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.

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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.  

Things becoming a little clearer.

Blogging – Well with around 2000 views, 100 or so followers (Love you guys) and as of today over 100 blog posts, I can say things are going well . It is a little odd not knowing my audience, as well as on occasion finding out some friends are reading this I didn’t even know about. Nonetheless, it’s one hell of a platform for me to work with and is effectively a storage space of valuable ideas to return to. 

My goals – My goals are pretty straightforward. Compete in powerlifting. bodybuilding and obstacle races, get every qualification I need (fitness and degree), open a gym selling my apparel and work as a sports psychologist and instructor. Granted they are pretty black and white but that does not mean they easy by any means. 

Methods – In terms of reaching these goals I have to give myself credit, progress if being made. In terms of training I am at a point where I could comfortably compete in powerlifting, around 1 to 2 years away from a bodybuilding comp and have a race in 5 days! As for the rest, well they are slower. my final year of my degree in Criminology and Applied Psychology begins in a month with qualifications in fitness are planned for next year. The longer term projects are my gym and apparel, I have an interested second party and designs for apparel are complete, time to bring it all together! I have to be grateful too for the growth of my platforms Instagram/blog/Facebook page (linked below). Between them all I manage to reach thousands of people which is unbelievable. Whatever it takes to change lives.

https://www.facebook.com/PBMoriginal

http://instagram.com/c_j_barney  

Battles – Nothing worth having comes easy. Well everything I want is certainly worth having, so of course that provokes struggle. So far there are issues I’ve made my way through, though on regular occasion they return to me, I’m not sure they ever leave. Reoccurring issues are things like body dismorphia, eating disorders and maintaining a positive mentality. Some battles are unavoidable as every one of you will appreciate. For instance, my main two issues are time and money – aren’t they always?  With the money and time, I could invest in my apparel for faster growth as well as produce more designs, with even more I could start financing my own gym! But we have what we have, there is no excuse for not making the most of that!

The last of my battles are to do with the necessary mentality. To go on with all this every day without faltering isn’t easy by any means. With little appreciation from the outside world as well as those around me (few exceptions) it becomes even harder and somewhat lonely. There has to be an ongoing thought, a belief that what I am doing is worthwhile, so luckily I have that going for me to drive me through. 

 

People – The people in our lives have a drastic effect on who we are. Too often we surround ourselves with people who cannot accept us or unintentionally cause us to close away parts of who we are. I learnt this lesson over several years and of course the hard way (seems to be a pattern in my learning methods). However today things are a little different, over time I have changed who I keep around me in both quantity and quality. I don’t really see the need for a hundred friends or the approval of the world, instead I have learnt to just be me and those who can accept that stay. Incredibly that has left me with a group measurable on both hands in quantity, but in quality? Immeasurable. 

I have friends who support me, understand me and encourage me. A girlfriend who beyond my understanding not only accepts all that I am, but actually seems to be fond of it? (yes an understatement but you see the point I am making). 

People say you surround yourself with like-minded people, of course they are right, I do not disagree. However when in a position like me you realise like-minded people can be hard to find, which I consider to be a privilege. No, instead surround yourself with people who, though may not be on your path, are willing to walk beside you when you falter, or will help you stand your ground when things get tough. I adore those in my life and can not thank them enough. 

 

Hard work – This is it. The determining feature. No dream nor goal was ever achieved without hard work. So on a regular basis I find myself saying to myself, ‘are you prepared for this? Are you willing to keep going?’. I am not arrogant enough to pretend my answer is always yes. On many days I will suffer, I will want to give in and take it easy. So of course I have my fears and like every other person on this planet I fear the possible. ‘Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure’ – Marianne Wiliamson. How far I have come terrifies me as it reveals the possible of how far I could go. Would you not be scared too? To have everything you could imagine, the ideal life and world unravel before you, are you brave enough to go all out and pursue that with one sickening thought daily echoing in your mind.

What if I fail? What if it all passes me by?

This will never leave my mind sadly, but that is not to say I cannot work aside it, the fear of failure will only be lost in my ability to succeed. 

 

Aspire to Inspire. 

Living with Hypermobility Syndrome

Instead of having muscles that are too tight, people with hypermobility syndrome are often too flexible. They are able to extend their joints and flex their muscles beyond the normal range. Although this increased range of motion can serve as an advantage in activities such as gymnastics, dancing and swimming, hypermobility can cause numerous problems, particularly with joints. The best activities for hypermobile joints help to strengthen your muscles, while the worst activities increase their flexibility.

