Fatness 2 Fitness

Friday, February 24, 2006

Long Time, No Blog

It's been far too long since the last posting...but I'm here to rectify the situation. Both Carrie and I are still pushing forward in Krav Maga, with our Orange Belt testing coming up in a few weeks. Basically this elevates us to another level of practice that most choose to avoid. Daily sparring, groundwork and more intense routines are mandatory. Originally we intended this to be a fitness focused activity...but lately it's become more a way of life...something we ritually do between 4 and 5 days a week. Our home is becoming filled with practice instruments, from Muay Thai pads to rubber training knifes, we've got it. We're actually now to the point that we can start instructing people outside of class with the basic movements, using our pads, gloves, and experiences. It's been an interesting journey....and when we go to Israel in August to train...it's going to be even more intense.

Now to explain the picture. The bald guy is Mike Zambidis, from Greece...and he's an incredible fighter. Why do I tell you this? Well....three of our Greek friends are now studying Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) here in NYC where there are several great Muay Thai gyms. I figured that "Iron Mike" Zambidis can be their inspiration to knock people's heads off. In a nice way of course. The benefit of Muay Thai, and boxing in general, is that it is an incredible cardio workout and also beneficial to self defense. I'm into studying this as well...but for the time being my free time and willingness to throw down $150 a month on top of my Krav Maga bill are holding me back. Things may change in May...but until then I'll take Krav Maga which blends the arts of Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, Judo and even boxing into one simplified form. Beware however that outside of our facility in New York City...there are plenty of Krav Maga studios teaching an aggressive form of Tae Bo, disguised as real Krav Maga. It's a good workout...but not the real thing.

Aside from the Krav Maga however...watching another year pass, knowing that the metobolism is progressively slowing and feeling the aches of hard training slightly more have inspired me to trust in supplements, mulitvitamins and the importance of getting off my ass when I most would like to lie on the couch and watch TV. If we see me in this position between the hours of 9:00am and 9:00pm on any given day...feel free to question me about my training and be sure to pinch my belly fat as a reminder. Thanks.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Thanks...Thanksgiving is Over

Thanksgiving has passed by....the excessive eating, drinking, sleeping and eating again....progressively eroding away all the hard work and exercise put in over the past few months. Do I care?......Heck no! It was good and I loved every ultracalorie-laden bite. Homecooking never seemed quite as good as when you've deprived yourself of eating terrible for months. It's over now though. The turkey has been laid to rest and all the pies have been eaten.

Krav Maga is still the program of choice...and both Carrie and I have been training with some pretty impressive looking Yellow Belts tied around our waists....impressive to us anyways. We took a brief hiatus from training to travel back West for the T-day break...but now it's back on and we're pushing steadily toward Orange Belt. Unfortunately this step will bring us face to face with sparring...A.K.A. punches (with gloves and headgear) to the body and head. There is something quite humbling about being pummelled for your first time. Boxing is tiring and quite another world in terms of standard workouts. Gone will be the days of endless punches to the air near your partners...gone will be the days of "hold on, I'm out of breath!" as our instructor will push to the edge.

The workout aside...I'm trying to get back into the sensible eating habits...however I hear the junk food junkie inside me screaming for satisfaction. It would seem that Thanksgiving has awoke the monster within and now every Entenmann's box seems to be trying to jump into the shopping cart. I know better than to let them in the house though...my self control stops at the grocery store. I just try to think to myself, "more protein, more protein, more protein" as I usually load up the cart with piles of carbohydrates and eat them just as quickly.

Until the next post I'll continue to wrestle with junk food, fight toward Orange Belt and eat more chicken (if that is humanly possible without side effects or an outbreak of Avian Flu). As the winter months approach we will see what it is like to actually lose your winter coat...rather than gain one...As I used to explain to people when asked why I was putting on weight. Could it have been the eggnog?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Krav Maga Addiction

If anyone has been following along with the posts, you would notice a common thread of Krav Maga throughout each installment of our journey from Fatness 2 Fitness. Krav Maga has become quite addicting, inspiring confidence, greater physical strength and endurance, speed and awareness....not to mention the rather quick loss of weight in comparison to typical dieting.

Each class has taught us a new lesson about ourselves, our physical strengths and weaknesses, our habits, our fears and also our aspirations toward Krav Maga excellence. I never once thought that I would place so much value on a simple cloth belt...aspiring to reach each new belt with increased skill, power and technique....yet here I am planning how long it will take to reach the next belt, wondering what kind of training I need to go through to move to the next level. Without searching for some sort of Zen or peaceful frame of mind, I still find that after a great training session I reach a pleasant state, without concerns or problems...only reflection on my moves, how I can get better and what I've done well. This side effect was not in the brochure....and I've spoken to others who feel the same way. Conclusion: I'm not crazy.

Carrie has progressed in so many ways, as I have also, but she has transformed the way she punches (no girlie punches anymore) and kicks/knees (look out genitals...she's lethal). Her confidence in the ability to defend herself if danger came her way is a perfect example of how important a defense system like Krav Maga is for any individual. For over an hour each night (3-5 nights a week) we train; sweating, punching, kicking, blocking and throwing our bodies all over the mat. At the end of the night everyone is smiling, drenched with sweat, but floating on a euphoric high that we've all become just a bit more deadly. It's a great feeling to have.

It must be noted that this is not a basic cardio kickboxing course, not a typical karate course or even a typical boxing course...but is a combination of all these movements, stripped down to their bare essentials and taught to us in the simplest terms and moves possible. It's not about beauty but about effectiveness....or as one of our instructors Eddie puts it, using offense as a defense. I guess in my opinion Zapata had it right when he said, "I'd rather die on my feet than live a lifetime on my knees"....of course I have no intention of dying....that's something my attacker should be worried about.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Halloween Scares Us

I think we can all unanimously agree that the "choco-face" on a child is cute, with their giant glowing grin bursting from a little body satisfied by the incredible taste of chocolate. An openly blatant disregard for manners, hygine or appearance of their faces tells the grown up world..."screw you man...I love chocolate...it makes my tummy happy and gives me hyper-energy to run, jump, yell and annoy the crap out of adults."

The reason I mention the infamous "choco-face" is that I still do it...as a grown adult. I've confessed that I am a junk food junkie, fighting the temptation with better eating habits, working out and Krav Maga, but that chocolate monkey will never be off of my back.

There are three times in the year which specifically try my willpower to avoid candy. Christmas, Easter and Halloween. It's always been this way...especially around Halloween, all the planning, scheming and rationalizing reasons why a big, fat bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or assorted packs of Kit-Kats are "for the kids trick-or-treating" knowing well that I live in an apartment and most likely won't be answering the door anyway.

There are devils and spirits in my neighborhod this Halloween, but this year they're in tiny little wrappers tempting me with their chocolatey delights...getting into my head with the "just one won't hurt", knowing well that I'll have already ate 5 by the time that rationale kicks in. Halloween is scary, but this year it's more specifically focused on the junk food portion of the holiday. Seriously....I've got issues with this stuff! I like to eat candy corn...in fact I can eat loads of it!!! I must be sick.

Tonight we're heading in to the city for Krav Maga...and be assured that I'll be working overtime to make up for the candy I've consumed "for the kids". Maybe this Halloween I'll be like the lady down the street from me growing up and hand out toothbrushes and dental floss to teach good hygine....yeah, right....I'd have to kick my own ass for that move. Regardless...this year I'm skipping the treats (at least in large quantities) and focusing on tricks (meaning practical jokes...and not illegal activites of course).

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Kicking and Punching Fat Away

There are few things as sobering as a look at the scale after a few days of binge eating, drinking and generally enjoying the finer things in life. The good news is that lately the damage has been minimal due to our regular Krav Maga activities and also the fact that our appetites have become smaller due to better eating and smaller portions.

The outcome of this whole Krav Maga and overall fitness experiment has been very encouraging. I have to openly support both the regular practice of Krav Maga and also the regular morning ritual of standing on the scale to see what's happened each day....always hoping for some rapid unexplained weightloss which will put me at the 20lbs lost mark. Did I ever mention the $100 bet that Carrie and I have with eachother? Basically whoever reaches 20lbs lost first gets the cash in the pot....and I'm at 11.5lbs already. I can almost see the Franklin within my grasp now.

Yesterday I read in the paper that 1 in 3 white Americans will become obese. What great timing as a motivation for our exercise routines. It's funny to think that mentally I work out ways to get more exercise when not even 4 months ago I'd be looking for methods to find more relaxation. Little things like taking the stairs at work instead of elevators, walking down to the train station from work(only on select occations like Yankee game days because the area of South Bronx is shady and the traffic is terrible) and walking to the local bodega (look that one up if you're outside the NYC area) for a sandwich instead of eating at work or fast food. Basically I figure that every little bit helps, and an extra boost today means that I can have a little break later and not feel as guilty. Hopefully Carrie and I will be the 2 in 3 who look at the 1 in 3 and think...."Wow....didn't they see it coming, all that fried chicken, Cold Stone and McDonalds?"

In the meantime we continue our fitness journey with Krav Maga as our guide...squeezing in a workout at the gym as well when not in class. We've trained very hard, sometimes to exhaustion with kicks, grabs, punches and throws, but it's been worth the time and effort. We're taking a special knife seminar (yes...knife, as in the sharp object an attacker would like to harm you with) and also will be testing for our Yellow Belts soon. It sounds funny...but in class it's a serious thing to have your belts and know your stuff. So with confidence increased, weight decreased, strength enhanced and focus maintained we're continuing to kick and punch the fat away...always checking in the morning to see if we've moved closer to the $100 incentive.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Coming Back Swingin'

Given that the title of this blog post and even the pic could be an advertisement for erectile dysfunction I feel that is only fitting that I warn of the potential health consequences of reading this particular post...although other Fatness 2 Fitness posts may also fall under this health advisory category.

