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People search for some interesting things on Google.

My Newest Claim to Fame

I found out my newest claim to fame this weekend: my website is the second result listed on a Google search for “beer and chocolate diet.” Forget hammer throwing, I think I might write a book about a new fad diet.

It has been two years since I started to invest a lot of time in this website. Before then, I would write training updates once or twice a month to a handful of daily readers. For example I had 88 visitors before August 2009. Last month I had visitors more than 88 countries. It’s not that I’ve become more interesting. Hardly. It’s just that I found something more interesting to write about: others. For some reason, you all find it more interesting when I write about training methods, about the state of the hammer, and about the politics or other aspects of the event.

A healthy diet doesn't have to exclude a few indulgances. I'd just love to walk into a Swiss bar and see one of these on tap.

The Beer and Chocolate Diet

I did an interview with a small local newspaper on Saturday and it ended with a question that seems to be on the minds of many non-athletes: “Do you have to follow a strict diet?” Nearly every one of my co-workers has asked me the same question as if they assume I have an Excel spreadsheet calculating my daily intake.

This is always a difficult question for me to answer. The honest answer would be no, but I don’t want people to think I don’t care about nutrition. Far from it. I was a fat shot putter in high school before dropping 70 pounds in less than a year. Back then I had a strict diet that I would follow. But that experience taught me a lot about nutrition and since then I haven’t ever needed to count calories or worry about my diet. Instead I tend to follow three simple rules now:

  • You know what is good for you and what is bad for you. I always try to justify my love of chocolate based on the scientific evidence that shows the health benefits of chocolate. Truth is I just love the taste and a grabbing for a reason. Whether the health claims are true or not, I know deep down that a plate of green beans is better for me.
  • Eat food that you’ve cooked. If you want to eat healthy, the best way to do it is know what goes into your meal and cooking it yourself is the best way to do that. In practice this means buy a cookbook (or follow my plan of asking a great cook to marry you), eat out less, eat less processed foods, and avoid supplements. This is much easier for me to do now since I practically have to take out a loan to eat at a restaurant in Zurich.
  • Use moderation. I’ve seen too many people ban their favorite foods from their diet, only to binge on them a few weeks later. A strict ban on anything is rarely a good idea. Remember, they call it a “balanced” diet.

The last point is the key. As I said, I love my Swiss chocolate…

A Day in the Life

At last week’s speech to the Bellevue Overlake Rotary Club, I was asked a question that I’ve received a number of times before: what is a day in the life of a professional* hammer thrower. As you will see, what sounds like a glorious life is often monotonous. However, I am nevertheless thankful to have the opportunity to chase this dream and enjoy every day as much as the one before. Without further ado, here is a typical day in my life.

Nutrition and Throwing (and a New Sponsor)

Nutrition is often a topic overlooked by throwers. Back in high school, when I was playing American football, I was too overlooked it. I held on to the belief that bigger was better and topped the scales around 300 pounds. After deciding to focus on the hammer and hearing legends like Harold Connolly and Wolfgang Schmidt essentially tell me I was too fat to throw the hammer far (Harold used kinder words but Wolfgang was fairly blunt), I started to pay attention to nutrition for the first time in my life. I even began learning about some of the collateral issues in the food industry after reading Fast Food Nation and hearing impassioned talks by Harold about trans fats. With a balanced diet and frequent cross-training, I dropped 60 pounds in one year and another 20 pounds the next year.