Healthy living in relation to improving our game

Melbourne, Australia. January 2012

Australia is my favorite stop on the tour. Historically it has been a haven for me, like a basketball team coming home for the playoffs. It was with high hopes that I returned.

 

The trip started out better than expected. I got second place in the heads up, but instead of locking up the win, I decided to let it ride. A poker player known as “Youngman” said it best, “No gamble, no future.” The next week, I played the biggest event of my life and came two away from the money. I was heartbroken.

 

Pattaya Island, Thailand. February 2012

 

Fortunately I had planned a trip to Thailand, a much needed break. It was the beginning of a drastic change in taking control over my physical health.

 

On my first day there I saw an opportunity; a week long detox that involved eating two raw meals per day, taking supplements and repeatedly consuming a tasteless, goopey drink that was meant to improve digestion. This, coupled by walking 8 km daily, caused me to lose a staggering 20 pounds in one week! Skeptics argue that losing that much weight in a short period of time is unhealthy. But for me, it was about mentally starting fresh and cleaning out my system with the eventual goal of adopting less extreme eating habits that I could actually maintain.

 

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When I exercise regularly and eat healthy, it seems like everything else in my life falls into place. It’s something that many of us undervalue as a way to improve our poker game, but more importantly our quality of life. David Wells, a friend and poker player, once made a compelling argument that although simplistic, spoke convincingly to my analytical brain. “The math has been done and they’ve figured it out. Having a healthy lifestyle is worth it and super +EV!” In other words, there’s a massive gap between the struggles in obtaining overall health and the benefits reaped from it, which gives the pursuit a ton of value!

 

In high school I was athletic, health conscious and very ambitious for my age (one of my goals was to be a millionaire by 25). That all changed when I was first introduced to Texas Hold’em. For the next two years, my daily schedule involved waking up at noon, ordering junk food, playing 18 hours of online poker and going to sleep at 4:00 a.m. Sadly, my idea of cardio involved walking to and from the toilet. It was better when there weren’t synchronized breaks, at least I had to run! It wasn’t long before I noticed major adverse changes to my body, energy level and motivation to do anything besides play poker. Having low levels of energy for an extended period made it easy to forget how good it felt to be healthy.

 

As poker players, we experience plateaus which hinder our ability to improve. When this happens, how do we take our game to next level? While it’s obvious we get better just by playing, the major change comes through an epiphany where everything clicks and decisions that were once difficult become trivial. Having a healthy lifestyle is one of the more overlooked ways to do this.

 

Think about how often we recognize ourselves misplay a hand. Why does it seems that our mistakes are more clear in hindsight? If we know how to play the hand perfectly according to our standards of perfect, what’s stopping us from doing it in game as opposed to dwelling on our mistakes later? In the movie “Limitless” the main character takes a pill that makes all the information in his brain available. The pill didn’t expand his knowledge, it merely accessed it. In doing so he became radically focused on his goals and closer to finding his life’s purpose. In a less extreme way, this is what engaging in a healthy lifestyle does, without the negative repercussions of the Russian mob trying to kill you! Speaking from personal experience, I can confidently say having a healthy lifestyle leads to a heightened level of brain function and consequently, an improvement in our poker game.

 

Currently, I’m on an 84 day fitness program that I aim to complete by the start of the World Series of Poker. Black Friday has given me what I needed, a break from the lifestyle that bound me to my computer. Napoleon Hill said, “With every failure, adversity and heartache comes with it the seed of equivalent or greater benefit.” Our new found freedom gives us the opportunity to explore other avenues of life, seek balance and personal growth. The best way to ignite the process is to be disturbed about our current situation. The more disturbed we become, the more desire we’ll have to change.


Health Challenge

 

I’m issuing a health challenge to the poker community.

 

My goal is to finish this program and inspire others within the community to start a similar regimen for themselves.  Therefore, I have cultivated the following challenge:

 

1) Start a 3 month fitness program aligned with your goals- (I use Kris Gethin’s 84-day program which can be found here: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/kris-gethin-12-week-daily-trainer.html).  I love this program because every day of the program has videos detailing the diet and exercise regimen along with several helpful tips throughout the program.  Also, he’s doing the program with you which helps keep you on track. The program I’m on is designed for fat loss but if you’re looking to get bulkier that’s also fine. A program I’d recommend for this (which I’ll be taking after this one) is Dr. Jim Stoppani’s shortcut to size which can also be found on bodybuilding.com (http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/shortcut-to-size.html

 

My progress can be found on http://www.bodyspace.com/damizz
Update: hurt my back / hip (most likely due to bad form during workout) and have taken the last 2 weeks off from lifting but going to see a physiotherapist when I get back to Vancouver and hopefully hit the gym again ASAP.

