I started going to the gym in the middle of 2020. This story might sound familiar to some of you but I think many of us have been there. When the first lockdown struck I was depressed and started to hate everything about myself so I decided to make a change. Two years on I’ve cut 7 stone and feel healthier than ever. So what are the highlights? and how has this personal journey to happiness and fitness changed me?
Family Support Is Important During This Journey
So I’m very lucky that my family is very sports-based and that my two brothers Paddy and Joe were already gyming for a good portion of the years before me. They helped me start and taught me to focus on form over weight as that will build muscle and if nothing else to always keep at it, as consistency is the key to losing weight. Some of my best gym memories are hitting PBS with Joe and Paddy in a cold gym and always being proud and making sure we were accountable for each other.
Going It Alone In The Gym
As I said before, my family are very sports based, eventually Joe and Paddy had to go back to their main priority Gaelic football. This meant I was left to fight for myself in a sense but they were always there to lend a helping hand and a supportive word if I needed one. At the start, I’m not going to lie, I was worried but I stuck at it and I’ve conquered some pretty cool personal bests (PBS), more on that later. I have brought other family members to the gym with me but for the most part, I am doing this by myself. Despite self-confidence issues, I feel like I’ve done pretty well for myself.
So a PB or PBS is a personal best. We will use the abbreviation PBS moving forward, it is a record that you hit in the gym. Every time you achieve something new from an exercise that you are doing such as a Bench Press, Deadlift, or Back Squat you have a PBS. This is a great way to keep track of your progress. Here are three of my own:
Bench Press: 85kg
Back Squat: 80kg
Don’t be disheartened if you can’t reach your PBS for some time, you will be able to eventually. Think of it this way, not every professional athlete will always hit their PBS every time, and neither will you. Look at a PBS as you on your best day and strive to achieve that. My PBS has stepped back for various reasons but I know I’ll be back to my best sooner than later.
What I’ve Learnt On my Journey
So what are some tips I have learned that have helped me become the man I am today in the gym?
Well, one main one is form over weight which means you shouldn’t be pushing weight that you can’t cope with as it will just lead to injury. Adding a little bit on when you are ready is just as good if not better.
Another tip I keep close to heart is that training to failure is the best way of gyming if you wanna build muscle. This creates muscle stimulation to help get those muscles looking the way you want them to.
One more tip I’ll leave you with is that eating healthy goes hand in hand with top-tier performance in the gym. I know this is going to make me sound like a buzzkill but it’s the truth. If you’re drinking every weekend and eating junk food there is a very small chance you’ll be able to progress. The key here is adding more protein and vegetables to every meal which will lead to longer success and a better life in general.
Who Has Inspired Me?
Chris Bumstead is a Canadian bodybuilder and a massive inspiration to me. The main reason is due to his physique, work ethic, and tips on how to improve yourself inside and outside of the gym. Not to mention them again but Joe and Paddy are inspirations too for the same reasons as Chris and for helping me really find my footing in the gym.
How Do I Even Start?
Just start, honestly I know it’s the most terrifying thing in the world in many people’s eyes but trust me everyone at the gym is kind and was in your boots not too long ago either. Everyone has been worried about walking into the gym. Scared about what people would think of them but remember you are trying to help yourself. This is all about self-care and making yourself physically and mentally better.
They say exercise is the best anti-depressant and for me, that has been the case. If you are on any medication, make sure to keep taking them, but exercise has been proven to help boost your mood. It will help you in so many ways mentally and obviously physically and it might be one of the best decisions you’ll make, I promise. When you do it’s like a drug you’ll just want more, especially when you start to see results. That’s where you’ll fall in love with it and your journey will begin and you’ll never know when it will stop.
The Gym is something that has made me very happy in my life and will continue to for years to come. If you’re planning to join the gym yourself then it would definitely be a great idea. I promise you it will be something you love and will be the best decision you’ll ever make.