Regaining Fitness at an Older Age
Clinical Assembly in Orlando. Because of the nature of the event and professional setting, I didn’t have an opportunity to share a part of my life before my career in design and marketing. I was a professional athlete for over 10 years. I competed internationally in mixed martial arts (MMA) or what many of you might refer to as, UFC fighting. I retired from competition and began a new career in the field of arts. I am now 41 years of age and from the time I retired I not only let myself go in appearance but also my overall health. I didn’t exercise and didn’t take care of my own personal well-being. I gradually gained a lot of weight which led me down a path of slipping into my own unhealthy abyss. I finally channeled the concepts of discipline I learned through the many years competitive martial arts and began my journey back. You see, “health” and “fitness” are not interchangeable. Health is the years I competed, stood as the foundation of my well-being. Health encompassed the overall mental, physical, and emotional states I required to compete at the highest of levels. Fitness, on the other hand, has more to do with endurance, strength, and vitality. All the main ingredients typically required for weight loss. I would like to share with you some of the things I learned during this process, as well as some workouts you can do at home.
Everyone wants to be physically fit, but not everyone has the required discipline necessary to achieve that goal. The number one thing we have to be cognizant of as we get older is our diet. I am not qualified to give you actual nutritional plans, however, I can share a little of what has worked for me. I have tried everything from vegetarian, vegan, low carb, paleo, keto etc., however, everyone's body chemistry is different and reacts differently to diet depending on the individual. My best advice no matter what diet plan you are on is portion control. Develop the discipline to know when you are full and don’t indulge. I know this easier said than done. Smaller portions will help your body to burn fat as opposed to storing it. Drink lots of water and stay away from sugar. The most important thing is to stay away from processed foods. Whole organic foods are the way to go for a healthier life no matter what diet plan you are on. When you eat this way you will feel the difference. It is also a good idea to add supplements you may lack from your diet you are on. I supplement with a general multi-vitamin, turmeric-fish oil, vitamin D3, glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate (for joint health). I have noticed that with age my joints are the number one thing that give me problems. I still have a strong mindset but sometimes I tend to push myself too hard and induce unwanted injuries.
I have learned to have patience with exercise goals (I did learn the hard way pushing myself into a muscle strain). I have had to let go of my competitive ego and just enjoy a healthy lifestyle. One of the most important things for success with your fitness goals is CONSISTENCY. Remember, you are not going to reach your goals overnight but if you are consistent every day, in time you will see results. The interesting thing along my journey is that I began to reach familiar benchmarks for my fitness levels. It was a wonderful feeling. These milestones were very encouraging and motivated me to keep pushing forward.
When the pandemic hit, I didn’t want to lose momentum in my fitness journey so, I set up a workout area in my garage. We were in lockdown in New Mexico for quite a while and many stores were closed. I couldn’t purchase any workout equipment so I had to get creative with my workouts and go back to my MMA roots. I remembered the good old “road work” we did as fighters and started every workout with a short run and treated myself to many beautiful sunrises. As I began to reach a good cardio level, I started ending my days with an evening run or walk with the family in our neighborhood and watched the sunset. These are the moments that remind me of my fortunes and how grateful I am to be alive.
Martial arts has been the biggest reason for my success with my fitness and in my personal life. I would like to give you a basic MMA circuit training routine for beginners that you can do at home, in your living room, back yard, or garage. Circuit training works your entire body’s strength building, fat burning, muscular endurance, and cardio. The best part is that you don’t need much equipment, if any. You can have very good results with an MMA circuit training routine using your own body weight. NO EQUIPMENT NECESSARY.
One of the exercises I will introduce is shadow boxing. Shadow boxing is when you fight with an imaginary opponent throwing punches through the air. I realize many of you don’t have any punching experience so if this is the case stick to the basic 1-2 (jab-cross) punch combination shown on the next page. Just do combinations over and over and if you are more experienced you can ad more combinations and even kicks.
Before any workout, you always want to begin with stretching. Spend at least 5-10 minutes opening up your body with some long stretches. This will help your body prepare for the stress you will be putting it through as well as prevent injury. Next, jog around your neighborhood for about 15 minutes. It’s okay to walk at first but if you are consistent you will notice your cardio improving. This should get your heartrate up and your body will be ready to go straight into your routine. Have your timer ready!
In mixed martial arts our fights consisted of three five minute rounds. Here we go!
Round 1 30 seconds- shadow boxing-30 seconds rest 30 seconds burpees-30 seconds rest 30 seconds- shadow boxing- 30 seconds rest 30 seconds- squat jumps- 30 seconds rest 30 seconds- shadow boxing- 30 seconds rest
Round 2 30 second push ups- 30 seconds rest 30 seconds burpees- 30 seconds rest 30 seconds plank- 30 seconds rest 30 seconds jump squats- 30 seconds rest 30 seconds crunches- 30 seconds rest You should be starting to break a sweat. Good job!
Round 3 30 seconds run in place(high knees)- 30 seconds rest 30 seconds burpees- 30 seconds rest 30 seconds mountain climbers- 30 seconds rest 30 second squat jumps- 30 seconds rest 1 minute run in place with high knees as fast as you can! (As you progress you can do the exercise long and remove the rest period.) To conclude your workout do the same 5-10 minute stretching routine we started with. This should bring your overall workout time to 40-50 minutes.
Congratulations! You are now ready to step in the ring, well maybe not. You are however one step closer to a healthier life.
Gerald Lovato Monstully LLC., Creative Director