On the days when I'm not actually training in the dojo or dojang, I work out in my apartment complex's aforementioned gym. Besides my original goal of losing weight (I lost 30 pounds of my intended 40 and seem to have have hit a plateau since then), I think of it as a martial artist's duty to take care of his body and make sure he is in shape to practice his art.
But what does that mean, exactly? For sure, I need the flexibility to properly perform techniques and the endurance to train them repeatedly. But what else? Do I need the chiseled torso of Bruce Lee? The lean, powerful legs of Jean-Claude Van Damme? The bulging arms of a UFC heavyweight champion?
No doubt, it would be great to see these things in the mirror, and my wife would certainly appreciate them. But (a) are these things really a necessary part of being a dedicated martial artist, and (b) are they worth the time and effort I would have to put in to achieve them?
My wife thinks I already spend too much time in the gym. She's probably right. We rarely get a whole evening together at home anymore, and it seems a little selfish of me to take an hour-and-a-half of that time and devote it entirely to myself. What's more, even the hour-and-a-half isn't anywhere near enough to turn me into a fitness model.
Like most things, it seems this quandry comes down to deciding what's important.
It is important that I don't go back to being the out-of-shape slob I was before I started martial arts training. It is important that my physical fitness be at a level that keeps me at my best in the dojo or dojang. But it is also important that I have plenty of time to sit on the couch and watch TV with my arm around my wife's shoulders.
I like to think that I might accomplish all three of these important things with a well-planned 45-minute workout routine. That's my next goal.
Honey, I know you're reading this. Please don't hold me to it, least not yet.