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.

Day 2 – Get shit done.

Another morning post as, well let’s face it, I have shit to do.

Monday mornings tend to be when the world whine, go through the motions and just try and make it through the day, I’m not one of those people. Nor am I one of those who eagerly await a Monday morning for a fresh start …  No I hate that too. Frankly if you are waiting for Monday to start a fresh, you’ve wasted too many hours.

I’m a different breed, I don’t usually know the day, very rarely in fact. I go at each day with the – What has to get done today. So what’s today for me? Today for me is cardio, study, heavy bitching deadlifts (so excited) and then more study. The list is more specific than that as every morning I write up my to do list for the day, mostly because there is rarely anything left from the day before unless it’s a larger project.

I think this is a methodology more people should apply to their lives. Living by calender days is a mistake and constructs your efforts for you. Waiting for a Monday can waste 6/7th’s of your life. I saw a concept in a film once (In time) where they talked about a life lesson, the idea was not to live each day like it was your last, its reckless and idiotic, we all want a future. No instead, live each and every day as if you had come back in time just to relive that one day, enjoy it, marvel at every little detail of joy and wonder, love it and don’t waste a damn second.

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.

Which Wolf Are You Feeding.

“My child, there are two wolves inside of every man, battling one another every day. One wolf is evil. He is weakness, inferiority, ego, laziness, and entitlement. The other is good. He is strength, hard work, self-reliance, and humility.”

The boy thought about this for a long while, then asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man replied, “The one you feed.”

I stumbled apon this only an hour ago but it seems to have struck a cord. Your level of success is largely derived from how you view the world. Your brain can be rewired to focus on certain patterns. In one study, people who played the old video game Tetris for hours began to see interlocking blocks in all aspects of their life, from brick walls to cityscapes. They’d encoded that pattern in their minds through the repetition of the game. Crazy right? but comprehensible. So this was known as the Tetris Effect. 

This can happen with anything in life we focus on. If our job involves looking for mistakes, then it’s hard to break that habit when we get home. Not good, because we begin focusing on negatives and overlooking the good stuff.

The good news is that you can engrain productive, positive patterns as well. Learn to look for the good and you will see more good, including opportunities for improvement. (As a side effect, you won’t be such a bitter douche anymore.)

With our lifting and physique goals, the Tetris Effect can be very powerful. Are you scanning the world for excuses or opportunities? Are you looking to rationalize behaviors that hold you back (“I can’t squat,” “I deserve a cheat meal”) or are you looking for ways to improve your diet and training? Both can become habits. One will accelerate your progress; one will hold you back.

What is your engrained “go-to” response to a challenge? Do you automatically look for ways to overcome it? Or do you automatically fall back on looking for an excuse for why you can’t meet that challenge?

I like to think that most serious lifters do the former. We understand that on the other side of every challenge is an opportunity. We learned that in the gym and we apply it to “real life” as well. You probably know people who go the other direction. And you probably think they’re kinda pathetic and annoying. (This is probably because they’re kinda pathetic and annoying, so don’t feel bad.)

Remember, because of the Tetris Effect, the things you focus on will begin to engrain themselves in your mind, changing behaviors, actions, and even your general outlook. Are you wiring yourself to see opportunities for improvement? Or are you programming yourself to find excuses?

In other words, which wolf are you feeding?

 

 

Aspire To Inspire. 

Fat Loss 101

People have and will always still continue to use the wrong approach for fat loss.

A resistance approach will always be king but for those who enjoy banging their head against a brick wall and persist on using cardio for fat loss more often than not still use the wrong approach.

They insist on long, mind-numbing hours on a treadmill or bike. It is not hard to see why people take this approach – it’s what everyone else seems to be doing at the gym. It makes sense doesn’t it? if you want results then you have to put in the time doing something you dislike?

Doing hours upon hours of steady state cardio each week you will lose weight. Unfortunately it isn’t healthy weight. What you’ll end up losing is mostly water and muscle weight. I see it everyday, people gripping the shit out of the treadmill until they surround themselves in a pool of sweat. They jump straight onto the treadmill to see they have lost their bodies of water, this is great until they have a drink

By losing muscle, you will slow down your metabolism even more causing you to gain body fat….Have you ever lost weight at the gym doing this, stop due to boredom and wonder why you have put the weight back on and possibly more?

You will be thinking it’s working because the scale weight is going down. All the while, your trouser/dress size has barely moved. You’re negatively re-compositioning your body; trading muscle for fat.

When it comes to cardio for the purpose of fat loss, the most effective method is actually the least obvious – going on shorter, but higher intensity sprints is significantly better for fat loss than long, steady jogs.

This method of sprinting for fat loss is known as high intensity interval training, or HIIT. I have blogged on this topic before, look back for more information.

Aspire to inspire.

I’m trying to remember who I am.

I am not who I was. Nor am I yet who I will one day be. The ambitions I had yesterday have adapted and the dreams I’ll have tonight will set in tomorrow. The unachievable ideas once thought up have been humbly accomplished. Tomorrow hasn’t begun, yesterday is over and today is moving without control.

 

So where does that all leave me? 

I found myself waking up to this thought that I am a bit lost. I’ll admit it is somewhat frightening. let me explain. 

2 years ago (give or take), I wasn’t who I am now. I was lost, scared, depressed and without ambition. Over the following 2 years I grew exponentially in every way I could have hoped, so that version of me was lost, regardless of what was learnt from that stage. In that time i have set upon a new path and formed new dreams (as I continued to realise those i originally had).

 

So this has forced me to grow more, I NEED a goal, a dream to pursue. This doesn’t sound bad as such but it is remarkably stressful. By achieving my modest dreams, they have had to grow to more and more outrageous lengths. I now have goals of  own gym, to be qualified and educated, to be a councillor to help people and compete in all areas of fitness whilst producing my own apparel.. Oh and a decent wage. So the question is now who will I need to become?

How much of who I am today will be lost in the pursuit of new dreams – that is the thought I awoke to.

 

Aspire to Inspire – Whatever it takes.