20 mins with ‘Hitch’

On June 20, 2012 ~ Ken Hitchcock won the Jack Adams Award for NHL coach of the year. Pictured with his wife Corina.

Pre-Game Skate ~ The Backstory.

Growing up in rural Ontario, nestled a house which included my sports-loving dad and two younger brothers…we would watch hockey every single Saturday night. Common to many hockey lovers, this was simply – a ritual.

Bowls of popcorn in hand, we cozied ourselves together as a fam, as we settled in for an evening in-front of the tube. Staring back at us, was the TV stand’s shelf that was lined and completely filled with the entire collection of Don Cherry’s Rock ‘em Sock ‘em hockey videos.Throughout these years, my brothers played competitive hockey.  Back in the day, my ability to list the names of professional players/coaches from various NHL teams, impressed many hockey fanatics and non-hockey breathing friends alike.  Not much changed when I got married.  My husband is a die-hard hockey fan as well.  He is keeping the dream alive, while playing in his Tuesday night men’s league and may or may not be known for yelling a few choice words here and there at the television as we tune into ‘Hockey Night in Canada’. As you can tell…hockey was…and still is a huge part of our life. Heck…we even met for the first time, while out watching the hockey playoffs at a neighbourhood pub. Read on as I express my gratitude for having the opportunity to chat with a very genuine, humble and honest man.

First Period ~ The Prologue.

Enough about me. This post is about Ken Hitchcock – 2012’s NHL coach of the year and Jack Adam’s award recipient, and his associated success of bringing a Paleo lifestyle into his world.

REWIND. STOP…and PLAY…back several months ago now. My husband and I were curled up on the couch watching television one evening and a TSN video clip came on. It was an interview with NHL’s St. Louis Blues Head Coach, Ken Hitchcock. We were glued to the screen, as he spoke openly and candidly about his struggles with weight/health issues and his new(ish) appreciation for CrossFit and the Paleo Lifestyle. Literally that evening, I posted a link to this video and another related article on my PALEOdISH Facebook page…and it turns out the 2nd person to comment on the link was (is)…Ken’s wife Corina!!!

My post on Facebook and follow up comments went like this…

Me: @TSN_Sports_Buzz – just watched an interview with @StLouisBlues coach Ken Hitchcock…and discovered he does #crossfit and follows a #paleo lifestyle. ‘it has already helped him take off 60 pounds and has left him feeling better than he has in years!’ SO WICKED!! YEAH! ♥

Corina: He has actually lost over 90#! We started crossfit together at Desert Crossfit in Palm Desert. We changed our nutrition in May of 2010 and haven’t looked back! #heismyhusband #lovesyourcoconutcurrychickensoup

Me: WOW!!! THAT IS INCREDIBLE! Ken Hitchcock is your husband? CONGRATS to BOTH of YOU on making such a wonderful life change!!! ♥ VERY INSPIRING! =D

Corina: Thanks! He is doing great! We wouldn’t be able to do it without blogs like yours. I have scooped many recipes from it and have developed a greater enthusiasm for cooking as a result! Paleo community rocks!

Me: Holy smokes…super flattered! THANK YOU for following my blog!! YES…you are right…the paleo community does ROCK! I have met and learned so much from so many fabulous people along my journey. I feel so fortunate!! Thanks again…PS – I remember you posted the comment about the link to my coconut chicken soup not working now! LOL =P

Corina: You know what is funny, is I went to make it the other day and it didn’t come up again. I was going to bug you again, but decided not to. I tried to do it from memory, but something was a bit off. Hitch liked it anyway, but you may need to check that. Next time I will copy it down! Keep up the creativity and the great work :)

Me: I pm’d you! =)

