I thought I’d kick-off these progress up dates with a brief look back.
This is because if I’m going to document my progress and how I change, it’s good to know how I started.
One half of the reason I’m doing this is for transparency and accountability and without knowing where I’ve been and how I ended up here, I feel as if part of the puzzle is missing.
I feel that if I were to jump straight into the monthly updates without first showing you what I went through to get here I’d be lying or at least distorting the truth.
Now this doesn’t mean everything I write here will be relevant to you, this is my story after all, but it will show you that no one gets it right the first, second or even tenth time.
It’s important that you see the ups and downs, the highs and the low and everything in between.
Only then will you see that were not so different.
Whatever I can achieve you can to.
Growing Up, Discovering The Gym & Making Mistakes
I was the weedy kid.
I had my growth spurt early and went through a period of being the tallest in my friendship group. Thanks to puberty this didn’t last too long, and my friends eventually caught up with me. However, this meant I went from the weedy kid to the weedy and lanky teenager.
You know, skinny limbs and weak.
I loved sports but throughout my school years I was shy and never willing to get involved more than I had to. I’d do the compulsory sports classes and played football for a weekend team but never particularly excelled or performed like I wanted to know.
Like I knew I could.
I always felt like I was holding back from who I really was, too shy to be myself.
Running around topless in the summer was something other people enjoyed doing, not me.
Whilst this held true as I approached my mind teens, not everything stay the same.
I discovered the gym.
The idea that through training you could make yourself bigger, faster, stronger was revealed to me and naturally I was sold. I thought I would finally look how I wanted and all my problems would disappear, and everything would be right with the world, right?
I remember walking to the bank with my dad and brother to withdraw the money I needed to join the gym.
I was full of excitement, not only because I’d never held that much money before but, because now I was joining the gym and the future was bright.
I wholeheartedly believed I would be muscular and strong in no time.
I devoured bodybuilding forums and fitness magazines in search of the best workouts to get me the results I craved as quickly as possible. In the gym, I spent most of my time never truly understanding what I was doing or why I was doing it, yet I did it anyway.
I convinced myself I was making progress when in fact I was 100% what’s called skinny-fat; too fat to be lean and too skinny to be muscular.
I was living in a no man’s land of unhappiness and body dissatisfaction.
This continued until I went to University.
University, Body Confidence & Getting (More) Into Fitness
Heading off to University I continued to train aimlessly trying everything from giants sets, tri sets, drop sets and more, to finally pack on some muscle.
It was all in vain.
My lack of nutritional knowledge and tendency to be swayed by everything new led me to some ridiculous places.
No carbs in the evening
Binging on junk food
I tried everything.
Anything that promised me results, I’d do.
Yet, the more I tried to find out what worked the more overwhelmed I became.
I believed, truly believed, that if I followed the advice found in fitness magazines or on bodybuilding forums, I would become ‘ripped’ in no time. I thought that doing this would validate me, I would look how I was told I was meant to look…the opposite sex would find me attractive.
Hell, everyone would find me attractive.
I would be happy, successful and everything would be right with the world.
Man was I wrong!
I spent most of time lifting weights that were either dangerously heavy or far too light for me, doing everything I could think of in my desperate pursuit for the body of my dreams.
Everything expect what I should be doing.
I was shy and nervous, unhappy with how I looked, unwilling to take my top off in public and struggling with body confidence.
I felt like I could never live up to what was expected of someone who works out.
I felt lied to.
I felt betrayed.
Like fitness had let me down, as if somehow, I wasn’t worthy enough.
As if being ‘fit’ was reserved for other people.
Sick to death of it all I decided I had 2 options;
Give up and walk away
Learn what really works
I opted for option two.
When I finished with university, with my passion for fitness was only growing, I decided to enrol on a personal training course.
The rest as they say is history.
Except, the truth is, it isn’t.
Even after re-training I continued to struggle.
The Struggle, The Truth & Finding Peace
I was constantly comparing myself to other people.
It drove me crazy, but I’d be unable to stop.
I’d get so swept up in how I stacked up against other people, that I would judge people continuously; are they fitter than me, stronger than me, leaner than me?
On and on I’d go with no thought of circumstance or situation.
At times, I felt like I’d spent so long in the pursuit of the ‘ideal’ body, as it’s sold to us, and yet it was still so far away.
I went through a continual series of ups and downs, experiencing my share of setbacks and restarts.
All the while desperately pushing to reach this holy grail of physical fitness, you know, big arms, six pack abs, a wide back, round shoulders and a square chest.
Oh, and don’t forget the athletic legs.
On almost a daily basis I’d question whether it was worth it, never sure I was doing the right thing or eating the right amount.
I felt lost in a sea of information, desperately clinging to the idea of reaching this ‘ideal’ body in my attempts not to drown in it all.
To top it off, being a Personal Trainer and Kickboxing Instructor, I felt like everyone had this expectation of how I should look and when I took my shirt off and they saw me I would fall short.
It was as if I was living a lie, caught in between how I actually looked and what people thought I should look like.
So, I hid safely behind my clothes where no one could tell what I looked like for sure.
I lived this life for a long time.
A Shift In Mindset + Experience = Results
At some point, I don’t remember exactly how or when, I realised the inadequacies I felt were born from my own dissatisfaction with my body.
The reality was I never once lost friends because of the way I looked.
In fact, I can’t remember a time I was judged or shamed…in short no one else cared what I looked like.
To them I was just me; their friend, brother, son, boyfriend, husband, it just didn’t matter to them the way I thought it would, the way it does to me.
As well as this shift in mindset, physically I striped everything back to the basics.
I started again with fitness.
I decided to only focus on the few things that really matter (proper nutrition & progressive overload) and ignore everything else.
From there I would build it back up.
Slowly, things started to change and they’re still changing to this day.
I can be happy with how I look; I can accept myself and begin to like what I see in the mirror
How important calories are when it comes to changing your body
I don’t need to struggle to live up to the unrealistic ideals sold to us
The proper way to strength train for my goal
Regardless of how I may feel, all eyes are not one me
I am in control of how I look and this gives me the direct ability to change how I look if I want to
I feel like I’ve turned a corner, I’m not at the end of my journey yet but I’m drawing closer every day.
I’ve come to accept and love myself as I am (most of the time) and I know, truly know that I don’t need to look like the photos I see in magazines and on social media.
The biggest shift is knowing that I don’t want to look like these photos either.
I am me and not them, I can only better myself, not become them and this is ok.
In fact, this is awesome.
The truth is this…
Do I want to have bigger muscles? Yes.
Do I want to be leaner? Yes.
The difference? Now I am changing my body to fit my ideal not anyone else’s.
The little voice within me is saying that some of you will think that’s because I can’t get there and I’m trying to ignore this. I now realise that I’m in control of how I look and although I’m not where I want to be, I now know how to get there.
I am on this wonderful journey that is completely unique to me and I’m learning to love each day of it.
All of this experience has shaped my view on fitness and lead to the culmination of words you see on this website.
It’s my sincere hope that you will learn from my mistakes and join me on this journey.
At the end of April (2019) I will post my first update, showing you;
Where I’m at now
Where I want to be
What I’m succeeding at
What I’m failing at or struggling with
I hope that this will help you on your own journey and over time you can help shape how these updates look by commenting on what you want to see more or less of.
In fact, if you have a moment right now it would be great if you could leave a comment and let me know what you want to see in April’s update.