It’s interesting how your perceptions change over time.
We all get into training for different reasons. Whether you stick with it or not depends largely on what drives you, your success, your resilience and the people around you.
How my perception of training has changed since I started.
I originally got into training to lose more weight. I was overweight until I was 19 and by 21 I had lost over 7 stone through diet alone. The weight loss had slowed down and I wanted to move the scales more. I was also 11 stone and I still didn’t have a flat stomach and I couldn’t understand why.
Signing up to a gym I
wasn’t too interested in getting ‘massive’. I’d always been fat growing up and
an ideal body type was being as thin as possible. Maybe it was to reassure myself
that I wouldn’t get fat again… maybe it was obsession. I’m unsure.
One thing is for sure.
I did think once I’d lost weight it would immediately cure all my problems. I
wasn’t too popular growing up. I didn’t have any girlfriends until I was 19 and
I put a lot of this down to the way I looked.
From this point of
view, fitness wasn’t too important to me. I was aware it wasn’t healthy to be overweight,
struggling to run up the stairs but that wasn’t the driving force.
For me it was just
about looking as good as possible, as quick as possible with as little work as
possible if I’m honest and it’s a shame because it stopped me from finding the fun
sides of training until much later and it was a chore.
I was very focussed on
getting the most out of my time at the gym… perfection with minimal effort.
My friends were into
bodybuilding so like a lot of lads I started there. It also suited what I
wanted to hear, lift some weights, have a rest in-between, go home and no
cardio! I hated the idea of that.
I am also a little tech
heavy so when I researched training it seemed to support what I wanted to hear.
The problem is when you only look at a coin from one side you often miss what’s
on the back; the other points of view.
Also like many other
things you find that bodybuilding is their only way of training. Everything
else is inferior. There is only one way to skin a cat.
Fast forward to where
I am now I train because its something I enjoy.
I have an active
lifestyle and I like having the fitness to be able to do things without
worrying. Sometimes it’s my time to myself away from work. Sometimes it’s somewhere
I go to see my friends. It can be a place I go to de-stress.
Go back to where I was
at the beginning, I put all my problems down to the way I looked.
Turns out for me I was
missing out on a lot of things to fill my life. Hobbies such as mountain biking
which I couldn’t even attempt because my fitness was so poor.
My social circles didn’t
allow for activities either because my friends just wanted to go out and get
I had low confidence
and confidence comes from within. To be yourself but also to have things that
you feel you are good at.
For me its good having a level of fitness. It’s nice feeling good in myself,
knowing I am strong and fit and I want to hold onto that. Going deeper and
looking in hindsight I think it’s something that’s needed in all of us. There
is a primal part of us which needs to be fit.
When we feel down
about our bodies only part of it is the way we look. We tell ourselves its just
the way we look but the second someone starts training with us and they see
themselves getting fitter and stronger they immediately become more confident.
To me that’s because
there is a difference between being overweight, weak and unfit vs being
overweight and strong and fit which takes me onto what I would change about my
If you’ve got kids,
you want to be able to keep up with them. If you look at those around you
getting older and experience complications, it’s something’s you want to avoid.
There is a feeling of strength which comes with being fit.
So what would I have
- I would
have prioritised fun over perfection.
- I would
have got fit from the start
- I would
have paid less attention to what others were doing and focus more on me
- I would
tell myself it’s ok to take a break once in a while.
- I would
hope I had found something similar to what I do now rather than just following
blanket programs off the internet feeling like I could do it myself.
To expand a little bit
Fun over Perfection
Everything is easier
to stick to when you enjoy it. When it comes to fun we all find that in different
ways. What I find fun depends on where I am. In the gym its hitting new
personal bests or completing a workout I found challenging and seeing my
friends. Here it’s different, we’ve got a small community where we know
Fitness from the start
I would have got fit
from the start. From an aesthetic point of view I can get away with a lot more
if I burn more calories which means I’ve been able to lose my weight and keep
it off. It means when someone suggests something new I’m always confident I can
at least have a go and once you get past
that first initial stage of ‘I don’t want to do cardio’ it does feel really
good at the end!
There’s that saying ‘No-one
regrets a good workout’
Paying less attention to others
When I say paying less
attention to other’s I suppose that’s really vague. It’s targeted at a few
- Things on
I suppose in some
senses I wish I’d have ended up in different circles because there is a lot
which gets missed in gyms.
