Web Toolbar by Wibiya


Bye Bye, Backfat...Hello, Boxing Gloves! Part VI: "Aren't You Too Old To Be Boxing?"

Bye Bye, Backfat
Photo Credit: Self-Portrait by E.Payne

"Aren't you too old to be boxing? I mean c'mon?" is what my mother-in-law immediately asked me yesterday after I revealed to her my new fitness routine.

I can always count on her to not keep her thoughts to herself...

I laughed and quickly explained that I wasn't trying to be a prize fighter. I was simply getting in shape. 6 weeks ago I may have agreed with her. But that was then and this is now: 6 weeks into my experience at LA Boxing - Mammaroneck, approximately 10 pounds lighter (I can't seem to shake a nagging fluctuating 1 pound), a whole lot stronger, faster with my hands than I ever thought I could be and walking tall --- shoulders back, back straight --- not so much from pride but because of all the ab work I'm doing.

It has been a serious uphill battle chasing down the former me: 173 pounds, 6% body fat, insane, disciplined and maybe carrying 25% of the responsibilities I do now and having roughly 50% more time than I do now. When I was in this place it was the winter of 2005. Barely 30 days later my daughter was born. Then began my slow, unnoticeable descent into personal inactivity. By the time I got married in 2007, I had gone from being up at 5:45am to do more in an hour than most people did in a week to doing a handful of pushups when the mood hit me. After I got married I stopped doing even that.

In July 2009, I weighed in at 205. My body felt heavy and slow, I couldn't move the way I wanted to and my right heel was bruised making it nearly unbearable to walk. None of my clothes were fitting. Even though it took me 3 years (starting from my daughter's birth) to gain only 28 pounds, this was no consolation for me. That summer I managed to run off about 12 pounds of that, much of which I now suspect was water weight because by year's end and a heavy round of holiday eating I was 205 once more. At 5'10" 205 is easy to disguise clothed, but not in the mirror after you come out of the shower. Not when glory that was once your pectorals (established during my senior year of high school) had become flabby pieces of meat covering your breastplate.

Making matters worse is that I'm no longer a gym rat after having put myself through a year of a Brooklyn based bootcamp in 2005. It was in Prospect Park that I learned to do bear crawls and mountain climbers until exhaustion. I sprinted the entire length of the Brooklyn Bridge in both directions. I did jumping jacks at red lights ignoring the heckles from everyone that felt the need to roll down their windows and yell at me and my fellow boot campers. I removed the bread from my diet, lived off lean meats, fish and vegetables, ate before seven and was in bed by eleven. My boot camp instructor loved me and made me an example for the rest of the group. I was a non-complainer who did what I was told. I did have my binge days on Sundays where I ate everything that wasn't nailed down from French fries to frosted flakes. The bottom line was that although I had a girlfriend and a son to be (my wife and son now) but I was single and my time was mine.

Not so anymore. Other than promising myself to get in shape someday my options were bleak. My body --- something I've been in tune with and kept tuned for a very long time was out of whack and no longer listening to me. I was contending with dim prospect of having to live with something that is me but resembles nothing I've ever known to be me (if that makes sense). My self-esteem was on the line, because a major tenet to me being who I am is being in shape and feeling like I'm in shape. Working out aided in my development of the self-love required to be able to love others and not rely on others for love and approval. It rounded out who I was as a person. That part of me has been missing for these past few years.

Then along came LA Boxing (Mamaroneck). They saw in me an opportunity (I guess): an out of shape family man who was very vocal about wanting to be in shape once again. For me it was simple. I'd get to learn how to box (or something close to it) --- something I've always wanted to do. It took me nearly a week to get up the nerve to actually go to the gym after I had secured my membership. I wore a lot of clothes that first day to cover my protruding gut and my less than defined arms and sharp shoulders. By the time I was done with their signature, hour-long, 1,000 calorie burning cardio boxing routine (complete with gloves and heavy bags) I was a hot, sweaty mess. I wear a lot less now, but the burn and the sweat has only gotten worse. I can't speak for any of the other LA Boxing sites across the country, but the gang over at the Mamaroneck is the nicest and most supportive bunch of merciless trainers I've ever met.

It's definitely been a blast. There I have a discipline to embrace versus just going to the gym to lift weights or run on a tread mill. I'm not in it to learn how to knock someone out. I just want the all over conditioning that comes with being a boxer. I'm not interested in turning back the clock. I want to age with strength and grace. At one point during my workout yesterday I was doubled over tasting my breakfast in my mouth and feeling my stomach churn. The owner, Dean, ran up on me and screamed, "What are you doin'? I didn't tell you to stop!" And I went right back into it because I have nothing to do but gain by boxing away my backfat. I get to be more alive for my kids and I get to fine tune this machine that I use to move through my days.

What my experience so far at LA Boxing has done is expose the following:

Bad Habits: 1) I can't stay up all night long (a current problem I'm battling) and think I'm going to waltz up in the gym first thing in the morning and pump out a mean performance. It's just not gonna happen; 2) Based on the sheets of sweat that come off of me, drinking fluids all day long (water and electrolytes) is a must; 3) Garbage in - garbage out: I've actually known this for the past 15 years but undoing my snacking of the past four years is not the easiest thing in the world to do. I've opted to correct this by snacking mostly on fruits.

My Age: I'm not who I was four years ago, so staying up all night long and waking up at the crack of dawn to work out just doesn't work. I accepted this about 3 weeks ago.
Other than that I've always been of the inclination that there is nothing I can't do, short of flying without being inside an airplane. As of this weekend I will be 7 weeks in and in a better place than I've been for a very long time. And as of yesterday I began my eventual mastery of skipping rope like a boxer --- something I've ALWAYS wanted to be able to do. So no, I'm not too old to be boxing. I'm not too old to do anything that I want and/or need to do. I've even got more motivation thanks to a family trip to the Caribbean scheduled for the end of this month. I'm trying to be as shirtless as possible while I'm away.

When relaying all this to a friend last night she remarked, "We all have that thing that works for us. I'm glad you found yours." If you have something that you want to do, or always have wanted to do I encourage you to pursue with all your heart, strength and spirit as much as time will allow. As far as I know we only get one go-round in these bodies of ours. Why pass on living life to the fullest? Do what you need to do to make your life richer. Everyone around you will benefit from it, just as I hope you will benefit from my journey as I check with you to update you on my backfat annihilation.


Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for this post. I have been provided with a complimentary membership to LA Boxing for a limited time period.

Follow Me On Twitter
Subscribe to Makes Me Wanna Holler

blog comments powered by Disqus