FS-Mike Mercer-The Perils of Being Out of Shape

It's no secret: I'm late to the Ethos party...by a long-shot; and I'm further behind than simple tardiness provides for. Should I be joining you on promotion day in October, I have a tremendous amount of work and study to do and, while I'm realistic about it all, I'm also excited and motivated by the challenge. With all of that understood, the catch-up work is the lesser of my challenges. The greater challenge: I am woefully out of shape.

The first time I walked through the doors of Aim High, it was with my son, Sam. He had been asking to study martial arts and Aim High became our school of choice. Our selection criteria wasn't super rigorous: I had a friendship with BSBN John Wright's dad, Curt, who had told me a bit about the school. As well, BKJN Dan had shown a sincere interest in partnership with Compassion First which I thought was pretty cool. I suppose, in addition, on some sort of very uninformed level, I had also done my best novice-driven line-of-site evaluation of the program. Truth be told, I had no on-board knowledge to make such an assessment, just the voice of an old Kajukenbo instructor in the back of my head giving me grief about this and that. In then end, I'm certain he would be encouraged by the program we found.

I only survived the one visit in the bleachers. Dan was pretty sure I needed to be in class. I'm pretty sure he was right. This was quickly proven out by my first workout. I was on the downhill end of my 30's, easily 40 pounds overweight, and several months removed from any regular exercise. Always the skinny kid growing up, my body had succumbed to the rigors of steady travel and regular lunch meetings. Worse, I was still carrying the evidence of a short, wonder-filled, but physically devastating season of being fed in a post-Katrina FEMA work camp where the Federally mandated catering contract stipulates that relief workers be provided 12,000 calories per day. 12,000 CALORIES!! I had no idea I was eating that many calories; I just knew the food was really good. I wasn't exactly working it off either as I exerted very little from the seat of my desk, the seat of my car, the seat of a plane. After each week away, I would return home five pounds heavier (If you do the math on the calories consumed against calories burned while being sedentary, it's five pounds per week. Go figure). In my head I was still the skinny kid. It was that first workout that sobered me to the fact that the skinny kid was long gone. It was very early in the class that I began to struggle - by early, I mean the very beginning - The "jumping" part of jumping jacks in warm-ups seemed to be the issue.

Since that first workout - the last six months being the exception - I have not let more than three weeks pass without exercise. Whether running, lifting weights, doing tabatas in a hotel room where other options weren't readily available, for a few years anyway, I've been able to claim that I was never too far from basic 5k shape. I'm afraid to say, that is not the case right now. For six months, I've had to surrender to a new normal where a handful of good things yielded to accommodate a handful of necessary things. I regret this on a lot of levels and in a lot of areas, some of which I'll get to talk about to some extent in this forum.

The results are not all bad. Compassion First is in pretty good shape these days (for which I am very thankful), much better shape than I am. While I'm not the 40 pounds overweight of several years ago, I'm a mile away from being fit and certainly far off the mark that all of you are at at this point. Even now, a couple weeks in, I'm just to the point of not "seeing stars" at the 35 minute mark.

Of course, we all have our physical requirements to fulfill outside of class. Mine will be with a mindset of catching up FAST. In preparation, I'm emotionally reconciling with the fact that the Tabata and the High Intensity Interval are my new best friends. As friends go, I think they fall into that funny category of those that you're obliged to love but just don't like very much.

Until I get there, if it ever appears that I'm in severe pain, take heart; it's only because I'm actually in severe pain.

Physically, mentally, spiritually, Mike

Posted on April 4, 2014 .