So the last few weeks, I’ve been eating according to the Slow Carb Diet…it’s been going well. It’s cut out the snacking and it’s something that has helped create a standard menu. I actually like the routine of the menu planning. It makes things a lot easier and straight forward. We know what we are going to buy from the store, the kids know what is coming for dinner and to be honest, the beans are tasty. The only issue is the farts…to be honest, I don’t mind them but I think they annoy the rest of the family!
The last couple of weeks has been difficult with the exercise. Between Julie traveling and being a full time Daddy Day Camp plus medical stuff, I haven’t been able to be consistent. However, I’ve hit cardio or strength 5 times each week and I think that is a real positive. It isn’t always possible to be able to maximize the workouts, but if you maintain the consistency through hard times then as the situation changes you have the base. It is going to be what I am working towards as I look to kick it up a gear as I go on.
So what is the result? My clothes are fitting differently. I don’t know if I’m lighter or less circumference, but it feels that way. It gives motivation to continue with the eating and the exercise. It makes me feel better…not just mentally, but my body feels better.
So the working out took a bit of a hit last week. My oldest daughter and I were both under the weather. I worked out twice, but it was a deliberate decision. I didn’t want to push my body and set myself back. Saturday I was able to hit a row and a EMOM, so that felt like a good end to the week.
For a while, Julie and I have talked about our approach to diet. To me, I want to change behavior and create routines that allow us to reduce the number of decisions that we make on a weekly basis. These take up time and although we need variety, we don’t need that much of it. I think we’ve spent more time talking about what we should cook instead of cooking something and eating dinner with our kids.
So we’ve done a 30 day paleo challenge. It felt good, but it didn’t create the ongoing behavior change. It’s very restrictive and we struggled to stay full. There is a part to food for us that is beyond eating, it’s enjoying the food. I know it’s an excuse and we could’ve worked to make it happen, but it was a lot of decisions with a lot of failure.
We decided to try to the Slow Carb Diet made famous by Tim Ferriss. The idea is to take out most of the bleached, white carbs but to maintain focus by using legumes (beans, lentils, etc) to create satiety with vegetables and protein. From a food preparation perspective, it is a little easier to create larger meals at a price that we can afford. Also, the cheat day once a week gives us something to look forward to and put the cravings into a day.
Will this work? I don’t know. I’m not looking for a silver bullet, I’m looking for a way to change behavior. If I look at my body and the photos I’ve taken, i would put myself somewhere between 28-35% bodyfat at 240 pounds. While I was a rugby player, I was happy being heavy as it allowed me to play. Now, I don’t want the weight. It slows me down, causes more wear than is necessary on my joints, and it serves no purpose. My goal is to drop to 10-15% bodyfat…the weight is the weight. I don’t know what I can be or what I am supposed to be. If I’m able to function, spend time with my family, and workout with friends then that’s what I’m looking for. I know that I’m going to have to take care of my body as I age, I put it through a lot when I was younger. Hopefully, a slightly lower start point on the bodyfat percentage will help with faster recovery in the long run.
It is interesting to know what you can push thru. However, when you start the comeback it is pretty important to know the difference between the difficult things that you push through and the ones that will break you. For me, I can push through interval training. I hate it, but there is something about the ability to push for 30-240 seconds that I can go hard as long as I know a get a breather. It doesn’t even have to be a long breather, as long as I get something. On the other hand, I get broken by something long and consistent. I can do a 5k on the rower after a bit, I can run 1-2 miles but doing this low and slow demoralizes me. I need to mix it in, but how often?
For me, I will do this 1-2 times per month. Why so infrequently? My goal isn’t to be the world’s best 5k rower or runner. It is to be consistent over the long haul and create a pattern of behavior that allows me to be active for a long time. With that in mind, the ability to do enjoy it over dread it is the most important part. So I do a lot of rowing in shorter intervals. I’ve found that I’m able to maintain a the consistency of my workouts, which has led to increased fitness and stamina.
So find the type of exercises that allows you to improve and push. Do it and hit your long term goals.
