Dale Ott, President of Vitil Solutions, takes hand-to-hand combat lessons from J.D. Fowler, a military veteran trained in martial arts and self-defense. Ott's Sarasota-based company is an IT support firm that specializes in government and education clients.
Ott went for an intense executive physical six years ago. Not yet 50 years old, Ott recalls he had some lower back pain and was regularly lethargic. “I wasn't in traction or anything,” says Ott, now 54. “But I wasn't happy.” Ott discovered he was a borderline candidate to go on medications for three medical conditions caused by weight and fitness issues. But the doctor also told Ott exercise and the right diet could clear up the issues without medication.
Ott played football, basketball and baseball in high school, but that was the last time he participated in physical sports. He never got into golf, and didn't care for tennis. He went for back massages, but that didn't have a long-term impact. Physical therapy, which he calls his “golf club membership” helps his back feel better, but doesn't do much for weight and fitness. “Tennis and softball wasn't really doing it for me,” says Ott. “I thought, what could I do to accelerate all this?”
Ott heard about Fowler, of Body Armor Self Protection Concepts, through a friend. The first session was in a makeshift gym in Fowler's garage. Ott was initially scared, and skeptical. “I thought there was a good chance I would go once and call it a day,” says Ott. But now he has a passion for the sport, not necessarily the physical part, but the mental benefits. “It has a sense of business to it,” says Ott. “It's kind of like a warrior mentality.”
The training, combined with other physical activity, has raised Ott's energy and awareness levels, in addition to his memory. “Now, I come into work and I'm fresh,” Ott says. “I have 10 new ideas.” He also says he has more confidence to take control of a situation, though he hasn't had to use his newfound combat skills for real — yet. “I never see any fists coming at my face in business,” says Ott. “If I did, I (would have) shriveled and run.”
Ott trains with Fowler once a week for two hours. Fowler creates an individualized program for clients under the broad theme of “evade, attack and intercept.” The training, says Ott, is based on quick, short and surprising punches designed to get an attacker off balance.
Fowler's sessions were motivation for Ott to change his eating habits. “I can eat a lot,” says Ott, “so portion control is my biggest problem.” His go-to food is, pasta, specifically lasagna, however he eats the dish less often these days. Instead, he tries to eat more seafood for dinner, such as wild salmon. He also aims to keep eating changes in perspective. “I'm not a health nut,” says Ott. “I'm not a guy who says I need this much protein, and this much carbs.”
Ott will steadily drink water, about two to four glasses, at least two hours before each session with Fowler. He will then eat a Kashi bar or half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Ott has lost about 15 pounds over the past year, and turned some fat into muscle. The body shift is a byproduct of the new outlook Ott has on food and exercise. In addition to hand-to-hand combat, Ott trains with weights two times a week and rides his bike one or two times a week. His bike rides are usually 15-20 miles, at an average speed of 17 mph. “I do my (weight) workouts after work or on Saturday morning,” says Ott. “They used to wipe me out for hours and even days, but now they just get me energized.”