2011. Retrospect. The Final Word.

Resolutions can be achieved. It just takes hard work, dedication, and a little bit of sweat and a lot of motivation…

And that’s all I’ll say about it. I could also say “Mission Accomplished”, “Scratch that one of the list”, “Achievement Unlocked”. But that leads the way to Now What?

This year, I started out like most average people entering the new year, with promises of change, resolutions, getting fit. It’s a brand new year for a brand new me. A lot of us say that. But how many of us actually commit? Therein lay my challenge, and the real heart of the new year’s resolution.

Everyone says it.And there’s a reason why everyone says it…because it’s true. Getting fit is more of a lifestyle change than a goal. Being healthy and active isn’t something you can just put a timeline to with a concrete end result. You have to want it, and you have to justify your reasons for wanting it. You can say your goal is to lose 10, 20, 30 pounds this year. But then what’s next after that? If that’s as far as you’re going to go, then you may achieve that goal, and who knows, maybe faster than you expected to if you really try; but then what next? What’s going to keep you from maintaining that weight loss?

“No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training…what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”

That quote was THE quote of the year for me. I had that quote engrained into my psyche every waking moment this year.  We are vessels with finite capabilities. The beauty of that is, we don’t know how finite our boundaries and our limits are, and in most cases, when it comes to the physical/bodily realm, we’re capable of more than what we think we can do. But we’ll never know unless we test and constantly test them. And through testing, we improve, we change, we succeed.

I could sit here and write for hours and layout meal plans, workout routines, and even list out motivational quotes ad-nauseum. But I truly believe that the real key to success is keeping it simple. I learned that from Kru Darwin from Krudar Muay Thai.

I think we all know the answers on how to get fit, how to lose weight, how to fit into those smaller sized clothes. I’ve had friends, acquaintances, and strangers even tell me about how their trying out a new diet plan, or how they’re starting a new workout routine,  or how their changing their every day routine to incorporate some sort of physical activity; and weeks down the road, those very same people are telling me it didn’t work, or they’re giving it another go, or they haven’t fully committed to the program and only now their starting to get the ball rolling. Also, those very same people have asked me, what’s your secret?

My so called “secret”:

Keep it simple. Scrap the diets and the workout routines, meal plans, calorie counting, and rep and set tracking. Keep it simple and workout and eat healthy.

Stay consistent. Don’t stop moving. Once you get yourself into a momentum, keep yourself going. Yes you may lapse here and there, but that’s no excuse to stop. Throw away your workout calendar and just keep the mindset of motion. Always be doing something every day!

Be wholesome. Learn to understand and realize that your body works as one unit. Like Kru Darwin says, “Sharpen each weapon [limb]. Each weapon must have power, otherwise if you’re good with just one, you have 7 weaknesses if that one weapon fails.” Work the whole body, muscles AND cardio. You can have the biggest chest, arms, or the hardest 6 pack in the world, but for what? If you can’t even do 10 pushups, climb the stairs, or run even 1k without gassing out?

Find your motivation.

Motivation is the key to it all. I truly believe that we put up our own walls and obstacles. The human body and psyche are very capable of doing almost anything so long as it sets it’s mind and focus to task. The fuel of that engine is spirit, metabolized from motivation.

This year I stepped into a muay thai gym, purely out of curiosity and the need for something to do on a Monday night. I had already started my physical regime through a regular gym and my martial arts classes; kali. My little sister had been doing muay thai for a few years now and had been going to this gym, Krudar Muay Thai, for a while. She’d been egging me to come in for a while now, and I did, after a friend of mine wanted company to try out one of their free open house classes.

After that first class, I kept coming back, and still do.

This was my first and only Muay Thai gym experience, and safe to say Krudar Muay Thai does a hell of a good job at retention. It kept to tradition and stuck with the basics; but that was enough to keep you both sweating and wanting for more.

It was simple. Cardio routine, with explosive set changes for 45 minutes. No fancy weights or equipment, and no need for special gear or workout clothes; Shorts, tshirts, and a whole lotta sweat. It was consistent. Every class and every trainer was different in their own unique way, but structure was simple and consistent. Warm up with the skip ropes, then cardio and condition, then drills. Same thing every class, but different enough each time to keep you going, learning, and improving. I was wholesome. It was a full body workout, complete with had conditioning and grueling conditioning. Muay thai fighters have the hardest stomachs from all the punishment they dish out and take. But they also have the hardest and most flexible shoulders, legs, arms, fastest and strongest hands, toughest necks, and hearts that pumped like boiler rooms in steam engines. Each workout, and class shaped you to being the best that you can be, as a person and as a human being, regardless if you were in it to fight or just to work out.

