November 30, 2015

a full weekend!

This Saturday I'll be competing in my first powerlifting meet put on by NASA. I'm right on the line between two weight classes, the 275-307lb division and the 307lb+ division. I've decided I'm going to lift in the 308lb division. My walking around weight is around 305 so I'll need to eat a decent meal and drink a few glasses of water before weigh ins. I needed to know what numbers to go for at the meet so I maxed out on bench press. I hit 305.5 lbs! Earlier this year my max was  240 lbs. I'm pretty excited about my strength gains and I'm even more excited about competing in my 1st powerlifting meet.

The prison was short the week of Thanksgiving so I had to work 10 out of 11 days. 7 of those were twelve hour shifts, 3 were 16 hours shifts. During that grueling time I didn't miss a single workout and I didn't overeat once,  not even on Thanksgiving. By the time that long stretch of work ended i missed my kids so much! To do something special I took them to the dollar movies to see The Minions. On the way there the battery light came on in my vehicle. After the movies and on our way home the alternator in my old 90's model Chevy Suburban went out. Of course my phone's battery was dead so I couldn't call friends for help. I took out my battery and alternator and hitch hiked to the nearest auto parts store. Got them tested, purchased a new alternator, then had to hitch hiked back to my truck to install it. Bad news is i wasn't prepared for such a long outing so i missed my nutrition goals of the day,  but the good news is I broke down in front of Chucky Cheese in Albuquerque so the kids had a blast while I was fixing the Suburban.

November 28, 2015

week 3 with a sports nutrition coach

I started working with a sports nutrition coach almost 4 weeks ago. So far I've lost 4 pounds, which is amazing because my main goal is weightlifting performance. Of course I want to lose some fat, but only if it's done in a way that doesn't jeopardize performance. Also,  I started taking creatine monohydrate a little over a week ago. I usually gain at least 5 pounds when i start taking creatine. No weight gain this time. More importantly my clothes are fitting differently. They are tighter in the legs, chest, and shoulders, and looser in the waist. I feel like I'm healing quicker now from training than I was before. I'm sleeping better too. When I hired my nutrition coach he surprised me by keeping my calories the same. But he raised the amount of protein I'm eating- by a lot! Before I probably ate around 180 grams of protein a day. Now I'm eating close to 300. I'm averaging 125g of fat and 290g of carbohydrates on a non-training day. On training days my carbs go up to 400g and he has very specific directions on what I eat should before, during, and after training. I'm really happy i hired a nutrition coach. My only regret is not having done it a couple years ago. I'd have made more strength gains and I wouldn't have become as fat as I did.

I hurt my wrist weightlifting a week ago. Every time i lift it hurts a little worse. Of course I'm doing what any manly man does. I'm ignoring it, not telling anyone, hoping it'll get better on its own, and assuming that as long as I don't get it diagnosed that means nothings wrong with it. So far ignoring my wrist isn't working. So of course that means I haven't ignored it long enough or put enough effort in pretending nothings wrong.

November 27, 2015

suicide and correctional officers

I've been pretty transparent on my blog about my recent struggles with depression. I looked up some statistics and was shocked. I wish a knew these things before starting my career as a Correctional Officer in 1995.

-Correctional Officers (CO’s) have the second highest mortality rate of any occupation.

-33.5% of all assaults in prisons and jails are committed by inmates against staff.

-A CO’s 58th birthday, on average, is their last.

-CO’s have a 39% higher suicide rate than any other occupation and have a higher divorce and substance abuse rates then the general population.

-CO's die, on average, less than two years after retiring.

Throughout my 21-year career in corrections, I've lost a large number of my fellow correctional officers to suicide. Yet very little (if any) attention was paid to the issue of correctional officer suicides. Discussion of suicide within my profession is a taboo topic because corrections employees are not supposed to appear emotionally vulnerable or fragile. After all, emotional vulnerability often equates to emotional instability, which is perceived to be a weakness by fellow officers. It is also a sign that you can be manipulated or are easily prey by inmates.

There has been much written concerning suicide among law enforcement officers, but very little about suicide among correctional officers. College classes go into great depth about the risks of stress, burnout, depression, and suicide rates among police officers, but in corrections courses the topic is rarely, if ever, discussed.