 

Participants will be rated by 4 judges in 3 different categories:

 

1) Transformation: How has your body changed from the beginning of the program to the end? Take weekly photos! (out of 10 points).

 

2) Blogging: I want to know about your experiences, the challenges/struggles you face, how you’re feeling, etc. The more in-depth, frequent and creative the better! Doesn’t have to be long or tedious. just specific. (out of 10 points)

 

3) Stats: I’m a huge stats freak, so I like to keep track of everything. I log my meals, time of meals, supplements I’m taking, workouts I’m doing, progress I’ve made and personally take pictures every day (I want to do a youtube slide in the end) but once a week is more practical. I also weigh myself regularly and update measurements of various muscle groups every few weeks. Record your stats; weight, body fat percentage/ muscle measurements, meal logs, workout logs etc. I’d like to follow your progress. (out of 10 points)

 

Incentives for winner

 

I will take the winner of this challenge under my wing and do everything I can to help them improve their poker game. It can be anyone. I will help a losing player become a winning player and a winning player increase their ROI and feel more comfortable at higher stakes. This will include reviewing hand histories, sending hand histories of past online tournaments I’ve played, discussing online/live tournament strategy in-depth and making myself available for questions. I’ll do this for at least a year and probably longer on a less time consuming scale. I’m basically using this challenge to find a student that I can teach everything I know about poker to. There is also a future possibility of a staking arrangement. The idea of teaching someone everything I know about poker and helping them fix their leaks and improve their game drastically is very appealing to me.

 

Incentives for everyone

 

All participants have the option of getting one online tournament hand history reviewed in depth for every 3 weeks they’re in the program.

*If you’d like to start this program send a “before” picture to zangbezan24@gmail.com no later than May 10th, 2012 holding current newspaper (participants will also be asked to vid skype for verification)

 

Judges:

 Me: Not a fitness expert by any means but in the last 4-5 months I’ve been self educating myself on fitness and nutrition. I think I have the right to be a judge in my own competition! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Julie Powers: Pilates and yoga instructor in the Los Angeles area. She trained for both through CorePower yoga. She has been studying fitness and nutrition for many years and loves living a healthy, fit lifestyle, as well as helping other people do so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 All American Dave:  Fitness beast / guru. One of the most sought after personal trainers in Las Vegas. Trains with many top poker players including Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak. Check out his site at http://www.allamericandave.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Christina Lindley: Top Female poker player and fitness model / former spokesmodel for bodybuilding.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This isn’t for everyone. The incentives are mostly aimed towards low stakes / mid stakes players. It’s to give people who want it, but have been neglecting it, a good excuse to start. If you don’t want it bad enough don’t even bother! After people see how amazing it feels, I suspect the majority of them will make 180 degree changes in their lifestyles.

47 Comments

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Comments (47)

  1. The Nightly Turbo: ESPN’s The Nuts, Sorel Mizzi’s Health Challenge and More | Fourth Street Clothing May 1, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    […] To learn how you can participate in the health challenge, visit Mizzi’s blog. […]

    Reply

  2. The Nightly Turbo: ESPN’s The Nuts, Sorel Mizzi’s Health Challenge and More :: Spela Poker May 1, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    […] To learn how you can participate in the health challenge, visit Mizzi’s blog. […]

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  3. Dan Willis May 1, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    This is the most unreal timing possible.

    I am literally starting the Chris Gethin 12 week transformation next Monday based on some friends who have almost finished it. The results they have seen have been amazing.

    I was planning on keeping a diary of every single thing that I do but the opportunity for it to help my poker game as well makes we want to take this to the next level & do everything I can to make the next 12 weeks as best as I can to hopefully win this competition.

    There’s no such thing as a co-incidence I believe & I still cant get over the timing of this!

    Will most definately be in touch & thanks for the opportunity.

    Dan Willis

    Reply

  4. Barry May 1, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Bummer. First WSOP tourney in 1 month, then all through June. Would be difficult to maintain before, during and after series. Besides, would probably kill me. Good luck Hugs

    Reply

  5. Brian May 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I will do this challenge!! This might just be the motivation I needed to stop my unhealthy lifestyle. I should be 210 lbs but past few months Ive shot up to 270+ and it certainly not healthy!!

    I will be doing 3 months, any specific website to where I blog?

    Reply

    • Sorel Mizzi May 2, 2012 at 12:08 am

      Dan- that’s an unreal coincidence, def meant to be!

