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Uncle Buck’s Jiu Jitsu Journey: Fighting & Fueling for FD

By: Greg "Uncle Buck" Spiegel

At FD, we are always stoked to share stories from our community members on how they are #OutLivingIt. One of our favorite recent Out Living It stories comes from FD Chef, Greg “Uncle Buck” Spiegel. Uncle Buck picked up jiu jitsu earlier this year and went on to fundraise, compete, and find his way to the podium at a recent Tap Cancer Out (TCO) tournament in Philadelphia. Way to go, Uncle Buck!

While Uncle Buck may have thought he could sneak away without getting any recognition for his participation and success at Tap Cancer Out, we got to sit down with him and hear first hand about his jiu jitsu experience and training. And don’t worry – we managed to get the secret recipes for his favorite pre-workout smoothie and post-workout refuel!

We’re humbled to partner with and benefit from Tap Cancer Out, and so proud of Uncle Buck’s second place finish. Read on to learn more about Uncle Buck’s experience, and how to get involved in TCO in the year ahead.

“My participation in TCO was an effort on my part to give back. I wanted to commit to the tournament because they support so many impactful cancer fighting  organizations, of course including First Descents.” – “Uncle Buck” FD Chef

FD: When and how did you get involved with FD?

UB: As with all good stories, this one starts at a bar. About 5 years ago, I was at local restaurant with a group of friends where I randomly sat next to our now FD Chef manager “Veggetti”. We got to talking about our mutual culinary journey, and then she told me about her work with FD. A few days later, I reached back out and she helped me get a working interview at an ice climbing program in CO. The rest is delicious history…


FD:
When did you first become interested in Jiu Jitsu and what inspired you to begin practicing?

UB: I started my BJJ (Brazilian jiu-jitsu) journey in January of 2020. I was just looking for a physical activity to do in between the soccer season, and my first internet search showed me Delaware Self-Defense Academy. I was hooked after my first lesson.

FD: How did you become involved with Tap Cancer Out?

UB: I first heard about TCO from “Tops,” a FD staff member, while working a program at Devil’s Lake. He casually mentioned the relationship Tap Cancer Out has with First Descents and we also had some participants on the program that practiced BJJ. So, when I got back home, I signed up for the Philly tournament. 

 

Willowood Inn at Devil’s Lake where Uncle Buck first learned about Tap Cancer Out.

 

Uncle Buck receiving two stripes on his white belt.

 

Training seminar with Royce Gracie at Delaware Self Defense Academy.

FD: Walk us through your training routine. When, where and how often did you train pre-competition?

UB: As a Chef, my schedule is in constant flux, but I try and train 2-3 days a week, everything from standing self defense techniques to advanced ground techniques and even MMA training. Each lesson varies from learning the basics to drilling techniques live against resisting opponents. The great thing about the Delaware Self-Defense Academy, is that they offer 5 possible days to train and also multiple seminars, so I always have many options to train. 

 

FD: How has your participation in TCO’s competition been both meaningful, healing and challenging for you? What was the most rewarding part?

UB: My participation in TCO was an effort on my part to give back. I wanted to commit to the tournament because they support so many impactful cancer fighting  organizations, of course including First Descents. I was proud to have fundraised and competed and lucky enough to have come in 2nd place in my first competition! TCO was a great experience overall. The BJJ community is very respectful, and it’s a great feeling to win or lose and still shake your opponent’s hand and smile.

 

FD: What is the importance of nutrition for you in the training process? How has your interest  and expertise in nutrition and your role as a chef affected your Jiu Jitsu training/practice?

UB: Nutrition in training is a huge part of my success. You want your body to be able to sustain constant training, recovery and prolonged energy. As a Chef for FD the last 5 years, I have seen first hand the positive effects good nutrition has on people in a variety of physical activities.

I personally prefer to train on an empty stomach, so a great pre-work out meal I like is a fruit and spinach smoothie a couple hours before training. The carbs and natural sugars along with the nut butter provide long lasting, slow burning energy that keeps me going for hours.

As for post workout, I really like a vegetable frittata. It’s light enough so I don’t feel bloated, but packed with protein, carbs and vitamins that help me recover quickly. I usually make one on the weekend to use up my extra veggies, and will just grab a slice right from the fridge and throw some hot sauce on it and I’m good to go! Here is my favorite recipe from some awesome FD chefs.

BUCK’S PRE-WORKOUT JIU-JITSU JOLT

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1 spoon of chia seeds
  • 1 spoon peanut butter (100% peanuts only!)
  • Almond milk

Preparation:

It’s too easy! I blend this with water and a splash of almond milk, and I’m good to go! I hope it fuels your fitness as much as mine.

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FD’S POST-WORKOUT RECOVERY FRITTATA:

Ingredients:

  • 4 whole potatoes
  • 10 whole eggs (organic is a must with eggs!)
  • 1 whole red or green bell pepper, cut into slices
  • 2 links organic chicken sausage, optional
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Shredded parmesan cheese, optional garnish
  • 1 avocado, sliced into wedges, optional garnish
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro, optional garnish

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil with potatoes. Boil 15 minutes, or until soft when pierced with a fork. Allow to cool and slice into 1/4″ slices, set aside.
  3. In a bowl whisk the eggs, turmeric, salt and pepper, set aside. In a medium sauté pan, cook the chicken sausage links until browned on both sides. Then cut into pieces and set aside.
  4. In a 10″ or 12″ cast iron skillet, or other oven-friendly pan, roast potato slices in oil, turning once, until starting to brown. Remove potatoes from heat. Pour in egg mixture. Add sausage if desired. Top with bell pepper slices.
  5. Place in oven for approximately 10 minutes, or until golden brown and a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Top with parmesan, avocado slices, and cilantro. Cut into wedges and serve hot. Yum!

Don’t forget to participate in the nationwide, virtual Global Grappling Day on December 11, 2021 in support of Tap Cancer Out and First Descents!

This is the only Tap Cancer Out event we host where literally ANYONE, ANYWHERE in the world can take part, and we hope you do. All you need is ONE day and ONE hour to change the world! #RollForAReason

More About Tap Cancer Out!

First Descents is a proud partner of Tap Cancer Out. TCO is a jiu-jitsu based non-profit that raises awareness and funds for cancer fighting organizations. Since 2011, TCO has hosted dozens of tournaments raising more than $2,250,000 for their beneficiaries. FD is one of the nine beneficiaries that benefits from this jiu jitsu based non-profit. Check out their website to learn more here.

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