Don’t sweat the non-goals

And now we are in the fall season.  Every year since this started I’ve had a “big deal” race in the second half of my season that I was trying to “peak” for.  I did the Beach2Battleship Half Iron-distance race in 2011, Rev3 Anderson in 2012, and IM Arizona last year.  But this year my only half-iron race was in June.  I’d planned to do another one this fall but “life got in the way”.  The only problem with being your own boss is that any minute you’re not working directly impacts your bottom line.  I need to be spending time selling consulting and training services, not preparing for a long triathlon, so here I am…

But what is my next challenge?  After failing to qualify for Worlds in June, I needed something to look to.  Of course there is 2015 – and I am still planning to have a great season next year, but that’s somewhere outside of my “motivation horizon” – so what can I do THIS year?  What will get me out of bed in the mornings and keep me focused?  I wish I could say “Well, since I know I’m a role model that’s always motivation enough”, but that wouldn’t be true.  I need a race or athletic challenge in addition to all of that.

So… I’m doing the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November and the Kiawah Marathon in December.  That means that between now and then I’m training like a single-sport athlete.  More running than I used to do and less bike, swim, and weights.

But somebody forgot to tell my ego about that.

I’m doing one swim workout a week and suddenly workouts I was doing in May are impossible.  I’m missing intervals and getting winded in the pool faster than ever.  I sent my coach a note complaining about the “discouraging workouts”.  He sent a great reply reminding me that I’m not training like a swimmer now.  I’m getting in the pool occasionally, sure, but I’m going to lose some swim fitness.  It’s all part of the plan.  But my run efficiency is improving, isn’t it?

And that is a key for me.  Every time I have a tri, I’m always thinking about how I can have my best swim ever, my best bike ever, and my best run ever.  That’s the multi-sport mindset that keeps me going.  But I’m not doing tris right now, am I?  So I better readjust my expectations to go along with my readjusted training plan.

And this gets to my latest big learning – just like I was OK being bottom 20% of athletes at USAT Olympic-Distance Nationals in August (because I am not a short-course athlete!), I have to be OK not setting swim PRs in the pool while I’m training like a runner.  You set your goals and commit to them – and then you can’t worry about failing to meet other non-goals.  If it’s a non-goal, who cares anyway?

So in 2015 I’ll be back to tearing up swim and bike courses, along with my newly-revamped run!  But for the rest of this year, I’m a runner and excited to see what I can do!

 

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Spreading the Word about FitDad

It’s great to have a good story, but it only inspires when more people learn about it!

This morning I’m in Milwaukee getting ready for the US Olympic-Distance National Championship tomorrow.  This is exciting enough, but there’s more.. after my last post I got a call from USA Triathlon and they found my story to be inspirational, so they interviewed me and my coach and decided to publish it on their web page - http://goo.gl/RFmXwu  Wow.  I’m so humbled by the attention but excited to have more people learn about what I did so they can see what IS possible!  Please share this link!

And a special note to anyone who just found my blog.  Welcome!  This website chronicles the ongoing trials and tribulations of a formerly “Fat Dad” who became “FitDad” and has locked onto the goal of inspiring people, especially parents, to change their lives and get their kids on a great, healthy path.  You can read my archives to get a sense of what we’ve been doing on here!  And consider subscribing – we’d love to have you.  I only post about once every 2-3 weeks but the posts are usually thoughtful and impactful (if I do say so myself!).  Thanks!

 

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FitDad all the time

“Dad” is a 24×7 job.  “FitDad” is a 24×7 approach to being a dad.

But sometimes, “life gets in the way” and the “fit” part seems to be harder to demonstrate.

For the past 2 weeks, my older son and I were in Las Vegas playing bridge at the North American Bridge Championships.  He is a great player – one of the top in the country in his age range.  We had a great time and got some great results.  But how can I still be FitDad in a land with no exercise pools, no outdoor bike rides, limited opportunities to run outdoors with 100+ degree temps every day, and inconsistent access to weight rooms?  Oh yes, and let’s not forget a bridge tournament that kept us up to 11pm more often than not and had us back at the tables by 9am the next day.  And nutritionally, has anyone ever tried to eat just one dessert at a Las Vegas buffet?

