Thank you for joining me!

Welcome to the Happy Grappler. The key to a consistent practice is joy. As an aging athlete, I continue to seek out methods that help to keep a smile on my face, relatively fit and pain free. This is my mental graffiti. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January Challenge Reflections

Welcome to my 100th post on this blog!

It has taken me a while to consider what I will write, since so much has been happening in my life, my health and my training. This post I will reflect on my January challenge (s) and further ponder my challenge for February.

In January, I set out to do several challenges at once, rather than separately. Each of these items has been so beneficial to my life that I will continue their practice for another month. As for what February will bring, I am still in a quandary.

January saw me intermittent fasting for a window of 8 hours per day. I was able to hold to the pattern for all but 2 days this month. I have attempted to limit my "cheat days" to one per week (Saturday), but if there has been an item I have wanted like a cookie or other treat during the week, I went ahead and had it. For the most part, my diet has been primal low carb, but there have been days when I have had legumes or grains. Here is the amazing part, my first week I lost 5 pounds, 4 fot he second week, 3 for the third and 1 pound this week for a total of 13 pounds in one month. I actually enjoy this pattern and it really doesn't feel like I am dieting. I have also keep a steady use of supplements this week: prescription vitamin D, fish oil, coffee bean extract and whey protein. Overall, my joints feel healthy and it would appear that I am building lean muscle and losing fat as my clothes are looser. Intermittent fasting is the way to go (for me). I also have kept a food journal. This is also probably the most underrated tool of dieting and fat loss and keeping a log actually prevented me from eating certain things, when I would have easily chowed down in the past. If anyone asks me about dieting, the first thing I will have them do is keep a food journal.

Speaking of lean body mass, I have been reading the book Intervention by Dan John, one of the Country's leading strength coaches and a Master's and Olympic Track Athlete and Highland Games Competitor. This book is fantastic. As I get older, perfromance becomes more important and I have been learning to 1) prioritize training for my sport (bjj) 2) maintain strength and lean body mass and 3) make mobility and correctives an essential part of my routine. Since reading the book and incorporating its principles, on my non-bjj days I am swinging, goblet squatting and kb pressing and performing loaded carries. The effects on my strength and mobility have been pretty drastic. I am also PVC and rumble rolling every opportunity I get. Dan's wisdom of "the things you need to do are the things that you aren't doing" has been very sage. "Fundamental human movements are fundamental" has also been a powerful truth.

Finally, I have been practicing vipassana (mindfulness meditation) for one month before I go to bed. Initially, this was a struggle. The program that I was using was increasing my level of distractedness. So I went from program of guided meditation to a more personally structured routine which included changes in posture, breathing, awareness and internally narrating my experience. My level of relaxation is profound. This has probably been one of the most beneficial practices that I have ever entertained. I will stick with it for sure.

I am still pondering my February challenge. It could be 200 swings for every workout or maybe something more cognitive. Hey, I still have a day to think it over.

Thanks for reading and stay happy!

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