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Drink isn't bad for you and BMI is useless

nickcuknickcuk Posts: 275
edited October 2007 in Health, fitness & training
Hip hip hooray

How do you all measure your own fitness ? Does anybody else have a basic 'route' that they use to measure their performance ?

I can tell in the first 10 mins whether I'm on form for a good ride or not - but I haven't found a reliable factor / predictor. I've kept records of my ride performance after heavy nights out, various diets, different amounts of sleep, etc - but nothing tells me how well I'm going to ride until I've been out and warmed up. I thought my better figures would come after a week of good behaviour (?) yet it's not the case. A stinking night out obviously doesn't help but i've had a good session in t'pub and a portion of spare ribs the night before my best 60 mile run up hills without problem.

As far as BMI is concerned, as long as my belt keeps going in notches every few weeks I don't really mind what my BMI is

Posts

  • Aye, BMI's a complete waste of time - the other indicators that take waist / hip ratio etc. into account are better but as you say, it's how you feel and how your clothes fit that tells you the most.

    I always used to think I could tell if I was on a fast day but I've found from the 'puter that what feels like a quick run often isn't and my PB on my commute was done on a day when I thought I was taking it easy! My response was to take the 'puter off and stop worrying about it, it's not like I race. :mrgreen:
    Even if the voices aren't real, they have some very good ideas.
  • hastingshastings Posts: 206
    BMI doesn't work cos if you have massive muscles then you will be classed as overweight when in fact you may be perfectly fit.
    as shadowduck says hip to waist ratio is the way to go
  • ddoogieddoogie Posts: 4,159
    BMI is useful in statistical determination of the extremes of overweight and underweight. Its also a fairly safe indicator for the majority of the population (extreme mesomorphs excluded obviously!).

    For general fitness you can use your resting heart rate and your recovery heart rate as reliable indicators.
    S-works Stumpjumper FSR

    I'll see you at the end.

    You'll see me on the floor.
  • ddoogie wrote:
    For general fitness you can use your resting heart rate and your recovery heart rate as reliable indicators.
    In what way?

    I use a power meter and actual performance to track changes in fitness.
  • ddoogieddoogie Posts: 4,159
    Resting heart rate descreases over time as fitness increases
    Your heart rate recovery times should increase as fitness increases

    These are indicators of how well your cardio excercise is going, i.e. how fit you are. Lower resting heart rates indicate a larger cardiac output which imeans that when you do start exercising, your heart doesn't have to work so hard. Recovery heart rate is linked in that, the quicker you can get your heart rate back down to normal, the stronger your heart is.
    S-works Stumpjumper FSR

    I'll see you at the end.

    You'll see me on the floor.
  • A lower RHR is more likely linked to an increase in stroke volume and indeed a lower cardiac output at rest as fitness improves. However RHR can still vary quite a bit despite having the same fitness (as defined by max sustainable power), conversely, fitness can vary quite a bit despite the same RHR.

    But in general, yes from an untrained to trained state, RHR does drop.
  • snookssnooks Posts: 1,521
    So what should a healthy RHR be?...and is it fair to take it when I'm sat on my rse surfing the web in the office? :)
    .
    FCN:5, 8 & 9
    If I'm not riding I'm shooting http://grahamsnook.com
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  • ddoogieddoogie Posts: 4,159
    I believe the average is 73 or similar. So anything below that is good. I believe the recovery heart rate is more important as a determinant of fitness.
    S-works Stumpjumper FSR

    I'll see you at the end.

    You'll see me on the floor.
  • ddoogie wrote:
    I believe the average is 73 or similar. So anything below that is good. I believe the recovery heart rate is more important as a determinant of fitness.
    as well as stress levels, hydration levels, altitude, heat, rider fatigue, caffeine amongst other things that impact HR and the rate at which it will fall post exercise.

    What can be a more important indicator of fitness than actual performance (or power produced during that performance)?
  • ddoogieddoogie Posts: 4,159
    Not a lot I suppose :lol:
    S-works Stumpjumper FSR

    I'll see you at the end.

    You'll see me on the floor.
  • Dr_DeathDr_Death Posts: 1,262
    With the slight technical glitch that power meters cost a (relative) fortune and taking your resting heart rate is free.

