I was made in 1967, one of the last of a generation to grow up with no internet. We had telephone boxes and 2p`s, 3 tv channels, The Saturday morning pictures, Zammo helped us say No! and Jim Fix`d anything he could..
Also a time devoid of any real information for an aspiring 10 year old. I can remember convincing mum to buy me a Bullworker one Christmas and a set of York weights for another.
I of course got nowhere, but hey, I was a kid.
At high school , I was by no means a natural sportsman, not picked last at football, but bottom third consistently, Oh I hate that fcuking game!
Nowadays weight training is a cool, mainstream activity, but back in my early 20`s it was almost unheard of. This if course made no difference to me as I`d embraced the local drug scene and lifted nothing heavier than a spliff for several years.
After burning out within 6 weeks of these daily workouts, I also started getting daily back pain. Surprisingly this turned out to be genetic rather than rampant abuse of technique.
A 10 year cycle of back pain, osteopaths, NHS referrals, sporadic lifting and lots of walking stretched ahead of me.
I fell into a rut of working the night shift for these years, culminating with me on Incapacity Benefit and antidepressants for 18 months.
It was during this time that my status went from “off grid” to “online”.
I`d lost count of the many, wasted years, through back pain and shit unrealistic routines I`d followed. Then I read a book called Brawn by Stuart McRobert.
I`d coincidentally read that most back pain is caused by weakness and inflexibility, so whilst not working and penniless I started to fix myself.
Using the most basic of principles outlined in Brawn I changed my mindset and focused on getting stronger and not bigger. It`s a subtle yet crucial distinction and as I got stronger I got bigger and leaner!
I started lifting with an empty bar, trained every fifth day, walked and stretched every other day. I would literally train and then simply wait for training day to come round again.
I discovered internet forums and ended up Moderating on a few them, turns out I`m pretty good at working out whats wrong when someones progress stalls.
I was very fortunate to be helped by Doug Black and through him meeting Paul George which led me to to where I am now. They inspired me to train clients for free initially, in my converted living room, to building a paying client base, to now having a premises with living quarters attached to MY gym!
Whilst I did strengthen my back and become very flexible, I ended up having a L5/S1 fusion on my back in 2010. Bizarrely capable of lifting heavily until the day of the operation, but my day to day level of pain had gotten unbearable.
If you can imagine having a headache for 10 years, in the end even a mild one would grind you down…
Post op recovery was slow and tedious, coupled with a few wasteful years determined to squat till I had an epiphany and returned to my methods that had never stopped working pre op.
Every squat I tried aggravated my back, I deconstructed and reconstructed my squats, yet back pain plagued me using uninspiring weights.
We`re always learning, but as long as we learn, the mistakes aren`t wasted 🙂 and I made a hellova lotta mistakes when I started out!
I`m now only using exercises I can do consistently and the more patience I show, the harder my body lets me work. As a result I`ve pulled a 600lb trap bar lift.
The greatest Champions are those who are NOT blessed with the greatest genetics. The greatest Champions simply travel the furthest.
You just have to be the best you, you can be.