Before we begin, let me quickly introduce myself. My name is Markku Parviainen, and I come from Finland, although I currently live in Sweden with my wife and my 2 years-old son Dexter. I also lived in the United States (Rhode Island) for about four years where I worked as a personal trainer and martial arts instructor. I moved back to Scandinavia in 2000 and have been living in Sweden ever since.
I am 46 years old, and I specialize in Taekwondo, Hapkido and Kickboxing. I am a professionally trained and certified 5th Dan Black belt in Taekwondo and 3rd Dan Black belt in Hapkido, with over 35 years of experience. I have even been a member of the Finnish National Taekwondo Team (WTF).
Let me share with you an eye-opening experience I had not very long ago. After years of teaching martial arts, one fine day I decided to do some sparring with my students. Oh my goodness! I thought I was going to die! I was so tired after only a minute that I could not continue! Later when I came home, I was really depressed and it took me some time to get over it. That was a wake-up call for me!
I just couldn’t believe how bad of shape I was in. How could I let this happen? Worst yet, I immediately stopped training. My motivation was in as bad of shape as my body.
The real clincher came a couple of weeks later after I shot a training video for my students with my shirt off. When I came home and watched the footage, I was shocked to see how much weight I had gained and how stiff I was! What the heck had I been doing all these years? I was so depressed and ashamed of how I looked, and I wondered how my students saw me.
That’s when I got motivated to start training again. The question was how to go about doing it. It’s easy to do a little training now-and-then, but committing to a rigorous, continuous regime was going to be difficult.
I tried to remember the last time I had done any serious training. It had actually been about ten years! I had been too lazy all these years. All kind of thoughts came to my mind: what I can do about it, how I can motivate myself to lose weight again, do I have time to train? But, of course, those were only excuses.
Now, my dear friend, you must understand that to any “normal” person, I look okay. I may be a little overweight but not too much. However, compared to other fitness professionals, I was in pretty bad shape. My biggest weakness was that I ate all kinds of junk food, drank my Friday beer, and I never met a candy I didn’t like! I had been this way for the past ten years and I knew that it would be difficult to change my habits.
I would love to hear your feedback and I would also very much appreciate it if you would share your experiences with me, since that will reassure me that I am not alone in this endeavor. We’re in this together.
Coach Markku Parviainen
5th Dan Black belt Taekwondo
3rd Dan Black belt Hapkido
7-time National Champion
Two-time Nordic Champion
5th place, World Championships 1985
3rd place, European Championships 1988