The bumpy road to fitness

About the author

Shaye Baker

Shaye Baker

Though Shaye Baker spent his college years fishing in front of the camera, he now finds himself behind it pursuing a career in outdoor journalism. For more from Shaye, click here.

Any road worth traveling is bound to have a few bumps along the way. Since my initial Becoming a Fit Fisherman column a few weeks ago, I’ve driven and flown across half the country, fished a week's worth of 13-hour days at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on the Arkansas River and worked the Toyota Trucks All-Star week in Michigan.

In that time, I’ve experienced a few successes and run into a few roadblocks with my efforts to get healthy. First came the Central Open which I was prepared for. Before I left home for Oklahoma, I had meals planned out, groceries bought and a whole lot of determination and focus to do well.

The first tip that I would recommend to anybody that wants to reel in his or her weight/health issues is to always plan ahead. Convenience stores and fast food restaurants prey on the spontaneous. If you don’t plan ahead and have something healthy on hand when you get hungry or need to eat, you will grab the closest thing with the most sugar because that’s what your body tells you to do.

It’s natural to want fatty foods. But it’s not natural to always have them readily available. When we were wired up, it was never intended for us to have a calorie bank where we could go and eat until we passed out. We had to hunt and gather to eat. Now there’s enough food to kill a man on every street corner. Be prepared, or you’ll find yourself gnawing on a Twinkie before you realize what happened.

At the Arkansas River, I had a supplement shake for breakfast and lunch while I ate a reasonable dinner at night. The dinners consisted of grilled chicken, brown rice and vegetables. I kept Nutri-Grain bars, apples and granola bars in the boat and tried to eat some of that as a snack between meals. I never really got hungry because I was always eating and I think that would have to be Tip No. 2.

If you eat five or six small meals a day, you keep your metabolism on the move. These smaller meals also help the digestive system keep up. Another bonus, you avoid peaks and valleys in your energy level since you’re constantly throwing fuel on the fire.

The first roadblock came on Day 1 of the event. Let me preface this by saying, there are a lot of people in the world, likely several that are reading this, that have a lot more on their plate than I do. That being said, tournament fishing is a stressful profession to take on. Somehow, as an angler, I am supposed to determine when, where, how and why a bass wants to eat. Not just any bass mind you, but the biggest bass in the lake. I lay money on the line just to think that I am better at this than the next guy.

So when I went out on Day 1 with roughly 3 grand at stake and caught 3 bass for 5-12, the stress got to me. I found my travel partner, Chad Menard, and said, “Screw this, we’re going out to eat!”