The next few days were eventful to say the least. I found it hard to scratch the back of my head, bend over to tie my shoes, walk or even sit down with any real comfort, and on top of that it felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach.. multiple times. Howandever, I will not bore you of all the trials and tribulations I encountered throughout initial training. Standard practice for any novice who was getting trained by a veteran lifter.
No flexibility training, no proper programme design (as I was just following what he was doing) and I thought a foam roller was something tradesmen used. I was constantly uncomfortable. It was painful at times. I loved every minute of it!
As the next few weeks passed my knowledge grew a little. I decided to get myself a mass gainer to help with my eating ‘problem’. Well… what I thought was a problem. You see I was, and I am still, categorized as an ectomorph. Someone who has a thin frame, finds it hard to put on weight / mass, feels full easily and thinks they eat a lot (when really it’s just mainly a lot of crap or if it is good food then it is not enough). So I decided to go to the local nutrition shop to get advice. Also as the owner was related, I knew he wouldn’t give me something that would mess me up and I’d get great advice. By the next day I was taking in three thousand and thirty calories in shakes alone. Never mind my 3 meals I was trying to get into me too.
Over the next few days, as my body reacted to this overload of calories I felt ill. I was told to only have two shakes, a day.. MAX! I was taking three at least. To which I found it hard to move, I was always tired and even though I was seeing results, the thoughts of walking twenty minutes to the gym seemed unbearable. Pre trainers were no longer a luxury for leg day, but a near everyday occurrence to keep me mobile. After a few weeks of this I was ready to give up this lifestyle. It seemed to be horrible. Although my cousin seemed to never be tired. Had a great shape. Lots of energy and still wanted to go harder every session. I thought more calories was meant to be better for you?! As lack of knowledge guided me to ‘articles’ on Facebook, my blatant ignorance grew.
So here we are. The first day on my own in the iron jungle. Like all first experiences I had feelings of anxiety; although these were quickly relieved by my new found confidence. And as with all new found confidence, it was over confidence, bordering on cocky. Reaching the top of the stairs I stared down the gym floor, in the distance I could see the weights rack with the ‘noobs’ looking gingerly at what weights to pick up. Not too light to embarrass themselves, but not too heavy so they could lift it and still, maybe, impress that girl they spotted on the way in. But today I was not to venture down that beaten path. I was to follow what day it was in regularity. Leg day!
With my brand new blue and black squat belt in hand, I turned left and walked confidently to the squat rack. “I’m going to lift real heavy today!! I have the tools to not get hurt!”, I thought to myself. 20 kg each side of the bar, the bar itself was 20 kg, a grand total of 60 kg. “Too light.”, I sniggered to myself. Another 5 kg either side. Belt on, standing in front of the bar, my favourite beast mode playlist blaring through my headphones, I psyched myself up. Remembering all that I was thought, I de-racked the bar and began. To my horror this bar was a lot heavier than the cocky voice in my head told me it was. Appalling form helped me to complete the rep and re-rack the bar. As I stood there thinking, “That was bloody close!”, one of the silver-backs walked by me. Without loosing his momentum, he pointed to my belt, looked at me and said, “You don’t need that.” Embarrassment flooded my face as I turned the brightest shade of pink you could imagine.
After the blood had decided to excuse itself from my face, I walked over to the man to see why he said that to me. “If you need that belt then the weight is too heavy for you.” He informed me. “What do I do then?”, I asked. “Drop the weight back, work on my core more. A strong core is your squat belt.”. “Okay thanks, I’ll work on that”, as I walked back to the squat rack for a better set.
The gym I was in had a jacuzzi and a sauna in it. A ritual that was ingrained into my gym experience from the start. Why give it up when my ‘gym buddy’ isn’t here?! Straight after the jacuzzi the sauna called my name. Soon after I sat down another silver-back entered the sauna. As he sat down I thought to myself, “Jesus, silver-back is an appropriate name. His back is as hairy as my head and silver.. If not white!”. He turned, looked me straight in the eye and said, “You’re doing well kid, keep it up!”. “Oh.. okay…”, I replied. “Me and a few of the other lads seen you coming in a few weeks ago.” (The man I locked eyes with my first day) “We’ve been watching you! And you’re doing really well. Keep it up!”. “Thanks, that’s the plan hopefully.”, I smiled.
Soon after, he vacated the sauna. I didn’t even feel the heat at that moment, I was too deep in thought. Why was he watching me? Why was he encouraging me? He didn’t know me. Why did he even care? And then it hit me. He loves being here. He loves lifting. The same way a football fan would encourage his son to play football; or anybody near when there is a football present. This man was encouraging me, trying to fuel someone with a younger chance, to keep his sport alive. But why? Did he see potential in me that I could not see? Was he just simply a nice guy, underneath a towering stature? You know what?! I couldn’t give up now. I had to find out.
To be continued…