The good news is, we survived and he still thinks of me as “FitDad”.  We did, in fact, get up to run at 5am or earlier almost every day.  We did eat at the buffets but had a lot of veggies (and definitely too many desserts too).  And most importantly, we did get to share the story of our fit lifestyle with a group who are predominantly sedentary.

Of course with the two weeks of limited time to spend on my business, I got home and found myself nearly overwhelmed with work.  So, even though my training schedule ramped up to resume swimming, biking, and running at “usual” levels, my “life schedule” did not allow that.  I had a tough conversation with my coach about the need to cut back on training while I continue to work on business development.  Tactical goals have shifted slightly.  The upcoming USA Triathlon National Olympic-Distance Championships in Milwaukee will NOT look like a “focused, tapered performance” for me, but I will be there and hope to represent myself and the FitDad lifestyle well.  After that event, I’ll be more focused on running for the next few months, but my overall lifestyle and commitment to goals remains the same.

I’ve concluded that I cannot allow “Life got in the way” to be an excuse.  Life will always get in the way.  I have to decide on my priorities and then mold my life to work with those.  Sometimes a specific race is the priority, sometimes it’s not.  Sometimes writing a blog post is a priority, sometimes I will go 5 weeks between posts!  But I know that the principle of being “FitDad” will always be a priority – all the time – whatever that may mean!  And my kids and family will remember that!

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National Long Course Triathlon Championships – Battling THE VOICE

Finishing a Long Day in Grand Rapids

Finishing a Long Day in Grand Rapids

As you know I was in Grand Rapids, MI on June 8 for the USA National Long Course Triathlon Championship.  It was quite a day for me.  I finished the 70.3 mile Half-Iron distance course in 5:10 – 7 minutes faster than I’ve ever gone for that distance.  At most of the races I’ve entered that would be a top 20 or even top 10 finish.  At the National Championships – 42/88.  You can see my “official time” including a finish line video at The Race Website

The numbers tell the story of a great day, and of course I’m happy with my performance.  With that said, it wasn’t the kind of breakthrough day I was hoping for.  My swim is nearly 10 seconds per 100 faster in the pool than it used to be, but my swim time in the lake was about the same as usual.  My bike was strong – 21.9 mph – but the course was fairly flat.  And my run was full of cramps that slowed me down.  Every time I would take a walk break it took serious inner strength (I’ll talk about “VOICE BATTLES” later in this post) to get those locked muscles moving again!  My legs just weren’t ready to work that hard on the run after working that hard on the bike!  Bottom line:  I have a LONG WAY to go if I’m going to be on Team USA in the near future.  Good news, though!  I’ve come a long way so far and am ready to do it again!

In triathlon, it’s not enough to have a great swim or great bike.  You have to have a great swim and/or bike with enough left “in the tank” to give you a great run.  I’ve heard some pros refer to it as having a “matchbook” – you burn matches with effort and the more matches you burn on the swim or bike the less you have for the run.  It’s a tough balance to find.  Of course my approach is what you’d expect – add more, longer-burning matches to the book!

And that gets me to my next point.  I mentioned “THE VOICE” in my last post.  “THE VOICE” is my greatest foil in every endeavor.  The times I overcome that voice, I break through and reach new levels.  But of course the voice gets the best of me sometimes too.

Yesterday’s workout was a great “VOICE battle” that I wanted to share.  After nationals I had a recovery week with light training and this past week I’ve been ramping back up.  Yesterday was to be a very long workout – 3 hour bike followed by a 10 mile run following my race strategy combining hard runs with short walks.   A very tough day and about 3X harder than anything I’ve done since nationals.

