Choose who you are going to be, then make it happen.

Warning – I am passionate, I will swear – they are just words, grow up.

If you are reading this and can say you are honestly content, please leave, this isn’t for you.

Right now they are gone let’s get a few things straight. Content – the most god awful word I have come across, it tells me two things; 1 – You don’t dream big enough, 2 – You lack drive.

Be the person striving for more, pushing yourself till it hurts, finding the limits you’ve set yourself and breaking them down.

I decided who I was going to be, I even went as far as to make a plan, a plan I have fought for, suffered for, that sure as shit was never going to be easy and I am god damn happy that it wasn’t, a plan that does not have an end and has requirements where failure or becoming ‘content’ will take everything from me.

I sit here looking at a sheet of paper, a sheet that in essence says ‘step 4 – Tick’. I don’t take more pride than that in it, it is the sum of three years and hundreds of hours, but to me it is just another bullet point. So was the £450 qualification handled in two weeks, or the few thousand hours of training and studying, even the accredited masters that requires a bank loan.

We all have something we want out of life, but we look at the road it takes to get there and shudder, the idea of sacrifice or hardship terrifies us, and so content seems like a suitable plan B. Let me say something that will get a scorn expression from many – fuck content, fuck your fear. I have had my own hell and hardships, there are moments that I would give anything to fix or get rid of from memory, but my goal, my dream requires so much god damn more. State your dream, wait no, let’s really do this –

Right now, say your dream, in 5 words or less – Might be a job/place/mood/ anything.

Next, state the minimum of what it’ll take to get there – cost/ hours/ ears/ qualifications

Now, and take this part seriously, are you brave enough? Could you take that on and accept the struggle that entails? Let us be very serious, if you look at it now, before even the first damn step in that direction and can’t say with certainty you are willing, when those moments come around that bring you to tears, that keep you awake at night, that lose you friends, to accept that this is all part of the plan, then don’t even start, and get really fucking familiar with – content.

Oh and if I need validation –

– Every damn friend I lost

– The hundreds of hours needed just to change appearance

– The tens of thousands of pounds for my qualifications

– The utter failure come competition day

– The loneliness for 3 years

– The laughter and judging

– The five years of work to just get my foot in the door

– The agony every fucking day

– The scars, history to overcome

and the rest of it that frankly if you need to hear, you were never going to be convinced anyway.

Be brave because in reality, if you aren’t living for those dreams, what is the damn point?

Aspire to Inspire.

Common nature.

I always like meeting other lifters because we have something in common. No, it isn’t the act of lifting; it is an unsaid goal that we all have. We want to be better than we were yesterday. In fact we hate ourselves in our current state. This is a good hate. The kind that rises up through your heels and engulfs the body. It gives us the strength to lift that indifferent hunk of iron off the ground. It staves off the mediocrity that surrounds us day to day. Remember this when you start your week tomorrow. Run with the Lions, not the gazelles.

I’d rather be dead than average.

I’d rather be dead than average.

It sounds morbid, I know. Trust me, it isn’t a call for help or anything like that. The simple fact of the matter is that I can relate to this. I believe this quote is from Mike Bell, featured in the documentary Bigger Stronger Faster. Somebody else might have said it but that’s where I remember it from.

From time to time, I find myself wondering why we do what we do. Why does ‘average’ represent everything that so many of us don’t want to be? I’ve done average, I’ve done below average and frankly, being a nobody is pretty shit.

When I was 19 years old, I decided to make it happen. I decided to stop being who I had always been up until that point, a nobody. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not foolish enough to think that I’m famous or even terribly popular, but I’ll be damned if I’m still average, and that’s a start.

I went from having no passion, no drive, no ambitions and a very limited perception of a future, to having an exact goal, passion that would astound, the drive to work on it every damn day, the qualifications to get me there and achievements mounting up along the way.

I’m not sure if I can say that what I am doing is right, or will even work, but for once in my life I’m doing something and I’m proud of it. So why dead over average? Seems dramatic and bordering on naive, but here me out. Average to me isn’t what it might be to you. Average to me represents who I was, the mental state, the loneliness and knowing what that did to me, yeah I would choose to never be that/do that again.

