Monday, 13 August 2007

Fighting fit....?

I think that another interesting angle to this whole journey is going to be the need to get into good physical shape for the grading. From what I hear it’s pretty demanding.

Back in 2002, I left the Royal Air Force which was probably the time that I was at my fittest. I’ve never been a natural athlete – I’ve always had to work pretty hard to get any where like fit, but for me, I was in pretty good shape. I was around 90 kilos (I’m 6 ft and a big build), pretty lean, well toned and able to exercise pretty hard (the RAF standard during officer training was a three mile run in 21 mins).

After I left, I tried hard for a while to keep in shape, but commuting 4 hours into/out of London every day made life hard – long days. In the RAF I had the privileged position of being paid to keep fit – keeping up that level of activity in a “normal” job is nigh on impossible. To give you some idea, in the RAF, I was maintaining my weight on a 5,000 calorie a day diet!

It was just after leaving the forces that I took up martial arts in an attempt to stop the slide, but it’s just not enough. I’m actually quite a lazy person at heart and I love food. I’ve always been one of those people that puts on weight real easy. I can lose it pretty easy too if I exercise hard, but time is an issue. Add to this (and I’m not trying to make excuses), I tore my ACL (for a second time – the first being before the RAF), which required 6 months of physio and took almost a year to get back to where I was.

About a year later I did something to my back. Don’t know what it was (something to do with a deep lordosis?) but I would go into intense spasms of low back pain that would take several minutes to subside. My mobility was severely affected – most mornings I couldn’t even put my socks on or tie my own shoes. It took a year of regular osteopathy to get things back how they were. The back’s still not 100%, but I can at least bend and move without fear of spasms. It’s made a big difference to my BJJ too – I can at least move with confidence that my back is not going to spasm, so now I’m trying out new moves that just weren’t an option before. The knee will never be right – little or no ACL in one knee means that one leg “giving out” is always a potential problem. I suspect the years of rugby had a lot to do with both these problems. Hey ho.

All of this (but mostly me just eating really bad) had conspired to put me where I am today. I’m still pretty fit, but nowhere near where I was. I know I need to lose weight, shape up and all this will make me stronger, faster, fitter and better able to execute my BJJ moves.

So, this two year quest is also a quest to get back in shape. I ain’t getting any younger – time to stop the tide of approaching middle age spread. I want my kids to grow up with a dad that can give them a run for their money whatever their age.

I work so much better with something to aim for, so the timescale and target gives me something great to tie this all in to.

So, here are some current stats (all done using home equipment); we’ll re-visit these at various points to see how I’m doing. This is it – I’m putting myself out there so I guess I’m gonna look pretty stupid if I don’t get where I want to be.

Height: 6’0” (183cm)
Weight: 110 kg (using cheapest of the cheap scales)
Waist; 38”
Body Fat %: approx 40% (done using cheap hand held unit)
Cholesterol 4.7 (home testing kit)

I guess BP would be something good to look at – I’ll get this done if I need to go to the Doctor’s and let you know where I’m at.

My target weight is somewhere around 95 kilos. I gotta face facts. I’m never gonna be what I was 5 years ago so this is realistc I hope. The rest of the measures will just fit around that. Fitness wise, I’d like to be able to keep up a 9-10 min mile for min 3 miles and up to 6 miles….anything else will be a bonus.

In my favour, I don’t and have never smoked. I do not drink loads (although probably still too much by accepted “units” measures), I train between 2-3 times a week for two hours each session, then there are runs and cycling to and form work around that…so at least I’m not starting from scratch.

As time goes on, I’ll keep you updated on my plans and my progress, for now, that’ll do. Speak to you again soon.

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