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Only 10 more weeks to go in the New Year challenge at ATC.

Only.

Week three of the eat-better, get fitter challenge is upon us. Assuming people stick with it, April 1 is an ocean away.

I’m not certain how success will be defined at the end of this and whether everyone who started out two weeks ago will still be involved at the end. Actually, I think I know the answer to the second part of that statement – not everyone is going to hit the tape at the finish line. Some are falling off already – or in fairness, perhaps they were never really volunteers to the cause.

But the group enthusiasm is there for now. The 6a class continues to bring in about 20 people on weekday mornings in spite of the cold and dark. And people are in a decent mood, considering the time of day. The tempo of the workouts has changed with much more focus on strength. We’re lifting heavier weights to build muscle, taking advantage of the new diet regime of less meat, more plants.

We still do cardio – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday still feature fairly intense spin sessions. But the emphasis is on strength. Some respond better than others but I feel it after a “lift” day. Today was front squats (barbell rest on front shoulders and then full squat with progressively more weight.) Wednesday is dead lift. Friday is bench.

I excel at precisely zero of these but that doesn’t stop me from showing up and doing what I can. Richard told me I’d be “shredded” by April 1 so, that’s the deal.

I change my diet. I do the work. I show up and train and listen. I learn from the people around me who are better at this stuff than me. And April 1 … I’m shredded. Right? Right.

We will see.

One of the guys we train with at 6a is a physician. He doesn’t say much but he does the work without complaint. After class the other day we were talking about the challenge and I said even though it’s only a couple weeks old, it’s already accomplished something big.

And that is, it has a bunch of middle-aged and older guys talking about what we eat. The women in the class seem to be just constantly more aware of their diets. Whereas the guys tend to be, hmm, chicken wings? Okay!

Now guys are talking about spiralized baked sweet potato fries and leek soup and the merits of soy milk vs. almond milk (there are none – they both are gross bu we are not supposed to eat dairy or eggs.)

But we are talking about food. And talking is a reflection of what people are thinking. I know someone in my house is not thrilled that it took a stupid challenge at a gym to get me to eat meat-free meals occasionally. And other guys are getting the same thing.

But, is it better to be late to the party, or not show up at all?

The doc says this challenge has accomplished in two weeks what he simply could not achieve with most of his patients – think about what you eat, eat better, be smarter.

He’s right.

I was telling Pad about the challenge and the early improvement I have seen in my body fat and that I will have the best abs in the house this summer. His terse reply mocked me:

“Doubt it.”

I replied: “Challenge accepted.”

The thing is there are two other people in our house, one of whom also works out a lot. She may well end up with the best abs by summer. Perhaps we will have an ab-viewing in August before her birthday, after which we will declare a winner and then eat a lot of cake.

The peewee Packers played in the annual Frank Sabatino tournament on the weekend. As usual, the event was top-notch and ran with precision. And so did the Packers, until Saturday night.

After rolling handily past Orillia and Brampton, our heroes needed a win vs. another Oakville team to advance to the semi finals on Sunday morning. It wasn’t to be.

Full marks to the other guys who played better and deserved the win. Our hope is that our guys come away with some life lessons.

Meanwhile further east, the Dal Tigers hockey team took three of four points on a road trip through New Brunswick and find themselves contending for a playoff spot in the tough AUS men’s hockey loop. They played SMU on Wednesday night and pretty much every game from here on is a must-win situation.

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