Friday, January 18, 2008

Roly the Ninja

What's red and pink and white and goes: 'creeaaaaak' every time it moves?

The answer is me - after my first Mixed Martial Arts class...

At the start of 2008, I peered at the scales and realised I'd piled on quite a bit of weight over the last few years. My sedentary lifestyle in the states hadn't helped either. So I decided that 2008 was the year when I'd slim down to my 'fighting weight' from my early twenties.

The problem was - losing weight isn't as easy as it sounds. There's a simple mathematical equation involved:

Calories In (food/drink consumed during the day)
- Minus
Calories Out (food energy burnt during the body's daily activity)
= Equals
Calorie Surplus / Deficit

Eat more than you burn and you gain weight as the excess calories get stored as fat. Burn more than you eat and those fat stores get raided for the energy. You lose weight.

Pulling back on my appetite for steak and mashed potato was one route - but the major problem was the fact that I sat on my arse all day in the office, returned home (mentally exhausted) and sat on my arse on the sofa and then I went to bed (occasionally on my arse.)

Going to the gym seemed a waste of time - running on a treadmill is like a hamster running on a wheel. Both comic and tragic at the same time (do you think the hamster realises he's never going to get anywhere?)

Exercise at home was unlikely to succeed since that involves discipline and that's not a very powerful trait of mine.

So I needed to do something stimulating and motivating. So I decided to take up a martial art.

I picked Dynamic Duo Martial Arts Academy for various reasons. Firstly, they were close to my house - barely a mile or so away. Secondly, they had a coupon on the front of the Clipper magazine that offered 8 weeks training for $88 dollars.

And last night, in combats and an old Summer Study t-shirt, I turned up for my first lesson.

I will say this: I didn't learn to kick, punch, jump, stomp or do anything remotely Steven Seagal-ish. Instead our instructor told our small class (five veterans and myself) to stretch and do push ups and sit ups.

But it was a lot of fun.

Boy, did I struggle. Considering my exercise routine for the last six months has been limited to taking the stairs instead of the elevator, the instructor's order to do fifty sit ups and press ups was a bit of a stretch. I think I managed 30 or so, all thanks to my dojo partner literally hauling me up and down during those last, elbow-trembling push-ups by the scruff of my t-shirt.

I ducked out early and stood in the snow, taking deep breaths to avoid yacking my guts up.

But it was a great bunch of people, they didn't look down on me for my spectacular lack of fitness ("don't worry, the Master told me. You'll be doing classes back to back in no time") and once I'd recovered from the spotty vision and nausea, the aching muscles indicated that I'd exercised. I mean REALLY exercised.

I'm still feeling it this morning. I took my Lincoln to work rather than the Subaru because the thought of juggling a clutch and gearstick seemed too much for my frozen and creaking muscles to handle.

But actually leaving the house and interacting with other people seems like a much more promising route to a slimmer, sexier Roland in 2008. And maybe - once I can handle the high level of fitness demanded - they'll teach me the sexy kicks and punches I see in the action movies.

Watch this space.

No comments: