Essential Ingredients: Fighting Fitness

There are a lot of excuses given for not exercising, I’ve heard them all and used many of them myself.

For many years, I really let myself go. I ate inhuman quantities of whatever I wanted and didn’t care. I have a picture of myself with Chuck Norris, and I love the picture but hate the way I look in it.

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I was around (very round) 290 lbs. here

I got even heavier than I was in that picture. My weight peaked at 317 lbs. At six-and-a-half feet tall, I felt that I could handle anything. But that weight almost killed me. I reached a point where I had to use my arms to pull on handrails to help my legs get me up the stairs. That’s embarrassing.

My friends can tell you that there is nothing I despise more than my own weaknesses. Well, I hated what I had become and I had to make changes, so I did. The least I ever weighed in my adult life was about 220 lbs. I will never reach that again intentionally. I was at the apex of my taekwondo journey, in my mid-twenties, and I was hell on wheels.

In the decades since then, injuries have taken their toll. And old age ain’t for babies either! But in spite of these challenges, I still exercise every day. I will never be able to run a marathon, but if the SHTF, I am fit enough to fight back. And fighting fitness is our topic today.

Are you able to fight back if you have to?

If you are, awesome! If not, here are a few tips.

Pay a visit to your doctor. You need to know if an exercise plan that you have in mind is going to cause you to experience a sudden, involuntary case of death. Once you have medical clearance, start with what you can handle and move ahead from there.

When it comes to calisthenics, I use a method I call C2C. It stands for Can to Can’t. Pushups, situps, squat thrusts (you young’uns call them burpees), do them until you cannot do them right, then stop. To me, once you start going past the point where you are doing an exercise properly, you are not gaining the benefit it is intended to give.

For men, weight training should be every day in my opinion. Most people are in very little danger of the dreaded overtraining because we simply do not work out enough. Women might need breaks from weight training during the week, but you need to be the judge of that. Women are different from men, and as the French say, vive la diffĂ©rence. If you have serious questions about overtraining for women, ask a doctor. If your workout is leaving you tired but not feeling awesome, something needs to change.

Being a martial artist, I use forms training and bag work all the time. From a standpoint of practicality, bag work is more important to me than free sparring as far as striking goes because in free sparring you have to limit the contact in order to let your training partner live, the bags need no such consideration. I also train weapons every day for functional fitness. My weapon work has no really fancy moves and twirly whirly garbage in it, so it remains practical and useful.

All of this comes from a really simple perspective – you have to be fit enough to execute your plans for self-protection. You can’t fight back if you can’t breathe. If you lack the strength to cause damaging impact from your strikes, then your fighting back is going to be a kitten mewing at the wolf. And I seem to be countered when I speak of this by people who say Real fights don’t last very long. True enough, but they can be very intense. You need to be able to take the fight to the threat until he is stopped, or you will add to his statistics.

And all of this is aside from the difference any increase in your fitness levels will bring to your quality of life. It is awesome to feel good, even when you have health issues. Especially when you have health issues – you appreciate any improvement.

So get out there, start where you are and move more, breathe more, drink plenty of water and try to eat right. You will thank yourself for the changes someday.

Likes, shares, and feedback are always appreciated!

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