The first tip is the easiest one to give and feel positive most everyone will follow – as a goalie, it's probably not a good idea to dive head-first into a bunch of athlete's feet to grab a soccer ball. Trust me, it's a bad idea. Ouch. While I didn't get knocked out, I did *really* get my bell rung which resulted in quite a “stinger” and some additional damage to my already messed-up left rotator cuff. What's a stinger? In football, you hear this from time-to-time, and the announcers will usually say “he's just got a stinger, and should be back soon” but it sucks – and though I did play the rest of the game (not all that particularly well, mind you) I'm still feeling the effects 24 hours later. Here's a layman's definition courtesy ofeorthopod.com:

Injury to the nerves of the neck and shoulder that cause a burning or stinging feeling are called burners or stingers. Another name for this type of nerve injury is brachial plexus injury. Football players are affected most often. Up to half of all college football players have had at least one burner or stinger.

24 hours later, and 3 fingers on my left hand are still tingling, so excuse any typos. The bigger issue for me is damaging an already messed-up left rotator cuff that I messed up building an obstacle with Adrian & Brad at OCR Warrior San Antonio back when Atlas Race still existed. I fell off a 6-foot high barrel (making them spin was a very, very bad idea) and landed directly on my shoulder, tearing the heck out of my rotator cuff, and I'm lucky Vincent Antunez from Trail Toes is an EMT & combat medic to check me out. This all brings me to my bigger point (said in Roger Murtaugh's (Danny Glover) best Lethal Weapon voice:

That being said and dramatic movie reference and injuries aside, I love this stuff – activity, sports, competition, obstacle racing, etc. – and sometimes injuries and setbacks are part of the price. Injuries that piled up over the past couple years have all been a result of my own choices, so I have no one to blame but myself; and feeling sorry for not being 100% is what got my body to where I am right now, carrying around an extra 10 or so pounds for no good reason.

Modifying Plans to Meet Goals – and Streaking

In business or politics, a “pivot” is required when elements change, and you need to adapt your plan to the new environment to keep moving forward. With my shoulder out of action for the next week or so, I'm going to put aside the Ripped exercise program for now and run more – a lot more over the next 3 weeks remaining in the SmashPlan. I'm actually more than a little excited about this, and my plan is to start a “streak” of running at least 1 mile every day for the foreseeable future.

Since I'll still be burning around the same amount of calories/day, I'll be keeping the nutrition plan the same, with (2) SmashPacks/day, salad, protein, and some healthy snacks.

SmashPlan So Far

While I've surely had a few moments of temptation, overall the nutritional program has been very easy to follow. I'm a fan of SmashPack's flavors & coconut creme consistency, the no-drip container makes it a no-brainer to enjoy a little and toss on my desk or even a cup holder while driving. The big surprise is how filling one pack can be, at 180 calories it's a light “meal replacement” while it seems to be more filling than a shake or a smoothie due to the fiber. I really love the convenience of grabbing a SmashPack on the go to bring Vivi to school or head off to a meeting, and it makes it easy to have one in a backpack or the car to enjoy when my timer goes off. Yes, I'm still using the timer tip/trick for my meals & snacks, and you should too. Speaking of tips, I have another one that has really worked for me in the past and I've used this past week – timing.

I've adjusted my morning timer a little bit by pushing breakfast off until 11am, meaning I still haven't broken my roughly 15-hour fast from around 8pm the night before – aside from a couple cups of black coffee. Jason Warner introduced me to the concept when we were researching 7 Weeks to Getting Ripped and I'd gotten away from it for a while though now remember how well it worked. I feel way more focused heading into the afternoon by having my first meal later in the morning, and most importantly am not craving food right after lunch before and after my 3pm snack.

Wait, that doesn't seem to make any sense – by “pushing back” breakfast to 11am, I feel *less* hungry? Well, yes, and here's a very brief and non-technical overview of “intermittent fasting”: Once you go to sleep, your body's systems will (under the right conditions, remember, this is just a simple overview) slowly begin to burn a higher percentage of fat for energy, and extending this fast while you are awake helps to lengthen this process or “fat-burning window” right up until you eat. It's not magic, and varies for each person. That being said, if you extend it too far, the results diminish and fasting too long can result in low energy and lower performance. From my on experience, if I eat breakfast early (especially one with a disproportionate amount of carbs like oatmeal) and don't exercise to burn all those calories off, I'm hungry all day long and will want to eat non-stop. Quite simply, I've found this to be true: if I eat carbs early in the morning, I crave carbs ALL DAY.

Making Progress!

I haven't jumped on a scale yet, and honestly I really don't measure weight changes during a program*; I can tell whether it's working by how I look in the mirror and feel – and isn't that really what any nutrition & fitness plan is all about? Now, I do feel it is a good idea to have a rough idea where you're at, and I'm happy to feel fired up & mentally clear, and also thrilled that my belly looks a little flatter each day. Cutting the food & booze intake surely shows. I'm extremely happy to get back into eating healthier and incorporating more activity into each day – I hope you are too!

*Regarding “weight” early on in a program: I bumped into an acquaintance this weekend who was all too happy to share he'd lost 12 pounds on his new diet… in a week. Simple math time: 3600 calories = 1 pound, so he managed to cut out or burn 43,000 calories in the past week!?! Of course this is waaa-aaay off the mark from reality, he may have weighed in with a full belly and “dropped” a few pounds through elimination of waste & water, and possibly another 1-2 with extreme dieting & work… but it goes to show you how incredibly unimportant and misleading sharing a number can be – he didn't look any different than last time I saw him, and of course I wish him the best of luck getting into shape – but it's my belief that focusing on this fake/misleading number to begin with will crush his motivation in a week or so when he hops on a scale and realizes he's only down half of what he's projecting. Weight loss and body recomposition is a marathon, it's not a sprint!

About SmashPack

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