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Runners Can Eat Anything They Want, Right?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Saturday, March 02, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the eighth update of my goal to to return to race weight by April 13th. I am in a "sort of" competition with my brother-in-law Mike to reach our mutual goal of 169 pounds. See my first blog for details on where we started. I think you will see we both tackle weight loss in a completely different way. The goal of this series of posts is to show how a couple of average guys get back to their goal race weight.



  I have learned over the years that unfortunately just because you exercise a lot doesn't mean you can eat anything you want. Does exercise allow you to take certain liberties with food and drink? Absolutely...I am the perfect example of someone who if they stopped exercising would immediately gain 20 lbs. The thing about exercise is that burning a ton of calories makes you hungry. In addition in order to keep up a big exercise schedule you need to continuously fuel your body to get it done. What happens (at least with me) is that since you are hungry all of the time you inevitably end up eating more than you are burning.

I have several examples over the years where I have trained for a marathon and ended up gaining weight. The most frustrating part is that after all of the training I ended up running the marathon at my heaviest weight of the season.

In 2010 I started training for the Disney Marathon in August and weighed 174. Over the next few months I had some great training, never missed a workout, and ended up weighing 185 on race day. Ouch! I ran an average of 160 miles a month September-December and gained 11 pounds! How does this happen? I am not a doctor but I truly believe there are a couple of factors.

1) If you eat more than you burn you will gain weight. It doesn't matter if you burn 5000 calories a day. If you eat 6000 then you will not lose weight.

2) I think after running for almost 25 years my body is so used to the exercise of running it just doesn't take many calories to get it done. It is almost like I don't burn any calories when I run. That doesn't mean I am just means I have to find other ways to lose weight.

My Results 

Since our last update I have not lost any weight. The goods news is that I didn't gain any weight. I could definitely try harder in the eating/drinking department but I am averaging about 26 miles a week of running and cycling for 30-60 minutes a week which I thought would be enough to continue losing. The beat goes on....6 weeks to's not easy.

 Starting weight: 189   Mar 1st weigh-in: 182   YTD loss (2 months): 7 lbs

Mike's Results

Two Months...Melancholy success. Losing weight in the winter in New England is exhausting.  Everything about it is terrible. Cold dark mornings, snowy freezing evenings, snow covered roads and sidewalks, freezing buildings, your body just craving the warmth the extra 5 pounds brings. Weight loss is possible though, with hard work, perseverance, and a plan. With April right around the corner, it is now possible to see the clearing through the weeds.

Exercise season is right around the corner (the time when normal people decide to lose weight).  I think the work Dave and I have done over the past two months puts us in a good position for running, which was the goal all along.  Any weight loss is the right direction in these months and even staying the same weight could be considered progress. So the last two weeks I really only practiced yoga and mostly plateaued with my weight loss. With only one week until spring ahead, I think I should be more focused on the positive direction of my success, but winter is long in Massachusetts. Over 20 pounds in two months and I am tired. I am looking forward to the renewed energy running outside brings. Time to lace up and start running, only six weeks until my first 5k.

 Starting weight: 192.5   Mar 1st weigh-in: 172.4   YTD loss (2 months): 20.1 lbs


Next update March 16th!

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Week One on the Road to Weight Loss

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Saturday, January 05, 2013
in Weight Loss


Starting a weight loss program can be exciting. Setting a goal and creating a plan can be motivating as you dream about what the results could be. You imagine the "new you" down the road and how awesome it would be if you weighed your goal weight. Today is the first update of my goal to to return to race weight by April 13th. As I mentioned last week I am in a "sort of" competition with my brother-in-law Mike to reach our mutual goal of 169 pounds. See last week's blog for details on where we started. I think you will see we both tackle weight loss in a completely different way. The goal of this series of posts is to show how a couple of average guys get back to their goal race weight.


Week One Strategy:  
I already eat healthy...I have just been eating too much. This week I cut back on portion size and eliminated second and third helpings of dinner. In addition I have been eating out a lot during the Holidays so I made a point of not eating out this week. I am not counting calories or dieting; just following my instincts with portion control.


