I will confess, I spent the first 10 years of my training a confused programme hopper constantly moving the goalposts and even completely changing sports at times. One week i was to be an amazing powerlifter, the next I was going to be a great crossfit athlete the next I was only focusing on aesthetics and getting lean as f***, or being amazing at body calisthenics.
What did I end up as? An above average strength human (powerlifting) an above average work capacity (crossfit) with an above average looking body (aesthetics). I ended up becoming an ‘Above Average Joe’ who can do a handstand, I wanted to be good at everything and ended up being ok at it all. To some extent i kind of enjoy being ok at everything, there’s nothing I suck at but there is nothing I excel at either, all accomplished by programme hoping.
You may be thinking 10 years to do all that!? Well for the first 2 I was aged 16-18 although at that age you are a pro and the best trainer/athlete in the world in your own head reality is very different, I wish i had a mentor or coach to tell me shut the f*** up nd listen. A 17 year old boy… listening? All the best.
The next 3 years were a mixture of ok programme hopping with large amount of alcohol consumption, diet hopping, keto, paleo you name it and battle for alpha status in a testosterone filled house of 8. End Result a beer belly with half decent shape. Turns out you can’t out train a bad diet.
5 years down, university finished you would think I would learn from all this, well sort of it gets a little better but the alcohol consumption with slightly better training leads to a better looking, stronger and cardiovascularly fitter body with less of a beer belly, but still pretty poor. Another 2 years.
7 years in I decode to travel, blow all my money in 3 amazing months, not i single weight was lifted or push up attempted, this continues for another 6 months. Return of the flat chest and beer belly. (worth it though).
8 years in and finally sense settles in. What do i want to do with my life? With 100 people going for 1 P.E teachers job and i don’t even have my teachers degree i think i need to change career paths. That’s when I decide emphatically I want to be a Personal Trainer. Nutrition now very good (better understanding), a lot less alcohol intake and very good training although still programme hopping. My first year of actual real progress. Only took 9 years. I was in my best physical shape in terms of strength, cardiovascular endurance and appearance ever, it was paying off in sports performances too.
The past year has of course been the best year of my training. Alot less programme hopping, with desired goals and training programmes lasting at least 3 months, allowing me to make a dent into becoming good at everything not just ok. I spent 6 months getting bigger and stronger and the past 2 reducing body fat percentage because I was starting to look a bit too puffy around the waist. My goals will continue to change, I will continue to programme hop with the knowledge that it will benefit me to dedicate more time to each and every programme.
It took me 9 years to learn the things I know now about me and my training, It took my 9 years to clearly define my goals, 9 years!
However I am now set up to know what I want to achieve in my life and I can tailor my programme hopping to that. I am going to define to you the goals I want to achieve in my life, one of these I have only started to say out loud the past month.
My Life’s Fitness Goals:
1000lbs Club - COMPLETED
Deadlift 250kg - NOT YET
Squat 200kg - NOT YET
Full Planche - NOT YET
Full Lever - NOT YET
Lean 90kg - NOT YET
Run Te Araroa - NEXT (thats the loud and proud moment!)
Along the way more may be added to the list, some of these goals have a bigger meaning to me than others and will undoubtedly take priority, However I am certain I will complete them all in my lifetime.
Some of you may think this is dreaming big. It is and so it should be. If I did not dream and set such amazing goals then the result of my work in the gym would be mediocre and dare I say pointless.
I had this conversation with a client as they struggled to dream big and look beyond there weight loss target because that itself felt like dreaming, that itself was the defined goal. I was saying to her ‘eventually you will achieve your weight loss, we will celebrate it but then what? What is next?’ I will tell you now she has dreamt of achieving something, I don’t know what it is but she has dreamt about something. It is just hard to say it out loud and set it into reality because it seems so far away, It is hard to let yourself believe you can. The only thing holding you back is you, you can do what you dream of.
You have to set your sights high into the clouds and dream of what you can achieve. I hear and read many different quotes and alot of them make me raise an eyebrow or smile but this one made me think, and if it makes you think it is worth keeping close to you.
‘No citizen has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training… what a disgrace it is for a man or women to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his or her body is capable’ - Socrates
This hits home with me, in many different ways, first of all on face value what a shame it would be if you didn’t endeavour to push your physical limits and see what you are capable of. It holds huge value to me in life itself, the transference of strength, beauty and capability not just in physical terms but in an emotional and mental capacity too, what a shame it is to never attempt to achieve your potential to leave your positive mark on the world or help make the world an amazing place. I know this is slightly off topic but I was flowing and it felt right.
Defining Goals is the first key. It then becomes time to take action upon them. I know it sounds simple, but that is because it can be, if you have a burning desire to achieve what you dream the process of taking action becomes easier. The steps to achievement;
Learn - Educate yourself in what to do and how to do it.
Conviction - When you learn and understand what you have to do to achieve your dreams it suddenly starts to feel possible you allow yourself to say ‘I can’ it creates conviction.
Action - Your conviction soon turn into implementation of what you have learnt as you take action on what you dream to achieve.
Effort - Your action leads you to effort, when you take action on something and become familiar with what it takes you have to start putting in the effort and time to achieve.
It is a snowball effect, recognise where you are within these stages imbed yourself into that stage and continue on from there.
The Three Takeaways:
Learn early - Do not take 8 years to learn who you are and what you want to achieve. If you are stuck and unsure get someone to help you. A high quality PT doesn’t just do demonstrations and count reps!
Dream big - that day dream you had can become reality, you just have to bring into reality and say it out loud or write it down.
Actions Align with Goals - once you have set your goals you have to act upon them and align yourself to them. You have to put in the work, the effort.
You can achieve what you dream of.