My fitness journey began with enthusiasm and drive with weight loss in mind, despite not knowing what to do.
Like most people, as a beginner, I started in a class setting, watching the instructor and eagerly participating.
Group classes were great for about a year or two, and I knew I wanted to increase my intensity and results. As a beginner, I had always wanted to build and maintain muscle mass.
My ideal shape was athletic & strong. I had aspired to look like this for a long time and lacked the knowledge and skills to move ahead with my plan.
My missing puzzle piece was training with weights. I was petrified!
Like most females, I had fallen back into my insecure shell.
I would watch all these muscle men, with only a couple of women, pounding, grunting and making faces (Actually, I was laughing at the facial expressions!). It’s still painful knowing in 2021, there are only a couple of women in the weights area. It’s still a space that men dominate.
I admit, I was intimidated a lot and stuck to the usual weight-bearing machines in the hope that some muscle would grow — and maybe I’d get some six-pack in the process.
But that never happened, and my frustration continued to grow.
Taking matters into my own hands was essential — that’s why I invested in a personal trainer. It was great, but I didn’t get the results I wanted. I didn’t dedicate enough time to weight training or even structure my diet correctly.
Bodybuilding isn’t 90 minutes in the gym. It’s a lifestyle.Lee Priest
That all changed when I decided I wanted to body build seriously and start showing my results on stage. That’s the scary bit — having your body scrutinised by judges and the audience. I didn’t care; I knew I could build the body I wanted. It was somewhere growing inside of me, and I just needed a proper coach — and to commit.
Then and there, my weight training journey began, and it hasn’t stopped since.
Learning new things never stops.
There are always pit stops and pivots during the stages of ageing and hormonal shifts.
Then when you throw lock-downs in the mix, things can get pretty heated.
Here’s is the best of the best during my 15-year journey of bodybuilding and nutrition.
Use multi joining movements.
(squats, lunges, deadlifts, bench pressing, pull-ups) to use the most muscle groups.
These movements develop an athletic, shapely physique, burn more calories, increase strength and muscle mass.
Using this technique every time you train will increase your results and get you moving towards your training goals faster. It has never failed me along the bodybuilding journey.
Don’t shy away from the intense movements.
I see a lot of people disregarding squats, deadlifts and chin-ups. I know these are challenging, but throwing yourself into challenging movements will create successful results — and fast.
There are instances when your doctor doesn’t recommend a particular exercise — that’s fine.
But what I’d like to point out is that not using these muscle groups will produce weakness in your skeletal system, leading to problems in the future.
I would follow my doctor’s advice, and if I can do something, I’d start very small. As you increase the weights you lift or the intensity of bands. Your body becomes stronger and will tolerate tension and load.
Don’t allow injured muscles to become so weak that they no longer help you lead a normal life. Make use of what you can do to keep strong and active.
Nutrition is key to your success.
It doesn’t matter if you want to get leaner or build muscle — nutrition is your best friend. Assess your food choices, and adapt according to your needs. Those who want to lose weight will have different requirements than those who build muscle.
One big question I get is, “Can I do both at the same time?”Well, sure you can, but one will outweigh the other. Too much cardio can lead to loss of muscle mass.
Weight training more than Seven times a week can lead to less effective results & possibly burnout — worst still, injury. There needs to be a balance of both mediums.
How do you discover this balance? No one can tell you what works for your body better than you can.
It’s a matter of getting into the trenches, trying things out, experimenting and writing down your results.
Over time, you will discover the dos and do not’s of your body. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer for this — it takes hard work and a lot of guessing — and it keeps changing as you age.
So let yourself off the hook, throw perfectionism out the window, do your best, and your best is the right place to start.
Knowing what to do and performing it correctly are two different things.
Executing movements with weights is one of the main reasons why I first hired a personal trainer.
I wanted someone to tell me exactly what I should do and how to structure my posture correctly.
I tried to get specific results, and it was easy to get the skills from a person who was already way ahead in the game.
I applied their techniques and skills. Over time, I trained with a couple of other experts who brought even more skills for my success.
The easiest way to master weight training was because I asked for help. If I had done it myself, it wouldn’t have happened.
Seek to find out what you’re missing through another person — preferably an expert.
You might have to pay initially but think of the thousands of hours of time and frustration you will be saving yourself. I want to get the most out of every single training session, and that’s what I believe we are all entitled to have.
The journey ahead never ends.
There will be endless points in your life where the journey changes.
We start to age, we change professions, have a family, experience hormonal shifts or develop an illness.
These issues can be very frustrating to anyone that has trained for many years. Things we did ten years ago don’t work today.
Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones the spirit just as exercise conditions the body.Arnold Schwarzenegger
But this is life telling us we need to change, alter and find a different way.
That could mean training a lot less, recovering more, watching your nutrition like a hawk, or trying intermittent fasting. The alternatives are endless, but start with one thing at a time and wait.
Along my bodybuilding journey, I ate 5 -6 meals a day. Back then, I was about 35. Now at 42, I can’t handle that many meals, and I’m just not as hungry as I once was. So we just have to make do with what is presented to us right no.