      Barry- BEST time to start IMO

      Brian- I recommend bodyspace.com it’s a branch of bodybuilding.com and has everything you need on there. Check it out.

      Reply

  6. nychris May 1, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    what is the incentive for an american poker player like me who cannot play online therefore cannot have a tournament hand history reviewed?

    Reply

  7. Luke May 2, 2012 at 1:28 am

    Lets do it. I weigh 141kg. Thats like piggy backing a small adult through life, but on my front. The back problems have started and if I dont make changes, the rest of the problems are only around the corner. Its Time! Thanks for the gee up Sorel.

    Reply

  8. Martin J May 2, 2012 at 3:45 am

    Hi
    This sounds like a great idea, i definitely need the motivation, because i can´t seem to get myself going, just one Q: when does the challenge start i mean what date to what date

    Reply

  9. Halit - Australia May 2, 2012 at 4:57 am

    I’m in. Will buy the paper tomorrow take a pic and send my fat arse pic to you. Just another incentive for me to get in shape. Thanks mate.

    Can you choose to do your own home made program?

    Reply

  10. Karan May 2, 2012 at 5:44 am

    Sometimes fate brings two unconnected people together.. I have followed you in the poker world over the last few years and was always impressed by your consistency in high stakes MTT’s.. This is something i have had huge issues with in my poker career.. The mental aspect of the game is by far my strongest point, but physically, all my habits should render me broke.. Luckily, that is not the case, and i am not a bad player.. However, i am ignorant to the leaks in my approach, both in poker and in life.. I used to be around 60 KG when i was 18.. I made the bold decision to move abroad to the US and go to college in Boston.. Leaving London and India, where i had spent my entire life was exciting, until the lifestyle of pizza, drugs and whisky got the better of my health.. Needless to say, i ballooned up to 102 KG in around 4 years and that is where my weight currently resides.. I feel this is the perfect opportunity for me to get both my health and poker game on the right track.. I was kidnapped and held for ransom at 18, battled drugs and alcohol, am the happiest person in the world but all i care about now is improving my health and poker game.. Fate certainly favors the fearless and maybe this is where my path begins..

    Reply

  11. Chris May 2, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Hey Sorel, I thinkt his is an awesome contest i have a few questions
    1. Can do we have to use the same fitness/diet plan as you?
    2. How many exact days do we have to lose the weight and submit the photos, when does the contest end.
    3. is there a certain website we should make the blog/entrys? if so which one

    Thanks! looking forward to winning =)

    Reply

  12. Victor Nouth May 2, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Howdy, I just find the amazing youtube video: http://youtu.be/Tycp0u76jN8 i go to their website which is shown in the video watermark, i would like to lose some extra weight, get a quick metabolism for my continuing health and vitality, but i genuinely don’t know the science behind the natural method, Do you know this method? … …

    Reply

  13. Paul May 2, 2012 at 10:55 am

    I’m in! Fellow Canadian from Vancouver. I appreciate the offer you have made to the poker community.

    Good luck to you and everyone else. I look forward to 84 days of dedication to health and fitness! I will send my info shortly.

    Reply

  14. Exercises for sciatic nerve pain May 2, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Very good site thank you so much for your time in publishing the posts for all of us to learn about.

    Reply

  15. Todd Fuerst May 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    I will join the challenge. Looking forward to it, as I am just coming off a deployment injury and need to get back in shape. Either way, it’s a win win situation. I wish all participants the strength and will to complete your challenge. Stay focused and live well.

    TOdd

    Reply

  16. Tim Montjoy May 2, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Get message; we would love to link up with you and see how we could tackle some projects together. We will be in Vegas during the week of 19-17 June; lets talk and see what kind of impact we can achieve…
    Thank you

    Reply

  17. BCC May 2, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Just finished the 12 week challenge, guess I can just do it again?

    Reply

  18. Sorel Mizzi May 2, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    NYChris- You can send in a hand history from the past for review. If you e-mail pokerstars I’m sure they’ll ship them to you.

    Luke- The changes to not only your body but how good you feel will make your mind spin. You’ll never want to go back to your old ways again!

    Martin- The challenge starts on or before April May 10th and ends 84 days after your program starts. This gives the opportunity for people to get what they need to start before they initiate the program.

    Karan- Wow, sounds like you’ve been through a lot. For some people, this is a missing element of their life that once battled and conquered will lead to happiness and more clarity of purpose. Really glad to have you on board 🙂

    Chris- No. You don’t have to use the same program. You have until the 10th to send in the photo and 84 days from your start date to complete it. For blogs / tracking I use bodyspace.com which is sort of like a myspace for bodybuilders and a branch of bodybuilding.com that has a ton of resources and advice that will guide you throughout your journey.

