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Friday, October 24, 2008

Ventilation during rowing: Special Problems?

Another sport that has gotten some special attention from the ventilation folks is rowing. This I know more about, so I will elaborate a bit. During rowing, the body is squeezed up with the chest against the knees over 30 times a minute, limiting diaphragmatic excursion. That might create some breathing problems, but it is not the biggest issue. The real issue is the fact that rowers also use the same abdominal and intercostal muscles used for breathing to support the back during the powerful extension employed each stroke. Rowers isometrically contract all of these muscles to apply a high interthoracic pressure at the moment of the catch, when the oars take the water, to reinforce the connection between oar, back and legs. It is impossible to breathe and constrict all the abdominal and thoracic muscles at the same time.

The consequences of this competition are debated. The results of several, but not all studies suggest that elite rowers are not able to achieve the same ventilation volume at max during rowing as they achieve during cycling. The differences are not huge, but they may be significant. For example in one recent study elite rowers achieved a peak ventilation of 198 l/min during a VO2 max test cycling, but only 171 liters/min during rowing. The VO2 max values for the rowers were not different between rowing and cycling (5.03 l/min vs 5.09 l/min). This suggests that the small degree of under-ventilation at max experienced in rowing does not limit maximal oxygen consumption. However, some physiologists interpret these results differently. It is generally accepted that elite endurance athletes achieve there highest values of VO2 max when they are performing the sport that they train for. In other words, elite runners excel most during treadmill tests. Elite cyclists max out slightly higher on cycling tests etc. In several studies national class rowers have demonstrated the same VO2 max while rowing as they did while running, or even cycling. This has not been a unanimous finding, but it appears that VO2 max for highly trained oarsman during rowing is lower than it "should be", when consideration is given to their training specificity and the very large muscle mass employed in rowing. A mechanism for this problem may be a slight ventilatory limitation imposed by the unique demands of rowing. Personally, I am inclined to believe that VO2 max is limited in rowing for a different reason. The muscle contraction frequency is two slow and at too high intensity to allow optimal blood flow to the working muscles, and muscle pump action by the working muscles. If this is true, then higher stroke rates might produce increased aerobic power. This is consistent with the trend in elite rowing to move toward higher stroke rates, but it is not proven. But, now that I have mentioned stroke rates, that brings up another interesting ventilation issue.

Breathing to the beat: Entrainment of ventilation rate to movement rhythm

If my wife joins me at the rowing club for a workout on the rowing machines, an interesting phenomenon occurs. Hilde is not a rower, so she always seems to adjust her rowing cadence so that it matches mine. I don't think she does it on purpose, but her rowing rhythm naturally entrains onto mine. This is problematic when I am doing intervals and she is rowing steady state! Our ventilatory system does the same thing. Ventilation tends to match with running, cycling or rowing cadence in a consistent pattern. For example, in cycling, we sometimes see athletes exhale in unison with the downward kick of the same leg, every 2nd or third stroke. This entrainment process does not seem to be a bad thing. In fact, since it is more prevalent in experienced athletes, it is probably an adaptation that promotes efficiency by minimizing the mechanical constraints to breathing created by limb movements.

Breathing pattern seems to be an especially important issue in rowing. Steinacker et al (1992) investigated ventilatory responses during incremental rowing exercise and observed two distinct breathing patterns. Type 1 was one complete breathing cycle per stroke cycle, with expiration occurring during the drive and inspiration during the recovery phase. Type 2 was two complete breaths per stroke, one during the drive and one during the recovery. When the intensity reached a certain point, the rowers automatically switched from type 1 to type 2. All these elite male rowers entrained their breathing to the stroke rate. Another study found the same patterns in elite female rowers. Untrained subjects tested during rowing only rarely exhibited this pattern. To make things more interesting, it appears that the breath during the stroke is "smaller" than the breath during the recovery phase.

Now if we extrapolate those findings to a racing situation at a high 40 strokes per minute, what we would expect is a ventilation rate of 80 breaths per minute. This is very high! In running or cycling max tests we usually see maximum ventilation rates of about 50 to 60. In contrast, ventilation rates as high as 88 breaths per minute have been observed during competitive rowing, accompanied by a relatively low tidal volume. All of this data suggests that the mechanics of rowing place unique demands on ventilation. Well trained rowers adapt to these demands by developing very strong ventilatory muscles and adapting a unique breathing rhythm which makes the most of the brief periods of relaxation during the stroke.


Avoid this killer weight regain mistake

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fat Burning Tips "Live" Weekly e-zine
Date: Friday, October 24th, 2008
In This issue:

* Avoid this killer weight regain mistake (Another reason why you MUST "Burn The Fat"
NEVER "starve the fat")

To: Charles
From: Tom Venuto

If you want to burn off fat and keep it off permanently, there are a few things you absolutely must do, and a new study from Wake Forest University has just uncovered another one:

Previous research has concluded without a shred of doubt that high levels of exercise are one of the keys to keeping fat off and maintaining your ideal weight.

In this new study just published in the October 2008 issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, researchers found for the first time, proof that the drop in physical activity that happens automatically during calorie restriction is directly correlated to weight regain.

We've known for some time that when you restrict calories, your level of non exercise physical activity (non exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT), drops spontaneously, even if you don't realize it's happening.

Your physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE) also tends to drop when you restrict calories.

Basically, when you cut calories, you get sluggish, you move your body less, you don't feel like exercising and if you do exercise, you do it with with less "gusto."

This means that unless you intentionally counter this tendency by pushing yourself to keep active and keep up the intensity, despite your low calorie intake, your weight loss will slow down automatically as you continue with caloric restriction. (can you say, "fat loss plateau?")