Existing Research on Suicide in Corrections
Research studies have found high suicide rates in the corrections field. For example, a 2009 New Jersey State Police Task Force Study (PDF) found that corrections officers have a suicide rate that is twice as high as the rate of police officers.

A 2013 U.S. Department of Justice’s Programs Diagnostic Center Study (PDF) found corrections officers:
-Have a much higher rate of suicide than those in other occupations
-experience severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during their careers
-and on average, will not live to see their 59th birthday. Yup, you read that correctly. The average correctional officers won't live to 59.

In one of the few studies specifically addressing correctional officer suicide, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries indicated that 38 percent of the intentional fatalities were suicides by self-inflicted gunshot wounds, but the actual percentage is largely unknown because the BLS only reports suicides that occur in the workplace. Suicides that occur at home or elsewhere are classified as non-occupational and are not part of the BLS data.

So, in the last 8-9 years i have suffered severe depression and thoughts of suicide. I also have pretty severe PTSD. I cant keep my back to a room or a door. If there's someone standing behind me or someone keeps getting to close to me i get anxious. While in public i'm constantly looking in people's eyes and faces looking for signs of impending attack. I watch everyone's hands for weapons- I knew I'd been institutionalized when I looked for weapons in my grandmother's hands and looked for bulges in her clothes before I'd hug her. My kids won't get near the bed when I'm sleeping because sometimes I wake up yelling, punching, and kicking. I often times wake up running through the house. I don't know what I'm running to or away from, but i know its a life and death situation. My family knows never to walk up to me from behind......
Why did I choose a career in corrections? Why have I stayed 21 years? And why the hell haven't I retired yet? I know one thing for sure, when it comes to depression I'll never try to gut check it again. I'll get help.

November 26, 2015

more sleep for olympic style weightlifting

I've found I need 1 to 1.5 hours more sleep a day now than I did when I was a hard core triathlete. I'm only training an average of about 6 hours a week weightlifting. When I was a triathlete I was training an average of 22 hours a week. It's amazing to me I trained almost 4 times as much as an endurance athlete as I do as a weightlifter, but I need significantly more sleep now. 

The last 3 or 4 weeks I've had the best sleep of my life! For the last few years I had been struggling with sleep apnea. I wasn't sleeping well and I was constantly tired beyond belief. I assumed the sleep apnea was from obesity. In the last month I've lost 13 pounds. That's a drop in the bucket of what I need to  lose, but I've lost almost all of my problems with sleep that I had developed. There's no way losing 13 of the 140 pounds I'd gained made my sleep apnea go away. Now I'm beginning to wonder if my sleep apnea had to do with my weight gain or if it had more to do with the severe depression I had been in. Can depression caused sleep apnea? I'm not certain, but i know one thing for sure, I'm unbelievably grateful to no longer feel chronically exhausted and overworked. And I'm even more appreciative to no longer feel constant despair and hopelessness. 9 years of working 80-90 hours a week had beat me down physically and emotionally. Since I had never suffered from depression before I didn't realize how it gradually worsens. Like a frog in a pot of water that is gradually brought to a boil. The frog doesn't realize it's in a life threatening situation until it's almost to late because it had worsened so gradually. I now understand why they call depression the silent killer. Especially with men. We don't ask for help. No matter how bad things get we always say everything's fine, until it's to late. Even more so with Correctional Officer's. Machismo is huge among corrections employees. That's one of many reasons why the suicide rate among correctional officers is so high. Studies have shown the rate of PTSD of correctional officers is higher than combat vets. I've lost a lot of my fellow correctional officers by suicide the last two decades. 

November 25, 2015

The 2016 NASA World Cup

It turns out if I compete in the New Mexico New year's (powerlifting) classic, which I already registered for, I'll be eligible to compete in the 2016 NASA world cup, NASA's powerlifting world championships. There's nothing as thrilling as competing at a world championship sporting event! In 2006 i qualified and competed in the 70.3 world (triathlon) championships in Clearwater Florida. Even though I finished with one of my slowest 70.3 distance races of my entire triathlon career it was one of the most exhilarating and memorable experiences of my life. Everything about a sporting world championships is memorable and surreal. The athletes, the energy, the enthusiasm! I cant believe i get an opportunity to compete in another one! I'm so excited!  There's no way I'm missing the 2016 NASA (powerlifting) World Cup. It's going to be held in August 2016 in Denver Colorado, & you can bet I'll be there!

