On The Weight Cut.

May 16, 2016

Last year at Nationals, the first under my new Occam banner, I competed as a Super-heavyweight.  This year, I competed as a 94.  As you can imagine, I’ve had to field a lot of questions about my opinion on weight cuts, weight classes and my own personal experience.

So I guess I should start at the beginning.  I weighed 275lbs by the time I was 17.  Yes, I lifted weights and I played football and by most standards I could’ve been considered “athletic” but I was still morbidly obese.  By my 18th birthday, I trimmed down to 215.  I found wrestling and I graduated high school weighing 205lbs.

That was around 11 years ago.  For the majority of my weightlifting career since then, I’ve maintained around 235lbs and competed as a 105kg lifter.  That was the case until around 2011 when I decided to purposely put on weight to see how strong I could get.  By 2013, I weighed 126kg/286lbs.  I could squat 285kg but my lifts didn’t improve as much as you would think.  As it turns out, I was too fat to move athletically.  I cleaned up my diet and sat around 265lbs as a comfortable super.

Work and life became stressful and for the first time in my life, I lost my appetite.  I would come home from work and genuinely would not be able to eat dinner.  So I decided to run with it and cleaned up my diet even more. Around this time, I got hooked up with Forklifter, a meal prep company.  So it was definitely way easier to stay clean and healthy during the week.

It wasn’t until I opened up Occam Athletics, my own business that I decided I would be better off as both an athlete and businessman being leaner and healthier.  So I really tightened up my diet and competed as a 105 by fall of last year.  The American Open was my first national meet back as a 105.

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Peak fatness VS. Peak skinniness.  One of these physiques will do fine in the fitness industry and one will not.   

This month, I hit a 320 total as a 94.  My best ever total is 333 as a 105 so I’m not too far off.  The only real difference I can feel is my squat strength.  Realistically, it terms of being the most powerful lifter I can be, I’d be a 105.  But I’m closing the gap as a 94 and at this weight I get to buy pants off the rack.

As far as actual CUTTING methods, I tell people to never cut more than 3-5%.  I cut around 8% at the PWA Championships (my first meet as a 94) and around 5% at Nationals.  But I’ve been competing in weight class sports for 1/2 my life.

Would I recommend it? No.  And if you want further discussion about my methods, I can certainly write a post about it.  But I still maintain that you should never try and lose more than 3-5%.

And furthermore, you shouldn’t even be worried about weight class until you, yourself could potentially either a) qualify for nationals or b) medal at nationals.  Unless you are one of these two people, you have not earned the right to be concerned about cutting weight.  Your one and only job is to get stronger and healthier. (i’m of course not talking about international caliber lifters).

So there you have it.  My thoughts on losing weight for weightlifting.  I’m of course coming towards the end of the road as a National caliber lifter, so my strategy is going to be different from the guy brand new to the national scene.  If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask in the comments section.

 

As I sat in the Kansas City Airport eating what must assuredly be the worst pastrami sandwich of my adult life, I finely found time for some self reflection; time to understand what a transformative experience I had just went through. As I sat in the Kansas city Airport eating the the worst pastrami sandwich I’ve had since 4th grade, I began to understand the depth of what I’ve been missing in my life and what I have to look forward to once this sandwich is eaten; banished to the depths so that it can no longer infect the world with it’s presence. It was a poor excuse for sandwich if I’ve ever seen one; possessing the minimum requirements of what could be considered a hand held vessel for meat consumption but without the soul required to satisfy discerning palettes.

I’m 28 now. Young enough to be at a station where it’s ok to still not have a finite plan together but old enough to know that there are consequences to every decision we make in this life; old enough to know that the cost of every decision is far too great to quantify. Time isn’t money. Time is life. It’s the only thing we really own before we return as dust. My sister just had a kid. I’m flying home from a wedding I was graciously invited to be in as a groomsman. Sitting in the Kansas City airport eating a vile excuse for a sandwich is somehow personally significant. It’s the first time since 2012 I’ve taken 4 consecutive days off from work for a non-work related trip; Not for the sandwich of course but for the wedding.

