My training philosophy: why I do it
I realise that when you read this blog you might be asking yourself: who is this guy and what does he have to back this up with?
Well I’m going to try and give you a brief résumé of my motivations and my belief behind training, in the hope that you understand my intentions and where I’m coming from.
I have a passion for self-development
I’m not a fitness professional. I don’t hold any related degrees or qualifications, and I can’t point to a track record of having coached Olympic athletes or sports stars. In short, I have no piece of paper that ticks arbitary boxes of competence or validates what I am saying.
But my life has always revolved around sports and a fascination of the capabilities of the human body. In truth I am quite a curious person and I like studying anything that interests me.
No-one around me or in my family trained when I was growing up but I think it was inevitable that I would take to it, just because I always approach things with a ‘how far’ mentality.
How far can I push myself? How far can this take me if I dedicate time to it? How far is this going to benefit me if I learn about it? How far can I carry this before I drop it?
I used to skateboard and BMX and a lot of days would end with me crashing, having dicovered exactly how far I was going that day.
Sports and physical activity are a huge part of my life
When I was a kid I was lucky to get to try a lot of sports and activities and I can honestly say back then nothing was better than running around all day until I exhausted myself to the point of cramp. I was very lucky to have a very stable childhood and had a lot of opportunities in many areas, but what always seemed to hold my interest was sports and physical activities.
When summer holidays were over I acutely remember practically having to relearn how to hold a pen.
Sports were a strong point for me throughout school and I ended up playing at lot of different sports for my schools. Training for me though really began around age 14-15, with a dumb bell set and a chin up bar at home; once I went to university and started playing in the Rugby League team for my university, I got seriously into the weight room.
The first time I walked into gym was at university; since then aside from a 6 month break when I went travelling I doubt I’ve gone more than a couple of weeks without lifting something or doing a few push-ups. I’ve pretty much been working out at least 3 times a week for the past 10 years.
Learning by doing beats just knowing the theory
I’m the sort of guy who likes to learn by doing; a flaw I have is maybe not being able to listen to advice so well as I’d rather read and do it myself. While this works sometimes when it comes to lifting and working out I have made some big mistakes.
The dedication and enthusiasm have always been there, but knowledge and experience has been lacking. What is good about such an approach is that by actually doing it I feel I get a much better understanding of how it works.
Related article: What do I know anyway?
I have always been a researcher when it comes to interesting subjects and as I have progressed I have spent a huge amount of time reading magazines, watching workout videos and surfing internet forums and sites in an attempt to understand how to be better at training. I like to think I have a scientific mind (I am actually an engineer by trade) that helps me apply logic to my training and my understanding of the concepts.
There is a lot of confusing information out there, and a lot of it is wrong
What I have slowly come to realize is firstly how much information there is out there to digest, and how in-depth some of these subjects go (something that occurred to me I realised one day I was reading a 2000 word article on ankle mobility). At lot of information goes into more detail than most people want to read.
Secondly I realized a lot of information is contradictory or just plain wrong. I know it is because I have tried it for myself.
It is genuinely annoying when I see the magazine articles or adverts claiming that muscle can be built in a matter of weeks, or you can lose fat through a ‘revolutionary’ new method of rolling on a ball 10 minutes a week.
Related article: The REAL short-cut to fitness results
It is laughable when you see movie stars being interviewed by nonplussed reporters asking them how they put on 30 lbs of muscle in 6 months and they can reel off their 6 meals a day, three times a day training regime with a straight face, before magazines sell their supposedly effective routines along with the protein powders they supposedly used.
I look back on my 18 year old self, inspired by wild expectations and enthusiasm but with little knowledge or experience and I wish I could give him some advice and channel that effort in a truly effective manner.
A genuine interest in all things fitness
Lifting weights and general fitness has always fascinated me because I love the process of improvement; you can literally see yourself changing, each time you step into the gym you have a window of opportunity to push yourself and get better than you were before.
There is not a lot of improvement in life that is genuinely tangible. When you leave work every day can you always see or feel the improvment you have made? Can you feel yourself making a step forward? With training you can, and for me that is the whole beauty of it.
It is like a lifelong project, which you have control of and you are the architect and the labourer. It is one project that is truly your own, not to mention important in the context of your health.
It also provides a real feeling of empowerment and confidence, along with the knowledge that you have literally used your mind to build something that people can’t take away from you.
It’s not about being bigger than other people or an alpha type but knowing you have the self-discipline to improve yourself.
10 years of training may be a long time for some, and nothing for other, older trainers. But as I pointed out in the advanced section, experience is only half the story; you have to use that time effectively to learn and understand what you are doing otherwise you are just spending that time going through the motions.
It is said that if you really want to know what you are passionate about and what you want to do with your life you should think about what you do without anyone asking or paying you to do it.
For me it was easy to find the motivation to start this blog. It has been easy for me to research and read fitness articles and get myself in the gym 3 times a week for all this time.
Why I started The Training Template
Put simply I believe I have accumulated experience and knowledge during my training journey, by reading and doing, entirely on my own time and without being paid to do so because I am genuinely interested in self-development.
I feel at this point I am in a position to help people and give them good advice that is unadulterated by any corporate profit-driven propaganda.
Poor health through lack of activity and obesity are rising every year, and I don’t think in general the fitness industry is really helping.
Fad workouts, crash diets and muscle magazines sell because on the whole people are in the dark about what really works; a lot of companies and corporattions are striving to keep them there so they can keep selling their useless products and ideas.
I want to counter the stream of misdirection and false information that supports the fitness industry and try to provide clear, simple information for those motivated to improve themselves or start a training journey.
By making this blog I want to create a one-stop solution to understanding and achieving your fitness and training goals.
Instead of trawling through hundreds of different websites as I have done in my time come directly to this site to get straight answers and easy to follow routines to start or continue your path of self-development.
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