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Showing posts from 2011

Caleb Ewan's Sprint Position - Revealed through Kinesiology

Exercises In Everyday Places: Shopper's Walk (Core)

We see these baskets in the front of the grocery store all the time, but the shopping carts always seem to win.  If the grocery list involves restocking milk, juice, eggs and fruit, grab a basket and work your way to a stronger core and better posture.

My current personal record for this exercise is two gallons of milk, two cartons of orange juice, one pack of 30 eggs, one bag of cereal, banana's and bagels.  With a little bit of Tetris skills, those baskets can hold a lot of groceries!

SHOPPER'S WALK HOW-TO: Anyone familiar with the Farmer's Walk exercise will feel at home with the Shopper's Walk- aside from the fact that it's done in a grocery store with shopping baskets and not in a gym with weights.  If you don't know what a Farmer's Walk is, don't worry, this exercise won't make you look weird.  All you have to do is walk with good posture while carrying a basket on one side.  Simple enough right?  The difficult part involves trying to resist l…

Kinesiological Approach To Bike Fit: Cleat Position

CLEAT POSITION:  There are four types of adjustments which can be made to a cleat.
Fore/ Aft:  FORE:  Positioning the cleat forward allows the ankle to move more freely, allowing for a smoother pedal stroke.  The trade-off is that this requires more ankle stability, calf strength and puts the rider at risk of developing quad dominance.AFT:  This position limits ankle motion.  This provides added stability to the ankle, allowing the calves to rest, but makes the rider prone to bouncy pedal strokes.  When switching from a forward cleat position to a rearward position, a lower saddle position is needed to compensate for decreased plantarflexion.Lateral/ Medial:  The goal is to spread weight evenly across the foot side-to-side.LATERAL:  Shifts weight towards the outside of the foot (small toe side).MEDIAL:  Shifts more weight onto the medial side of the foot (big toe side).  Limits the maximum amount of external rotation available before the heel strikes the crank arm.Rotation:EXTERNAL:  S…

Exercise... Bad For The Immune System?!

Ever wonder why you felt cold-like symptoms the morning after a hard workout?  While exercise has always been known to provide a long list of health benefits, it may be surprising to hear that exercise can actually hurt the immune system.  Depending on the intensity, duration and the time spent on recovery, the immune response to exercise can be either good or bad.  Researchers who investigated the relationship between the immune system and exercise found that two changes typically occur.  Both cell production and their function changes after a bout of exercise (1,2,3,4,6).  Negative changes in the immune system tends to occur with continuous endurance exercises and interval training.  This news probably sounds ridiculous since that describes just about every type of aerobic workout, but don't worry, I'll explain how to prevent this problem from occurring.

If I were to say that neutrophil production increased as a result of exercise, this wouldn't mean m…

Planet Bike Protege 9.0 Bike Computer Review

I was very happy with the $40 I spent on the Planet Bike Protege 9.0 bike computer from  This was the first bike computer I have ever used and since day one, this computer has been very reliable even in extreme conditions from below zero wintry conditions to 100+ degree summer temperatures.  Just like any other computer, as long as the computer is installed correctly, this computer can be a five star product.  Mine has consistently measured all of the basic information that it was designed to monitor such as speed, average speed, maximum speed, ride time, distance, time of day, total distance (odometer) and temperature.
A computer can have a lot of nice features on paper, but if it doesn't perform well in actual riding conditions, that's money wasted.  Since I was only willing to spend around $40, I chose to get a wired computer to avoid the likely problem of a poor quality wireless connection which I have heard was a big problem with budget wireless …

Body Fat... Why Measure It?

There are two good reasons to measure body composition.  One, knowing body composition is a great way to identify and track progress towards better health or fitness.  Two, an optimal body composition affects sport performance positively.  Whether your goal is related to fitness, sport or both, body fat and bone density are some of the key physiological factors that definitely should be monitored throughout an exercise program.

There are short term and long term changes that occur with the fat cell.  Think of the fat cell as a balloon that calls for back up when it fills up with too much air or "lipids".  When fat intake rises, the first physiological change that occurs is an increase in the size of the fat cell (up to 10x larger) caused by the storage of lipids (3).  This is a short term change which can be easily corrected through dietary and exercise interventions.  If nothing is done to reduce the amount of lipids stored in each fat cell, eventua…

Is Obesity Really A Problem? A Big YES

I can talk all day about the rising problem of obesity and give statistical figures, but it really won't matter unless I have a picture to prove how bad it really is.  With the help of Google, I searched for the perfect picture and found it on the CDC "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" website.  They color coded each state based on the prevalence of obesity in the United States from 1985 to 2010.  I'll show the beginning, middle and end point to give you a glimpse of how obesity changed throughout the years.
To help you understand each map, I listed what each color represents: White = No dataLight Blue = < 10%Blue = 10-14%Dark Blue = 15-18%Yellow = 20-24%Orange = 25-29%Maroon = greater than or equal to 10% 1985:  To be fair, there wasn't a lot of data gathered from most of the states, but at least the ones that were recorded didn't reach higher than the 10-14% range.  Bicycle production near this time was 5.5 million (2)
1998: Almost all of the light…

Body Fat Assessment #3: Bioelectrical Impedence

Bioelectrical Impedance or BIA is an indirect method of determining body fat percentage by measuring the amount of resistance the body provides when a current of electricity is passed through the body.  A high or low resistance corresponds to a high or low body fat percentagE, respectively.