Subject may become drowsy, gaseous, nauseous...experience dizziness or lack of concern with one's own life. Additional side effects may include laughter, anger, happiness, sadness and/or any other emotion which can be explained in print. Simply put...I don't know what this does for you....but if it does something I'm not to be held liable...because I told you so.

All of the warning aside however...we are back on track. After a great week of Krav Maga, learning how to kick and punch harder, faster and in a variety of ways...sweating out gallons of perspiration...and enduring the sore muscles we pushed into a weekend session which taught us how to disarm a knife wielding attacker. Note that if we do see one coming at the present time we will opt to kick hard and move fast in the opposite direction...but if given no other choice we've seen how to shock (by way of hard fist meets soft face), hurt (twisting, popping, breaking, etc.) and potentially kill the threat in a matter of seconds (there is a loose knife involved remember). Pretty hardcore...eh? Also please note that Carrie has been instructed to "fight tough" with me to allow for the fact that she is a female partner...yet must allow me to practice as though fighting another male. I have the bruises on my arms, neck and legs to prove that she's not giving an inch in terms of favoritism. I knocked the wind out of her too...and was torn between being tough and proud or embarrassed and sorry that I gave her a shock. She responded minutes later with a punch to the throat...payback is a motherf***er sometimes.

The most important part about last week was the transition from just the two of us and fitness...to the inclusion of friends, social life outside healthy eating/living and still managing to cling to the fitness goal. We've eaten out a few times in the past week...but I've found that my appetite has changed from Super-sized to moderate sized...and my cravings for fast food have significantly dissipated. Good news for my heart and belly. In my opinion it has been the challenge to get better at Krav Maga, the focus on better food/cooking and a new approach to working out which has made this Fatness 2 Fitness goal very enjoyable. I still cheat now and then with some not-so-healthy food and skip a night at the gym...but it's an increasingly rare occurrence...which is good to know.

Until the next post...Carrie and I will continue our quest toward the Yellow Belt (give us about 2 months)...hopefully shedding more pounds and ultimately looking better than ever when Thanksgiving arrives. Be assured that the calorie boycott will go on hold when that day arrives...Thanksgiving on a diet is no Thanksgiving that I ever want to have...although I will continue my ongoing boycott of Chicago Stuffing (a horrendous sickeningly brown mess handed down through generations of Carrie's family to punish Thanksgiving eaters for enjoying an otherwise perfect non-Greek meal). If you see this mess in your lifetime simply scream, "Afto Einai Kako Skata!" and they'll get the idea that you want nothing to do with it. Trust me.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Operation "Get Fit" On Hold...Operation "Eat More" In Progress

Like the annual migration of birds, our friends have returned from Greece, summer jobs and vacationing back to their NYC nests, ready to eat, drink, hang out and do everything other than "work out". In Astoria whisps of cigarette smoke, spirited Greek-English...or Gringlish conversation, an occasional dispute over who has the better football (soccer) team and all of "our group" can now be easily found. I guess it's been there all summer...we just basically pretended that if we weren't there...it wasn't happening.

Last night for example Carrie, myself and our friend Allison Steltzner, enjoyed succulent pieces of lamb in tomato sauce, greek salad loaded with creamy Feta, pasticio, dolmades, Greek wine and galaktoboureko. Although we took a nice walk around Astoria...it wasn't the cardio routine needed to work off this feast. The pattern we've created over the past few days has been the worst we've endured since beginning the whole "Fatness 2 Fitness" blog. I must state that there is no binging going on, no hoarding of candy or gorging of cakes, pies or cookies (although the thought of each of these things sounds great....especially cake....you can't even say cake without a smile when you're done...try it). What we've been doing is rationalizing that we deserve the break, we'll work out tomorrow and we're not eating that many bad things. The reality is that we don't need a break just yet, we haven't been working out and we have been eating some bad things. Reality sucks.

Tonight I'm hitting the gym or perhaps going to Krav Maga depending on how late I get out of work (seriously...I'm not making excuses this time). Regardless...hanging out with the friends is great, catching up on a whole summer's worth of stories is fantastic and making future travel plans is really fun for all of us. Letting the work, the diet and the schedule get negatively adjusted to enjoy all of these things is terrible...even though it tastes GREAT!

So here's the deal...Fitness first, unless friends require that we hang out immediately for an important session of the Friendship Coalition. Krav Maga is our priority, The Rock is our second home and Paul's/Len's house are our sanctuaries from both of these things (when it's time to rest). I think that with a better sense of scheduling around fitness requirements and social rewards (i.e. Beer Garden, Rock Shows, Comedy Clubs, Strip Clubs with Dave, Len and Paul...just kidding) the Thinner By Thanksgiving goal will be attainable. That's the theory anyway.