Sunday-40 minutes on bike trainer


Tuesday-Ran 5 miles easy

Wednesday-Ran 5.5 miles (track workout-15 x 1 minute at 10k race pace)


Friday-Ran 5 miles easy

Saturday- Ran 7.1 miles (long run pace)

Totals: 40 minutes on the bike and 22.6 miles of running


Starting weight: 189    Jan 5th weigh-in: 187.5     Weight loss: 1.5 pounds


Week One Strategy:  
If you don't know my story I lost over 60 pounds last year by using a strategy of juice fasting and becoming a vegan. I wrote a number of blogs explaining in detail how I did it and you can read them here. This year I am happy to say I do not have to lose 60 pounds. I only have to lose 24. I like to dive right into weight loss so I decided to do what I do best right out of the gate....juice fast! Since January 1st I have not eaten anything. Last year I became a real believer in juicing and as you can see the results speak for themselves. In addition I have started exercising primarily with yoga and the elliptical.




Tuesday-30 minutes easy on treadmill (running)

Wednesday-yoga 60 minutes + elliptical 60 minutes + 30 minute spin class


Friday-yoga 60 minutes + elliptical 60 minutes

Saturday-yoga 90 minutes

Totals: 30 minutes of running + 2 hours elliptical + 3.5 hours of yoga


Starting weight: 192.5    Jan 5th weigh-in: 187.2     Weight loss: 5.3 pounds

Week one Recap:

After week one you can see that we both approach weight loss in different ways. On the competitive side you can see that Mike's extreme strategy really paid off. I chose a more measured approach and to be honest was content with the 1.5 pound reduction before I heard Mike's results. If you have not weighed yourself in awhile the initial weigh-in is always a little questionable. Weights fluctuate all the time so it is hard to tell if Mike had an inflated number to begin with. This week will be telling as it is the first full week without a Holiday distraction and also we both have a better idea of where we stand. Can Mike keep it going? Will I see better results next week? We will see. I know this is motivating me and I hope you have started your return to race weight!


Next update January 12th!


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Lose the Holiday Belly and Return to Race Weight

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Monday, December 31, 2012
in Weight Loss



 As the calendar turns symbolizing the end of the holiday season, every athlete should begin to switch gears from the "off-season" mode to 2013 race season preparation. At VTR we will focus on two athletes who gained some weight this off-season and are starting the process of returning to race weight. This will not be a scientific examination of the process. The goal is to give helpful tips and hopefully some motivation to start losing the extra weight you inevitably gained over the holidays. I think you will find it interesting as both athletes begin to return to race weight in two completely different ways. The focus will be on total weekly mileage, general nutrition strategies, and of course the results of the weekly weigh-in.

This is not a weight loss contest but what usually happens with competitive people is that everything turns into a competition. It will be interesting to see who reaches their goal race weight first but the focus will be to gradually lose the weight and increase fitness as we get closer to serious racing in the spring.

Profiles below:

Athlete #1: Dave   (your VTR host)                                                           

Goal Race Weight:  169         Current weight:  189

Last year: Great season as I completed the Ironman in Montreal on September 10th. In addition completed 18 races including a half-Ironman, 3 half marathons, and a failed Ironman attempt at Vineman.

Off-season: Mostly ran; averaging 100 miles a month since September.

2013 goals: Break 1:30 in the half marathon on April 13th. I want to be at my goal race weight on that date as well.



Athlete #2: Mike (popular juicing blogger)                  

Goal Race Weight:  169         Current weight:  192.5

Last year: Incredible year losing 65 pounds in the first 4 months of 2012. After completing all 10 events in the Good Times 5k Series, started training for triathlons and completed the Montreal Olympic Triathlon in 3 hours on September 10th.

Off-season: Yoga 3x a week and several spin classes. Limited running and swimming.

2013 goals: Finish a half-Ironman. Goal to return to race weight by start of Good Times Spring Series. (mid-April)



 First progress update Jan 6th.....Time to get moving!!!