November 23, 2015

more energy during training

Today's workout was awesome! 81 reps total, all double and triples. Today was one of those rare days that everything felt light and no matter how hard I worked I never felt tired. I think that has a lot to do with hiring a sports nutrition coach. I'm recovering quicker, feeling stronger, and have more energy during training now. The workout took me almost two hours. After weightlifting I did the bench press program Shane built for me. I built up to two reps at 129.5 kilos (285lbs). I've always struggled at bench. That Shane's program has built me up to 2x285 lbs is virtually a miracle. I'm hoping to hit a 300lb bench at the NASA powerlifting competition on December 5th in Roswell New Mexico.

My daughter hugged me today and said, "Daddy, your getting skinnier. I can tell when i hug you. You feel different." I haven't seen much weight loss on the scale the last couple weeks,  but she sure made me feel good.

November 20, 2015

my son and weightlifting

Some wives give socks or ties for presents. Not my wife. She knows exactly what will make me happy. Weightlifting suplaments baby! I got this in the mail today for my 40th birthday. I'm a happy man. 

Today at my son's weightlifting practice coach Miller gave my son a Miller gym t-shirt for an early Christmas present. My son was was so happy about the shirt he refused to take it off last night. He slept in it. He really loves weightlifting, and he's pretty darn good at it. I'd really like it if I could watch him practice just one time without my eyes filling with tears. It's funny how love and and being proud of seeing my children exell  makes me cry.

Here's a video of my son doing power cleans. If he continues progressing as well as he is coach Miller will let him lift in the 2nd annual John Henry Davis meet in January. My dad even said he'd come to watch my sons first weightlifting meet. Even though my Dad only lives a few hours away he only visits once every couple years. So that would make it a particularly special day for my son. He and I would be lifting in the same meet together. Now that's what I call father/son bonding! 

November 19, 2015

weightlifting, retirement, and Santa Fe New Mexico

I find great joy from training olympic style weightlifting. The dedication and focus it takes to train in this sport fits my personality perfectly. I have a perfect weightlifting specific gym and like minded athletes to train with. I have two top notch coaches, one weightlifting coach and one nutrition coach. I'm completely content where I'm at. And now that I'm able to slow down on overtime my family life is the best it's ever been. 

I spent my entire career counting down the days to be able to retire and move, and now that I'm eligible to retire from the prison I've found complete satisfaction where I'm at. My wife and I have been house shopping here in Santa Fe, the houses are unbelievably expensive, there's no way we could afford to buy a house here. So after years of wanting to retire, I've found  that now I don't want to, and I sure as heck don't want to move away from my weightlifting gym here in Santa Fe.

I started taking creatine again. I'm always amazed how quickly my body gets strength gains and how much more quickly my body recovers when I take creatine. The only down side to creatine is the weight gain. I've gained three pounds in less than a week. All the weight gain is water weight, and since i don't have to worry about making weight at a lower weight class i don't mind. My next weightlifting meet is in January. The meet in January will be my last chance to qualify for the Masters Weightlifting National Championships.

November 18, 2015

help to recover

This week will be the hardest week of training I've ever done.  I'm only half way through and already my legs are trashed! Today is my only day of rest this week so I thought what better way to recover than with a massage! Plus it's my 40th birthday today. What a great gift for myself! My legs were so sore it hurt when the massage therapist was working on them! Hopefully the massage will help me recover more so I can trash them all all over again.

November 17, 2015

boundaries and coaches

After hiring a sports nutrition coach,  one who is an olympic style weightlifter himself,  I've lost 13 pounds. This last weekend my 5 oldest friends were getting together to watch the Holly Holm vs Ronda Rousey fight and we were celebrating my 40th birthday. I had a lot of anxiety about sending my nutrition coach an email stating I was going to be off the diet wagon Saturday night and drinking.  He responded "Understood. Happy birthday.  Get back on the wagon on Sunday ". I wasn't expecting such a supportive and understanding response. Back in my hard core triathlon days I had a triathlon coach who pushed me really hard. I made great gains under his tutelage, but he wasn't understanding about balancing life and athletics. The week my youngest son was born and hospitalized for three days he sent multiple nasty messages about missing workouts. My old triathlon coach caused me a lot of stress and anxiety in my life. I didn't enjoy that kind of pressure.  I was expecting that kind of a response from my nutrition coach,  but nope,  he was awesome. It's nice being a serious athlete with coaches who are great at getting results,  but also know how to allow balance in their athletes lives.

