I can’t overstate how exciting it is to be part of something where age doesn’t limit you.
I turned 35 this past May. It was a sobering day, to say the least. I was heavier than I’d ever been, but it wasn’t just about my weight. I was always tired, my joints stiff and my moods seemed to swing under the slightest duress.
I was miserable, but that still wasn’t enough to prompt me to change my lifestyle. It was a few weeks after my birthday that a good friend of mine died from a massive cardiac arrest. He was 38, and it was his second in two years. A few days later, a cousin of mine went the same way.
He was also under 40 years old.
I was scared as hell. This was never how I imagined my life. I’d been athletic through high school and college – a firm believer in free weights and treadmills – but because I was young (and gorgeous, I might add) and had a hummingbird’s metabolism, I’d failed to recognize that my exercise programs were ultimately flawed. I would always reach a certain level of strength, and then get bored. Or suffer an injury and stop altogether.
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I also didn’t realize that all that weight training was sending my muscles the wrong message. I had never been flexible, but these runs of gorilla-lifting only made things worse.
So, for the first time, I opened myself up to different possibilities. I had been impressed with my girlfriend’s flexibility (insert punchline here), which had come from years and years of doing yoga. Truth be told, I wasn’t even that ambitious. I thought to myself, “How cool would it be to actually tie my shoes without breaking a #$%@ sweat?” She lent me a few DVDs and I gave it a shot.
Well, no offense to those who love conventional yoga, but I just found it too slow. Too soft. I was struggling, and at the same time, I was bored and frustrated. Maybe I wasn’t a young buck anymore – but I wasn’t ready to turn over my workouts to the world of incense and mandolin music. I wanted something a little more physical, frankly. I wanted to feel strong.
And that’s how I started DDP YOGA…
I had actually known Diamond Dallas Page from his WCW days, when I worked for the company as a writer and (fifth-string) announcer. We’re both from Jersey, too – and, besides being a nice guy, I always knew Page as a guy’s guy. I had heard about Yoga for Regular Guys, and figured I would give it a shot. Hell, this was the madman who cracked Scott Steiner in the face for insulting his wife. I figured any workout with his name on it was going to have a set of king-sized grapefruits.
I went to the website and ordered the DVDs. From the first time I went through the workout, I knew I was going in the right direction. I had to modify almost all the exercises, but I could feel them working from day one. It had a great pace and the combination of working on my balance, flexibility, strength and breathing was exhilarating. Not only did the workouts allow me to forget work and my problems for 20 minutes, they left me feeling invigorated and ready for more.
I eventually met up with Page, who convinced me to add the heart monitor to the equation. I have to tell you, I was very resistant to this idea – but now I never workout without one. For years, I’d defined a workout by how depleted I felt when it was done. I never realized that I was working too hard; nor did I know that I wasn’t even benefiting from that extra effort. Talk about a life-changing revelation: Working out isn’t about beating yourself up. It’s about communicating with your body, and identifying what makes it stronger, faster and more flexible.
At the time I took these photos, I was about three months into the program. I don’t really like scales, but I can tell you that I’ve lost seven notches on my belt and don’t have a pair of jeans that fits. But DDP YOGA does more than just change your appearance. I could never touch my toes; now I can palm the ground. My concentration has improved; my mood swings are gone; I have more energy through the day; I require less sleep, have stopped snoring and almost never wake up during the night.
And, straight up, I’m just a lot happier. The best part of DDP YOGA is that you can always improve, always add more movements, always refine your form and find new challenges. I have goals for next month, and I have goals for next May. I can’t overstate how exciting it is to be part of something where age doesn’t limit you; I guarantee you that I’ll be better at 40 then I was at 30. And by 50? I’ll be scratching my ear with my ankle, guaranteed…
Thanks, Page. You’re a lifesaver.