Weight Loss and Management: Nuts and bolts from a physician

This is a guest post on weight loss and management from my friend and former classmate, Taylor Christensen. He blogs over at Clear Thinking on Healthcare. My go-to resource on weight loss and management is Matt Fitzgerald’s Racing Weight. That book is useful if you are pursuing performance as a very active person or competitive athlete, as I am with triathlon. Having read Matt’s book, I enjoyed his research-based, field-tested, no-dogma approach to nutrition. Similarly, I appreciate Taylor’s straightforward look at the fundamentals. Knowledge like this is useful when well-meaning friends, who are ideologues about nutrition, and glossy marketing fluff come your way. Enjoy.

Weight Loss and Management: Nuts and bolts from physician Taylor Christensen

Speaking as a physician for a moment, I’ve had a long interest in weight loss, and over the years I’ve accumulated a list of things that I believe anyone trying to lose weight (or trying to avoid gaining weight) should know.

If you have any questions about these points, please ask.

Here are my 9 Principles of Weight Loss:

1. Changes in total body weight are attributable to changes in the amount of fat, muscle, water and stool in your body.

Daily/hourly variations are water and stool.

Fat and muscle change slowly over the long term.

If your weight isn’t decreasing over weeks, it’s either because you’re not losing fat or because you are losing fat AND gaining muscle at the same time (if you have increased your exercise recently).

2. 80% of weight loss is dietary, 20% is exercise.

To lose weight, the focus needs to be on your diet.

Exercise has huge mental and physical health benefits (including motivating you to do better with your diet), but it’s not the primary thing that will directly make you lose weight.

An example: It’s a lot easier to not eat a 900-calorie piece of cake than it is to exercise off that extra 900 calories (a 200-lb person would have to run about 6 miles to burn 900 calories).

3. Weight loss is simple math.

You must take in fewer calories than you expend.

If you expend more calories than you take in, you will lose weight (assuming muscle mass is constant). No exceptions.

There are thousands of things that predispose to weight gain or make weight loss more difficult for people (including genetics, sleep, stress, medications, insulin resistance, etc.), but all these things can only affect weight either by causing you to eat more calories or burn fewer calories.

4. There are only three types of calories: proteins, fats and carbohydrates (aka ‘carbs’).

One calorie of protein = one calorie of fat = one calorie of carbs.

But carbs are different in an important way — they also affect hunger/fullness hormones. Eating carbs stimulates more hunger/cravings, which usually leads to you eating more calories total. The more processed (i.e., “simpler”) the carbs, the more they seem to stimulate those cravings.

5. Our bodies are amazing at interconverting these three types of calories, so your diet’s balance of carbs vs fat vs protein is less of a concern for weight loss.

There are a couple caveats to this.

First, as mentioned already, eating lots of carbs, especially simple ones, is going to make it more difficult to lose weight due to the extra hunger they stimulate.

Second, for some people, the timing of eating and also mix of calories (proteins vs fats vs carbs) may have a nontrivial effect on how many calories their bodies are burning. These caveats (and many others not mentioned) do not change the calories in vs calories out equation, and their importance varies by the person.

6. One lb of fat is about 3,500 calories.

A calorie deficit of 500 calories per day means 1 lb of weight loss per week.

7. Setting your daily calorie limit so that you will have a 500 calorie deficit per day (it’s calculated based on your age, gender, size, and activity level) and then tracking every calorie you eat to make sure you don’t go over that limit is a GUARANTEED way of losing 1 lb per week.

The preferred calorie tracking app for this seems to be MyFitnessPal.

This calorie limit will be fewer calories than your body is used to taking in, so you might feel hungry for a few weeks until your hormones adjust to this new intake, and then you will find that you’re not hungry like you used to be and even feel overfull if you try eating as much as you used to.

If you are not losing 1 lb per week, it is because you are either
(1) eating more calories than you’re tracking (food labels can be at fault sometimes)
(2) burning fewer calories than the calculation estimated, or
(3) gaining muscle mass.

8. Being thin and being healthy are not the same.

You can eat horribly and have a sedentary lifestyle and still lose weight as long as you don’t consistently go over your daily calorie limit.

So please exercise and eat lots of vegetables, not for your weight but for your health.

9. The above points should make it clear that, to lose weight, you do not need to adhere to some strange or restrictive or trendy diet.

Chances are, these will not be sustainable for you anyway. The sustainable way to lose weight and keep it off is to enjoy food, eat healthfully in a way that fits your life and to not eat too many calories.

Taylor originally published this April 18, 2019. The comments there are worth looking at too. Thanks T!

By |2021-01-15T16:39:38-07:00May 7th, 2019|General Life, Triathlon|0 Comments

In the news: “How A Utah Man Became A Triathlete By Changing His Morning Routines” – KSL TV Feature

Change your routines. Change your life.

Pleased that Aley Davis and the KSL (NBC) TV team asked me to share how routines helped me turn around my life and remain a core part of my success today. (If the video doesn’t show below, click here.)

Wanna try a tri? Come train with Balanced Art Multisport’s #bamtrifam and you’ll fall in love with training in a whole new way.

Or come to an Intermountain Tri clinic for a safe, welcoming space to learn basic skills in swimming, biking, running and triathlon.

Or if you’re not in the Utah/SLC region, check out www.mytimetotri.com (a project by USA Triathlon and IRONMAN) for tips and resources to give swimming, cycling, running and triathlon a go.

And you’re always welcome to ask me for ideas. I love when people reach out with questions about shoes, gear, training on heart rate, nutrition, what races to do, how to run faster …

Our bodies are incredible machines and a big part of my life is mastering mine and helping people celebrate theirs.

Notes:

