The last chapter…

Category: Planning

I’m not gonna let this destroy me.

Take full responsibility for your life.

The last chapter of your life hasn’t been written yet.

Don’t give up, don’t give in. There is always an after to everything.

Continue reading » No comments

The Gym In Pictures

Category: Gymnastics / Bootcamp


 

 

 

Before…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After, still some arranging to do.

 

 

 

Finally playing capture the flag…

Continue reading » No comments

End of Summer Update

Category: Gymnastics / Bootcamp

Just a little update since it has been a long while since I wrote anything here. I was talking to my mother the other day about my stress levels which are currently just north of Pluto and part of what she said, not in so many words, was that my updates could serve as a mitigation strategy for my stress. I don’t really talk to people about my issues and regardless of what my doctor says I don’t think I am the type to benefit from seeing a psychiatrist (although I think maybe I will at some point do it just to prove him wrong) so my writing, at least in the past, has been something of an outlet for me. Not having that pressure valve of being able to vent to my computer may have taken a larger toll than I had imagined and so with that I will make a concerted effort to update on a more regular basis than I have.

I am also keenly aware that my workouts must be getting stale since I really haven’t made any changes in quite a while. I have fallen into the maintenance of doing gym workouts and keeping my weight steady and let’s all just be honest for a second and understand that the whole function of my workouts is to keep my weight in check. As long as that is working I have no reason to change until I get bored. I haven’ been getting bored because I have so much going on with the other gym that my workouts are processional in nature and require very little in the way of change to be successful. it is certainly true that owning the gym has come at a high cost to my free time and my creativity. The fact is that I am up every day at 530am to get to work then back home from work to work out, grab some food and go to coaching which ends with me getting home around 9pm. They are long days for sure and it’s hard to stay productive and energetic with so much physical demand but also hard to address my stress situation while balancing workplaces.

On the other hand the gym is running smoothly. Summer camp has been absolutely amazing with rave reviews from everyone involved. We recently did a whole gym rearrangement and everyone who has seen the new layout loves it. The place looks very professional and like a serious gym. We are transitioning to a new software system too, something that the parents can use to see their child’s progress and that we can keep much better records of families and payments. The groups are running smoothly but we are getting to the stressful time of year when we realize that summer is over and competitions are right around the corner and we are already behind…With everything going on it has been a busy and very stressful summer but visits from the family and the advent of a new dog have served as reminders that not everything in life has to be so stressful and that happiness is everywhere if you look closely enough.

There is an elephant in the room however, and that is my blood pressure. Since seeing my cardiologist my BP seems to have gone from an in office 180/105 to last visit when it was 140/85. However I have been having episodes recently of splitting headaches accompanied by very high BP again. I was tested at Occupational Health the other day and my BP was once again 182/101. I am really not sure what is causing these episodes, it’s not every day but probably once every couple of weeks that it happens and since I took a day off after being sent home by Occ Health the last time my boss has decided that he wants a doctor’s note from me. I can’t tell if it is because he just doesn’t believe me about being sick, if he is doing it out of spite or whether he just wants to be a pain but since I was in the hospital when they took my BP I would have thought the evidence was sufficient. However, I got turned down from 2 walk in clinics who both basically said they wouldn’t do the form because I could be running a scam and they didn’t have my medical history to fill the info. So now I have to wait for my doctor to get back from vacation so I can get a form confirming that yes, in fact, high blood pressure is a thing?? It is amazing to me how just when  you think things are stressful enough someone comes along and makes it so much worse. On the upside my heart rate is down, I am able to do cardio at the gym to help offset the BP and I am still able to maintain my weight at around 235. I think that this year I should try to get down to a stable 220 and see how long I can hold that just to see if a few pounds also makes a difference. As a related note my kidney function is slightly impaired, they think that is due to the high blood pressure so she took me off the BP med with the diuretic and left me on coversyl regular.

I admit it’s pretty scary having these episodes and knowing that my BP is so high that it’s impairing my function is something that needs immediate attention so I am working on a plan to make things better. Eternally hoping of course that it’s possible to make it all better.