I’d like to think that the experiences of depression and mental breakdown leave me in a mind set that will never again allow me to be ‘average’. I would hope that who I am now is incapable of functioning without a goal or some form of ambition. So this is me, literally living for a dream, it may not be normal nor accepted, but it’s me, and I’ll die before I give that up.

Aspire to Inspire.

A life of Lifting.

WARNING – This post is solely discussing lifting/gym/fitness – If you don’t like it, leave now – You were warned.

Pick it up, put it down – The essentials of powerlifting, sadly it’s not all that simple, or least when trying to be better than average. Starting out simple, my lifts are a 175kg Squat, 120kg Bench and a 234kg Deadlift all at under 75kg (Junior). Where it gets a bit more complicated is – A) Getting here, B) Moving forward.

I’ve ran only one program designed by somebody else, everything else i’ve done is off the back of my own designs. For me, all the conventional programs lack the same thing, volume. I’m the crazy bastard that doesn’t want to leave the gym, that’ll train 6days a week for at least 2 hours, i’ll squat, deadlift and many variations of both all in one session.

A sample session for me will be:

Squat 5by5

Deadlift 4by5. 3. 2. 2

Paused Squat 3by3

Deficit Deadlift 2by8

Bent over row 4by8-10

Underhand pulldown 3by12

Neutral grip pulldown 3by15

Leg Extensions 3by12-15

Bicep curls 2by15

..Then abs.

You see my point, the squats alone can take up to an hour. So my issue now is how do I progress. I hit the intensity, I hit the volume, the frequency, so what’s left?

Sadly this all means a refresh of training methods, going back to basics, a 3 day split and build back up, giving me a chance to work with new variables. An idea that freaks me out because that means 4 rest days in a week! Not my style.

Regardless, I’m a little stuck in this and with ambitious goals in mind (Squat 210, Bench 140, Deadlift 250) I have little choice in the matter. If anyone reading has experience at this, please do get in touch! Any advice is always welcomed.

Getting to where I am has only really taken 18 months, but quite honestly hitting somewhat of a plateau recently after some serious progression.

My approach is rather .. blunt? You see there are periodisation approaches, phases, speed work, rep work, RPE scales, percentage based work, conjugate methods, cube training and all the bloody rest. My approach? Go in, lift heavier. I don’t care if that’s your assistance lift, your 8 rep max, your bent over row or the close grip bench you neglect, just go in there and beat SOMETHING.

Okay yes this has it’s issues, for instance if you want to be a bit of a bitch and say ‘I can’t beat a PR each session’ then fine you’re right, but mostly because you have a shit attitude. Realistically there is always something to beat, take the bench as a foundation, there is paused/close/banded/chains/pin/touch/floor press/incline/spotto/axle bar/slingshot and go and then very rep arrangement of those too! Let’s be honest, your excuse is invalid.

This will get you a damn long way for quite some time. But! Then you hit the wall I have, where things get technical, and if you are anything like me, you don’t want to just do any old method, time is valuable. So now I’m reading anything and everything hoping to get this right! So again, advice is welcomed!

Anyway, if I figure it out for me, I’ll be sure to update you! Though I still take on clients for programming,as it seems to be easier helping others than myself (I’m a difficult one).

Aspire to Inspire.

I’m Back!!

Sometimes our words can only take us so far. For this reason alone I stopped this blog with the intention to move forward with actions, and I did.

It’s been 6 months since I last posted and I’m glad to say I made it count. In the last six months I’ve competed in national powerlifting (near missing Worlds), I’ve finished my degree, lined up my masters in Sport Rehabilitation (Callum Barney MSc BSc in no time), I’ve finished half my PT qualification with 90%+ in exams, reached new levels of strength mentally and most definitely physically, now preparing for qualifier/nationals/worlds with the goal of reaching some records and of course, still have my girl with holidays and events just around the corner.

In this post I want to cover two main things – University – Powerlifting. I suppose the headings of my life, strength and education.

Powerlifting first, because I like that one more.