  • In Jan 2018, I co-founded Intermountain Tri and now serve as the president — join with just your email. Come just to swim, bike or run … or all three in triathlon.
  • When I talk about consistently being up until 3a and having no habits … I’m talking about 18 months into having started my marketing business (launched Aug 2012; 2013 was ROUGH and I kept sliding right into Apr 2014). With no boss to report to, no office to show up to, and so on, there was no fixed activity pushing against the demands of my time. So everything got very loose. I lost sense of the day of the week. Weekends were indistinguishable, as was afternoon from morning and “too late” from “time to go to bed.” And my lack of strength with managing my own time became evident. Just as I crammed assignments and studying in school, I tried to cram client work. Hence the late nights. So many days, I would give myself a huge pep talk that “I’m waking up at 6a tomorrow to reset the cycle!” And then I would surely sleep until noon or 1p. And the cycle continued. For months. Until I did these three things to hijack the death spiral:
    • Signed up for Ironman Maryland. I wanted to have a good experience and knew I had to train to succeed. I couldn’t just show up and wing it. It was too big a stress to waltz in.
    • Asked someone who was already really good at getting up in the morning and going to bed on time for help. Many thanks to Erica Wiley for her gentle and supportive texts as I got sleep on track, starting with shutting down and going to bed at a consistent time.
    • Committed to a training plan. I made half progress here with a half-marathon training plan I found and then peppering in runs and rides. But then I hired coach Alan Gulledge who really got me in gear.
Triathlon routines supported by group classes early in the morning
530a M/W all winter long at BAM’s tri training studio in Sandy
  • The cycling class I teach is the BAM Power Program.
    • The workouts are written by sports medicine doctor and pro-cycling coach, Dr. Max Testa, of Park City.
    • Anyone who rides any kind of bike for any purpose at any level of competition/interest/competitiveness can benefit from the classes because they start with an assessment of your present fitness and then are structured around helping you progress from there.
    • It’s very different from a traditional gym/studio “spin” class, which is structured to burn calories. And it’s not like riding on Zwift or Trainer Road because you don’t waste effort “racing” people. Yes, we’re all in the same room (you can join online too!), but each person is in their individual zone, and there’s no leaderboard. It’s just a cool crew of people working hard together and supporting each other.
    • Dr. Testa adjusts the classes each year based on his research and the real outputs of all his riders.
    • Bottom line: it’s the most effective method possible for gaining fitness on the bike that makes you stronger and more efficient.
  • The doc they interviewed is absolutely correct about momentum is your ally with routines.
    • The momentum also comes, as he says, from “feeling much better than you did before.” Once you experience the state change, you know you can get it and will work to get it again.
    • If your baseline is zero, just start moving. A gain of 1 is a gain from zero! Once you baseline is 1, then a gain to 2 is still a gain . . . and on and on, until you perform the routine 5-7 days a week no problem.
  • At USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals in Aug 2018, I finished 20th in the Olympic-distance race and 10th in the sprint. End of summer 2019, I will wear the red, white and blue on Team USA at the ITU Age Group World Championship in Lausanne, Swizterland.

Watch (2:04) and read the whole KSL story here:

KSLtv also did stories on BAM Coach Suz Martin and BAM Coach Bill Fowler and his family.

By |2021-01-15T16:40:55-07:00April 19th, 2019|General Life, Triathlon|0 Comments

Pick a Tri Coach – How to Hire the Right Person to Help You with Your Triathlon Goals

I was a tri coach for 2 seasons and then hung up that hat to focus on training and my work as a marketer. In the process of closing that up, people were still reaching out to me asking for help. I wrote 6 tips on looking for a tri coach for them, and now for you.

My tri coach history

From self-coaching thru 2 coaches and hiring a tri coach at BAM

When I did my first ironman in 2014, I first self-coached for 3 months. Then I met a tri coach and hired him for the last 3 months. It helped tremendously. I had no idea how much volume I need to lay down to be ready for the long distance. And by his prodding, I went and did a sprint 2 months before and a half the month before. I wouldn’t have thought to do that on my own.

After IMMD, I got another coach to focus on running speed. That worked off-and-on for awhile. Then life got nuts and I moved from Manhattan to Utah and focused on marathon. I worked my way through that the best I could … once again self-coaching.

At the end of that marathon year, I reached out to Wes Johnson, founder and head coach of Balanced Art Multisport (aka BAM). I had become FB friends with Wes and followed the progress and success of many of his clients. These were people making tons of a progress and some at the forefront going to Kona, filling local podiums, etc. We connected and I hired Andrew Stasinos, also a tri coach with BAM. That was late 2016. I’ve made so much more progress in this time than my first 4 years in triathlon.

My Tri Coach - Andrew "BAMDREW" Stasinos of Balanced Art Multisport
My tri coach Andrew and me at my first race under his coaching, Ice Breaker 2017

Another element about selecting a coach that doesn’t show up in my 6 tips is the value of group workouts. You want the chance to workout with your coach. That’s a huge upside to working with a tri coach from BAM. There are coaches around the world that know the sport and are pretty good with science and will give you time and support. I mean, not every tri coach makes this cut but of course you can find them.

It’s a whole additional category to find a tri coach with all those skills who also has a fun, large, solid, active community of athletes so you get a good mix of working out solo and a group session 1-2 or more times a week.

On that note, I invite you to join Intermountain Tri — a open community of 400+ people who swim, bike or run on their way to living the good life. Loads of weekly workouts, monthly clinics and a smattering of discounts and resources from team partners. Sign up with just your email at www.intermountaintri.com

It REALLY makes the experience a lot better to develop relationships with other people while progressing as an athlete. You can definitely make progress working out solo, but it’s really nice to get group time in. And unless you can shell out mega $$ for regular 1:1 time in-person with a tri coach, attending group workouts where your coach is there … that’s a great way to get more face time with them in an economically viable structure for you and them. The #bamtrifam was also a clutch asset in why I reached out to Wes and continue to stick with Andrew.

So … a lot here and in the list below, and I hope you find it helpful. I highly recommend reaching out to Wes. He, Andrew or one of the other 8 coaches could be a great fit for you.

Fwiw:

  • my swim race paces dropped to 1:20/100y (was at 1:35-40/100y) in combination of being coached to swim more, swimming with faster people, and getting instruction and video analysis on basic stroke mechanics to correct
  • Between my first FTP/lactate test on the bike Dec 2016 and re-testing Oct 2017, I gained 40 watts (16%); this follows doing BAM’s Power Program which I highly recommend
  • I broke a 40-min 10k run in 2018, and even through 2017 I hadn’t broken 45

I mean, I had to do the work. But it was their guidance of how to smartly/reasonably/carefully go about all this without burning myself out, without triathlon taking over my life and without injury. On top of all that, I have never had more fun with triathlon and this is one of maybe 3 or 4 big pieces that has me very happy to have made the move to Utah.


Hire a Tri Coach: 6 Tips to Get it Right

I recommend every triathlete or one with more than a super casual interest in endurance sports get a tri coach.

You can find a plethora of options through the ‘Find a Coach’ directories hosted by Training Peaks or Ironman.

Here’s how I suggest finding a tri coach that fits you for triathlon, cycling, swimming and endurance events:

[1] Before contacting any coaches, get your life priorities straight as they are for you.

Write them down. And understand before going into it that a coach most often falls into the realm of “physical/athletic performance.” This is distinct from you being personally responsible to maintain baseline wellness. If you’re hiring a coach to help you with baseline wellness and you don’t care about performance, tell them. My priorities (more on those here), for example:

  1. Core relationships (dating & romantic partners, people I live with, people I interact with 6-7 days a week)
  2. Baseline wellness (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual)
  3. Material safety (do honest work for honest pay to cover my necessary material costs: food, shelter, transportation)
  4. Athletic performance (speed, form, strength, competition)
  5. Career success (fulfillment, growth, profitability, ongoing growth and development)

[2] After looking at all that, decide how much monetarily on a monthly basis it’s worth it to you to have a tri coach to support you as a triathlete or endurance athlete.

Write that number down. That is your maximum. That number ought to be a little uncomfortable, but it should not disrupt or strain you. It shouldn’t disrupt you taking care of the priorities higher on your list. If it does, you will resent your training and your coach. You will be spending money on a lower priority that ought first to be spent on a higher priority. That simply won’t work long term.

