Nutrition 2 Go

fueling before, during and after events and how to eat healthy during the day

Free! Just need to register with me at pwimberg@aol.com....already at 75% capacity for the room

Sunday, January 3, 2016

20 minute effort

I started the day by riding with my 8am spin class. The forecast was for temps in the low to mid 30's so I made them do the 20 minute effort on my schedule after about 15 minutes of warming up through various intervals. Held 310. Kind of hard to really go to crazy when you have to talk people through the grea and cadence changes but still a solid effort. Rode another easy hour when I got home and then decided to go out and do the 20 minute tt effort. I used the crit course at Ault Park so I had to try to hold the power on the downhills. Ended up with 331 watts, 85 cad. Too cold! 32 degrees, at 30 mph, 13-14 degrees. My eyeballs froze to my eyelids. I hate winter!!!

Friday, January 1, 2016

6x4 hill repeats

Cold day (mid 30's) but sunny; used the same hill, Heekin From Eastern to the playground at Ault Park: 365, 368, 361, 363, 361, 363. Just under 2000' of climbing in 55 minutes and normalized power at 297. Given the 6 x 2.5-3 minutes downhill at 0 watts, not too bad on the NP.

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