I had trained all my life up to this point. As i’d gone from training in a run-down squash club in Armley with my grandad. To playing football, competing in athletics and taking up boxing. I then turned professional as a boxer and my fitness was always a priority. Even when working away from home with my job.
‘I will love it; I’ll get to train all the time’. Were my thoughts when I started personal training. My workplace would be a gym, so I could crack on with some training throughout the day.
At first it was great. I’d gone from working as an electrician to living my dream as a full-time personal trainer. The transition was a little more complicated than that of course, but that’s another story.
Life got in the the way
The majority of my personal training clients were either those that wanted to learn how to box. Get fit by doing boxing training or were competitive fighters that wanted to gain that edge.
This meant my body took a hammering. Day and night. My passion for training people was through the roof and I woke up every day excited to go again. What this led to was fatigue and my own fitness started to take a hit.
Coaching others over training myself became a habit. Being fresh and full of energy for my clients was always first on my list. Training myself didn’t seem necessary as coaching other people ‘kept me fit’, apparently.
The Training Cave then started to become a reality and I realised that I could finally make it happen because money was coming in. Interest was building. I’d gained experience volunteering at a boxing gym and I knew the time was right.
What is fitness?
My philosophy on fitness is; ‘strong for life’. That is how I train myself and other people. With that phrase in mind.
After one year of running the Training Cave I didn’t feel like I was ‘strong for life’. As I’d not trained right for around 18 months. Running a business in an industry where it’s hard to make a huge amount of money was always going to take its toll in the end.
Struggling to get up for it. I realised that as much as I love exercising, doing it on my own wasn’t for me. Training in my own gym was a no go too. As daft as that sounds and there would always be distractions. Someone might walk in to see me, the phone would go or there would be something to fix or tidy.
A lightbulb moment came. I remembered my old sports coaches and only one out of about eight of those coaches kept themselves fit. It’s that one that always kept in shape, that has had the greatest influence on me. As well as my grandad, who was relentless.
Finding my feet again
If Training Cave is going to be a long-term success I have to lead from the front. I accept that others will be fitter or stronger than me. But if I can show consistency, no matter what the circumstances are then others will follow.
About two years ago I found a gym that fitted in with my work schedule and I have regularly trained there since. This place only does classes. You are always coached, in a group and it’s hard. Like ours. The only difference is I don’t have to lead the sessions and I’ve found its the closest thing to boxing training. The added bonus is that you don’t get a punch in the face while you are there.
It also fits perfectly with how I know I should train and how I have always liked to train people.
With my own training, I like to do a blend of everything. Following a programme has never been for me. Dieting was only important leading up to fights. Body weight training and lifting weights are great as both make you feel strong. I love endurance training, there’s nothing like running a ridiculous number of miles to show mental strength. Hill sprints are the ultimate tester, they never get easier, you just get better. Conditioning the body to push through pain barriers, yes please. Or even the lighter days that loosen off the aches, such as a long walk.
Any form of physical exercise is good exercise to me as long as it’s done safely.
The biggest things I have learnt on my training journey is to do what you enjoy. Do what works for you and your life. Most importantly, do it. Be consistent, avoid long breaks as you may never go back. Train to be strong for life. That is what matters.
‘Nobody cares what you did yesterday. What have you done today to better yourself?’
– David Goggins.