I was recently asked the question, "How has the journey been so far?"
Well, it’s the beginning of April, so it’s been about three months since I started my journey here at DST.
I had no clue what I wanted to do with my degree after graduating from UTSA last December. A mutual friend introduced me to Dennis "DK" Koenck who told me that his company was looking for a business intern, so I applied and got an interview with Josh Graber, the Director of Business Operations. I showed up dressed as a business professional because this was my first big interview right out of college. I remember meeting Poppe (Kevin Poppe, Director of DST North) that day and him telling me "nice tie." Turns out, I was a little overdressed for the interview!
Beginning the new year, I was your stereotypical “new guy” at the company: a little shy, timid, and uncertain of myself. Eventually, I opened up and started to fit in nicely with the staff here. Since I played baseball in high school and club ball in college, I knew I should be working out, but I could never find the motivation to do so consistently. When I started working at DST, I knew that I should take advantage of what was in front of me: a top-class weight room, helpful trainers, and great motivation from the entire DST staff.
I started out using a generic program designed to get me moving and sweating. Then one day as Josh, Rachel (another business intern), and I were brainstorming during a meeting, we decided to challenge each other to a health and fitness competition utilizing the trainers we have on staff. Josh teamed up with Sammy, Rachel teamed up with Stephen, and I teamed up with Garrett. And thus, the DST Three Month Challenge was created. We would be competing against each other for three months to promote DST and our trainers. We were each assessed, took a BMI test, and all took before photos to compare when we’re done.
We decided we needed more than just pride on the line, though. The losing team has to bear the shame of singing karaoke in front of our summer camp -- Oh, and the other teams get to decide the song! If this wasn't going to motivate me, I don’t think anything would have!
So Garrett and I got to work. He built me a personalized training program along with a nutrition plan. He couldn’t stress enough to me that I needed to commit to the diet in order to thin down and get strong. So I did.
The first day I weighed in at 203 lbs, which is considered overweight for my height. I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me. The first day was honestly the toughest because I was extremely out of shape and I hadn’t trained hard in over five years! I was able to tough it out and finish the first week without actually dying. I can't even express to you how sore I was. When I got home that first night, I couldn’t get up from my chair without immediately falling back down. Day one was so bad my legs had given out on me!
Another surprise to me was just how hard it is to stay to a good diet! It’s tough to cook and eat as healthy as Garrett wants me to! My first time meal-prepping for the week took me over five hours to shop, chop, and cook all of my food. 5 weeks in, I’ve cut that down to 3 hours, which is a big difference.
Typical Day :
Breakfast Shake: 1 scoop of protein, a cup of strawberries, half a cup of blueberries, two cups of milk, and 5 macadamia nuts.
My first snack is an ounce of deer sausage, half an orange, and 15 cashews.
Lunch is a bag of frozen veggies (broccoli, water chestnuts, and carrots steamed), usually 5 ounces of chicken, a handful of grapes, a handful of carrots and a cup of strawberries.
My second snack of the day is the same as my first snack, 1 oz of deer meat, the other half of orange and 15 cashews.
Dinner is 5 ounces of meat, a cup of onions that I steam with 12 spears of asparagus, and a half cup of green peppers. A cup of strawberries or half a cup of watermelon and a handful of grapes with 25 peanuts or 15 almonds.
I’ve never had what you’d call a “healthy diet” so this was all very new to me, but it’s been a huge success so far.
So here we are, halfway through our challenge, and I feel great! My weight is down to 191, I've lost a little bit of my belly, my arms are toned again, and I haven't felt better since my senior year of high school. I’m motivated to stay active and competing against some pretty awesome people is motivation as well. With Josh already in good shape and Rachel just coming back from Iceland after playing professional soccer there, I knew this competition was going to be challenging, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I need Garrett to push me hard, but I also know I have to bust my butt to get on their level. You have to be resilient and relentless if you want to be successful, and this challenge has definitely tested me on that.
The Lateral Med Ball T-Position Throw is the second exercise in our T-Position progression with our athletes. The concept is the same: to coordinate the body to be more explosive in rotation, load it. However, the amount of rotation is over a longer arc than the linear position, resulting in higher speeds and more force that must be absorbed.
THE SET UP
The athlete will set their feet wider than shoulder width and perpendicular to the wall with knees bent.
The elbow should be up and in line with the ball on the driving arm.
Fingers turned up toward the sky.
The ball should be at or just under chin height (shot put).
The athlete will rock back (limited rotation) to the side of the drive arm.
Spending as little time as possible at the end of the load, the athlete should rotate to throw the ball violently against a wall (think start throwing the ball before the load is able to stop).
Let your body follow through in rotation. If you catch the ball off the wall, back up and let it bounce to you.
Make sure that the athlete's head stays with the back hip. Often times, athletes want to lead with their head which results in poor rotational mechanics. That isn’t to say that there is no forward movement. As the hips move into the front leg, the head just rides the back hip. Focus on firming up the front leg for maximal power output.
Plyometrics involve repetitive power jumping with quick force production. When muscles lengthen, then immediately shorten, they provide maximal power for an athlete. Plyometrics are an ideal style of training for athletes looking to improve speed and power with varied intensities. When you immediately follow an eccentric contraction with concentric, or “muscle-shortening” contraction, your muscle produces a greater force. This is called the “stretch-shortening cycle.”So that all sounds like something a basketball player would benefit from, right? They need to be powerful and explosive when skying for a rebound, contesting a jump shot or even shooting from 3-point range. This is all true. However, basketball players get the plyometric training they need while playing their sport, so extra plyometric training in the weight room isn't necessary. More does not equal better in this instance.
Okay, so how do you fix this? Easy - practice variations. Two variations to work on are the snatch pull from the floor and the high snatch working into the catch as shown in the video. Now get to work!!
Everything athletes do - from training, to sleeping, to what they are putting in their body - are all small, important pieces to a much bigger puzzle. One vital piece is nutrition and with this month's Trigger Focus being Nutrient Density, I figured I'd address an important question: "Are all calories created equally?" The simple answer is, of course, no. To explain why, I did a comparison case study on what 3,000 calories looks like: healthy, nutrient-dense foods vs. a beloved fast food chain that starts with a 'W' and ends with 'hataburger.'
“ Don’t talk to me about recovery when you're living out of a fast food window .”
I can still hear my collegiate strength coach telling me this as though it was yesterday. He was right, my nutrition habits were trash; I was so used to eating whatever I wanted because I was young, so I thought my body could handle it. I can probably count on one hand how many of us even knew the term ‘nutrient density’ let alone what it meant. So today we are going to EQUIP you with this knowledge.
Simply stated, nutrient density means how many nutrients you get from a food, given the number of calories it contains. A.K.A getting the “biggest bang for your buck”. Why is nutrient density so helpful? Because it gives you concentrated amounts of valuable nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, essential fatty acids, and phytonutrients , to name a few. Adequate consumption of foods high in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals is essential for a healthy immune system and for empowering your body’s detoxification and cellular repair mechanisms. This helps protect you from cancer and other diseases. Nutrient-dense foods also provide necessary micronutrients - which are highly overlooked - that are important co-factors in reactions that produce growth, repair tissues, and increase oxygen transport. Being deficient in this will negatively affect performance and could keep you from reaching your athletic potential.
Now let me show you the difference. 3,000 calories at Whataburger looks something like this: