Combat PTSD with combat sports.

I’ve spent the better part of the last 4 years using physical fitness to cope with my PTSD. Having a mental health disability is challenging and often misunderstood. Yes, I look healthy but I don’t feel so good on the inside. Even with the gym and my ability to keep my disability at bay I still felt like something was missing. This past summer I hit another low point.

August 9th I came home from work and I started drinking heavily. I was trying to fill that hole in my heart with alcohol. One thing leads to another and started drunk texting everyone I cared about telling them how much of a fool I am for letting things get to me. Thanks to an old battle buddy he talked me through that moment and I was able to sober up and get my wits back. I felt like a hypocrite, It was at that moment I realized I needed a new challenge and I thought really hard about my present state. I had gained a little weight, I was bored, and I was tired of trying to be the best at exercising.

As I started to reminisce about my time in the army it had accursed to me I missed Combat Sports. A sport of pure grit and personal responsibility. A challenge as old as time and a true test of one’s discipline and sportsmanship.

With that revaluation, I started researching MMA classes in my area. Knowing I was a little rusty, mid 30’s, and bad joints I was a little apprehensive. Yet, I was determined in my quest. That’s when I found former UFC champions school Pettis Martial Arts.

I arrived and met an old friend there for my day 1 trail. After the first rear leg kicked I was hooked! With every strike I could feel the anxiety, the tension in my chest, the worries just disappear. It was absolutely euphoric! It was exactly what I was missing.

Pettis Martial Arts is a family friendly environment with world-class instructors. Since joining I’m now looking at participating in my first contest in 10yrs. Win or lose, I know this is what I needed to keep moving forward.

Fight For The 22

Newberry VS. Cunningham

Charity exhibition bout LIVE STREAM ON PPV Order Here 

October 24th, 8:00 PM CDT LIVE from The Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee Wisconsin. 

Tune in and watch Lift for the 22’s very own Dan Newberry take on Alton “Bo-Man” Cunningham is this charity exhibition boxing match!! 

Alton “Bo-Man” Cunningham is the 19th ranked of 456 active United States Pro Light Heavyweight MMA fighters and is the 1st ranked of 12 active Wisconsin Pro Light Heavyweights. 

He is a also recent competitor on the UFC Contenders Series.


Stronger together

In our everyday lives we get bombarded with information and experiences. Sadly, it’s not experiences we want or empower us to become our best selves. Throughout our day we are on the defensive ready to take on the next problem. When you’re happy there’s always someone waiting in the wings to take your happiness away as if life isn’t hard enough. That’s why I cherish these moments. In every city, in every class I see the best of people. I see people helping each other, encouraging each other. There are no job titles, no labels, no differences. For these 22 minutes we become a community of hope and encouragement. That is what I live for, I can only hope that one day these characteristics blend into our daily lives.

-“In cadence.. exercise”

#22fitness #strongertogether

Bullied & Bombed Documentary

Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.

In 2018 The VA reported a total is 20.6 suicides every day. Of those, 16.8 were veterans and 3.8 were active-duty servicemembers, guardsmen and reservists, the report states. That amounts to 6,132 veterans and 1,387 servicemembers who died by suicide in one year.

Bullied and Bombed is a feature-length documentary about Dan Newberry, a veteran and survivor of suicide uncovering the hardships of families of lost ones.

This documentary will as the question; are we doing enough? Are we truly advocates for anti-bullying? Are we helping our veterans return home with healthy body and mind? Are we treating depression with the same urgency and care as something like influenza or cancer? This fight is not only for those who suffer. It is our duty as friends and neighbors to care for one another because it could easily happen to anyone of us.

I apologize for my PTSD

I’m sorry we had to leave the grocery store.

I’m sorry we couldn’t go to the festival.

I’m sorry we had to leave the theater during the new blockbuster movie based off the war in Iraq.

I’m sorry I get nervous when I see trash bags on the side of the road.

I’m sorry I wake you in the middle of the night.

I’m sorry I’m not the same man.

Sound familiar? Is it shame? Or is it guilt?

Studies have shown the people that suffer from PTSD are likely to feel shameful and guilty following a traumatic event.

The experience of shame has been found to be connected to Veterans suffering from PTSD. Similar to women who have been exposed to domestic violence. These studies found that shame had a much stronger connection with PTSD than guilt.

Further Research suggests that the experiencing shame associated with PTSD event may lead you to use unhealthy coping strategies, such as drug and alcohol abuse resulting in “SUD” Substance Use Disorder, and other self-destructive behaviors, which can interfere with your ability to think rationally when dealing with a traumatic event. As a result, the symptoms of PTSD are magnified and can ultimately lead to suicidal behavior.

