Crash and burn...calories
There's been a lot of poker players trying to get in better shape this year. You can count me among them.
First step: Diet.
I noticed the problems that led to my diet while playing football. I'm no Cristiano Ronaldo, but I have a big heart so I run a lot and defend very well. I began to notice that I wasn't as quick or as agile as I used to be and that I tired more easily. I know, I know, I'm getting older True! But that wasn't the problem. My 95 kilos were too much for my body!
I resolved to go on a diet and to lose 15 kilos. I know that going below 80 is next to impossible for me. I've tried it before. So my goal was 80 kilos.
All the diets should be different from one another. I believe people should do the diet that they think you can do. I know I'll never stick to a diet that sheds only 1kg per week, or one where I have to change everything in my life and start to eat all these perfectly balanced meals every day. I don't do those kinds of diets because I'm 100% sure I won't stick to them. My diet wasn't the healthiest and balanced one but it was my best way to lose some weight.
I started my diet about five weeks before I left for Las Vegas this summer and kept to it for all three weeks I was at the WSOP. What I decided to do was stop eating - or at least to skip some meals each day, especially dinner - and to only eat small snacks in place of meals. The first two things I immediately stopped where soda and fried food!!
I based my diet in eating less calories than the calories I needed every day! I can easily not eat for an whole day! The plan was to have a decent breakfast/lunch and then try to eat as little as possible during the afternoon/night!! The first week was tough, but one of the things I start doing way more helped the hunger - drinking a lot of water!
During the first five weeks I was in Portugal, I dropped from 95 to 85kg!! After the first kilos I lost, I played some of the best football games I remember. The last three weeks were in Vegas. Strange as it seems, they were the easiest! When I'm playing the long cash sessions, I can drink 3L of water, and my meals there are always very good. Some of my favourite restaurants are in Vegas!
I made my goal weight within eight weeks. The only problem that I had is that my legs became so thin compared to what they used to be. I didn't feel as strong as before! I think that I lost some muscle along with my fat.
Now I'm starting Phase 2 of this transformation. After this weight loss, it doesn't make sense for me not to start doing more exercise. I'm hoping to be fit around 85kg by the time the training program is in cruise mode.
That's my approach to life: don't make goals for yourself that you can't achieve. Yes, the best goals are ones that are difficult to achieve, but they're not ones that are impossible to achieve. I chose the crash-diet that I did because I believed I was capable of sticking to it. It wasn't the healthiest diet, but I was right that I could make it work for me.
Henrique Pinho is a member of Team PokerStars Pro