Once again I have committed to competing at the Adidas Sickline in Austria, this will be my 5th time competing at the challenging and fiercely competitive race. I’ve had some promising results over the years but last year was my worst result which was very disappointing.
After a torn meniscus in my knee, an impinged shoulder, and becoming a father all in the lead up to the race, training took a back seat, time was limited, convenient food became a habit and inevitably weight creeped on. I was hoping I could wing it and make up for it with my abilities but after nailing the lines, I totally blew out on the sprint section putting me in 90th place. Overall it could’ve been a lot worse, I knew I was capable of much more.
So here we are again in the lead up to the biggest race on my calendar and my approach has changed a bit, well… a hell of a lot.
About a month ago I decided to go Vegan, a totally plant based diet. It was time to get back in control of my diet and training and a drastic change was needed. My thinking was this new lifestyle would shave off some unwanted weight, boost my energy and health and force me to think about what I’m eating again.
At first I had a lot of negative opinions from friends and colleagues, saying I’ll get sick and lose all my muscle. But I knew that basically they didn’t know what thy were on about, and a lot of people don’t. What’s made it easier for me is that I like a lot of different foods so my diet is still really varied which is exactly what you need to stay healthy. The main challenge I’ve found is trying not to be too carb heavy. One thing that’s hard to get on a vegan diet (though not impossible) is vitamin b12, so I’m taking a supplement for this.
So one month in and I’m nearly a stone lighter, energy levels are great and training is going really well. I’ve ramped up my training for this year as I really want to go all in this year. I have a bunch of steep hills literally on my doorstep so I’ve started doing hill sprints every two days, which so far hasn’t aggravated my torn cartilage. It’s basically interval training, intense on the way up, walk down and so on.
My friend Lyndon Williams has also entered so we’ve been doing many a lap at the Cardiff white water course, pushing each other for faster times. I’ve switched my weight training from heavy with few reps to light with loads of reps to help build that stamina, rather than bulk. After some advice from former Sickline winner Joe Morley, I’m waiting for my new skipping rope to be delivered. This is fantastic cardio and also should increase stamina in my forearms which is usually what lets me down first.
So with 7 weeks to go the plan will continue to be shaving more weight, keeping building stamina and get as much boat time as possible. For anyone looking for a healthier lifestyle I highly recommend making the switch to being vegan, it’s really not that hard once you get into it. It just forces better choices out of you!
Thanks for reading and be sure to cheer on team Escape Watersports at this year Sickline!