Monday, September 15, 2008

Four year low :o)

Yippee, I have just achieved a four year low with my weight ( you can see the evidence on my "Weight progress page" ). At the moment I am a very pleasing 14 stone 10 pounds, the lowest I've been since September 2004. Which as my wife has just pointed out also matches the lowest I've been since I started keeping a record of my weight back in May 2001.

I have achieved this latest trend of slimness through nothing much more than common sense, and a little bit of simple planning. The common sense part was essentially cutting out extra 'snacks' (chocolate bars, crisps, biscuits, and so forth that I'd graze on all day), and eating sensible meals. The planning comes in with the sensible meals, I have been making sure of a solid balanced breakfast, a simple solid lunch and then a usual meal in the evening. The planning has also been in evidence in shopping for the right kind of simple foods, so that if I do feel the need for any snack there are simple 'healthier' alternatives on hand (dried fruit and so on).

One of the main changes to meals I have made has been to have something to drink shortly before main meals, and moreover to sit down with the meal set out in front of me and focusing on sitting relatively quietly and enjoying it. I have found that I feel 'fuller' for longer if I have had the opportunity to sit and enjoy a 'slow' lunch, for example, rather than feeling 'hungrier' after a rushed / snatched lunch.

It hasn't been a process of making the diet 'clinical' merely an exercise in making meals defined components of the day, avoiding the eating as a series of snatch and grab episodes. The food I have been having has been fairly formulaic in as far as similar ingredients repeat through the week, but because I sit down and enjoy eating them and the process of eating them I don't seem to find the choices 'boring' or 'samey'. I do have a target weight in mind, but I am not going to commit it to Blog, as I often seem to slip after such grand statements (call me a tiny bit superstitious or something).

All the progress has gone hand in hand with my usual fitness stuff based around rowing, but I have not done anything dramatic on that side of things - the progress has been with simple and enjoyable meals without the 'expensive' calorie packed snacks.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Self-coaching, micro-coaching, and damn good coaching

Over the summer I very much enjoyed the Olympic sports feast, especially once I'd become familiar with the ins and outs of the Interactive service.  I watched more Olympic Rowing Regatta footage than was probably good for me, taking in live and highlight re-runs.  It was re-assuring that I could look at the techniques in a far more analytical way than I would once have been able to.  This was reinforced when I found myself especially critical of one guy's stroke only to hear the commentary then say the same thing (gave myself a tiny gold star for that one).

It was funny to note how many rowing club members were so clearly doing the same kind of thing.  Watching for the obvious crews with medals in mind, but also watching for technique and race strategies.  There were many a small discussion group round the boathouse showing each other hand and body positioning, some of which looked quite comical from distance.  As a result of one such Olympic inspired discussion within our 'crew de jeur' (we don't seem capable of getting the same crew out on day to the next - another story) I was prompted to look up some stuff on YouTube, and specifically a former Olympian's coaching videos [the coach turned out be to Xeno Muller (Olympic gold and silver medalist) once I'd found the reference on YouTubeexample YouTube video link] (and website - Iron Oarsman).  I was, like watching the Olympic coverage, pleased how much I was diagnosing along with the coach.  All of which is great, the greatest challenge though comes in getting a bunch of guys in a crew to agree, and moreover implement, the same approach on any given outing.  Herein lies our biggest single issue - while we can all view crews (on the water, television, Internet), it is only consistent on the spot coaching that can pull ideas and rowers together into potentially winning units.

It was drilled home by the GB Team success across a number of sports that coaching structure and coaching quality are essential to good progress.  Happy as I am that the GB squads are well 'armed' with such quality, I can't help but ponder where / when this will trickle to the very roots of such sports.  I'm off back to the web and my DVD collection to carry on trying to organise my own little improvement steps in the meanwhile.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Busy summer

It has been a very busy summer, with one thing and another... so much so that I haven't had much of a chance to update the blog.  Will try and pick up again, and at least get one 'good' post in a week ;o)

I have some good news for my weight chart that I hope to update and post shortly, I'm not gonna spill the beans just yet though :oP

Just in case anyone knows what happened to the British summer this summer please let me know?!?!? Something to do with one of the Nino's I expect 'El' or 'Al' - can never remember which is which.