The bumpy road of physical therapy and injury rehab

I’m now just about 4 weeks post-surgery, and the process of adequately rehabbing an injury is something I find both fascinating and frustrating.

At any given moment, you’ve got two sides of your brain chattering at you at the same time:

left-brain-right-brain

 

The left and more analytic side is warning you to not push too hard, stay safe, and asking “What do you think that little tiny ‘twinge’ means?”…  The left brain looks for reason, justification, and something in the DATA to prove that improvement is taking place.

The right and more emotional side is egging you on, getting wrapped up in the enthusiasm of FINALLY TRAINING AGAIN, and also lamenting your loss of fitness, your slow lumbering progress, and overall lameness.  The right brain also swells with delight when a session goes well, and the iso-lateral movements are getting easier on the weaker side.

 

It’s a push/pull with every day.  The one thing I’m attempting to keep in center-focus is that REST will never hurt, nor set you back.  Much of my time these last couple of weeks has been strengthening the left (affected) side, bringing it into balance with the stronger side.  Too much too soon will result in other injury as the pelvic imbalance is significant.  

It’s a mind game.  So often we view “mental toughness” as kicking in on mile 85 of the bike, or mile 20 of the run, when all the matches are just about gone.  I’m looking at mental toughness these days as the practice of staying positive, having fun throughout the process.  Mental toughness tells you that the discomfort you feel is normal, and that “Rome wasn’t build in a day”, and “Put down that cookie”.  So much of any rehab plan – or any RACE PLAN for that matter – is rooted in “trust the process”.  It has to be, as at the end of the day “the process” is the only thing that is proven to work over the long haul.

In short – “Trust the Process”.

Meet my new coach, sort of…

So being injured, I’m trying to keep this time both productive and positive.  Unfortunately my mood has been a little dark, as I am truly one of those sick, demented people that feels like a slacker when the workout gets cancelled!  Not “Jack-from-Shining” or anything, but just a little “off”…

"Did you do your BRICK yet?"

“Did you do your BRICK yet?”

 

Back in the summer of 2011 is when I began to take my fitness and body seriously – so I became compelled to start running.  You can read about my backstory here, but once upon a time if you took away my ability to train, I’d say “So what?  Bring me a beer.”  Now it’s an entirely different ballgame.

 

So I’ve been mildly bummed that I can’t do anything, and as I’m sometimes wont to do I have been eating very poorly.  I had been viewing my clean(er) eating as a way to fuel workouts, but take away those workouts and – why bother? – right?

Of course not, but we’re not always rational and logical beings.

So I arrived at a point where I needed to SNAP out of it, and I did.  Rather than focus on what I can’t do, I am making the choice to focus on my goals.  So two things were accomplished this week:

  1. I’m hiring a swim coach locally to get me more efficient.  He’s actually a teammate that happens to be a tremendous high school swim coach with about 20 years of experience.
  2. I’ve made a deal with myself that once I get down to goal racing weight I will make a gear acquisition – CARBON WHEELS!
Not my bike, but these would look great on my Cannondale Slice5!

Not my bike, but these would look great on my Cannondale Slice5!

 

As for program coaching, I’ve decided to go with BeginnerTriathlete.com and their online coaching program.  I’ve joined as a GOLD member, and mapped out my 2014 season back to front.  The phases look like a little like this:

  1. 16 weeks of sport-focused training on my two areas of improvement (8 for swim, 8 for bike) focusing on technique and power/speed.
  2. “70.3 and beyond”  16-week program that brings me to my first 70.3 the EAGLEMAN in early June 2014.
  3. 20 week program to build to Ironman Arizona 2014.

These 3 (actually 4) programs all dovetail from one to the other with at least a week of rest as well as a taper into the milepost race.  I’ll be adding a couple of shorter tuneup races early-season locally, but for the most part its going to be about training and less about race shirts and swag next year.

