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Polar RC3: The Ultimate Running Partner

Addiction or Distraction

One of my favorite sayings is “If it ain’t broke, fix it till it is”. Good examples are government run programs and budgets, mechanics fixing automobiles, computers and, yes, your health. Not just big things like unneeded prescription medications, but even in simple things like fancy running shoes, or a even unnecessarily changing your workout routine or diet. I’m all for finding a smart and easy way to increase an outcome, and push to a higher standard, but not at the expense of overcomplicating and impeding progress.

Steve, Meet Polar

polar RC3 As of late, Polar (the heart rate monitor company) has given me a chance to review a new product they have for athletes to help them track the efficacy of their activity and workout programs.  It is the new RC3GPS heart rate monitor.  If you know anything about me, it is that I am totally old school.  If there are any links, pictures, or anything of the sort in this particular blog, you must know that my beautiful “techy-geeky”, yet very hot wife, Bonnie added them. We argued for 20 minutes about what hyperlink is – yes, just now.  I lost…

daytimer

So Easy a Caveman Steve Can Do It

I still keep my appointments in pencil in a handwritten day-timer.  Yes, the way God intended it!!!  “tangent”… sorry… My point?  I don’t like gadgets that require to much thought.  However, when it comes to exercise science.. I love looking at stats, and data – especially if that data can be used to help me or a client improve our performance or our physiques.

Polar RC3Needless to say, my excitement of receiving this fantastic piece of “lab equipment” was bittersweet.  I would love a Hubble telescope as long as I have Bonnie, or her dad, to explain how the heck it works. BUT, I was determined to this all on my own. I strapped that puppy on and went for a run.  Needless to say, I didn’t get far. Stupid toy, and I hate running anyway. What do you mean I have to charge it, and plug it into my computer?  Just to go for a run?  Jeeeeze.. I just want to sweat a little.. I hate running anyhow.

Polar RC3

I Can Do This

Determined not to have Bonnie laugh at me, I regain my composure and decide to figure this thing out. I open the RC3GPS instruction book and, dernit, if it doesn’t have a quick-start manual. I bet this is going to take two or three hours. Pleasantly surprised, 5 minutes later I am hooked up with the unit charging and all my personal settings stored so it can track and train me for my training desires.

LiveExerciseStill, unbelieving, I decide to look for a quick video tutorial online just to see if I am missing anything. After watching the video, I realize what a “tard” I really am. The RC3 does way more than I thought, and It was twice as easy to program it.

I am still working a few kinks out, like trying to turn off the sounds when I am shooting live on LiveExercise, and I am still trying to reverse my display so I can read it better, but after working with this gizmo for 3 short weeks I am completely addicted to the accountability and records it is keeping.  (here’s the video I watched that helped me get it going)

More Than A Heart Rate Monitorpolar RC3 Map

I have since started a free online account at polarpersonaltrainer.com that allows me to track my running routes, calories burned, high/low/ave heart rate, pace, and so so much more. I like developing different interval workouts and seeing the fast and slow sections of my runs.  (this is a screenshot of the map route I took last)

Note: See the Place Marker (above) at the bottom of the map? It matches the red vertical line on the graph (below), which was about to be my slowest pace as I was going up a steep bridge). Where ever I put my cursor on the graph, it shows me on the map where I was at that time, pace, heart rate, etc. (can you say COOL?!)

polar RC3

polar RC3 The RC3 has helped me want to improve each run, and each workout.  Just seeing those numbers at the end of a run makes me want to come back for more – and improve my pace and my distance, increase my calories burned, and average (and high) heart rate.  Just for fun, I also use the RC3 to chart my recovery heart rate after a fast interval.

It is interesting to me how fast I learned this great piece of equipment, but I had know Idea I could enjoy running merely by investing the time, and seeing the improvement. I think more people would invest in exercise and nutrition if they could just track and record data that shows improvement.