From there, Corina and I continued chatting back and forth via email. After several conversations…I asked her if she thought Ken (AKA ~ ‘Hitch’) would be willing and interested in taking part in an interview with moi. He agreed and guess what??? KEN HITCHCOCK PHONED ME!!! Yep…you heard me! One afternoon, while I was bringing in some groceries or putting away dishes (worst memory and all a blur!)…the phone rang…and I answered it. I think I picked up a little snippily (I thought it was a telemarketer HA!) and was totally embarrassed when I heard his voice and realized who it was. He asked if NOW was a good time?! The flustered and crazy spazz that I am…actually asked if he would be able to call me back! DOH!!!! Who does that? *facepalm* I think my giddiness got in the middle of my rational thinking here. On his end…he was totally ‘cool as a cucumber’ and replied with “sure…I will call you again in a couple hours after I get back from the rink!” When I hung up the phone, I felt fully silly and embarrassed. I finished doing what I was doing and had a chance to pull out the questions I had come up with and go over them. A man of his word…later that day…the phone rang again. Recognizing the number, I greeted him with a much more composed hello. And there began my ’20 mins with Hitch.’

Second Period ~ The Phone Interview. 

Me: How did you first hear about the Paleo type of lifestyle?

Ken Hitchcock: To be honest with you, we started doing CrossFit in the Palm Springs area in early 2010. Corina and I had been doing this for about 2 months or so I think, at which point Dr. Gundry came in to our gym to do a presentation related to health and wellness. During his presentation he introduced a ‘different’ sort of eating plan (to us), where he discussed the specifics of a Paleo/Primal lifestyle. He talked about turning off your genes through food. We then found Mark Sisson and he talked about something similar. From there, we were off and running! After all of this, we became really interested in learning more about Paleo…and decided to give it a try. The take home point here was that after we made it through the adjustment period, things got so much easier. After the first 3 weeks, it actually became ‘no big deal’. 

Me: What motivated you to make this incredible lifestyle change back in May 2010? 

Ken Hitchcock: Like I mentioned, while taking part as active members at our CrossFit gym, we attended a presentation on the Paleo lifestyle and from there made the decision to take part in a ‘Paleo Challenge’ with a group of people from this location. Following the decision to make the switch, many positive results followed. With a combination of exercise and healthy eating, I definitely saw initial changes in body composition, due to weightloss. I was able to lose weight, but importantly, this type of eating allowed me to actually sustain it – week to week, while keeping the weight off. 

Me: Since changing your lifestyle, what are the most noticeable benefits that you have seen/felt in yourself to date?

Ken Hitchcock: By making this change and eating right and exercising, I have eliminated the yo-yo notion that many people experience. I have been successful in building muscle mass. More than anything, both physically and mentally, I just feel healthier. I love feeling that increase in energy and that you don’t need a nap. There is just this ‘clear’ feeling, it is difficult to describe. I have also noticed that I haven’t had as many colds or allergy symptoms. I feel like I have so much more stamina too!  To sum it up – I feel like I am in the zone…and I don’t ever want to get out of that zone!!!

Me: What advice might you offer someone who is reading this, who may be wondering about the first steps in initiating change?

Ken Hitchcock: I feel like so many people think it is only about portion control, but it really isn’t. It is about fueling your body with nutrient dense foods. The last thing you want to do is feel as though you are constantly ‘taking things away’. I don’t feel deprived when eating this way, no one does. Instead it is more helpful to think about eating larger meals, while consuming foods that are going to leave you feeling satisfied and provide you with more get up and go. For me that is key.  Speaking to the benefits once again, I find I have much more energy and recovery has improved. I am sleeping through the night more often than not, and I am not relying on medication. I feel GREAT!  This whole thing has been such good experience form me. I don’t ever want to go back to the old way. I love this healthy lifestyle that we have started and I just want to keep going…

Me: While spending so much of your time with your ‘St. Louis Blues’ family, have any of the other coaching staff or players noticed your successes? If so, have they been intrigued to dabble in Paleo or give it a go themselves? 

Ken Hitchcock: Yes, some of the coaches that I work with have started a 30 day Paleo challenge and are making changes. We also do CrossFit together as well. Also, when we go on the road, everyone is very respectful of the way I eat and they actually tend to gravitate that way.  

Third Period ~ The Epilogue. 