[3] Shop the platforms, make a short list (Target: 3. Five is fine. MAX 10) of people to contact.

Lean toward people that you could, without great expense, visit in person. Most of your interactions will be virtual. Keep in mind it helps to have someone you can meet with so they can look at your form.

[4] Contact all of them.

Let them know you are interviewing coaches. Have a tops 30-minute conversation with them. Ask about their training philosophy. Before revealing your life priorities, listen to them and see if it sounds like / feels like they have similar priorities. You should at least sense they respect that they are coaching a PERSON with a LIFE. If they sound like they are coaching an ATHLETE whose life IS training, run. Unless you are a pro athlete, that is not the case for you . . .

Endurance training with a tri coach is a LUXURY to be used to increase the overall quality of your life.

I highly recommend that endurance training NOT become your life. Relationships and work that adds value to society and your community are far more important than you going to Worlds or Kona.

In this vein, but secondary to matching priorities and values: you’ll also want to ask them about people they have worked with and whether they have had . . .

  • exposure and
  • success

. . . working with people similar to you. And in this case when I say “people” I mean “bodies”: age, injury, background of swim/bike/run and other sports, etc.).

There are so many variables, it certainly helps to have a tri coach who has familiarity helping people at whatever stage of the endurance sport journey you are at.

[5] Immediately rule out anyone whose price is above your # in [2].

If you really like them (they are a top 1-2 pick), say, “I got your price is X. When I started my search, I wrote down Y as my limit. To respect the work I did to look my priorities, I can’t go above that. And I respect your work as a professional, so I wouldn’t ask you to lower your number and diminish the value of your expertise. It’s OK if this doesn’t work between us right now. Are there any parts of your service that aren’t necessary, that you could cut or limit to make it work?” If so, cool. Figure it out. If not, cool … thank them for their time. Move on.

[6] Keep looking and then select.

Continue your tri coach search until you find a match for your priorities, what you’re looking for, healthy interaction where you feel respected and you feel you respect their expertise, and where their number is a match for yours.

Good luck!

By |2021-01-15T16:53:28-07:00September 1st, 2018|Triathlon|0 Comments

Homemade Protein Shake (recovery mix) for triathletes, endurance athletes, and high cardio training

Over the years I’ve sampled various post-workout products and none suit all my desires so I’ve delved into making a homemade protein shake recovery mix — my own blend of powders I can dump into a cup of milk and blend with a banana to make a quick, nutritionally sound and tasty recovery shake.

If you are interested in honing your nutrition knowledge, I recommend Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. Straightforward. Zero fad recommendations. Research based. Field tested by pro and Olympic athletes. Practical. No dogma. Doable.

Why I decided to formulate my own mix (a “NATSTACK” if you will):

[1] I’m not down with most of the whey-based options (e.g. Muscle Milk).

Not a huge fan of the taste (can be chalky), some have artificial sweeteners (part of the taste, and I’d rather give my body real sugar that it knows how to process), I found myself gaining weight when using it (I’m a triathlete and not interested in gaining weight), most have tons of other stuff (for fancy labeling), and I like to keep it simple and raw (if I need an amino or something, I’ll add it myself).

[2] I want something heartier than straight chocolate milk.

Here’s a look at stuff I mix in (if it doesn’t show below click here):

A post shared by Nat Harward (@natharward) on

[3] Non-whey options are good but pricy as a food staple.

I’m looking at you, Orgain, Skratch and peanut butter powders like PBfit and PB2.

[4] If money were no object, I’d have Core Power ship me crates every week.

There’s nothing I drink faster than a bottle of their Chocolate High Protein blend right after a workout, but at $2.50/11.5oz bottle, that racks up so I make it a luxury here and there, or I grab one at a gas station when I’m in a bind and can’t get home to get nutrients in me before heading on to my next thing. Also, see above — I want something heartier than plain chocolate milk.

[UPDATE: Core Power changed their formula. They got rid of the sugar and added artificial sweeteners, and then they said they’d sell the old formula on Amazon …

… but at this moment (June 29, 2019), I only see the new, artificially sweetened formula in 14oz bottles on Amazon.]

I want to blend in a banana, peanut butter, strawberries, almond butter or other items, so a bottle of anything alone won’t cut it.

It might tide me over, but it doesn’t give me the satisfaction of a meal.

[5] I like control.

‘Nuff said.

Enter “NATSTACKS”: Homemade Protein Shake Recovery Mix(es)

I looked at a couple mixes I liked and reverse engineered the recipes from the ingredients list, nutrition facts, and generic nutritional info about each ingredient.

Homemade Protein Shake Recovery Mix – Formula 1

  • 250g powdered milk
  • 75g powdered sugar
  • 75g table sugar
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 10g vanilla powder (yes it’s a thing)
  • 5g salt

Drop all these into a container, shake it up and boom you’re good to go with your homemade protein shake recovery mix. I don’t have the $ ready for you at the moment, but I am sure it is near 25% the cost of equivalent stuff in bin with fancy packaging … and you know exactly what’s in here:

Homemade Protein Shake recovery mix

Put a heaping tablespoon or two (25-40g) into 8-12oz of your choice of fluid (rec: almond milk or whole milk), add a frozen banana, honey, cacao nibs, a pinch of cloves or nutmeg, a spoon of peanut or almond butter … whatever you want to spice it up.

  • For the sugar you can mix and match powdered sugar, table sugar or baking sugar (which is finer than regular sugar but still grainy and not a powder). Just net out at 150g of sugar.
  • Cocoa powder can be dialed up or down for however chocolatey you like it.
  • Vanilla powder can be swapped for liquid extract as the poweder isn’t common in grocery stores. 1 tbsp. Put that in last. It will make things a little clumpy, which is why the powder is better. You could skip the vanilla and be fine.

Handy Tool for Scaling Your Batch:

Want to try a little this time and scale up to a huge batch next time? Easy.

Use the ==> Homemade Protein Shake Recovery Mix formula calculator


Plans for Homemade Protein Shake – Formula 2+

  • add glutamine (hands down, here’s your best bang for your buck glutamine offer) (also, why glutamine)
  • suggest swaps for peanut butter powder in place of all or some powdered milk
  • suggest amount of peanut butter powder as an addition (choco + PB flavor)
  • suggest amount of ground nuts and/or cacao nibs to add for fun
  • set precise amounts of cocoa powder for low/medium/high chocolatey-ness
  • experiment with dextrose (glucose equivalent from corn) in place of some table/bakers/powdered sugars

Enjoy.

Oh yeah — you’ll want a kitchen scale:

Homemade protein shake recovery mix (kitchen scale)

It’s easier to manage this process by weight than volume, so that’s how I did it. Any of these scales will do. Seriously, don’t go nuts making this decision. Super accuracy is not important here. Fwiw, I got this one, which handles up to 15lbs or 7kg.

