Something has happened in the last year and a half. Jiu Jitsu has changed my life. I wanted to share the many reasons I’m grateful for Jiu Jitsu. I’d love for you guys to share your stories as well.

Reason Number One: Losing myself

I started BJJ in June 2010 and at that time I had thighs that were 28 inches [71 cm], and a butt that was 48 inches [122 cm]. I weighed 205 lbs [93 kg]. Now, in November 2011, I weigh 170 [77 kg] and I have 24 inch [61 cm] thighs and a 41.5 inch [105.4 cm] butt. What does that look like? I’m glad you asked.

This is the difference between a 41.5 inch butt and a 48 inch butt. Seriously – DAMN!
And this is what a sexy, 24.5 inch thigh looks like in relation to a 28 inch thigh.

Do you know what did it? Jiu Jitsu and diet. Jiu Jitsu was my major form of exercise. I also did a few important things in my diet: started eating more whole foods. Stopped eating rice every day. Stopped eating ALL THE FOOD. 🙂 I feel incredible. It’s so weird to think that I was so much bigger only a year and a half ago.

You see, I started to get SO EXCITED about Jiu Jitsu that changes started happening. I stopped watching quite as much TV. It became more than just a hobby – it became a way of life. I even started doing pushups to gain more strength FOR BJJ! 🙂

I got into BJJ in order to lose weight. Even if I had never really improved in skill, it would have been okay because my original goal was to get my butt off the couch and start moving. EVERYTHING was an improvement. I started with a black belt in tv watching. I’ve improved more than I ever thought I could. When I started, I couldn’t do most of the warm ups – I could barely move my body. Everything felt monumental. So I enjoyed the small victories – like landing on my feet, not my butt when I roll over. Any negative days I would have I’d focus on my first goal and say – today was a SUCCESS – I got off the couch and MOVED MY BODY! In that way, I won EVERY time I walked into the BJJ gym.

Because I can’t do BJJ right now, staying in shape isn’t as EASY as it used to be, but I’m still actively keeping in shape. The biggest help in the past was Jiu Jitsu, but sadly, watching BJJ doesn’t burn even close to as many calories as doing it. So I’ve been relying on Fitocracy. I know I mentioned it before, but I want to encourage you to get your butt  over there. A ton of BJJ bloggers are over there, including MegJitsu, CupcakeArmbar, Kintanon, Slideyfoot, and more! If you want to join us, you can click to join the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu group, or the BJJ bloggers group. I’m JiuJiu on Fitocracy – add me!

Why do I love it? Well, first there’s this awesome pic that Cupcake posted:

MOST AWESOME BJJ DESCRIPTION EVER

Second, it taps into that nerdy gamer side of me – my inner nerd athlete side who is obsessed with leveling up. And yes, one day I did decide to do extra exercises – just because I wanted to level up.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSqFqhUzutg]

Just like in games, you have X points per level. I’m currently level 8 and have 815xp out of 1750 required for level 9. I earned 489 points for doing: 500 squats, walking up 3 flights of stairs, and my physical therapy exercises. Oh yeah – did I mention that I did 500 squats. BOO YAH!

Third, the people: People give you props, you have incentive to do just a little bit more, you have public accountability, etc. I love it. I even decided to be a paying member – which makes me a “Fitocracy HERO!”

If you had shown 2-years-ago me that this is what I looked like and these were my passions, I would have thought you were nuts. I truly lost myself in Jiu Jitsu – both literally and figuratively. And in doing so, I found a much healthier, happier person.

How has Jiu Jitsu affected your health? Did it also cause lifestyle changes for you?

Tomorrow’s post: Grateful for Jiu Jitsu Reason#2–Getting Involved