As for BeginnerTriathlete, the online training and program layout is very solid, and I like what I see.  I’ve imported in all of my Garmin data and it was shockingly simple.  I like what I see, and once I am cleared to ramp back up into training mode I’ll be activating the online coaching function.  All in all it seems like a great value for an organized, geek data-driven athlete that has some clue as to what they’re doing.  If things do not go well, I can always move to a more traditional coach, but I’ve got ample resources at my disposal so I might as well save the money.

 

Ups and Downs, and Changes in Plans

I’ve been putting this post off for a while, but I guess it’s time to get it all out.

After my DNF/DNS at the Philadelphia Triathlon, I kept training focus.  I did have a small nagging pain in my left hip/pelvis that tended to flare up in the first 10 minutes of running.  I decided that this was nothing to worry about, and that I could push through it.

The discomfort would normally lessen as I ran.  Whether it was my ability to compartmentalize the discomfort and force it into the back of my mind (a desirable for any endurance athlete), or perhaps a modification to my gait and stride I do not know.  What I do know is that eventually the discomfort followed me into the pool, and began showing up at off places (rolling out of bed, stepping out of my car, climbing steps, etc).

After taking a morning run out in San Francisco (business trip) with this discomfort, I thought that this was crazy.  I decided to shut down running and focus strictly on recovery, and thought that this thing would vanish given the proper amount of rest.  Coincidentally I sustained another injury on the flight back from San Fran, as I apparently pinched my ulnar nerve (most likely in my elbow) due to the way I fell asleep in the grossly undersized coach seat on the red-eye.

I gave it a few weeks of zero running and biking, and decided just to swim it out.  It wasn’t until very recently that I noticed a trend in my Garmin data – I was slowing down big time in the pool, and feeling like I was getting a lot less speed for a lot more effort.  I’m taking this to be my compromised core (turns out it was a strain in my left iliopsoas group and adductor group – lots of little, overstretched muscles) was diminishing my kick, rotation, and leg position in the water.  Mind you I do not have proof of this, but I know my 100yd averages increased the wrong way by 20 seconds.

So for the past two weeks I’ve been shut down – zero activity.  As a result I missed the NJ State Triathlon and therefore was not able to qualify for USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee.  I’m bummed but it’s not the end of the world.  What’s a little more upsetting is that this setback has pretty much eliminated my 70.3 in September.  I just don’t think losing 6-8 weeks of bike and run and 4 weeks of pool time is going to let that happen.

But, on a positive note – therapy is going well, and I’ve been pain-free for the last several days on all functional movements.  On Monday we begin the stretching and strengthening part of the program.  I’m still a few weeks away from anything resembling training (at least in my way of thinking), but small steps in the right direction will lower the risk of a setback.

Now for the exciting part – my new massive goal is actually a 2014 task.  My wife and I are flying to Tempe Arizona this November to volunteer for Ironman Arizona, so that I can register for the 2014 race!  I know it’s completely bat-shit crazy ambitious to register for an Ironman without having successfully completed a Half Iron distance (70.3), let alone an Olympic or International distance race.  Truthfully I was amply prepared for the Olympic distance for the two races I missed this summer, and I’m confident that I would have arrived on the starting line in September ready to not just survive a 70.3 but to tackle the challenge.  I know with good rehab, a solid functional movement screening and strength and conditioning program, and actual organized coaching for 2014, I’ll be ready.  

More on that shortly.  Otherwise, I’m off to fetch my compression shorts and ice to rest and recover!

First DNF – Actually a DNS…

So we just returned from a week in the Caribbean – Turks & Caicos is a wonderful island, and the wife and kids and I had a wonderful experience at Beaches T&C.  It’s all inclusive and a terrific place for families with kids.  It’s also a safe island which made some long morning runs possible.  They also have a roped-off swim area where end to end distance was exactly a quarter mile.  It made for some excellent OWS sessions.