November 16, 2015

glycogen and olympic style weightlifting

Great news! I'm relatively certain I've figured out what caused the fatigue during my workouts the last week. I thought it was caused by one or a combination of the following: dieting, to many hours at work, lack of sleep, or because my new intensive training program was to difficult for me. Turns out it has to do with my glycogen levels. I'd  been doing a bench program after weightlifting. Doing both was causing REALLY long training days and was burning me out.  A couple weeks ago I started weightlifting on Mondays, Wednesday's, and Fridays and doing the bench program with pull ups and abs on Tuesdays and Thursdays. My muscles glycogen levels were able to fully replenish because the muscles used on each day were different, but an athletes liver glycogen levels takes 48 hours to fully replenish from strength training days. Since I was strength training 5 days consecutively my livers glycogen levels were getting lower everyday and never recovering. I'll be going back to doing bench press after my olympic weightlifting. Olympic style weightlifting is such a mental game. I'm always learning something new.

November 15, 2015

upcoming biggest volume week ever

Last week was a recovery week. Even though the weights were low and I didn't do many sets or reps I struggled to finish my workouts. I worked 12 hour shifts on all my days off but one, on Friday I got a mandatory 16 hour shift, and I'm attempting to lose weight (down 13 pounds so far). I'm not sure which one of those was the culprit of the struggles in the gym or if it was a combination. Starting tomorrow I'll be in a really big training week. It'll be the most volume and intensity I've ever attempted in a week. Hopefully the last week of lower volume was all I was needing because I'll need to be at %100 this week.

I usually cycle creatine monohydrate. After a meet I'll take 4 weeks off, then I'll take a it again until my next meet. It usually ends up being a month off 2 months on. I started taking it again tonight. I'll need the extra help starting on Moday.

November 12, 2015

soon to lift in my first powerlifting competition

On December 5th I'll be competing in my first powerlifting competition. It's going to be the NASA (natural athlete strength association) New Mexico New year classic. I'm currently weighing 305.4lbs, down from 318. Looks like I'll be lifting in the 275-307lb division. I found out i can lift in multiple divisions. I could lift in the police division, masters 1, and masters pure divisions.  I looked up the New Mexico state records in those divisions and there are 14 vacant state records. I'll end up setting 14 state records in my first powerlifting competition! Here are the divisions and records I'll be lifting in. They are all in the 275-307lb division. The only bad news is it'll cost me $515 to enter all those divisions.

Power sports police division 

Power press police division 
Power press masters 1 division 
Power press masters pure

Retro powerlifting police division 
Retro powerlifting masters 1 division
Retro powerlifting masters pure division

unequiped bench police division
Unequiped bench masters pure

Unequiped push/pull police division
unequiped push/pull masters 1 division

power clean police division
Power clean masters 1 division
Power clean masters pure division

definitions of divisions :
Power sports= curl, bench, deadlift
Power press= bench, clean
Push/pull= bench, deadlift

November 11, 2015

a great Olympic weightlifting coach

My middle child has significantly less confidence than my other children. His lack of self-esteem has caused him to learn more slowly in school, causes him to give up at things very quickly, have emotional outbursts, he's incredibly hard on himself,  etc. A few months ago I started having him trained in olympic style weightlifting by coach Shane Miller. My son has a real talent for weightlifting. He stays intensely focused at every training session, which he usually isn't willing to do with anything else. This new found talent of his has totally changed him in the last few months. He always leaves in a better mood than when he started, which has has taught him to stay focused and positive when attempting other things. Since he's becoming so good at weightlifting so quickly its made him feel significantly better about himself. He's more patient, focused, confident, and much happier. Only a few months weightlifting has had a profound and positive effect on my sons life.