Shame is an emotional response that causes you to judge yourself in a negative manner. You might view themselves as worthless, weak, bad, or useless. Causing you to apologize for the things you can’t control.

What can I do?

There are several ways to cope with the symptoms of PTSD and the shame that comes with it. My personal favorite is seeking social support within the community. Reaching out to the people around you can be one of the most effective forms of treatment when learning to live with a traumatic experience.

Research shows that a sense of belonging is extremely important for emotional health and well-being; those who have social support but don’t feel a sense of belonging are much more likely to suffer from depression. After all, isn’t that one of the main reasons Veterans miss their days in the military?

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Go to the Gym.  Most gyms offer group fitness classes (ahem! 22Fitness) CrossFit or even martial arts classes, which provide an awesome sense of community.
  • Join a Community Class. If you enjoy making things and being artistic every community offers art classes, workshops, music classes. Join a class focusing on your interests. Investing in yourself is always time and money well spent.
  • Volunteer! Getting involved with a charity or organization you believe in will give you a sense of purpose and something positive is a great way to rebuild your spirits.

In the end, NEVER feel shameful or guilty for who you are and what you’ve been through. It is part of who you are. Everything in this life is a lesson no matter how deep the wound. It is important that you know that you are not alone and people do understand. It’s ok to feel vulnerable, it’s even better to let someone in.

Fitness advice that everyone needs.

I love Fitness! There’s nothing that I enjoy more than putting on a pair of headphones, thumping my favorite tunes, and getting a great workout in. Working out is something I’ve used for years to help cope with life’s several challenges. It’s the most underrated form of stress relievers out there. In many respects I find myself getting irritated when I’m having a crappy day and it seems like everything is trying to stop me from getting my long sought after pump.

But, the question is, is too much “Fitness” unhealthy? In short, yes. Too much of anything is unhealthy. There’s a fine line between dedication and obsession. Obsession is when things can get a little rocky and you can find yourself ruining your mental stability by the very means you chose to build your mental stability.

Obsession is an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind. Dedication is the quality of being dedicated or committed to a task or purpose.

So what’s the difference?

The main difference between obsession and dedication is that with obsession you can’t stop thinking about it even if you want to and your behavior is compelled, it’s outside of your conscious control, whereas with dedication you think about it all the time because you want to and your behavior is determined by your own freely willed choice to pursue that path.

Many fitness junkies refer to their gym sessions as “me time.” And while it’s true that working out has proven to be an effective antidepressant. The real issue could be you’re avoiding life’s bigger issues. That’s a perfect recipe for exercise to become an unhealthy addiction. Rather than addressing the real issue or seeking treatment you’ll go to the gym multiple times a day instead of confronting the underlying issue. It’s ok to hit the gym to find your center for the day and allow you to clear your head. Just keep in mind it won’t make issues in your life disappear.

For those of you about to embrace the fitness lifestyle this new year my advice is this, LIVE A LITTLE! If there’s a holiday spend it with your family, eat the pie, and don’t punish yourself. It’s ok to hit the gym on a holiday if that’s part of your daily routine. But don’t sacrifice time with your loved ones to do so. The gym will always be there but someday they won’t be.

If you spend more time training than with other people, that might be a sign of an unhealthy relationship with exercise. There are plenty of ways to rationalize your devotion to the gym. If you’re training for something or some form of competition, it’s understandable that you’d be ditching weekend drinks with your friends.

I’ve lost a ton of friends because of my lifestyle. People feel that I may be a stick in the mud because I’ve chosen a lifestyle of healthy habits and physical fitness but that couldn’t be farthest from the truth. I enjoy a good cocktail too, just in moderation.

Taking care of your body is just one piece of the puzzle to being mentally and spiritually strong. Find time and spend it with friends and family, explore new hobbies, and take part in social events.

Don’t starve yourself. I made the huge mistake of jumping on the Keto train and losing a ton of muscle mass in the process. Look, there are a billion different diets out there. Ignore all that bullshit and pay attention to your macros and eat clean. Burn more calories than you take in and you’ll be fine. Carbs are not the devil!

Don’t spend all afternoon in the gym either. Prioritize your life and practice time management. Long gym sessions every now and again are fine. But if you find yourself essentially living at the gym, you may have stumbled into an unhealthy obsession. One hour to an hour and a half a day is plenty. Quality over quantity is key for achieving your fitness goals.

I hope this helps anyone obsessively thinking about the gym, or stressing about their fitness goals. Relax! The fitness game is not a race. Lift heavy and live a little.