Ok, I’ll wrap this rant up.  My point here is; we can often overcomplicate our workouts and our diets, but don’t discount trying new things. If you get an opportunity to try a new piece of gear, or a new recipe, or even a new gym… TAKE IT!  Give it a good and honest try, if it excites you and its effective, add it to your arsenal of tools that push us to make more progress – but if you try something, really try, and it just distracts you from improving, perhaps your time would be better spent with the fundamental old school grind!

My Final Assessment of the Polar RC3: Addicted! LOVE IT!

If you’d like to buy this insane piece of running GPS awesomeness, CLICK HERE and use the discount code: “fitfluential during checkout for a 25% discount! This discount is ONLY valid for the RC3 GPS (all colors/combinations of the RC3 GPS available) and will expire on 8/31/13. Here’s a cool video on the RC3!

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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FAT VS MUSCLE PART 2: Is Your Workout Getting You Fat?

As I said in Muscle vs. Fat Part 1, “All excess unused calories will be stored in your body.  It’s up to you HOW they are stored.

Runners Store Fat

Running is an activity, requiring moderate  intensity performed over a longer duration. Runners primarily (especially in highly trained runners) use slow twitch, slow fatiguing muscle fibers.  The primary fuel source for this activity dictated by duration, intensity, and muscles fiber type used is fat stores. As a runner, excess muscle will only slow you down, and protein stores are very heavy and dense and will only yield 4 calories of energy per gram (that’s why a runner’s body typically doesn’t have a lot of muscle – your body doesn’t want it).  In comparison, fat will give the athlete over twice as much energy per gram, and metabolically takes less energy to maintain at rest (this is why your body hoards it, whether you burn it all off running or not).

So even with a higher protein diet, any excess calories stored are prone to be stored as fat.  It is primal…  It is science.  Your body is always efficiently meeting the demands you are putting on it.  Here is what happens…  As your muscle atrophies,  you become lighter, and as you store more fat, you can run longer.  Congratulations, you are now skinnier and fatter.

Your body doesn’t give a crap if you can win a hot body contest. It’s programed to keep you alive despite the demands and tasks you set before it.  How you feel you should look is solely up to psychological and social parameters we put on ourselves.  How you perform, on the other hand,  is up to the demands you put on your body.

Bodybuilders Store Muscle

Building muscle, in a biological environment,  is hard and plays against the odds.  The human body finds very little use for excess muscle as it is dense and not very efficient for survival or providing energy.  Yes, when these proteins are broken down, some of the amino acids can be used on a cellular level, but our body has amino acid pools that already exist for this and are an efficient storage system for this.

Excess striated skeletal muscle is left (stored) as a useless luxury at best.  It’s nice to look at, but after the body has enough skeletal muscle to move and function, the rest becomes very inefficient, energy-wasting luggage we must carry around all day everyday.   In order for you to quit storing much needed valuable fat, in leu of storing heavy useless muscle, you must create an alternate environment that will primally dictate some sort of need,  so your body will begin to store muscle instead of fat.  So, how can we make this happen?

3 ways to Store Muscle NOT Fat:

1. Take away the need for your body to store excess calories as fat. Do not use long bouts of running or moderately intense exercises to control your weight.  Restrict calories instead, and try intervals of sprinting or higher intensity shorter duration activities. (sorry runners)

Quit long distance running > 5 miles.

2. Restrict excess calories.  All excess calories can be stored as fat.  Even if all you eat is pure protein and green vegetables, if you eat more than you burn, you will store these extra calories as fat. We must decrease our sugars and make sure we are getting quality proteins and fats (mono/poly unsaturated fatty acids) to support protein synthesis.

Eat less simple carbohydrates and increase protein if need be.

3.  Train Hard. You won’t store muscle, unless uou give your body a reason and a need to store the extra calories as muscle by,  intense, short duration, resistance training.

Train with resistance and intensity. 

DISCLAIMER FOR HATERS:
This was written with the “big picture in mind and trying to stay under 1000 words,  It would be impossible to site and discuss micro metabolic science within these parameters.  So unless you find something butt-a#* wrong… don’t be a “douschtard”.

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