Continue reading » No comments

11 Things I Learned From Competitive Gymnastics

Category: Rest

Many children do gymnastics for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons is that a child has too much energy and the parents want to tire the kids out, however, that is not how I started gymnastics. No matter how a person starts gymnastics, they learn the same things and hopefully the same life lessons. I do not know who I would be without the 11 things gymnastics taught me growing up.

1. Friendship

Gymnastics teaches kids how to be friends. In gymnastics, you need to cheer on your teammates and encourage them to get a skill. A gymnast also spends at least 12 hours a week in the gym so they are always around the same people, so naturally you become friends with the people you practice with.

2. Patience

A gymnast learns patience from a very young age. Gymnastics skills take time to learn and perfect so a gymnast learns that they have to wait to get the skill. Patience is also required so they do not get angry when they do not get the skill that they are trying to get.

3. Never Give Up

Gymnasts never give up on anything. Gymnasts are taught to keep trying no matter how tiring and frustrating the sport gets. No matter how many times a gymnast falls or does not complete a skill, they get back up and keep trying until they can complete it successfully over and over again, basically until it becomes second nature.

4. Trust

Trust is a major component of gymnastics. A gymnast needs to be able to trust their coach. This coach is responsible for ensuring the safety of the gymnast. If the gymnast cannot trust her coach, then she will not have productive practices and gymnastics then becomes more difficult.

5. The Love of the Olympics

Most sports have a major championship or what could be considered the “Super Bowl” of that sport every year. Baseball has the World Series every year, football has the Super Bowl every year, hockey has the Stanley Cup every year, etc. Gymnasts have their “Super Bowl” every four years: The Olympics. When the Olympics roll around, you can bet most gymnasts will be stationed in front of the TV to see who is going to win gold in every event, all around, and the team, whether it is men or women.

6. How to Handle Fear

Fear is one the biggest obstacles a gymnast will overcome. Fear is presented in every skill that is done. If a gymnast does not have fear they are doing something wrong. It is also normal to have fear as a gymnast because it is not normal or natural to be flying four to eight feet off the ground or to tumble on a four-inch piece of wood, like the balance beam.

7. How to be a Stronger Person
Gymnastics teaches a valuable life lesson by teaching a gymnast to become a stronger person. Not only does gymnastics teach physical strength, it also teaches mental strength. The mental strength a gymnast has in uncanny. Gymnasts get frustrated very easily but this frustration comes from wanting to be a perfectionist, so when gymnasts work through the frustrations they encounter it helps them to become a much stronger person. Gymnasts also work through sore muscles and injuries. No matter the amount of pain someone is in from gymnastics, that person is usually still working because those are the days that being a stronger person is taught.

8. Time Management
Gymnasts are some of the best at managing time. Gymnasts practice anywhere from two and half hours to six hours a day depending on the level. The average time a gymnast spends in the gym each day is four hours. Not only does a gymnast have practice, they also have school work to stay caught up on. Most gymnasts go to school for seven hours then go to the gym for four hours then they still have to do homework and eat dinner while also finding time to shower. Some gymnasts also do more than one sport or activity so they have to find time to do those activities as well. Also, do not forget about finding time to hang out with friends and family. Being a gymnast definitely involves some late nights and basically living in a car all the time, especially during the week.

9. Healthy Habits
Gymnast have some of the healthiest habits. They eat healthy and are working out three to six days a week. Gymnasts know that being healthy is the easiest way to be successful at gymnastics, besides practicing of course.

10. How to Deal with Disappointment
Disappointment is a big part of gymnastics. Whether it is having a bad meet or not finishing where a gymnast thinks they will or not getting a skill when the skill is wanted. Disappointment is something that gymnasts have to work through. Disappointment happens all the time in gymnastics.

11. RESPECT.
Gymnasts learn respect from the first day they enter the gym. Respect is very important in the sport of gymnastics. Not only do gymnasts need to respect their coaches and other athletes they also learn to respect the sport they learn to fall in love with. Whenever you come across another gymnast you automatically know what they are going through so you know to respect them, especially the elite gymnasts.

Continue reading » 1 Comment

I am at the gym and I don’t know what to do…

Category: Gym / Weighlifting Workouts

I get this type of question a lot. Usually from kids who have come from gymnastics with mostly bodyweight training who are transitioning to the gym and need some guidance. I have a couple of links to lots of information on the sidebar THIS IS GOOD and for diet SO IS THIS. Well, it’s pretty easy as a process so let’s have a look.

