The most frequent questions I get related to fitness revolves around diet. Here’s an example I from my Facebook account, “Hey there. I was wondering if you stick to a special / strict diet at all?” (Thanks, Cathy)

Ironman Eagleman in Cambridge, MD (me on the bike, not me walking wearing the red shirt)

Here is my answer to her, “Not strict. I limit fat intake and junk food. Although, I love junk food. I drink very few cokes or similar product. Finally, I try to limit my daily caloric intake to 2200 cal. To compensate for the slightly high intake I make sure my daily caloric burn exceeds 2200 cal. Occasionally, I miss, but in the long run I have a fair balance. I also monitor my % body fat, more so that my BMI. If my body fat reaches 9% I back off on everything, reducing my caloric intake until I’m below 9%. I’ve intentionally dropped to 6%, but that hurt. Currently, I’m rethinking my triathlon/cycling/running race mix. The result may mean I need to go back to 6% body fat. It isn’t easy. When I get serious, I track all intake and output (energy in and out) on a spreadsheet to make sure I have a 800 Cal daily deficient until I reach my goal.”


What I didn’t mention is Brenda, my wife, and I cook 90% of our meals. When we do eat out, we don’t go crazy on high fat foods.  That’s not to say we don’t enjoy a burger, but we enjoy them infrequently.

Being lean isn’t  a major factor in archery performance. While archery is my sports focus, other sports where I compete are best performed at a lower weight. So, while keeping in shape for those sports I’ve come to recognize small gains in archery. For example, I don’t get as winded on a hilly 3D course as others I’ve noticed. This is an advantage especially if I’m shooting against a person that’s first at the stake and is sucking wind. On long indoor tournaments, I may be less fatigued on the second day compared to other archers with less fitness. Many still out score me, but that is changing.


The primary thing I’ve seen is that to be good in archery, you need to be good in archery. Phenotype has less of an impact on shooting than what’s needed to do well in a triathlon, cycling, or running. Another thing I’ve learned – never underestimate the potential athletic performance of a big person.

Run Hines Run

On another note, if you are big, never ignore what is going on with you heart and your likelihood of having sleep breathing disorders. If you are overweight, unless you are a lineman in the NFL, excess weight is not your friend. (Even Hines Ward, a very fit guy, needed to lose 35 pounds to complete an Ironman, but Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t worry about his weight when shooting a bow)

He just looks like a NFL lineman


On the other hand, if you are out of shape,  get winded walking, still able to shoot pretty well and you might be shooting against me in 2016 – ignore the above, rest and eat up.