Disclaimer: all my nutrition knowledge is informal and experiential from the field of my own training. I have no license or qualifications from a governing body to dispense personal nutritional information. I also share this taking no concern for anyone’s allergies or specific dietary restrictions. That’s up to you to figure out. Consult a doctor, registered dietician or nutritionist. That will do you some good anyway.

By |2021-01-15T16:57:31-07:00March 2nd, 2018|Triathlon|2 Comments

Pound The Rock

Pound the rock.

It’s in the footer of my website.

It’s in my email signature.

It’s the first phrase of three I have littered all over the internet. (The second and third being “Do good” and “Have a great time.”)

It’s the motto Gregg Popovich uses at the San Antonio Spurs. Their fan club is named after it. In fact, I’ve been told, it’s the only quote/motto/words-of-inspiration that appear anywhere inside the Spurs’ facilities.

So what about it? Why pound the rock?

This:

When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before. — Jacob Riis

Pound The Rock - Jacob Riis

We love telling “overnight success” stories.

They aren’t true.

Every “overnight success” story is … just a good story.

A story designed to get us to believe “we too” can be as successful as the “overnight” success.

Well, we can.

But not overnight.

Because they didn’t get there overnight.

These stories, so it seems to me, often are told to sell “the overnight method.”

When we buy that method, we get burned. Expectations fall unfulfilled, and we don’t succeed overnight — because we need to pound the rock:

To pound out our weakness,

To pound in our dedication,

To pound out non-essentials,

To pound in our focus,

To pound out dead weight,

To pound in muscle memory.

The true backstory of every success (“overnight” or not) is years of trial and error . . .

. . . effort on effort, and upset and defeat followed by persistence and consistency … all of which finally yield a win.

I’ve long said the most important attribute for any marketing campaign is consistency. You can blog once a day or once a year. If you stick to your schedule, people will accomodate whatever pattern you establish … if you stick to it. What doesn’t work is rush then stop. Publish then quit. Launch then disappear, only to relaunch with flare and pizzaz in 6 months quickly followed by flame-out, just as before.

And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order (Mos 4:27).

This isn’t bad news.

Success isn’t in one-trick ponies or luck-of-the-draw rewards.

Success is in being adept at producing desirable results again and again, at will.

Success is in knowing “the wisdom and the order” of how things work, the present limits of your strength (your lactate threshold, for example).

Yes, part of success is arriving at the destination, a destination — of finishing or winning a race.

But grander elements of success are:

falling in love with getting there

knowing you can get there when you decide you want to

knowing what it takes to get there, how to command the elements and the circumstances to combine and align in getting you there

in other words, knowing how to get there again, on command … without assigning any piece of arrival to luck or chance

experiencing your personal capacity to do work every day, to conquer in the face of resistance, and to survive or even thrive in the face of calamity.

“Pound the rock” is a motto to succeed every day.

Between each sunrise and sunset, put.in.the.work.

99 of 100 blows of the hammer end with the rock uncracked.

In a darker moment, the uncracked rock may seem to laugh or scorn.

“What are you doing? Does your work even count? You’re not strong enough. You have the wrong tools. You can’t do this. You’re not making a difference at all. What a waste. Now this, what you’re doing, this is insanity!! You keep swinging, expecting me to crack. I’ll never crack. The outcome is the same. And always will be. Move on … move on to easier ground.”

It’s tricky.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, seeing no results, and expecting a different outcome.

Yet that definition is insufficient.

There are some tasks that are … a pound-the-rock scenario. A scenario where is just does take 99 repeated blows of no-difference-at-all results, which, when followed by the 100th WHAM! everything changes.

It may seems just one blow counted. One blow must have been different from the others. But no … all 99 changed the structure, strength and integrity of the rock until on the 100th it cracked. All 99 up to that point took mental grit and steadfastness and belief that the work was worth it.

I’m not a “good” runner.

I’m not “gifted” or a “natural.”

I don’t have lean thighs.

My VO2 max, when I’m not fully trained, is super average.

My calves are huge, the extra weight doesn’t help.

My calves also don’t connect high on my leg, so their biomechanical leverage is . . . average.

My knees rotate out and my tibia & fibula bow in to compensate, so some force from every step gets wasted in non-vertical, non-forward vectors.

My early years of swimming made my ankles super flexible, and early years of gymnastics trained them to act like absorbers; but great runners have stiffer ankles, trained to act like springs.

Yet my half marathon times keep coming down:

1:42:09 (7:47/mi) — 2008

1:40:26 (7:40/mi) — 2014

1:28:27 (6:45/mi) — 2015

1:24:35 (6:27/mi) — 2017

Why is that?

Because I pound the rock.

There’s nothing special about me.

Sure, I’m learning better form. As I pound the rock.

Sure, I’m in overall better shape … because I pound the rock.

Sure, I’m more flexible and less prone to injury … because I pound the rock (and rollll out, thanks TriggerPoint!).

Sure, I have better run gear and better workout routines … because I pound the rock.

I just pound the rock.

And anyone can pound the rock.

This much about life seems so simple and clear: when you work hard under the direction of people who understand the mechanics of how things work, you get results.

That’s why I put “Pound the rock” everywhere.

To remind myself of, and to stand for, the ethic of putting in the work.

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground” (Gen 3:19).

“Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal 6:7-8).

Mastery thru repetition.

Affinity through consistency.

Results from no work are empty gains.

Dreams with no work are naught but wishes.

Gains from shortcuts are, eternally speaking, hollow.

Unearned upsides can be wonderful blessings and grace from heaven, but if converted in my mind and heart to expectations or views that “I don’t have to work because good things simply come my way” or “I will succeed because I am deserving of success” … those attitudes diminish my soul and others’.

Which brings me to another reminder baked into those three words:

To touch base, to make contact with, The Rock … every day. That rock being the “lowercase” rock of revelation and the “uppercase” Rock of Revelation who is Jesus Christ.

To meekly remember I am able from the gift of choice.

To meekly remember I am forgiven and cleansed from His gift of mercy.

To meekly remember I am empowered beyond my natural strength by His gift of grace.

So . . . I pound the rock.

By |2021-01-15T16:47:21-07:00January 3rd, 2018|Faith, General Life, Marketing, Triathlon|1 Comment

A frozen banana has a three-fold mission in every shake

The frozen banana has a three-fold mission in every shake.

[1] It cools the shake.

[2] It thickens the shake.

[3] It sweetens the shake.

There you have it.

Frozen banana winter wonderland of thick smooth sweetness in your mouth.

Frozen Banana - 15 Pounds for the Freezer

Why yes, I buy my bananas 15 lbs at a time. A shelf in my freezer is dedicated to bananas. I may even get another freezer and dedicate entirely to bananas.

Pro Tips for the Frozen Banana, etc.

If you’re using greens, blend them first with just the liquids. That will allow them to get chopped up in finer pieces without everything else in the way.

Add frozen fruit last. It’s the hardest to blend and will blend easiest when everything else is already liquidy and smooth.

