Where to, for sports journalism?

ESPN’s recent massive layoff wasn’t exactly a surprise, if you were observing the landscape closely. Big pro sports deal (high cost), declining subscriber base (less money), something had to give. It also gives aspiring sports journalists pause; where to, from here?

Sports journalism isn’t solely comprised of the exclusive brethren it was years ago; the internet blew everything apart. Suddenly, everyone with an opinion and a blog is a writer, or at least they think they are (depending on the quality of writing). Twitter unleashes voices. The gates to media credentials for pro sports have lowered, and the NBA has got to be among the best of them all, when it comes to treatment for media personnel.

It’s easy enough to start your own site and produce quality writing, but how long can you keep this up? Could you turn it into a full-time job? Does it pay the bills? How does one monetise a product like this? Patreon support? Subscription paywall for premium content? Donations? Advertisements? Merchandise?

Or, is it enough for you to land a job at a big brand media organisation elsewhere? There’s got to be light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s harder than ever for one to break through the ranks, and join up as a full-time journalist, simply because there are fewer jobs out there.

It all comes down to ROI. Investment into resources (infrastructure, staff) must result in corresponding content that captures audiences, and pageviews. Bad metrics means budget cuts, and layoffs. It also means surviving staff get stretched in multiple directions, or even different directions in a bid to right the ship.

All I can say is, I’m glad I’m not aspiring to be a sports journo. It’s a rewarding, but exhausting profession; kudos to the blokes who survive the grind, I’m not looking for something like this right now.

Bulking, macros and intermittent fasting

Bulking has been the main goal ever since I started gym, and I succeeded in gaining 12kg, from 63kg in Jan ’16, to 75kg in Feb ’16 (guesstimate).

Problem: it wasn’t 12kg of muscle, and I was gaining this noticeable band of fat. Skinny fat is real, unfortunately. I still had my abs, but this roll of lard was annoying as hell; it made me feel like I was doing something wrong on diet. You know it’s wrong when your daughter points at your belly and says Daddy, there’s a doughnut!

That was when I started looking at the idea of watching my macros. I created a simple spreadsheet, planned my meals, calculated the daily calories, and kept to it for two weeks. Sure enough, the fats disappeared, my belly flattened out, the daughter exclaimed my doughnut’s gone. It’s pretty magical, I have to say. OTOH, it was a lot of abstinence. I stuck to water, cleaned my diet pretty thoroughly and eliminated a whole bunch of sugar. The idea was to go onto a high fat, high protein, low carb routine.

It’s week five since I started planning my macros on 20 Mar. I’m thinking it might be time to put the pounds back on. This time though, I’m trying intermittent fasting (IF) out. The theory here, is that you consume the same amount of calories/macros in a day, but restrict it within the lunch-dinner window (12pm – 8pm).  Yes, breakfast doesn’t exist. Yes, I do get hungry, and it’s a bitch.

I first got the idea about IF from a Terry Crews interview, and figured it’s worth trying out. Like what the hell, if it doesn’t work after three months I’ll just tweak my diet, no harm done. Worst case? I get skinny fat again; I’ve been there before, I can take it.

Self note: right now, I’m at 69/70kg. The aim is to get back to 73/74kg in three months, but not pack on the fats again. Slow gains, lean gains. I need to start packing the diet back on again, which means more peanut butter and protein shakes during the day. I’ll need to plan and not wing it though, need to make time out for it.

The next challenge (aside from lean gains) is to see how I cope with planning my own workout sessions. Having a trainer is great, but I’m coming to the end of my package and it’s time to figure out how I plan this. I’m thinking a paper notebook more than a spreadsheet, it might be easier to jot my routine/reps/fails at the gym that way. The good thing is, I’ve been diligently asking questions about the training I’ve been doing all these months. For example, why does exercise A go with B in a superset? Why am I doing barbell instead of dumbbell for this exercise? Which muscle groups is this exercise hitting? It’s been pretty fun learning about these, and I’ve written up some test workouts for NZ since a month or so ago, just for warmups.