Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Turning 31 and the advice I'd give myself if I was 21!

I'm not the young man I once was, but the older I've become, the more I have to offer with regards to experience. This isn't simply telling people what works; it's more about preventing others from making the same mistakes that I did. The trainers who I still look up to are in their late 30s to early 50s with years of knowledge.

If I could do it all again, I'd give myself the following training advice:

Stop worrying. I'd stop trying to find 47 different bicep exercises to maximise the variety of angles at which I'd work my biceps from. Programming is important but not as much as being consistent. Keep your training basic and hard.

Stop asking silly questions about nutrition. Your body won't fall apart if you eat a Kit-Kat. It's all about the bigger picture. Again keep it basic; try to eat the majority of your food from unprocessed varieties.

Track your calories!! Why didn't I build muscle? I trained so hard? Because I was eating about 1,000 calories, walking 8 miles and playing about 3 games of football a day! Don't bury your head in the sand or only track calories on the days you're doing well.

Walking is one of the best ways to keep fat off. Forget all this chat about Tabata training and Metabolic conditioning for now. Drive less and sit less - sitting is the new smoking after all!

Train with high frequency. You're not a pro bodybuilder with excellent genes - forget the routines from bodybuilding magazines. They offer completely the wrong advice from the wrong people. Instead train the big movements two or three times a week and mop this up with some assistance work.

Train with those stronger than you. Don't aim to be the strongest amongst a weaker group; seek out a stronger group and get as strong, if not stronger than them.

Forget the mirror. Train for mental and physical strength.

Crave success in the gym and in life but don't be worry about failure. View it as either a success or a lesson learned.

Have dreams and a passion but don't let these dreams die if you have children. Having children means making sacrifices, but don't ditch your goals because life gets busier; instead teach your children to follow their dreams by keeping yours alive.

Most people are insecure, whether it be about their body or their ability. Take confidence knowing that you are not the only one. Do your best to fight these; we all have weaknesses. Accept them and improve where you can. If you have fears then face them. The more you do this, the more you'll wonder why you feared them in the first place.

Be selfish. If you aren't getting as much back from an investment is it worth it? A job, a relationship, a training routine.

Don't just give up. Work hard through tough times knowing that they won't last forever.

Compete. Sign up for a powerlifting contest, a Tough Mudder, a 10k run. Whatever it is that will keep you under pressure to train and make you feel amazing when you complete it! Again, face your fears!

Don't leave niggling injuries forever hoping they'll sort themselves out. Get treatment and train with balance.

Hard work beats talent 99% of the time. You can't choose your genes but you can choose to work hard. You can choose to be disciplined. You can choose to be consistent. All that stuff smashes talent out of the window.

'Perfect' doesn't exist, either in or out of the gym.

Be optimistic. Try and be positive about your achievements and goals. Every now and then sit back and appreciate how far you've come.

Oli Martin - Health and Fitness Manager.