That in itself was a hard realization. The past 3 years have taught me much. But they’ve cost me just as much. If you re-read the paragraph above and interpret time as the only true currency, then consider me bankrupt. I’ve spent it all chasing dreams and unicorns. I’ve spent it turning this thing from a hobby to an obsession to a bonafide job. My church is now my office. In the past I’ve looked to nature for short jaunts away from my day to day. Self reflection had become a top priority. In my mind, it was the only legitimate reason I would need an escape. I am an exceptionally brief person by nature, so the last thing I considered as a means of self refection would be to surround myself with other people. People I don’t know. People who are not the gym. I never thought that my buddy’s wedding in Kansas City and the sandwich that followed would be the catalyst that would allow me to truly look inward.

What do you get when you try and photograph one collegiate strength coach, one private strength and conditioning coach and one weightlifting coach?  Not a lot of room for anything else.

What do you get when you try and photograph one collegiate strength coach, one private strength and conditioning coach and one weightlifting coach? Not a lot of room for anything else.

I learned a few things this weekend:

1) The longer I chase this thing, and by “this thing” I mean the last 2-3 years of my high level athletic career, the more it will “cost” me personally.

2) I have a profound need for self validation at the end of all this. No one will truly care how far I get, at least as much as I do. But still I NEED to get to the end and tell myself it was worth it. In my mind, I think that’s getting a medal at Nationals or the American Open. I’ll know for sure after one of those things happen.

3) After it’s over, I’m going to be ok. I shove a lot of my basic needs on the back burner so I can focus on the day to day grind. I love it. I thrive on it. It completes me. But someday soon, I’m going to go on that extra long hike or that trip across Europe or pick up martial arts and rock climbing again or get a dog or move in with a girl. I see the light at the end of the tunnel and honestly it looks pretty good.

4) Weightlifting will always be a part of my life. After all, I’ve always identified more with Obi Wan Kenobi than Luke Skywalker . . . Han Solo too but that’s a different story.

5) I don’t have an excuse to not succeed. Neither do you if you think about it.

6) One day, I’m going to buy my own cat. In 2014, I realized that I spent my entire life not knowing that I liked them. He’s going to be a fat, furry, gnarly looking asshole.

My fellow man taught me a lot this weekend. I met the families and I was accepted as one of their own for a whole weekend, all because I love Nate. A few closing thoughts before I get on this plane: visit Kansas City if you get the chance, go to Arthur Bryants and order the burnt ends. Follow your bliss but never forget that you need at least a few other people to share that bliss with. If you set your eyes on a goal, go forth and fucking destroy it. If it’s worth your time, it’s worth your effort too.

This post is dedicated to Nate and Ryann and the awful, self reflective sandwich that followed a wonderful weekend with your family. For reference, Nate and I are exactly the same age, we have similar jobs but for as many similarities we share, we share just as many differences. I’ve learned a lot about myself from our friendship as you can probably gather.

Burnt Ends.

April 27, 2015

Saturday wrapped up the longest stretch of consecutive coaching/work days of my career.  4 weeks by my estimation.  Worth it?  Most certainly.  I started lifting weights as a sport 10 years ago.  I never thought it would take me here.  That being said, If you know and are friends with me on a personal level, I owe you both a congratulations and an apology.  I don’t think I’ve willingly or been happy about answering my phone for at least the last 3 weeks.

Young strength coaches or trainers,  find balance.  Like me, you might find yourself with a few hours of actual free time on your hands only to find that you have no one to spend it with.  All your friends will have given up.

I’d now like to share with you a picture of personal significance to me.

I spent MANY years trying to find my way out of the classroom.  It looks a lot different from this angle.

I spent MANY years trying to find my way out of the classroom. It looks a lot different from this angle.

