I would like to share a heartfelt moment in my life with you today, as well as give you a very special and important message from me personally.
Last Friday I was promoted to 4th-degree black belt in Okinawan Goju-Ryu karate. As such, my title is no longer Sensei Sherry but Renshi Sherry, meaning master instructor.
It was a grueling 4-day test that included a 4-mile run, countless drills and calisthenics, katas (forms), 10 rounds of fighting, endless push-ups and sit-ups, self-defense techniques, weapons and then finally graduation!
Below is a video of me (and my two fellow 4th-degree candidates) performing the kata that was required of us—it is called Hisho Boken and is a samurai sword routine. (Of course, I’m the blonde in the middle!)
Now my special message for YOU
People look at me and say, “Oh, working out is easy for you. You’ve been fit all your life.”
No, I haven’t.
I was probably one of the most UN-fit people on the planet, and my natural athletic ability is non-existent. I was always picked last when we chose teams in gym class because all the girls knew Sherry couldn’t make a basket or score a soccer goal to save her life.
So how did I go from that to 4th-degree black belt?
Baby steps and never giving up, my friend. And if I did it, so can YOU.
Let me encourage you with these words of my wisdom:
Start smart by picking an activity you like or will at least tolerate. Walking is a great choice for just about everyone!
Just be sure to get your doctor’s OK first.
And remember it’s never too late to start! I began karate training at age 41—certainly not a spring chicken—and there are other students at my dojo who started in their 50s and 60s.
Make it fun
Get an exercise buddy—you’ll talk and laugh the time away, plus you’ll be less likely to skip a workout if someone else is counting on you to show up.
My friend Liana and I have been running and martial arts buddies for 14 years, and we’ve had endless fun together. (Liana is the gal in the short reddish hair in the video next to me!)
Look in the mirror (or at your scale or your lab values)
There is no better motivator in the world than results!
So look in the mirror and notice your smaller waist, firmer arms or more slender legs. Check out the muscle tone you never had before. See how much better your clothes fit. You’ll probably even start to look younger too!
Celebrate every pound lost.
Rejoice at your lower blood pressure or improved lab values (like lower cholesterol or blood sugar).
And pat yourself on the back because YOU DID IT.
Not your doctor. Not some medication. Not some fad diet.
Remember it’s a journey—not a short drive
Being fit is a journey—not just a short-lived drive.
As such, you shouldn’t expect to go from never exercising to Olympic contender overnight.
Keep going on your own personal journey, and don’t compare yourself to others. This is about you—not anyone else.
Make goals for yourself, with little steps in between. For example, if your goal is to run a mile, start by “run-walking”—walk for 2 minutes, then run for 30 seconds, then walk again. Gradually increase your run time with each workout. You’ll build up to that mile eventually and more!
And you may surprise yourself with what you’re truly capable of.
I started running at age 30 and just enjoyed my 5-mile runs for the longest time. Well, lo and behold I ran my first full marathon 20 years later at age 50.
Talk about a journey!
Never, ever give up
There is a sign in the karate dojo where I train that says: “A black belt is a white belt that never quit.”
Don’t ever give up on yourself.
Even if you have temporary set-backs or develop certain physical limitations, don’t quit. You can find a way and work through just about anything. You may have to modify what you’re doing, but that’s perfectly OK!
You are worth it. You are special and you deserve to have great health and a fit body.
So keep going! And know that I am here cheering you on.
May God bless you.
To your health,