Try my Homemade Protein Shake Recovery Mix. It’s easy and delicious. And a great post-workout nutrition boost for triathletes and endurance athletes.

For endless inspiration of smoothie recipes, check out my friends at Simple Green Smoothies. Tons of recipes. Other cool food and nutrition ideas. And Jen is the bomb. +400k Instagram followers, she must be doing something right.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

By |2021-01-15T16:37:20-07:00December 22nd, 2017|General Life, Triathlon|0 Comments

Got a New Whip … Meet Ceevee, My P3

As I prepared for the 2017 season I knew I had 17 tris under my belt, and with another 6 planned … and with a 14-year-old bike … it was time for a new whip!

Here’s my old whip, Betty, on the road to Cape Cod in 2014.

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New Whip - Old Whip Betty

My first road bike, Betty. She’s a 2003 Giant TCR Aero-2. She’s a “compact road frame”; halfway between road and time-trial (TT) geometry. Betty’s rear wheel is slightly tucked in, her seat tube is a little more aggressive (forward) than a road bike, and she’s not designed for riding in aero position all the time.

Opposite to how I bought Betty — scoured NYC Craigslist for something about $500 that also “looked good” (i.e. didn’t have round, silver, 24-spoke wheels), took her for a fast test ride then plopped down a wad of cash — I planned to follow a long methodical process to nail the perfect bike for me this time around.

While it took all season [/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][8 MONTHS!] . . .  totally worth it.

Here’s the scoop. (Want to skip the story and jump straight to the gear list & summary? Click here.)

Shopping for a new whip — ya don’t “just buy” a TT/tri bike

Step 1: Pre-fitting for frame selection

In February [MONTH 1], I went in to see Jeff Sherrod, aka The Bike Whisper and genius at Precision Bike Fit, to get a quick set of measurements done.

Probably the biggest mistake people make in buying a bike is getting the wrong size frame. They may base the frame size they need simply off height. There’s more to it than that. Best to talk to a bike fitter about what and how you plan to ride, take measurements, and then narrow down what types and sizes of frames can work for you.

Step 2: Strategy conversation

Also during that visit, I ran by Jeff my idea of how I wanted to get a bike. I thought I’d get my hands on a frame, have it custom painted, work connections to get a deal on a component group, get wheels from ENVE as part of my gig with sister company Suunto, etc.

Jeff nixed my piece-by-piece strategy really fast.

He suggested I look at Garneau’s tri bike since they do custom colors, so I started considering that.

Step 3: Frame shopping & Pre-purchase fitting

While continuing to think about the Garneau, I asked Jeff to clue me in on used bikes he knew of that were up for sale.

By the end of March [MONTH 2], there was one for sale by another member of my tri club. I ran the idea by Jeff, he said it would probably fit well, so I picked it up and took it in for a pre-purchase fit.

Thumbs up from Jeff.

Step 4: Offer, Negotiation, Purchase

Convo with previous owner.

Do I want the:

  • pedals?
  • seat?
  • stock seat?
  • yada yada

I drop the “so what’s your training-club-friend and alma-mater-fellow-graduate price?” and saved myself a couple bucks.

This time I wrote a check and took delivery.

Step 5: The Real Fit

It’s now April [MONTH 3] and I’m back at Precision Bike Fit (shares a wall with The Bike Shed where the repairs and upgrades happen) getting a real fit.

Rather than starting on the bike, Jeff takes me into the physical therapy room, has me sit on the table and runs through a series of measurements to check flexibility, mobility limitations, weaknesses or other injury-related factors to consider in the fit. He checks my legs for flexibility, measures the resting rotation in my ankles, and more.

I have no idea this is part of the process. That’s why I go to Jeff to expert to fit my new whip.

Measurements recorded, Jeff rigs the bike up on his stand. Next he takes my shoes and adds shims, of specific thickness for me, between the shoe and the cleat to account for the natural rotation/angle of my ankles.

Up on the bike now, I get a bunch of vecro dots tagged on me all on my right side at each joint — ball of foot, ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, hand (maybe more). So that Jeff can get a live measurement of all these angles as he makes adjustments, he then attaches sensors to each of the velcro dots.

My geometry on this bike is now on display on a TV in the fitting studio, and the work begins.

We spend 30 minutes or so moving things up/down, forward/backward … raising the stem, moving the elbow pads, sliding the seat in different positions. While we do this, Jeff is watching the numbers and moving my angles into optimal ranges; hips aren’t closed leading to tighter hip flexors, but not so open that I lose power; as I pedal, my ankles aren’t stiff or stuck in a firm position; and on. I don’t remember, but I know it counts.

Conclusion: I’ve got a great fit, now time for several real rides to see what else needs to change.

Step 6: Confirm the fit

I started riding her and my first race came soon, the RaceTRI Ice Breaker where I had the 2nd fastest bike split all day.

New Whip - first race

Click to watch.

I started feeling the need to re-gear on this race. On even gentle descents, I was spinning out in top gear.

Later I figured it out:

My old whip had 53 teeth on the big chain ring and 11 on the smallest cog on the cassette.

The new whip, however, limited my speed with just 50 teeth up front and 12 in the back.

That’s a HUGE difference in gearing on the top end.

Gearing aside, the fit was good.

I knew I was still getting used to the more aggressive geometry, but everything else checked out. No pains, just a little discomfort with the shift.

Step 7: Paint the new whip

As you saw in the first picture, Betty was white.

And so was the new whip.

White bikes are hard to keep clean.

Everything shows. And every mark leaves a mark.

Furthermore, the new whip wasn’t just white, she was matte white!! Almost ANY dirt on your hand will transfer to a matte finish. Woof.

Example: look at all the fingerprints on the down tube and top tube from when previous owner Skye had to scramble to get the seat-post jam out (what’s in her hand) when it fell into the bottom bracket . . .

New Whip - before she was mine

Now, Skye took great care of her and kept her clean. The bike was in fact white for me to start with. Which was great. Thanks, Skye. (She’s a pro triathlete, check out her blog here.)

I just didn’t want to do white again and have to work as hard as Skye did to keep that matte finish clean.

ALSO – I’ve been racing for TeamTriggerPoint and our colors are black, lime/acid/neon green and silver. The bike was white, black and red. Not a good match for my race kit.

And I’m a BYU fan … our rivals are red. So red’s gotta go.

Therefore, all signs pointed toward: “Time for a paint job.”

I found plenty of shops that paint metal frames, but not carbon ones.

Much as I pounded Google for an answer, it was Jeff who knew a guy who knew a guy . . . and that brought me to dropping my new whip off at the paint shop a week or two after that first race.

At the paint shop at the end of April [still MONTH 3] . . .

Now from the beginning I had the possibility of painting in mind, so I held off on getting new shoes, a helmet, and wheels to match until I knew what the color scheme would be.

The plan was to go all black, and all b/w lettering be graphite, and everything red to become green.