I got on the bike on my trainer downstairs and was NOT feeling good.  I was literally ready to stop after 45 minutes.  I made it to an hour and had already mentally justified quitting.  I got off the bike to go to the bathroom and then said to myself – “Well, I’ll just do 30 minutes more.  At least that way I will have done 1/2 of the prescribed bike”.  So I hopped on for 30 more minutes.  And it hurt.  At the 90 minute mark I was sure I was done but after 30 seconds of rest I decided to go some more and try to hit that 2 hour mark.   At about 1:45 Gloria came into the room and asked how I was doing.  I told her I’d definitely be cutting the ride short but wasn’t yet sure how short.  I was sweating like crazy and my legs felt dead.  At 2:00 and 2:30 I had the same kind of battles with “THE VOICE” and would you believe I actually did all 3 hours?  The 10 mile run simply wasn’t going to happen at that point but I did a lot more than I thought I could.

I have no idea if that one specific workout on June 21 had any significant impact on my “cycling muscles” that will help me be faster at next year’s National Championships.  Probably not.  But if I’d given up at an hour, then the next time I’d be able to go for two hours and still “feel good about it” because after all it was better than last time.  Now that the bar from “last time” is at the full 3 hours I have a lot harder time with my excuses, don’t I?  The individual workouts barely matter, but the practice at battling “THE VOICE” matters a lot.  There were at least 30 times I wanted to quit yesterday.  I won the battle 29 times.  That’s pretty good.

I suppose I could wax philosophical about all of the other voices in my life and encourage you to consider the voices that are holding you back in yours, but knowing my readers as I do, I suspect most of you are already doing that.  So I’ll just sign off and encourage you to win a few more voice battles today than you did yesterday.  Training yourself to defeat the voice matters a lot.  Every time.

 

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Winning the Mini Battles (ATTITUDE Part 2)

Dearest readers,

I have kept you hanging far too long on this topic and so here is the long-awaited part 2 of my post on attitude.

First a quick public service announcement:  The last month has been crazy for me as I’ve focused on preparing for the USA Long Course Triathlon National Championship.  You can track my progress at the Grand Rapids Triathlon website .  I believe my race number will be 5342 but you can also search for my last name “Ramaley”.  I am in the Half-Iron triathlon race.  I think there will also be live video at the finish should you be inclined to watch some tired people crossing the line!

OK, now on to our topic of the day – ATTITUDE Part 2.  In the last post we discussed two key concepts – Internal Focus and Positive Belief.  These are the key strategies that will allow you to achieve extraordinary success in training, or nearly any endeavor you attempt.  Today’s post will take us to a more tactical sphere – the mini-battles that rage every time you get out and try to execute your plan.

I don’t think I have ever done a workout where I didn’t at some point want to quit.  There.  I said it.  I “enjoy” working out, but it still hurts and my body likes to avoid pain!  A real-time feed of my brain on a 10 mile run would be filled with these kinds of sentences: “How much longer till the walk break?  Maybe I can start walking 30 seconds earlier this time”.  “What if I just did 8 miles today – that’s still pretty good, right?”  “It’s hotter than usual so if my coach knew that he never would have given me 10 miles – I should adjust.”  “I’m doing pretty well on these hills – since it’s so hilly 9 is enough, right?”

Dearest reader, I have a secret for you:  Sometimes the voices WIN the negotiation and I do quit my workout early.  I think everyone has these voices in every endeavor.  And I’ve never met anyone so mentally tough as to always win those battles with “THE VOICE”.  But I win most of the time.  A vast majority of the time, the counter-arguments prevail.  After all, I don’t HAVE to do the workout.  I don’t HAVE to do anything.  But I WANT to achieve things, don’t I?  I WANT to get to the World Championships.  I WANT to lose pounds and body fat.  When I’m really suffering I may even question how much I want those things too, but not too often.  That’s what being driven is all about.