The last week has been the second week of rugby camps…once again, I didn’t workout during the week. I did run around a little (I wouldn’t classify this as exercise), so I wasn’t completely sendentary. However, I find that one of the issues that I have when I do this type of movement is that I don’t stretch at all. By the Day 3 (Wednesday), my body felt like it was being bound-up. So today (Friday), I’m going to work out and get a great stretch to hopefully get things unwound.
So what do I learn from this, I’ve got to stretch even if I don’t actually work out!
For the least couple of years, I’ve been splitting time between the Bay Area and Illinois as I’ve attempted to pursue my career as my partner is pursing hers. This has meant a haphazard approach to our normal support networks including working out (I miss my garage gym a lot!)
However, I’ve been successful in Illinois with a Concept 2 rower and a couple of kettlebells. Just a couple of pieces of equipment have allowed me to stay on track and hit some pretty decent intervals, while focusing on stability through a range of movement over strength. Truth be told, this is what I should be focusing on with my strength. While I’ve been home, I’ve been able to get 4-5 rows in per week and 2-3 kettlebell sessions. It means that I’m staying on track and staying consistent. What has gone amiss, meditation and journaling. It’s funny how the mornings get untracked dramatically with three kids. Quiet and alone time has been hard to come by, but I’ve been grateful to be annoyed by my family!
The big downer was camp. I know 60 boys campers and hours from early morning to late evening. I’m trying not to beat myself up, but I didn’t get a workout in. By the end of the week, I was moving slower and my joints were sore. I know that I need to workout, even if only bodyweight circuits and stretching, to be able to move well. It’s got to be a habit and it probably needs to start in the morning or finish in the evening. I’m ok with not working out completely, but I need to do a better job of doing just a little more.
It’s been a few years and now I am back again…at least for a post! Over the last two years, I’ve been coaching full time and struggled to find the balance with my own personal fitness. Why? There’s a few reasons.
The first and probably the biggest, I had used playing as a motivation. I knew that if I was fit and strong, my performance on the field would be better. I would be more capable of competing the way that I wanted to compete. As a coach, you lose this aspect of your motivation. I could justify that I could still play touch, throw the passes and strong enough in the gym.
The second, I allowed my injuries to be an excuse. As an old bugger with 17 years of senior rugby and the better part of three decades of competitive sports, I have some issues that are never going to be 100%. From knees to elbows to shoulders, I’ve got janky movement patterns and I have to accept that modifications may need to be necessary!
So what am I doing? What are my goals? Well, the first is that the scale while an important thing, is not going to be a measure of success. At the moment, I would weight between 235-245lbs. I’m not sure exactly, but it is probably about 30-50lbs above what I want to weight post rugby. Although this is a long term goal, it’s not motivating because it doesn’t have the impact on my life. My first goal is 4 cardio sessions per week of between 20-40 minutes. My second goal is 3 lifts per week including bodyweight proficiency movements of between 20-40 minutes. My third goal is 5 meditations per week either with the Headspace app or journaling for at least 10 minutes per time.
So why did I set my goals up this way? Well, I think I need to invest in practice through discipline. This means the development of routines/processes and a focus on the controllable. So why isn’t weight a controllable? It is but it is normally the outcome of a number of a number of other controllable actions. So I am going to focus on the actions and continue moving forward.
So far, I’ve been tracking on my phone with an app. I’ve been more consistent than I was a year ago, but not as consistent as I want to be. I’m going to continue tracking things on my phone, but I’m going to look to blog post every now and then as well. This is for me, so I can look back at my journey. So there it is the re-purposing of the blog from the advice of JSUTrain to the personal story of J-Sut and my training.
It has been a long time since I wrote a blog for JSUTrain. I took on a new role and needed to give my full attention and focus to that role for USA Rugby. Currently, I am working as the Coach Development Manager for USA Rugby and we have had a busy year. I hope in the near future to get this blog back and running. This blog is based on my personal experience and desire to provide a resource to the Rugby community.