My Story So Far
I've been a member here and on other fourms for some time and i'd like to offer my experiences, hopefully they can benefit others in some way and maybe give you an insight into what my experiences of training have been like.
I joined the armed forces in 1999 and as such training has always played a big part in my day to day life. During basic training there was of course a great deal of running, circuit-type training, swimming, TABs(tactical advance to battle) and more marching than I care to remember. Moving onto phase 2 training PEd as its known to us became more structured. We'd have 6 weeks of circuit training, 6 weeks of running, 6 weeks of weight training etc as well as a fair amount of team sports sessions such as soccer, hockey etc. Due to this I never really did much training in my own time. I was young and fairly fit and just wanted to be out getting drunk and pulling birds.
When I joined up I was apporximately 150lbs and by the end of training in january 2001 I was probably kicking around 175-180. Back in 2001 when you finished training you finished PEd and were left to your own devices to maintain your fitness. I failed to do this. I smoked, I drank and I never went to the gym. In a 4 month tour to the Falklands in early 2003 I returned an absolute whale at 215lbs. I became a regular in the gym for a while and lost a little weight but only did the minimum required really. I then got seriously into football (soccer) in the summer of '03 and ended up playing at a fairly competitive level and as such was in pretty good shape for a good while until i had to give it up around mid 2008.
So that brings us to recent history. I got quite overweight and unfit again and suffered from a stress-type illness which ended up with me taking a month off work in January 2010. My doctor reccomended upping my physical activity to improve my mood and all-round health so i gave it a go. I began doing a lot of CV work and lifting weights. My original program consisted of 20-25 mins hard CV followed by some weight-training 3 days per week and 45-50 mins LIT on the other 2 days with the weekends off. I lost a lot of weight quickly and realised that i really enjoyed the weigh-training side of it much more. I started reading magazines and articles online, talking to others in the gym and buying supplements. In October '10 I was 13st dead or 182lbs for you American guys. Leaner and fitter than I had been since I was 17. I felt fantastic and it was around then that I first started an organised and structured weight-training program, tracking progression properly, focussing on my diet and logging my results on a forum. I've made countless mistakes along the way, I've had days that just haven't gone to plan and I've hit the wall with plateuas and form issues but i'm still going. Still striving, still progressing, staying the course.
It has become my life. Relationships have come and gone, friends drift in and out but this will be with me forever. I can't imagine my life without it. When I'm down I train. When I'm angry I train. When I need some time to clear my head I train. Running, lifting, conditoning, whatever. I do it because I love it. Because it is me. There's nothing else in life that can replace the feeling of pushing yourself further than you thought you could ever go.
Only recently have people in my life been coming to me for advice, younger guys and beginners asking questions that we see on these forums regularly so from my experience here are the key points I'd offer to them and anyone else.
-Listen. You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk. Listen to those who have been there and done it and benefit from their experience.
-Form. Form is paramount, crack your form and the weight will follow.
-Diet. If you want get big eat, if you want to lose weight eat less. It doesn't have to be much more complicated than that for a beginner.
-Compounds.Do them. I dont care how bad for your back you think they are.
-Supplements.Stick to the basics, ignore fancy packaging and clever marketing and worry about whats in them.
-Criticism.Don't let Billy Biceps put you off with his 10 sets of 15 every day. Concentrate on you and your goals and the gains will come.
-Literature.If anything seems too good to be true it probably is. If it starts with "ripped in 30 days" don't waste your hard-earned cash. You get nothing in this game without working hard for it.
-Patience. Lastly but probably most important of all is patience. Rome wasn't built in a day. Be persistent, keep pushing yourself in all that you do and never, EVER give up.
"If you want to look like some Abercrombie model, then find another program and enjoy your nice, easy training style. If you are serious about adding muscle to your frame, then get under the damn bar and make it happen"