A journey into discovering your sport, diet and reaching your fitness goals.
Finding your Sport
Getting into shape and finding a physical activity you are passionate about takes a lot of time and hard work. Before I stumbled upon a sport that really sparks my passion, makes me happy and keeps me healthy there was a lot of wandering about between one and the other. As we all know, some people find their thing sooner than others, but the important bit is to keep looking until you really know that this is the sport for you.
It took me 8 years to find mine. I was a geeky fat boy playing World of Warcraft and eating junk food all day. I got about doing sports late when I was 14. I started off with aikido, which is a great peaceful martial art that teaches you great values, but never managed to challenge me enough physically and lacked the competitiveness I was looking for. I tried judo and wrestling very briefly but I lacked strength and technique. Tae Kwon Do got me for a while but ultimately it wasn’t really my thing. Shin Kyokushin karate really sparked my interest and by this time I managed to lose weight and get in shape. Around competitions and the hard training, my physical performance improved and a slight interest in fitness started to emerge. Although this interest was usually foreshadowed by the desire to do fighting sports which felt like a compensation for my personal insecurities and social anxieties still left from being a geeky fat boy combined with the harsh environment in Eastern Europe.
Time flew by and I found myself studying in Scotland and still doing fighting sports though I had grown up and fitness started to occupy a more important spot in my head. A couple of more years flew by, about the time I was 22 and I was living in Spain my boxing gym closed down due to the recession. I kind of grew out of this social pressure, anxiety and a need to do fighting sports. I decided to focus on fitness in the gym. I started running, some friends did a marathon… I was like – hey I can do that as well – so I did. Even though I was smoking and partying all over the course of the preparation. Despite this fact, I ran the DAMN thing within the given time I aimed for. Running, inconsistent fitness workouts, travelling and partying doesn’t really make great results. Once I moved back to Scotland to finish my studies, I dedicated myself only to fitness. no more violence, no more bruises and blue eyes, no more jumping around from one sport to another.
Health and Fitness
It took a few years to really get in a shape that was satisfying to a particular extent. Looking at the numbers:
- From 72 kg personal weight – 79 kg
- From 1 pack – 6 pack
- From 50 kg bench – 110 kg bench
- From 40 kg squat – 140 kg squat
- From 50 kg deadlift – 185 kg deadlift
- From 3 pull-ups – 12 pull ups + 15kg additional weight
I started, not knowing what I am getting myself into, but slowly I was learning more and more. The more I practised the more I enjoyed it and the more I was discovering about the sport. It wasn’t just lifting weights and getting buffed. It was diet plans, learning to cook and knowing what you are putting in your mouth, learning about the outcomes of your lifestyle on your fitness, experimenting with different workout plans, seeing what works and what doesn’t. The fact that you are completely accountable for what you eat, how you train and the only competitor in front of the mirror is YOU. I found it to be a sport of self-discovery where the only person you are competing against is YOU. Finding your weaknesses and working on improving them. The mirror is your competition and you are 100% accountable for your progress.
Proper training and learning about your body was an integral part of the process. Anatomy, muscle groups and how to train them what exercises affect what and how. The different subgroups of fitness, as I never knew before, there was the bodybuilding, aesthetic bodybuilding, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, strongman, callisthenics, cross fit, etc. Choosing what interests you the most and getting into it. After experimenting with this and that for a couple of years, I realized that in the end of the day it all comes down to doing your basics squats, bench and military presses, and deadlifting as heavy as you can. Don’t skip cardio after your workout, do your warm-ups and don’t avoid stretching. Injuries do become a reality sooner or later.
ACTIVE WARM UP -> WEIGHT LIFTING -> CARDIO -> STRETCHING & COOL DOWN
Experiment with workouts and try out new things. Although you need to get the basics in, every week, NO MATTER WHAT.
An indispensable part of the sport, the diet is considered even more important than your training. You will have to learn about nutrition and supplementation what to eat and what not to eat as well as different plans and ways to cook things. You are going to need supplementation and learn about it. YOU WILL HAVE TO ELIMINATE SUGAR, SODAS, ALCOHOL, CIGARETTES, DRUGS, PROCESSED AND JUNK FOOD if you want to get where you want to get in the given time frame and achieve results.
WARNING: Steroids will help you and will make you bigger, BUT this shortcut would cost you your health in the long run and possibly your life. When it comes down to supplementation I suggest you stick to Protein, Creatine, Amino Acids, Vitamins and Fish Oil. In my opinion, fat burners and pre-workouts are not particularly good for your health and may put an unnecessary strain on your health. If you want to burn more fat – do more cardio. If you want a pre-workout to have a double espresso before training.
Getting far in this sport and getting the body you want will require a lot of sacrifices, discipline and hard work. Drinking, drugs, smoking and junk food/sweets are going to affect you and it will slow your progress, believe me 🙂 You are going to have to adjust your lifestyle in order to match your sport so that you can really achieve your goals. It might not be an overnight success, but if you put in the effort and gradually adjust, you will get there… EVENTUALLY.
THERE IS NO SECRET DIET OR TRAINING PLAN. It’s all about consistency, hard work, dedication and knowledge. Find your sport, eat right and put in the work day in and day out. Grind away your way to the top, eat your vegetables and do your basics.
And remember always skip that last shot at the bar and yes taking the stairs helps.