Can a 41-year old man regain the body of his youth?
I didn’t know it, but I’ve been in a workout rut for several years now. I’m not necessarily out of shape, but I’m certainly not in shape. I always feel like I could stand to lose ten pound, mainly in the gut/love handles area. But I never felt like those extra pounds held me back athletically. I mean I’m always physically prepared for the grueling ten game schedules for the Boston Firefighter slow pitch softball league I play in every summer. But gone are my washboard abs and defined biceps of my 20’s. But are they gone for good?
it’s only a challenge if I’m hungover
My workout routine has for years consisted of some sit-ups, and push-ups, and jogging. A few times a week, I run either five-miles on the treadmill or around Castle Island. I’ve been doing this so long that it is only a challenge if I’m hungover. So I’m clearly in need of a change. But what?
Jogging is boring so I refuse to run any more than 5 miles at a time. My schedule is tight as it is with 2 jobs, a working wife with two jobs and three active children. So I’m really limited to an hour a day a three to four times a week. I don’t like lifting weights mainly because they are too heavy. I’ve taken a couple of classes at the BAC. You know the ones taught by mostly women. Easy enough right? Wrong. I couldn’t twist, bend and keep up with any of them. They were very intimidating.
I have never boxed in my life
My wife suggested I try Peter Welch’s Gym (www.peterwelchsgym.com) where they train you to work out like a pro fighter. I have never boxed in my life. I’ve only hit a heavy bag a few times for fun and I’m no good at the speed bag. But fighters are ripped. And I’ve seen all the Rocky’s and The Fighter so I envisioned myself getting in shape in a montage form to some motivating song. I decided to give it a try.
I mentally prepared myself for the first day by thinking what do say. Seriously. I figured someone would give me a tour of the gym and talk about my workout goals and nutrition and other health related topics. I prepared myself for lying. Telling them all I eat is salad and never drink beer. I was relieved that there was none of that. No judgment. Just right to work.
I arrived a few minutes early and bought my first pair of boxing gloves ever. I met Nick who told me to take a look around while people came in for a 9am class. The gym is an open floor warehouse. The floor is matted and there’s a boxing ring in the middle. There are a couple dozen heavy bags along the wall. There’s also a weight room upstairs that overlooks the main floor.
I’m awesome at jumping jacks
Trainer Nick Nelson started with jumping rope, running in place and doing jumping jacks. I’m not very good at jumping rope but I’m awesome at jumping jacks. So far I was loving the old school calisthenics. Then we ran around the gym, picked up some dumb bells and did arm circles and squats. Then it was time to put the gloves on and find a partner. My Partner is Tommy who’s been coming to the gym for over a year. We take turns hitting the heavy bag as instructed by Nick. Tommy gives me a few pointers and an “atta boy.”
Nick comes over with words of encouragement. Nick then mixed in some suicides with the heavy bag work. Yes, the same suicides everybody hated in the end of hockey or basketball practice. Suicides were a form of punishment. On this day, I didn’t hate them though. Maybe it was nostalgia or maybe it was giving my now exhausted shoulders a break from punching. The class ends with some core jabs exercises. I survived my first class and I know I’ll be sore tomorrow.
An Irish guy named Tom
I came back the next day for a class at the same time slot. My body has a “good” soreness so I was ready to go. An Irish guy named Tom is the instructor today. We don’t jump rope but we do jumping jacks and running in place with high knees, squats and lunges. I didn’t care for any of these in 8th grade gym class but now I’m loving them.
We move to the heavy bags and my partner is Melissa who gives me some great advice – “remember to breathe when punching.” Apparently I wasn’t. We also do a sparring-type evolution with our partners. Dance around then throw a series of punches at your partner’s gloves. The class is again finished up with some core work.
There is no elliptical machine with a TV attached
I took the next day off and returned on Thursday for class with Tom again. It was the same evolution as Tom’s previous class. This time my partner was Joe who taught me a thing or two. After one week, I love Peter Welch’s Gym and I’m excited about working out again. The instructors are positive and encouraging. The other participants are positive and helpful and the workout is old school. There is no elliptical machine with a TV attached it. No one wants to know my workout goals or what I eat for breakfast. It’s just back to basics jumping rope, jumping jacks and throwing punches. I have a reborn confidence that I will be able to take my shirt off with confidence this summer. I may even go to M Street beach.
I will be reporting on my progress weekly.