 

Hypermobility syndrome is characterized by excessive joint motion and joint instability. Normally, muscles and ligaments help ensure joint stability. When those tissues are too lax, their ability to stabilize joints is compromised. Loose muscles and ligaments allow for more wear and tear on the joints than normal. This can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis, the most prevalent form of arthritis.

If you suffer from hypermobility syndrome, engage in activities that strengthen your muscles. Stronger muscles are better equipped to protect the joints they surround. They provide more stability, thus decreasing not only joint wear and tear, but also your risk for joint displacement. Strengthening exercises are those that involve working with resistance, such as weight lifting, medicine balls and tension bands.

In general, you want to avoid stretching hyperflexible muscles any further. Instead, concentrate on isometric or concentric strengthening exercises. In isometric exercise, the joint doesn’t actually move, even though the muscles around it are contracting. Imagine pushing as hard as you can against a building, as if trying to move it – the muscles are working, but the joints don’t change position. Isometric exercises keep the joint stable and protected while still allowing the muscles to work properly and gain strength. With concentric exercises, muscles shorten as they contract, the way a biceps muscle behaves during a biceps curl.

The excessive range of motion present in hypermobility syndrome makes joints particularly vulnerable. Therefore, keeping muscles strong throughout their entire range of motion is especially important. Muscles tend to be strongest in their mid-range and weakest at either extreme of motion. That means a joint will be most vulnerable, or least protected, when it is at the end of its range of motion. Maintaining strength at range of motion extremes helps counteract that vulnerability in a joint that has too much range.

Prioritize strengthening the muscles surrounding the most susceptible joints: your shoulders, elbows, knees and ankles. Also focus on strengthening your core muscles in your lower back, abdomen, pelvis and hips, because they protect your spine. By stabilizing your entire body, a strong core also lessens the load on the most susceptible joints, reducing the chance for injury there as well.

Doctors do not recommend sustained muscle stretches for hypermobility syndrome, because muscles and ligaments are already too lax. For the same reason, eccentric exercises should be avoided, although it’s hard to avoid them completely. Eccentric contractions, commonly referred to as “getting the negative,” are the opposite of concentric contractions and occur when a muscle contracts while lengthening. Using the biceps curl again as an example, an eccentric contraction occurs when you lower the weight back down to starting position. During that phase, the biceps is getting longer as your arm extends down, even though the muscle is still contracting to control the downward movement. As the name implies, a lengthening contraction does lengthen the muscle, an undesirable action for muscles that are already too flexible.

 

Aspire to Inspire. 

Well… Crap

This is a vent session, sorry for the bore.

Just been to the doctors for a check in essentially. I’ve left being told I need to essentially stop powerlifting or i’ll permanently damage my tendons and mobility – Fuck hypermobility. Seriously fuck this. Having my own damn body let me down? Having all the god damn motivation, discipline and dedication mean absolutely nothing because I am not physically capable. 

Cannot explain how angry I am. 

So frankly, screw it, I’m not stopping. There is no chance in hell that I will allow myself to just give in. This may mean enduring some serious pains or injuries, so yes there will be that, but there is recovery. 

I will endure and I will continue to progress.

Aspire to Inspire. 

Little bit broken.

Not sure if I have posted about this before or not, but I’ve written to go back looking through it all so sorry if it’s not new.

I talk of obstacles almost everyday, but for me the obstacle was never motivation, it wasn’t the drive, those things came naturally. For me, sadly, my biggest obstacle was my own body, what a betrayal eh? 

As some may know I suffer from two main issues, hyper-mobility syndrome and junior arthritis, not all shits and giggles. These two mean that basically my joints are hell, they ache, they click, basically they f****** hurt. A lot. AGAIN – I am not looking for sympathy, I kinda love what I have had to overcome. I started out unable to comfortably support a rucksack, unable to run properly, lift anything or train at all. Today I run for miles, life literally hundreds of kilos and do whatever the hell I like.

However today, once more, a new issue arose. My god damn wrist. Quite essential in my fitness work which is somewhat distressing I will admit. Anyone having experienced these issues it would be great to get in contact as to how you have dealt with them. 

Personally I went with the ‘build muscle through the pain’ approach, it still hurts…but it has worked.

So yeah, a little more about me for you.

 

Aspire to Inspire.