When I was in my early twenties, I played in a touring band, worked in a bar, smoked cigarettes, drank every night, and actually took great pride in how I lived my life.
“Yeah, I’m so cool. I can drink more whiskey than anyone I know”.
Then, I met my wife and my outlook changed. All of a sudden I had someone else to think about, and now my decisions were going to impact her. We moved in together, got a dog, and since I finally had someone to come home to for the first time in my life, I stopped touring and went back to school.
Over time I also realized, “Hey, not only do I feel like crap all the time, but I look like crap too. My wife looks good. Maybe I should do something about this so she doesn’t feel bad about being legally bound to this pasty crapsack.”
And so my long list of failed fitness attempts began:
I joined Snap and “worked out” five days a week, but also drank beer and ate pizza just as often. There was nobody there to point me in the right direction.
I took Spin classes and could barely make it through a 45 minute class without barfing. Then my lower back back and knees started to hurt all the time.
I joined the YWCA and took core and body pump classes, but never learned how to safely lift a pair of dumbbells. Every class was the same and I quickly grew bored.
I joined Lifetime and payed extra fees to play tennis and basketball, but my wife didn’t like to play tennis, and the other guys in the b-ball pickup games were all 6’8” college kids. My pudge couldn’t keep up.
I came to realize that, not only were all these places sterile and uncomfortable, but that I also needed some structure. This is when I discovered martial arts.
I started taking Kung Fu classes and was hooked. I never thought that my leftover teenage anarchist punk rock values would even allow me to be treated in such a brutally organized, militaristic manner. Nevertheless, I craved the next torturous workout that my instructor had for me. I did my homework. Knuckle burpees in the basement and hours with the heavy bag followed. I read about Bruce Lee’s diet regimen and started eating more vegetables. Although all my bad habits were still in full effect, I started to lose weight and my confidence grew, but I still had a gut, skinny arms and a horrible recovery every time I worked up a sweat.
Then I heard about this progressive gym that was run by an ex-punk rocker/full-time nerd by the name of Teddy. I also read that doing Crossfit would make me stronger and I would get really good at doing a lot of things. I thought this would compliment my Kung Fu well. I was terrified of starting, but a friend of my wife’s, by the name of Kjersti, convinced us to go for it.
Long story short: My wife and I joined TTCF. Teddy made me do a lot of burpees and lift a lot of heavy shit. He also made me stop eating wheat and limit my drinking. My gut disappeared. My muscles grew. My recovery time shrank. I started riding my bike from Northeast to Uptown to workout. I started recruiting friends to join. I got certified and became a coach. I now try to help new people have the same experiences I had and continue to have. I feel good. I look good.
Can I still drink more whiskey than all of my friends? Yes, but I choose not to :)
I finally made that big change in my life, and just writing this sentence gets me a little choked up.