Cardio Class: Special Edition

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Making a special post after today’s morning class because I’m either approaching or have reached an inflection point.

Two notable things happened today during class:

  1. Coach noticed I’ve been losing weight (I’ve been trying to), so that’s cool
  2. I weighed myself after class and found my scale at home to give a little heavier results than the scale we’ve got at the gym.

During class and while we were all doing the normal exercises, Wolf talked about various things to consider as I get closer to my goal body composition. At one point I mentioned how I’ve still got 28 pounds to lose and told him my current weight of 188 pounds. I then said that truthfully I’m not aiming for a goal weight but a goal body fat percentage of 10%. As a side note, this is where I was at in high school at my peak fitness levels.

He said my approach is wrong and people perform better at different weights and fat percentages. While I’ve known this to be true, I didn’t really take it into consideration before because that seems like something to worry about an elite level and not the casual level I’m currently performing at.

That being said, it’s probably worth it to adapt my goals to be performance-based instead of composition based, given the only reason I was going with composition in the first place was because the composition I started with was so different compared to what it was at my peak. Trying to do the same physical activities I could at 150 pounds ended up often injuring me when I was at 200 pounds. I can now comfortably run 5km without limping afterwards, and I think I can sprint, turn, and jump without extreme risk of blowing out my ankles, such as in a basketball or soccer game.

Knowing now that I can handle the athletics that I want to do, I’ll be switching my goals to something performance-based. This will mean I’ll need to be setting aside time for assessments, but I don’t see that being an issue if I’m only doing it every eight weeks or so.

Goals

I’m a laymen when it comes to exercise science, so I’ll be choosing this arbitrary paper as a starting point for my goals: Considerations When Assessing Endurance in Combat Sport Athletes Oliver R. Barley, Dale W. Chapman, Stuart N. Guppy, and Chris R. Abbiss

Key takeaways (references removed for ease of reading):

With these examples, I’ll probably choose between the exercises arbitrarily. I’ll try to make sure I’m not doing overlap in the areas I’m testing, but I don’t have enough knowledge to think about it further. I suppose I can consult Wolfgang but I need to make some progress in this first.

Food

The other half of the lecture was spent going into a fair number of examples of how being extremely selective of certain foods can give you obscure benefits. The first example was choosing red onions over yellow onions. I don’t recall what the exact reasoning was, so when writing this out a few days later, google tells me that it’s because they have higher antioxidant compounds. I’m not sure if that was the reason Wolfgang gave, but I’ll take it for now. Other quick tips:

He mentioned that it really shouldn’t be his job as a coach to be teaching proper nutrition, and that I should do my own research. Given my target of being at the level of low competition (but not necessarily competiting) and my current resources, I should do what research I can myself. To breakdown what I need to know (at least at pretty high level):

I’ve got a starting point of questions to get answered that will build a mental model for me. From there, I can start assessing my current diet and keep or replace foods based on impact to my body, cost of replacement and how easy it would be to replace. By ease of replacement, I just mean I can’t really replace a meal that takes me 30 minutes to make with a meal that takes 6 hours to make. It is simply not practical.

Additional Training Advice

Currently, my runs are a little more than 3.5km - the starting run before kickboxing sparring. Now, we’ll try to extend the runs. Tomorrow morning I’ll take it to the bridge on speed river trail, which makes it either ~5 or ~7 km. I’ll likely collapse afterwards but I’ll be able to complete it. I figure I can alternate some weeks in which I work on distance and others I’ll work on speed.

As for my desire to start doing the compound lifts (bench press, dead lift, squat - referred to as “olympic training”), I got some hesitation. There is a decent risk of hurting myself if I don’t have someone correcting my form, which is an understandable concern. I’ll likely invest in a personal trainer to get me going for that.

Final Thoughts

I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, and it’s all happening out of the gym. This will test both my dedication to the sport as well as my determination to overcome a hurdle that requires a small amount of effort.