I was made in 1967, one of the last of a generation to grow up with no internet. We had telephone boxes using 2p`s, three 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 school, I wasn’t a natural team sports player, and I reallyfcuking hated football.
However, I was a great gymnast tho and wanted to be a Pro Wrestler.
My high school didn’t do gymnastics! And Norwich didn’t have a wrestling school then.
You, youngsters, don’t know you’re born!
Nowadays, weight training is a cool, mainstream activity, but it was practically unheard of in my early 20`s.
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.
Luckily I met a chap called Mike, who lifted weights. I started lifting daily with him and thank fcuk removed myself from the dark circle of acquaintances I`d acquired.
After burning out within six 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.
I`d lost count of the many, wasted years, through back pain and shitty 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 I started to fix myself whilst not working and penniless.
Using the most basic 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, whilst walking and stretching every day. I would train and then literally wait for a training day to come round again.
I was very fortunate to be helped by Doug Black and meeting Paul George, which led me 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 premises with living quarters attached to MY gym!
Whilst I did strengthen my back and become very flexible, I ended up having an L5/S1 fusion on my back in 2010. Bizarrely capable of lifting heavily until the day of the operation, but my day-to-day pain level had gotten unbearable.
If you can imagine having a headache for ten years, in the end, even a mild one would grind you down…
Every squat I tried aggravated my back, I deconstructed and reconstructed my squats, yet back pain plagued me using uninspiring weights.
I dropped back onto Trap bar deadlifts and have some credible numbers under my belt at last.
We`re always learning, but as long as we learn, the mistakes are a lesson. 🙂
I made hellova lot of mistakes when I started!
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 NOT those blessed with the greatest genetics.
The greatest Champions merely travel the furthest.
Be, the best you, you can be.