One thing that they don’t tell you about getting into the strength and conditioning or general fitness field is the amount of time that you will be spending doing work related things OTHER than coaching at the gym.  More often than not, training will be the first thing to suffer.  You’d think that working at a gym means unlimited gym time with your mental state complexly focused on your sport goals.  That might be true for the first couple years while you’re building your base (and are poor) but when you finely find yourself with your feet underneath you, you will also find your church has been turned into your office; albeit the COOLEST office ever.

The photo pictured above is taken from the NSCA Norcal State Clinic.  I was lucky enough to be one of the featured speakers.  For me, this represented a personal milestone.  This is the first crowd that I came in contact with in 2005 that actually KNEW about Olympic weightlifting.  I can remember eagerly walking into the CSUS weight room and some of the masters kinesiology students were in there practicing their lifts or getting ready for competition.  These were my first weightlifting heroes.  Some of those people were actually present this day when I spoke and it gave me a special feeling of closure re-meeting these people; this time on the professional level.

A final closing thought: The grind IS worth it.  Just make sure that by the time you’re done grinding, you have a plan for the future and people to spend it with.

A Few Stats for You.

October 27, 2014

Here’s a few starts that I learned and found interesting while pursuing my degree in exercise science.  I’d first like to preface this by saying that this was information that was presented to me probably around 5 years ago at this point which for me makes it OLD information. If you were to research the topic (actual research. Not google or wikipedia.) these stats might have changed or have been found to be untrue.  I don’t have access to Pubmed (ya know . . . one of those places where you find ACTUAL articles) or anything like that anymore so if you’re interested enough to find information that is different, feel free to post a comment.

Stat #1)

It (usually) takes around 10 years to peak in a sport.  

This is something that I think of often.  It gives me perspective and my newbies find it particularly annoying whenever I bring it up.  One thing I will say is that the most talented people that I teach or know will rise to the top significantly faster than a regular person (like myself).  Jake, my 19 year old newbie, was taking and missing attempts at a 135 snatch last Friday.  I think it took me at least 3 years to finally pass 130 on the snatch.  This makes a) Jake an asshole.  b) him more talented than me.  BUT . . . and this is a huge BUT.  No matter how talented an athlete, they still have to go through that initial learning curve.  Jake will simply be doing it with heavier weights than I did.  Also, I’ve seen firsthand a lot of talented lifters rise (close) to the top at an exceptionally fast rate but then begin to burn out or get funny once things stop going their way or go through their first real “funk” with the lifts.  A funk is a period of time where a lifter will have trouble hitting near max attempts and will have trouble making it click.  Most newbies will begin to get frustrated after a few weeks of this.  My newbies will find it particularly annoying when I bring up the fact that they don’t even KNOW what a funk is until they’ve experienced one for upwards of a few months or even a year.  Just sayin.’  The law of diminishing returns is a tough pill to swallow.  Progress with weightlifting is cyclical; everything you take you gotta give back . . . Then work hard to get it again plus that 1% that keeps us coming back.

Stat #2)

The majority of people who lose a significant amount of bodyfat will gain it back (and more) within a span of 5 years.  

I’ve observed this one both with myself and others who fit this description.  When I was 18, I went from 270 to a svelte 205.  Oh yeah.  From that point on, I remained a comfortable 105kg (230lbs) until I decided I didn’t care about weight classes in 2010 and slowly drifted up to a whopping 280lbs in 2012.  I now sit comfortably at 245 and plan to eventually get back down to 230 at some point.  I’ll probably post a before and after pic once I do make that jump.  I work in the fitness industry where people care what your body looks like even if I don’t.  I’d need to find a new job if I didn’t acknowledge that.

The point of telling you all this is that I may have beat the curve by 2 years but it for the most part was true; granted gaining more weight was a conscious choice.  What this means for me in the future is that I’ll have to be even more carful about what I eat once I pass 30 years old (and beyond).  Once the body hits a certain bodyweight, it is set to maintain that bodyweight.  So to all you hardgainers out there stuffing your face.  Be careful because you might get what you wish for.

