I kept myself light at an early age because I was a professional jump jockey. I had no real muscle bulk to speak of. When I turned 26, I decided to hang up my boots (retire as a jockey) and started to hit the gym. Like many, I didn't really know what I was doing, but started to see results which got me fascinated with the process of training the human body.
I sat down and passed all my personal trainer exams, took many nutrition, PT, and weight lifting courses, and started out in the health and fitness industry working with all sorts of clients.
I got into training with weights because I wanted to improve my marathon times, which certainly helped. The fringe benefit was a change in body composition. My training regimen completely changed focus to bodybuilding at age 32. I was also keen to keep my functionality. I wanted to build but also wanted to keep my surfing going; a sport that I love and will never give up!
I've been in the health and fitness industry for nearly 16 years now and helped many people smash their weight loss goals and athletes exceed their full race potential. In 2011, I was recognized as a leader in the personal training field, winning the Best Gym Based Personal Trainer 2011/2012 by the National Fitness Awards; one of my best and proudest achievements.
I've only seriously been training for size and strength since 2008. Keep in mind, I have always followed a progressive weights program since I gave up race riding. This has given me the base structure to start adding more size.
I keep a training diary to track my progress. This also tells me what works and what doesn't and if I hit plateaus in strength. For me, this simple diary is crucial to measure my workout success. I've just started giant sets and incorporating HIIT. I felt I needed to switch things up to keep my body guessing and growing.
Bodybuilding has helped me understand more about nutrition and its effects on the human body. This has been very beneficial to my clients no matter what they are training for! Through bodybuilding, I have helped inspire clients and members of my gym to improve their training and nutrition habits. No matter your age, you can make positive changes to your well-being and state of mind. It's a great compliment when people find out my age and they look stunned! That just makes me want to work harder at dispelling the myth that natural bodybuilding is bad for your health.
That's a tough one, but let's assume they follow and record their training in a diary so that it's consistent and progressive. The one thing I'd say is that you can work your butt off in the weight room, but if you are not feeding the machine with real quality nutrition, then you won't grow quality muscle.
Eat real food, choose the best lean protein, un-refined carbohydrates, and omega 3 fats. You don't need to rely on supplements. Don't get me wrong, supplements are a great way to add to a good nutrition plan, but I see too many people out there relying on whey protein supplements for growth.
Rob Riches: I met Rob once at the UK Body Power expo in 2011. What a nice guy. We spent a little time chatting about training. His overall conditioning is amazing on and off stage, but he's more than just a Fitness Muscle Model. If you have been following his series in Muscle and Fitness recently, you can see that he is a functional athlete; his physique is not just for show.
Layne Norton PhD: An awesome inspiration and a fountain of knowledge. I particularly like his articles on Bodybuilding.com. His Peak Week series was extremely helpful in the run up to my first competition.
WBFF Pro Luke Haslett: I have to admire Luke's vision and courage for entering and competing in a WBFF Fitness Show in Kansas City in May 2012; earning him a pro card and the accolade as the youngest ever muscle pro at 22. He dared to dream big and it paid off. He brought intense conditioning, symmetry, and size to the stage.
Layne Norton's articles are an awesome read and I have applied many of his theories to help me reduce body fat and improve different aspects of my training.
I love the BodySpace community on the site. Some profiles can be so inspirational that it makes you want to work that much harder to achieve more. I'd like to say a big thank you to all that follow me. Their comments are what helped me start competing.