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Saturday’s cardio; Leg workout; New PRs; Strength/cardio ahead of last year.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

This is my favorite room in the house.

This is my favorite room in the house.

From the moment I woke up yesterday morning all I could think about was getting into the gym and destroying my legs. After lunch I kept looking at the clock, anxiously waiting for my workout time to roll around. I love days like that. 🙂

I’ll get back to yesterday’s workout a bit further into today’s blog, but first I want to talk about Saturday’s cardio…

I will start off by mentioning that my sleep patterns have, mercifully, returned to normal (I was inexplicably waking up around 4:30 AM for almost a week). This past Saturday morning I woke up well-rested and refreshed for the first time in many days. Feeling recharged and energetic, I went mountain biking for a few hours. I rode at Wekiwa, which is always a great cardio workout with nice scenery, but I decided to do something a little different than I normally do when I ride there. Usually when I go to Wekiwa I take my fairly heavy DSLR camera kit (Canon EOS 60D outfitted with the Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF lens), but on Saturday I decided I wanted to celebrate my cutting progress thus far by riding as light as possible. I left my heavy DSLR at home (I didn’t even wear my fairly light GoPro HD), I took all non-essentials out of my CamelBak HAWG, I only carried 50 ounces of water (about half of what I normally take–a weight savings of more than 3 pounds) and, of course, my body weight is down about 10 pounds from just over four weeks ago. All told, I’d estimate there was about a 20 pound weight difference from my fully geared up riding weight just one month ago. Before I set off I adjusted my rear shock sag to account for my significantly lighter riding weight.

Wow. Double wow.

The difference was phenomenal. I rode just shy of 20 miles, and my average moving speed was 1.2 MPH faster than my all-time best on that same route. My cardio felt outstanding, my legs felt strong and I couldn’t believe how light and nimble I felt.

The best part? I’m going to be an additional 10-12+ pounds lighter than I am now by the time my cut is over. 🙂

I’ve never been much of a so-called “weight weenie” (someone who, often obsessively, will go to great lengths to eliminate even a few grams of weight from his or her bike), but I’m starting to at least appreciate that quest. As my friend and JSF member “craigstr” (an experienced and accomplished mountain biker) has told me in the past, the best return on weight reduction efforts comes from reducing rotational mass. I may start looking at lighter pedals, crankset, wheelset, tires and so forth. I’d also really like to move from the Trek Fuel EX 8 stock 3×10 drivetrain to a 2×10 drivetrain–the big gear is pretty useless on the trails, and I hate all the gear overlap on 3x10s. Perhaps there are a few other areas on my bike I can reduce weight without affecting reliability and safety. For example, my shifters have optical displays (which I never even look at) that can be removed. Those optical displays don’t weigh much, but they are useless weight.

I could go on for a few more hours on this subject, but I need to move things along–I’ve still got some cardio to do this morning!

Getting back to yesterday’s leg workout, it was outstanding! I added weight to every exercise for the 5th straight week (including 10 pounds to my squat and 10 pounds to my lunges), and I still hit my target reps on every exercise. That means I’ll be adding more weight next week, and I’m super stoked about that. I’m especially excited because I just looked back at last year’s leg workout log 5 weeks into my cut and the weights I’m using now (same workout) are 15-25% higher on every single exercise! That’s pretty awesome–especially considering my body weight is about 10 pounds lighter as compared to last year at this point.

As many of you know, I always test my Heart Rate Recovery during my leg workout (immediately after 4×20 lunges or Bulgarian split squats). On January 16th I set a new Heart Rate Recovery personal record of 86, which I matched again the following two weeks. Yesterday I broke that personal record once again with a score of 87! Another cool aspect of this new personal record is that after my lunges my heart rate was 181–4 BPM less than it was when I set my record (and I was using significantly more weight yesterday). After two minutes my heart rate fell to 94 BPM for Heart Rate Recovery score of 87. That was the cherry on top of a fantastic workout.

