Cooked By TFW: New Year, New Us, New Blog

Howdy kids! It's everyone's favorite fight chef, Tym, wishing everyone (except you, Chad #SayNoToChads) a Happy New Year! WE SURVIVED 2017!!!!

I don't know about you, but my 2018 started off with a BANG! My Alma Mater, THE University of Central Florida Knights, traveled to Atlanta to face 7th ranked Auburn on Monday… a game NOBODY ON THE PLANET believed we could win…

AND WE DOMINATED!!!!

I screamed. I jumped around my house, scaring all the dogs and nearly blowing out my ACL. I cried my eyes out, tears of joy because for the first time ever, my "little" school went undefeated. 13-0. Perfection. Our Athletic Director Dany White is calling us National Champions, and I'm ready to fight anyone who says we aren't. Come find me and tell me to my face we aren't the best and see if you leave with your teeth in your head… 921 W. 9th Ave, Denver, CO 80204, Monday - Friday from 6-8pm. 

In summation… Go Knights!

Last week, I took complete control of the Cooked By TFW blog in the slyest faux-coup of all time. While learning the ropes on editing the site, I took some time to look at old posts. I reminisced, I laughed, I made some edits to posts. It gave me some time to think about how this blog has transformed in it's first 8 months. When Coach LA first came to me with the idea for a recipe blog, the goal was simply to teach our gym folk, specifically our younger fighters who maaaaaay not quite be culinary wizards just yet, how to cook easy, healthy meals. We'd post some pics on Instagram and direct folks to this website for the full recipe. Just look at how short and to the point the very first post was. No long rants, no drinking game (this week's drinking game, bee tee dubs, is any time I use a set of triplets, like I'm doing right now), no classic Tym charm we've grown to know and love. It had zero of my signature trademarks ("Say it with me, kids – VERSATILE," "follow your heart," "And – as always – thank me in the morning." Triplet. Drink.), just a 3-sentence introduction and then ingredients and directions. BORING! It wasn't until my Ode to Cauliflower about a month into things that I started to ham it up a bit and from there the current Cooked Bt TFW format was born. What fun! Y'all welcome!

I think Coach LA entrusted me with this task because I am – her words – "one of our biggest successes" (this is your reminder that I warned y'all this power would go to my head). Since my amateur debut four years ago, I have dedicated myself to cooking better. My first fight camp, I had to cut 40 lbs in 6 weeks, and it was brutal. I woke up the day of weigh ins still 11 lbs over, sat in a sauna for 5.5 hours – which was awful – and vowed to never do a sauna again. I ate better during fight camps, I maintained a lower weight outside of fight camp, and (Triplet. Drink.) I pushed myself even harder at the gym during my fight camp. So April 2017, I became Fight Team Captain, we started Cooked By TFW, and (TRIPLET! DRINK!) here we are now! But somewhere along the way, I feel like I've gotten complacent with these blogpost.

And so, as we enter a new year, it's time for Cooked By TFW to change; I have shared simple recipes, but that's only one part of what makes me "The Success Story." In some ways, things already have changed and I have shared some insight about what goes into being a fighter. Ever since my Mental Health Awareness post in October, I've been a bit more open in subsequent posts about how I'm doing personally. Some weeks, we haven't had recipes, we've just talked. This holiday season, we made a Facebook group for our fight team members to both support one another during a challenging time for our waistlines (I'm currently 215 lbs… I fought at 170 lbs in October, y'all) as well as hold each other accountable to the team (which I've already told the group I've failed as a leader). 

That brings us to today's post. Surprise! No recipe. I said previously that I really am like a 7-trick pony, and I've given y'all all the dishes I make regularly. Instead, today, I want to challenge all of you reading this blogpost to set goals for yourselves. Dream big. It's cliché to have "New Years Resolutions," and we aren't cliché… except for you, Chad (I love this joke. I will run it into the ground and nothing you can do will stop me). I thought about this while publishing last week's post. I thought about the steps we're collectively taking in the fight team group. We are setting goals for ourselves this first week of the new year. GoalSSSS, plural. Big, challenging goals. Small, attainable goals. Goals for ourselves. Weight loss is a common goal, but it's not a universal one. Some folks may want to bulk up. Some folks may want to maintain their current weight while becoming leaner.

For me personally, one of my big goals for 2018 is to get my mental health back on track. That includes continuing therapy and medication. Today marks the start of my 4th week of taking antidepressants, and I'm still adjusting to side effects. Another big goal is to return to my ideal walking weight of 195, especially if I'm going to fight again (which isn't a given, if I'm being honest with y'all). A small, weekly goal is to attend the gym a minimum 4 days a week. This is a drastic change for me. Since Sept 2015, I have pretty consistently trained 5-6 days a week. Folks… I am burnt out. Four fights in 11 months. I've been integral in every fight camp in the last year, sometimes coaching while training during my own camp. My fight in October, plus therapy, made me realize I am running on fumes. Since that last fight, I haven't attended the gym much and when I'm there, it's more of a coaching role than the dedicated fighter I've been the last four years. So when I say "attend the gym," I don't mean "kill myself for 2-3 hours a day" as I had been for most of 2017. I mean "show up, train hard, and focus on the various fighters who will be competing this year. Devon has the amateur bantamweight belt, and we are working hard to make sure he keeps it.

When determining your goals, think about how your cooking/eating habits play a role in all of it. I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here – I already feel like I've been talking far too long – but I will direct you to previous Cooked by TFW blogposts that should be the foundation for the new you (and it's a triplet, so just go ahead and drink):

 Can I make one more reference to the UCF game? I'm a benevolent tyrant; you have no actual say; of course (drink) I can talk about the UCF game again!

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ESPN fell all over itself to repeatedly discuss hands down one of my favorite UCF players of all time… Linebacker Shaquem Griffin. He's one of the greatest humans, period! And that's high praise from me; we all know I think very highly of myself. The reason 'Quem has received so much media attention over the last two seasons is because he only has one hand. Sports Illustrated does a great profile of Quem that you should read. Here are the quick notes:

  • He was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, which led to his left hand not developing fully.
  • Because of it, he had his hand amputated at age 4.
  • This didn't stop him from chasing his dream of becoming a football player.
  • In 2016, he won the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year award.
  • In Monday's Bowl Game he was both the Defensive MVP AND Most Outstanding Player.

Quem is an inspiration to us all. He has never let his circumstances define him, deny him, nor (drink) deter him.  When I say "dream big and set big lofty goals," I want you to think of Shaquem. "Can't" is not an option. I always say "Dream the impossible and then achieve it." That will be our mantra for 2018. I will do my part in this blog and at the gym to help you reach your goals. You just have to set them and work toward it. 2018, we're not just cooking good meals; we're building better people. 

Thank you for supporting me, this blog, and (drink) the gym. Let's go conquer the world… TOGETHER!

Tym Gooden