Set a goal. What is it you want to do? I will assume that you know endless cardio is damaging to your system and so please spend no more than 20 minutes at a time on the cardio machines otherwise you will flood your system with stress hormones and kill your hard work. That said, a 10 minute warmup is ideal before weights then a 20 minutes higher intensity stairmaster or stepmill session is best.

Split your workout into 3 or 4 days so you can start to become regular with your work. I recommend at least 4 days a week in the gym so you don’t spend all your time sore from resting too much. Every split should have one day as leg day and then usually a push day for chest and triceps a pull day for back and biceps and an extra day for shoulders and core. You don’t have to know how to do a thousand exercises to make this work, start basic and then transition as you go.

No matter if you are a 15 year old girl or a 25 year old guy there are certain exercises that you should do no matter what. Among these are squat, bench, overhead press, curls, dips and deadlift. Don’t get freaked out by the deadlift, it is just picking stuff up and putting it down.

So lets take a quick look at the work to be done as a beginner just starting out. This will last you about a month until you start wanting to do more varied exercises by which time you will have picked up some tips from watching others and will be able to add things to your routines.

Every set will be done to 12 reps with the last 2 reps being difficult to finish. Once they aren’t difficult, increase the weight. Don’t worry about getting bulky, that takes a major commitment on the eating side of things to happen and if it really was that easy, everyone would be a bodybuilder.

Day 1: Chest and triceps

Flat Bench 3×12
Incline Bench 3×12
Tricep cable push downs 3×12 (replace this with dips once you get strong enough)
Dips (if possible, this should be your goal)
If you can get to a point where you can do 10 dips in a row then that is enough for triceps (3×10)

Day 2: Back and biceps

Lat machine pulldowns 3×12 (replace these with inward facing grip chinups when you can)
Seated rows 3×12
Deadlifts 3×12 (you can use dumbbells or a preweighted barbell, no need to use a free barbell if you don’t want to)
Barbell curls 3×12

Day 3: Shoulders and Core

Overhead press 3×12 (Barbell or dumbbells)
Side raises 3×12
Barbell upright rows (also called high pulls, bar to chin)  3×12
Hanging leg raises 3×12
Incline situps 3×12
Vsnaps 3×12

Day 4: Legs

Barbell squats 3×12 (get in the squat rack for these)
Dumbell lunge walk 3×12 steps
Seated leg extension 3×12
Seated hamstring curl 3×12
Standing calf raises 3×12 (start without weight on a step, increase by holding a weight in the same hand as the leg being worked)

This should be enough to get you started and comfortable in the gym. Remember that your gym time is an investment in your health not in your relationships so focus on your work and save the chatter and socializing for afterwards.

This post is dedicated to Nikol 🙂

 

Continue reading » No comments

Starting Out On Keto

Category: Nutrition

Some of the best support and information there is comes from Reddit, as well as being full of freaks and weirdos there are many many very well educated caring people who are willing to share their knowledge. That in mind here is the beginner summary from /r/keto…

(Specially for K8, Nugget, Grak, Ab and Beamhole)

Beginner’s tips

  • Focus on getting used to no/low carb first.
  • Eat if you’re hungry.
    • To complicate this a bit, keep an eye on your calories.
    • A loss of appetite is normal; usually it comes back – although not with the intensity you’re familiar with from carbs.
    • Some folks seem to lose a significant portion of their appetite and try to subsist on a fraction of necessary calories – for example, 300 to 400 calories per day.
    • I don’t care how much weight you need to lose, your body still needs protein to function.
    • Keep keto-approved snacks on hand when you get hungry

Start drinking water. A lot of water. Keep your electrolytes up – you’ll need more sodium, potassium, and magnesium than you think.