Of course, this kind of negotiation is not specific to running.  Same thing riding, swimming, or especially lifting weights.  My coach always prescribes a range of weights to lift – like 12-15 reps.  This range is VERY important for me because it signals when I’m ready to increase the weight.  If I can do 15 each set for the number of prescribed sets, then I will increase the resistance level next time.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to do the 15th one on the final set?  Not only am I working hard, but I realize that if I succeed I will make things harder on myself next time.  But THAT’s what motivates me.  That ONE more rep is the key to moving me to the next level. The purpose of the first 14 reps was just to get me to that one 15th rep that can be the key to reaching my goals.

What are your reps?  What is the hard thing in your life that you need to overcome a million times, on a micro level, in order to truly achieve?  Nobody is watching.  The world will never know if you win the constant mini-skirmishes.  But you will know and your results will reflect it.

As I go into my big race this Sunday I will be thinking of all the power and strength I derived from winning all those tough mini-battles.  I can’t control how fast the competition will be, but I can know that I did everything to give myself the best race possible.  Wish me luck!  Race report coming next week!

FitDad

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When the Going Gets TOUGH (Attitude Part 1)

When I learned there were over 100 people in my age group fighting for World Championship qualifying spots, I had a choice:  Get distressed or get faster.  The facts remain the same, but my attitude would determine a radically different path for the next month as I prepare for Nationals in Grand Rapids, MI.

How many times do we find ourselves in unexpectedly challenging circumstances?  How often do we truly use them as an opportunity to buckle down and improve ourselves even more vs. allowing them to deflate us?  It’s NOT about “optimism” vs. “pessimism”.  It’s about drive and true belief in a few key concepts.  Attitude is so important to training, accomplishing weight loss, or even living that I want to get this all out in two parts.

I promised last time that this post would unveil my SECRET.  Yep.  This is it all right.  The SECRET to weight loss.  The SECRET to improving physical condition or results.  The SECRET to success at nearly anything.   It all comes down to how you respond when things are tougher than you thought they would be.

Key concept #1:  When you believe things are impossible, they definitely are – for you!  Henry Ford famously said: “Whether you think you can or you think you cannot, you are right!”  And of course HE was right!  If you curl up in a ball, or throw up your arms and declare the situation to be hopeless, it IS hopeless.

Once you determine that you CAN succeed, you have to figure out how to do that, which leads directly to key concept #2.

Key concept #2:  If you get better at the ACTUAL SKILL you are trying to improve, the results will definitely follow.  But when you chase results, it always catches up with you and you come crashing down.  This is a HUGE lesson that I learned as a youth.  I was a chess player in High School and wanted to get a nice high rating.  I spent hours figuring out ways to “game the system”.  I could arrange matches against people I knew to be over-rated; therefore, when I had good results against them I would disproportionately improve my own rating.  Well that works out quite well – but doesn’t ACTUALLY improve my SKILL.  I learned that when I found myself with a too-high rating and getting crushed without understanding why.

When my focus shifted to actually improving my game, without regard to rating, I established the kind of base that would yield results.  This is the same with athletic (or any other pursuit).  The bottom line is that my best path to qualifying for the World Championships is not to figure out opponents and their weaknesses, but rather to actually improve my ability to swim, bike, and run efficiently and faster!  And of course that’s what I’m doing.

You can do that too -build the best engine you can – focus internally – and the results will surely come.  My coach has said “Trust your training, trust your coach, trust your taper, trust your nutrition.”  Those are the things you can control that get you ready – the results will follow!

In Part 2 we are going to discuss Attitude during individual training sessions and how it makes the impossible possible.

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Quick reference Guide for Aspiring Triathletes

This post gives the top 10 things I would tell an aspiring triathlete to jumpstart their training.  I get this question all the time.  I had lunch yesterday with a relatively new triathlete and realized that there are all kinds of lists out there that are not really practical.  So here are the absolute basics.  I’m not going to get into “what bike to get” or “helmet/safety” or things like that.  Here’s the stuff you pick up by experience only… until now :)

1) Seriously consider getting a coach.  Whether you wind up with fully customized services or something more basic, a coach is a full time expert and will have a tremendous payback in a very short time.  More useful than I could have imagined.  As you know, I love my coach and highly recommend him:  http://www.teamkattouf.com

2) Understand your body’s nutrition needs.  Try different combinations of gels, solid food, liquid fuel, etc. on your bike rides.  Once you are in a race, it’s too late.  “Whatever they have on the course” is not a good strategy.

