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From Gamer to Black Belt

by Max Anderson
(St. Louis, MO)

My experience in going from a somewhat scrawny couch potato to a fitness junkie was a long and arduous one, but who would have thought that a video game would have inspired me to undertake such a lifestyle?

At the age of 15, I became very addicted to a video game about Martial Arts. After a while I began to think that maybe I should try what the video game characters are doing, so I went out and signed up to take classes in Tae Kwon Do.

For a few years I took these classes, and can honestly say that I’ve never been happier about anything else I’ve accomplished in my life until this.

Despite only being forty-minute classes, they were intense. First, we’d start out with stretches that basically started with us tilting our heads back and forth, and ended with us basically stretching our legs into the splits.

Some days we’d finish up with intense stretches that heavily pushed our boundaries, and after a couple months of this I found myself able to perform a rising kick at almost a 180 degree angle.

Stretching is a lot harder than it looks, but it makes your body incredibly limber and loose feeling, and definitely helps to burn fat.

After the warm up stretching, we’d do 30 leg lifts, 30-40 crunches, and 30 push-ups: 10 on our palms, 10 on our knuckles, and 10 on our fingertips.

As you can probably tell these got progressively harder, and each different style of pushup works out a different muscle group.

Most classes we’d pair up with someone our own height, and take turns performing different kicks on a handheld foam target. The feeling this gave me can be best described as a combination of cardio and isometric training.

Routinely we'd work on all the basic punches, blocks, and kicks. These classes were exhausting, and sometimes I felt so tired I could hardly move, but it still left me feeling accomplished.

In just a couple of months I was able to notice great results and had the confidence boost of my life. Having an instructor who pushed me beyond what I thought I could do was one of the biggest benefits.

I honestly cannot say where I’d be today had I not signed up for this.

If you are interested, my best advice in looking for a place would be to get out the yellow pages, and check out different places. Make sure it’s within your budget and schedule, and be sure to take a free trial before you sign up anywhere.

I must emphasize the free trial because one time I just tried out a kick-boxing place that after one free class I felt such horrendous vibes from the atmosphere and could tell was only suited for those willing to do Ultimate Fighting, and another Kung Fu studio I tried that didn’t even make me break a sweat after one class.

Be sure to chose a place that pushes you to work hard, but that's also safe and that encourages you to come back for more.

This could be the experience that you and your body need like I did, so I highly encourage everybody out there, no matter what age, gender, or current fitness level, to try it like I did. Because if I could do it then so can you!

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