active San Diego
Retired Marine’s workout regimen motivated by
quest for competitive edge
Within days of graduating from high school in Houston, Bailey enlisted in the Marine Corps. He says he was a “stick” at 6 feet and 150 pounds when he headed off to boot camp in San Diego. Eventually, the stick grew thicker.
“They added 35 pounds of muscle,” he says.
Through 21 years as a Marine, Bailey was dedicated to staying in peak physical shape. Regular physical training through multiple deployments kept him lean and fit. Today, five years after retiring as a master sergeant, he remains active and motivated to stay fit, thanks in large part to a sport he never imagined would become his passion: fencing.
He’d always been competitive as a kid but didn’t latch onto a sport in high school. When a lieutenant he worked with in North Carolina introduced him to fencing about 18 years ago, he loved it because it gave him an outlet to compete.
“I was never much of a student, so I didn’t really have the time to dedicate to sports,” he says. “But I liked the competitiveness of fencing. It was a unique opportunity. I was not very good (in the beginning) and it took me a long time to get where I am now. A lot of time — much to my wife’s chagrin.”
Even when constantly on the move — mostly between posts in San Diego and Washington, D.C., as an intelligence analyst — his mask, epee (sword), gloves, shoes and protective uniform went with him.
“One of the first things I always did was find out where the nearest fencing club was,” he says.
Fencing is a big part of his busy life, mixed with his work as a systems analyst contractor at Camp Pendleton and time with his wife and 13-year-old son. There are regular practice sessions and workouts, travel and competitions. He’s even cut back on some other interests — photography and working on his car — to carve out time for fencing. Plus, he spends time giving back to the sport, helping coach junior fencers with his club, No Fear Fencing, and being a director (referee) at junior events.
On his normal schedule, Bailey does conditioning work and practice about four times per week, each at two to three hours. He does calisthenics and cycling, jumping rope and sprints for cardio and adds stretching for flexibility. He’ll then work on technical skills, focusing on footwork and techniques in practice bouts. Since leaving active duty he’s had to put more effort into fitness so he can continue to compete at a high level.
He competes in the Vet 40 Division in national tournaments in epee, his favorite fencing discipline. The past three years, he’s medaled twice (silver and bronze) in his division at the Pan American Fencing Championships. Last year, he won the San Diego Cup in men’s epee for cumulative points.
He weighs about 195 pounds now but gets down to 185 in the runup for major competitions by increasing his workout and practice schedules and counting calories. He follows no set nutrition guideline other than to eat lean meats and plenty of fruits and vegetables while trying to stay away from fast food. He credits his wife, too, for following a sensible diet that helps him. His only weakness: caffeine drinks (coffee, soda).
Fencing provides purpose
“I probably wouldn’t be as fit as I am,” without fencing, he says. “I don’t think I could ever let myself go, I’ve got too much pride to do that. But fencing gives me something to work towards.”
Williams is a San Diego freelance writer.