Did Nike Get It Wrong? When ‘Just Do It’ Doesn’t Get It Done.

For a few weeks after my April competition, I was in a lull. I enjoyed a week of post competition indulgent eating. Then, I celebrated a week of my 40th birthday with more eating and treats, which spilled over into a 3rd week. While my workouts hadn’t changed, and my weight only increased a few pounds, my body felt like it had aged more than my birthday would indicate. On the morning starting the 4th week post training, Dave said, “How is your weight and what is your diet like?” He knew when it came to the workouts, I would ‘Just Do It’ with all I had, but I was lacking focus on my diet and had lost track of what goals I had for myself and was not approaching training with intention.

For training to be effective, both the training and the specific exercise must have an intended goal. Approaching each training session with intention is an area I need to be reminded of frequently. I enjoy the social side of group exercise, and I can get carried away with the competitive nature of being pushed to perform better by my training partners. Dave reminds me that performing an exercise quickly and with sloppy form in order to complete more rounds of a circuit defeats the purpose of the exercise, as proper form is required to maximize the benefit as well as to prevent injury. The following video is an example where my competitive side overshadowed approaching the Farmer’s Carry with the intention of doing it safely and for maximum benefit. Fortunately, nothing bad happened; however, as I finished the 30 yard run, the about 210 lbs came off the handles. The reason? I grabbed the handle in an unbalanced position, so the weights were angled backward for the run, and with each step, the weights jiggled until the clips let go. Had I approached the handles with a proper set-up & grip, I would have completed the course without incident.

Farmer's Carry Grip Too Far Forward
Gripped Right Handle Too Far Forward and Whole Set-up Was Wrong

For my diet and overall feeling of discomfort, Dave’s gentle reminder that I needed to focus on a healthy diet again came at a perfect time. My body was aching and my joints felt inflamed, though the workouts were no more intense than before, and while my age had entered into a new decade (40), I was only a few weeks older than when I felt like I was ready to show well at a competition. The only substantial difference was diet, but I was not wanting to acknowledge how much my overindulgence was hurting my body and impacting how I felt physically, mentally, and even emotionally. I shouldn’t need somebody to tell me to eat less sugar and to eat my meat and vegetables while drinking plenty of water, but it is what it took to get myself back on track. In one week of cutting out junk, I went from storing water weight at 230 to feeling fit and healthy at 222.5

After Dave had me refocused on eating a more consistent, balanced, healthy diet, we discussed what my goals should be. I commented that I could try to cut weight to be in the 198 division, but now that I qualify for Master’s, there is seldom a break between 198 and 220, so I would be voluntarily giving more than 22 lbs of weight for no benefit. Instead, we agreed my goal should be to work on changing body composition without necessarily losing weight. By staying at the top of the 220 division in weight, I would allow myself to carry more muscle by continuing to build lean body mass while cutting fat, which would hopefully translate to making me more competitive. The short term goal is to get below 20% body fat by August and to work my way down to the mid-teens in the fall with a more definitive date set after my first goal is achieved.

Beyond to diet and body weight oriented goals, I have the following goals to achieve before the end of 2016 or sooner:

  • 500 lb deadlift – currently around the 455-465 mark.
  • 375 lbs bench press – currently around 355 but I have not worked it consistently until recently
  • 375 lbs squat with confidence – I might be able to get it right now, but I am still nervous with the squat
  • 240 lbs log press – current best is 220 lbs, but it is not consistent

I am fortunate that so many friends and family members support and encourage me to continue to pursue better health and to achieve my goals. I am especially thankful that through both Pankow-Performance and Fitness Revolution of Wixom I have been able to find trainers who know me well enough to know when I need to be challenged on something I should be doing but am neglecting. I look forward to achieving my goals and setting new ones (hopefully ahead of schedule).

If you are looking for a trainer in the Detroit area, contact Dave at pankowperformance@gmail.com.


The Marriage Diet

I have a love affair with food, though it is less steamy (vegetables) and more frigid and sweet (ice cream) and includes over-indulgences; however, Dave shared with me a simple plan he gives his clients that when practiced can change the “love affair” into a “healthy, nurturing marriage.”

In his guide, he divides common foods into groups, identifies their common properties, and describes what a healthy portion is for each, including how many portions are recommended in a day, depending on the needs of the client. Though there are some foods and drinks that should generally be avoided, there are times for exceptions to add a little spice to life. His goal isn’t to create a restrictive diet; rather, he wants to create a sustainable lifestyle where healthy choices are enjoyed daily and indulgences are enjoyed on occasion without guilt.

I think of this diet like marriage because it helps to identify a healthy relationship with food and to nurture that relationship to encourage a lifelong commitment to it. Like a good marriage, a healthy diet based on simple principles provides the body what it needs to thrive in all endeavors. Like the saying goes, “Behind every successful man is a successful woman;” “Behind every healthy body should be a healthy diet.”

As mentioned in the beginning, I do love food, especially desserts, and Dave’s plan allows for this with “cheat” meals, or as I would prefer to think of them in my marriage diet, “role playing with my food,” as there can be ways of adding variety without the guilt of “cheating.” Good, fresh, healthy meats, fruits, and vegetables can be extremely satisfying most of the time, but when you feel a little naughty, acknowledge the desire and allow it in limited amounts. When it is time to indulge in a dessert or other “forbidden pleasure,” be honest with yourself about how much you need, set limits, and enjoy it. When you’re done with your experience, put it back in the drawer and know it is available again in the future, but it isn’t a daily occurrence.

Looking at my food through the lens of a relationship will help me want to stay the course. Just as I wouldn’t stray from my strong, healthy, nurturing marriage, I hope to stay true to this “marriage diet,” though on occasion I might dress up peanut butter in beautiful chocolate ice cream with a little whipped cream on top.

Need a little help with your diet and exercise plan? Dave can help you find the way.

A delicious healthy meal
A delicious well-balanced meal that could be enjoyed “’til death do us part.”
The occasional indulgence
Hello, Gorgeous! Come here often?