The Gout, The (Sand)Bag and The Sweaty - My Fitness Journey (Coach JP)

As I sit here writing this on Sunday afternoon, I'm dealing with what I think is a gout attack in my right foot.  Usually when I have a gout attack, it's the classic target - my the last joint on my big toe.  Over the last year or so, I seem to have gout-like symptoms in other joints in my foot - the joint at the base of my second toe, and higher up in the foot (where the metatarsals meet the cuboid bone on the lateral side of my foot).  This time around, it's the latter.  Weight-bearing on my foot was very painful this morning, so I've taken some medication to help with the inflammation (dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, because I'm allergic to NSAID's), and had been trying to keep my foot elevated (to try and reduce the inflammation), but warm (to promote circulation).

So, what causes gout attacks?  For me, the primary trigger seems to be lack of fluid intake.  I usually do quite well with my fluid intake during the week, but on weekends, not so much.  Also, it seems if I eat a fair amount of starchy carbs, particularly refined sugar, that will also trigger it.  On Saturday, I finally had an opportunity to try these famous apple fritters I've been hearing about for years from The Rolling Pin bakery in Hope, and they were as good as I've always heard.  Two of them, however, seems to have been enough (along with the other indulgences on my "off" day from watching what I eat) to put me over the top.  If I had been staying on top of drinking lots of water yesterday, it probably wouldn't have mattered.  Lesson learned (again).

Other than that, a pretty good week overall.  Made small progress, and figured out some strategies for helping deal with office-related stress at my day job.

This week, I'm looking forward to my MovNat Level 1 Certification in Victoria, BC on Friday/Saturday/Sunday, and celebrating Chinese New Year (Year of the Monkey) and BC Family Day on the weekend as well.



Jumped in where I could fit with the 4:30 and 5:30 strength groups to get some chin-ups and deadlifts in.  I'm working on increasing volume/endurance on both movements.  Completed 24 reps chin-ups AMSAN (As Many Sets As Needed) in 4 sets (8 / 8 / 6 / 2 reps), and 48 reps of deadlift @ bodyweight in 3 sets (205 pounds; 20 / 16 / 12 reps).  Only 60 seconds rest between sets for both movements.


I wasn't going to make the foolish mistake of doing the sandbag madness twice in one night again, so I waited to complete it with Megan B at 6:30.  Megan set a great pace, and we finished in right around 21 minutes.

That 60 pound sandbag is a real ass-kicker, let me tell you!  I really have to work hard to try and maintain good breathing, and to get my breath back between sets.  It is a little bit unwieldy though, because the duffle bag it's in is so big, I had to make the 60 pounders a bit "fat".  I've ordered two more of the smaller bags, and I'll re-pack the 60 pound ones into them.


I was really missing walking to/from work, so decided to give it a go again, this time wearing long sweatpants, my long-sleeved shell jacket and gloves to minimize exposure to whatever was causing the allergic reactions I've been having.  It worked on that front, but I was a big sweaty mess both there and back.  I looked as if someone had poured a bucket of water over my head.  I enjoyed being back out there so much, though, that it's worth it.

I also tried a bit of running on the uphills on the way home.  I've switched shoes to my New Balance Minimus Trails, now that I have some New Balance Minimus cross trainers for in the gym, so the footwear was more appropriate than my Salomon hikers I had been wearing.  Running was...OK.  Keeping it to the uphills, and not pushing it too hard meant my plantar fasciitis foot tolerated it quite well.

Later that evening, Kyle H and I got to play around with the BAS in the Boxing / Gung Fu class.  Since Kyle was solo, we also finished with a bit of no contact, low-speed sparring for a bit of fun and variety.  I did tweak my left wrist again with a misaligned left hook, but it is still improving.


I had intended to work in with the 4:30 / 5:30 strength groups to continue work with my deadlifts/chin-ups, but poor Coach Julia was down with some kind of chest infection (bronchitis?), so I was running the show for all three sessions that evening.


Walked to and from work, and tried a bit of running on the flats on the way to work.  My plantar fasciitis fired up a bit, so they were brief running periods, emphasizing controlled footfalls.  Also managed a good 50m or so balance run along the concrete barriers on my route.  After work, my foot was still pretty fired up, so just walked - no running. 

Had the opportunity to train with my Gung Fu teacher, Suki G, in the evening, and I'll never pass that up if I have the chance!  We worked on refining my technique in sticking (Chi Sao) and went back to basics with some of the drills to reinforce what/how I should be teaching students on this end of things.  I'm planning to introduce more Gung Fu elements to Wednesday's Boxing / Gung Fu classes.


Had a good day out on the banks of the Fraser River up in Yale, BC, with my girls and our good friend, Tanya P on Saturday.  The girls and Raina got to try a bit of gold panning, and Raina came back with a few flakes of gold, while the girls were mostly after garnets.  It's possible that what I think is a gout attack may have been an injury from a wobbly landing or two while "rock hopping" along the riverbank, but I don't think so because I didn't feel any "ouchy" moments.  It was only this morning (Sunday) that my foot started hurting.


Planned rest day, which was a good thing, since I was laid up with this foot issue all day.

Nutrition & Lifestyle

Again, mostly worked on being consistent with my lunches.  Stuck with what has been working, and took beef keema and greens for most of my lunches, along with some nuts and dried fruit.  Had a lunch out with Heather O on Friday at a local Indian buffet, and honestly felt pretty rough afterward.

I have discovered that my best routine at the office to allow me to get my meal in and have time to decompress/de-stress midday is to take my "coffee break" at 11:00 AM and eat my meal then, which then leaves my "lunch break" more free to get out and walk, or read, or just do something to get my head out of the stress-filled environment.  This week and the end of last week were quite high-stress for me at the office, so I needed to find some change to help me deal with it more effectively.

Weekday mornings, I have started back up with a basic supplement regimen of a greens supplement (currently PharmaGreens) in water, mixed with 5g creatine monohydrate and 1 TBSP of fish oil.  Alongside that, I'm taking 4000 IU of vitamin D, and 500 mcg of chromium picolinate (to help with insulin function).  That, and a good cup of black coffee are my morning routine at the moment.

On the topic of supplements, I've also started back up with taking 2-3 capsules of ZMA before bedtime, for two reasons.  One, I find it helps me with my periodic nighttime wakefulness, allowing me to more easily return to sleep after waking in the night.  Two, as I ramp my training back up after having had my back and calves in particular worked over by my massage therapist the last month, I am noticing muscle tightness reoccurring in those areas.  The magnesium helps prevent any spasms when I'm trying to sleep, and getting my magnesium levels up generally should improve with muscle relaxation.

Results This Week

-0.8 pounds this week, -9.4 pounds since the start

I was as low as 204.2 mid-week, but weighed in at 204.6 on Saturday morning.  Still heading in the right direction...