As you may see from the video… I train a lot…. and I made a youtube channel (check that out 😉 ) . Hell it’s my passion. So being specific, at the same weight as six months ago, 73kg, I’ve hit new highs of a 175kg squat, 120kg bench, 234kg deadlift, all untested for a current max. I’ve helped people, taken on clients, even my mum has dropped 10kg in a few months of taking my advice! I think it’s fair to say I’ve learnt a hell of a lot recently. I have big goals, as I always have, I personally believe it is half the battle towards success to aim high, then grind like mad to achieve them.

Powerlifting/ training has been a part of me for around 3 years now, in reality that is nothing in the scale of 22 years, but the progress and changes in such a short time has been astounding.

University … IS OVER

As of a couple weeks ago university officially ended, minus the technicality of graduation. So where does this leave me? Well regardless of a disappointing set back, i’ll be headed to Middlesex University to complete a masters in Sport Rehabilitation. I’ve never enjoyed education, I’ll even admit I’ve hated a lot of it, but now is a chance to study something i’ll actually enjoy! (I hope).

And I’ve gotten to that point once again where, well frankly I’m done writing.

I’ll get back into this soon and try to keep up with what hopes to be a very eventful year.

As ever,

Aspire to Inspire.

Big and Strong

If you’re reading this article, I’ll bet I know a few things about you.

First, you probably have two overriding goals when it comes to weight training – you wanna be big, and you wanna be strong. And by “big,” what I mean is that you want to look the part – muscular and lean.

Second, I’m betting that you feel torn between these two goals. In other words, on one shoulder you have – “Screw what you look like, all that matters is what you can do!”

And of course on your other shoulder, another voice is telling you, “No one knows what you can lift, all they know is what you look like.”

I know these things about you because, well, we’re chasing those goals, and we all feel conflicted about pursuing two objectives simultaneously, trust me I am one of them.

Although there are exceptions, most bodybuilders admire the amazing strength of powerlifters, strongmen, and weightlifters, and most strength athletes want a physique that reflects their capabilities.

I’ve been torn this way since my early days of training. Granted I started focusing only on aesthetics. I wanted those damn abs. With a bit of time I came across for lifting heavy (in retrospect to my weight). Sure there is ego in there, but its an incredible feeling ripping heavy shit from the floor.

IT IS POSSIBLE TO HAVE BOTH.

So far I would say i’m pretty strong (220 deadlift today, squat 150 and bench 110) from pure determination with no coach or professional traing, just my own work. As for aesthetics, well i’ve worked for them too and compared to day 1? Shit I look like a god (by comparison).

I love to able to set an example, even if it has been done. But my beginnings, my methods, achievements and current abilities, maybe I can make my point – No matter what, you can do everything you want, anything you want, you just have to work for it.

Aspire to inspire.

What’s your why?

I think this is an important question for anyone chasing something. The answer can direct you, motivate you and inspire you. So what’s the question?

What’s your why? – Simply means – Why do you do what you do?

That is, assuming you do something specific, or are pursuing something or importance to you.

So what do I do?

A big question with simple answers. I train, for anything and everything, I pursue my dream of inspiring others, becoming as educated as possible in my field as work and having a platform to reach others (a gym, practice and becoming somewhat known).

So for me, the WHY for training seems a little bit more simple, to inspire  – doing all this is what it takes. But of course there is more. Why do I want to inspire?

That’s a little harder. The idea of being called inspirational started back when I was in need of a person like that myself. In my darker days all I wanted was that hand up, a person standing the other side of it all who would be there for me, understand, have the experience and be where I wanted to be so I knew it was possible. I never found what I needed and so I found my own way, slowly and rather painfully. However through my struggle I made a promise to myself. If (and considering how dark things got, I do mean ‘if’) I made it through it all, I would find a way to be there for anyone who was in or would be in a same place as I had been.

Now this wasn’t be saying, ‘I’LL BE A POWERLIFTING, RUNNING BODYBUILDER…THING’. Yeah that was just the road i’ve fallen down. But no matter who I become I stand by that promise. I love that its a sacrifice to commit my life in part to other. Why? Because as far as I’m concerned it’s the greatest thing I could do.

That’s my why, it’s why I will surrender friendships, embrace suffering and accept the opinions without that hand holding me up.

The point here is what is YOURS? Is your reason going to be enough to keep you going? There is immense commitment needed to pursue our dreams that we never realise before starting and you will turn back to that ‘why’ time and time again (trust me on that). Your ‘why’ MUST withstand time, doubts, failure and fear.