3) Practice for what you’re racing.  You are doing a triathlon!  This means you will have to run off the bike.  This is a skill that definitely takes some practice.  So practice it!  Even if you just do short runs after your bike rides, you need to get your legs used to shifting responsibilities.

4) Find a great place to do local rides.  In Charlotte, NC we have a wonderful resource  that lists weekly rides and “charity” events.  I love doing those supported rides as a relatively safer way to get some saddle time.

5) Invest in an indoor trainer.  I have a Computrainer but anything will be fine.  There are days when it just makes no sense to get out on the roads.  Plus the indoor trainer is unrelenting – high quality workouts!

6) Understand Heart Rate Training.  This means get a good HR Monitor (best I’ve found for triathletes is the Garmin 910XT, but others are good too).  And ask your coach and/or read about HR training.  I am always surprised at the end of a race to find out my time.  Why?  Because I gauge my effort 100% by HR Zone.  If I stay in the zone, I know the time will work itself out.

7) Track your workouts (and possibly nutrition too).  Only by keeping careful track of what you’re doing can you really see improvement.  Nutrition tracking also helps you put real numbers behind your nutrition plan so the results aren’t surprising.  I love http://www.trainingpeaks.com for this.  It allows you to automatically upload data from a variety of Heart Rate, Power, and other tools so you can track those workouts and see how you improve.  Also of course invaluable for sharing data with your coach and others.

8) Find OTHERS!  In the era of Facebook, there is no reason to feel like you are doing this alone.  Triathlon is absolutely an individual sport, but camaraderie can be a real motivator.  I’ve never paid as close attention to the Boston Marathon as I do now that I have friends who are racing it!  And it motivates the heck out of me!

9) Be serious about swimming efficiently.  Not “fast”.   Speed can come later.  But “efficiently” is a great, attainable goal.  If you tire yourself out in the swim phase it will destroy your bike and run.  There’s no reason for that.  With good technique you can swim at a reasonable clip with minimal effort.  Some of my favorite swim resources are:  Total Immersion, Sheila Taormina’s Book, and Swim Coach Anna Cleaver.

10) Have fun with it!  It can be easy to get hung up on times and how fast you’re progressing.  If you are motivated and have a good coach or training program, the speed will come.  Think about how far you’ve come and realize that every workout puts you one step closer to making those dreams come true.

I hope this quick guide has been useful.  In my next post, I will be revealing the ONE SUPER-SECRET TIP that everyone has been looking for…..  You won’t want to miss it!

 

 

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What a month!

March was supposed to be a month for re-dedication.  I had a bit of “scale shock” in late February and wanted to see what I could do in March to start getting ready for the Spring and Summer triathlon seasons.  I reached out to my coach and we set up a nutrition strategy to help me meet some of those goals.

Without keeping anyone in suspense, let me share the graph:

Body weight trendline

Body weight trendline

As you can see, my weight did some good things through 3/20.   I’ll cover the rest of the month in my text post which will include a race report from my first long-ish run of the year (Charlotte 10 miler).  Inter-day fluctuations are expected and sure enough we see them.  But the trend is unmistakable.

Last post I was somewhat concerned that my bodyfat % wasn’t exactly keeping pace with the trend.  Well, here’s how it looked as of 3/20:

Bodyfat 031714Aha!  Now that’s the trend I was looking for!  After some brief up and down as my body adjusted to the new eating strategy, it has started its own positive trend.  Again, we’ll see that those changes lasted and continued through the end of the month.

The #1 question I get asked is “What did you change?”  With “Were you starving yourself?” as a close #2.  The answer is extraordinary.  I actually dramatically increased the frequency of my eating and was never hungry.  In fact, I have had to force myself to eat.  In a typical day I’m eating before exercise, then breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, dinner, and pre-bed snack.  My metabolism is going strong all day and I just keep stoking that fire!