    Oh yeah, and how does having a greater stroke volume give you a lower cardiac output. The reason you get a lower heart rate with a greater stroke volume is to maintain the same cardiac output for less work. You still need the same cardiac output at rest no matter what your fitness, so as SV increases HR decreases.....

    CO = HR x SV
    Steve

    Trust me, I'm a doctor!

    http://www.vimeo.com/DrDeath
  • Dr_DeathDr_Death Posts: 1,262
    And another thing BMI is not useless. It is a very poor tool for judging an individuals level of obesity but that is not really what is was designed to be used for it is just what people have started using it for. It is a good tool for the study of whole population groups.
    Steve

    Trust me, I'm a doctor!

    http://www.vimeo.com/DrDeath
  • Dr_Death wrote:
    With the slight technical glitch that power meters cost a (relative) fortune and taking your resting heart rate is free.
    I didn't say you needed a power meter (although it does make it easier). Riding up a hill and timing yourself is free. Knowing the gradient and your total bike + rider mass will give you a very good approximation of power.
    Dr_Death wrote:
    Oh yeah, and how does having a greater stroke volume give you a lower cardiac output. The reason you get a lower heart rate with a greater stroke volume is to maintain the same cardiac output for less work. You still need the same cardiac output at rest no matter what your fitness, so as SV increases HR decreases.....

    CO = HR x SV
    Yes, that's correct cardiac output is maintained - I must have been under stress when I said lower :) . Less work though? Isn't that pressure x volume moved? Pressure goes up with those larger pumps at lower HR but I haven't studied that so not so sure, although the heart is more efficient at lower heart rates so that would make some sense.
  • Dr_DeathDr_Death Posts: 1,262
    although the heart is more efficient at lower heart rates so that would make some sense.

    Bingo!

    :wink:
    Steve

    Trust me, I'm a doctor!

    http://www.vimeo.com/DrDeath
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    I do a fair bit of sport coaching, and my preferred methods of fitness monitoring is a combination of all the techniques talked about here! I track RHR which is also a good indicator of incoming infections for dropping training (ie often your RHR spikes the day before you come down with a cold/flu etc.). Also I use sprint tests to exhaustion usually a 2K ergo, which is around 8-9 minutes long as well as repeat training such as repeated long ergs to monitor recovery ability.

    The erg has the added benefit of a built in power meter, which makes everything easier. For cycling though I'd imagine something similar would provide a balanced overview.

    However the monitoring of fitness is a bit of a moot point. I prefer constantly pushing myself, and not really worrying too much about the results.
  • medical50medical50 Posts: 1
    edited November 2007
    i don't like drinking beacause i feel it harms on our health. Alcohol is not good for us. If we can leave it it will be good for us. While many of the more serious health effects of drinking affect those who have been drinking for many years, it is feared that alcohol abuse during the formative years sets a pattern for later life.
    __________________________________
    pain medication
  • nickcuknickcuk Posts: 275
    medical50 wrote:
    i don't like drinking beacause i feel it harms on our health. Alcohol is not good for us. If we can leave it it will be good for us. While many of the more serious health effects of drinking affect those who have been drinking for many years, it is feared that alcohol abuse during the formative years sets a pattern for later life.

    I think you'll find medical statistics are not so clear about moderate alcohol consumption - many claim that it is good for you. The guidance figures were recently revealed as non-scientific and too general to mean anything. Exposure to alcohol in the formative years is also far from clear, although I had my dummy dunked in gripe water and that may affect my view on this. The physical problems with alcohol are possibly less than the psychological and societal ones so get the next round in matey
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    But cutting everything out that is bad for us might not be a terribly good way to go, there is strong evidence to suggest that moderation is better than total exclusion. For example with peanut allergies, some evidence points to increased sensitisation as a result of exclusion during the early years. Equally the increase in asthma levels has been hinted to be as a result of increased cleanliness hyper sensitizing our immune systems.

    i freely admit that some things are so harmful that they ought to be completely excluded, but the vast bulk of things that are "harmful" do not need to be removed.

    To go the other way, most people are slightly gluten and lactose intolerant, should we be all going gluten and lactose free?

    Now I know that alcohol is more serious than some of the points that I've raised, but simply cutting it out because it is bad for you is counter-productive when many can a do enjoy it safely and in a controlled fashion.
  • I saw a t shirt once, it said 'Dont drink, don't smoke, still die'. It was on some well into her seventies old lady doing a bungy jump. She had a point. :D
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