Fat, Out-of-Shape Shooters Take Note: NRA’s ‘I Am Forever’ Can Help You!

Body Mass Index Chart.  (Photo: Our-Mag.com)

Body Mass Index Chart. (Photo: Our-Mag.com)

I am out of shape and clinically overweight. My body mass index (BMI) of 27.2 puts me squarely in the middle of the “overweight” category; to give you the exact and unflattering breakdown I’m 5’11” tall and I weigh 195 pounds (to check your own BMI click here).

That’s pretty sad. I used to be somewhat athletic. Now, given my rather sedentary lifestyle — I sit in front of a computer for 8-10 hours a day, typing on a keyboard — I’m a lethargic, paunchy shell of my former self. It’s definitely starting to show. I hate to admit it but I have two chins! That’s two chins when I’m looking straight ahead. When I look down it’s even worse, my neck and jaw morph into what I can only describe as jowls. Yikes!

I’m tempted to make the standard excuse, “I’m just getting older, and that happens with age,” but the reality is I know I can do something about it. I know I can get into shape. But that on its own isn’t enough. Sometimes I need a little inspiration to get the ball rolling.

Enter the NRA Freestyle’s “I Am Forever,” a web series hosted by fitness expert Isaiah Truyman and veteran Green Beret John Wayne Walding in which the two men create a training routine for athletic shooters. For the show, which premieres in March 2015, the guys train high school senior Reagan Tyler in both fitness and in shooting to improve her skill sets in each discipline.

I’m excited to watch it. But I’m even more excited to learn something from it and to use it as inspiration to hopefully get my six-pack back (or a four pack, hell, I’ll settle with a two pack) and become a more accurate and consistent shooter. Maybe you can do the same. Maybe not. Either way, I’d like to hear your opinions on “I Am Forever.” But before you give feedback, check out this Q&A with Mr. Truyman.

S.H. Blannelberry: Let’s start with the title, “I Am Forever,” can you talk about the origin of the title?

Isaiah Truyman: I did not create it so can not speak to it’s origin as much as what it has come to mean for all of us involved. It’s really about the mindset; that we must earn our greatness everyday, nothing is given for free. If you have talents, they are gifts, but an individual must still work hard to become great. I Am Forever means that the journey is the key, not the end result. It is about the never ending pursuit of greatness…. A winning attitude.

S.H. Blannelberry: From your perspective, what is an “athletic shooter”?

Isaiah Truyman: An individual who is equal parts athlete and marksman. In real life pulling the trigger is not what separates great individuals from average ones, it’s all about getting to the right position, at the right time, with your focus intact, and being able to endure the physical challenges and marksmanship challenges as equally important parts of a successful mission. Whether military, hunting, law enforcement, personal protection or just for fun. Going to the range and slinging lead mindlessly is not the path to greatness alone, an individuals physical self must be as finely tuned as the weapon held to achieve their full potential.


Isaiah Truyman. To learn more about his background and experience as a trainer, check out his website. (Photo: NRA)

S.H. Blannelberry: How do you respond to critics who argue that physical exercise and shooting are completely different realms and that being proficient at one in no way guarantees success in the other?

Isaiah Truyman: I would agree, just because your a great marksman doesn’t mean I can’t run you around the block a few times – and poof, there goes the accuracy under stress. And vice versa, no great athlete is automatically an experienced shooter. But one without the other is like trying to grow a plant with water or sunlight, you need both for the magic to happen… Our goal is to help facilitate the development of the greatest marksman in the world. To do this they must be physically and mentally fit as well as great shot. I think it would be hard to find anyone who could argue with that, and the results speak for themselves…

S.H. Blannelberry: When I think about the periods in my life I had the most success staying physically fit, there were two common dominators: (1) I lived in walking distance to a gym and (2) I made working out part of a larger daily routine. I think those are my keys to staying active and healthy. What has your experience taught you? What are the keys to staying engaged in daily exercise?

Isaiah Truyman: Close proximity to home is critical, but there are a lot of different kinds of interest, some people hate gyms, only work-out outside, or in the privacy of their own home etc. There are many paths to success…

Generally you need a start and end date for a program to become committed (I’ll try this for 90 days and see how it works for me). Typically we need a cause that we believe in to stay motivated (I need a girlfriend, I want to look good for my vacation, I want to live to see my grandchildren etc). And lastly most of us need a valid program or professional to help guide the best use of our time in pursuit of the results we desire… The buddy system. Otherwise we tend to loose interest.

S.H. Blannelberry: What can the viewer expect to learn from watching the show?

Isaiah Truyman: Expect to see something totally new, fresh and never been done before. This show is an adventure and an experiment in greatness, so I think we will all learn a lot about looking at something familiar from a different perspective, and hopefully learning a lot from the experience.

***Big thanks to the National Rifle Association, the “I Am Forever” team, and Mr. Truyman.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Russ March 4, 2015, 4:37 pm

    I don’t know about that chart. 6 ft. = 182 ?
    LOL At 5’10” I weighed 180 in 8th grade. (zero fat)
    I’m 6 ft. And when I was in perfect shape, I weighed in at 235 lbs. (age 35- 45)
    I was an extreme Surfer, advanced Skier, and student of Kenpo Karate.
    Hard play has worn on my body.
    After upper and lower vertebrae fusions and a hip replacement at the ripe old age of 55, trying to come back has taken a toll on me.
    Nerve damage, muscle loss and added weight are my problems.
    I now weigh 255, and have a hard time looking myself in the mirror.
    I feel real guilty because my wife is a fox and she doesn’t deserve it. She’s 52 and puts girls in their 20’s to shame.
    Thanks, S.H. BLANNELBERRY, I’m real glad you put this info. up.
    It comes at a time in my life where I’ve decided to do something about the subject.
    I plan to use this information and the inspiring words of others here to live a better life.
    Being in great shape to operate firearms makes all the sense in the world.
    Thanks, Ill be working on it.

