Mike Terpstra’s journey took a unique path in the beginning, but now he’s reached some milestones that will keep him on the right path for the rest of his life. Check out Mike’s story and see if it sounds like yours, or one that you’d like to replicate.
How did you discover jiu-jitsu?
Through my daughter. She started jiu-jitsu when she was 7. A friend of hers had been getting picked on in school and his father called me asking if I had any suggestions. His father knew that my brother-in-law was a MMA fighter in a nearby town. I told him that I knew of a school that taught self-defense and jiu-jitsu. My daughter wanted to join with her friend. His boy and my daughter flourished from day one. I could not believe the amount of knowledge, ability and confidence they had gained so quickly. At the time I was very over weight. I kept using my weight as an excuse not to start. I kept telling myself that I would start once I lost the weight. Needless to say, I was never going to lose the weight if I didn’t get on the mat. I would watch all of my daughter’s practices and write down the moves when I got home. If I had a question on how to do a move, I would ask my daughter. After doing this awhile, I started asking my daughter’s instructor questions about certain moves. He just kept telling me to take a class and I would learn. After doing this for a while, one day the instructor’s wife (and co-owner) just came up to me and said, “Are you ready to join today?” I signed up that day and haven’t looked back since.
What motivates you to train?
My family, health, team, and jiu-jitsu in general. I have a beautiful wife and three kids that I want to stay healthy for. I can do a lot more with them now that I am healthier. My team motivates me a lot; we each push each other to get better. We all notice who is not there and give each other grief about it. Jiu-jitsu as an art is a huge motivation as it is constantly evolving and changing day-by-day. It’s so awesome to do a sport that you can learn a new move each and every day and still never know them all.
How often do you train?
On a good week, I train 9-10 hours, and on a bad week 4-5. As a rule of thumb, I try to make sure I get in for at least three classes taught by an instructor and an open mat each week.
What else do you do for physical fitness?
When I was younger, I loved weight lifting and bike riding. I started doing both again, and somehow my wife convinced me to start running with her a couple years ago. Since losing weight, my wife and I have done numerous century rides, hiked a fourteener, the Boulder Marathon, and numerous mud runs.
Have you changed your diet and how?
My diet has changed dramatically. You could always find me at the local Taco Bell or Burger King. I would eat fast food at least three times a day and drink a lot of soda for “convenience.” I now try to take my food with me and see it as a fuel for my body, rather than an indulgence.
What’s been the biggest challenge so far?
Getting my wife to do jiu-jitsu, just kidding. The biggest challenge has been balancing time between family, training and work. I would love to train 24-7 if I could.
What’s the best thing about the life change?
The family time is awesome. Instead of sitting around watching TV together, we are always out camping, biking, walking, or playing outside. I also love competing again, being able to do anything physical and not coming up with excuses. It seems I always had an excuse when I wasn’t in shape.
What advice would you give to someone looking to make the same type of change?
DO IT! Get on the mats, you will be thankful. At times it won’t be easy, but don’t give up. When it comes to jiu-jitsu, never think you have it figured out. I’ve seen a lot of guys get their blue belts and think they “know” jiu-jitsu. I know double now what I knew when I got my blue belt, and I also now know that I know very little in comparison to my peers that have been training many years.