Step 8: Shoes

The bike ended up being shiny black with graphite and a few touches of classic green (like inside the fork and seat stays), and the TeamTriggerPoint kit “green” is almost yellow, and the color of MAVIC’s gear (the cycling gear sister company to Suunto) IS yellow . . . so I went with yellow for shoes and the helmet (hadn’t arrived for the race below).

Also a throwback to my high school colors (Sycamore, Go Aves!) which were green and gold.

(Also, I’ve been running on Newton’s Distance Elites which are yellow since Sept 2016)

The first pair of MAVIC tri/cycling shoes arrived in May [MONTH 4], but at Jeff’s advice I sent them back for a smaller pair. Glad I did. Power transfer decreases when feet shuffle around inside a not-snug cycling shoe.

I got these ones and picked up the new whip from the painter in June [MONTH 5] just in time to zip off to Vail for the GoPro Mountain Games.

First pro pics on the new whip: Lining up for the Volvo Time Trial, a 10-mile sprint up Vail Pass at the GoPro Mountain Games. Photo by Myke Hermsmeyer for TeamTriggerPoint.

Step 9: Wait on Gear

While I ordered my wheels in May and helmet sometime around then, I waited all of July [MONTH 6] for them to arrive … and they didn’t until August [MONTH 7], and even in August they all came AFTER my big race of the month!! Bummer. I wanted so bad to be fully kitted on the new whip for this race. And the timing didn’t work this time.

The helmet order got funky and I ended up getting both MAVIC’s aero helmet (left) and their leading road helmet (right).

As a result of a bad batch of raw carbon, ENVE’s production fell way behind through the summer so everyone was getting wheels late. Tough situation for their manufacturing, glad I found out what they were dealing with. So that’s why it took 3 months for them to deliver. But deliver they did!

First pic of wheels out of the box . . .

ENVE has GREAT packaging by the way — not shown here. Felt like unboxing an Apple product.

To get the wheels to work, I cannibalized tubes from other wheels of mine. I started the wheel install late on a Friday night to prep for a group BAM ride in the morning, and I really wanted to give them a go.

Because the rims are so deep, most tubes need valve extenders to get the valve nipple outside the rim. And valve extenders only work on valves with removable cores. But the last time I ordered a box of tubes from Amazon, I got the best deal I could find and those tubes … have solid cores. I didn’t even know that was a thing.

I had ONE new tube with a removable core, but I shredded it trying to get the new tire on! Gah!

I pulled one from another wheel and got it on.

But I needed one more! I looked and didn’t see another. So even though it was after 10pm, I went to Walmart and Target desperately searching for a tube that would work — nada!!!

Called a guy in my elders quorum presidency who also cycles … he didn’t either!

Gah again!

Went home in despair.

Checked all my wheels again in a last-ditch effort.

BEHOLD! One more removable core!

Pulled that tube and got it in. My TV room was a mess with open wheels and tires strewn everywhere … but I was ready!

Or was I?

Nope. I needed wider brakes.

I removed the brake pads and let all tension out of the brake calipers just to get the wheels ON. And I jerry-rigged a one-ride solution that relocated some of the brake pad washers just to get the pads back on. I did what I could to get as much clearance as possible. Not pretty, but I wanted to ride!

With a little MacGyvering I was set for my first carbon-frame-on-carbon-rims ride EVER.

New Whip - new wheels

My new whip the night before her maiden voyage on the ENVE 7.8s.

Step 10: Component upgrades

Since the stock brakes weren’t going to work long term, I called up Jeff to figure out a solution.

And since I was ordering new brakes, and I had ridden enough to know I wanted to re-gear, and I because I knew training and racing with a power meter would elevate my game big time . . . I handled all my new whip’s component upgrades/swaps in one swoop.

I got new:

  • Brakes (my old ones are SOLD) … because wider clearance is needed for fatter rims
  • Chain rings … Q-rings! for smooth power transfer and more teeth up front
  • Cassette … for a smaller small gear in the back for more top-end speed
  • Chain … because a new whip with a new cassette just needs a new chain
  • Crank arms with integrated power meter … because training and racing with power is a better read on work than heart rate alone
  • Bottom bracket … because #maintenance

Because Jeff has a whiz technician, Adrian, he passed me over to him to take care of all this.

Adrian called in the orders, installed everything in a day, and bam!

On September 2 [MONTH 8] my new whip was finally done!!!

New whip - with upgrades!

Ooooo shiny gold chain! Rotor crank arms! Oval chain rings!

My master mechanic, Adrian, tuning the new whip’s angle between the crank arms and the oval-shape of the Q-rings:

Step 11: Fine tuning . . .

I took off the saddle that came with (an older ISM) and put my previous saddle back on. In the fall of 2015, I picked up an ISM Adamo Time Trial. So that’s what’s on the new whip now. I just couldn’t settle into the other saddle and had been happy with my previous one so I went back to it.

I also decided to upgrade the worn-out aero bar pads. So I ordered a pair from Ceegees that came highly recommended from my coach Andrew, aka Bamdrew. They are indeed great. Go for it.

And then I:

  • dropped the stem
  • wanted to extend my reach so I moved the bar ends out a little and put on my old stem, which is longer
  • made my elbows and shoulders happy by adjusting the aero bar pads to where they wanted them
  • tried a ton of seat angles and finally moved it back about an inch and that did the trick

And after collecting tons of data with the ROTOR app on a few rides, I had Adrian adjust my chain-ring angle. Glad I got the micro adjustable spider (MAS) option.

From all this finagling, the new parts, etc. it’s time for . . .

Step 12: End-of-Season-New-Whip Re-Fit

Now you might ask, “Why now? Why not wait until you ride outdoor again in March or April?”

Because I’m going to train on it at least 2x a week all winter!

Very important to dial in the fit again now.

Jeff! I’m calling ya soon.

Step 13: Be very excited for 2018

Fo’ real. Having taken all season to get the new whip outfitted all the way, I’m super stoked to train all winter on the same geometry that I’ll race on in 2018. The bike is more aggressive, the fit is more aggressive, the gear is more aggressive . . . with a season piecing the gear together, with only ONE race with everything in place, and now with a full winter ahead to super dial in all the new stuff, I can’t wait to see my splits next year.

Pains, gains & growth. Onward and up.

I’m no salesman for the bike industry but if you’re now inspired to get ya own new whip I won’t be surprised.