    Reply

  19. Halit - Australia May 3, 2012 at 4:24 am

    I’m from Australia, is the challenge open to all?

    Reply

  20. Angry Bird Game May 3, 2012 at 11:24 am

    This is really educational Publish.I have already bookmarked it.Thanks for Discussing.

    Reply

  21. David May 3, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Wish some cash game star would do the same kind of challenge :D.

    Reply

  22. mariska van boxtel May 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Hello, Lets do it when do you need start ?
    Kind regards,
    Mariska

    Reply

  23. eric May 4, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Sorel,

    can my wife and me enter the contest as a couple?

    Reply

  24. Margy Cotten May 4, 2012 at 4:55 am

    I’m impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the issue is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

    Reply

  25. Coral_Reef_Fish May 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    I’m in!

    Awesome challenge Sorel!

    My tentative fitness goals are:

    1. Get my Blood pressure down to a more safe level through exercise.
    2. Get my Blood sugar levels under control through exercise.
    3. I don’t think I can start a program like http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/kris-gethin-12-week-daily-trainer.html until I get the above two things under control.

    Reply

  26. Jake Lipton May 4, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Sorel-

    My name is Jake Lipton, I am from Long Beach, California and I am 24 years old.
    I am married to my beautiful wife Carolina from Ecuador, South America and we have a 2.5 year old daughter named Vivien.
    I have been playing poker for 3 years and I have fallen in love with the game. I got into the online game late, but had some success before black friday. I am mostly a NLH tournament and cash game player, but my burning desire is to compete in the hardest tournaments and prove to myself I can play with the best. I am a self taught player who has had no coaching or friends that take poker seriously. I am a logical player that makes most decisions based off reads and situational play, I have a very good feel for hand ranges and players capabilities but the in depth math is where I can really use some help!
    I saw your health challenge and I got really excited for this opportunity, mainly because I am about to leave for a 6 month trip to Ecuador, and my plan is to do a fresh vegetable/fruit juice/water fast and cleanse for 40 days on the beach in paradise. This will be followed by a another 60 days of raw food only. The plan is to build strength on the beach with body weight exercises, swimming and running. I want to combine this with the healing powers of meditation, sunlight and salt water so I may harness a calmness and positivity that will translate into an improved mindset capable of reaching my poker goals!
    I have a modest 5k bankroll that I will be using to play mtts online after the 40 day cleanse. I know I have the skills to achieve success and I am willing to go to any lengths to make this happen not only for me, but for my family. I have no interest in being away from my daughter her whole life working a 9-5.
    I believe 100% that healthy living combined with the opportunity to learn with one of the best players in the game today such as yourself will give me the edge I need to play poker at the highest level.

    Thanks,

    Jake Lipton
    Bigcashes@gmail.com

    Reply

  27. Sorel Mizzi May 4, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Jake- That sounds awesome! Really inspirational stuff! I’m looking forward to seeing your progress you sound like you have a pretty well thought out plan. Email me with the pics / where i can find your progress / when you plan on starting.

    Coral_reef_fish- Yes, the Gethin challenge is pretty intense but it may be just what you need. If i were you I’d probably adopt a plant based diet and focus on cardio for the first couple of weeks and see how you feel. It’s amazing how making lifestyle changes can reverse so many health problems. I highly recommend viewing this documentary http://www.hungryforchange.tv/

    Eric- Sure!

    Mariska- Start on or before the 10th. Email me with what day you decide to start / pics/ where I can find updates / your blog.

    Reply

  28. Koos janssen May 5, 2012 at 4:50 am

    Hello Sorel,

    What do you think of this?
    week 1 2ml 1ml
    week 2 2ml 1ml
    week 3 2ml 1ml 1ml
    week 4 2ml 1ml 1ml
    week 5 2ml 1ml 1ml
    week 6 1ml 1ml
    week 7 1ml 1ml
    week 8 1ml 1ml
    week 9 nolvadex 10days 2 a day
    week 10 nolvadex 10days 1 a day

    Reply

  29. Sean Mullaly May 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Hey Sorel,

    Love this idea! It is so awesome to find a poker player that really gets it about the fitness/nutrition and how it improves your poker game and your life. Hope everyone enters the contest and gets amazing results!

