Lepp 2.0 – Day in Life – Day 7 – Debrief Monday and Ramblings

Posted: May 3, 2011 in General

6:00-7:00 – Reading todays news. It was big overnight with the death of Bin Laden. Love the approach of the Navy SEAL’s, and actually use some of their core principles for our athlete training, primarily organization and mindset. They are an incredible group. Broke out this book, and am going to read it again.

Keep this book above my desk at work. Seemed appropriate this morning. Good stuff.

7:00 – 7:30 – Handful of walnuts, some blackberries (the ones you eat), and some Macadamia nuts. 2 Bottles of Dasani water, one with Nuun electrolyte replacement tab. Feeling a bit dehydrated.
Walk into work with intermediate stop at Starbucks for grande red-eye.

8:00 -10:30 Mondays are debrief day. This is by far the busiest day of the week for me. The primary objective of Debrief Monday is to carefully analyze data from the weekend’s races, the good and most importantly the bad. You learn from the bad, so it’s not bad. This data includes, overhead high-definition video cameras, helmet monitored cameras, “eye in the sky” video and sometimes heart rate data. Data may also include more subjective observations from crew chiefs, drivers etc. My first primary job is getting the video into the system and this can take a while. If we had particular problems from the weekend, we analyze them quickly so they can get into performance meeting at 10 am, otherwise we get preliminary times from stops and a preliminary practice plan for week is developed. A more complete analysis of stops will then be performed. This includes timing of over 20 movement segments. (We time from time car stops to when jack drops as total time, but an example of a timed segment is time when car stops to when tire changer hits first lug nut, time from last lug hit on right side of car to first lug hit on left side) This is a long process and can take up to 2 days. This is critical data that will be used in identifying the multiple small gains that go into a sub 13.

My office on Debrief Monday. I have a great set-up.

We are at the point in the modern pit stop where times are gained by small changes. These may not just be related to the actual stop, but possibly in preparation and with components as simple as sleep and recovery. The motor skill required to hit 5 lug nuts in less than a second is right up there with hitting a 90 mph fastball!

I also put on my amateur meteorologist hat and look at the 7 day projected weather. We are a dry weather sport and planning practices around possible inclement weather is critical. We do not have an indoor facility at JGR, and moving practice times to beat the weather often necessary. I use the following apps to help me plan and predict.

I use all of these weather apps to help me with practice planning and at the race track.

10:30 -12:00 – Reports on injuries etc from our medical staff and plans of treatment. Matching film up with our race engineer’s reports and other things I can’t mention. Hey, I can’t give away our competitive edge.

12:00-1:00 – Working on some new training and recovery systems.

1:00-2:00 – Home for lunch – Some scrambled eggs with fresh spinach integrated, guacamole and some bacon and for desert blueberries in coconut milk.

2:00-3:00 – Worked on some administrative and personnel issues. I usually take this time to analyze scouting information on other athletes and review Nationwide series data. This is usually the time I find out if any teams have or may be going to release people.

Last year, many became aware of the “crew swaps” on the 29 and 48 during the Chase. Many people have expressed opinions on this philosophy and whether this is fair or acceptable. My opinion: Yes it is. It is the hardest part of what I do, but being on a pit crew is professional athletics and no different from a pro ball player. Professional athletics are high risk/reward and totally performance based. 400 peoples livelihoods are dependent on the performance of our race teams each week. Pulling someone or releasing someone is part of professional athletics and you hope it can be done without embarrassing someone, but in this intense media era, that’s hard to do.

With that said and on a positive note, I often hope to pick up someone for our teams via these unofficial “waiver” periods. Sometimes guys struggle because of a system or just plain bad chemistry on their teams. All coaches believe their system is the best. We have to. I love it when we can take a “released” athlete and bring him back to life on one of our teams.

3:30 -5:30 – Team film review, sometimes practice if we find something on film we need to work on, recovery protocols, visits with our athletic trainer if needed, strength and cardio workouts.

6:00 – Done early. Walked home.

7:00-11:00 – Caught up on DVR, made some notes, read some inspiring stuff.

Okay, some of you sent me some questions, so here goes:

When trying to lose weight & build muscle what do you think is the best approach? (i.e. 3 days weights/3 cardio or 4 weights/3 cardio)

Above is most common question I have been asked. Here are some points:

• Age. For example, most people start losing muscle tissue at varying rates in their late 30’s, so more strength training, as you get older is prudent. So, weight training and gaining muscle tissue – lift heavy 2 x per week at the most. High repetition is your enemy. 3 sets of 8-10 rep max, in other words, a weight you can lift 10 times to fatigue. You should have no more than 8 exercises that emphasize large muscle groups. You can’t spot reduce; so don’t waste your time on small muscle groups. There is little return for the time invested to strength train everyday. Doing upper and lower body days is not conducive to weight loss. You are making your body go “anaerobic” to many days of the week.

• Chronic cardio is counterproductive to weight loss. I said it, and I am a cardiovascular physiologist. I used to wonder why clients would go to spin class 6 days per week and not only not lose weight very quickly, but actually lower their resting metabolic weight. 2 interval cardio sessions per week, and those should be no longer than 30 minutes. One or 2 easy cardio day with your heart rate no higher than 60% max.

• Losing weight with exercise alone is very difficult. I recommend a low glycemic/slow glycemic type diet. No grains. Sorry.

• Ideal week: Day 1= hard strength train. Day 2 = Easy cardio Day 3 = Cardio Intervals Day 4 = Off or easy cardio Day 5 = Circuit (hard) strength. Day 6 = Easy cardio. Day 7 = Off or play – Long walk – explore

What is the best time to exercise?
It is best to exercise when you feel like you will be able to put in your best effort and are completely recovered from a previous hard session. I know that is vague, but by taking the approach of getting the greatest return with the least amount of effort (I know you did not ask that, but it’s I have been for 30 years), your training must be done precisely to get it to “absorb”. This may mean delaying a training session from morning to evening. There is no evidence that training is better morning, noon or night, but if you get up at 4 am to go to the gym on Monday after a hard weekend, you are much better off sleeping in. The training will produce a “micro over trained” state, and will not be effective.

Do you often find yourself hitting plateaus? How do you deal with them?
Yes, but most plateaus are from poor training plans and overtraining. Athletes reach plateaus almost always from doing too much vs. too little. When you are dealing with biology, plateaus will occur, but I find they can me minimized by proper training plans and periodization of both nutrition and exercise. I will completely change my training modalities (if using elliptical, I will go to steep grade walking on treadmill or use the rowing machine) if using free weights, I will shift to the TRX trainer. But, most often, I will take time off. That’s right, do less and pay attention to my recovery modalities. Plateau ends.

Hey coach, you have all these gadgets to help get you fit, I don’t have access to them. How can I possibly lose weight?
Rule of thumb: Equipment does not help you lose weight and get fit, you do. Period. I am a big believer in self-experimentation and quantification. I want to know if there are tools that can be used to speed the process. These tools simple provide data and information. Now, that said, most of what I have access to is less than $500. That is less than a yearly gym membership. In and upcoming blog, I am going to demonstrate and document all of the technology I am using and prioritize which I think can be useful on your journey.

The above answered every question I got! So. Above is workout plan I am going to follow. Each Monday, I will publish my schedule and show you how to fill in the blanks. What things can you do for hard cardio? What is hard strength training? Circuit training? iPhone video in hand, I will take you along. Stay tuned.


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