Last Updated on January 10, 2013.
The fact is, when you are in shape you feel great mentally and physically.
by Shihan Ron Schulmann
Over the years I’ve spoken to countless people about their experiences of trying to get in shape. It’s fair to say that most found it challenging. Staying in shape was an even greater struggle.
The majority of people tied their fitness goals to things like the new year, weddings, vacations or some other event. For the short term, this approach motivated them enough to power through difficult workouts at the gym and to survive on very restrictive diets. But as soon as they reached their goal, they of course, stopped working out and started binging. Obviously, you don’t continue running after you reach the finish line. You stop!
when it comes to long-term fitness, you need a program which does more than get you into that once-in-a-lifetime wedding dress (or tux)
The problem with this method is; in order to reach their fitness goal most people choose a workout that they dislike or one that can’t keep them interested long term… same with their diet. Most people choose diets that they can’t possibly stick with (or may even be unhealthy for long periods of time) just to reach a short term goal. Additionally, falling out of a fitness program often results in weight gain that surpasses their initial starting weight. So, while goal setting works in many aspects of life, when it comes to long-term fitness, you need a program which does more than get you into that once-in-a-lifetime wedding dress (or tux). Also, repeating a cycle of gaining and losing weight is really hard on the body over time and can result in metabolic changes that are difficult to overcome.
The fact is, when you are in shape you feel great mentally and physically. You look good, your confidence level goes up and you feel empowered. Then, why can’t you stay this way all the time. What’s the trick?
It’s not a trick at all, you must understand human nature. I hear people tell me how their trainer kills them and its working. They tell me how difficult the sessions are mentally and physically. Any workout will produce results if you are consistent. But they will all fail if you quit! And if they are mentally taxing, you will quit.
What we need to look to do is incorporate fitness into our life. What works is what can keep you interested forever.
Take a kid for example and try putting him on a treadmill for 30 minutes a day a few times per week. We all know what will happen. He will never be consistent. Kids are about fun and adults are just big kids. Give that same kid a ball and a friend and he will play all day and produce results far beyond what was expected from the dreaded treadmill.
A workout is not what an adult should be looking for. What we need to look to do is incorporate fitness into our life. What works is what can keep you interested forever. What works can be physically taxing but not mentally. Just like when you were a kid. Playing a sport produced automatic fitness results that came out of the excitement of winning or the sheer love for the game.
I have been a competitive soccer player most of my life and still belong to a team. But, I have to admit, it is not quite as fun as it used to be. I use the excuse that I can’t find the time to play sometimes. But, to tell you the truth, I would find the time if I was motivated. The game has changed for me since staying injury free is more difficult and important to me. Also, playing for the sheer love of the game doesn’t keep me going anymore. I still have a hard time losing and winning cannot be a priority as you weigh the price of a deteriorating body. It truly becomes frustrating. Playing at a diminishing level does not motivate me as much anymore.
martial arts is different. Just like the second word in its name… it’s an art.
This is why playing most sports as we get older isn’t realistic. Since sports are not arts and the objective is always the same and doesn’t change it doesn’t work as we are forced to play at a diminishing level. It is not a healthy way to stay in shape physically as your joints weren’t made for that type of abuse for that many years. Mentally it is hard to stay motivated as your performance is compromised by a deteriorating body.
Just like soccer, I have also been doing martial arts most of my life. But, martial arts is different. Just like the second word in its name… it’s an art. As we age the art remains intriguing, challenging and is something that you can be a student of forever. The progression is endless.
The fitness will come automatically which is why it works just like your favorite sport. Injury will not stop you if you have the martial arts spirit. Unlike a sport, we can work around any injury. The art changes as our body changes but the objective of understanding and progressing our knowledge remains a driving motivator to continue. If you are a competitive person you will be satisfied with your progression as competition is from oneself to oneself. I am still getting better with each passing year. My knowledge continues to progress. This is why we as martial artists enjoy participation and fitness until death do us part! As we age the martial arts fills the void of a sport without the detrimental effects on our body. There is no better method to get into and stay in shape for the rest of our lives.
Now, which martial art should you choose. For this question we must explore the most sought after result of training. SELF DEFENSE.
One of the reasons MMA has become such a phenomenon is because it has proven to be the most practical of all martial arts.
One of the reasons MMA has become such a phenomenon is because it has proven to be the most practical of all martial arts. For years prior to the birth of MMA, people had to train for years to learn some basic self defense moves to help them protect themselves on the street. They had to decipher moves hidden in sequences of formal movements like a dance.
Learning kickboxing and submission grappling can be as artful as those traditional forms but much more straight forward and effective. The feeling of confidence from knowing you can defend yourself and your loved ones comes at a much faster pace and is empowering.