A quick word on macros:

  1. Protein is a goal, hit it as often as you can. You can go under, or over, and it isn’t the end of the world, or ketosis.
  2. Carbs are a hard limit (20 ~ 25 grams of net carbs). Your carb limit determines whether you are, or aren’t, in ketosis.
  3. Fat is a soft limit – eat until you’re full, but stay under the macro. If you finish the day, not hungry and under your fat macro, you’re doing good.
  • In the macro calculator, in the fat section, you will see a little “plus” sign. This will tell you your minimum fat intake per day.
  • This is a non-issue for most people, particularly if you selected “mostly sedentary” under your activity level.
  • If you picked a higher activity level, you may need to be more aware of your minimum fat intake.
  • You may also want to check out /r/ketogains for athletes on keto.
  1. You need to be mindful of your calories – you still need to eat under your calorie allotment if you’re trying to lose weight.

Recipes

Continue reading » 1 Comment

Half a Century

Category: Olympic Lifts, Planning

There is a running joke going through my mind.

I thought getting old would take longer.

There is more truth to that than I would like to admit. I am not ready for getting old and although I don’t necessarily feel old my cardiologist and physician beg to differ. I am, from the outside, quite a specimen for my age. I have many things to be thankful for among them the ability to function normally and to excel at the things I enjoy at the gym. But I can’t move like I used to. My notion of being able to get back into bodyweight work to do handstands and cartwheels seems like nothing more than a pipe dream at this point. If I am honest, putting on my shoes in the morning is becoming “a thing” and I have usually been awake for a couple of  hours before I can even think about being active in any meaningful way. But I suppose I should expect this. There is nothing wrong with aging, if you do it gracefully. It takes some time to get used to the slowing of the body and mind however slowing doesn’t mean quitting. With my health challenges of late I have been more cautious in the gym however adding some cardio to my workouts and lowering my weights sometimes doesn’t seem so bad. But at other times it is torture. I have a bad habit of comparing my self to others in the gym and I shouldn’t especially when the people I pick are half my age or less. But I am learning to accept what I have and what I am and be as happy as I can because in the end your happiness is what you accept as truth in your life and I think by this point I deserve some happiness. I have spent the last couple of years being angry about things I can’t change and I think along with some others around me at work I am finally getting to the point where I am going to let it go and accept that I am just a worker and that my contribution to the health of the organization isn’t vauled or required. My doctors all keep telling me that I need to reduce the stress in my life and so it is with great delight and medical supervision that I am going to stop worrying about the things I can’t control at work and let the people in charge do their jobs since apparently my input isn’t as valuable as I once thought.

As for the gym, I am going to continue on with my cardio and my lighter weights but I am also going to start beck into my compound lifting again because it makes me feel generally more competent with my health. Lifting at the gym is great but I do tend to get into a rut and in the past the way out has always been some HIIT type crossfit work to break the monotony. My klids are back to doing torturous HIIT workouts so why shouldn’t I? After all, you are only as old as you feel right?

Continue reading » No comments

Matters of the Heart

Category: Injuries, Nutrition, Rest

I got my ultrasound results and just the same as the last 3 tests it has resulted in booking yet another appointment, this time with a cardiologist. I was told by my doctor that I have thickening of the left ventricle, something that I have since found out could be hereditary since my father and uncle have had the same diagnosis. Of course the fact that my dad has had a quadruple bypass doesn’t sit well with me since that’s not a road I really want to travel. Over the course of the tests I have noticed that my blood pressure was high, something that was noted by each tech but put down to situational stress. Being logical I thought that maybe if I went to give blood then that might help, and also be my good deed for the holidays.

You should be in the hospital, she said. I haven’t seen blood pressure that high in forever.

As if I wasn’t stressed enough. I was turned away from the blood clinic with a recommendation that I call my doctor or go to emergency. In case you are wondering what the numbers were, be prepared to be amazed at my surviving…


Of course Google didn’t help me much…

Your blood pressure is 231 over 97?

What your blood pressure values mean
Your blood pressure is: Too high – Hypertension Stage 1
But regarding your systolic (upper) value your blood pressure is rather:
Way too high – Hypertension Stage 3 / Hypertensive crisis

