Someone left me a comment on my 2012 All England blog and I felt that I should address it in a new blog instead of replying in that blog posting because it was quite unrelated to the tournament:
Thank you for your comment and I appreciate your thoughts. However, I would like to clarify some things with everyone... mainly my diet and funding issues.
The first question I want to ask everyone is... "What should an Olympian eat?" It seems really easy to point out things people shouldn't do, but with constructive criticism, then what SHOULD I be eating? I've seen nutritionists at the odd team training camps, I've gone through nutrition in school, I've read magazines and the unfortunately useless Yahoo! articles, but what should an Olympian eat? I wouldn't know. What I do know is that the things an individual chooses to do may or may not have the same effect on another individual (see Michael Phelps). As far as I know among the Canadian National Team members, I would say Michelle Li has the best diet, as she more or less only drinks water and is cutting out certain 'bad' things from her diet (e.g. fried food). My brother Derrick likes to try new things and totally changes his diet, but he also believes in his MonaVie stuff. Adrian Liu prefers to have rice as often as he can, while Alex Bruce loves sandwiches. A few of the players also do the protein shakes and some also take creatine. But what do I do?
Well, I prefer to get my protein from natural dairy sources, so I try to eat yogurt and cheese more often. I go with low fat cheese and unfortunately they don't have drinkable yogurt in Canada at an affordable price. Unfortunately, drinkable yogurt is quite limited in protein, so I go for fortified soy milk over regular milk because I have some minor lactose intolerance. The price point of fortified soy milk is slightly more than regular milk, but nonetheless lower than lactose-free milk or other fancy products. I don't eat organic food because it's more expensive. I eat fruit regularly, but only what is cheap. I tend not to buy fruit that is more than 99 cents/lbs so I really never shop at Safeway unless I need bananas. I also eat a lot of whole-wheat bread... but only if it's cheap. I try to eat at home as much as I can with my family to save money, but I do have sushi the odd time. I do eat a lot of white rice as my family traditionally cooks white rice. This is my regular diet at home... why? To SAVE money.
So what happens when we travel? Doesn't that simply mean eating out most of the time? It's quite hard to control your diet when you're on the go. Do you know what the first thing I look at in a menu when I travel? PRICE. It's that pathetic. Why do I choose to eat pizza? Because the salad costs more and I would probably need to eat two of them. Also, the salad has a low carbohydrate supply and if I was training/competing all the time, I would need fuel from my carbohydrate sources. Pizza on the other hand has carbs (along with fat and massive amounts of sodium), but I know what I'm eating. The only time I eat hot dogs are when they are FREE. I know they're unhealthy, but I would rather eat cheap/free food over spending money (I'll address funding below). I know eating steak would be a much better option most of the time because it has more value for your dollar and it could be one of the best menu options, but the burger seems more affordable. Fries or salad? Sometimes I have to think about what FILLS my stomach over what is healthier... because of the money. What are my options then? Pay a premium for better nutrition? If we could control all variables and ONLY changed nutrition, how much of a difference could it make in badminton? It's been a LONG time since I've lost a match and blamed it on my fitness... so how much do I think adjusting nutrition affects our badminton in Canada? Not very much. It's also comforting to see other International players eating where we eat, even at the odd McDonalds now and then. So what's my formula for my diet? Simple... (Calories INPUT) < / = (Calories OUTPUT).
Let's clarify: our funding used to be 10 of these... 'cards' and we got stripped down to '5'. A reasonable level was '8'. So would it really be 'increasing' our funding? Yes and no... yes, because 8 is 3 more than 5, what we have now, but 8 is also less than 10, what we had before. So to a reasonable level, seems... reasonable based on what we had before. But perhaps you are right. Maybe it's not worth funding a player in each event, thus decreasing our carding quota even more, but Badminton Canada doesn't treat all events equally... so we continue to fund someone in Men's Singles even though it is poorly represented on the World stage. So the 'reasonable' level can be decreased to 7... and if someone is doubling up in two events (e.g. Michelle Li), that can decrease the number of cards to... 6. But too bad, we only have 5, so now everyone is out playing tournaments that can guarantee them funding, instead of trying to improve their level of badminton Internationally. Hey, I tried that once but I lost funding for that year... so I learned my lesson. Is this how an Olympian should train or orient his/her goals? Heck no. Even I know that's a terrible way to develop a player, but I guess we all follow the money. Nutrition, training programs, quality of life... follows the money.
However, I need clarification on "Flashy Accessories". I, for one, own a lower end phone, a Samsung Wave and do not have the fancier "Galaxy S II's" or "iPhone 4S's". I have a Kobo E-reader, $200 CAD compared to whatever the iPad 2 or the NEW iPad costs. I own a Sony mp3 player, which costed $99 CAD compared to whatever and iTouch/iPod costs. So what if I'm not an Apple fan? I have an HD camcorder which I've purchased a few years back to video tape matches, but it's not like I'm super tech-savvy. The most expensive thing I've purchased recently was a Samsung Ultrabook, but I've had to save up a long time for it. I've been using a netbook for almost 2 years now, which costed $400 but I need something that can actually play and render HD video, because my computers at home are actually close to 10 years old.
So what REALLY needs to be said is that I don't have to do any of this blogging, video taping, or anything else because a REAL aspiring Olympian would get sponsors or endorsements or have someone else doing this for them. They can spend their time and money towards something more EFFECTIVE because their sport is more highly recognized than mine. They can be media icons, spokespeople to kids in high schools in their communities about nutrition, goal setting, or whatever... but not for badminton. So I operate a very large volunteer operation here promoting my sport in Canada the best I can... why? For money? Do I even have a 'Donate' sign anywhere on my blog? Maybe I just want to show the World how tough it is for the struggling amateur athlete in Canada... there are still those who try because they love their sport.
Oh... and before I forget. People can win even if they don't deserve to.