I feel I have been in shape now for a few years, but for a long time I was training without specific goals. I was training regularly at both Bodies by Design and Gracie Humaita Jiu Jitsu Woodbridge. Doing both activities not only kept me busy, it also kept me in shape. My biggest challenge has always been motivation. Sure I trained, but with no goals. I just went through the motions and the same routines.
After watching my daughter win double gold in her Taekwondo tournament, I became remotivated. I wanted to fight again! It was about five weeks out from the next Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) tournament, and I told both my BJJ professor and BBD personal trainer Christian “I want to fight!” However, there was a problem: I weighed close to 210 pounds. My fighting weight is 195 with my gi (fighting outfit), which meant I needed to drop down to about 190. That was about 20 pounds in five weeks, and I couldn’t lose muscle mass or suffer from the typical weight-loss fatigue. Now I hate admitting it, but I have just turned 39, and the weight doesn’t come off as easy as it did when I was in my 20s.
I told Christian I wanted to lose the weight and he said confidently, “Then you WILL lose the weight.” Over the course of the next month, Christian put me through countless rounds of boxing, sprints and light-weight exercises. As he is also a competitive athlete, I was able to really tap into his vibe and that helped keep me going.
After five weeks I weighed in with my gi at about 192 pounds. I had done it! I would love to say that I won the fight, but I lost a fairly close battle. After the loss, I fought again, for bronze. My significant weight cut had drained me in the first fight, and left me with nothing in the tank. Three minutes into the bronze medal match I tapped out to a choke that I just had no energy to counter.
While I felt good about losing the weight, I was angry at myself for giving up due to conditioning. After talking to Christian I was even more motivated to get on the mat again. My next fight was about two months away. I started training intensely, doing BJJ 4+ days a week, sometimes for three hours at a stretch, and working out with Christian doing weight training and cardio twice a week. My next chance to fight was in Ottawa, and I was ready! By the time I got there I was in the best shape of my life! I weighed in at 190 with the gi on, and I felt energized and strong. With the guidance of my professor and two months of hardcore training with Christian I fought my way to a gold medal in a level that I had just been promoted to six days prior – the Adult Purple Belt division. It felt INCREDIBLE! I beat a former pro Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter. I credit Christian for a big part of that success.
The one thing about winning is that it’s addictive – you just need more! It made me register for a two-day gi/no-gi tournament in the middle of January. So I again needed help increasing my endurance and strength. My goal was simple: I didn’t want to get out-powered and I wasn’t going to tap from exhaustion.
Christian and I did a lot more weightlifting this time around and we incorporated a few new fitness toys: an elevation mask, Fat Gripz and a sauna shirt. Over the next few weeks I received help not only for my strength conditioning, but also for my mind. With Christian being a fighter as well as a trainer, he was fully aware of the doubt that can flow through your head before a fight, but he was able to keep me focused on the prize.
The result? I not only got down to a no-gi weight of 188 pounds, but I fought a total of eight fights in two days, and won silver in both gi and no-gi at the adult Purple Belt level. I beat athletes half my age and two other former pro MMA fighters!
What’s next? I am hoping to compete in at least another three tournaments this year, and maybe a trip to the Worlds this summer!
Working out can be very rewarding, but it can also be extremely frustrating. I never thought I needed a plan for working out. I thought if you just threw around a few dumbbells you would be okay. I quickly found out that not only is it a big waste of time, but it can also be dangerous. Lift the wrong thing the wrong way and all of a sudden you are on the shelf for a few days or worse. My time with the trainers at BBD has been very rewarding and educational. Every trainer I have had not only tailored workouts to my ability and needs, but they have also taken the time to explain to me why I should be doing something a certain way. I would like to thank all the trainers I have worked with in my two years with BBD: Bandele, Mark, Jason and especially Christian!
As Christian always says… “Train hard, fight easy!”[gn_media url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hetg-wyh6lI” width=”600″ height=”400″]