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Step Into the Rage
Get Into the Sport
Author: Jim Gray
Publish Date: 3/30/2009 12:00:00 AM

I like to get people to ask themselves questions to make a point. It seems people don't actually face the reality of what they want until asked. Even better yet to to be asked why they desire what they want. "Why do I want to get back into shape?" - now take a moment to think about that and actually answer it either by writing your answer down or verbally expressing it. Getting “into shape” is not always easy for people who don't have a more immediate reason or social group to help support and guide them. I will always tell people the best thing to do to get into shape is to join a sports group. This is easy for people in moderately to highly populated areas as the variety of available adult clubs is vast. Children have it easier as they almost always have sports clubs as a part of their school system. In any case, sports are just the thing most people need to get into shape.

Years ago, when I first started trying to get back into shape, I had an image of what I wanted to look like in mind and I had a plan. But I felt like I needed something else. Then I heard a guy across the room, talking to his friend, mention that he knew a good fighter that could beat him and his friend. When I included myself in on the conversation he also grouped me into that list of chumps this guy could beat. He also stated that there would be no way I could ever beat him. I knew the fighter- he was good. I also knew me; I used to be good. So I decided I was going to show him and everyone else who doubted what I could have been. I got back into Mixed Martial Arts.

I immediately went to California and trained with a group of World Champions in both standup and grappling. I brought that knowledge back to my garage and began organizing. I brought my mats from across the state, laid carpet, and prepared to begin training again. First I started with boxing because I had no one to train with. Then Once I had a few people interested I began to train in Jiu Jitsu. I trained them and I worked on myself. I eventually had the chance one day to grapple the famed fighter everyone said I couldn't beat. After 5 minutes and 6 submission attempts- I made him submit by front headlock choke.

I got back into MMA with a goal in mind and as I progressed with my goal I moved my goal up. I began competing all of the United States generating a little bit of a reputation in the Midwest. I worked myself and trained myself and I brought myself from 315 lbs to a shredded 221lbs during the writing of this article. Having MMA as a sport to supplement and motivate my training was the key to my success. When I didn't want to workout I knew I had to because my opponents would be. When I wanted to give in to fatigue I didn’t because I knew I would be better than my opponent if I continued. This approach worked for me and it can work for anyone. I found a sport and I focused on it. The sport another person chooses doesn't have to be MMA, boxing, or Jiu Jitsu. A person can pick and chose their sport(s) according to their personal fitness goals. For instance, if I want to be “stacked”, then marathon running might not be for me. A person has the ability to find what they want to do and either cater their sport to their goals, or cater their goals to their sport. I did both.

At first I used MMA training as a means of achieving my fitness goals. As I achieved these goals I decided to adjust them a little and later decided that my goals needed to bring me closer to MMA. So when I first began I knew I was slow, inflexible, and didn't have the cardio I needed to compete. So I used a combination of traditional training and MMA drilling exercises to achieve these as goals for fitness. Once I achieved these goals for fitness I turned my attention to MMA and then used fitness as a way to achieve goals in MMA.

This approach may or may not have flaws but it worked for me and I have benefited along the way in various ways. Whatever, the course of action one takes the idea of using a sport to outline goals is a good-solid idea for achieving overall fitness goals. The act of engaging in a sport can be a great deal of exercise that one's overall fitness can benefit from. Below is a list of sports and what they might be good for.

Sport Name Beginner Fitness Level Promotes Possibility of Injury
Football varies (low) strength and explosiveness very high
Golf low walking and relaxation very low
Jiu Jitsu moderate flexibility, strength, cardio varies (moderate but typically low)
Kick Boxing (Maui Thai) moderate flexibility, strength, cardio moderate
Soccer high cardio moderate
Basketball moderate cardio low
Tennis or Racquetball high cardio, agility moderate
Long Distance Running low weight loss, cardio low
Swimming moderate (requires Skill) strength endurance, cardio low (unless you can not swim)
Extreme Races moderate strength, endurance, cardio, agility moderate
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