Friday, May 10, 2013

Stumbling into physical fitness

Two years ago, during a midlife transition, I decided I needed to "rock my boat," to break out of routine and into something that took me away from business as usual.  I wanted something that was physical at the same time a new activity that Socorro and I could share.  The answer was scuba diving, a new skill I'm glad I learned.  It took me far, far out of my comfort zone and into situations and places I thought I would never go.

The journey continued this year. With encouragement from my former student, Jericho Viejo, Socorro and I decided to enroll in Krav Maga.  Again, this took me far, far out of my comfort zone because it involves getting in touch with my cro magnon survival instincts.  Professionally, yes, I can be aggressive.  However, physical aggression is not usually in my repertoire. When I'm told to "hit like you mean it!" or "choke your partner for real--a hard choke" my hands tremble. Furthermore, I've spent the past four decades been living up to a label that a sister-in-law gave me:  the sports klutz.  Last session alone, during a drill on running away from an aggressor, we had to learn to get up and *ahem* sprint away after your aggressor just decked you.  In the process of trying to sprint, I lost my balance and fell, not just once but twice. The first time, I landed on my knees and have the bruises to prove it.  The second time, I crashed into my classmate (sorry, Paolo!). The falls weren't humiliating--no one bursts out laughing when you crash--because it was and continues to be all part of the experience.  The falls just hurt.  Note to self: Buy knee pads.

Aside from learning self-defense, Krav Maga is also teaching me a lot about myself.  I need to be better coordinated.  I tend to overthink (duh!) when what I should really do is react.  Mostly, I'm learning that I hit like a girl and for all these techniques to mean anything, I need more physical strength.

Which brings us to the latest leg of the journey:  Gold's Gym.  Last week, Redg signed me up for one year.  Because mother's day was coming, I was given an extra two months for free.  My initial intention was to attend the body combat classes only, to give me a chance to improve on my form and coordination without having to hit anything.  However, I was called in for an assessment in which a trainer weighs you, measures your body fat and all that good stuff that schools you in humility.  I was told (and no, I was assured, this wasn't just marketing) that I needed to lose a double digit percentage of my body weight to achieve my recommended fitness level.

"They didn't do that for me," Redg said.

My response, "Alam kasi nila kung sino yung mataba."

I'm meeting with the trainer again on Monday for my program.  It sounds like I signed up for a lot more than just body combat.

I am trying to put myself in the correct mental state for these next steps.  I have reasons for wanting to do this: To achieve physical fitness, to lose weight, to decrease my cholesterol levels, to stave off dementia, to increase strength for Krav Maga. And the cherry on top? To scope out prospective sons-in-law. (I have a feeling Socorro is going to be sick of me coming home and saying, "There was this really cute guy at the gym. You should meet him." Whenever I start conversations like these, she usually cuts me off with, "Can we not?")

The hardest part is that there are some lifestyle changes I have to make.  I have to build the gym time into my schedule.  I have to reduce some of my sedentary activities--TV, Facebooking, Skyrim, Candy Crush (noooo!). And I should eat more healthily but, sigh, this part is not news.

"How are you?" Socorro asked.

I replied, "Feeling fat and plagued with self-doubt as to whether I can really do this or not."

My current affective state is that of apprehension.  With diving and with Krav Maga, I was excited, albeit a little scared.  With Gold's, mostly I'm scared because I wonder if I am capable of this much change.  Then again, I was asking for a departure from the usual and it looks like no one says no to Maam Didith--not even fate.