Fast forward just a few short months and I was now enrolled in a fitness instructor course. Thinking this was the most efficient action I could take to not be laughed off the gym floor while giving snippets of knowledge I knew to work. You see I wasn’t fully there with my confidence levels in the gym. I was over confident to an extent but a previous encounter with a very insecure individual ended in my confidence being knocked a little again. I believe his exact words were, “I’ll listen to you when you’re bigger buddy”. What an arse!
But this is the unfortunate encounters you must brave if you want to be any source of knowledge as an ectomorph, and five foot five on a good day. Now it wasn’t all turmoil, as confidence came in the form of nights out. Where I hadn’t seen a lot of my friends in a while. They would come up-to me and tell me how great I looked and, actually or pretended, to be interested in what I learned so far. How my passion was growing and lavished me with encouragement.
Without people like this in your life it can be incredibly hard to go through any major change. A little piece of advice… get rid of those toxic people that bring you down. Those who try to take away or belittle your achievements. These little achievements, no matter how trivial to someone else, build up to a major change in your personal growth. I had to learn this the hard way. I’d agree with people that these little things didn’t matter. That they were insignificant to where I wanted or should be in life. And you know what.. This just led to complacency in my life. Trust me, it’s okay to say no, disagree and even fight for what you believe is right for you.
Anyway, enough of the motivational talk. I’m sure you’ve been told it all before. For me it was time to put it into practice. I started my fitness instruction course in a gym in an adjoining town. Fifteen minutes on the bus, a ten minute walk and I was at the gym. It was a community gym, funded by the government. This is not to say it wasn’t a nice gym. In fact it was the most well equipped gym in the town. It even had a football pitch, or soccer field for my american readers, which we played a game or two on the good days during the summer. We are still talking about Ireland after all. You get the four seasons in one day!
The sun gleaming through the wire mesh fence surrounding the council offices where the bus stop was situated. A lovely summers day to signify the start of a new step in the journey I was coming to love with each passing day. Sunglasses on, new sweat pants and my kit bag on my back I was ready to take on the world. When the bus arrived I hopped on with excitement; a butterfly in the stomach moment as I realised where my destination was. Smiling to myself like a big ejit. Snapchat just had to see how happy I was. How much I had changed in the past few months, how I had developed as a person and how cool my aviator sunglasses looked.
Walking into the gym, met by an eastern European instructor behind the desk, I was signaled to the upper floor. The studio upstairs was to be used for the duration of the course. “This is deadly!”, I thought to myself. You can see the gym for motivation, it’s in a studio, and my god.. The women in yoga pants. (Note: I was very much single at this stage and I am purely using this as a reference point.. I love and adore my girlfriend very much, I do not wish to be single 😀 ) Feigning confidence I looked for a seat. I didn’t want to be considered a nerd but I also didn’t want to repeat my school days and be labelled a disruptive troublemaker. “Ah who cares, to hell with it, this is for me! No one else.”, straight up the front of the class. A banded bunch of misfits filled the room, one after another they piled in; and only one woman, who was more outspoken and confident than any of the men in the room. In front of a rather healthy looking female tutor, we all got to know each other and continued on our day.
The following couple of weeks were the most enjoyable of the lot. This was two fold; my knowledge base was fairly solid from all the previous research and because I was up the front I had the ability to ask quick questions quietly without putting our tutor off track too much. I asked as many questions as I could; I was a source of knowledge for the less outspoken in the class. Some were only on the course for enjoyment and did not have any real passion or previous knowledge behind them. Unfortunately this came with the label of ‘nerd’, although this time I embraced it as a positive. It was jokingly used and sometimes as a term of endearment. Never out of malice or jealousy. I knew what I knew and I also knew what I didn’t know. “Know what you don’t know and you’ll learn twice as much!”. Curiosity oozed from my gut as I pondered over what I was yet to learn.
This did not feel like school. This did not feel like college. This did not feel like I was learning. It felt like it was just finding answers to questions that I had to know. I treated it like a game, every question answered unlocked a new ability in myself. A new exercise, a new food, a new name to call my ass. Games were something that came naturally, leveling up was fun.
“Apparently there is an app that lets you level up with fitness now. Could be worth a look for anyone who wants to get into fitness. http://www.geekfitness.net/fitocracy-best-gym-app/”
Howandever, I am not going to over glorify it. I started to properly eat over the coming weeks. More structured and my meals were more planned. The changes started to come quick and fast as my form improved. Seeing results was just a process that had to be followed; and following it I was. My fitness increased every week. Working out went from three days a week to five days every week. No weeks off, no time off, no time to become complacent. Although through all this I never forgot the advice the ‘silver-back’ gave me! My core was to become one of the strongest parts of me.
It was also during this time that I met someone who would forever change me and my perspective on life, love and personal growth. Apparently strength was not only destined for the gym. There was something coming that would challenge me just as mentally as I was challenging myself physically.
To be continued…