Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Spoonful of Sugar

Date: Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Time: 5:50 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
61 days to Olympic Trials

6x100 on1:40
odd: free breathe every 5
even: 50 free/50 stroke

12x25 on :35 with short fins
odd: underwater kick about 90 percent effort
even: swim easy

16x50 on 1:00 with small fins
odd: free at 90 percent (avg. 30.5)
even: back easy

300 easy (every fourth 25 scull)

4x(3x50 on 1:15)
1: breast fast from push (32.6, 33.5, 32.7, 33.0)
2-3: easy

200 easy

4x50 IM order fast on 1:30 (29.5, 31.2, 35.6, 29.1 = 2:05.40) 

200 easy

Total: 3,200 meters (75 minutes) 

I am not a fan of supplements, and this feeling dates back long before all the recent situations involving Jessica Hardy and others around the world. When I was a swimmer at the University of Texas, we took creatine pills every day. I think this was during my junior year. I had stomach aches a lot, and I think my muscle mass grew more than it should have for a sprint breaststroker. I gained 10 pounds of muscle, and that was too much, since I was already at my ideal weight. That made swimming difficult for me that year.

I tried taking supplements again when I turned 30, going to the local vitamin store for anything that could naturally help me recover quickly after workout. I didn't like swallowing those horse pills, and I didn't see any marked improvement on my recovery rate.

I had given up on supplements, happy to just eat well and take care of myself in and out of the pool. Until now ...

Before I continue, I must disclose that I am not being paid to shill anyone's product, but I have been getting free samples since February. Sure, getting the product for free makes me feel better about trying it, but so does the fact that the owner is a very good friend of mine, a swimmer who had success outside the United States before bringing his product home to the USA.

In August 2011, I saw Tim Shead at the USA Swimming nationals, where he told me he was officially starting to sell his supplements in the United States, after many years of success with it in South Africa. I was happy to hear it, and could feel the pitch starting. It took me about five months to agree to just test out his products.

I started with the EnduroBoost Adaptogens, which are brown pills that are designed to mostly provide you with the energy you need in workout (or in a meet), and help with recovery afterward. As I mentioned before, the recovery aspect was what intrigued me, especially since Tim said he's been able to do more work in the pool with these pills. When I got the bottle of pills, I was relieved to see this:

I'm sure lots of companies swear their products are safe for elite athletes, but this was the first time I'd seen such a disclaimer.

The pills took a few days to do their job. The most immediate effect was more energy in workout that allowed me to push my sprinting to new levels. I was holding averages in workout that I hadn't held in recent memory, and it shocked me. Taking the pills was the only difference in my workout regimen.

This week, Tim sent me a bigger box of products to try, and though I am feeling a difference after just two days on this new regimen, it's a pain to remember what to take, when to take it and how much to take!

When I wake up:
Six adaptogen pills and two Sport Multivitamins plus my prescription blood pressure pill (it takes more than spoonful of sugar to help all this go down!)
Eight ounces of milk mixed in with a couple of scoops of Nutriboost

When I go to bed:
Two multivitamins plus my prescription cholesterol pill
Eight ounces of milk mixed in with a couple of scoops of Nutriboost

The Nutriboost is a thick powder that you mix in with water (yuck!) or milk, and it's supposed to be similar to drinking chocolate milk, which has become the craze around the world. Drinking it at night facilitates the recovery process, which happens the most while you are sleeping. Drinking it after workout definitely is supposed to help with recovery, and as I type this 14 hours after workout, I feel better than I usually do.

A side note to taking all these supplements is that I have a little more energy during the day. Usually, I feel like I want a two-hour nap in the middle of the day, but so far I have been awake and alert all day. Take that, Red Bull!

On to today's workout ...

I usually have Monday off, and I did not swim Tuesday because work kept me away from the pool. I wasn't sure I could do anything worthwhile with two days out of the pool, so I decided to stay at 90 percent effort for the first half of the workout, and see what happens in the second half. Boy, was I surprised with the times Mark Rankin yelled out today! The fastest I expected to go on the fast 50s breast was 33.5, and that would have really been pushing the pace. I worked on snapping the kick faster and holding my body line better on the glide.Doing those 50s free with the short fins took some of the energy out of my legs, but it was good practice for the end of a 100 breast, when my legs will be dealing with a lot of lactic acid, and I'll still have to kick!

I took 23 strokes on my fast breaststroke repeats today, which is my normal stroke count, and to be able to go under 33 seconds twice today was a major step forward in training. I know I'm in the power/sprint/race pace phase of the season, but usually I am not able to be that fast on that many repeats. The last time I was able to hold under 32 seconds was in mid-March. Yeah, I was at the end of my first testing of the supplements then, and it's becoming obvious that the supplements are giving me a boost, but I also am feeling stronger, thanks to JR's maniacal awesome workouts.

Today's workout with JR was one of the three toughest I have done. Not only did JR increase the amount of weight on some of the exercises, but he also increased the repetitions! By the end, my fast-twitch fibers were barely twitching, and I found myself walking funny, because my quadriceps were quite sore. I put some ice on my left shoulder, only as a preventative measure, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow!

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