Gear & Upgrades Summary for the New Whip

Bike: Cervélo P3

Name:Ceevee

Power meter: ROTOR 2INpower with MAS (Micro Adjust Spider)

Power data receiver: Suunto 9 Baro (formerly used a Suunto Spartan Ultra (sometimes use the ROTOR app to grab ALL the data; my post on how to export ROTOR app data in FIT files)

Shoes: MAVIC Cosmic Ultimate Tri Shoe (yellow, also in red)

Helmet:MAVIC CXR Ultimate Helmet (yellow)

Wheels: ENVE SES 7.8s (clinchers, DT Swiss hubs, Shimano 11spd)

Tires: Continental Grand Prix 4000sII 700×25 (with the 5000 series coming out, these are a great deal now: a pair for $80, or with tubes for $105. I have a stock of them. Once I’m out, I’ll try the 5000s which are $80/tire or $150/pair)

Tubes: Continental – there are a lot of interesting packs (I’ll use whatever for training, but race wheels I get the good stuff)

Brakes: Shimano Ultegra Dual Pivot SLR EV Brake (BR-6800)

Brake pads: ENVE Black (to maintain your ENVE warranty on wheels with the new brake track, you need to use these pads)

Chain rings: ROTOR Qarbon 110BCD (52/36)

Bottom bracket: ROTOR Press Fit 4630

Cassette: Shimano Ultegra HG EV Cassette Sprocket (11-Speed, 11/28, CS-6800; the 8000 series is solid too)

Chain: KMC X11SL Ti-N

Aero bar pads: Ceegees (CY3T01)

Saddle: ISM Adamo Time Trial

Fitter: Jeff, Precision Bike Fit

Mechanic: Adrian, The Bike Shed

WAIT. ONE LAST THING.

All the work wasn’t complete until I did this:

New whip - with BAM stripes

. . . spot it?

Curious what you see that’s different. Let me know in a comment.

Wheels up and happy trails,

Nat Harward[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

By |2021-01-15T15:37:22-07:00October 1st, 2017|Triathlon|6 Comments

Why Isn’t My Heart Rate Monitor Working? Because It’s Dirty

Why isn’t my heart rate monitor working today?

May 2020 UPDATE: You can go thru the process of cleaning your heart rate monitor regularly . . . but seriously, just get a Polar H10. You’ll see in the comments below that I switched from saying, “A lot of people in my forums recommend it” to “I got one, and I recommend it.” I got mine Dec 2019 and it’s been just about flawless. The first battery ran out quicker than I expected . . . in March. The replacement is still going. No connection problems. No data drops. No data spikes. Will report again in December. Again, skip the frustration … just get the H10.

That’s a question I never want to ask myself yet I have several times this year. I have two Suunto watches — for tracking my triathlon training, mountain adventures, and navigating in the backwoods — the Spartan Ultra and the Spartan Sport Wrist HR.

Heart rate monitor cleaningThe Suunto Spartan Ultra.

My Heart Rate Monitor: Suunto Smart Sensor

The Suunto Spartan Ultra (SSU) doesn’t have HRM on the wrist, so I always wear a chest strap with it.

While the SSSWHR model has an optical heart rate monitor on the wrist, I wear a chest strap heart rate monitor all the time with that one too since chest straps are slightly more accurate … by all the time I mean except swimming, since pushing off the wall nearly always has enough force to slip the chest strap out of position and that’s mad annoying.

Multisport Heart Rate Monitor - Suunto Smart SensorThe Suunto Smart Sensor Multisport Heart Rate Monitor

Anyway, things were going swimmingly … two watches, one heart rate monitor strap synced to both, connected quickly and flawlessly every time … for 7 months until one day in July things between my SSU and my HRM went south.

Heart Rate Monitor Frustrations

At first how it went is I’d go to the “pre-start” screen where the watch is locking in connections just before starting an activity, and the screen would show a connection to the Suunto Smart Sensor HRM (which connects to the watch via Bluetooth), even indicating my present heart rate. But as soon as I started the activity, the watch showed my heart rate as “—-“, and when I later finished the activity synced the data to Movescount, there was no heart rate data. Annoying.

So I tried stuff like unpairing my watch and the heart rate monitor. And repairing. And the same thing would happen.

And then it got worse … my SSU just stopped finding my HRM at all whenever I tried to re-pair.

I replaced the battery, hard reset the watch, un-paired the HRM from every other device and on and on … all to no avail. But there’s a good ending to this story.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I was soaking my chest strap as well to ensure there was enough moisture to conduct electrical pulses from my skin and so the chest strap had something to read and data to relay through the device.

Almost the whole time through this, I could still get my SSSWHR to connect … almost.

For awhile, my heart rate monitor performance was unpredictable, and I couldn’t stand it.

I mean really couldn’t stand it.

I count on heart rate data in my workouts to track how much work I’m doing and how much at what intensities. Without the HR data, my data has gaps and I my aggregate numbers get off. Since I really want that data, and I couldn’t get it from my SSU, it became almost unusable for me for awhile even though it is an amazing watch and can do so many other things.

This was no good.

It’s supposed to be a great watch! It IS a great watch! I’m the U.S. Endurance Community Manager for Suunto!!! … but my watch, within year 1, isn’t working!!!

Not a good situation.

Trawling the Internet for a Heart Rate Monitor Solution

Through my various attempts to getting a connection to happen, I did clean my strap. But not really clean it.

In trawling the internet for what people do about their HRMs, I found a forum post where someone went into depth about cleaning it. I decided to go Type A and clean every single thing I could to see if that would work. Because if a deep clean didn’t work, then it truly was a product defect and I’d send it back for a replacement.

How I Cleaned My Heart Rate Monitor

Prep: disconnect, un-pair, “forget” or otherwise completely sever the connections between your HRM and your watch, phone, bike computer and any other device you’ve connected it to. Get a bowl, dish soap, rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol and cotton swabs / q-tips.

Step 1: Fill a bowl with warm water and some dish soap. Place the chest strap into the bowl. Let it sit overnight.

UPDATES:

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][1] Liquid dish detergent and laundry detergent are best.

[2] By “warm” I mean less than 100F (<40C). So, like “the middle” of your hot and cold settings. Very lukewarm or maybe a tad on the “when I put my finger in to test it, it feels slightly chill.”

[3] Yes, a bowl and not the laundry even though that’s what’s in the user guide.

Why? According to my biochemist bro:

For dish and laundry detergent: they don’t have any moisturizing additives that leave non-conductive deposits behind. The whole point of washing is to get rid of the non-conducting oils.

For water temp: hotter water will do a better job cleaning, BUT above 40C it will damage the elastics & stretchy fabrics in the band. And that breakdown is no good. (Fwiw, 40C is the hottest recommended temp by Suunto in the user guide.)

The crud that builds up on the electrodes and makes them non-conductive (so you stop getting accurate readings consistently) is a mix of greasy skin materials. Sweat is bad for your HRM band and the electronics because sweat includes oils and salts. That combination loves to stick to smooth, rubbery surfaces like the electrode pads. Detergents are their enemy and will wash them away.

And my take on why soak overnight instead of tossing in the laundry machine per the user guide (English PDF, other languages): less wear and tear. I’d rather my band sit in a little bit of water than get tossed around with my jeans.

H/T to Dimitrios Kanellopoulos for starting a convo with me that lead to adding this info! He’s active in this Suunto users group on FB. Join us.

Step 2: While the chest strap soaks, open the HRM to replace the battery. And then clean the battery with a q-tip and rubbing alcohol, on both sides. When the alcohol has evaporated, put the battery in. Using the q-tip and rubbing alcohol, swab around the sealing edges of the case but don’t swab directly on the electronics board. If the battery connectors look dirty, carefully swab those. Swab the entire removable casing/shell/battery cover. Finally, reinstall the cover.

