News

  • I am a Fat-Burning Machine, Verified by a VO2max Test: 44% fat at 91% VO2max

    A few months ago, I signed up to be part of a study at Colorado State University (CSU.) Researchers from CSU and University of Colorado health are examining how high levels of exercise affect your heart. I have gone through two of the three phases of testing. One of the tests is a VO2max test. Though the researchers are not looking for substrate use (the percentage of carbohydrate and fat used at each exercise intensity), these numbers show up on the results sheet. The research coordinator, Nate Bachman, sent me this result: “I am also attaching a report of your...

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  • Are E-Bikes a Death Sentence for Strava?

    A few years back I wrote a column titled, “Liars, Cheaters and Thieves in Your Sport.”  The column looked at why people lie, cheat and steal. Why do people cut courses? Why do people skip paying entry fees? More recently we’ve had drug use among these amateurs and now motors in bikes or e-bikes. People seek an advantage. They excuse themselves from wrong-doing by claiming others are doing “it” too and they are just leveling the playing field. One of the attractions of Strava is that cyclists and runners can measure best times on particular segments against themselves and against...

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  • Fat but fit people have an increased risk of heart disease

    In the past, it was thought that exercise canceled out some of the negative aspects of being overweight. People carrying those extra pounds found some comfort in the thought that as long as they exercise, being chubby isn’t a liability. Wrong. A recently published study found that being overweight or obese increases the risk of coronary heart disease by up to 28 percent, compared to people with a healthy body weight. And it doesn’t matter if the overweight person begins with healthy blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol numbers – it’s just a matter of time before being overweight catches...

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  • Don’t Get Fooled Again #7 – Consuming ketones in a drink immediately promotes body fat burning. Or does it?

    In my seventh installment in the Don’t Get Fooled Again series, today’s statement is about ketones. Ketone drinks are all the rage right now. Before the actual statement where you decide true or false, recall that ketone bodies are produced by low calorie diets, or fasting or low carbohydrate diets (endogenous production of ketones.) They are produced because the body metabolizes fat stores and the result is ketones that can be used as an alternate fuel source to glucose or blood sugar. With that brief background, here is the statement: Consuming ketones in a drink (exogenous ketones) promotes body fat...

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  • Don't Make Counting Carbs a Farce

        Not everyone makes counting carbs a sham, but some people do. Let me explain. A question from David: Q:  Hey Gale, I know you don’t push calorie-counting or carb-counting, but for me counting carbs helps me stay on track. I recently read a post from an endurance coach that advocates keeping carb count between 50 and 100 grams per day, depending on the athlete. He says he enjoys alcohol and includes his near daily consumption of wine or liquor in his carb count to be sure he stays low-carbohydrate and ketogenic. I thought you said alcohol shuts off...

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  • My Dog Saved Me from an Assault

    Shelby loved to sit in my office chair.  I was running with my first dog, Shelby, on a local running path. We left the car in the lot of a nice complex that has ball fields and all the gorgeous park amenities and ran west. When we were heading back towards the parking lot, I noticed two men sitting in lawn chairs beneath a big cottonwood tree. What made the situation seem unusual to me is the tree was located next to the running path in gravel and weeds. About 100 yards away is a grassy green park with several...

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  • How does Garmin calculate percent grade?

    On a recent mountain bike ride, a couple of us with Garmin devices began to wonder how percent grade is determined by the device. Through a local contact, I was able to go directly to the design source, Jared Bancroft, PhD – Sensors & Algorithms Team Leader. Here is what Jared told me: Grade is responsive to the slope of the trail or road.  It relies on the distance as determined from GPS and the barometric altimeter sensor.  Basically, it’s a ratio of the change in altitude over distance traveled. The longer the distance, the more averaged the grade is. ...

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  • Do you want to get faster?

    Do you want to be a faster triathlete, cyclist, swimmer, mountain biker or runner – or get faster or more competitive at any sport? If your answer is “yes,” let’s take a look at what it takes to compete vs complete. Can I be a competitive athlete? What defines a "competitive athlete?" For the purpose of this column, a "competitive athlete" is defined as someone looking to improve his or her performance to a new level. Examples include stepping up the speed, stepping up to a new distance and aiming for more than event completion. There is nothing wrong with...

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  • The cholesterol and calorie hypothesis are both dead – it is time to focus on the real culprit: insulin resistance

    My interest was piqued when I read the title of the column, The cholesterol and calorie hypothesis are both dead – it is time to focus on the real culprit: insulin resistance, published by a pharmaceutical journal. I thought, “Great, more advice to pop pills and ignore lifestyle changes.” I was wrong. The column is an opinion-insight piece. There are a few key points from the column that are worth summarizing here: We often assume all obese people have, or will have, diabetes and that all diabetics are obese. Obesity and diabetes often correlate, but they are not always present...

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  • What is crash training? How can you use it to your advantage?

    (Click on image to enlarge.)  Crash training is a term that I believe has cycling roots, though I can’t trace the origin. I prefer the phrase “big-block training,” but crash training is more common. Traditionally, a big-block training week is one that is high volume, relative to the athlete’s current training schedule. Training is some 50- to 100-percent above the athlete’s normal weekly volume. Often, cycling teams will have a spring training camp to focus on riding, team building exercises (formal and informal), distribute new kits and begin to plan strategy for the season. Cycling teams intend for this big-volume...

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