Sunday, 24 June 2012

Starvation, diets etc. for no good reason

I wanted to post something that's occupied everyone's mind at one point or another: losing weight. How does it work, this whole fat burning thing? How much fat is good, how much is bad? I'm not professionally educated in this domain, but that's not important since a lot my criticisms come from simple assumptions. Recently I read an interesting statement from the e-book 'Experiments with Intermittent Fasting' by Dr. John M. Berardi:
the standard North American diet is often hyper-energetic – we eat more than we burn – which leads to weight gain over time.
A good test to see if a statement makes any sense is to declare the opposite and see what comes out. In this case I came up with "A non-standard North American diet is often hypo-energetic – we burn more than we eat – which leads to death". If I had to choose sides, the former certainly looks healthier than the latter.

Even more interesting was that Dr. Berardi goes on to claim that intermittent fasting (in his definition not eating for 20-odd hours) can reverse these 'problems':
Intermittent fasting can be helpful for in-shape people who want to really get lean without following conventional bodybuilding diets, or for anyone who needs to learn the difference between body hunger and mental hunger
Unfortunately this makes no long-term sense: if you burn more calories per day than you eat, eventually you will die. This is not science; it is simple logic. For even a slight negative imbalance your fat reserves will deplete, which could take years, but at some point the reserves run out.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Another week in Hali

I've been living in Halifax now for 11 days. So little time, but busy nonetheless. I ran in Lunenburg two weekends ago. The week was busy with work, predictably. Work is the real reason I'm here in the first place. Re-learned some unix and fortran: Emacs, grep, rm *, ifort, et al. By Friday night I had my first plot of 'real' data. Not a good plot, but it's a start. The plot will thicken.

The little running I did was lots of up and down, just the way I like it. Halifax has nary a flat spot and that's great when you're taking it easy. I discovered Frog Pond lake Thursday night.

This weekend was also busy, running-wise. Saturday I felt antsy for more mileage. So in the morning I discovered Long Lake park. Pretty scenic, and it's only 45 minutes (of running) away. In the evening I found time for my first track workout here. Must be something in the air as I did 5x2km in 6:15 apiece, about 5 seconds faster than I expected. It felt pretty good. Most importantly it meant I was ready to do a 10 km race at the same pace. Or maybe even a 10 mile race. Hmmm.
I ran with the Halifax Running Club Sunday. Great group. I was given a two-tour of Dathmouth and before I knew it had covered 28km and finished with bagels and coffee. I'm sold. But I may have slightly overdone it; I think ran 60k in two days. Borderline silly. Resting today.

Monday, 11 June 2012

In Halifax (and Lunenburg)

I said before I would write less often once I moved to Halifax and began work. Lo and behold I have.

I landed in Hali on Thursday, felt homesick for Montreal on Friday, then felt a little better Saturday. I was running a little here and there around the city to keep myself from losing all my familiar habits. Also it helps to get one's bearings sorted out. Went for a couple tours of Point Pleasant Park (home of many unleashed dogs and alliteration...). With a new job, new place, new city all at the same time I was glad for something usual.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Asics 2140s hacked!

I just bough a new pair of running shoes, the New Balance 890 V2s. I felt a bit like a collector as they're the brand new 'limited edition' Canadian version. More importantly I really like how they feel. Comfy but flexible; the cushioning is noticeable but stays out of the way. The forefoot isn't too wide either (I've had shoes where the laced sides almost touch).

Most importantly here's the flex in the 890s:

 Notice how they flex right through the arch area. This is different from earlier versions of padded shoes, which tended to have a rigid, non-flexible arch (no company in particular, they all did it). Of course all minimal shoes show flex in the middle. It's only the most recent training/padded stuff that's doing the same thing.