On Friday after our unpacking and laundry efforts were underway, I headed up to the TriRock Philly Race Expo.  I was excited and felt ready to take on my first Olympic Distance race.  I’ve been working hard and felt prepared for the distance and the intensity needed.  I was super hyped for this bigger event.

I also had a chance to meet up with an old friend of mine Derek Fitzgerald.  Derek is a cancer survivor, as well as a heart transplant recipient.  He has been to hell and back, and found endurance training as an outlet.  Derek and I are from very similar backgrounds, and we both were active in the drum and bugle corps activity (I blogged about it here) and a big part of our personality makeup is the ability to push through barriers.  Our competitive nature lends itself well to triathlon and endurance training, and while neither of us are threatening any podiums any time soon, we believe that our physical best days are in front of us.  I’ve been in touch with Derek more in the last couple of years and he’s been answering my questions as I throw them at him.  By the way, Derek has a fantastic story and you can read more on his blog here.

So Saturday I went for a short swim in the pool just to shake out the nerves and blow off some steam.  I had a quick emergency issue with my bike that my shop helped me with, but I loaded up my bike, packed my gear and transition bag and went to sleep on time.

Then I woke up around 12:15am yacking my brains out.  I have no idea how or why.  I’m assuming it was a viral bug and NOT nerves since I was excited but pretty chill and confident over the whole thing.  I was laid low for a couple of hours in which every gram of carbs and ounce of hydration left my body.

Then the tough decision had to be made.

Do I:

  1. Tough out the race in hot humid conditions, testing myself at a new longer distance and risk a terrible race experience and possibly set myself up for physical setbacks and extreme dehydration?
  2. Play it safe knowing that the odds were against me and that the two real prizes of the season were to be the NJ State Triathlon (July), a shot at USAT Age-Group Nationals (maybe a remote shot) and my Half Iron race in September?

 

I chose #2.  There is too much riding on the next couple weeks of training to get ready for the 70.3 distance.  Beyond that there are two additional things that have been added to the bucket list:

  • Philly Marathon in November
  • Ironman 140.6 race TBD in 2014.  Considering either Lake Placid (relatively nearby and able to practice the course ahead of time, but hilly as f&*k) or Arizona (early November so more time to train, modest hill elevation but its in the freakin desert for cryin out loud).

 

So in the end, I’m feeling pretty good.  I’m re-hydrated and well-fed and looking forward to cranking up the training this week.  It’s time to focus on the long goal and relaxing on the short-term in favor of the big prize.

 

Devilman Triathlon Race Report

Note – I blogged this on the airplane today on my iPad, so there are bound to be odd autocorrect items in here I haven’t found yet.  Also I was so race-focused I took only one photo the entire day (which is below).

The Devilman Tri would be my first race of the 2013 season. The race also marks the first official race for my tri-team, the Delaware Swim and Fitness TriDawgs, and my first chance to put the “superman” suit on and sport my new team kit.

The race is interesting as an early season event, as the distances are odd, but in a cool kind of way. Their Sprint race is actually a bit of a sprint-and-a-half, and their longer distance event is called a “half-lite”. I opted for the Sprint, in that the slightly longer distances (.4mi swim, 21mi bike, 4mi run) would be a nice bridge to my first Olympic event in June (TriRock Philly).

Overall, I came into the race in decent shape, but perhaps a bit undertrained. I had made some significant gains in the water over the spring (swimming with the Dawgs on Saturday mornings and latching onto some harder workouts helped), my bike is lagging a bit due to weather and travel. My run is merely just OK and I have a lot of fitness left to build across my training, but I figured I would train up to and through this race just to see where I was.

The race was located over in South Jersey, so I woke early having packed the day before. Actually I spent lots of time during the week painstakingly preparing my lists for packing, as well as a comprehensive race plan that I hoped to follow to the letter. If you’re the type of person that craves structure and benefits from solid planning, you should take a look at this template that I found in Triathlete Magazine.

