FITNESS ADVICE TO MY 21-YEAR OLD SELF!
At 21-years of age I thought I knew it all!
I thought I was playing the game of life and had found the ‘cheat sheet’ – nothing could stop me!
Fast forward 23 years, on the 24th September 2020 I turn 44 years of age.
Throughout these 23 years there has been one major constant in my life:
I’ve always trained, at varying levels, and I’ve played plenty of sports from football to tennis to athletics.
I’ve learned a great deal in this time, particularly in regard to weight training and health.
In my teen years and twenties I was your common vain gym guy – all the gear with no idea!
I was a six-pack obsessed, bicep obsessed novice who neglected my legs – who looks at legs in a nightclub anyway!?!
My goals regularly changed, but there was never a defined plan or logical approach – I made mistakes!
Some I learned from, some I did numerous times before I learned!
So, for the past 23 years I have steered my way through life with many crashes on the journey!
In fact, I’ve had a few ‘write-offs’ as well!
However, through the mistakes, adversity and hardship you learn – and boy, I have learned!
I have figured out what works and what doesn’t, particularly when it comes to health and fitness.
Right, before you start aging reading this, I’ll stop dithering and give it to you straight:
1) GO SQUAT:
When you first start weight training make sure you master the main compound lifts.
The first one to master, I would suggest, is the squat.
This amazing exercise has literally hundreds of variables and should stay a part of your training forever.
Start low on weight and progress, always focusing on the correct technique, range of movement and performing it safely.
The 21-year old me didn’t do this.
I was clowning around doing the latest ‘fad’ exercise featured in Men’s Health Magazine!
I was doing a bicep curl at a 36 degree forearm angle whilst standing on one leg.
I was hanging on a bar whilst drinking a protein shake!
I was in desperate need of a slap from the 43-year old me!
And remember, there is no getting away from the fact that if you want to progress you need to progress your training!
If your routine does not work on the principle of consistently adding weight to your lifts, three years down the line you’ll be no stronger and look exactly the same, or worse!
2) EAT GOOD AND EAT PLENTY:
If your goal is to get bigger and stronger, eat as much you can of the right stuff.
If your goal is to get toned and stronger, eat plenty of the right stuff!
It’s a common belief at an early age that if you work hard at the gym you will get the body you want regardless of diet.
Whilst muscles are placed under stress during your workouts, the actual growth takes place through your diet and rest!
If you are to make progress you should be eating at least three balanced meals each day comprising of protein and carbs from good sources.
You should supplement these with healthy snacks.
I have many friends, present and past, who trot out the old “Sleep!?! I’ll sleep when I’m dead!”.
Strangely enough many of these people actually look like they are dead!
You need to look after yourself, and consistently depriving yourself of sleep is a certain way to mess yourself up!
If you are fitness training, or involved in sport, you should be aiming to get at least 7-8 hours sleep every night.
Sleep is where your recovery will occur, and this is key for growth and progression.
4) LEARN HOW TO ‘WORKOUT’ NOT JUST ‘HIT THE GYM’:
At an early age I wanted it all – the massive biceps, the ripped abs, the great stamina/performance – and I wanted it quick.
So when I hit the gym I didn’t have a plan – I just tried to do as much as I could fit into the 1 to 2 hours I had!
If you are a gym ‘newbie’, make sure you avoid my mistake at all costs!
Follow a long-term training schedule which is geared towards driving improvement on the main lifts (squats, bench press, dead-lifts etc).
Don’t fall into the ‘what shall I do today’ kind of program that so many people are on!
5) YOU DON’T NEED SUPPLEMENTS:
Although the majority of the fitness world would have you believe otherwise, you do not need supplements to get toned, big or strong.
Everything you need can be found in wholefoods!
If you are working out correctly, eating right and resting the right amount of time there is no need to waste your money on supplements – especially when you are a beginner.
In the most part a common sense approach is what works.
Don’t over complicate things!
Some of you will read the above and think “no shit Einstein!”.
However, the truth is many beginners, like my 21-year-old self, fail to see what is right in front of them!
Any questions? Be sure to fire them over to me!
Ian David Worthington
Creator, Owner and Coach at GymWolfPT.com