In what was to be not only my final season karting nationally but karting as a whole I decided to take a serious approach to fitness. Once fit and athletic through high school in into my early 30s, I’d let living my life take a toll on my fitness and health in general. I was complacent, had disposable income and quickly ballooned out of shape. I was always too big to be competitive at sprint karting but at times did fairly well, for me, road race karting. But road race karting is dangerous, averaging a fatality every year or two. I was around 280 lbs at the time and needed to drop some weight. My class weights were anything from 400 to 410 lbs and I was crossing the scales at 500 lbs or better in some cases. The kiss of death in karting.
My goal was to drop as much weight as possible and get into as good of shape as possible. By Super Nationals race day, after nearly a year of training (with a short break for health issues), I’d dropped about 30 lbs and had gained a significant amount of cardio and aerobic endurance. Here’s how I did it and what I’m doing these days.
First, I needed a plan. I knew about Pit Fit Training in Indianapolis. I was pleased that they had started to offer distance training via the Web and phone. I contacted them and started to get a program going while I consulted with my doctors to make sure the program was right for me. It was and I was on my way.
Before I started I need a few supplies. At first most of my workouts were going to be in the pool. As I was overweight and out of shape, the trainers and my docs wanted me in the pool so I didn’t blow anything out. I needed some good training trunks, not board shorts, a couple of caps and goggles. I couldn’t do 100 meters at first and at one point got sick to the point of vomiting during a workout. I can do 1000 meters, no problem, then do a moderate cardio workout.
After a few weeks in the pool I moved to cardio and weight training, starting light at first. I bought the requisite workout clothes and shoes at a deal from the outlet mall and of course a water bottle and my trusty iPod. We’ll get into this next piece of gear in the future, but my docs and the trainers needed to know what my heart rate was during the workout. So I got a Polar heart rate monitor. The cadio training I do requires that heart rate zones be monitored to insure the best possible workout. I currently use a Polar FT40.
I originally planned to workout in the pool and training room in the apartment complex in which I lived at the time. They had a couple of bikes and crosstrainers, a treadmill and a multi station weight machine. There was also a small pool. I was excited to get my first set of workouts that cool December morning. I ventured to the pool to start my first pool run/walk workout. I jumped in. It was cold. Very cold. Within a minute or two I was so cold it hurt. I got out. This wasn’t going to work. Down the road a piece they were in the middle of construction of a new branch of the Las Vegas Athletic Club, due to open in June 2008. About six months or so away. I joined as a charter member, got a great deal on the term plus renewals and I was set. Though for six months I had to commute 30 miles round trip to the next nearest club. Currently the club I use is home to many professional and amateur MMA fighters and boxers. Vegas is a mecca for those sports. Ground zero for MMA as this is where the UFC was born. In the same complex as the club is Fasi Sports (specifically Muay Thai) and MMA fighter Robert Drysdale Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Some serious training happens in both the club and the dojo but in the evening it’s basically folks out to keep fit. In the next installment we’ll get into specific goals and workouts that have helped me.