I might come off kind of harsh in this post.  But I guarantee that if you are new to the weightlifting scene and are legitimately interested in the sport, I have your best interest at heart.  There are more people doing snatches and clean and jerks now than when I started competing 9 years ago.  Some of these people do it because they like the lifts but like general fitness more and some of them will be drawn to the sport itself.  This post is directed to those who are interested in competing but are too intimidated to try.

My advice is this:

1) Find a coach.  A real weightlifting coach.  One who actually knows how to prepare you for a contest.

2) Don’t be a coward.

3) Stop caring so much.

Coming back to the first point.  I know plenty of people (some who call themselves weightlifting coaches) who can lift weights well enough themselves but know precisely dick about competing in an actual contest much less coaching others to and through a contest.  I might be able to throw a ball 100 mph, but that has no bearing in my ability to make other people throw 100 mph or more importantly PLAY BASEBALL GAMES.  Weightlifting is a game.  To play it, you must know the rules and the finer points of competition.  The more you (and your coach) know, the less afraid you will be to step up to the plate . . . er . . . I mean platform.

As far as the second point is concerned, it’s pretty self explanatory.  You might be able to clean and jerk 60lbs.  You might be able to clean and jerk 360lbs.  Cool.  How well can you display your skill set on the platform?  Can you go 4/6.  6/6?  Can you make your lifts look good or does your 360lb clean look like a train wreck carrying a cargo full of dogshit?  Test yourself.  Compare yourself first to yourself.  Then maybe in a few years, start comparing yourself to others.  Show people how well you know how to lift.

Coming back to the third point, I’ve been competing in weightlifting for 9 years.  NINE.  There might be a handful of people on this earth that can recall a specific performance of mine from last year much less a few years back.  Not one of these people care whether I took first or last place in the Golden West Open in 2007.  Heck, I don’t even care.  All I care about is progress. As long as I keep making progress, I win.  It’s no different then signing up for a rec softball league.  Your kid can put on a uniform and play ball.  You should be able to do it too.

OK, I’m done.  After saying all that, I will also say that I am FOR unsanctioned weightlifting meets run by qualified people to have experience running real meets.  It’s a great way to get people in the door and a certain percentage of people will leave hungry for the real thing.

Today might be the first day in 6 months that I sat down and sketched just for the hell of it. Well, that’s actually a half truth because I’m working on a couple different art projects for people but step one to working on an art project is practicing your craft. Once I start laying some stuff down on paper without having to think about it, then I’ll start thinking about my projects at hand. It’s very similar to weightlifting in that respect. Your best friend in both discipline is getting reps in. Overeagerness to create something for someone else is like loading 10kg onto your max after taking a week off. The end result is not a good one.

Someone asked me the other day what I do with my time after a big meet. I responded “as little as possible.” Realistically I like to reevaluate my progress for the year and catch up on other parts of my life that I’ve been missing out on or just outright neglecting. I’ll be taking reps again by the end of the week but I now have the mental and emotional facilities to actually care about other parts of my life. I want to go outside. Go to shows. Draw some pictures and drink a few PBRs (or a better beer. Don’t judge me.)

Looking back at all the progress I’ve made since last year at nationals, I’m actually amazed that after close to 9 years of doing this, I still make progress. I’ve always been slow to mature. No exaggeration, I don’t think I hit puberty at least until Junior year of high school. I’ve seen this in other part of my life as well, relationships, academics, sports. Years later, I might look back at something and finally consider, “Oh I was the asshole.” Why should weightlifting be any different? Coaching has certainly turned my weightlifting career around for the better. THIS year (nationals to nationals) has been the most productive year EVER in my weightlifting career. If only I could’ve talked to myself years ago. My shins wouldn’t be so scarred, my hair would be longer and legs thicker.

