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easy part is probably over

Discussion in 'Fitness Journals' started by zenpharaohs, Jun 23, 2005.

  1. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    Coming down from about 225 pounds about six months ago to 203 today. Mostly exercise and a little portion control.

    The thing I want to track is my VO2max. When I started, it was about 25 as measured by the Cooper test (could run about 1600 meters on the flat in 12 minutes). I kept running along with the workouts and got that test for VO2max to about 46 (about 2500 meters in 12 minutes).

    Then I stopped running and switched to walking uphill, and now walking uphill with a weight vest for cardio. I'm still doing the same lifting. But now I measure my VO2max using the heart monitor watch. It was in agreement with the running test last time I did both.

    Yesterday I got VO2max to 50. I'm 46 so this is pretty good. It has made a huge difference in my capacity to do the strength training. It's a pretty good number for someone my age.

    So I am wondering if the VO2max can go up a lot more or is the easy part over.

    The argument for the easy part being over basically boils down to that according to tables on the internet, most men my age don't have as good a VO2max; I'm not an elite athlete so maybe that's gone as far as one can expect.

    The argument for maybe more is possible is that I'm still carrying just about 75 pounds over my old "fighting weight" (128pounds - 25 years ago), and VO2max has weight in the denominator. In other words, my relative VO2max of 50 ml/kg/min translates into an absolute VO2max of 4.6 l/min. If I lose weight all the way down to 128 and keep the absolute VO2max the same then we get a relative VO2max of 79. That would be pretty serious.

    I guess we'll see.
     
  2. Butterflyer

    Butterflyer Well-Known Member

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    Hello zenpharaohs!
    I bet you could improve your VO2 Max still... since you're already in the excellent range, it would probably improve in less dramatic increments.

    I've been tested before but can't remember what the results were. What kind of heart rate monitor do you have? I've been meaning to look into HR monitors but haven't quite gotten around to that bit of research yet. Do they all register VO2 Max?

    Are you going to track your progress here?
    I'll be following it!

    :tucool:
     
  3. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    I'm using the Polar F11, which measures VO2max from resting heart rate. They call it "Ownindex" but it's just VO2max. I think they call it "Ownindex" so they can trademark stuff.

    I found that the Balke and Cooper tests, described here: (http://www.brianmac.demon.co.uk/gentest.htm, http://www.brianmac.demon.co.uk/balke.htm) were good ways to test VO2max with just a treadmill (or a track and a stopwatch).

    I use the heart monitor all the time when I'm working out. This way we can cut rest short when it's not needed and longer when it is. So even though I vary the strength intensity of the workout, the cardio intensity is pretty constant.

    I'll check the VO2max again tomorrow morning (morning after a rest day). I check more or less weekly on Fridays. I think VO2max changes pretty slowly from week to week. It's more of a month to month thing.
     
  4. Butterflyer

    Butterflyer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info Zen!! :)
     
  5. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    Friday's VO2max was 44, which isn't good for me, but it was on two hours of sleep - something which probably screwed up that measurement.


    I was a little worried about incipient shin splints which is why I switched away from running to walking uphill with the weight vest. And from a heart rate and calorie point of view that is working. But we no longer get much heart rate over 180 - it stays under 175 all the time. I'm going to try some supplemental cardio. It can't really hurt since even if it doesn't increase my absolute VO2max it increases relative VO2max by encouraging weight loss - and I can afford to drop quite a few more pounds.
     
  6. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    That cardio was:
    49 minutes, 148 average heart, 166 max heart, 842 calories according to the F11 watch.

    This is on the home elliptical with dumbells. Eh. I'll take it, but it's less than I can get walking up a treadmill with load, and it felt harder. My trainer thinks ellipticals never burn calories like treadmills, but theoretically if I can wear enough extra weight we can burn all the calories my heart can pump - that's the goal - to get cardio limited all the time.

    Looks like I need another vest - the dumbells are hard to hold onto after the first twenty minutes if they are heavy enough to do much good. 25 pounds in the vest was really easy at the gym, but a pair of 15 pound dumbells is out of the question at the present (I've tried that recently).

    Tomorrow we have a subgoal - my trainer thinks I will be able to do 40 pushups (no extra loads). Best I've done so far is 33. I used to do visualization stuff for athletic performance. But visualizing a hardwood floor moving toward my face and then back away again doesn't really get me that excited. Maybe I'll pretend there's a rug or something.
     
  7. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    I made five attempts at 40 pushups. The first two tries I got 25. There was a few hours between those unexciting attempts. About an hour ago I did a half hour of very light cardio (330 calories at about 110 bpm). Before giving up for the night, I had another go at it, and got 33. I noticed that I felt my breathing was a little constrained so I thought why not loosen up more and try again. So I recovered heart rate down to about 70, then did a few sets of arm circles, and tried again. This resulted in 37. That is best I've done since I've been keeping track recently. It actually felt pretty good until the last couple of reps. One more try: 38. No more attempts because tomorrow I want to do a VO2max on the watch in the morning.

