My fitness journey started back in 1997-8 when I came across some Bruce Lee books on the internet. The first book I ordered and then read of his was a book called ‘The Art of Expressing the Human Body’.
I then purchased all of his films and books and really fell into his whole philosophy. Although I never really wanted to learn martial arts, it was more the body-weight exercises, weight-lifting and general philosophy of Bruce Lee’s that I was attracted to, and since then I regularly go back to his books for inspiration on various different aspects of life.
Anyway, I started doing bodyweight exercises like push ups (I managed to build up to 2 finger push ups, on two hands though!) and various other bodyweight exercises, and then a few months later I met my partner Dena.
A few years went by and hadn’t really moved on from doing the basic bodyweight exercises and had in fact got pretty stagnant and lost interest in keeping fit really. But then a guy at a place I worked mentioned a fitness challenge that had come over from America called “Body for Life”.
I was instantly hooked, I went online to read more about it, then I ordered the book.
It required you to lift weights and eat healthy for 3 months, take a before and after photo and then send them in along with a brief article about why you wanted to get fit etc to the people behind it over in America.
Over the next few weeks both my partner and I got quite excited about doing this kind of challenge, and decided to take it up, and so we took before photo’s and this was mine:
Yup, that’s little old me, all 58kgs of me!
After 3 months had passed I hadn’t put on that much muscle really, I seem to remember being about 9 and a half stone, not because I didn’t lift many weights, nor because I wasn’t eating healthy, but at the time I didn’t know why and so I did another challenge straight after it.
I was to find out during the 2nd 3 month challenge that it was due to not eating enough food.
The 2nd time round I was a lot more consistent with my workouts and eating habits (e.g I ate more) and I managed to put on a fair amount of muscle and I remember weighing in at 65kgs and this was my after photo:
7kgs of mainly muscle gain is pretty good I’d say! And for me that was it, I was hooked on health and fitness, specifically lifting weights, or so I thought.
I kept this physique for about another year or so, and then I fell of the rails. I got back into my old teenage habits of taking drugs (marijuana) and I let my fitness slip.
A few more years past, and my partner and I decided to go travelling for a year, mainly to reevaluate our lives, as we had both become stagnant in our day jobs and didn’t know what we wanted to do.
After coming back from travelling for just over 14 months, we both realised that we loved working outdoors and that for our sanity and health, we should try to gain outdoor work as our main job.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2009 and 4 years had whizzed past where I had stopped smoking, started working out, stopped working out and started smoking again.
But 2009 was a great year as we both obtained our current jobs of working on a fruit farm, and this was the restart of my fitness journey as I re-read a lot of the Bruce Lee books I had, and got re-energised into working out again, at least with bodyweight exercises anyway.
It took me another 2 years to really get going properly. I did a lot of bodyweight exercises during those two years though, mainly push ups, pull ups, one leg squats, handstand presses etc, but I also managed to stop smoking once and for all too!
It wasn’t until the beginning of 2011 that I finally decided to get back into weightlifting again, I woke up one morning and thought to myself, right sort yourself out, lets get on with this. And I bought myself a basic weights set and vowed to stick with it.
Here I am in Feb 2014 (only full body photo I currently have!):
And here’s a picture of my back from April 2014 that I’m pretty chuffed with:
I really knuckled down between spring 2011 and summer 2014, and I put on about 7-8kg in weight, which again was a lot of muscle, along with some body fat.
I think I was 73kg around 15% body fat in both those pictures above, which is the heaviest I’ve ever been. Note I didn’t say leanest, because I’ve never been leaner than I was back in 2001-2, and to be honest I’m not that fussed with seeing my abs, as I do like my chocolate and fizzy pop!
Anyhoo, its February 2015 as I write this and I’m currently 74kg, which is by far the heaviest I have ever been, but I am also the strongest I have ever been. I don’t know what body fat I am, but I do know my waist is the biggest it’s ever been at 34.5 inches
I took the decision in the summer of 2014 that I wanted to put on some more muscle, but I couldn’t do it without putting on some body fat. Not because I didn’t think I was capable, but mainly because I still like my chocolate and fizzy pop, along with rum too nowadays!
I’m still not bothered about seeing my abs, I just want to get as strong as I can and build some bigger muscles.
Saying that I do intend to look at my stats at the end of March to see where I am at, and will probably go on a little cutting diet for a few months to cut some body fat off for the warmer months, but we’ll see what happens over the next few months before I make that decision for definite.
Anyhoo, that’s my fitness journey so far. As you can see it’s been an on off journey but I’ve always come back to it, and the last 3.5 years have been my most consistent, and coincidentally most successful when it comes to putting on muscle!
Because I’ve always read about health and fitness stuff over the years, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge that I am now able to use, and most importantly experience I can also now use too.
My life long aim is simply to stay strong, fit and healthy for all aspects of my life and if there is one thing I’ve learnt over the last 15 years or so, it’s that being active is more important than just eating healthy.
I’ve always eaten pretty well, but when I wasn’t active I had various different health and mental issues that I struggled to overcome, and it’s only since being active more have I been able to overcome those issues and as I’ve said before, right now I am fitter, stronger and healthier both physically and mentally than ever before, and I don’t think it is a coincidence that I am also my most active than ever before (e.g I’ve got a very active day job and I exercise outside of it too).
Not bad for someone who is getting close to 40!
Right, that’s that. If you’ve managed to read this far and you are on a similar journey as me, or want to put on some size and weight, or in fact even lose some body fat and get in shape then feel free to get in touch, I’ll offer as much help and advice as I can.
Until next time…