For years my white whale was to get 150/180. And now that I’ve got it (more or less) I really believe I got what it takes for 160/190. My snatch is pretty much on point. If you look back on video of me from the past, you can see how much different my technique is. Much smoother, much cleaner. I’ve got to do the same for my clean and jerk this year. I was taking huge attempts in February/March. It will take me a little bit before I figure out what I was doing right but I’m confident that when I do the results will be similar to my progress with the snatch this training year.

Check out how raw my technique was just a few years ago.

For now, I’d like to lose a little weight. Last year at this time, I took off about 25lbs and did a great job of maintaining around 115kg pr pretty much the whole year. I’d like to get down to 110kg this year and then hover between 110-115 simply because I feel healthier and better. This is about as super as I need to be. I know because at one time I weighed 126kg and it didn’t really help my lifting. I take it as a personal offense when newbies play the super card as an excuse to be obese. If you have been competitively lifting weights for less than 3-4 years then you have no excuse to sacrifice your health.

On the subject of free time, I’ll be checking out YOB this friday. Check out the song below, it was one track from like 2011 that got me into listening to heavy music again. The rhythmic plodding and slow laboring march of the guitar riff wasn’t something I had found personally attractive to this extent before. But for some reason this song just pulled me right in.

Cupcake: Cup-cake.  Verb.

Definition: to be unfocused on the task at hand.  Wasting time.  

Example: You would rather cupcake on the foam roller for 45 minutes than make three singles at your 90%.  

I hate to be the guy on the internet that reminisces about high school athletics.  It makes this post seem more tragic than anything else.  But do you remember the guy that was consistently late to football practice?  I mean he knew that he had to be at practice dressed in uniform at 3:29 on the dot.  And he also knew the whole team had to do up-downs (burpees) if he was late.  But even still you would see him chatting up Sally Sue in the hallway at 3:21 as you were jogging your ass to practice on time like a sensible athlete.  That’s cupcaking.

(Edit:  I also coached high school athletics for several years.  Cupcaking was not tolerated.)

Cupcaking is taking a 60 minute workout and stretching it to two hours.  It’s doing a bunch of erroneous stretches and foam rolling every 5 mins because your glute medius is super tight, bro.  Cupcaking is missing your attempts because your more concerned on whatever else is going on that isn’t your workout.  That’s why I’ve got a strict no-cupcaking policy on my team.

MMMM… COOKIE-err… I mean CUPCAKES.

 

I already know what you’re thinking.  It’s supposed to be fun.

I agree.  But do you know what my idea of a good time is?  Making my 90%s.  Having focused and productive workouts.  And that’s the attitude that I like to perpetuate to my team.  There seems to be this opposing attitude where you’re not supposed to take this stuff too seriously.  It’s just working out.  It doesn’t change anything or benefit anyone but yourself.  And while that may be true, it’s also OK TO TAKE YOURSELF SERIOUSLY.  I mean, fitness costs a lot of money and it’s a major time commitment.  Heck, life commitment.  Why not take it seriously?

Relax.  Have fun.  Get excited about training and be silly when it’s appropriate.  But never underestimate the importance of the training environment.  It’s everything.  And for all you coaches out there, it’s up to you to make sure that the training environment is conducive to lifting big weights.

So early on this year, I made a commitment to un-frumpify (I’m officially coining this term) myself and try to reach out into the fitness community.  I used to make a greater effort to get out and meet different fitness people and do fun workout play dates.  It was fun.  I’d be at a different Crossfit box every weekend trying to establish myself as “that guy” when it comes to weightlifting.  Over the years, I’ve gotten so focused on building myself and my team at home base that I’ve lost that drive to basically go out and meet people.  Establish connections.  Make friends.  And that stuff is important because as it turns out, Olympic weightlifting now has a recognizable foothold in the general fitness community and it’s up to the younger generations to un-frumpify our beloved fringe sport and show people how beautiful it is.