Aside from my transition bag the truck was already loaded with my bike gear, and my bike on the rack on the back of my SUV. There’s no way that fiddling with that in the cold dark would be fun. I woke, showered (something I HAVE TO do) and had a light bite of quinoa bread, almond butter, and banana with some water and a coffee. The coffee was purposely chosen to help speed digestion and clear out any unpleasantness that might haunt me on the racecourse. For the record, it worked and close to the race site I jumped into a Dunkin Donuts to take care of business.

Check in for the race was simple, however there was a lot of walking. I happened to park right next to two teammates which was nice, so we all headed over to check in and get bodymarked. I made it over into transition early and set up my patch. It was pretty chilly out (about 49 degrees) with a wind blowing about 15 mph. The water temp was rumored to be about 61 degrees, which confounds me how race organizers consistently publish “expected” temps that are completely unreasonable (pet peeve). There was supposed to be a swim warm up, but I didn’t see anyone partake.

Here's my patch.

Here’s my patch.

It amazes me how the time runs away when waiting for the race. I went from too much time to kill to “Crap, need to get to the pre-race meeting!” I had actually put my wetsuit on early, figuring I could get used to the tightness a bit and stay warm (wise in hindsight).

I was to go off in the 2nd wave, and as the guys in the 1st entered the water, I could tell that the water was decidedly warmer than the air. At first this is a great thing, but 61 is still cold water, and while waiting to begin your body begins to lose heat rapidly – think of thawing frozen meat in your sink full of water rather than the countertop. The water was dark and muddy, and the much on the bottom was completely gross but warming on the toes at the same time! The one thing I sensed is my own reluctance to dig my head down into the murky water, and I knew that in order to swim fast today I would need to press the sternum down and “swim downhill” as much as possible (easier said than done).

I also knew we were in for some work when I saw 4-5 1st wave guys come out of the water before they made the first buoy!

At the gun, I tried to find rhythm and a clear path which wasn’t easy with the lack of vision and guys swimming and stopping every 10 strokes. I never had to break into breaststroke or flip onto my back, and I made my way around the counterclockwise box course and back to the exit. The run into T1 was pretty long, but I managed to pass a couple of caps from the first wave and certainly didn’t come out of the water at the tail end of my wave either, unlike my races last year. I was hoping to be clear from the water on the way to T1 in 15 minutes, and when I looked down at my Garmin I saw 12:00 and change so I was thrilled!

So into T1 I go, and I still see some bikes in my immediate vicinity so I’m feeling pretty good. The wetsuit came off and I skipped arm Warner’s and gloves, as well as socks and grabbed my nutrition, shades, and aero helmet and made for the bike out. The run to the road was over a road path of crushed stone, so in bare feet that sucked. The extra effort for a flying start was for naught anyway since I not only botched my mount but learned after the race ended that my beefy, unathletic leg swung low over my saddle and CRUNCHED my HydroTail carbon bottle wing!  I didn’t even notice until after the race when I racked my bike on my truck.  I had one bottle in the rear that held my repair kit, but I’m going to need to attend to that detail for longer races.

The bad mount was all on me – a combo of a brand new foreign bike and new hydration system that hasn’t been tested enough outdoors in brick workouts. I’ve only ridden the Slice outside twice before the race, favoring the trainer throughout the rainy cold springtime. Surprisingly I felt like I rode pretty well, and while I’m still not fit enough to stay in aero the entire time, I made certain to get as low as I could in moments of big headwinds. And there were winds!

Another glitch – I somehow messed up my Garmin in Multisport mode and I had no data on the bike beyond HR. I really wanted to be as close to 20 mph as possible, but with my bike time coming in a little longer than an hour I was a bit under that. Considering the winds I will take it.

