I have done a YouTube of this blog scroll to the bottom if you want to watch it or otherwise just read on.
At this point I was on the road to success I was taking back control of my life by dieting and losing weight. Managing to cut down on those takeaways although not completely and now I was off to play the sport I had always loved Rugby. Confidence had started to increase not only about myself but also in my everyday life at home and work.
Back to the end of my story part 1 Georgia had just told me to give my local rugby club a call. After thinking about it alot I mustered up the courage to give them a call. So I picked up the hone and spoke to chap called Russell whom was the first team captain, he said come down training is on Tuesday be here before 7pm.
The following Tuesday I went to the club and introduced myself and was promptly out for my first training session. I was really nervous yet at the same time excited to be back to a sport I had grown up playing in my youth. One of the drills was to team up with another player and run lengths of the pitch supporting one another. I almost died my partner tried to help me along but then gave up, I felt like I was going to throw up. (Not doing exercise for near on 10 years does do this to one) The result, I was the last player back kind of fast walking giving the impression I was running. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me and I started to manifest what they might be saying. To add insult to injury then the coach ran up behind me patted me on the back and said good effort big lad. Big lad I thought well thats f’ing great. At school when it came to sport I was always a dominant figure especially in rugby and this extended to the club I played for. To come back to it and be the guy at the back, the last back in after a run is hard to take on the chin.
Although funnily enough this didn’t put me off I didn’t go home and vow not to go back, it lit a fire in my belly and made me want to be better. I bought a book on coaching yourself to be a better player and I kept going back week after week. As the season started I fell into the 3rd team which was full of a good bunch of lads. However it became apparent very quickly most the players around me had a good 10 years on me. I was playing as a back and I needed to become faster, I needed to train twice as hard as the others. One training evening we all came in at the end and the coach was telling the 1st team players get in the gym boys. The penny dropped!
I though aha that’s what I need to do, go to the gym lift some weights do some cardio, but I didn’t know how. I had only been in a gym a handful of times and the thought of going scared the life out of me. Not that I would have ever admitted that to anyone at the time I would have given some excuse. Then one day while at work I noticed that in the same building as the company I worked for there was a personal training studio so I went and knocked on their door.
The guys in the gym asked what my goals were and I explained I wanted to improve my performance in rugby and explained how I was out matched. So they put me on a conditioning program that they devised and I was to follow their program and report in once a month to review progress and then receive the next part.
I felt empowered, I had all the tools I needed to succeed, I had weekly training and I had my 3 day conditioning program. The personal trainer told me to buy some protein and pointed me to well known brand he also took me through the exercises on my plan in our limited one hour window we had.
The next step was to join my local gym which I duly did and started my program that had been given to me. Now to say I didn’t know what I was doing was an understatement, I didn’t have a clue at all. I remember asking other gym members how to do exercises as I didn’t know what some where on my printed program. Then I wondered why they were not overjoyed to explain it to me.
The days of feeling on top were soon to be short lived as rugby wasn’t going great I wasn’t always getting selected and the gym wasn’t returning the magical results I hoped. I was no Johnny Wilkinson! I felt I was putting all this effort in and getting nothing back. It was really starting to depress me and my food was not in control I was starting to eat rubbish again.
My next step was to go back to my personal trainer and discuss food perhaps he would help me but I got nothing. A couple of days later he gave me a print out of adopting portion control on my plate and what should be on it i.e carbs,protein and fat. I explained to him it wasn’t working and perhaps we could change it up but I got nothing so I decided to part ways with him.
Now I didn’t realise at the time as I didnt know any better, but I had no idea how to do any of the exercises the PT had given me. I never used proper form, and had learnt from watching others and some online videos. People must have wondered what the hell is that guy doing when I was working out. During one gym session I managed to fail a bench press with no spotting bar and had to be saved by another person. I also had no idea about nutrition so wasn’t getting any benefit from what I was doing. My idea of nutrition was to down 3 or 4 protein shakes a day and eat what I liked on a workout day. I also liked to tell everyone I met about this and how they should get the latest miracle powder. It even extended to me buying a product called Alpha something which claimed steroid abilities in a legal to buy pill. What was I thinking I had no idea what it even was that I was putting in my body. Strangely enough it didn’t do anything.
The next blow was that I was selected to play an away match which resulted in me breaking my foot during the game. This put me at a new low, I was unable to play rugby or even train and I had no program to train in the gym. I didnt know what to do and felt out of control.
So I thought I would take the downtime and turn a negative into a positive I would build my foot back up and learn about weight lifting myself, who needs a PT right?. After all I had all the time needed as I wasnt going to be running around any time soon.
At this point my son was 5 and had just started rugby training in the U6’s and I started to help a little hobbling around on my broken foot. In the gym I was following exercises given by the physio to help with my foot recovery.
What changed everything for me then and still today was ta book I bought, it changed everything for me it was called Bigger Leaner Stronger by Mike Matthews. He also runs a blog Muscle for Life and this book is what started me on an educational ride and my new found love in life Weight Lifting. In my opinion if you are starting out in Weight Lifting or been doing it for years, you cannot go wrong reading this book. Its just a shame it took me so long to read it and then to actually believe and in-act it. But more about that in part 3.
As my foot recovered I didn’t go back to playing rugby instead I started weight lifting as my primary focus. An activity I was using to condition myself for one sport became the the sport I love today. That didn’t end my rugby involvement as one year later and I was the head coach of the U6s and still there with the same squad but now the U9s.
What makes me most proud of myself when I write and read this back is my ability to fail, dust myself off and look for the opportunity. Don’t get me wrong I moaned about it felt sorry for myself but eventually I built a bridge and got over it. Then carried on!
My last installment will be part 3 of my story in which I will tell you how I got to where I am today.
One last thing, I didn’t do this on my own there was another person who supported me through all of this and is truly inspirational to me, that person is my wife. Georgia listens to my moans, tells me how it is even when I don’t want to hear it, picks me up, tells me to go for that promotion, tells me to push myself and fills me with confidence when I have none. Without her I wouldn’t be where I am today, thank you for being my rock!