    Sean Mullaly
    lifetimefitnesslv@hotmail.com

    Reply

  30. Marsha Cucvas May 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is fantastic, let alone the content!

    Reply

  31. Javier Papadopoulos May 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    I like what you guys are up also. Such smart work and reporting! Keep up the superb works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my web site 🙂

    Reply

  32. protein powder May 6, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Looking forward to reading more. Great post.Much thanks again. Cool.

    Reply

  33. mr pear kenney May 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    hey sorel i have a bit of a pear shape body will this program maybe turn me into a carrot shape are pear body types allowed

    Reply

  34. Alecia Flaharty May 6, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    I really appreciate this post. I have been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thanks again

    Reply

  35. Michael Cua May 7, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Hi Sorel,

    I would like to commend you for issuing the health challenge. I too have adopted a healthier lifestyle starting mid-March and so far have lost around 12 lbs. I also experienced a big difference in my energy level and mental clarity. I notice that it is not just +EV for poker, but also for other areas of life.

    I have watched Hungry For Change as well and highly recommend it to everyone. It is a very eye-opening documentary that made me eat much more mindfully for a healthier and more positive life!

    To those wanting a healthier lifestyle, here are some quick tips:
    1. Significantly minimizing the 3S (Sugar, Soda, Syrup (High-Fructose)) will work wonders for your health. However, as mentioned in Hungry For Change, sugar is a very addicting substance. It can be very hard to minimize sugar cravings because of withdrawal symptoms so hang tough! http://technorati.com/lifestyle/article/eliminate-sugar-cut-these-foods-lose/

    2. As mentioned in Hungry For Change as well, toxins are stored in fats. Eating a lot of the 3S contributes to a lot of toxins. Even if you exercise a lot, you may not lose the fat if there are a lot of toxins in the body. It is the body’s way of protecting you. You have to eat the right food and take the right supplements first to remove the toxins from the fat so that burning fat will be significantly faster. http://www.wellnessresources.com/weight/articles/why_toxins_and_waste_products_impede_weight_loss_-_the_leptin_diet_weight_l

    3. For those with limited time to exercise, try interval training. I myself only exercise around 20 minutes a day so if I exercise, I just make it as efficient as possible. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35581793/ns/health-fitness/t/interval-training-can-cut-exercise-hours-sharply

    I had a hard time with tips 1 and 2 because I was addicted to sugar before. If you want an easier and natural way to minimize sugar cravings, increase nutrition and detoxify your body to significantly boost weight loss and improve health, check out Xyngular. I tried their Ignite 8-day program and it has been instrumental in me losing 12 lbs after experiencing a weight plateau! The fruit juice and protein shake were delicious and very nutritious! I have never felt better for a long time!
    Check out: https://www.xyngular.com/fitandslim/ignite/

    Good luck to all health challenge participants! Remember, just by participating in it, and making healthier lifestyle changes, you are already a winner!

    Best regards,
    Mike

    Reply

  36. k May 9, 2012 at 1:09 am

    are we supposed to be topless in the picture or can we wear a t=shirt?

    Reply

  37. Kevin May 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Looks like I caught this just in time. When I get home from school today I’m going to set up a plan and all that good stuff.

    I was trying to figure a workout plan for the summer to get in shape to either join the army or attempt to become a police officer when I graduate in december. A chance to win some poker lessons is definitely a bonus.

    Reply

  38. Alejandro Duque May 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    In.

    Been looking for some motivation to do this lately, and the idea of getting to converse very frequently with a top poker player is deff enough motivation for me.

    GL ALL, we all win with this challenge.

    Reply

  39. Steve Cohen May 10, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Sorel,

    Going to set up today …

    When do you do skype vid to verify? not sure i can set up camera, but have iphone video call if that works? Thanks …

    Steve Cohen

    Reply

  40. Kieran S May 12, 2012 at 4:27 am

    Hi everyone, 24 male here with a few too many inches on the stomach and overall poor eating habbits.
    Started this on the 10th and will have a regular blog at http://losingmywide.blogspot.co.uk
    Starting weight is just over 14 stone and my blog will be 100% honest on what I eat, how I feel and what not, I’ll hope to make it fun to read but ultimately this is for me to get healthier and beinghonest knowing people are reading means I cannot allow myself to fail.

    Reply

  41. Kieran S May 15, 2012 at 11:57 am

    I think it would be good if we could set up a group somewhere so that everyone can keep each other posted there too – alternatively if people share their blogs that would be great. I think it would help with the motivation and mindset.

    Reply

  42. kenaces May 20, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Just wanted to say thanks for creating this challenge. After just 10 days I am feeling better and I am motivated to Crush!

    Reply

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