If you’re interested in learning more about the various cardiovascular measurements I’m taking, what they mean and how to start tracking your own cardio stats, go give my February 14, 2011 blog a read. You’ll need heart rate monitor to take your own measurements (I use and recommend the Timex Ironman).

Today is my day “off”: just 45 minutes of fasted LISS on the recumbent bike. Good, my legs are pretty useless this morning.

Thanks for reading, have a great day!

John Stone Fitness Comments

4 Responses to “Saturday’s cardio; Leg workout; New PRs; Strength/cardio ahead of last year.”
  1. Thanks for the plug John! What does your Trek weigh? My new trail/race bike is 3.5 lbs lighter then my old one, most of the weight reduction is in the wheels, tires,& cranks. Cant wait to ride it when I am some 20 lbs lighter. I converted to 2×10 this past season, its phenomenal, the ratios are much better and all the gears are useable, with the old 3×10 systems you werent supposed to use the extremes. I would definitely recommend it.

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    • Hey Craig,

      My Fuel weighs 30.2 pounds right now. I could probably lighten it quite a bit with some effort.

      Can you tell me a little about your 2×10 drivetrain and the conversion? Specifically:

      – Did you just adjust the limit screws, or did you replace the front derailleur?
      – Did you remove the big chainring, or buy a new 2×10 crankset?
      – Do you use a bashguard? A chain guide?
      – What gearing are you using?
      – Are you a Shimano or SRAM guy (I assume you’re running XTR or XO)? My bike came with a Shimano drivetrain, but I prefer SRAM and would likely move to an X9 or X0 setup.

      Any other thoughts?

      I’m thinking of going tubeless, too.

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      • I had 2×9 so I had to buy all new components (cranks, derailleurs, cassette, shifters, & chain). I’m a SRAM guy (except for pedals)and I usually only get X9 level stuff but I bought XO cranks for the new bike because they are carbon and super light, although I am pretty nervous that I will destroy them on a rock. My old Titus El Guapo was 32.1 lbs, which is pretty normal for a 6″ travel bike, the new one is 28.62 which is extremely light for an aluminum framed 6″ bike (especially size large with a dropper post).
        For your Trek all you need to change is your crankset and front derailleur. Your existing front derailleur would probably work by adjusting the high limit screw in as far as possible but to get the best performance you would want to switch to a 2 ring specific front derailleur becasue it has a tighter arc to match the smaller chainring. I ran 26/39 in front and 11-36 in the rear with just a chain guide as nobody made a bashguard for 2×10 cranks. The new XO has a 24/38 with a bashguard so I dont need a chainguide (however I may need to run one if I lose the chain). You could just pick up some XT 2×10 cranks and front derailleur to make the conversion, everything else should be fine.
        As far as saving weight in other places tubeless is a good place to start, does the Trek have tubeless compatible rims? If not you can convert them with Stan’s NoTubes or Trek may even sell a kit. Saddle and handlebars are another, I know your pedals arent light either! Switch to just a clipless pedal with no cage. PM me your email addy and we can continue this discussion there.

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        • Hey Craig, thanks for the information – very helpful.

          The Fuel came with Bontrager Duster rims, which are “tubeless ready”, whatever that means. I think Stan’s flow kit would work with the Dusters.

          At 568g, the PD-M647 DX pedals I’m running right now are definitely an area of potential weight savings (as you pointed out when I first bought them :p). I’m still glad I got them. For someone learning how to ride clipless, they are perfect. I would definitely recommend them to anyone else taking the clipless plunge for the first time. The extra weight was worth the safety tradeoff, but I’m ready to move on to a cageless pedal.

          My saddle will need to be replaced soon thanks to a couple of small tears that have started to develop on the stock saddle (Bontrager Evoke 2–not sure what it weighs). I’ll probably get a WTB Laser V SLT saddle, which has Ti rails and comes in at a pretty light 240g.

          The chain that came with the bike is now worn to .75 (I’ve put a lot of miles on the Fuel already), and I’ve got a super light KMC X10SL on the way.

          You can always reach me at john@johnstonefitness.com

          Thanks again. 🙂

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