Ever since I was 15 I always wanted to lift weights, but with most gyms around my area having to be 16+ to join I never did anything about it. Around March 2010, my friend wanted to start bulking up and decided to hit the gym. After going a few times with him, a few weeks went by and I loved it! About 6-8 weeks later I ended up with my hand/arm in a cast for a good few weeks and it stopped everything. Time went by, and the summer arrived and I was still that skinny kid that needed to eat.
The new college year came round in September 2010 and a new lad joined work, Jon. Little did I know Jon was to be my inspiration and my guidance, this man knows tons! He quickly got me the urge to get back into it and wrote out a routine I could stick to and work towards. Time had gone by and after my dedication I started to see results, I loved it. I weighed in around 166lbs at the end of September and as of the end of February I weighed in around 185lbs. I saw big gains around November/December time and then I decided to take my dedication a step further and eat better. New Year's resolutions time, stop drinking, eat cleaner, and eat bigger.
I joined a new gym in Feb 2011 and it was great. A lot of help and guidance from a lot of people (Dayle, Si, Chris etc) and they helped me a lot. Around June of 2012 an old friend from my previous gym suggested I looked into competing in August and September of this year, I thought why not?!
So it brings me to my contest prep and my first shows. I competed in my first show on August 14th at the NPA (Natural Physique Association) Midlands qualifier. It was the most amazing thing I have ever done; those precious moments on stage were worth the 10+ weeks of dieting and cardio. I placed second and got my invite to the NPA British Finals, I couldn't believe it.
After continual dieting and doing cardio, October 23rd soon came round and it was time to pull out the trunks and slap on the tan one more time. The finals were great, some absolutely amazing competition and amazing people turned out. I was in a tough line up of 10 Under 21's, the majority being 20, so unfortunately I didn't place, but the experience I gained and the friendships I formed have been priceless.
Currently training 4 days a week on a 2 on, 1 off, 2 on, 2 off basis. One light cardio session a week and that's before a leg session as I'm trying to make the best gains on this off season bulk. Weight sessions and cardio sessions increase during contest prep, training 2 on, 1 off and cardio every other day for 20 minutes each session.
Bodybuilding is the 'hardest sport' there is, you can blame no one but yourself. Which is why I love it, anyone can be a part of a winning football team and feel a sense of achievement even if you were the worst player, but with bodybuilding, you only have to yourself to blame. Also when you achieve your goals you have no one but yourself to praise, it's a great feeling, knowing you've done this through hard work, dedication, commitment and sacrifice. I couldn't see my life without any sort of weight training or cardio anymore, I feel worse not going to the gym than I do after a heavy leg training session. Bodybuilding is an obsession.
Bodybuilding has changed my life, rich coming from an 18 year old, huh? But it really has. My mentality, outlook, self motivation, determination, will power and drive have all changed on my short journey in a bodybuilding lifestyle and for the good. I used to give up easily when things weren't going my way but now I will work my butt off to achieve something I WANT.
The mirror and wanting to be the best I can possibly be. I wake up every day and just want to be better than yesterday and if I achieve greater things on the way, then bonus. Life is about finding your true passion and sticking with it. I've found mine.
When I miss meals and binge eat, I always feel bad after, both mentally and physically. That motivates me to eat well and stay away from junk food. The people I have around me are very supportive and motivating too.
Why set goals if you're not going to go all out to smash them? Goals are what keep me motivated; I have that big goal in mind, but lots of stepping stones to cross before I get there. Every step I take is a step closer to where I want to be.
I am planning on competing in a few shows later this year (August, September, October) but I am unsure of which shows to sign up for yet. This year is going to be a good year, I have been privileged enough to have David Ashton, a well respected and champion NPA competitor, as my mentor for this year's dieting and training, so one thing for sure is that I'll be taking dieting to the extreme, so watch this space. I don't really have any bigger plans, just ones for 2012. 2012 will create paths to 2013 etc.
BNBF Northerns: 4th Place
NPA Midlands: 2nd Place
NPA British Finals: DNP
The main goal for me this year is to improve on my weaknesses. Although I believe I have quite a balanced physique, everyone has their weak spots. Personally I would like to bring up my chest and put more mass on my hamstrings, making those all important side poses stand out.
I am also weighing up a powerlifting competition this year, before I start my contest prep. I had great rebound strength when I stopped dieting and made full advantage of it. Currently have personal best lifts of 110kg bench press, 220kg deadlift and a 200kg squat.
Set realistic goals and be consistent. So often you hear people saying they didn't lose weight and didn't reach their goals but then you ask why and it's because they've give up? Consistency, in my eyes, is the best attribute to apply when trying to lose weight or gain muscle. Whatever your goals are, stick to them, and they will happen!
I have a fair few bodybuilders who I find are true inspiration. Obviously first out of the blocks is going to be Arnold, who doesn't he inspire? Genetic god. I'll just name a few others, Dorian Yates, Lou Ferrigno, Ronnie Coleman, Frank Zane, Kai Greene, Phil Heath, and Dennis Wolf. I also remember my Uncle when I was a kid, I used to think he was amazing, and when I used to see him knock back his raw eggs, I thought I wanted to be like him. Now the role has reversed and I'm nearly bigger than him, and this is the year I'll do that!
BodySpace is an absolutely amazing feature, great for keeping track of everything and seeing progress. I browse the forums to pick up hints and tips to improve dieting or training. Also, I've spent a lot of time on the SuperSite looking at nutritional articles and training articles. Superb website, thanks Bodybuilding.com!
Just wanted to take this opportunity to thank those people who have made this journey an amazing experience! My Mum has been there through good and bad times, but always sticks by me. Dad has been a great support along the way. Phil Miller is always there when I'm down in the dumps and need someone to open up to, Peter Middleton for taking me through my show prep and dieting last year. Nick my training partner; year of the aesthetics dude! Also a big thank you to all my family for supporting me both at shows and from home! And finally a big shout out to David Ashton, lets go get 'em! To those who didn't get a mention, you know I'm grateful for all the help and support you provide.