One of the things I knew (and had forgotten) was the importance of meal diversity, frequency, and balance.  These are topics my coach covers extensively in his book “Forever Fit” and his video “RxNutrition” which are both excellent.  But of course even the most motivated student can still get off-course.  When I was losing all the weight, I executed these principles faithfully, but obviously my physical needs have changed.  I’m not an obese guy looking to improve body composition.  I’m an athlete looking to improve results and readiness for high-level competition.  (Of course body comp changes will be a part of that too!)

Another common question:  “What are you ‘allowed’ to eat?”

That’s the great news!  This month I feasted on:  Pizza, Sandwiches, Omelettes, Turkey Burgers, Spaghetti with Meatballs, Wonderful salads, tacos, burritos, enchilada casserole, pitas, and enough high-quality fruits and veggies to run my own farmers’ market!

I also got to explore some new (to me) snacks like  antioxidant smoothies (with fruits and vegetables blended up in my NutriBullet), several varieties of Greek Yogurt, various crackers, nuts, and a whole bunch of avocado!  As I said, it has a wonderful month for eating, I never felt hungry, and got some great results.  Planning to keep that momentum going right through my “A” race in June!

Next post will focus on the remainder of March including the 10 miler.

I’ve also been asked to write a bit about “mental toughness” and “drive” so look for that coming soon!  As always, please share my blog link with those who might appreciate it!

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Nutrition Focus and “Knee Jerking”

I started March very motivated to get back into “racing shape”.  After a great first Ironman in Arizona in November, I seem to have let things slide a bit and had some real “scale shock” the first time I stepped on a scale after that event (in mid February).  As I wrote last time, it was time to get going!

I got a full month of nutrition plans from my coach and have now been on them for about 1.5 weeks.  The results have been strong so far.  I suppose I could just tell you the punchline, but I’m kind of a “data guy” so here’s the first week’s weight data:

Weight data Week 1

Weight data Week 1

As you can see, we have a pretty nice trend going here!  But it seems a bit extreme, doesn’t it?  Surely I don’t plan to go from 198 to 192 in a single week, do I?

Short answer:  Nope.  No way.   Eating and living right simply won’t move things that fast.  But the data doesn’t lie, so what’s going on?  I discussed this with my coach and the fact is that my body is now adapting to the change in food consumption.  I am throwing off its established routines – how to convert to fat – what will be needed daily, different nutrients and sources.  My body is trying to figure out what to do with all of this.  Of course one way to see which body composition changes are taking place is to take a look at my % body fat.  I measure this using my body fat scale which uses an “Electrical Impedance” method.  Not perfect, but pretty accurate.  Here’s how that data has trended over the same period:

Body Fat Trends Week 1

Body Fat Trends Week 1

As you can see, my body fat % seems to be UP over the same time period.  Well that’s not good!  Does it mean I’m losing muscle?  EEK!

And THIS is the time to NOT knee-jerk.  Part of the reason for measuring so often is that I can look at averages and trends rather than relying on single data points.  Looking at these graphs you can see how much inter-day variation exists (and in fact, variation intra-day as well.  PM weight is often 2-3 lbs heavier than AM weight for example!).  If I try to make a radical shift after a single week, I’m over-analyzing the data.  The point is to trust the changes you’ve made and give them some time to work.

I am writing this a week AFTER the data above so I know more of the story.  I’ll probably get around to incorporating the next batch of data into another post in the next few days as we see my “month of nutrition focus” begin to pay precisely the rewards we’d expect.

The important take-away for me this week is simple:  DON’T PANIC!  You have to trust your plan and give it time to work.  I’ll be doing that and the proof will be in the pudding!!!!!

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The Ongoing Struggle to Stay Fit

“What a great story!”  “How Impressive!”  “I wish I could do that!”

