The REAL short-cut to fitness results
I was a about 12 when I first realised I liked fitness.
At my school we used to have Wednesday afternoons dedicated to what we called ‘games’; you basically got the whole afternoon off to play sports.
I didn’t really appreciate it back then but I know now that at school, if you’re no good at sports these kinds of afternoons can be like torture.
Lucky for me, they were probably my favourite part of the week.
Rugby was a mandatory sport from about age 8 during autumn term, and when I was 12 I remember our coach started a ‘fitness program’; basically extra sessions for those in the rugby team.
The list went up. My name wasn’t on it.
I was confused, since I was on the team, but when I asked the coach and he told me he hadn’t included me because he thought I didn’t need it, I remember feeling pretty good.
Obviously at 12 I wasn’t doing any ‘training’ in any formal sense of the word, I just happened to be naturally ok at physical stuff.
As time went on and I got more into rugby I realised that natural ability wasn’t going to carry me: I was pretty small and lean (ok kind of skinny) at secondary school.
So my brother (he also liked rugby) and I looked into it and got ourselves a bench, a couple of dumbbells filled with sand and a bar.
And off we went. It was doing something, but I’m not sure if that was just down to natural growth at that time or the training, because there wasn’t a whole lot of science or training methodology going on there: it was pretty much load up as much as you can and when you felt you can’t do one more, force yourself to do two.
When I went to university at 18 I finally had access to a real gym, and having joined the rugby team there I set out to lift some proper weights and put on some size.
And then someone introduced me to supplements. It’s pretty funny looking back on it now at how enthralled I was by the pictures and promises of the brochures. I remember reverently receiving my first tub of whey protein, and not having a clue or a shaker (to mix it with water), putting a scoop into 500 ml of water and trying to stir it.
When I drank it, I almost believed I could feel something happening.
And so begins years of researching different supplements, buying pre-workout energy boosters, bringing a dry scoop of powder with me so I could consume it in the 25 minute ‘anabolic window’ after my workouts, 5 sets of bicep curls and all the rest of it.
Those companies got me real good, I don’t mind admitting it now. I remember literally forcing myself to eat a tuna sandwich even if I didn’t feel like it, because I had read that you need to eat every three hours to make sure you keep the muscles ‘fed’ throughout the day and stop them wasting away; I even ate dry tuna straight out of the tin.
I would research routines and articles on the internet, looking for the ones that would put on ‘slabs of muscle’ or trying to emulate the guy who said he put 30 kgs on his bench press in a month.
I did them all, and when I didn’t get the same results I looked for a different one or thought maybe my nutrition was off: so I’d try and eat more.
A well-known ‘philosophy’ amongst gym fans is: Eat big, lift big, get big. I was trying to live it, except the first part was the only bit I seemed to be getting right.
Finally, after years of pushing hard I wised up and started to think, and read more logically around the subject of training.
And I finally opened my eyes.
Almost everything you read or hear about in the mainstream fitness industry is marketing, propaganda, misdirection or just unadulterated bullshit.
It’s a business: they don’t care if you get fit or their products work, they just want you to pay for them.
They know how human nature works: huge expectations and results for lower effort is going to sell, not patience and learning.
And let’s face it, no matter what anyone says the number one reason for anyone exercising, training or working out is to look good.
Yeah sure it’s good for my heart and could prolong my life but will it make my bum look better in these jeans?
Hence the glossy pictures, ripped abs photoshopped legs etc, etc.
I’m not criticising. It’s a fundamental part of biology, people judge each other on the way they look. It’s probably not right, but it is how it is, and for as long as we are animals that will never change.
Some of you might recognise my story. If you are/were a teenage boy at some point I’m sure you can identify the feeling of wanting to get strong and big, as well as having certain athletes or sportsmen you aspired to look like.
My message to you is don’t follow me down this road of wasting time and money.
Do it the right way the first time, see through all the crap that is put out there.
I keep saying there are no short-cuts to long lasting fitness. There aren’t, but there is a short-cut to the start line for that lifestyle and mentality.
I went the long way around.
If I had known what I know now at 18, I could have progressed far better in my training: by this point, almost 10 years down the line I would not only have saved money but I would probably be stronger and better.
You may have heard of another saying: if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck.
Please apply this to fitness ads, dieting regimes, muscle-building programs you see.
You can get away with some things in life but training is not one of them: you know that results take time and well-directed effort.
If an advert claims differently, it is lying.
But just because it takes time and effort doesn’t mean it is harder. You just need to find the type of training you enjoy and stick with it.
Learn from this blog and others like it. Get motivation in the knowledge that you are actually learning something beneficial for yourself.
Once you ‘get’ it you’ll start to enjoy it. Then you’ll truly have the fitness mindset: that’s something someone can’t sell you in a tub.
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