    Don't know quite what to make of that, but it looks like the cardio helped the strength exercise be easier even though I was more or less fully recovered from the cardio (heart rate down to 55-60 after the cardio).

    Maybe some time in the future I'll come back and know why this worked the way it did.
     
  8. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    Monday workout: Legs. Vest was at 25 pounds.

    Half an hour hard cardio then the legs.

    Rest between sets was until heart rate got down to 135.

    Dumbell squats: 4 sets @ 30 reps 2x25#
    This felt pretty easy

    Dumbell lunge with curl: 2 sets @ 12 reps 2x25#, 2 sets @ 15 reps.
    Cardio went right to 178 -180 on this, which limited the reps. Amazing how much cardio was in this. It took a long time to recover to 135. As usual when there is a really high cardio component of a strength exercise, the heart rate can go up a little after the set.

    One leg dumbell deadlift, curl and press on stability platform: 4 sets @ 15 reps 1x25# dumbell.
    Cardio topped out at 175. Limited by leg fatigue because of the "stability" platform.
    This is one of those hideous stability deals where it is incredibly harder than it looks.

    Barbell clean and press. 2 sets @ 30 reps, 30# small bar unloaded.
    High rate, but pretty easy. Cardio around 155.

    Barbell clean and press with lunge. 2 sets @ 15 reps, 30# small bar unloaded. Cardio around 175. This has to be because of the vest.

    I wonder why the lunges with the vest are much nastier than squats or clean and press, etc.

    Unless I'm forgetting something, those sets took an hour (because of the long time to recover) and ran off 1100 calories on the heart rate watch.

    Rounded out with another half hour of cardio and we had a total of 2126 calories in just about 2 hours at an average heart rate of 148.

    It's an hour after that work, and sitting down the heart rate is about 100. We have a further 492 calories from the post workout recovery, which should keep going for another hour or so because of the strength stuff (at least it has in the recent weeks). This is one reason the strength stuff seems to fit the program well - it burns calories for a long time, and works the heart at a whole range of rates as the heart recovers slowly to its rest rate.

    I didn't get a VO2max measurement, but I had a ton of energy in the workout, so it's probably fine.
     
  9. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    That week ended up with the other two usual cardio/weight workouts which went well - about 2000 calories each. There were three supplemental cardios of a half hour each. A pound or maybe two has gone.

    VO2max is more like 47 though, which is not as good as a week ago. I decided to put one cardio of running back in as opposed to all walking uphill with the weight vest. This is because although the vest walking burns as much or a little more calories than the running, it doesn't get the heart rate over 175 much. But running pushes the heart up to about 180 and a little higher. I think I want to do work through a whole range of heart rates.

    My thinking here is that at different loads, the heart has different extents of motion. So when you don't push it then it might make a smaller contraction than when you push hard. So like other muscles, I reason that I want to work the heart through it's whole range of motion.

    Another problem with the vest is that it puts a lot of weight on the shoulders and so after a couple hours it's like I've done nine billion reps of shrugs and the shoulders are pretty sore. I'm going to expect the shoulders to adapt to that but I can cut that intensity just to avoid any chance of injury.

    We didn't overeat much if at all but as usual rest was a little hard to come by.

    I got my own Bosu, and picked up an olympic curl bar with a pair of 5, 10, and 25 plates. One of the exercises this week was to do barbell clean and press on the inverted Bosu (ball side down). I can practice that at home. I wanted to start that with the curl bar because it's lighter than a straight bar, and easier to stabilize.

    Another fun exercise was playing over the shoulder catch and squat with a medicine ball on the inverted Bosu. Easier than it looks, that one. I can't do that at home without a partner.
     
  10. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    Going to have to go out of town unexpectedly. But the place I will stay has a gym and a treadmill. I expect this busted holiday might save me a pound or two I was going to gain over this weekend. I might work out with my brother the power lifter again though.

    When I get back I'll look for a stretch vest. The current vest is limited in how much weight I can load it with before it makes my shoulders sore after an hour and a half. But I think the stretch kind might be less of a problem with higher weight.
     
  11. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    Back home again. Got in a lot of cardio, ate pretty well, and didn't gain any weight. THe gym (which turns out to be a Vectra Online 3850) at the hotel was missing the bar from the bench press machine. (?) I worked mostly arms but then I figured out how to use the low pulley to do cable deadlifts and standing rows. Didn't have a lot of high heart rate though.

    Today I got a great workout. I wore about 20 pounds in the vest and got in about 1400 calories of walking uphill (upmill?). We worked legs and arms. Arms with pretty heavy weight. Some lunges while holding a 25 pound plate (I guess the 15 pound medicine ball is a thing of the past). Lunges with the vest are still pretty cardio intensive. Calf raises and hack squats (with the vest).