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How Having a Baby Changed My Body

Posted by Heather Pellegrino
Heather Pellegrino
Heather Pellegrino has not set their biography yet
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on Monday, July 23, 2012
in Uncategorized

Let me start off by saying that for the first 29 years of my life, I was skinny. Skinny and lazy. Life was good – wake up and eat Lucky Charms for breakfast, have a burger for lunch, BLT (don’t you dare hold the mayo) for dinner and never even think about working out kept my 5 foot 3 inch frame at about 105 lbs.

Before you start hating me, I will tell you that living a life with absolutely no will power does not bode well for someone who eventually finds themselves in the position of having to lose weight.


In May 2009 I was thrilled to find out that I was pregnant with my daughter. Over the course of 9 months, I gained over 50 lbs. At 6 months pregnant, my doctor told me that I had gained all the weight she would recommend for an entire pregnancy (oops). At that point, I figured “who cares”? Once I have this baby, I’ll drop all the weight and be skinny again, like I have for my entire life...right?

Pregnant LifeIn January, 2010 I delivered a beautiful, healthy little girl. Considering she weighed over 8 lbs, I figured that losing weight would be easy – after all, I had just lost at least 8 lbs easily (OK, so 24 hours of labor and 2 epidurals isn’t so easy, but you know what I mean). Over the next 3 months before I returned to work I managed to drop about 25 lbs without doing very much. In addition to the calories burned while breast feeding, the fact that my child didn’t enjoy sleeping and constantly wanted to be held led to a diet of “shove whatever you can get in your mouth whenever you can” and it seemed to be working.

As life settled down over the first year and we settled into a nice routine, I started to follow my daughter’s cues in terms of eating. For anyone who has a young child, you know that they eat often. Our meal schedule became breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. While this was fine for my toddler, it was not okay for Mommy. My husband gets home later from work, so I’d feed my daughter dinner at 5 (and eat with her), then I’d eat when my husband got home (you know, so the poor guy didn’t feel lonely!) By the time my daughter was a little over one, I’d gained back about 20 of the 25 lbs I lost – I was back to my weight at 7 months pregnant!

My role models to whom I was comparing myself to during this time were Gisele and Heidi Klum....both
of whom were in runway-model shape within 4 weeks of having their child. 4 weeks after having my
daughter I was just happy if I remembered to shower and change out of my pajamas every couple of
days....forget modeling a bikini in front of millions! I didn’t think about the fact that if I had a personal
chef, personal trainer and full time Nanny, I could probably be back in shape quickly too (although not
THAT quickly...that’s just not right).

During my annual physical, I talked to my doctor about my weight gain. I tried to blame it on lots of
things (have you checked my thyroid levels, doc?) but he (gently) explained that as we get older, it is
more difficult to maintain a healthy weight by eating poorly and not exercising. He recommended an
app for my phone called Lose It! where I could track everything I was eating and when I was working out. Considering at this point I wasn’t working out at all, I had a sneaking suspicion that I was going to have to start.
Eating healthier wasn’t that hard. My husband (who looks amazing even when he does nothing) was
beginning the process of training for a 5k and a Tough Mudder race, so he was making better choices
and we made sure that we had mostly healthy foods in our house. Dinner went from chicken with
potato salad to grilled chicken on a salad of lettuce and other vegetables.

Working out is another story. I’m not the most coordinated person in the world. My early workouts
included attempting to ride a bike (I made it 2 feet down the driveway, fell off and broke my wrist and
elbow which resulted in a visit the ER and having to wear a brace and sling for 6 weeks), and jogging through the neighborhood (I ran into a granite mailbox post while admiring a neighbor’s new paint
colors and got bruises in places I didn’t know you could have bruises).

As the Mother of a toddler, it was almost impossible to find the time to exercise. I work 3 days a week,
and I don’t work close enough to a gym that I could make it on my lunch break so that wasn’t an option.
On the days I work, I’m out the door at 6:30 so waking up early to exercise was out of the question
(and to be honest, I am not good at working out in the morning). I was home at 5, but I had to feed my
daughter and do all the things around the house that needed to be done. By the time she was in bed
and asleep at 8pm (and my husband and I still hadn’t eaten dinner), I was completely exhausted and
when faced with the choice of going for a run on the treadmill or sitting on the couch watching TV only
one option seemed particularly appealing.

