There is another slow steady heart rate training called Niko Niko. Here’s a good page describing it (NIKO NIKO PACE – THE GENTLE PATH TO SUCCESS).

The formula for heart rate is different than the Maffetone MAF heart rate. Niki Niko uses:

138 minus half your age.

So for me at 58 that would be 138 – (58/2) = 109 bpm. That’s not too far below my MAF heart rate of 112-122. It it at an interesting point on myVO2max test results as well. A heart rate of 109 actually has a higher fat oxidation rate than the extrapolated curve (where the real world data veers from the idealized curve). It is certainly a good point for fat burning.

The MAF number has shifted my performance upwards in just the past three weeks. Here’s my splits from my MAF test three weeks ago compared with my MAF 5 mile this AM. I’ve had to go from walking to a little jogging and walking mixed together.

That’s a pretty good improvement – around a minute and a half.

Slower But Fitter?

An interesting study put a group of endurance athletes on a Ketogenic diet and measured their performance as well as body composition changes (Zinn C, Wood M, Williden M, Chatterton S, Maunder E. Ketogenic diet benefits body composition and well-being but not performance in a pilot case study of New Zealand endurance athletes. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Jul 12;14:22.). The study concluded:

All athletes increased their ability to utilise fat as a fuel source, including at higher exercise intensities.

Mean body weight was reduced by 4 kg ± SD 3.1 (p = 0.046; effect size (ES):0.62), and sum of 8 skinfolds by 25.9 mm ± SD 6.9; ES: 1.27; p = 0.001).

But how was their performance?

Mean time to exhaustion dropped by ~2 min (±SD 0.7; p = 0.004; ES: 0.53). Other performance outcomes showed mean reductions, with some increases or unchanged results in two individuals (VO2 Max: -1.69 ± SD 3.4 (p = 0.63); peak power: -18 W ± SD 16.4 (p = 0.07), and VT2: -6 W ± SD 44.5 (p = 0.77).

Was this an adaptation problem?

Athletes reported experiencing reduced energy levels initially, followed by a return of high levels thereafter, especially during exercise, but an inability to easily undertake high intense bouts. Each athlete reported experiencing enhanced well-being, included improved recovery, improvements in skin conditions and reduced inflammation.

In the end the athletes likes the health benefits even with the performance losses.

FASTER Study Interviews

Zach Bitter was a participant of the FASTER study (Jeff S. Volek, Daniel J. Freidenreich, Catherine Saenz, Laura J. Kunces, Brent C. Creighton, Jenna M. Bartley, Patrick M. Davitt, Colleen X. Munoz, Jeffrey M. Anderson, Carl M. Maresh, Elaine C. Lee, Mark D. Schuenke, Giselle Aerni, William J. Kraemer, Stephen D. Phinney. Metabolic characteristics of keto-adapted ultra-endurance runners. Metabolism, Volume 65, Issue 3, March 2016, Pages 100-110.) Our BLOG post about Zach in the study (Zach Bitter – Another FASTER participant). Jeff Volek was one of the scientists doing the FASTER study. Endurance Planet interviewed them together in a three part series.

Jeff and Zach speculated about how long this could go saying that perhaps 5 hours would have been a better test. Based on Ben’s fat oxidation rate I’m not sure that would have been a good idea. Ben’s fat was dropping in a linear form but his carbohydrate oxidation was speeding up fits to a 2nd order poly.

Here is another interview with Zach about FASTER (Primal Endurance Podcast).

Keto Diet and Performance

tl;dr – Don’t expect to do keto, be in a large deficit,
and expect to see performance gains on glycolytic activites.

A good video on lifting and the keto diet. Covers other aspects of performance from the perspective of a real clinician and what he sees in his patient population who does keto. Very truthful even if not totally pro keto at moments (overall it is very supportive of keto so no need to be afraid of watching).


MAF Bike Ride

A couple of days ago I did a MAF bike ride. The ride was 1 hr 40 minutes.The route was up the Great Allegheny Passage Bike Trail.

Here was my heart rate data.

I was able to keep very close to my MAF heart rate for the majority of the ride time. There was a big hill in the way home that made it hard to hold the MAF rate near the end.


Ultra-Endurance Walking and Running Events

A study looked at the studies on fueling ultra-endurance events. Ultra-endurance is defined as activities (walking and running) which take at least 6 hours. The study was (Eric Williams. Nutritional implications for ultra-endurance walking and running events. Extreme Physiol Med. 2016; 5: 13).

Given that the majority of an ultra-endurance athlete’s training is spent engaged in lengthy durations of aerobic activity, many of these athletes are well adapted to utilizing lipids via oxidative phosphorylation

Fat burners! But during the event itself how hard are they hitting it?

When the athlete is exercising at the standard marathon pace that requires 80–90% of maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) or above, carbohydrate will be his or her primary fuel source and could provide up to 96% of the energy being expended.

This is an issue with Low Carbohydrate diets since glycogen stores are reduced greatly. This is also why Phinney’s endurance tests are done at 62% of VO2max.

The paper had a nice graphic which shows the elements involved in performance in marathons.