That was an awesome way to start my holiday, and of course what’s worse for super high blood pressure than the stress of having super high blood pressure?
I booked an appointment with the doctor and was in the office that afternoon.
Her AVERAGE reading was 188/97 which although much better still had my veins bulging out of my forehead like ship ropes since it’s still considered Hypertensive crisis. She told me if it was still this high in 3 days to go to emergency and tell them to fix me because too many days of these readings have me squarely in heart attack / stroke territory. She gave me a diuretic which I have to admit made zero sense to me and told me to avoid coffee and salt for a few days. Being an obedient patient I did just that and of course being off work and away from the stress of having to babysit my coworker would also help to no end.
The next day we had the big end of year party for gymnastics which was an amazing night, seeing so many old friends and all the kids having fun was just what I needed and although for the next 4 days my BP remained very high on Boxing day my reading finally dropped into the 170s and then the 160s. So I am finally down into Hypertension stage 2 which wouldn’t normally be a cause to celebrate but in this case I think coming back from what I could conservatively call the brink of a cardiac event is a good thing.
But I am angry. So very angry. The rational part of my brain is crying out like that 11 year old boy I once was that this isn’t fair. I tell my girls every day that life isn’t fair, but that doesn’t take the sting away. You have to work to make it fair, I tell them. But what is supposedly better for your health than a literal lifetime of fitness and careful attention to diet? Sure, I have strayed in the past, there was a time in that picture top right that I was 300+ but it was only for a handful of years. It’s been 10 years since that, no sugar, no grains, strict adherence to diet, no drinking for 25 years, no smoking for at least 10 more so in the end I am left with the question “why me”.
There is no reasoning with disease. There is no bargaining with illness and when I consider those around me who are struggling with what are considered far more serious health issues I can’t help but feel selfish. But standing at death’s door, no matter if it is only a selfish perception makes you feel very, very lonely. I have one athlete who I am constantly telling “Stop worrying about things that haven’t happened yet” and it was that thought that really made me pull back and put things into perspective. I was doing what I could. I knew that in the past more cardio at the gym had helped in how I felt so I was facing up to that task too. I had all my tactics in place and so I was faced with the knowledge that with everything I was doing, I had to fix my attitude.
“Don’t worry…”
“Why not?”
“Because it doesn’t help”
– Dr Who.
So I am not worried. I am doing what I have been told and I am monitoring my situation. I am going to work today and I will have a professional take my BP again to see if my home readings are close to reality. In the end though I have to understand what caused this to happen and although it’s been a pretty hectic couple of months with the gym I would point my finger directly at my work situation. The inequity, the lack of support, the dishonesty has turned my job from a source of pride to a source of stress. I once was proud of what I had built over the last 20 years. Complaining won’t help, so I won’t. Decisions have to be made and plans need to be laid if I am to prevent cutting years off my life for the sake of times gone by.
Why me? It doesn’t matter. I am dealing with facts and not allowing my emotional side to become involved because if I do, things will go downhill in a hurry. Disease doesn’t care so neither do I. I will fight this with the detachment of disease itself. I will kill it with the same impunity with which it takes lives. Although I have spent some time being truly terrified of the future I have decided that I will survive. I am not done yet.

 

Continue reading » No comments

Off My Chest

Category: Gymnastics / Bootcamp

We live in a world where controversial news stories are force fed to us 24/7 and the more debauched the story the greater the thrust. The current climate has us inundated with sexual misconduct allegations from every field from teaching to coaching to Hollywood producing and it’s making my life and the life of all the other responsible authority figures so much more difficult. It’s important to note that it’s not just men, that there are many stories of female teachers in particular being accused of sexual crimes against children and frankly it’s making me sick. Are we really living in times when these crimes are rampant or is it a case as with the Catholic Church that these things in the past have remained buried with the victims remaining silent through fear of retribution? Whatever the case may be it’s having an effect on how I feel I am viewed while doing the one job that is my true passion, that of gymnastics coach.

I have been coaching for almost 15 years now and I have been lucky to have met some truly wonderful athletes some of whom I am happy to call my friends and whom I have had the absolute pleasure in seeing grow from tiny humans into confident, intelligent and purposeful women. It breaks my heart to think that someone would take advantage of their position in order to manipulate or coerce a child into doing something that they know is wrong. Sadly these things have come to light in our sport and as a male coach in a female dominated sport I can’t help but feel scrutinized for every action I take. It’s cast a sad shadow over the sport and the people I love but I will not allow it to poison the passion I have for gymnastics coaching.