I try my upmost not to
be negative so I hope this doesn’t come across in that way but I do have a bit
of an axe to grind with bodybuilding and the fitness industry.
I know we don’t all
aim to be bodybuilders but if you read a lot online or go to a commercial gym,
even work with most personal trainers, you’re going to get some form of
re-hashed version of it.
The problem is it’s
just one side of a coin. It’s focused on purely how you look and in some senses
a bit of a sham. Most people on a magazine cover didn’t get there doing the
workouts they tell you about and there’s lot of sales lies.
‘These 10 workouts
will flatten your stomach’… no they wont. A proper combination of diet and
training will flatten your stomach and most compound lifts (squats, deadlifts,
lunges) will develop your stomach as much as a sit up.
Some weights are
needed for a toned physique but not at the cost of all fitness training;
avoiding any circuits or workout styles other than 3 sets of 10.
There are many more
ways to get to where you want but you don’t discover them until you step
outside a commercial gym.
Taking a break
For me I used to train
four to five times a week and never take a break. I’d often find myself burnt
out, tired and not enjoying training.
When I switched to
training for strength one of the main points of the program was that rest days
are crucial for your body to recover and adapt.
Years ago I’d have
been terrified that it meant I was going to rebound but fortunately I started
when I was in a better place.
What did I notice?
Well the program was
really effective. I got stronger, I looked better, I didn’t get fat and most importantly
I found I had a much better training life balance.
3 times a week works
great in the gym for me. I also noticed when I started doing more I got the
same burnt out feeling and the solution was to either adapt what I was doing
and sometimes take a break.
I’ve seen it before in
clients but like everyone when it’s yourself you are somehow different. Most people
with us train 2 to 3 x per week and that fits them great. The ones who train
more however you can see when they’ve done too much.
It doesn’t take a big
break. A week doing half what you would normally. Lowering your weights or even
taking it off entirely. It’s called a de-load in training and it’s often the
hardest advice to take.
It applies with
dieting too. We can’t go at 100% all the time. You need to the time off to then
go forward with more energy.
The key to taking a
break however is you have to trust it’s part of the program. Trust yourself to
go back in next week. It’s not a break if you’re hard on yourself and you don’t
Finding something like what we have here
You’d think that owning
a business I was the best person to tell you all about it and yet sometimes I
feel like I’m the worst. Being inside something and it been something that’s so
close to your heart makes it hard to take an outside perspective. ‘Forest for
I used to be a big
believer that I could do everything myself. I still believe that now but what I
have learned is I don’t half waste time making mistakes!!! Those mistakes are
emotional and it’s much easier to pay someone else for their experience.
It’s why I take my car
to a mechanic when the job is big and why I pay for advisors to run my business.
I invest in people.
It’s the same with
your body and at this moment in time I think the offerings most people are
given are poor. A 30 minute induction by a trainer who doesn’t care and then
you’re left to figure it out yourself.
Our Training Camps
aren’t much more than a Bannatynes membership and yet every session is
programed out and coached.
The next bits
I like to see the best in things. I like to say gym classes aren’t full of clicks and that people can’t be judgemental and stand-offish but the fact of the matter is they can. Working in commercial gyms I was fine, I was there all the time but from the perspective of someone new I can see what it’s like and you’re either lucky and meet the nice people but if you’re not outgoing you might not. If you’re completely new they’re intimidating.
If a gym has 4000 members,
you aren’t going to get to know all of them and it’s impossible to do that.
Working with a
membership of 60 – 70 though that’s much more different. Everyone has a feeling
of belonging to this place.
Training is directed
so we all have something in common. There’s a social vibe everyone can join.
People are training to
feel good in themselves, have a good time and not to be better than you. It
means we’re developing a family and doing activities not just here and outside
the gym so, if I was my younger self I wish I could have had all that earlier
I’d have trained
better, built my confidence faster, made less mistakes and had much more fun.
If there’s one thing
you could take from this article it’s that you have options when it comes to
training and at the forefront of everything should be finding something you
I was 18 stone when I
started and I’ve now maintained my weight for over 10 years now. I had a lot of
ups and downs over that journey but I got there. You can do exactly the same.
The next thing I’d
take away is fitness doesn’t stop when you hit your goal weight. There’s much
more you can take from it so why not search for that now. Enjoy being fitter
and stronger and all around healthier.
I hope this article has been useful if you’ve got any questions drop us a message and get in touch.