The amount of spandex worn whilst doing lucha libre is not for the faint of heart. However, given lucha’s history of barrel-shaped, corpulent, strong-bodied wrestlers, a lean figure is by no means a requirement. As long as you are a competent athlete capable of the high physical demands of the sport, lucha has a place for people of all shapes and sizes. In fact, being larger has distinct advantages for wrestlers who may be at the receiving end of complicated flying moves.
Needless to say, I am not on the larger end of the spectrum. I am naturally small and slender (lightning-quick metabolism, please don’t take this as a hint to quit on me. I’m not complaining. I swear). I came into the gym as a twig with virtually no athletic experience. Fortunately that didn’t last too terribly long. I’m still the smallest person at the gym by a good margin, but at least I now have what could pass as muscles. Lucha libre is by and far the best workout I have ever found. Nothing else I’ve encountered combines strength, agility, endurance, and simple overall awesomeness in quite the same way. And after two years of lucha, I am exceptionally proud of what I have accomplished. I’ve seen dramatic changes in my level of fitness and physique in the relatively short time I’ve been training. I attribute this entirely to the fantastic combination of lucha libre and a regular lifting regimen like one used by my buddy Ave Rex. (As you can probably tell, he’s been at this longer than I have.) So, without further ado, here’s a brief photographic recap of…well…me: Going back oh, say, 18 or so years ago, here’s what we started with.
Now we fast-forward to two months into training. Given that the rest of the company was training for the first ever Lucha de Sound, I had only been training sporadically at this point. In other words, this is a pretty decent baseline for how I looked before I started training full-time.
Seven months into training I felt like I was making some fair visible progress. This was my first time performing in front of an audience as part of a pre-show demonstration showcasing the students at our lucha gym.
Flash forward another year and a half. Our photographic journey has reached the present. As of now, I’ve been training my ass off for over two years (not literally, of course, as indicated by the number of complements I get). While I’ve still continued to develop as a luchadora, I’ve felt like I’ve kind of plateaued in terms of physical appearance in the last few months. Compared to my fellow luchadores, I still felt like a twig among a pile of larger, much more muscular logs. But then I saw this: Not too shabby, considering what I started with. When I first saw this photo after our show in November, I was shocked that it was actually me. Where had the twig gone? And then I remembered the hours in the gym and the weight room. I am so amazed by the human body’s ability to adapt to physical demands, and absolutely fascinated by the fact that I have been able to watch these changes in my own body. What’s more, seeing that I am in fact making progress makes me want to strive for further improvement. Perhaps I am just taking this as an opportunity to be narcissistic…but then again, I feel there is always a modicum of narcissism involved in the desire to get up and perform in front of a large audience. If you’re not absolutely comfortable being a show-off, chances are decent you wouldn’t have signed up for it in the first place. The moral of the story: Lucha libre allows me to not wear a full shirt in public, and because of the awesome workout the sport gives me that is an opportunity I am not likely to pass up.