Let’s be real here, there’s a reason that weightlifting had been shoved into the dark fringe sport closet along with all the other unappealing sports.  Think about how many differences there are between weightlifting and powerlifting.  How about bodybuilding?  How about yoga? Running on a treadmill.  There’s just not a whole lot of common ground.  In fact, a lot of effort had been placed BY WEIGHTLIFTERS on how different we are from all other things weight related.  I’m guilty of that more than most.  2005.  18 year old Ben is at a party and has to explain on four different occasions (to four different young ladies) that he doesn’t actually bench press.  That he doesn’t have a “back and bicep day.”  Literally for years I would refuse to do ANY upper body whatsoever besides pull-ups because I was so focused on how different weightlifting is than just lifting weights at a conventional gym.

I got over it.  I got off my high horse.  I’ll bench once every three months so I can load up 315 and say “yep, still got it, BROTHER”  But more than that, I’ve just stopped caring so much what people think weightlifting is.  The rise of functional fitness and the company, Crossfit, has definitely helped with this.  27 year old Ben can now go to a party (LOL when was the last time I went to a party?) and I won’t even have to explain what weightlifting is.  That in itself is amazing.  And when I tell people that I’m a weightlifting coach and my job is to give people progress in the snatch and clean and jerk, people have an idea of what that might entail.  So back to my un-frumpication process.

"Hey, girl.  You like doing 7 sets of 1 at 85%?"

“Hey, girl. You like doing drop sets of paused snatches after going for a daily max”

I began taking steps this year to reach out and meet as many people as possible in the fitness community.  I began doing things like giving free seminars and going to dinners and workshops with the intention of building weightlifting in Sacramento, solidifying my place as a respected weightlifting coach and improving my communication skills.  Admittedly, I am somewhat introverted, so it’s not like my idea of a good time is going out and meeting new people.  But hey, as it turns out being a good communicator is being a good coach.  Who would’ve thought?

So I challenged myself.  I got out there and that’s how I met a few very awesome, very special people from Lululemon and I’m proud to say that I’m now an ambassador for Lululemon in Sacramento.  What that means, I honestly am not quite sure.  But I think it means I continue doing my part as an ambassador for weightlifting, build connections and continue my journey reaching out to different areas of the fitness community.  I’m motivated more than ever to make and surpass goals, build up my team and take them to the national level and to make connections with others both within my sport and outside of it.  Plus now I’ll dress better.  In the gym anyways; because I’m still gonna be that guy at the metal show rocking the Canadian cut-off tuxedo.

Speaking of style, when I think of weightlifting style, I always make the connection to those tapered leg Adidas soccer pants.  I mean, up until around 2010, that was THE uniform for weightlifters.  If you were the one dude at a national meet that wasn’t wearing Adidas soccer pants, well . . . you probably weren’t in the A session.  Just sayin.’  So for that reason, my old torn up Adidas pants will always hold a special place in my heart (even though I wasn’t even an A session lifter until last year).  So maybe it’s time for something new.  Weightlifting has changed since 2005 and so have I.  Maybe it’s time I change my pants too.

The Kevin Open.

March 10, 2014

Yesterday was the final day of the Hassle Free Invitational (AKA The Kevin Open) in Foster City.  I sent most of my people down there and I’m pleased to say, WE LOOK GOOD.  I’ve got an awesome group I’m working with right now that’s got a bunch of people not quite at that national level, but getting there quick.  I love the training environment.  Minimal cupcaking.  Maximal competitive spirit.  I’m proud of my team.  And I’m proud of my gym.  I got a bunch of video from this weekend, so I’ll probably post up a video with commentary sometime this week.

The BEST meets have the venue within the hotel.

Fact: The BEST meets have the venue within the hotel.

 

The meet itself was a class act.  The Doherty brothers are a shining example of proactive coaches that are capable of hosting such an event.  Not all clubs need to host big super-meets like this one.  It’s not lucrative and for the most part not worth it.  But Hassle Free has been an institution of the weightlifting community for some time now and I’m glad that there are coaches out there who (on top of the obvious goal of producing lifters) have the secondary goal of moving the sport forward.  Younger generations are doing their part as well, like the boys from Caffeine and Kilos.  One of most exciting events from last year was the weightlifting meet that they hosted in tandem with a Crossfit event.  The future of weightlifting is looking bright and I’m glad to be a part of it.