Aspire to inspire.

Cellulite.

To learn how to get rid of it, I feel it’s important to firstly understand what it is (beyond the displeasing aesthetic image). Cellulite is nothing more than fat beneath the skin, however; the fat grows in an “uneven” manner, which presses against your skin (creating that dimple effect). Cellulite is frustrating in the fact that it usually only appears in certain areas. For example, the areas of your body that aren’t affected by cellulite still have fat, however the fat grows in a “flat even” manner (as opposed to uneven bumps). Scientists believe that a genetic disposition determines where these areas are, this being said, you absolutely can still control your cellulite by mediating the amount of fat that presses against your skin.

Hopefully you know by now, you cannot simply target an area of fat. Performing Hamstring curls will not target your fat burning processes to the area above your hamstring (negate the location specific pain correlated with the curl). So what this means, is that to get rid of your cellulite, is to practice a disciplined approach to everything that entitles fat loss. The question is not how to get rid of cellulite, but how to minimize fat tissue is general (which could never be summed up in a single post).

Note: There are some other hypothesis regarding the inflammation of white blood cells & their correlation to cellulite though I’ve chosen to ignore it for my post (due to weak support).

 Aspire to inspire. 

I am here.

NO IT’S NOT FITNESS. Just so you don’t close it right away. Anyway, moving forwards.

If you came to a 7 foot wall, what would your first thought be? A way around it I’m sure. But that isn’t an option. So option two, you look for a hand up. Nobody there. At least for now. So lets assume by some miracle, gruelling effort and personal strength you make it over the wall after god knows how long, what’s next? Most people say if you are good at something never do it for free. Well in some circumstance that would be true, but to me, if you are good at something, you have an obligation to help others with that experience. 

Getting over that wall is my experience, therefore I believe I have an obligation to others to help get them over it. 

NO IT IS NOT AN ACTUAL WALL.

We all face obstacles in life, some more extreme than others, higher walls as it were. So sometimes we need a leg up, or at least somebody behind us if we fall. 

I came across my own obstacles which I am unafraid to share, plenty of them in fact. If you are reading this you are either one of my subscribers (so much love to all of you) or you are one of my Facebook friends (assuming I had the balls to share this, so be kind). It’ll be very easy to laugh me off and frankly that is fine by me, I am not here for approval.

I am here as that leg up, or just a voice to guide or an ear to vent. Everything I went through I wished I had that hand up, it was one of two times in my life I prayed. Sadly I never got it. Without that I found my own way over the wall and I promised myself no matter what, if I came across the chance to help anyone else in any situation I would take it.

So whatever you are coming across, no matter how well you know me, all I am saying is: 

I am here. 

 

Aspire to Inspire. 

Dieting: A Rant.

You ever go out with a bunch of people for dinner when you’re dieting? Isn’t that a fucked up situation? Let’s say you’re at a table with seven people and everyone’s ordering their food. You’re at the end so you’re ordering last. They’re getting ribs, chicken strips, spaghetti, and whatever. No one in the group cares what they’re ordering. The conversation stays the same. Then it comes to you and your first question is, “How do you prepare your chicken breasts?”

People start looking at you.

Then you order two plain chicken breasts with a side of broccoli with no butter or seasoning. The waiter writes it down and off he goes to the kitchen. Now everyone’s looking at you like you’re a freak. They didn’t care that your other friend was eating ribs. They didn’t say shit when the guy ordered his chicken strips. So how is your meal selection any different?

It blows my mind. If you ordered something that was complete shit, no one would say anything. But because you ordered something to help you achieve a goal, it’s a problem. And now for the next ten minutes you’re having that stupid fucking conversation.

“It’s so easy for you to lose weight,” they say. “I can’t do it.”

And you’re thinking, really? Here I am at a Steakhouse ordering two plain chicken breasts and broccoli — which is gonna cost me 20 quid by the way — and it’s easy? This is something I want to do? You think I want to sit here and watch you fuckers eat wings and ribs? I’m here for your company, not to give you dieting tips you’re not gonna listen to.

Rant over. 

Aspire to Inspire.