Me: What would be your closing remarks on how to successfully implement a paleo lifestyle on the go?
Ken Hitchock: You have to be determined about what foods need to be eliminated from your thought process. Grains, processed foods and refined sugars for example. If you eliminate some of those foods, it becomes quite easy to be successful. When we are on the road it is actually fairly simple because our meals are set and you just make the appropriate choices. It’s a little different for me because I have the opportunity to be with the team, and meals as fuel are a priority. For me, I have to watch myself and be sure I don’t grab for things when I am frustrated or stressed. I know I have to be mindful with that, but for the most part, I do well there too.
 
*** Latest Update: I am continuing to do really well. At present, it is somewhat different because there are no highs and lows because of no NHL season! Overall I feel good. Just bored at times and I miss the competition. 
 
 
Overtime ~ The Shootout.
 
Bacon…YES or NO:  Yes, crisp!
Favourite Paleo meal: Chicken fried cauliflower rice
Most satisfying NON-Paleo treat: Ted Drewes frozen custard here in St. Louis
Favorite workout: Long chipper with rowing.
P.O.P (% on paleo): 90 %
The paleo lifestyle in one word: ENERGETIC!
Post Game Commentary ~ My thanks to Ken (& Corina too!)
 
For your time, I am so very appreciative and grateful. In a busy world, Ken and his wife Corina have been so down to earth, accommodating and a real pleasure to talk with and get to know. I continue to be flattered when I find out folks like you are enjoying reading blog posts on my site. That makes me smile. I am glad both of you are part of this incredible community. I really hope our paths cross in the future, as I would love to share more stories in the flesh. Until then…best thoughts and wishes are being sent your way for continued health, success and adventure! Here’s to hoping the NHL’s season will get underway in the next while, so we can see you in action! (fingers crossed) THANKS AGAIN!!!

Behind the bench. (May 5, 2012 - Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America)

lifestyle

Happy Dec 1st everyone!  Can you believe it??? Maybe I am the only one, but I am excited for the snow.  We got a wee glimpse of it yesterday…fingers crossed for a ‘white Christmas.’ Anyhoo…

This blog post features the wise words from my good friend and gym owner, Tyler Touchette of Caveman Strong.  Sit back, relax and enjoy…and he tells it like it is.  Something we all need to hear every now and again.  Also, I encourage you to swing on over to Caveman Strong, to check out some of the wicked things that they have going on over in their neck of the woods.  Thanks again Tyler for sharing your thoughts and opinions in such a candid manner.  You really do have a way of expressing yourself, so that your words ring true…

“Tyler, I need to freeze my membership. The Christmas season is too much for me to handle.”

“Tyler, I’m strapped for cash due to Christmas, I need to not workout for a month”.

“Tyler, I know you say ‘easy on the cardio’, but I just can’t seem to get results. Don’t I need to work harder?”

“Tyler, I miss the old crazy CrossFit workouts! I feel like I need more of that?!”

………….

Ok… In my opinion this is always the same exact situation. It’s a matter of priorities. It’s a  matter of choices. It’s a matter of self-love and self-happiness.

WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TODAY TO BE HAPPY TODAY??

It amazes me when people can’t seem to figure out what they need to simply feel better. To feel more energy and to walk with your chin just a little bit higher than the day before. I feel we as a community not only encompass that, but we also teach it very well. Better than any club I’ve seen.. anywhere. (Not arrogance, just my observation)

How can 4 hours a week be impossible? How can mom/dad not be granted 4 hours a week, so that they can feel better and thus be happier. Being happier as a person immediately makes you a better mother, employee, friend, etc… Being happier is your right!  You work hard – You take care of the kids – You take care of your spouse – You handle what you handle at work. Why is there nothing left over for YOU??!!

In this society it seems we are all in mad rush. What is it we are rushing for?? I think the only guarantee in life is DEATH – so if you’re in a rush for that…GO AHEAD. Just don’t drag me down with you? LOL.

So, how can working out and eating properly make you better? Why do you show up here? Why do you workout? Why do you ‘TRY’ over and over to get your diet on track?

WHY WHY WHY?????

Because you want to be HAPPY. That’s why. And guess what.. It’s a DAM good reason.