I’m going to go on a brief rant on nutrition and it will probably be the only one I ever do because unlike many people working in the fitness industry, I still have respect for actual professionals who went to school to study specific things like nutrition.  As a weightlifting coach, I automatically fall under the wishy washy, sensationalist money machine that is the fitness industry and I have to do my best to work within certain confines set by the industry.  Lucky for me, weightlifting is actually in vogue (or at least way more so than back in 2005).  Thank you functional fitness.  Thank you to the company, Crossfit.  I can now go in public, tell people that I’m a weightlifter and 3/10 people will actually have a rough idea of what that entails.  You have no idea how frustrated 18 year old Ben was when he had to describe to people how he spent his time.  Eventually, I just gave up and started telling people that I bench 505 because what difference does it make.  Without any frame of reference for what weightlifting actually is, it’s like trying to speak Mayan to a bunch of Spaniards (I can only assume).  What I’m getting at is the fitness industry is incredibly frustrating for a number of reasons and I often feel like a frumpy curmudgeon when trying to preach common sense over sensationalist, black and white approaches to all things fitness.  “This good.  This bad” simply does not work for me and leaves me with the desire to flip over tables in frustration.

The latest personal insult to common sense that I unfortunately read was an “article” warning people about the dangers of sugar.  First of all, just because somebody somewhere wrote something and posted it on the always viable internet, it in no way shape or form makes it an article.  You know those “such and such reasons why you should such and such”  posts? Yeah, I’ll take one look at the title and automatically file in the “not viable” category of all the other random stuff I see thrown around the internet.  Hey, your results may vary.  I’m not saying stuff written like that is automatically untrue, I’m just saying that if I was a researcher who actually went to grad school so I could publish a peer reviewed study and have it carry weight, I would be offended that people read those and throw them in the same category as my work.  But that’s a different issue and I’m sure there are a bunch of people that would disagree with me.

Sugar is not bad.  Sugar is sugar.  Just like meat is meat and water is water.  Are there healthy sources vs. non-healthy sources?  Sure.  Are most people consuming too much and from non-healthy sources?  Probably.  And most people could do with more exercise too.  But the fact of the matter is that sugar is your body’s preferred energy source and when you don’t eat it, your body goes through the extra effort to make it.  I, myself limit how much sugar and carbohydrates I consume (for the most part) because I have put myself on a “weight management” diet and putting my body in a state of ketosis (for the most part) works best for my lifestyle.  Does that interfere with my performance goals?  Maybe, somewhat.  But honestly, I can’t really tell the difference most of the time except my body won’t hold as much water.  But notice how I said “weight management” vs. “performance” or “healthy lifestyle” diet.  The goal is very important in what is considered “good” vs. ‘bad.”  So are things like potatoes and fruit inherently “bad?”  No.  They’re goddamn potatoes and fruit.  But they will play a different part or perhaps no part in your diet depending on your body and specific goals.  I think we can all agree that things like soda or poptarts are not inherently “good” for us.  But what are you gonna do?  You’ve already been conditioned to like that stuff.  Are you just going to pretend like it doesn’t exist?  That shit is delicious and I for one like to indulge every now and then.  I mean, I can tell when I’ve overdone it on the junk food.  Can you?  Are you gonna go over to grandma’s and NOT eat a piece of that pie that she spent all day baking?  I’m just saying,  common sense is always the best diet.

Alright.  I’m done.

For the record.  I am NOT a diet expert.  I had to take nutrition in college but they were still on that 90’s low fat kick.  I grew up a fat kid until I discovered the joys of pushing my body though sport and exercise.  I purposely bulked myself up to a whopping 126kg last year because I thought it would help my weightlifting goals (I hover around a comfortable 115 now).  I don’t think it did but now I know better.