On the days I was home, the only time I had to myself was nap time – and I had always considered this
to be sacred “me” time – I didn’t want to ruin it with exercise. It was the time in the day when I got to
take a breath, maybe read a book, sit outside or do something that I found relaxing for an hour before
my daughter woke up and I was on “mom-duty” again. Some friends suggested that I join a gym and
put my daughter in daycare for an hour on the days I was home. My Mom-Guilt kicked in big-time.
The whole reason I had two days home was to spend time with my daughter, not drop her off at another

I found a Zumba class locally that I enjoyed, but it started at 6pm, and to ask my husband to be home by
5:30 wasn’t fair to him – he works really hard and he already goes in late 3 days a week so he can do the
daycare drop-off.

My problem seemed to be that I was an “all or nothing” kind of gal. If I wasn’t going to be able to work
out 7 days a week – why bother working out at all? I had another appointment with my doctor and we
talked for a long time about the difficulties of finding time to work out when you have so many other
obligations (children, work, home, friends, family). He encouraged me to do whatever I could whenever
I could. He explained that if I had a week where I only worked out twice, not to beat myself up over it
and to just move on and try again the next week.

Things started to change when I found a local yoga studio that offered a class that didn’t start until 7
(and it was close to home so my husband didn’t need to be home until 6:45). I made a commitment
to make it to class and it started making a big difference. Every Monday, I went to yoga and it was an
amazing way to start my week. In addition to the strength and flexibility benefits, it offered me a way
to release the stress and tension that goes along with being a parent (and to work through the guilt that
every Mom feels when she takes time to herself). Starting the week off on a healthy note tended to
make me want to continue for the rest of the week. I also started to get exercise in my routine in any
way possible. When I was outside playing with my daughter and she wanted to run up and down the hill
in the back yard – I joined her rather than watching. I never realized how much of a workout 5 minutes
pumping your legs on a swing could be. Granted, my neighbors probably think I’ve lost it when they see
me climbing the ladder to the tree house but so far they’ve managed not to call the cops on me (I do
refrain from doing pullups on the monkey bars without my daughter there!)

So this brings us to today. I have lost 30lbs of the 50 I gained (and because I was underweight when I
started, this is actually a more healthy weight for me). I am not perfect (or even close to it). My yoga
studio is in the process of moving so I’ve been a little off-track lately but they open again in August and I can’t wait. I don’t have a formal workout routine because I’ve discovered that it doesn’t work for my life
(or my personality). I try to fit exercise in whenever I can – go for a walk with my daughter, sit ups while
watching TV, playing tag, and even the occasional jog (although I try to avoid the mailboxes).

AfterI’ve also come to accept that my body is different since having my daughter. No matter how much I work out, I will never look like I did when I was 21...and I’m starting to be okay with that (and let’s face
it – convincing my husband that plastic surgery is a good investment in the future is sort of difficult when he’s a financial analyst). Now, when I look in the mirror and see that my belly button looks a little
sadder than it did pre-child, I try to remind myself that this body cooked a human being! I took 2 cells and transformed them into an 8lb 3oz gorgeous, strong, smart little girl – and that is an amazing thing!

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Video Message from Mike

Posted by Mike Tang
Mike Tang
Mike Tang has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Sunday, July 15, 2012
in Uncategorized

New MikeOver the next few weeks I will be writing about several different exercise activities I have done along with my plant based diet plan. During the last 7 months I have used road cycling, spinning, swimming, and yoga to create my new body. Be sure to click the "Like" box on the right to be the first to receive my new posts. Check out my video message below and for those that haven't seen me in awhile....Check out my new body!



Mike's weight-loss blog series:

Read Part 1: "My Journey from the Atkins Diet to Plant Based Living"
Read Part 2: "The Juice Fast, Into the Belly of the Beast..."
Read Part 3: "The Single Ingredient, Controlled Calorie Diet"
Read Part 4: "Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner?"

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