Sunday, March 29, 2009

HRM, FRS, etc.

On Friday I ran after work, as usual. I had been sick and not run for a couple of days before hand, so I was rested, but still feeling twinges of sickness. Also, I had gone to the health food store and bought FRS chews (those are the one that Lance Armstrong endorses.) A little internet research showed that the main active ingredient was caffeine and Quetrocetrin, an antioxidant. And of course no consensus or proof that I could understand that FRS itself would boost my performance.

I should also point out that I am the world's biggest skeptic about vitamins, pills, etc. Previously, I have not taken anything -- no vitamins, powders, flax seed, micro foods, superfoods, etc. (And I skeptical of the organic thing too (but thats another post).) I doubt that any of those things are that important to nutrition or really help -- vitamins, acai, pills, FRS, anything. If it did, wouldn't there be a consensus and be the first thing everyone tells you to do, like buckle your seat belt? The only substance I know of like that everyone acknowledges is helpful (other than crazy steroid kindof things) is caffeine. As the NY Times noted this week.

But I read the Runner's Diet book from Runner's World. And the nutritionist behind it suggested that dieters take vitamins (and calcium supplement too), and that seemed logical to me. So I had an open mind.
Anyway, so I ate the chews (also drank 8 oz water, as suggested by the diet book) and went to run. I really felt full, uncomfortably so. (The FRS chews are the consistency of Starburst candy, but don't chew or go down same way.) Went to gym, ran...and lo and behold, my heart rate was, on average about 12 bpm less than early in the week (nearly 10%!). Same gym, same pace, same treadmill. I was stunned; still am really. Maybe it was the caffeine. Maybe the water so that I wasn't dehydrated. Maybe the rest from not running for two days. Maybe the antibiotic I was on for my sickness. (although a doctor friend tells me that antibiotics actually generally increase heart rates.) I don't know. But my heart rate was undeniably, noticeably, significantly lower.  Above is my heart rate graph; blue is non-FRS, lavender is with FRS (the peaks and valleys on end are after the run, when I was lifting).

So I went to the health food store, bought some Quercetin pills (and also calcium supplements), and we'll see if I can ever duplicate this again. Amazing.

And I am still a skeptic.

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