Since the very start, I have committed myself to trying to educate and coach my girls not only in the sport of gymnastics but also in life skills, to give them the tools to handle the stress and competition they will face out in the real world. I think it is critical that we prepare them as they go on, using the drive, commitment and dedication that gymnastics requires to face the rest of their lives with the kind of determination that can make them successful in anything they choose to do. The girls I have coached have touched my heart in so many ways, and although I know I can’t protect them from the inevitable heartbreak that life will bring in all it’s forms I hope that I have given them the strength to get back up and carry on.

I can’t stop being who I am as a coach. I can’t stop caring about these kids just because other degenerates have chosen to abuse their power and position and I refuse to allow sensationalized news stories to steal what should be the greatest experience of these kids young lives. What I can do as a gym owner now, not just a coach is to ensure that we do everything we can to provide a safe environment in which these kids can flourish. There is nothing that fills my heart with pride more than watching my girls go out and tackle life with the passion and aggression that they show in the gym and I will be damned if I let anyone take that away from me.

Continue reading » No comments

On Being An Adult

Category: Planning, Rest

I posted this on Facebook this morning but I can’t resist putting it here too. The last 2 in the list are my own personal addition.

You never really feel like an adult inside. I am still fumbling through life and making the best of it like I was at 15.

No matter how well you are prepared you never seem to have enough money, time, patience, sleep or emotional strength. You’ll fall short and that’s ok because you’re human.

There is no such thing as happily ever after. There is always something to overcome.

High school never ends for some people; there will always be cliques and groups.

There are adult bullies and they are everywhere.

You will get ridiculously excited for a house cleaning product like a new kitchen sponge. I tell everyone when I get a new sponge.

It is hard to make new friends. High school and college friends move away. Neighbours aren’t often as neighbourly as in the past.

Everyone says how can I help? But hardly anyone actually helps.

You will have your heart broken over and over by lovers, your kids, your friends whom you trusted, your employer, but it still keep on ticking.

Learn to live within your means. Just because your paycheck says you can afford something doesn’t mean you can actually afford it.

Time does not have to pass you by. We don’t have to get through the day just to pay the bills. Our lives are ours and we may spend our time as we choose.

Just because you can eat whatever you want whenever you want, ice cream still doesn’t make a good breakfast.

Your body and brain eventually fall out of alignment. Brain: what a fabulous idea! Body: I don’t think so buddy.

You need to take time to enjoy the little things. Sometimes they are all you get and they go by quickly.

Life is not like a TV sitcom or a big screen movie. Once the fun parts are over you have to cook, clean and go to work.

Your brain doesn’t age past 18-25 even though the rest of you does.  You still think like a young adult when you are in your 60s.

When you get to adulthood you will come across people with different opinions than you and however stupid they are they will honestly believe they are correct.

Don’t expect life to just sort itself out.  There isn’t’ a perfect point where everything is solved, you will be struggling with life to the very end.

There are people out there who want you to fail. These people may be the closest ones to you or possibly a co-worker but they will gladly do anything to see you fail.

There is no summer vacation in adult life.

Nothing can prepare you for the daily urge not to get out of bed.

You won’t have all the answers and sometimes as an adult you will be scared, if not terrified of life.

Find a job that makes you happy not a job that makes you rich.

There is nothing that can prepare you for the first time your baby poops in the tub.

Eventually you reach your peak and you have to watch the next generation come along and shine.

Some people will always act like relationships are disposable.

Not all people in decision making roles should be there. Learn to judge the quality of other people’s decisions.

The people who are supposed to love you can be the same ones who let you down.

Most times there is nobody there to take care of you when you are sick.

You will never ever want to drive as much as when you are 16. Once you become an adult it becomes a chore and being a passenger is bliss.

Nobody gives a damn about your degree or AP grades when it’s time to pay the rent or the car bill

Learn to fix things that break, spending $200 for a plumber to replace a washer is a waste of money.

It’s OK to ask for advice even when you’re 40.

Just because you are a good person doesn’t mean good things will happen to you.

If you always wait for the right time you will waste your life away.

Life isn’t fair. Expecting it to be is naïve and dangerous. You can make it fair but play by the rules.

It doesn’t matter if nobody will find out, your behaviour defines you and how much you respect yourself. Never do anything that goes against your own code of ethics.

Continue reading » No comments