At 16 years old, I started the gym for one main reason; to improve my strength. I was always one of the smallest and weakest lads in my year group; even the year below me could probably out bench me or exert more power into a rep than me. I wanted to be at least on par with the other lads in my year. I was tired of being the one who got picked last in rugby because of my narrow shoulders and little arms. I was always of lean and had a footballer’s build, so when it came to upper body strength, I had none.
I took to joining my first gym and started reading Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness magazines to try gain some understanding. My confidence was low and my technique was poor; and so I watched the seemingly hulk-like men and made myself some sort of routine.
February 2011, I weighed in at 5 foot 9 and was a mere 9 stone 6 with only 6.6% body fat. I could barely lift the 12kg dumbbell to my bench without breaking a sweat. It took me a lot of courage to go the gym, knowing I was the weakest and smallest there. I was conscious that I was just a little kid lifting feather weights whilst, either side of me, men with arms the same size as my thighs bench pressing 3 times my body weight. I started lose interest because my gains were next to none, due to an inconsistent training programme and no idea about diet.
18 months down the line, after plucking up enough courage to lift the weights of the rack, now at 18, I weigh 11 stone 6, a body fat percentage of 8.75 and a muscle percentage of 84%! I am well on my way to achieving the goals I set out to achieve upon joining the gym. For example, gains of around 8 inches around my chest, 5 inches around my arms and several other significant strength gains; including being able to forget my embarrassing 12kg dumbbell struggle to now pressing 28kg.
Knowing how hard I have worked to get to where I am now around a hectic college schedule and a part time job, it would be silly to undo it all now. If you are in the same boat as I was 2 years ago here is my advice – just do it!