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Wellness Wednesday: How to Prevent "Sports Commentator Syndrome"

It started with a crack.  

Despite all the proper training and progressive recuperation techniques I do to take care of myself, an injury was bound to happen someday. I’m still awaiting for the results from the MRI on my knee to come back but there isn’t any reason to sit back and not continue my life. I can still train my upper body and torso with some carefully planned motions. It just goes to show you just never know what you will run into in life. This is why we should be prepared for it.

You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this. Well, with decreased activity and less training of major lower body muscle groups, I definitely am not using up as much energy as I was just three days ago. If I am to continue on my fat loss path, I need to adjust my intake to match my output. It’s pretty simple and is actually a common lesson that most people aren’t ever taught.

Think of the MVP basketball player who retires who looks like he's 30 pounds heavier after he’s been on SportsCenter for a while. I call it “Sports Commentator Syndrome.” Usually, it’s related to decreased energy usage and a failure to change food intake levels that they were used to after years of high-level activity. We all know it’s hard to change habits and food is one of the hardest habits to change. Heck, it’s keeping you alive.

When this happens, we end up with a backup of calories and guess what’s going to happen with that? Thats right storage.

Fat storage.

So this goes back to why I recommended understanding your relationship with food by tracking it. The same can go for using activity trackers such as the FitBit and Garmin. They will count calories or steps or activity level. It’s relative, but when you see you have an hour or less of activities through the day, it’s time to make some reductions in your food intake. It's simple: When we have suffer injuries or decide to take a vacation (some vacations may require increases in calories), we can easily adjust the intake and never lose sight of our fat loss or muscle gain. Basically, we will “stay on the wagon.”

For example, if you know you burn 300 calories from walking or bike riding everyday and then all of a sudden you can’t do it anymore, cut 300 calories from your food intake if you’ve been at a consistent weight. I’d recommend taking most of those calories away from your diet in the form of starchy carbohydrates and/or alcohol and a little bit of fat. Remember carbohydrates are used to fuel lifting and endurance activities - not so much walking. This could be reduced by omitting one cup of cooked rice and a tablespoon of olive oil from your dietary intake. Pretty easy, right?  

Hopefully this helps you to adapt to the changes in your week from days of high activity to low activity or as a result of an injury.

Trust me: I love to be active and this injury is really tough on me but there is no need to make it worse by not adjusting my food and lifestyle to suite it until it is addressed. If you have any questions let me know and I can help adjust your lifestyle (Remember, I am not a doctor so be sure to consult with medical professionals and all that jazz).

- Joe Daniels is the owner of SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength Studio in Latonia. Questions for Joe? E-mail him at [email protected].

Bored with bodybuilding after reaching the national level in 2009, Joe Daniels opened SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength. From becoming an IKFF Coach operating in an 800 sq. ft. studio, the benefits of a minimal yet highly effective approach to fitness has grown to a 5,500 sq. ft. functional training facility within four years. 

Focusing on injury prevention, competitive kettlebell sport training and stress relief, SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength has hosted seminars and trained hands-on with some of the top athletes and coaches of the kettlebell world. Their philosophy has remained the same: You have to enjoy your training at all stages. Live your life. Your training should make your life outside that time more enjoyable and fulfilling.