  • Uncle Al March 2, 2015, 10:30 pm

    I am glad to see others that see a BMI chart and laugh. My wife and I bought Total Gyms and did portion control and I lost 35 lbs. Probably the best shape I have been in a decade. My BMI for 5’7″ sez I should weigh 170, that’s another 30 lbs and that is NOT going to happen short of some type of amputation.

    • Russ March 4, 2015, 3:59 pm

      Me too, Uncle Al!
      I just received it, 2 Schwinn cruisers and a recumbent bike, shipped to my door!
      I’m setting up a room for us to work out in, and we will be taking bike rides instead of sitting around the TV.

      You can do so many different exercises with that machine.
      Everything from light and easy to strenuous core routines.

      Yes, there are many others like you.

  • Joe March 2, 2015, 6:54 pm

    If it wasn’t for being fat and out of shape I wouldn’t need to shoot so good.

    • Russ March 4, 2015, 3:47 pm

      That’s the funny truth of many of us.

  • R.D. Grey March 2, 2015, 5:06 pm

    I am 5’9″ tall and weigh 195 pounds. I have a 32″ waist. Your BMI chart says that I should weigh 165 pounds. Obviously your chart is overly ” GENERIC ” !!!

  • scott March 2, 2015, 2:40 pm

    I have been doing some core, flexibility and cardio work for the past year and have gone from obese to just overweight, still working on it… Anyway, in the proces I have noted that my last score at a CMP shoot jumped by about 50 points (2 different guns so maybe not all health change, but both guns about same grade)… I noted that, my breathing settled much easier/faster in this last shoot, and that I got in and out of shooting position much easier… Burpees, and more burpees.

  • SDMRT20 March 2, 2015, 10:27 am

    I have always wanted to be capable of shooting very well and being in very good shape. Being an athlete, I have always stayed in decent shape and now since beginning shooting for security efforts, I have found that it is a great complimentor to shooting. Looking forward to the program!

  • Pete March 2, 2015, 6:31 am

    A lot of help this is to those of us who are limited in activity due to physical problems. I now have arthritis in both knees and now need a cane to walk. Can’t have knee replacement surgery as I am prone to thrombosis which is aggravated by such surgery. The kicker is I used to go to the gym religiously until my knees started to fail, was running well over 1K miles/year (the wear and tear likely caused my problems) and exercising 20hrs/week at the gym. Now, 6 years later I have gained about 200 Lbs, and not much I can do about it. Stomach stapling and lap bands are out as they cause lots of long term problems and indication are that they do not work long term, weight is regained after a few years. So programs like this one are just an irritation for me. It’s easy for people who are already in shape to talk, they never have to work at getting back into shape.

    • Damon March 2, 2015, 10:56 am

      While there is some truth to what you say the real deal is that we eat ourselves into this condition. Diet is more important to this than exercise and while you can use exercise to offset bad diet (like I did and didn’t even know it), it becomes difficult for many of us to keep working out and maintain a metabolism that allows us to eat everything as we get older and wear out. When I was active duty military we would work out five days a week. First we would do PT with our squadron which we considered lame and unhelpful, then my unit would do PT on our own which would involve weight training, running, calisthenics, or even beach volleyball every once in a while.

      As an example of my eating habits, for lunch I would often eat a pizza. Please note that I didn’t say “eat pizza”. I would sometimes eat a whole pizza by myself and not gain an ounce. I would eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. When I left the military I kept this up for a while and only belatedly realized that I was fat and out of shape. At a shooting match a while ago I picked up the dubious nickname of “fat little ninja”.

      Well, I’ve decided that it’s time to get in shape again a few times. Had many false starts, quits, and just generally done a bad job. It’s taken me a while to get fed up with my own excuses and physical problems. Sure my knees are shot and one dislocates on occasion, my back hurts a bunch, my ankle intermittently decides that it doesn’t like carrying my fat butt around, and for now for some reason I get crazy migraines. WAAAAAA!!! Booo freaking hoo. Poor me. The fact is that I can either roll over like a little bitch (please pardon my language) and consign myself to fatness, constant pain, and eventual premature death…or I can get off my ass, quit stuffing food in my mouth, and find a way back into fitness.

      It won’t be easy, it won’t be fun. and it’ll suck a lot. In fact I’m hungry right now…so much that my wife’s dog is looking like a prospective tasty steak snack.

      I’ve made the decision that enough is enough…what about you?

      • Russ March 4, 2015, 3:43 pm

        Pete, take inspiration from what Damon is saying.
        Your alternative is a struggle toward death.
        Might as well take steps toward living healthier and longer.
        Nothing is easy, except dying.

    • Larry March 2, 2015, 3:54 pm

      Pete, stop eating! You stopped all the exercise but did not reduce your food intake. Where you used to burn 4 or 5000 calories a day, you’re now burning probably 1200 to 1500. I’m old as dirt, need a left knee, broke my lower back 40 years ago & have never had surgery so I have some problems being mobile also & I’m fat too. Let’s both make a deal of working on our diet & what we eat as well as the calories, carbs, fat, etc. I can do this & I bet you can too.

  • E.L. Thompson March 2, 2015, 3:29 am

    Lightweights. LIGHTWEIGHTS!! Your chart doesn’t even get CLOSE to a guy at 5’9″ in the 250# range! LIGHTWEIGHTS!
    -Anon (ok, ok. E. L Thompson, Maybe Las Cruces, NM)
    (Maybe not.)

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