T2 was a snap and I was able to get in and out pretty fast. The one thing that shocked me last year was my transition times – I felt Ike I was quick, but then I would look at the splits and see I weighed anchor for 4.5 minutes! I was determined to be fast here, and I think my total transition time for the race barely exceeded 5 minutes. I reset my Garmin for run metrics and off I went.

Almost immediately I was hit with cramping. I felt like my power was good through the day and my HR was really steady and actually a bit lower than I thought at moments. For nutrition I did take a gel on the bike and the run about half way through each leg, but I took a full serving of 30 EnergyBits prior to the race, and 45 min into the bike leg and I felt as if I had more gas in the tank. In fact I would guess that if I were tracking power numbers on the bike, that ride was my strongest sustained effort. I’m not sure if the cramps were over exertion, or maybe just a freak thing but I rarely get them in training at all. I was hydrating on the bike with a mix of Herbalife24 Hydrate and Prolong and I certainly wasn’t losing a lot of fluid due to the relative temperature of the day. I did take two quick stops on the run to stretch my quads and calves, but I still managed to finish strong and was able to pick off several folks on the run. I’m still a glacial-paced runner, but I’m starting to see splits come down.

My team had set up a tailgate near to the finish line, so I got a good ice in the last 100 yards or so. I was shooting for a total overall time in the neighborhood of 2:35, figuring that I’d be suffering a bit due to lack of training. I made my way over to the screens to see my time, but they were not serving yet, so I peeked at the collection of LED clocks by the finish. From what I could gather it looked like I broke 2:20, which made me happy, but upon further review my actual chip time was 2:08. It’s tough to estimate time passing in the fog of post-race euphoria I suppose!

Note
I raced at 221 pounds, and could have raced as a Clydesdale like I did last year. I figured on losing more weight than I have so I registered as a 40-44 instead. It turns out I would have placed 2nd as a Clydesdale!

 

Key Takeaways from the Race:

  • Bike fitness needs to be better.  Now that the weather is better I should be able to get outside more and push my limits.
  • I need to be bricking more frequently.
  • Open Water Swim sessions on Wednesday nights with my team are going to be very helpful.  I’m going to be attending these more once my travel calms down.
  • I fought calf and low back tightness the week leading up to the race, but surprisingly they didn’t impact me raceday.  I’m wondering if something in my stride or alignment “created” my quad cramps – my chiro and PT friends subscribe to the theory that an injury in one area can “trickle down” to other supporting areas.
  • EnergyBits work – flat out.  No Joking.  I felt as if my body was able to deliver higher levels of O2 to muscles, and my heart rate was a touch lower throughout the race, which shocked me.  I was pushing it too.

 

The post race tailgate was excellent. I learned that the team took several podium spots in the sprint events as well as the longer race. Apparently we have a group of teens that knock it out of the park in the 0-19 group. I was disappointed to learn that a friend of mine DNF due to back spasms on the bike, and another teammate went over his bars due to a bad bottle handoff exchange (note to race organizer – do not let 9 year olds hand out bottles!). He’s a surgeon and sustained serious finger tendon damage, and we are all praying he’s ok.

All in all, and excellent day. I felt as if there as more I could have done in prep, however life and family play big parts in our daily schedules. I need to find that balance again as best I can.

Breakthrough Swim

I wanted to share a quick post about how important it is to engage others, group up, and find mutual support in your training.  As triathletes, this sport is widely an individual endeavor, however the preparation for this individual pursuit can (and I would argue SHOULD) be undertaken with others.

There is safety in numbers, you know...

There is safety in numbers, you know…

Last summer, soon after my friend Derek inspired me to consider taking my running for fitness’ sake to a new level via triathlon, I learned that there was a Northern Delaware triathlon team locally called the Delaware Swim and Fitness TriDawgs.  While we have over 250 members, the team is really comprised of a smaller group of very active and dedicated age-group athletes.  Several members are 140.6 multi-time finishers, and some have qualified and raced Kona, in addition to shorter course distances as well.  I participated in some Open Water Swim sessions last summer in preparation for my September and October sprints – but this spring I’ve been taking part in some organized masters swim sessions with the team.  These sessions have been by “invite only”, since we only have 6 lanes and 90 minutes of time, but I’ve learned that not only can I hang with the team, but I’m also pretty fast – or faster than I thought I was anyway!

