No Days Off and No Excuses

I once heard a tremendous quote that I have often recalled throughout my life, that says “There are no such things as excuses, only reasons why things don’t get done.”

As some of you might or then might not know, in addition to being a professional wrestler, I am also a rock vocalist in three separate bands: Overnight Sensation (hard rock), Angel of Sodom (thrash metal) and Crossfyre (southern blues rock).

I just came home a few days ago, back to Finland, after spending the last two weeks on the road, through the Baltics, down to Poland and Germany, for a set of gigs with Crossfyre.  Before I left for this recent tour jaunt, I got word that I’d be having a match against Russia’s premiere wrestler, Ivan Markov, on July 23 in Helsinki.  I knew that I would have to train on the road, utilizing every possible opportunity to get some body work and conditioning in.  After all, this is going to be a very important match.

I loaded up one 16kg kettlebell, two 5kg plates equipped with handles and three different resistance power bands.  This, plus my own bodyweight and a plethora of training knowledge, were all I had to train with for two weeks, while on tour.

My tour training equipment, lying on the sand of a Latvian beach.

My tour training equipment, lying on the sand of a Latvian beach.

I recall doing the same kind of training five years ago, when I played across Europe with Crossfyre, which was just before my pro wrestling debut in Japan.  That definitive time period was a breakthrough opportunity for me, when I was to make my first foray in the Land of the Rising Sun, in my first match there against Hajime Ohara back on July 24, 2010 in Tokyo.  After that initial match, and the subsequent second match I had, later that same night, against former WWE superstar “The Japanese Buzzsaw” Tajiri, my career was made in Japan.  I became a superstar there, literally overnight.  That was, beyond a shadow of a doubt, one of the finest moments of my professional athletic career.

Now, five years later, I am on the edge of another critically important moment in my wrestling epoch.  On July 23, I will be defending the honor of the country I represent, Finland, against the imposing threat of big Russia in the first-ever wrestling war between our countries.  I absolutely must be in shape for this coming battle, and my entire training approach changed considerably when I heard the news that Ivan Markov had called me out and challenged me to a match on Finnish soil.  Especially, considering the history between our countries, and the fact that Finland used to be under Russian rule in years past by the Czar, this is a huge, milestone moment upcoming in athletic history in the Nordics.  Plus, Ivan Markov is bigger, younger and stronger than me, so I have to up my ante to face this coming challenge.

Take a look at the bodyweight and hybrid training montage that I compiled from the tour we were on.  I hope it inspires you also!  It just goes to show, that when there isn’t an actual gym nearby, there is still no excuse to get in an effective training routine, regardless of the circumstances.

Fit Over 40

After reading TIME magazine’s article last summer on “Manopause” – better known as the critical moment when a man’s physical peak has been reached and passed – I did a lot of soul-searching and gave a lot of thought to the concept of being fit past that eventual stage.

After all, I had wrestled all around the world professionally, made a name for myself in both Europe and Japan, and here I was, past 40 and beginning to notice the not-so-subtle changes in my own body, both in terms of muscular recovery and endurance.  My corpus had turned, stealth-like, into my slow assassin.

All I could do was stem the tide.  Heck, I even wrote a song about that – Stem the Tide – back in 2006 with my band at the time, Stoner Kings.  Now, I was living that reality.  Trying to stem back the tide, the avalanche, of aging, and all of the associated plagues and ills that come with it.

Powerband rows

Everyone wants to find that elusive fountain of youth.  Yet, no one has been able to discover it.  Simply, it does not exist.

Our medical community in the modern era has found a way to extend the average human lifespan through medicine, but they have failed to prolong the vital, potent years of youth in that equation.  All they have done is extend the latter part of old age, and that is not quite as stellar of a reality as it might seem on the surface.

The fact is, we are all doomed to mortality.  Before you know it, your golden youth is over.  Finished.  Never to return.  Your best years are quite frankly limited to about two decades worth – somewhere between your late teens to early 20s, up to your mid-30s or somewhere ’round the age of 40.

Kuva_-28

photo by Marko Simonen

As a man, taking synthetic testosterone only shorts out your own body’s production of the hormone, rendering you at the drug’s mercy.  Me personally, I just don’t want to go down that road.  I don’t need my self-esteem to be dependent on how I look under the effect of synthetic drugs.  I would rather respect myself for the actual, real results that I produce on my own.  I would prefer to take the road less traveled, the hard road of natural means, as I wage my own battle with the aging process.

So the best anyone can do, is simply try to slow down the degenerative process of the mortal coil and make each day count.  After all, what are your options?

Take a look around.  If I do the same, I see a society full of sedentary, physically lazy people.  I see a lot of overweight individuals, some even, that are increasingly obese.  Disney’s/Pixar’s WALL-E, anyone?

Much of this has a lot to do with the technological age that we live in.  Smartphones and tablets don’t make people more active, believe me.  This is not where I, for one, want to end up.

Chins

When I look at myself now at 42 years of age, I see someone who has put in 27 years of training in the gym to this date.  Fitness, for lack of a better term (as overused as that tag is), has become a way of life for me.

It would be a huge disservice to myself to quit when the body begins to slow down and ache.  And believe me, it does hurt.  More than in days past.  Bone chips in my elbow for several years, sprained ligaments that were never tended to with medical care when the mishaps happened in the ring, faint pingbacks of a herniated disc in my upper vertebrae, nearly two decades of a troublesome left sciatic nerve… you name it, I’ve struggled and fought with it!

Body Blast Fitness is something I came up with, in order to keep myself together, working through the various injuries I’ve incurred, implementing a mixture of hybrid training approaches, along with traditional weightlifting exercises and CrossFit-style movements.  It’s a pretty damn effective system, I can assure you.

So come along for the ride, and welcome to Body Blast Fitness, the blog where I will document my trek as a natural, veteran athlete, who is still active in the world of pro wrestling, as both a grappler and a coach, in addition to working as a personal functional training trainer.