Tabata Protocol for Skiing Endurance

freeheelI’m going skiing the second week of February and I’m feeling a little soft around the midsection and really out of shape. I’ve decided to use the Tabata Protocol adopted by the Japanese speed skating team to increase my anaerobic capacity and aerobic fitness.

I wrote an article a while back that outlined everything you need to know. The basic premise is all out sprinting for 20 seconds with a 10 second recovery phase and repeat for 8 sets or 4 minutes.

Seems simple but its not. A Men’s Health article on Tabata says, “So why isn’t everyone doing Tabata workouts? Well, most people would vomit—or come close to it—if they actually tried the routine that was used in the study. That’s not good.”


NYT: Brown Fat, Triggered by Cold or Exercise, May Yield a Key to Weight Control

I often revel in the I told you so moments. See my previous post, Cold Weather Weight Loss – 376% Increase in Fat Calories Burned, and then read the following New York Times article.

Brown Fat, Triggered by Cold or Exercise, May Yield a Key to Weight Control

Published: January 24, 2012
In separate studies, researchers have determined that in cold conditions, people’s calorie-gobbling brown fat uses ordinary fat as fuel — and that exercise may convert ordinary fat to brown fat.

Cold Weather Weight Loss – 376% Increase in Fat Calories Burned

I’ve known for a while now that exposure to cold climates increases metabolism. I found this journal article ( that proves my hypothesis. Here’s the summary:

Effect of cold exposure on fuel utilization in humans: plasma glucose, muscle glycogen, and lipids

Effect of cold exposure on fuel utilization in humans: plasma glucose, muscle glycogen, and lipids. J Appl Physiol 93: 77–84, 2002. First published March 1, 2002; 10.1152/japplphysiol.00773.2001.—The relative roles of circulatory glucose, muscle glycogen, and lipids in shivering thermogenesis are unclear. Using a combination of indirect calorimetry and stable isotope methodology ([U- 13C]glucose ingestion), we have quantified the oxidation rates of these substrates in men acutely exposed to cold for 2 h (liquid conditioned suit perfused with 10°C water). Cold exposure stimulated heat production by 2.6-fold and increased the oxidation of plasma glucose from 39.4 ± 2.4 to 93.9 ± 5.5 mg/min (+138%), of muscle glycogen from 126.6 ± 7.8 to 264.2 ± 36.9 mg glucosyl units/min (+109%), and of lipids from 46.9 ± 3.2 to 176.5 ± 17.3 mg/min (+376%). Despite the observed increase in plasma glucose oxidation, this fuel only supplied 10% of the energy for heat generation. The major source of carbohydrate was muscle glycogen (75% of all glucose oxidized), and lipids produced as much heat as all other fuels combined. During prolonged, low-intensity shivering, we conclude that total heat production is unequally shared among lipids (50%), muscle glycogen (30%), plasma glucose (10%), and proteins (10%). Therefore, future research should focus on lipids and muscle glycogen that provide most of the energy for heat production.

There’s a lot of math and jargon in there but in a nutshell; they put a few guys in suits that maintain 10°C or 50°F and measured the amount of energy their bodies used to maintain a core temperature of 98.6°F for two hours. The results are remarkable and very useful for those of us with a few extra pounds to lose. The men in the experiment burned 376% more fat wearing the cold suit versus sitting in an 80°F room.


Needless to say, I’ve been using this information to trim the fat. I got lazy when it started getting dark at 5:30 and started eating like crap. On New Years Day, however, I entered a Biggest Loser competition with my family members. I’ve been taking 30 minute walks in jeans, a hat, gloves and a Tshirt. It’s semi-painful, but I believe it is working.


Another Long Ride

I went for a ride last night and cranked out almost 40 miles at 14.5 mph

The elevation chart looks like a mountain stage from the Tour.