Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"."...we both know I'm training to become a cage fighter"

I'm not really training to become a cage fighter. But I wouldn't be disinclined to give cage fighting at least one shot -- assuming I had a few months to train and the right opponent to motivate me.

Oh, and assurances that trained medical personnel would be cage-side with oxygen and a cardiac kit, just in case....

And yes, as far as potential opponents go, I have a couple of people in mind.

But despite the fact that neither ring nor cage nor Octagon looms anywhere in my foreseeable future, using the fanciful prospect of a mixed martial arts throw-down as a training tool works as well as anything else I can conjure up. Apart, that is, from the mortal dread prompted by outliving my warranty....

You see, I'm 45 years old. That's middle age, by any rational reckoning. It's been more than a quarter-century since I was a solid, if unremarkable, starting fullback on our state championship football team, and even longer since I faced a live pitcher in a baseball game.

It's been eight years since I last took part in actual competitive grappling, competing in a Judo tournament in Appleton, Wisconsin (in which I won my bracket) and a wrestling tournament in a nearby town (in which I placed third out of either six or seven competitors -- one of them didn't finish the round-robin event).

My occupation is sedentary, the domestic demands on my time incessant and non-negotiable. My appetite is roughly the same as it was when I was a teenager. My metabolism, of course, is not. And so it's not difficult to run the math and conclude that I'm larger than I need to be and would be better off were I to slough off a considerable amount of weight.

That being said, this must be said also:

For someone who weighs something on the distant side of 275 lbs. (in the interest of morale, I'm not eager to find out how far on the distant shore I reside), I'm in pretty decent shape. But I would be much better off if I weighed, say, 245 or even 225. According to the collectivist ectomorphs who devised the Body Mass Index, I would still be seriously obese were I to weigh 225 lbs. at 5'11". But my body type is such that such a weight would be very healthy for me.

Committing myself to a long-term weight-reduction program is a good idea, but -- once again -- I need some gimmick, conceit, or Jedi mind trick to provide me with a sense of incremental accomplishment as I work toward a distant goal.

So -- I decided to use the idea of preparing for a cage fight as a narrative. And I decided to create a blog to record my training methods -- and, hopefully, to document my progress.

My goal is to weigh no more than 225 pounds by my 46th birthday, February 4, 2009. At that weight I should have a 34" waist, something I've not experienced since I was 21.

I also want to be able to bench-press 500 pounds by that date. My all-time personal best is about 445 lbs. Two weeks ago, after a couple of weeks back at the gym following a long layoff, I benched 410. I missed twice at 415 last Saturday, but they were strong misses.

To achieve the weight-lifting goal, I need to be substantially stronger, but not necessarily any bigger. If my weight loss is consistent but gradual, it shouldn't undermine my bench press program. But I'll happily trade a big bench press max for a 34" inch waist and enhanced life expectancy.

Besides, a big bench wouldn't necessarily help me prepare for the cage fight.

Which brings us to the Workout Of The Week.

In this case, it's a routine I plan to do at least three times a week. It's a cardio/muscular endurance circuit routine organized in five-minute rounds and inspired, somewhat, by the program used by NCAA Heavyweight Wrestling Champion and UFC contender Brock Lesnar.

Lesnar is a little more than half my age. He's also a professional athlete. He does five rounds; I do three. His routine uses some exotic odd objects, as well as weight and cardio machines. I have access to a gym, but to do this routine I focus on bodyweight calisthenics and dumbbell lifts.

My program will change as I get in better shape and start adding some additional exercises -- and probably two additional rounds, as well. And for the summer, my trainer is my nine-year-old son Isaiah.

Each five-minute round is divided into one-minute stations; the idea is to go from each station with no (or very little) rest, and then take a one-minute rest between rounds.

Here's the routine:


Hindu pushups -- 1 set of 100 reps

(two minute recovery period)

Hindu jumper squats -- 1 set of 100 reps

(two minute recovery period)

Round 1

Pushups (standard) -- 1 minute
Leg raises -- 1 minute
Hindu pushups -- 1 minute
Rope skipping -- 1 minute
Squat-jumps -- 1 minute

(one minute recovery)

Round 2

Hindu squats
40 lb. DB curls
Mountain climbers
Takedown lunges

(one minute recovery)

Round 3

Pushup/dumbbell row
Jump squats
Dumbbell curl & press
Leg lifts