People are always surprised when they hear my age. I must admit though it secretly feels pretty good when someone thinks you are 5, 10 and sometimes even 15 years younger than you are. A few years ago I didn’t quite feel or even look this way. To quote the wonderful movie, I was…“fat, sick and nearly dead.” I wasn’t exactly 200 pounds over weight or anything that extreme. But I was 50 pounds overweight, depressed and what seemed like sick all the time. Being fifty pounds overweight as a BJJ brown belt feels like being 200 pounds overweight! You can’t move efficiently, your cardio is terrible and therefore your BJJ is terrible. As the great Vince Lombardi said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Nothing applies more adequately to BJJ! It simply doesn’t matter how good your BJJ WAS when you HAD good cardio. If you’re out of shape your BJJ will suffer too. I was out of shape and my BJJ suffered terribly. It felt slow, dated and out of rhythm…kind of like me at the time. At the time I suffered with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). If you want to see what it’s all about go to google images and type in “IBS pics” it’s kind of gross though… By the way, the worst name ever for a syndrome. I don’t know which I hate worse the word “irritable” or “bowel” or perhaps the combination? Either way, I had some pretty severe food “allergies” and sometimes when foods combined…watch out! Now I wasn’t in the bathroom or anything like that at all. I would get debilitating body, stomach, etc…hell my jaw and eyes would hurt….pains. I would have to sit in a dark room and try to “sleep it off”. Yes, I tried a whole enchilada of Eastern, Western concoctions and nothing ever seemed to work. Hell I couldn’t even have a proper beer once in a while without having an attack. I called them (as most people with bad IBS call them) ATTACKS! Because that’s exactly how I felt…attacked…assaulted…it was as if my body was completely working against me. (truth is, it was the opposite) These “attacks” would take the steam out of me for a few days. I would generally wake up from my IBS induced coma feeling “better” but closer to “hungover”. I felt sore, crampy and just “out of sorts”. I had reached a point where eating was a gamble, and crapshoot. I might eat and be “fine” or there could be “World War Z / All out Zombie Apocalypse!”
All of this feeling crappy, eating crappy , training crappy had reached a boiling point! I was either going to continue living the way I had lived for so long or I would enter my mid forties with a renewed vigor. I started with one small (though it seemed huge at the time) goal. I would lose 20 pounds and enter a BJJ competition with my daughter (her first, she was 6 years old) and my first in over ten years! I was able to lose the first 15 pounds fairly qucikly by training harder and cleaning up my diet. I entered a local NAGA tournament and competed at 174 lbs (started at 199 lbs) and won my division. My daughter brought home two first places. It was a great day and really just the beginning of an amazing journey! When my life really started to change was when I watched the movie “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” and made a decision to start juicing fresh, organic fruits and vegetables daily. I immediately lost an additional 20 pounds of fat to get to my early twenties weight of 155 lbs (remember, I started at 199 lbs). This was the first time I had weighed 155 in over twenty years! I felt 1000% better. My skin color literally changed over night…my blood pressure dropped dramatically…I looked and felt even better. I had a physical and mental transformation. Best of all…I haven’t had an IBS “Attack” in almost two years…
I used this momentum to continue a journey in BJJ that has allowed me to compete and earn a first place in ten BJJ tournaments in the past 18 months…and go on to fulfill a lifetime dream of earning my BJJ Black Belt (I was a Brown Belt in BJJ for 13 years – I may hold a record?)
Here’s the rest of my story!