Thursday, October 1, 2015

Nutrition and sleep, part 2

In my last post I set new goals for sleep and nutrition. In all honesty, I failed miserably with my sleep goal, but I did make some improvements in nutrition.

My sleep goal failed to take into account our household routine. The typical constraints of a full time job and family activities means that to get in the desired workout time I get up early and stay up a little too late. I never succeeded in getting to bed as early as my goal, and only came close a couple of times. I have tried to get to bed a little earlier than I was, and will continue to push myself in that direction.

As for eating, my renewed focus has, all by itself, resulted in a reduction in calorie intake, enough to allow a modest drop in weight. After hovering around 180 at the peak of my triathlon training period last spring, I was down around 174 this week. That might be my ideal race weight for marathon, but I'll keep trying over the next few weeks as my long run Sundays kick in.The fewer pounds to drag along, the better.

I started taking Hammer Premium Insurance Caps, starting with one a day, then two, then up to four a day which is where I am at currently. This supplement contains a lot of stuff that MyFitnessPal does not track, so I cannot offer any data there, but the two things it contains that are tracked -- Vitamin A and C, show a significant increase on days I take it. Note that this data is based on intake, not blood and urine tests. For all I know, all of the excess is getting pissed away. As for its effect, I would say that most days I feel more energetic. Less draggy. I wish I could say that the increase in sleep could be the cause, but I really have not changed my sleep time enough to matter.

Here are some numbers, sort of like last time except I show everything as percent of minimum recommended amount. Note that Hammer takes the position that endurance athletes require significantly more than the minimum dose. That makes sense to me. These numbers are the daily average for the last complete seven days, last Thursday through yesterday.

Item - % Recommended
Protein - 96%
Sodium - 103%
Potassium - 8%    :-(
Vitamin A -212%
Vitamin C -293%
Calcium - 72%
Iron - 42%

The one number that really stands out for me here is potassium. Several on-line sources give the recommended daily amount for me as 4,700mg, although the FDA puts it at 3,500 -- perhaps so that children are not over dosed --  and 3,500 is the number used on food labels and my MyFitnessPal. So, even if one were to eat 100% of the RDA they would still be a little short.

WebMD has this to say about low potassium: "Your body needs potassium to help your muscles contract, maintain fluid balance, and maintain a normal blood pressure. Normal potassium levels in the body help to keep the heart beating regularly. Potassium may help reduce your risk of kidney stones and also bone loss as you age."

This is interesting, because I track my blood pressure and it has been going up little by little all year, up to the point where it now demands intervention. Seems to me that the obvious next move is to increase my potassium intake. Maybe I can switch from toast for breakfast to bananas and a baked potato. Stay tuned.

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