    At the end of the workout we did bench presses and decided to see what the 1RM is. I topped at two and a half reps at 205. Since I weight 203 this is decent. I think I could do more but we started to low to try any more. In another couple weeks maybe we will see increase.
     
  12. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    Now just a few hours later, I weigh 201. I think this is because I drink a lot of water while working out so I can't tell if the workout lost me any weight until the next day.

    Tomorrow we should get a new VO2max reading. The maximum bench press ran the heart rate up to 170 in just two reps so it looks like we'll need to get more cardio to support that sort of exercise.
     
  13. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    I loaded up 100 pounds of barbell here at home and did bench presses using a bosu ball for a bench to practice form and stability. I suppose like a lot of people, I went and looked at the chest exercise form video today and I'll think about how to incorporate that information. But in actual fact, I'm probably more interested in getting more muscles involved than in hypertrophy. The quest for VO2max means whatever does the most work, which is reps x weight x distance lifted.

    Later we'll get in supplemental cardio.
     
  14. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    Huge workout today for a total of 2500 calories with another 800 so far in the recovery phase. The hard cardio wasn't that hard - in the middle of walking uphill with the vest I ran a mile (8:03) and then back to uphill. The workout was mostly legs with some arms at the end.

    I got a couple 10 pound Olympic plates at the Sports Authority near the office and will carry them home in the backpack - which involves about a mile of walking to get to and from trains. I figure it saves a huge amount on having them shipped, and over the next week or two I'll be able to get the rest of the plates I want home this way. Dunno about 45s this way though.
     
  15. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    Got a body fat meter (omron type). Today's reading is 26.5 % When I started out, we measured with one of the same kind of meter and it was 32%. Will try to get VO2max as well.

    26.5% of 201 pounds is 53.265 pounds of fat which puts the lean body mass at about 148 pounds. This is a lot more lean mass than I used to have, so it's not clear where this puts the VO2max target but it would be around 68 if we lost all the fat. Hopefully some of the lean mass is water, and will also go away.

    Using the 32% figure at the starting weight of 225 pounds, that was 72 pounds of fat and 153 pounds of lean. Since I have gotten a lot stronger during the program, it's likely that at least all the loss of lean mass is water, if not a little more than the five pounds of lean mass loss. There should be more water lost along the way. Looks like 1 pound of water for every four pounds of fat so far. If this were to continue, then we might reasonably expect to lose another 30 pounds of fat and seven pounds of water. This would be a target weight of 163 and a body fat percentage of 14%.

    Looks reasonable but it means that VO2max might top out around 62.
     
  16. Fels73

    Fels73 Well-Known Member

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    I have the polar f11 as well. love it.
     
  17. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    I think it's been a huge tool in understanding how this stuff all works.

    On the other hand today it refuses to cough up the weekly VO2max estimate so I'm annoyed at it at the moment. I sent e-mail to Polar to see what they say.

    Of course, I can run two miles and get a good VO2max estimate so maybe that is part of tomorrow's cardio as opposed to only walking uphill with added weight.

    I will say one thing - yesterday my brother came over and my nephew wanted to play soccer. Without any sport specific training, I was running and cutting like I can't remember; it was like my legs just knew what to do without complaints (just like it's supposed to be). All the leg training is paying off.
     
  18. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    OK we missed the cardio hour for the workout today so we just did the strength part. I'm home now and I will make up the cardio before bed; I got a nice medicine ball and Swiss ball on the way home today. Pumping up the Swiss ball is like some demented cardio exercise in the first place.
     
  19. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    Big workout yesterday - 2600 calories. Body fat got below 25% to 24.5% Weight holding at 201, so maybe we are building muscle this week.

    Today we picked up the squat rack and bar with another 150 pounds of plate. already knocked out 340 calories just getting it upstairs. I'll wait a few minutes before trying it out. I might have to rearrange the exercise area a little bit.

    The F11 still refuses to do VO2max, and I don't want to run all the time to get it the hard way because of my knees. We'll just have to track it on a longer time between measurements.
     
  20. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    Just experimenting with the squat rack to get a rough idea where I am today - not a real workout.

    I found earlier today that I could squat with very good form at 115 pounds - much better than an unloaded bar.

    So tonight, I thought why not start finding what sort of weight I might work out on? I did 12 reps at 135, 12 reps at 155, and 12 reps at 175. All reps were clean and pretty far from failure. I didn't rush, but I didn't have a long rest between reps. About a minute and a half between sets, maybe less, but I felt fully recovered.

    Pulse never really got above 130 throughout this. It's dropped to under 70 and this is only about five minutes after the sets. Knocked off about 140 calories.

    The 175 was still pretty easy although starting to feel a little like work. The one rep calculators suggest about 230 for the one rep max based on 10 x 175. I guess next time I'll start with 165 and go up from there.
     

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