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My ‘Fitness’ Mindset, and lifting advice for beginners

This next blog is very much based around my own experiences, training level and health, both mental and physical.

Everyone has their own way of training, and their own training goals to help motivate them, however mine may be slightly different from yours.

My fitness journey began when I was about 14/15, when I signed up at DW as a youth member. After I realised I wasn’t allowed into the weight section until I was 16, I cancelled my membership and went straight to Next Generation, (told them I was 16) and would pay £3 per session to work out. (I’m amazed that their business model didn’t work out...).

I would only ever train in the weight area when there was no one else around, as I was terrified someone would look at me and quickly realise I was clueless about lifting, as well as being pretty weak for my age. So I’d wait until the free weight area was empty before trying a few exercises that I’d seen on YouTube.

Very quickly I became obsessed with learning everything there was to know about bodybuilding. I had dreams of being a Pro Wrestler, with a huge, incredible physique. However after a few years of lifting, (and a few months of training to be a pro wrestler) I started getting sick, and a few months later was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis.

After being diagnosed, I fell into a very dark place. Colitis is a life long condition, and it terrified me to think I’d never be as healthy as I once was ever again. This diagnosis completely changed my entire perspective on Fitness/Bodybuilding, and I started looking at a more holistic approach to working out.

Now, at age 23, and after being a personal trainer for the last 4 or so years I’ve solidified that change of perspective, and realised that although I still care about my appearance, I care so much more about my physical and mental wellbeing.

I don’t live to train. I train to live. I’m not obsessed with looking better than everybody else, or taking topless photos and posting them on social media. However I do still train with a purpose.

After giving up on Pro Wrestling, I started looking into other forms of grappling and found Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. BJJ has given me a new drive to train that I’d not had for a couple of years, as it made me focus on exercising for performance rather than appearance. Exercising for performance is a powerful thing, as you need to take into account your physical and mental health, as well as your fitness levels and strength. Your appearance doesn’t matter anywhere near as much as your ability to perform under resistance when it comes to BJJ, but the beautiful thing about training like an athlete is that you’ll still look aesthetic.

My training mindset can be summed up with a few simple points, and I’d advise anyone who is new to lifting, to adopt a similar one.

  • How you look isn’t everything. Physical and mental health will always be the #1 priority

  • Train for performance > aesthetics

  • Train with a purpose, whether it be a sport or a marathon

  • Build a solid foundation (I have a blog on this already)

  • Never stop trying to improve your strength

It’s been said a lot, but there’s a tremendous amount of pressure in this time to look a certain way.

How you look isn’t anywhere near as important as how you feel about how you look.

Don’t lose sight of the things that are really important in your life, all for 6-pack abs.

That being said, don’t let that be an excuse to be unhealthy.

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