Somewhat risky step … not liable for anything that may or may not happen if you do this: if you are still having data consistency issues after all this, some people say to put the battery in upside down for about 20 seconds. Not recommended because reverse voltage can damage electronics, and while the sensor probably has some voltage regulating safety bits, it’s best not to stress them with a battery the wrong way.

Step 3: Clean the connector terminals on the sensor. Whatever brand of HRM you use, there are likely two metal posts on the sensor that “snap” into the chest strap. That’s what I’m talking about. Swab those super clean with a q-tip and rubbing alcohol as well.

NOTE: Rubbing alcohol will also damage the elastics. So be careful where you swab (same in Step 5).

Step 4: (Next morning) Remove chest strap from water and dish soap solution. Rinse out the soap.

Step 5: Again with a q-tip and rubbing alcohol, swab out the receivers on the chest strap where the posts on the sensor snap in. Really get in there to wipe them clean.

Step 6: Let all the alcohol evaporate, run the chest strap under water or apply electrode gel. Put the strap on. Snap your sensor in. Reconnect to your devices, one at a time.

Step 7: As a result of your cleaning efforts, enjoy a HRM that works!

I Cleaned It. That Worked. Heart Rate Monitor Restored.

So after all that my SSU found and successfully paired with my HRM and hasn’t skipped a beat since.

So . . .

Yeah . . .

(Chest strap) Heart rate monitors need clean electrical lines to sense the electrical pulses of our heart beats and clean lines to send all that info from the strap to the sensor. If those lines (in the strap) and connections (from strap to sensor) get too dirty (easy to happen when you train daily and jump in a lake now and then), then they need to get cleaned.

OK! Now I can stop ranting about my HRM not working … because I know it’s my job to clean it.

New ritual: HRM deep clean every 2 months.

Between Deep Cleans, Try This:

Put a small drop of dish soap on the soft side of a kitchen sponge, and then quickly swipe the contact pads. This will keep the contact pads cleaner so you can go longer between deep cleans.

[FOR REFERENCE: I hear people have success using the Polar H10 belt and Bluetooth enabled HRM transmitter, and they say it’s more robust than the Suunto Smart Sensor, requiring less maintenance.]

[UPDATE Sep 2018: I got a Suunto 9 in June when it launched and have sold the Sport WHR.]

[UPDATE Dec 2018: I also sold my Ultra. All-in with the 9.][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

By |2021-01-15T15:37:22-07:00September 30th, 2017|Triathlon|76 Comments

Export ROTOR FIT Files: How to get data off the app and into Training Peaks, Strava

As per my new whip write up, I upgraded to a ROTOR 2INpower MAS (pictured below) and it took some time to figure out how to export ROTOR FIT files from the app and get them into Training Peaks and Strava. I thought I could do it from the app on my phone, turns out (at this point in time), you can’t. A little wonky, but whatever. Here is the solution.

Export ROTOR FIT Files - 2INpower

Not really useful to have the data unless it gets to TP. And if it isn’t on Strava, it didn’t happen!

Ha.

While I can sync the ROTOR to my Suunto Spartan Ultra via Bluetooth (which would then send watts to TP), only the total power number gets sent. The ROTOR app captures L/R power, OCA, OCP, torque effectiveness, pedal smoothness . . . a bunch of custom stuff that no watch is set up for (yet).

How to Export ROTOR FIT Files from the ROTOR App (iPhone + iTunes) [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][3:03]

If the video doesn’t display, view it here.

No idea what the Android corollaries are, but probably similar.

If this changes or you find some better way … leave a comment. Will update.

Power on.

# # #

More info on the additional data captured by the ROTOR Power app

Why I say use the ROTOR app then export ROTOR FIT files to another program

Left/Right balance

Different leg lengths, hip disequilibrium or simply stronger/weaker muscles in one of your legs lead to left/right irregularities. Here you have the chance to optimize your pedal stroke to the extent that both legs deliver 50% of pedaling performance.

Pedal smoothness

This function demonstrates the fluidity of your legs’ movement. It’s the relation between average and maximal force during a pedal stroke, measured in percentages. Pedal Smoothness is simply average power versus maximum power.

Torque effectiveness

The ratio of total torque versus positive torque. During a complete pedal rotation, data gets sampled to measure force and crank velocity. Resulting values will determine your torque effectiveness.

Torque 360º

Represents your distribution of force throughout a pedal rotation. This metric reveals how your force is applied to the pedal during 360º of pedaling and yields your Optimum Chainring Angle.

Optimum Chainring Angle

Your OCA value indicates the angular position where the work from pedaling is concentrated. This will help you understand how you pedal and will enable you to optimize the position of your Q-Rings.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

By |2021-01-15T15:37:23-07:00March 16th, 2017|Triathlon|9 Comments

Suunto Names U.S. Endurance Community Manager

OGDEN, Utah (Feb. 15, 2017) — Suunto, a global leader in sports watches, dive computers and precision instruments, has appointed Nat Harward as endurance community manager in the U.S. In his new role, Harward will be responsible for working with coaches, clubs, athletes and online communities to forge deep relationships in the multisport community.

Suunto Endurance Community Manager - Nat Harward

In addition to his role at Suunto, Harward will continue to work as a marketing strategist, consulting with organizations to produce content, websites, courses and events. Immersed in the Salt Lake City triathlon community, Harward is also a dedicated multisport athlete, finishing Ironman Maryland in 2014 and competing at the USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance Age-Group National Championships in 2015.

“Growing and nurturing communities has always been a big part of the projects I’ve worked on,” says Harward, who has also been an integral part in the growing triathlon community in Salt Lake City. “I’m excited to take that energy into my role at Suunto.”

As Endurance Community Manager, Harward’s primary role will be to identify and connect with influential coaches, local triathlon and run clubs, and athletes in key markets in order to establish Suunto in the endurance community.

“We’re thrilled to have Nat on board,” says Bryson White, Suunto’s brand marketing manager for the Americas. “He brings a lot to the table, both in his marketing expertise and his involvement in the triathlon community.”

Suunto Endurance Community Manager - Nat Harward

About Suunto

Suunto was born in 1936 when Finnish orienteer and engineer Tuomas Vohlonen invented the mass production method for the liquid-filled compass. Since then, Suunto has been at the forefront of design and innovation for sports watches, dive computers and sports instruments used by adventurers all over the globe. From the highest mountains to the deepest oceans, Suunto physically and mentally equips outdoor adventurers to conquer new territory.

Suunto’s headquarters and manufacturing plant is in Vantaa, Finland. Employing more than 400 people worldwide, Suunto products are sold in over 100 countries. The company is a subsidiary of Amer Sports Corporation along with its sister brands Salomon, Arc’teryx, Atomic, Wilson, Enve and Mavic. www.suunto.com

 

By |2021-01-15T15:37:23-07:00February 15th, 2017|Triathlon|0 Comments