Compared to other methods, this is the least invasive and most comfortable way to assess body fat.  Unlike other methods where they are only effective if the individual wears short running shorts with no shirt, the only body parts that need to be exposed with BIA are the hands and the feet.  The BIA machine I used involved only two pairs of electrodes which needed to be placed on my right hand and foot; afterwards, all I needed to do was lie down supine (on my back) and relax while the machine did all of the work.  Very easy and less painful than the deep folds that need to be pinched for skinfold measurements.  While I'm on the subject of pain, it's also wor…

Comparing The Most Popular Sports Bars

I think this is a good time to cover the 40/30/30 diet which is also known as the Zone diet (4).  By eating 40% carbohydrates, 30% fat and 30% protein, proponents claim that it will cause the body to produce more eicosanoids which is a substance theorized to vasodilate and increase blood flow towards active muscles and promote increased oxygen delivery (5). The key word here is theorize... there is no research that have found evidence that eicosanoids actually contributes to active muscle vasodilation (2,4).  Studies do not recommend the 40/30/30 diet because overall, it will not provide optimal nutrition for health or athletic performance (2,3).  Until a new study finds that the claims are actually true, don't believe the hype.

I highlighted any nutrient which doesn't meet the criteria in blue.  As a reminder, here is the criteria for sports bar during exercise (Plowman, 2011) :
Protein: < 8-10 gFiber: < 5gFat: < 4g per 230 kcal serving OR < 15.7% of total caloriesC…

Choose the Right Sports Bar

I want to start this off first by saying that even though studies have shown that sports bars are effective before, during and after an exercise bout, sports bars have their place.  They should only be used when it is less convenient to eat real food.  Imagine continuously peeling a banana while riding a bike, some people can do it, but they would definitely be more efficient if it only took one hand to eat it.  Secondly, even if a sports bar was made with real fruit, grains, etc., that doesn't take away from the fact that they were man made- there are still preservatives that must be added to increase its lifespan.  So please follow these two rules:
Only eat sports bars that were designed to be eaten during exerciseChoose sports bars which were made with the most real foodHIGH CARBOHYDRATE VS. LOW CARBOHYDRATE BARS: Generally sports bars will fall under two categories, high carbohydrate and moderate to low carbohydrate.  Sports bars which are classified as high carbohydrate have …

Product Reviews

I take pride in the things I buy because I always do my research before I make a purchase.  Since my budget is usually on the low side, I'm one of those people who always starts with sorting the products based on lowest to highest price.  What I've found over the years of shopping through cycling and training equipment is that for most things, it's a waste of money to go for the premium stuff and other times, you have to splurge in order to save money.
ROAD BIKES: Kestrel Talon Review (2011) BOTTLE CAGES: Novara Slider Cage ReviewElite Custom Race Cage Review CYCLING ROLLERS: Travel Trac Technique PRO Alloy Roller Review PUMPS: Lezyne Alloy Floor Drive Pump Review CLOTHINGBXNZ1000 Performance Long Tights - CompressionPL300 Short Sleeve Polo - Fitted SHOES & PEDALS: Forté Pro Carbon Road Pedal ReviewPearl Izumi Elite RD II Road Shoe Review TIRES: Vittoria Zaffiro Road Tire ReviewContinental GP4000 S Road Tire Review BOLT-ONS & ADD-ONS: Greenfield Stabilizer Rear Mount Kick…

Cycling Training Articles

Program Design Articles

The following articles are meant to improve the design of any exercise program.  An understanding of physiology, exercise science and programming will make you feel more confident that your training program is constructed well.  On the flip side, you might discover that your training program needs some major improvements... it's ok though, this is the place to fix it.

What to do Before the Off-SeasonThe Foundation of All Training ProgramsThe Metabolic Systems and their Role in ExerciseSMART Goal SettingPeriodization for Peak PerformanceExercise... Bad For The Immune System?!Is Obesity Really A Problem? A Big YESBody fat... why measure it?Body Fat Assessment #1: Hydrostatic weighingBody Fat Assessment #2: Skinfold MeaurementsBody Fat Assessment #3: Bioelectrical ImpedanceBody Fat Assessment #4: Body Circumference MeasuresBody Fat Assessment #5: Waist to Hip / Waist CircumferenceBody Fat Assessment #6: Body Mass Index "BMI