Chop Wood, Carry Water

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Over the years I have grappled with soooo many different styles of eating.  Ever since I became crazy workout lady I have tried to stay as healthy as possible, however I will admit I have fallen for a few of the diet fads over the past few years.  When I was a freshman in college in 2000 (sigh) the Atkins diet had just become popular.  There hadn't been much research done into the health disadvantages of this diet, so of course it was all the rage.  My Mother had been introduced to the Mayo Clinic Diet.  In essence this was the Atkins diet.  No carbs; just veggies, meat and any fried combination of the two you wanted.  During my freshman year of school I was not working out.  I had spend my entire life playing sports and being active so when I went to college I just assumed I was naturally going to stay thin.  WRONG.  I gained the freshman weight.  One day I looked in the mirror and said "what the hell is wrong with me?!  You are horrendous!!"  It really hit home when I was on Christmas Vacation and my brother looked across the room at me and said, "dude you're gaining weight."  I was mortified and so upset.  My mom told me to try this Mayo clinic diet.  I still wasn't working out and I decided to try this diet anyway.  In 2 weeks I had lost 10 pounds and I felt terrible.  I was able to eat as much as I wanted and was losing weight but I felt like a chicken finger.  I seriously felt like one big chicken finger dipped in full fat ranch.  My body didn't feel right.  I went to try and run one afternoon in Statesboro and had NO energy whatsoever.  Diet fail.  I took a vow to workout every day and get on a clean diet.  Throughout the next 2 years I dropped my weight dropped drastically.  I was doing cardio 5x a week, with no strength training.  I did not have a drop of alcohol for a year and a half.  I attributed my weight loss to the cardio and the fact that I did not drink alcohol like all of my friends did.  I did not realize that the reason I dropped so much weight was because I was not eating enough food.  Yes the cardio burned the calories but I was lucky if I consumed 1500 calories a day.  Sometimes I would eat breakfast, get busy and then not eat until supper time when I would eat a pint of ice cream instead of eating real food. I weighed 125 pounds, and at my skinniest in 2002 I weighed 120 pounds.  I was 5'9 inches, 120 pounds of skinny fat. Yuck.  Diet Fail No.2.  After that stint I started a cardio and weight training regimen and took up middle distance running.  I gained about 10-15 lbs of muscle and was able to eat pretty much whatever I wanted.  As far as performance goes, I still didn't feel right.  I would get crampy when I would run, my muscular endurance wasn't where I wanted it to be, and I would sometimes have champion cardio and then the next day I would gas after 10 minutes.  This did not bother me that much because I was working out to stay in shape.  I did not have a sport that I was still trying to be competitive with that I would need to be in peak physical conditioning for. Then in 2008 I started submission grappling, muay thai, and boxing at a gym in Savannah.  I took a liking to it but did not know if I was going to be competitive with it.  I made the move to Atlanta and started training with Team Traven.  Boy did things need to change.  I fell in love with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and decided to compete as often as possible.  I was in between weight classes so I decided smaller was better. I decided to do a low calorie diet instead of doing the ever popular paleo and no-carb diets.  I was still eating breads and rice, but I was counting calories like a beast.  I would take in 1200 calories.  Sure I lost the weight, but I was a miserable cranky mess.  I decided (well Traven and Jeff decided for me) that maybe light weight was not for me.  I would try out middle weight and just eat what I wanted.  Middle weight has panned out to be the right weight class for me, so over the past 3 months I have been trying to tune my diet to where it needs to be for peak performance.  I have a friend in Savannah who has been specializing in nutritional plans and diets for athletes for over 40 years.  I took Jeff down to Savannah with me and we decided to take his advice and try his nutrition plan.  In essence the plan is 5 meals a day consisting of carbs, protein and veggies. Not to mention you have to drink a gallon and a half of water a day.   There is veeeery low fat in the diet.  The goal of the diet is to lose fat, maintain or build lean mass, and to give your body enough fuel it needs to endure however long you are training each day.  The diet is specific to my body and workouts and I feel great.  I hit a small speed bump because I got lazy with the veggies, but I am back on track now.  I did not realize my success until I went to my Bioenergetics lab session today and was given  a submaximal exercise test.  I did this in 2007 at Armstrong and has terrible results.  Today I did the same test and my numbers were 100x better.  My professor informed me that hydration and diet has a lot to do with these values, it's not just how "in shape" you are.   I was using a lot of carbohydrates during the test because I had so many of them to use.   :)   My results excited me and I feel like I am in a really good place with my eating.  I take Sundays off of the eating plan to eat brunch and yes, eat some pizza or something delicious that I can share with Jeffie.  :)  I do feel like I have finally figured out how to eat and train at the high intensity that I would like.  My next venture is to write a blog on the dangers of low carb dieting and intense exercise;  not just speaking from experience and feeling stupid about falling for the gimmick but also discussing some facts I have learned in my Bioenergetics class.  Carbohydrates are our friends!!   Yay!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


              Today was stellar.  It really was. Nothing makes you feel better than having great  BJJ training sessions. Everyone has heard of runners high?  Well Jiu Jitsu high is runner's high times 10.  The feeling is wonderful.  I am not quite sure why the after BJJ bubble is so much bigger than it is after I have a great run or a great workout.  It must be because it exhausts me more than any other workout I have done in my life and that makes me feel great.
             This morning there was ladies class as usual, and there were a bunch of faces missing on the mats but the training session was great.  One of the blue belt ladies from the Marietta affiliate came and trained and as we all know it is wonderful to be able to train with your usual teammates as well as new faces.  There were only three of us azul ladies and about 6 white belts so it was still a full ladies class.  We worked some open guard sweeps with the leg lasso and then finished the session with some intense rolls.  Our fellow comrade Anna stopped by to say hello.  She hurt he knee about a month ago and has been laid up healing.  ;(  Can't wait to have her back on the mats!
             I stayed for the second class for all level belts as well.  The class was strictly warm up and and straight to rolling today.  There was a round robin scenario on both side of the mats. One side for the big boys and one side for everyone else.  You tap, you move out.  Today was great not only because I was absolutely worn out and fingertips raw when I finished but I learned so much while rolling today.  I learned a toe hold defense (which you always have to learn the hard way after you get put in one) and a knee bar defense (yep, have to learn the same way, haha).  I don't get put in these situation often because the higher ranked brown and black belts are really the only ones who do this in training.  Today there was a black belt on our side of the mat who helped me with this and he also taught me a wicked way to finish head and arm choke from side mount (thanks Paul).  I figure it is never too early to learn these defenses so hopefully in the future I will become much more aware of my feet when I roll.
              I love the feeling the Jiu Jitsu gives me after a training session.  I'm sure I am quite annoying to Jeff, Traven, and everyone at the front desk because I 'm just a talkin' after I get done training.  My little workout high bubble is at full capacity and I will talk to you about your plans for the day, your relationship, your dog's intestinal problems, which conference has the best football, your upcoming move, Lord of the Rings, my family, Rooster Cogburn, noodling, sushi, and the fact that we are all having the best day ever.  FYI some of those convos have never happened.