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.

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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.

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.

How You’ll Know if He or She Really is “The One” – Shared/Edited

There’s a reason they call significant others “your better half”: Your love should bring out the best in you in a way that almost no one else is able to—it’s a pretty amazing thing. Rather than try to change you into someone you’re not, the right person will love you for who you are, and that love will make you want to be the best you can be. It’s a circle: You try to be awesome, they love you more, they try to be better, you love them more, and on and on until you’re sometimes so happy it’s almost gross. That’s what finding “the one” feels like.

1. You feel more comfortable with them than almost anyone else

Your walls have come down, and you don’t feel the need to impress them. You are entirely yourself, and they are entirely themselves, and even when you’re awkward or weird around each other, it doesn’t make you feel embarrassed (well, maybe just a little).

2. You’re supportive of one another without competition or jealousy

You are always, always happy when they achieve their goals, and vice versa, and you know that your relationship isn’t a competition. There is no envy, just celebration: You genuinely want to see each other to succeed.

3. You actually want to work through your problems

Making an effort to acknowledge issues in your relationship means that you actually want to fix them, and your love for your partner outweighs your need to be right. Relationships take work, and what sets the flings apart from the serious stuff is a willingness to put in that work. If someone matters to you, you will fight for them.

4. You still get butterflies when you see them

A long-term relationship isn’t a walk in the park, but when you still feel the same excitement you felt in the beginning, you know it’s something special. You never stop enjoying the pleasure of their company, and you (almost) always feel lucky to be with them.

5. Even boring things are more enjoyable when you do them together

From washing the dishes to hanging out in bed on your laptops, the most mundane activities become fun when you’re with them.

6. When you think about your future, you can’t imagine it without them

Not out of dependence, but because they’re such an integral part of your life that you just want them to be there, experiencing all the little joys and failures by your side.

7. They’re the first person you want to talk to about everything

Whether it’s good news, bad news, or that totally random dream, you immediately want to talk with them about it. They’re your best friend and your confidante, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

8. But you feel equally comfortable sitting in silence

You don’t feel like you have to fill the silence with meaningless conversation, because you’re both happy just being together. There is no pressure to talk non-stop (even though you mostly talk non-stop), and your time together always feels meaningful and awesome.

9. Everything feels better knowing they’re in your life

You’re happier, you’re more forgiving, and things just feel a little brighter. You’ve found your person in this life, and that’s pretty wonderful.

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.

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. 

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.