Awhile back there were 5 men at The Miller gym who were competing to successfully lift a 91k  (200lb) snatch. i was the first one. One of the guys at the gym, I'll call him Jack Ass, was a sore loser and told me the only reason i was the  one who lifted a 91k first was because of how overweight i was. Earlier this week a 2nd athlete successfully lifted a 91k snatch. As soon as Jack Ass heard he immediately said loudly,  "yeah, but your a 105k+ and-" before Jack Ass could finish his statement coach Shane Miller shut him up and pulled him aside. Apparently Coach Miller had a come to Jesus moment with Jack Ass because Jack Ass came back to me and apologized. I love my gym.  I love the other members of my gym- most of the time. And i love my coach. He's a great teacher,  a great person, a great motivator, he does an amazing job at stopping or minimizing gym gossip or politics, and I'm mostly grateful because he's making a huge difference in my son's  life.

November 09, 2015

eating to train and recover

My sports nutrition coach is having me eat 400 grams of carbs on a heavy weightlifting day. 1/3 to 1/2 of my carbs should be eaten in a block of 2 hours before, during, and two hours after my training. When I first started I found that I perform best if I eat 2 cups white rice with a cup of milk and a little sugar before my workout. It wasn't until a recently I found I workout best if I drink orange Gatorade with chocolate whey protein during my workout- tastes like an orange-cicle!

I'd always struggled with energy after my workouts. I'd feel wiped out for hours. This week I tried a new post workout shake. It's made with 1 1/2 cups milk, 1 1/2 scoops whey protein, BCA's, Glutamine, a banana, and two tablespoons peanut butter. Within minutes of pounding my post workout shake I feel unbelievable. The most ignored aspect of training is recovery. Hopefully this'll jump start my lifting. 9 1/2 weeks left until the last shot at qualifying for the Masters National Weightlifting Championships.

November 08, 2015

first full week with a sports nutrition coach for weightlifting

I decided I wanted to lose 74 pounds to be able to lift in the 105k weight class, but i didn't want my weightlifting to suffer, so i hired a sports nutrition coach. After my first full week with a sports nutrition coach I've lost 1.8 pounds. When i had tried losing weight on my own my workouts would suffer, I'd fatigue quickly during workouts, I'd lose strength, and get overly hungry. So far i haven't felt any of those problems. I guess that's why it's better to hire a professional. 1.8 pounds down,  72.2 more to go. So far so good. I'll continue to keep you updated.

November 03, 2015

on an upward swing

The entire week I've ate exactly what my nutrition coach wanted me to! After two years of training hard and eating like crap I'm excited to finally be getting the nutrition aspect of training down. Hopefully that will enable me to get the gains I need to qualify for the Master's National Weightlifting Championships. Last month I missed qualifying by 5 kilos.

The last few days I've had the best sleep I've ever had! I'm sure it's a combination of training harder than I've ever trained and eating well. This is a welcome relief. I've had obesity related sleep apnea the last few years. It feels great to finally feel rested.

For 9 straight years I worked 80-90 hours a week. It caused some pretty severe depression. To be honest I almost didn't make it through it. The last couple months I've worked a normal amount of hours. Thankfully the depression has dissipated along with the excessive amount of work hours. So.... what is that weird feeling I have floating around inside me? Oh ya, that's happiness and contentedness. Welcome back. It's been a long time. I've missed you.

Everything is finally coming together. The only thing left unaccomplished is for me to save for a down payment for a home and qualify for the Masters National Championships. 

November 01, 2015

nutrition coaching day 2

I hired a nutrition coach.  Today marks my 2nd full day of being coached by him. Lot's of new things.

-This weekend i attended my father-in-laws 75th birthday party. There's no way i could have ate healthy and in moderation if i wasn't being held accountable by my nutrition coach.

-Planning out what I'm going to eat before i eat it and logging it makes a huge difference in the quality of food i end up eating. 

-higher quality foods are much much more filing

--I'm having a hard time eating as much as I'm supposed to, especially the 300g protein. 

- left on my own i eat WAY to much fatty foods

- once i log and eat my first meal eating healthy the rest of the day is easy but the first meal is the hardest for me. I love to eat crappy food in the morning, corned beef hash, burritos, grilled cheese sandwiches with green chile, etc. And after i eat one unhealthy meal i have a tendency to want to eat poorly the next meal,  then the next meal. It's the fat man's snow ball effect.