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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Finding the right balance

Last night (Wednesday, January 9, 2013) at my hockey game,  I had high hopes for a brisk workout so that I could make my end goal for the week, weight wise. Monday had gone well, I played a tough game and got the workout I wanted. I was very sore on Tuesday, and woke up still tired and a bit sore Wednesday morning. But, in my world, no pain, no gain. The end justifies the means. 
Back in September, when I began to slowly edge towards better eating and exercise habits, I felt certain that I would be much farther ahead than I am now. In hindsight, my approach at that time was poor. 
In my second game of the year I felt I was in good enough shape to give a max effort and shed some serious pounds. That didn't happen. Here's why.
One of my significant, overt changes this year is to stop drinking the high sugar fruit drinks (the concentrated frozen ones) that I had started to drink to replace my penchant for binging on Coke, Cream Soda, Dr. Pepper and the like. That was probably more healthy, but in no way were less calories. So, I went back to the soda, because frankly, drinking water is not something that placates me. I need some taste. So, I tried Coke Zero. I was skeptical, because I would actually rather drink water than have Diet Coke,  which is the worst crap ever invented. But I liked Coke Zero enough that I could treat it like water. Some taste, zero calories and the weight was coming off, very fast. 
Except that I forgot one thing. Coke Zero does have zero calories. So, while I had that full feeling I didn't have the energy level I wanted. That became obvious right away at my hockey game. I arrived and felt full enough. But as I went out for the first faceoff I felt like I was going to faint. I simply had no energy in me. I didn't faint. I wasn't truly that bad. But if felt like that. At one point, I thought I would leave the game after a shift and go buy a chocolate bar. I had that feeling you get when you are just about out of gas and you step on the accelerator.  You only get air and you start to sputter. You know you are just moments from a complete stop. I didn't go, and I got by,  but I remembered it and always make sure to bring something in case I need it now.
I thought about it later, after the game, which I made it through. I had been drinking Coke Zero and eating only very low calorie fruit for the previous 10 to 12 hours. I had no energy to play the game. I had it backwards. The goal is to burn energy during the game. Not have no energy to play the game and burn stored energy. That simply will not work.
Last night, I had the opposite problem. I had the energy. That is because I drank a lot of chocolate milk right before the game and had a few bags of light potato chips way too close to the game. So, I had the energy, but I felt weighed down and could not run. At all. I got by on my skill level, but I didn't get the workout I wanted. Again, I had it backwards. I had lots of energy, but I was not able to burn it off and get a net gain. I had fun playing, but I was wasting my time going for a workout I could not get.
To play sports at any high intensity level, you need to have energy at your immediate disposal. You also need to be light on your feet and not weighed down in your stomach. This is the same logic they use when they tell you not to eat before going swimming or running.
It is all about timing and balance.
In life, I think you learn from your mistakes and by observation. And also by trying to figure out what you did and why it didn't work the way you had hoped it would.
I need energy before the game. I need to feel light enough to use it. So,  the common sense approach is to find that amount of time before the game where I can achieve both those objectives. By my experience, eating a full meal anywhere before 3 hours prior to a game is likely to weigh you down. As well, if you don't eat something light in bulk but high in calories right before the game you will not have the energy and power you need.
Therefore, Coke Zero is out prior to the game. One, small and high calorie chocolate bar 30 minutes prior to the game is what I need. That has worked before and usually does. Eating potato chips does not.
After the game, I have a different issue. I have incredible hunger right after the game, mostly because I have burned so many calories. Being that I don't need to expend energy after the game, the first thing to have is Coke Zero and then maybe half a bag of potato chips. Eating 2 whole bags of chips, and drinking a large 2 litre Regular Coke just defeats what I have just accomplished. It adds back what I just spent 2 hours working off.
Part of life is also checks and balances. Making alterations and amendments to your routine. Finding that right balance that works in all situations is what makes you successful, or not successful in achieving your goals.        
Lesson learned. Hopefully.

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