I get compliments like those all the time.  It is a very good thing to have gone from 305 lbs to 140.6 miles.  But the thing that people don’t always understand is that it is not an “event”.  I did not follow a path like 1. Lose the Weight, 2. Train for the Race, 3. Do the Race, 4. Blog about it.  The “Lose the weight” part is more like “Change the way you live” – and then each day since then is more like “Continue living the new way even if it gets challenging”.  But what do you do when you slip up a bit?  My dear readers, I will have a chance to show you, in real-time, exactly how I handle a slip-up over the next few months.

As I’ve said before, my biggest goal for 2014 is the USAT Long Course National Championships in Grand Rapids, MI in June.  I want to qualify for the World Championships in Sweden in 2015.  To do this, I will have to be in the best racing shape of my life.  After a great Ironman(R) in 2013, I feel like I’m tracking well for that goal.

Last week I stepped on a scale for the first time in a few months.  (My absolute favorite Body Composition Scale, by the way).  It showed me 194.5 pounds and 18.4% body fat.  In mid-November, 3 months ago, I was at 182 pounds and 14% body fat.  What happened?  And more importantly, what am I going to do about it?

What happened is an all-too-common backslide.  I did NOT start hitting the McDonald’s drive-thru and grabbing Big Macs two at a time.  I did NOT re-discover my love for Pizza with extra cheese.  I just made a series of very small compromises – that added up over the last few months.  This may sound familiar.

One of my favorite, and reasonably healthy, snacks is what I call the “Jerky Chips Salsa” snack.  I LOVE chips and salsa – the spicier the better.  But of course a diet of chips will get you in trouble fast.  In the “old days” (at 300+ pounds), I used to sit down with a family-size bag of Doritos and polish them off in one sitting.  But I learned that if I ate 2.0 ounces of beef jerky with 1.0 ounces of chips (baked, bean-based, etc.), and a bowl of salsa, that would be a reasonably healthy choice.  Not exactly Greek Yogurt and fruit, but not too terrible either.  And the Jerky Chips Salsa snack was part of my plan as I was going down from 305 to 140.6 miles.  But over the last 3-6 months, things changed a little bit.  I stopped weighing the chips/jerky – just started “eyeballing it”.  Then a few months ago I just decided I’d take the whole bag of jerky and bag of chips to my snacking place and as long as I had the right amount to go through 1 bowl of salsa, it would probably work out about right.  Then I started having a bit more salsa – because it’s not too bad for you (mostly veggies).  You see where this is going?  I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t.

And of course the Jerky Chips Salsa snack was one of a series of minor lapses.  Stopped measuring my Peanut Butter on my toast in the AM.  Stopped asking for salads with no cheese and no croutons when we would go out.  Dessert made it into dinner nearly every night.  (100 calorie popsicles – not cheesecake or anything!)  None of these are horrible indiscretions – but they add up!

So what am I doing about it?  My first step was to call my coach, Rick Kattouf.  I explained the problem and asked if we could add “nutrition coaching” to my plan for the next month.  Coach Kattouf has done my fitness plans all along for the last several years, but I’ve only gotten nutrition services from him periodically.  Pretty frequently at the beginning, but as I started to understand how to eat and move to a sustainable model, I took it on my own.  And it’s been working well.  But occasionally as you get farther from the “model”, you can diverge.  My goal in re-engaging coach Kattouf on the nutrition is to re-commit myself and create more energy around the nutrition element of my overall fitness.

And of course accountability is a key here as well.  Not only am I now logging all of my meals and snacks (on Training Peaks), but I’m also sharing this journey with you my blog readers.  Over the next few months as Grand Rapids approaches, I will begin each post with an updated weight and body fat %.  We can see the journey progress together.  Feel free to ask any questions you like as to how it’s going or what I’m doing differently.

I could have gotten bummed out about the numbers on the scale, but instead I am energized.  Here’s an opportunity to once again model great habits for my family and friends.  It is a welcome challenge!  Please consider forwarding a link to my blog to your friends so that they can share a front-row seat as a proven “fit dad” gets into race shape!  It will be another great story!  Thanks for being part of it.

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