My fitness journey. To becoming a holistic body builder
When I first started this journey I had a goal, a vision, of what I wanted my body to look like. Chiseled abs, big chest and shoulders, basically a cover models on Men’s Health. But as I progressed I soon realized that in order to achieve that look I needed to become a different person. I needed to reprioritize my life to support that goal. I learned it required more than just going to the gym and lifting weights. It involved taking control of my nutrition and lifestyle habits so that I fuelled my body to perform each and every day.
Once I made the decision to prioritize my health and fitness over everything else in my life, a true transformation started to take place. However this journey did not come without its challenges. The biggest challenge for me was letting go of alcohol and a party oriented lifestyle. Living in a big, always on, city like Toronto there was no shortage of events or opportunities to get together with friends and drink. I had been living that lifestyle since my early 20’s and knew nothing else. All my friends across various social circles did the same thing and there was never the question of is this lifestyle okay or good for me? That question didn’t come until I started to see and feel the toll drinking and partying was having on my body and mind. Honestly, I never would have realized had I not reprioritize my life to focused on my health and fitness.
Now I no longer consider myself a drinker and every time I tell someone that I no longer drink, they ask me how did I do it? Or simply say, cringing…why?
And my response, to the first question, is that in reprioritizing my life I had something else to occupy my time and focus my energy. Somethings that built me up and made me happy all the time so it was actually quite easy to stop drinking. What truly changed in me, and the answer to the second question, is that I no longer felt the need to numb myself or hide my social anxiety by drinking. Drugs and alcohol lost their appeal because they did not help me reach my goals which ultimately made me unhappy. I would ask myself, what benefit is this giving me and when the answer was none I just stopped. More importantly I didn’t care what other around me were thinking or saying because what mattered to me was that I felt good and was happy to focus on body building. When a situation was particularly tough to say no to I would think back to a particularly challenging workout that I thought I would fail at, but ended up digging in and powering through. I would use that experience to help me find the strength and will power to say no to social pressure until it become second nature to me.
Having tackled that big challenge I was able to achieve the next level of my training where the only thing I needed to do was work hard and remain consistent. In order do that I forged daily routines that supported my health and fitness goals using a 14 day habit tracker when needed. I would track things like going to bed early, not eating after 8 pm and getting my daily nutrition requirements! Eventually the habits I needed to be successful at body building became second nature and I was able to start realizing real noticeable gains.
My new lifestyle provided me with a great sense of stability and continual achievement. I no longer had that feeling that I was going nowhere in life or stagnating as I got older because everyday my body was getting stronger and better and I could see it and feel it. For me, body building provided a 1:1 relationship of effort in, results out. Not many things in life deliver such great returns.
My daily routine now consisted of waking up at 5 am having a nutritious breakfast and working out before heading to work. With my workout done I could then plan the rest of my day and do whatever I needed or wanted to do without that nagging sense of…I got to get to the gym today! Morning workouts are my sanctuary. My me time before the on-slot of daily stress from work and life. I also find that I can push myself harder in a workout in the morning because I haven’t exhausted my willpower throughout the day.
What l’ve learned:
To look healthy and fit on the outside you need to be just as healthy and fit on the inside. You need to be mindful and deliberate in what you do, you need to have the inner strength and will to say no to alcohol, desserts or staying out really late in the face of peer pressure. All to stay on track and ensure that the next day you can go to the gym, work hard.
No matter how you slice it you can’t will chiseled abs and bolder shoulders into existence they take hard work and consistent effort to achieve. And a supportive trainer that pushes you and accepts no excuses for poor performance. One tip when choosing a coach pick someone that has the body you want to achieve, because if they have it, the know how to it’s done.
It was hard at first because in reality I was building a new lifestyle as well as a new body and that involved significant changes in my life, which is never easy. But as I slowly and steadily made changes I started to see real results and became more and more motivated to continue. Now I have a totally different lifestyle that makes me happier, healthier and more capable of dealing with whatever life throws my way.
After all of this, yes I have that photo I dreamt about when I started my journey but that is no longer as important to me. What it’s important to me is the inner strength and love I have gained for myself that matters. The knowledge to know that I can handle anything that comes my way because I crushed Melissa Tuckers leg workout with 4 drop sets of 50 reps on the leg presses at 7am in the morning and still had the energy for a full day at work! I know that feeling good matters just as much as looking good and I can happily say that I feel the best I have ever felt in my life. Ohh and yeah, I look damn good!
First time in my life I can proudly say I am an athlete capable of anything I set my mind to. All thanks to the guidance and support of my coach Melissa Tucker.