Each of these would be interesting to look at in detail.


Bought a new toy

I just bought myself a Concept 2 Rower. I used one at Crossfit a couple of times.

I bought it with a Polar H7 Heart Rate strap.

This allows rowing with heart rate monitoring.

I will be using the same MAF heart rate number of 180 minus age (range of plus 0 minus 10). For me, at 58 years of age, that’s 112 – 122 bpm.


What is Endurance Training?

The Wikipedia definition of Endurance Training is:

The term endurance training generally refers to training the aerobic system as opposed to the anaerobic system.

This chart in the Wikipedia article shows the heart rate range associated with aerobic training as 70-80% of max heart rate.

This is a form of Aerobic Training is also known as “Long slow distance training“.

Richard Diaz on WodCast Podcast Episode 323 talks about why CrossFit fails in the area of aerobic training. He explains how VO2max testing works and why Crossfit doesn’t produce the sort of VO2max numbers that they would expect (I got at the bottom end of good on my VO2max after nearly a year on Crossfit). He also explains the benefits of training aerobically. He has some critiques of Maffetone’s method for competitive athletes.

A helpful page with a descriptive title (Training with the Maffetone Method: 7 Tips for Beginners).


Athletic Interference Effects

There have been studies which showed that simultaneous endurance and strength training produce interference effects. The effect is a loss of strength but not of endurance.

An early (1980) study (Hickson RC. Interference of strength development by simultaneously training for strength and endurance. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1980;45(2-3):255-63.) stated:

The purpose of this study was to determine how individuals adapt to a combination of strength and endurance training as compared to the adaptations produced by either strength or endurance training separately.

There were three exercise groups: a strength group (S) that exercised 30–40 min . day-1, 5 days . week-1, and endurance group (E) that exercised 40 min . day-1, 6 days . week-1; and an S and E group that performed the same daily exercise regimens as the S and E groups.

After 10 weeks of training, VO2max increased approx. 25% when measured during bicycle exercise and 20% when measured during treadmill exercise in both E, and S and E groups. No increase in VO2max was observed in the S group.

There was a consistent rate of development of leg-strength by the S group throughout the training, whereas the E group did not show any appreciable gains in strength. The rate of strength improvement by the S and E group was similar to the S group for the first 7 weeks of training, but subsequently leveled off and declined during the 9th and 10th weeks.

These findings demonstrate that simultaneously training for S and E will result in a reduced capacity to develop strength, but will not affect the magnitude of increase in VO2max.

The graph in Hickson shows the interference effect on strength training. The strength alone group had continued strength gains. The Strength plus Endurance group increased in strength but then declined.

Another study (1985) showed similar interference effects (Dudley GA, Djamil R. Incompatibility of endurance- and strength-training modes of exercise. J Appl Physiol (1985). 1985 Nov;59(5):1446-51.).

Another study (Gustavo A Nader. Concurrent strength and endurance training: from molecules to man. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006 Nov;38(11):1965-70.) (PDF) described the interference effect as:

situations when strength and endurance training are performed simultaneously, a potential interference in strength development takes place, making such a combination seemingly incompatible

The paper described a number of possible causes for the interference effect.

 At the molecular level, there seems to be an explanation for the interference of strength development during concurrent training; it is now clear that different forms of exercise induce antagonistic intracellular signaling mechanisms that, in turn, could have a negative impact on the muscle’s adaptive response to this particular form of training. That is, activation of AMPK by endurance exercise may inhibit signaling to the protein-synthesis machinery by inhibiting the activity of mTOR and its downstream targets.

One of the possible reasons is the reduction of glycogen stores from both modes of training. However, this assumes that endurance training is performed at a heart rate level which oxidizes carbohydrates. If endurance training is done in the aerobic zone then carbohydrate stores are not reduced.

This raises the question “What is Endurance Training?”


Turmeric and Curcumin for Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain

Here’s a meta-analysis of the use of Turmeric and Curcumin for Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain (Daily James W. , Yang Mini , and Park Sunmin. Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. Journal of Medicinal FoodVol. 19, No. 8.). The study

systemically evaluated all RCTs of turmeric extracts and curcumin for treating arthritis symptoms to elucidate the efficacy of curcuma for alleviating the symptoms of arthritis.

The conclusions were

…meta-analysis of four studies showed a decrease of WOMAC with turmeric/curcumin treatment (mean difference: −15.36 [−26.9, −3.77]; P = .009). Furthermore, there was no significant mean difference in PVAS between turmeric/curcumin and pain medicine in meta-analysis of five studies.

…these RCTs provide scientific evidence that supports the efficacy of turmeric extract (about 1000 mg/day of curcumin) in the treatment of arthritis. However, the total number of RCTs included in the analysis, the total sample size, and the methodological quality of the primary studies were not sufficient to draw definitive conclusions. Thus, more rigorous and larger studies are needed to confirm the therapeutic efficacy of turmeric for arthritis.

I haven’t found any other solution to my shoulder pain and I refuse to use NSAIDs or pain medications so I am trying Turmeric Curcumin.