Thursday, November 19, 2009

Training and dieting

Have you noticed that there are striking parallels between training and dieting? Both are areas rife with magic rituals, special formulas, "secret tips," and an abundance of pseudo-scientific utterances. There are clever tricks that "will shave off the pounds, or increase your aerobic fitness in less than 2 weeks."

We have all seen ads where it is proclaimed that you can eat whatever you like or however much you like and still lose weight. Similarly there are ads that tout significant improvements after working out only minutes a day. In both cases it is implied that you can sit around on the couch all day and wonderful things will happen to you if you just follow a few simple rules, or ingest a few special capsules.

Both dieters and would-be athletes abuse supplements, vitamins, anti-oxidants and other pharmacological aids in large numbers.

However, just like it has been shown over and over again that any diet works by reducing calories, and reducing calories alone, so any training program can only achieve results by adding intensity and intensity alone. Furthermore, just as all diets are successful to the extent that they achieve calorie reduction, so any training program works only to the extent that it introduces intensity.

Ironically enough, the failure modes for both endeavors are rather similar too. Dieters lose because they fail to stop eating, and would-be athletes fail because they shy away from intensity training.

Sun, 28 mile ride with Alistair (moderate to easy);
Monday, 34 mile ride (hard);
Tuesday, 10.5 mile hilly run (hard);
Wednesday 7.25 mile run.

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