Why did this thing ever get started? I had oftentimes reflected.
It wasn’t until I was 18 years old that I would actually start to train, for bodybuilding and strength, but I have done ever since, and for more than 24 years since.
My dad was a weightlifter, first and foremost, when I was young.
He used to compete at quite a high level. And in his weight class, at around 161lb and 5′ 8″, he had lifted some impressive iron.
I remember hanging around the local leisure center, whilst with my brother, waiting for my dad to finish his workouts.
At the time it was a mystery to me what exactly my dads main hobby was. But he had a real talent for it. I remember on the odd occasion going into the weights room and being allowed to do some sit ups on a raised board.
I never actually saw him compete though, but, for the time, he had bagged some serious county records along the way.
My Mum used to make his “Secret to strength”, rice pudding. Something he would eat last thing at night as his last meal. Dad was always physical and would at various times be involved with working at a warehouse, as a removal man (able to move most items, including washing machines, up entire flights of stairs, entirely by himself), for British rail (back then) and in a factory before finally settling on a career as a self employed builder. Even while at school he was a good athlete capable of climbing ropes using just his upper body.
MAYBE on some level it was living with my dad that sub-consciously got me thinking about my body image. At sixteen and weighting in at only 90lb soaking wet, it was no wonder. Things really did need improving.
I was weak and feeble, no strength, no joy. And always a sickly child. I resembled a matchstick.
At school, during games, if I didn’t have a sick note (and most of the time I did), I would always be standing on the side lines fearing being chosen.
I remember well my first visit to a gym and sampling bodybuilding proper. I was 18 years old by then.
The guy who introduced me was a friend called Colin who took me to a nearby gym, the gym is closed now. The place was huge, and there were many portraits on the wall of many and varied Body Builders and the place had bells that went up to 200lb each. It had many squat racks and benches, barbells and all sorts of exotic equipment. The place was apparently run by Bodybuilders.
It was my eighteenth birthday and with my new found passion I first watched Pumping Iron, it was on VHS then, back in the day.
This film is all about bodybuilding and was one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first ever films. After watching that film I knew I was hooked and had to continue to improve my physique there on. It still remains an inspirational film to this day.
I started my career in the industry of fitness after my Sports Science degree in 2000, and went self employed as a personal trainer in 2004. It has proven to be my vocation and it is the ideal thing to do alongside a bodybuilding lifestyle.
Now read part two – Getting into bodybuilding competition.