But above all, it was motivational. From the outside looking in, Muay Thai is very much an individual sport. Each fighter working to better him or herself in the ring. Two walk in, one walks out a winner. Each fighter brings their own arsenal and specialized in their own techniques and “weapons”. But from the inside, it’s very much a team sport. Kru Darwin structures his gym to train, and to fight as one unit. Everyone pushes each other to learn, to improve, to go harder. It’s simple science, and there are no magic tricks to what him and his team does. The fighters train along side beginner classes. And when their done they come down from the ring to help out and instruct and give pointers. Those that stay behind even get extra lessons from the fighters to specialize their technique and improve their skills.

It was this sense of teamwork and camaraderie that got me to stay and keep going with the sport. It was from watching Kru and the other fighters train and fight that motivated me to improve, get strong, and maximize my mind and body’s potential.

The results:

The motivation got me hungry and my body changed, progressively and on it’s own. Would I have lost the weight if I simply targeted a drop of 10 or 20 pounds? Most likely. But how would that have been beneficial to me as opposed to the real results that I achieved through the mindset of an overall physical improvement.

Change without purpose for improvement is like painting over an old door. You can change the color, but underneath the paint, the door still squeaks, the locks still jam, and the frame has warped and the actual door no longer fits. If it wasn’t for the gym, I would probably have realized this much much further down the road of my life, or perhaps not ever at all. I learned to challenge myself, and push my own boundaries, and eventually went beyond them, broke them, and realized that my potential extended way beyond what I originally thought I was physically capable of doing.

I don’t have to show or tell you about the physical changes and progress that my body went through from this change in mindset. If you’ve been following my blog and tracking my progress on here, you can see for yourselves how my body had changed and evolved over the months. The changes were real. The [my] body adapted to what I was putting it through. And that, leaves me to my last pointer; be honest with yourself.

To be truthful to you all, I had no diet plan. I knew what foods were healthy and which ones were not. I knew if you ate too much of one thing, it had a certain effect on your body versus too much of another type of food. I’m no nutritionist so I wont list out which foods I’m referring too, but I truly believe that we all have the know how to make healthy eating choices.

You have to be honest with yourself if you want to succeed. And this goes for anything, not just in physical training. You need to work hard and push yourself to grow, but you have to be honest at how hard you’re actually pushing yourself. Taking the easy way leads to little or no improvement. That’s been proven countless of times, and I truly believe we all know that. We all know about truth or consequences, so I won’t preach about it. The key is to look inside yourself and be honest with yourself. How hard are you really trying? And are you really taking steps to improve? Also ask yourself, why do you want to improve? Why do you want to change? Unless you can find a real answer to those questions, your going to find the path to self improvement cut short, and you’ll be faced with another barrier of “now what?”

2011 has been a great year for me. With great confidence, I can look anyone in the eye and say that I’m healthy, happy, and I’m strong. There’s still a lot of things to learn and I know I can still improve on a lot of things within my physical career. There’s a lot to look forward to in 2012, but what I’m excited most about is the growth, the improvement that’s going to come along with all the challenges I’m gearing up to face.

2011 has been a tremendous year for change and self improvement for me. I couldn’t have done it alone though. I was lucky enough to have team of friends that helped push and motivate me through the whole year. I want to thank everyone at Krudar Muay Thai, especially Kru Darwin and his team of fighters and trainers for all the motivation and the lessons and the attention they’ve given me. It was a good mix of tough love and motivation that got me through their regime. Keep it simple and work hard. Two important lessons I will always keep and maintain. Their dedication and instruction is top notch and world class.

Training with the students there is also a great experience. I’ve made a lot of new friends there, and we’ve all shed blood, sweat, and tears together. Literally. Watching everyone around me improve, get better, and seeing everyone’s physical appearance change to stronger, more chiseled  individuals was really inspirational. I love being part of this team and group of friends, and every day it’s an honor to train along side with them.

Also, can’t forget about my training partner, Marc Alonzo, who’s been with me this whole time, training along side me, ranking up and competing in martial arts tournaments with me this year. It’s been an honor and a pleasure training with him and along side him in muay thai and kali, and it has been even more rewarding watching his progress and improvement this year. It’s one thing to notice your own physical changes and accomplishments, but to witness your close friends going through the same thing, and helping each other train, motivate, learn, and collaborate, that experience in itself is golden.

“The goal to successful progress is to keep it simple, because even through simplicity, it gets complex.” – anonymous.

I shed a lot of sweat in 2011. Hard work, dedication, and keeping it simple were all key components to my successful year. I achieved what I thought wasn’t possible. I could end this year by listing out a workout plan, a diet plan, an activity routine, a list of everything I did and all the stuff I avoided. But the real key to success is your self. Be honest with yourself. Work hard at what you want. Be consistent, not just in working out, but with everything you do. And finally, stay motivated. Whether it be muay thai, marathons, obstacle courses, sports, or any other physical activity, find that one thing you love to do, and do it. If you’re not happy with what you’re doing, you’re either not doing it right, or you should be trying something else. Whatever it is, find it, stick with it, and grow.

To everyone who’s been reading this and following, I want to wish you all a very happy and successful new year. You all know what you want. You just have to go out there and take it.

Sawadhee khap.


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