Hey guys, I know a lot of you made that resolution to change your life for 2016. The problem is, for some of you, this is your first attempt of trying to lose weight ever. This first article of the New Year provides you with a realistic approach when you take you first step to fitness. I hope this helps you go in boldly. Laugh at my pain, but be encouraged!
Years ago, before I became enlightened to Functional Fitness, I used to be a 230-pound bodybuilder type. I was so massive I could not scratch the middle of my back. I was not out of shape in terms of obesity but you could have classified me in the same boat. My cardio was horrible and although I was strong as an ox I moved like a sloth.
One day, I went to an amateur boxing event for city employees. The fighters that competed that night were absolutely horrible. It was almost like they went to a bar, had a few beers and decided to lace up the gloves and slug it out in front of thousands of people. While watching in the audience I looked at my work buddies and said, “I’m no boxer, but I know I can kick their butts!” One of my workmates happened to be a former world champion kick boxer named the Blue Dragon.
Now the Dragon also had some professional boxing experience. He gave me the most cynical smirk that severely challenged my ego. It was like he was quietly trying to tell me that those, so called, bumbling fools in the ring were at a skill level much higher than mine. I got the felling he knew something that I needed to know so for weeks I begged him to train me in boxing so I can enter a similar amateur competition in a few months. Finally, after nagging him to death, he told me that he would train me. He took me to a boxing gym in the valley and immediately put me to work.
I remember taking off my shirt at the gym so all in the gym could see my masculinity. My trainer warned me not to but I really wanted to start off with a good impression, and that I did. As soon as I removed my shirt, the guys in the gym casually glance at me like a pack of curious alpha male lions waiting to see what the new cat in the pride was all about. The Dragon handed me a jump rope to begin my training. I grabbed it immediately because I could not wait to show these guys what I’m about. There was only one problem…
Before I continue, I’d like for all of you to go back in time with me. I was about 6 years old and bored to death sitting in the 3rd pew of my old church. My Pastor, Reverend Warren. was just getting ready to preach. Before he got started he wanted to invite a guest pianist to play for the choir. The pianist name just so happened to be the same as mine. I did not even think to listen for the last name. I said to myself, “I had no idea the Reverend knew I could play the piano!” The sad thing was I did not know either. I figured that I’d just run up to the piano and God would take care of the rest.
As I saw the choir rise to their feet I also saw a man in my peripheral vision stand up behind me, but I figured he was headed to the restroom. I ran up to the front of the church wondering why my older brother tried to pull me back. I shook him loose and got to the piano and started banging away. I noticed no one was singing and the church was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. I looked back to my family and they all were hiding their faces. I played a little more with the same result. I looked at the choir and yelled, “Sign damn it! Sing! I looked back at my family and they were now under the pews. I continued to bang away until the man that I thought was going to the restroom tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Get off!” As I got off the piano all I could see was my sister’s finger raised from underneath the pew beckoning me back to my seat. I heard the snickers of all the kids in the church. I was so embarrassed that I cried all the way through service and all the way home.
Ok, back to the future...
Within 30 seconds of jump roping my calves were killing me. I was exhausted and my shoulders ached immensely. Even worse, when I tried to hit the heavy bag I fell over myself repeatedly from missing it.
I heard the snickers and laughs of the real lions in the gym as if they knew I belonged with the hyenas. After one round of hitting the bag I was completely exhausted and all I heard was laughter around the gym. I made it a point after that, not to quit, but to slowly stop the laughter. I did a tour of numerous boxing gyms and tried everything over and over again until the laughter eventually turned into respect.
They say perception differs from everyone. Initially I thought these guys were laughing at me because they though I was a joke. If I had quit and never came back that probably would have been the case. After getting to know some of the boxers I realized most were laughing because they all had been where I’d been. Now let’s be honest; there were a few people that were laughing because they were just plain cruel; but they don’t matter.
I know it can be difficult to start on a program to lose weight. I know how hard it is going into a gym for the first time wondering what people think about you. First you have to assert that what your reasons for getting healthier have absolutely nothing to do with them.
You have to base your program on what your end goal is. You really have no idea what people are thinking of you so you have to train yourself to stop worrying about it. Allow me to share a secret on how you should approach life when you are ready to change your life for the better.
I want you to imagine the worst-case scenario in your head. When your thought gets to it’s absolute worst inhale as deep as you can and hold it for a few seconds. Then I want you to exhale and cleanse your self with more realistic thought. Verbally tell yourself as you breath out what can’t happen.
Assure yourself that no one, of sound mind, will physically kick you out of a gym because you are out of shape. No trainer, worth his or her salt, will turn you down because you are overweight. No one halfway normal will physically harm you in a workout environment for trying to change your life. No one will impede you from going for a walk to lower your heart rate. Start there and begin to grow stronger in your next steps.
To my readers, I am in support of you so much that I’m willing to share two of my most embarrassing yet funny stories to get you on your path to wellness. “What y’all laughin’ at?”
You don’t have to be a fighter to feel like one! So let’strain!
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