Monday, October 1, 2012

Fitness News #74 - The Pleasure Path

Have you ever wondered why you are attracted to things that are not in your best interest.  Well there's a good reason for it and it dates back to before human civilization, when survival wasn't an automatic taken.

The Pleasure Path

The 2 most important things to a creature is its survival and the passing of its genetics to the next generation.  So that's;
SEX - Well most of us know about this one, but if you don't then Google is your friend, just make sure that safe search is switched on....
FOOD - Your survival is dependent on receiving sufficient calories to allow your body to perform its required functions and it is designed to store the excess calories for times when there is no receipt of calories, ie the men have not returned with  a beast and then woman have not collected any berries etc etc.  So how this works, is your brain rewards you for the calories you consume, however there's another angle to this, your stomach can only contain so much food, before it sends the 'full message' to your brain, so the pleasure reward for high calories food is higher than for lower calorie food.

However there's a third angle to the pleasure path and that is paradoxical, and that is energy expenditure;
EXERCISE -  Sometimes we hate exercising and other times we love it, so why the contradiction.  Well the brain it trying to make you do 2 things;
1. Ensure that you achieve the 2 things above, if the energy expenditure will result in you having sex or acquiring food, then that is energy worthy of expenditure.
2. Conservation.  The less energy we burn, the more successful we are of conserving our energy stores, ie our fat.

What you should do

You need to out smart your genetics, by using strategies that satisfy your brain while dealing with what civilization has given us, ie unlimited food supply and the ability to minimise energy expenditure.  So how can you do this?

With FOOD the trick is to provide pleasure responses to your brain, without resulting in the survival strategy of excessively stored energy as fat.  If you don't know how to eat smart, then talk to an qualified expert.  A strategy I have taken up, is to send the fill stomach message to my brain, by filling it up with vegetables, which also means you need to find a way to make vegetables appealing and I have achieved this.  Like all of us I am not perfect, but those imperfections are occasional foods and everyday foods are the ones that reward your goals.

With EXERCISE the trick is to ensure you enjoy doing it.  Ultimately if you don't enjoy exercise you won't continue it.  Nowadays exercise is important as our lifestyle has removed what was the incidental exercise we did pre-civilization .

What if you did nothing

If you do not react to the contradictions of our survival instincts and what civilization provides, then our bodies will store huge amounts energy as fat for a period of famine that will never occur and energy conversation will ensure that our bodies will deteriorate due to a lack of activity 


 The other weekend I raced in the Kirrajong classic,  a hilly road race, not far from Windsor, in Sydney's west. 

Lap 1
Hill - after rolling towards the front, overtaking plenty of riders at 22kph, my body reminded me that it had been sick and relocated it to 18kph. Riders went past me in drones and I crested the top behind the second bunch.
Chase 1 Formed a group of 4 riders and we chased hard catching the second bunch a couple of K before the left hand turn. My body had been acting strange, sometimes it worked properly and other times it just gave up the ghost.
Chase 2 The bunch was not working well and was a long way behind the front bunch. After a lot of "communication" eventually formed a paceline and then it gained ground hand over fist.

Lap 2
Reunion - As we neared the start finish line, the bunch broke up. About 6 of us went off and jumped the gap, but our effort was unnecessary as the front bunch put on the brakes, meaning that all the dropped riders from our bunch got on.
Hill - Got near the front and felt good, then my body decided to continue its sickie and simply stopped working. At one point I hit 11kph and went over the top as the very last rider.
Ride back - For no apparent reason, suddenly my body felt good and I found good pace, I picked up 2 riders as I went past then the 3 of us worked together and we steadily gathered riders and spat the odd one. One guy hit a pot hole and got a flat and there was a wheel touch, I guy hit my rear wheel but fortunately didn't fall off. We sprinted for the line, but I went a little early and one guy rolled me, so I ended up second in that bunch.

The data shows that I was quite slow on the day, I'm a quicker rider than I was in 2009, but last Sunday's time was much slower
2012 28th 52:07 56:06 -> 1:48:13 (Winning time 1:43:42) - gap 4:29
2011 DNS (Injured in ride for life) (Winning time 1:44:37)
2010 39th 53:10 55:25 -> 1:48:35 (Winning time 1:45:11) - gap 3:24
2009 ??th ??:?? ??:?? -> 1:45:46 (Winning time 1.43.43) - gap 2:03

While the result is not that good, I was rather happy that my knee that had been troubling me didn't play up and for that reason I was happy to have finished.


Done and dusted.  Let me know which tracks you liked and didn't like.


As you know, Monday is a public holiday, normal classes are not on.  For the rest of the week I'm away at the Australian Road Racing Championships.  All classes Tue - Friday are on and are covered by other instructors.

Fitness First 
Rockdale Mon 6.00am Ride 
Pitt st Mon 11.30am RPM
Pitt st Mon 1.10pm Ride30 
Five Dock Mon 5.45pm RPM 
Rockdale Tue 6.30pm RPM
Top Ryde Wed 6.15pm Ride
Walker St Thu 6.00am RPM
Bond St Thu 11.45am RPM
Riverwood Mon 7.30pm RPM 
Riverwood Tue 6.15am RPM

Stadium Fitness Centre Friday 6.15am RPM

Sleep Ride Eat Repeat

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