When anyone comes to me with these types of issues (top of page) it’s always the same. Before they even say it – I know what the problem is.. YOUR PRIORITIES ARE NOT IN CHECK, YOU HAVE NO GAME PLAN, NO GOALS. No matter how good our service/coaching is, at the end of the day YOU have to help YOU or else this ship does not sail..

Back to lifestyle…

Paleo is NOT a diet.

Going to the gym is not a hassle.

Sleeping better is a must.

These issues are what we all work on in order to be healthier and happier. We do not advocate quick fixes. We ask you to figure out (with our help) what is lacking most in your life? What do you need to make more time for – asap? WHAT IS YOUR PRIORITY? Do you have any clue at all? If not, I’m afraid you WILL be another ‘comer and goer’ in our club.  It’s too bad, but it’s the way it is.

I/WE call this a lifestyle, because that’s what it is. In order to be healthy and NOT like the rest of the world (On drugs, getting fat and sick, diseased, feel like shit) you need to CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE OR BETTER YET – CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

After 10 years of developing this lifestyle for myself I will give you the nuts and bolts of what it takes…

PRINT THIS OUT AND PUT IT ON YOUR FRIDGE..

1. Eat Paleo at least 80/20. Most of us don’t even make a solid effort. We somehow believe that if we workout a little harder it will compensate for the garbage we are eating. Don’t be one of these people. I worked out for years (since 14 – every other day) and never got anywhere until I improved my FUEL source. You don’t have to be perfect, but you have to at least TRY!

7. The ‘NATURE’ factor. I am a big fan of ‘nature walking’, getting in the bush, sitting on a dock, etc.. We are animals of the earth and we need to re connect with our mother earth. It may sound weird to some of you to read this but guess what??  YOU ARE THE WEIRD ONE FOR NOT NOTICING THE POWER OF NATURE.  It will literally re-balance you, cleanse you, and give you clarity. My ‘SOUL WORK’ has always happened in two places: The outdoors and the gym.

2. Work out 4 times a week. Science suggests that working out 4 times a week yields 40% more gains than 3 times a week (Poliquin). 4 hours a week!! Even if you can’t make it in – You can walk, play hard with the kids, etc.. YOU need to make time for you. The people around you who love you will understand. If not – they are the selfish ones and you need to be strong about YOUR priority.

3. Sleeping. Take naps. Sleep in. Get more of it when you can. If it’s a priority make it happen. Shut the computer off, turn the TV off – ETC..

4. Weightlifting with the mindset: ‘I want to be able to move well when I’m 75′ will always keep you focused on what truly matters.. Six packs are great, but a great back squat tells me you have the mobility of a 12 year old. Moving well with good posture is always number one.

5. Weightlifting should take up 80-90% of your workouts. I don’t care if you ‘LOVE’ running. or ‘LOVE’ crazy CrossFit style workouts. Science, observation, and results dictate that well coached weightlifting is the ‘REAL DEAL’… Just look around at some of the physiques at the gym.  CONNECT THE DOTS.

6. Negative people and situations. Pay attention to the ‘haters’, the ‘nay sayers’, and all the people and situations that make us feel ‘OFF’.  Life is energy and anyone who feels they can just SUCK my energy  needs to go. Negative people that only hear their own story are incredibly selfish. They don’t even hear us speak to them or offer help.  They are so CAUGHT up in their own ‘NEGATIVE GARBAGE’ that they literally don’t care about anything else. Be aware of ENERGY, your intuition is a great resource. Re-connect and make decisions based on what makes you happier.

Long story short,

The world is against us but that’s ok. If our LIFESTYLE is in check we will help ourselves and all those around us. That’s what I call POWER. That’s what motivates me EVERY DAY. WE. I, YOU are the only ones who can make us happy. No one else will EVER do it. YOU HAVE THE POWER. Make a plan, find your weaknesses, and have a ton of fun working on yourself. Life is growth, there is NO end point. Be in love with growth and positive change and don’t get caught up in the details. Get caught up in the BIG PICTURE…

~ Tyler

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