I recently participated in a friend’s podcast where we announced my blog and it made me realize just how long it had been since I wrote anything in it. Instead of making excuses, I will exercise extreme ownership (check out Jocko Willink and Leif Babin’s Extreme Ownership book!) and admit I had not made the time for it but will be more consistent from now on.
I wanted to share an anecdote from last night’s Jiu-Jitsu class that I believe will benefit anyone who reads it. It’s made me contemplate my own journey to a healthier lifestyle, as well as people’s perceptions of it and how unaware some are about the words they speak and how they can negatively impact those that listen to them.
Last night someone told me I looked like I had slimmed down alot and asked me if I was trying to make the 135 lbs weight class. My response was that I wasn’t trying to be that light (mostly because I’m 5’7 1/2″ tall) but that I was trying to be the best version of me, leaner and stronger- for me, not necessarily for competition alone.
This person went ahead to ask me how much I was weighing and that I can “just drop 10 pounds in a week for competition”. Again my response was that the reason I’ve been dropping weight and became more conscious of my nutrition and strength training was so that I wouldn’t make the same mistake I made as a rookie competing in my first Jiu-Jitsu tournament when I had to lose 10 lbs in 3 days to make weight! I said I was feeling great at my current weight and just working on efficiency, maintenance and strength.
This person never complimented me, or my efforts (not that I needed it but it made me think about the intent of the comments) but was more interested in how much more weight I should lose to make a weigh class. I was immediately concerned about how this person’s careless recommendation could potentially affect someone that doesn’t know any better. So to everyone that may have been listening to that nonsense, to my friends, family and followers, please, please never listen to people that will advise you to drop a significant amount of weight in a short period of time. It’s just not healthy and extremely irresponsible to encourage anyone to do it!!!
The mistake I made as a rookie was part of what made me get serious and more disciplined about not just losing the extra pounds but do it in a healthy way. A year ago, amidst my coach Emil’s advise I failed to manage my weight. I was so new at Jiu-Jitsu that I honestly didn’t understand alot of it, let alone competition and the real struggle of “making weight”. It was a rough awakening when 3 days before the weigh-ins I realized I had not dropped the 10 lbs I needed to.
As a result of this, I had to gear up in my Kutting Weight Sauna Suit, ramp up my cardio, and hit the sauna for 3 consecutive days. Needless to say this process was physically and mentally exhausting and draining. I had started to doubt myself and my fitness ability to step on those mats. In addition, I had to cut all carbs to ensure I wouldn’t be adding more weight.
Although I was able to cut most of the weight by the time of weigh-ins I still had to shave off 1.5lbs so there I was, running laps around the dojo’s building where everyone was weighing in at. That was me, all geared up like Rocky Balboa (with my sauna suit under a sweat shirt and pants my teammates lend me) running, then coming back to my car to sit in for a few minutes with the heater on, then out again to jump rope and do more laps.
Ultimately, on my second try at the scale, I made weight and was 1lbs under. However, that night, I promised myself I’d never put my mind and my body through that torture. With that, there was also a sense of embarrassment within me. I felt that I had failed as a student but also as an individual. I did not meet the weight goal, and I paid for it. Nonetheless, I can say I learned my lesson and since then another journey started.
I’ve been that annoying student and friend asking all sorts of questions and advise to my coach and my fitness oriented friends. To my fortune, they have been very supportive and patient. As of today, I have lost 12 lbs in 4.5 months. I used to be 160 lbs with some muscle but I wasn’t feeling strong, or liking the way my body looked and now I’m 148 lbs with more defined and toned muscles, strength, stamina, speed, flexibility and overall healthy system. I feel great and I’m eager to continue to take my body to it’s maximum ability.
Weekly meal preparations, My Fitness Pal cell phone application, a Fitbit watch, paper and pencil logs, calendar reminders, notes on my fridge, progress pictures (yes lots of selfies), following motivational people on social media and an unwavering state of mind to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be (both inside and out) for myself and those that are near and dear to me; that is what pushes me forward.
I don’t take supplements (although I’ll be writing about one I tried and liked alot!) and I don’t take any special/magical drinks or pills. Real change and improvement takes time and alot of hard work. This is what makes the difference between temporary and permanent.
Eating the same meals every day, waking up before the birds sing to work out alone and beyond what my body tells me to do (and sometimes twice a day), minimizing the alcohol intake, tricking my brain when temptation pays me a visit, and pushing through when I’m in pain hasn’t been easy but it has been necessary. I’m not a special kind of human, I believe everyone has the ability to do the same, you just have to know your ‘why’ and want it bad enough.
In this process of becoming a better person and athlete other things have manifested, and that is the undeniable importance of surrounding yourself with people that get it! With people that support you and encourage you and who will remind you how far you’ve come when you are ready to have that greasy burger, pizza, fried chicken, burrito, super tall cold beer/s, or tap out to that triangle.
You know who these people are in your life. They are the ones that live a very similar lifestyle, believe in you, give you sound advise, proof that they walk the talk and when “cheat day” comes, they understand what it means to you. They will never be the ones telling you to drop 10 lbs in a week.
Stay focused, drop excuses to the curbside and get it done.
Un abrazo fuerte!