This past week, I pressed myself hard and did a speed/power session that was shared by one of my Twitter friends:

BluebTweet

I did this same workout, but I pushed HARD!  I maxxed it out, to the point where between the 3rd and 4th sprint I puked in the pool gutter, and then kept going.

Thursday and Friday were recovery days – my upper body really felt sore, especially with all the pulling with paddles.  One thing to know – be careful about technique when doing pull drills with paddles, since the added resistance could cause undue pressure on your shoulders.

When we show up for Saturday practice, we do not know what to expect specifically.  When I saw “XX x XXX on X:XX” I knew something was up.  Once I heard the “Aw crap” mutterings, I thought “This can’t be good…”

We did our warmup, then some drills, then the coach split us up evenly across all 6 lanes. When I say “evenly”, I immediately sensed that each lane had a balance of top, middle tier, and developing swimmers.  I was the low man on the proverbial totem pole in my lane.

Our mission – (10) 100 yard sprints FULL OUT – balls to the wall – on 5 minutes.  I initially thought “On five minutes – this shouldn’t be too bad”, but I was mistaken.  For the first couple of 100s, everything was fine – I was breathing hard coming into the last 25, but I was OK.  Then in the 3rd and 4th repeat, the wall smacked in the face.  My arms didn’t want to move, and my pace went from 1:20 to 1:32-ish.  I felt like quitting, but the swimmers were cheering each other on and making a big deal of it.  Every minute a new swimmer left, and when they came into the wall to turn for the back-50 we raised the roof.

At that point, all I could do is just go with it.  It hurt like a mother-effer, but it wasn’t going to get worse, I wasn’t going to die, and if I push through it, I’ll have accomplished something.

My 100s dropped back down into the low 1:20s.  I was suddenly swimming at a level and intensity I’ve never approached before, and I was in some pain and suffering but I was dealing.

The thought crossed my mind that if I can become comfortable with finding that limit, and pushing slightly beyond while living on the edge of the suffering, I might learn how to manage that pain and find it within myself to win.  When I mean “win” I mean just winning against myself.

So my average was 1:25 over the (10) 100s.  As a point of comparison, I averaged 1:36 in my last five intervals on Wednesday night (when I puked in the gutter).

Sad but a little true.

Sad but a little true.

This drives the point home to me – I need to start running and biking with others.  If my level is actually this much higher than I thought it was in the pool, then I’m assuming that similar gains in the other segments may be found.

When you have had the opportunity to work out with a team or group, have you found another level?  After going back “solo” were you able to maintain?

On coaching, family involvement, and nutrition

To this point, my learning process in triathlon training has been largely self-discovered.  I’ve read a ton, attended webinars, subscribed to many newsletters, periodicals, and YouTube channels and have become pretty knowledgeable on a lot of the basic training methodologies.  I generally pick things up quickly when I encounter new areas of study, and I normally immerse myself in a very compulsive and “addicted” way.

My local triathlon team is “coached” but not specifically so.  Our coach leads a weekly Saturday AM swim workout, and we have optional organized Monday night track workout, Tuesday night group ride, and Wednesday night open water swims come summer time.  Our team is fed a weekly training newsletter, and we organize well at key races in the mid-Atlantic area.  These resources have been great to help me learn the basics, but lately I’ve been wondering if I should engage with a dedicated coach?

I attended a webinar with the founder of TriDot – this is a virtual coaching program built on data analytics and real training outcomes as opposed to theory.  Attendees of the webinar were invited to “apply” to enroll in a “Free-for-Feedback” program.  In short you commit to an initiation fee and then two months’ worth of training limited guidance in exchange of providing your own personal qualitative and quantitative feedback in set intervals.  If all of the commitments are met you receive a refund equal to the initiation fee and first 2 months.

I’m not sure how I feel about this – after all its a significant financial commitment for a system that sounds sensible and rooted in real outcomes, but I don’t think there’s quite enough coaching engagement for the price.  I’m happy I “qualified” (they have some basic requirements that the training candidates must meet) but I’m not certain its for me.

I think a lot of my immediate gains for this season will be pretty low-hanging fruit.  First, I need to build my overall fitness.  The one thing I want to change is training for POWER before ENDURANCE.  They say that the power thresholds become limiters down the line when endurance is built.  If your power is limited, no amount of lower zone training will make you faster, just more aerobically efficient.  I think I better understand this now, and I’m going to take the next 4 weeks to maximize power in all phases of training.

I have the power - bitches!

I have the power – bitches!

On the family side of things, my wife has really been a source of inspiration for me.  In the last month, my wife has made some profound changes – namely she’s not only gone vegan but also “Raw until 4pm”.  She has committed to yoga and strength training (doing something active every day), and has also began the practice of “trying something new at least once per week”.  It’s been incredibly inspiring to watch her discover new things, and it’s really brought us both closer together.  Not too mention, she’s lost 20 pounds in the last 30 days!

Our kids are also looking at the two of us for a positive example, and they are both asking to go outside and play more, considering more healthy food options (given their ages of 7 & 8 this is more OUR responsibility as parents), and just being more active and healthy.  We completed our winter swim team season, and they both came to me and ASKED to sign up for a kids’ triathlon.  I happened to find a good one at the end of this month that is well within their physical grasp, and they will be competing in respective 7-8 and 9-10 age groups.  We’ve had a great time getting outside when the weather cooperates and back in the pool!

Chip off the old block?  I hope so!

Chip off the old block? I hope so!

In watching my wife alter her diet – and by the way her fasting morning blood sugar has dropped about 100 points every day! – I’ve tried to make some changes in my own diet strategy.  I also recently completed Rich Roll’s book “Finding Ultra” – very much worth a read if you are an endurance athlete.  I’ve always found the word “Vegan” a little like the untouchable 3rd Rail – it typically comes with so many other social and political connotations (that I do not align with for the most part).  Still there are some great benefits to eating more like a vegan and achieving a better nutritional balance:

  1. I am eating WAY MORE veggies than ever before.  A self-confessed meat and potatoes guy, this has been a big adjustment for me, but it’s been a welcomed one.
  2. I have been having a green machine smoothie each morning for breakfast – heavy on the spinach, kale, avacado, green raw protein, coconut water, banana and pineapple.  I’ve been able to skip coffee most mornings!
  3. Eating more whole, unprocessed foods is causing me to be less hungry, and not stuff my face so much.  I still have lapses, but I’ve been pretty good.
  4. Gluten is pretty much gone from my diet at this point.  I won’t say I’m totally gluten-free, but I’m probably 85% there.  Gluten is an insidious bitch, and hides in all kinds of stuff you wouldn’t think it would be.
  5. I’ve been playing around with HerbaLife 24 products – specifically “Hydrate” and “Prolong”.  I’m going to do a full review on both sometime soon, but they work extremely well but have a couple of annoying aspects to them.  Plus they both are very expensive and not too much more effective than regular old G2 with a scoop of Blox for longer workout sessions.

All in all – my energy has been high, and I’ve been able to amp-up the intensity quite a bit.  I haven’t even begun my half iron program yet (20 weeks), but I’m ready to rock.

I think the vegan thing isn’t quite up my alley, but I do intend on getting closer to a better balance – plus I can’t envision a world where I would pass on bacon…

Sorry if this offends you...

Sorry if this offends you…

Yes...because Bacon!

Yes…because Bacon!