The new twist to this story is that in this latest study the researchers followed up on the subjects through the maintenance period - with 6 month and 12 month checkups.

This is significant, because most fat loss "success stories"
are reported immediately after the weight loss phase, but you never know what happened to them afterwards.

Not surprisingly, it wasn't much of a "maintanence"
period... almost everyone regained most of the weight.

The surprise was WHY they regained back the weight and WHO regained the most...

The drop in physical activity during the diet was directly related to the weight regain after the diet!

The researchers wrote,

"The greater the decrease in physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE) during the energy deficit, the greater the weight gain during the follow up."

"That won't happen to me," you say? Think again. That drop in activity usually happens unconsciously. It's part of the "starvation response." Your body tricks you in countless ways, in order to restore energy balance and stabilize your weight.

If you believe that diet alone is the answer or that you can skimp on the training, you are shooting yourself in the foot and thinking short-term.

When you extend out your time frame to 2 years, you get a whole new perspective.

For years, I have been imploring my readers and subscribers to "burn the fat" with higher levels of exercise - strength training AND cardio training - while "feeding the muscle"
with a higher intake of clean food, instead of simply "starving the fat" with low calorie diets and little or no exercise.

"Eat More, Burn More"... "BURN The fat FEED the muscle."
those are the mottos you want to remember.

can you lose weight without exercise? Of course. Just be sure you have a dietary-induced calorie deficit. Is it the best way? Not by a long shot.

Bottom line: If you want to MAXIMIZE your fat loss, and keep fat off permanentnly, it is imperative not only to keep up a high level of energy expenditure (BURN calories not just cut them), but also to make a conscious effort to make sure your activity level does not drop as you lose weight during the calorie deficit.

If you'd like to learn more about this effective and proven approach to fat loss: "eat more, burn more," then please visit my "burn The Fat" website at

Train hard and expect success,

Tom Venuto


WOW 10-23-08

Thursday, October 23, 2008

WOW 10-23-08

The Way of the Peaceful Warrior
"Jung said that enlightenment consists not of seeing luminous visions, but in making the darkness visible. We’re here to discover our own depths."
- Dan Millman

The Laws of Success
"The Law of Terms: The terms of payment in a negotiation can be more important than price, or any other factor. You can usually agree to almost any price if you can get very favorable terms."
- Brian Tracy

Words of Wisdom
"All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Why am I so healthy?"
- Noah St. John, Ph.D.

The Power of Appreciation
"Fundamentally, focusing on the good stuff comes down to choice and commitment. What kind of life do you want? How do you want to look at the world, treat others, and relate to yourself?"
- Mike Robbins

"Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let your glory be over all the earth."
- Psalms 108:5 NIV


WOW 10-21-08

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

WOW 10-21-08

The Way of the Peaceful Warrior
"To “change your past” change your behavior in the present, since the present soon becomes our past. We also shape our future by actions we take right now."
- Dan Millman

The Laws of Success
"Dawson's Law: You can always get a better deal if you know how to ask for it in the best possible way. Always ask for more than you want. Never accept the first price quoted. Be patient, and then ask for more."
- Brian Tracy

Words of Wisdom
"When one jumps over the edge, one is bound to land somewhere."
- D.H. Lawrence

"Why am I so confident?"
- Noah St. John, Ph.D.

The Power of Appreciation
"Positive practice: Share with a self-appreciation partner. A self-appreciation partner is anyone you trust and with whom you can share things that you appreciate about yourself."
- Mike Robbins

"For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies."
- Psalms 108:4 NIV


Mindless Cardio is not the best way to lose belly fat!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mindless Cardio is not the best way to lose belly fat!

“The best way to lose fat is through cardiovascular exercise.” This bit of ill advice is repeated so often that you would actually believe that it is true. It is only half of the story. Cardio by itself will help you lose weight, but a part of that weight will be in the lose of muscle tissue as your body’s catabolic process break down your muscles, which are heavier than fat and you will experience a weight loss, but not the one that you intended. Weight loss by itself is not a measure of success.

There are only two cardio exercises that actually build muscles: rowing and swimming. You can do any cardio exercise that you enjoy, but you must add weight training to maximize the results and to keep healthy. After the age of 45 years, we lose 10% of muscle mass per year. This makes us more insulin resistant as we use less of the blood sugar as glycogen to feed our muscles and we store it as fat around our mid section as visceral fat. A million crunches will have not effect on this belly fat. We will have a strong core and belly fat.

People with belly fat, high blood pressure, high cholesterol have a group of symptoms know as Metabolic Disorder. These people always have cardiovascular disease and diabetes as they get older and continue to gain fat around their belly. Only 5% of the people who attempt lifestyle changes avoid this inevitable slippage into life threatening disease states. This is because weight loss “experts” only emphasize cardio exercise. It is hard enough to get someone to walk 3 times a week for 15 minutes and any change adds to your health, but if you have serious belly fat, this is only a beginning. If you can’t do cardio for at least 45 minutes a day for 6-7 days a week and do strength training for 2 or three days per week, you are just kidding yourself. You will slip into a disease state that is harder to treat, the longer that you have it and has serious consequences if not treated with rigorous and permanent lifestyle changes or medical intervention or both.

For optimum health and disease prevention exercise vigorously 6-7 days a week, lift weights, and follow a healthy lifestyle eating plan. Anything else is will put you in the company of the 95% who fail and will be dependent upon medications for the rest of your life with gradually diminishing physical and mental capacity, year by year, until you die or can no longer care for yourself and must be cared for by others at home or in a nursing home.

It is always our choice. Choose wisely.


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