So you’ve read my transformation post?
That post was written way back in 2015.
We’ve written a huge amount of free content on our website, and we often get an overwhelming amount of people reading the stuff we write – friends, family, gym members, non gym members and sometimes random people from the other end of the country.
Often it serves as the first bridge to humanizing Derran and I (we’re normal people too!) to new clients who have yet been put off personal training or trying out an independent gym. This is very different from the standard commercial gym cycle of signing you up, then swiftly ignoring you until you sack in the idea of exercising for the rest of your life. We want our gym members and clients to see how we live, train and eat – there’s no magic involved, so why hide the process?
So if you want to catch up on years and years worth of useful free information then here’s the link to all our free content – go wild and please let us know what you’ve found interesting!
As for my story, read on:
Stage one of the journey, and as you can see in the picture, I was a little overweight, and had no idea how to fix it. So I did what I thought was best, which was doing everything wrong.
However, somehow, and in the least efficient way possible, I lost a lot of weight.
So was I happy? Yes and no. People started noticing me more which made me happier. But I wasn’t over the moon with how I looked. I wanted to have muscles and get bigger like the wrestlers me and my brother watched on TV. Dwayne Johnson, Triple H, Batista and Randy Orton. They were big and strong and sparked a long term goal for what I copied from somewhere as ‘the endless pursuit of muscle’
So I hit the weights.
Joined the gym, and built a ‘decent’ amount of muscle. I started looking better, I gained confidence, enough to apply and get myself into university studying Health and Personal Training.
This covered a variety of subjects including strength and conditioning, nutrition, operations management of fitness facilities, personal development, fitness for specific populations and quite a few more over three years. In terms of typical ‘bodybuilding’ style training, I was very strong. I could out lift most of my peers and other average gym goers which was great and was helping my pursuit for increased muscle mass.
Upon starting University, I suddenly had my eyes opened to the fact that my physical prowess was lacking, in comparison to those who were on the university teams for different sports. The rowers and rugby lads were all shifting some serious weights on squats, bench and deadlifts which at this point was something I’d only done once per week, maximum, with questionable technique. In the final year of university I’d improved my technique to a fairly good standard and more importantly good enough that I wasn’t going to injure myself doing them (which I did multiple times before I got some guidance on how to do them!)
After university, I got my first job as a Personal Trainer and carried on increasing my strength in the three main compound lifts (squats, bench and deadlift). On a tangent, I was dieting down for the photoshoot you see in the second picture. This completed my ‘transformation’ from fat to thin. I rebounded straight back into an intense bout of training with an even stronger commitment to gaining muscle.
I thought I’d give my training some drive and signed up to my first powerlifting competition seen in the next picture. I did OK. Context in powerlifting is needed desperately – to a non-gym goer I was unbelievably strong. But to a drug using veteran competitor in the sport my lifts were measly.
For the next three years I competed at five or so competitions including a National event. In that time training had consumed my spare time. But, we had just set up the gym, and fifteen hour days was standard procedure so two or three hour training sessions weren’t really a problem in my schedule. The gym was full of powerlifting; we’d become the hub for it locally and people flooded in.
Then it sank in. I’d fallen out of love with powerlifting. It had become an intense world at the heart of my own business. Damn.
Change in direction
People think powerlifting and the compound lifts are mutually exclusive.
If you regularly do those movements you’re a powerlifter and visa-versa. We got caught up in this, and lost our way on our business plan. The long term vision of helping normal everyday people do great things had taken a minor detour. We were still working with loads of normal folk getting strong, but the gym was filling with people who lived and breathed powerlifting to the exclusion of anything else in life. That’s not what we promote to clients.
95% of the time there is no reason why Joe Bloggs and Josephine Bloggs can’t eventually (with good coaching) do these big compound movements. Some of them might want to try their hand at a powerlifting competition, whilst for some that might be their worst nightmare. We still run five packed out powerlifting competitions a year, so we’ve not abandoned ship, but we’ve gotten back on track.
Long story short? We shifted out the people who were abrasive to our core community. To be blunt, we swapped out the powerlifting super-users who were having four hour sessions and taking up all the kit in the gym, and swapped in some more family-friendly working professionals who fit in, still work their asses off, but don’t feel the gym needs to be the core of their life.
(Small side note: my now wife competed at the Commonwealth Games in weightlifting. And quite frankly is stronger than any powerlifter I’ve come into contact with at a sport technically multiple times harder than powerlifting).
So the gym as a business entered a new phase. After our pre-emptive strike to stop people getting slightly bored with nothing-but-powerlifting, the gym has since then thrived and we’re growing at a great rate (if you want more information on the full story of the gym then let me know and I’ll happily write the story with all laid bare).
So coincidentally, MY training entered a new phase. I had no goal. What an earth do i do now? At this point, I’ve been training over ten years.
Ten years. Christ the lord I’m bored of it. 3×12, 4×10, 5×5, sprints, chest, legs, cardio, Smolov, 531, arms, bodybuilding, powerlifting, weightlifting. It’s all just an amount of reps in a session, and I’ve exhausted every single exercise known to training. So where do I go from here? I had some time to adjust to the fact I’d now become like a large amount of people I train. Career driven, business owner, husband, home owner – and happy? Healthy?
Happy and healthy
Well that’s wonderful – I didn’t need training any longer for fulfillment.
So what did I need to for? To continue increasing all the wonderful traits it had given since being the young, obese former Tim; increased self esteem, tougher mentality, ultimate control over my bodyweight, stress management and to look good naked (training solely for the latter most point is 100% why I started).
This is exactly the stage I am trying to get every single person I see day in day out to. We all need to eat better and exercise more, the benefits are unlimited, but the key is ingraining this so deeply into your lifestyle that it’s not even a possibility that you’ll revert back to more sedentary ways.
I’m not saying I’ll never compete in powerlifting again, I’m not saying another goal won’t come along that takes my fancy – but either way, I’ll never stop training in the form of throwing some relatively heavy weights around for different amount of reps and sets, because it keeps giving back to me in ways I hadn’t even thought about before I picked up my first weight.
That is probably the best way I can describe what I do for for a living. Yes, you get stronger and lift stuff from A to B for a set amount of reps. But slowly I’ll transform your routine to a much healthier, more active, and happier one. Skip all the earlier 20’s enthusiasm of wanting the irrelevant goals I went for, regardless of age, starting weight, confidence levels or underlying issues, I can, and will get you to the same stage I am if you’re willing to put in the time.
So there’s my update. This came about from a lot of people noticing I don’t powerlift anymore, and even questioning if I train anymore. So to clear that up I do still train, but I’m just trying to enjoy training and contribute to increasing the muscle mass that I very first set out to increase. Sadly, after the newbie gains it’s been slow, and will continue to be a slow trickle.
Since moving away from competing in powerlifting I proposed to my wife in Australia, renovated a house from bare brick to a lovely home, got married and own a thriving gym about which I can honestly say I like every single person within it.
So, you could say removing an all-consuming hobby made way for some more mature life events, and led on to a far better platform for future training, career and personal goals.
Why not come and meet me for a coffee and chat through how I can help fast-track you to the happy and healthy stage?