I used to look in the mirror and do a front double biceps pose. It's the classic “make a muscle" bodybuilding pose just like Arnold Schwarzenegger. But over the space of just a few years in my late twenties and early thirties my body changed so much that I stopped doing my favorite pose.
I gained an ugly 30 pounds of blubber as I climbed the corporate ladder. Some guys can hold an extra 30 pounds and not look too bad. My bodyfat is all concentrated around my waist. My love handles were enormous. And it was like my biceps, shoulders and chest all shrunk. I was fat and skinny at the same time!
And it wasn't like I was eating packets of table sugar for snacks. There were no industrial-sized containers of Twizzlers or bite sized 3 Muskateers bars hidden in my desk. Most mornings I wouldn't eat breakfast, just 2 cups of coffee. I'd have a muffin around 10, then grab a burger and fries around 2, 2 more cups of coffee in the late afternoon with a donut, and then chicken, potato and some corn for dinner around 8pm. I now know that I was blasting my poor metabolism and literally forcing it to store fat.
Imagine how I felt walking into that karate gym a few months ago. My self-esteem was rock bottom, my energy levels were horrible, and I knew everyone in the class was laughing at me. But it turns out I was wrong. I had more energy than I thought. My classmates were not laughing at me but were incredibly supportive. I didn't realize that I was demonstrating the true spirit of martial arts by trying my best every class and showing up with a positive attitude.
I've been doing aerobic kickboxing exercise for about 2 months now, twice a week. I have lost over twenty pounds in that time. None of my clothes fit anymore, which makes me so happy! The effects on my body have been profound. I sleep so much better at night. As embarrassing as this may sound, my bowel movements are drastically improved. My skin has cleared up. I just feel amazing. I can even do my front double biceps pose in the mirror in the morning and it brings a smile to my face!
Yoshi Kundagawa is a freelance journalist covering the martial arts world. Too much time at his computer eating donuts reduced him to couch potato status. He's on a quest to recapture his youth and fitness. You can read his blog at http://www.martialarts3000.com