One movement back to rocket forward….

That rush…

Not to slam through to a PB, not to get as many reps in as possible, but one that builds, that starts to tick, that generates momentum and drives you along for hours.

Yes, that magic feeling is back. The one I had often spoke about where the rush of an early morning training session would provide enough of a springboard that would propel me through my day.

With that however, was the acknowledge that the adrenaline wouldn’t propel to where I was in March 2020.

I was weeks away from the opening comp of the year, in the flow and building towards the season.

Whether the following was significant or not I can’t tell, but a few days ago, I took a look at my stats for my last week before the lockdown 1st – I was happy at those at the time. But that is where they will remain, in March 2020.

Now, I can lament bad luck, or timing with all this and worry about playing catch up, but it will take time to get the flow back and to build again in a way that accessible equipment at the gym can now provide.

In addition, not wishing to injury myself, I took the relatively easy decision to take the weight right back & focus on the environment of where au train, get the feeling of the barbell set again and set my intention for the year.

There is time to build and create anew. Create a physique from more time & gain clarity about the direction you want to go in. Collaborate more with the people you want to connect with and build the momentum toward it further…it could be the start of something great!!

New #Podcast Episode live on “The Disability Bodybuilding Show”!

Discussing…

“Unpicking the mental, physical & emotional lifts that a return to the gym has provided. The platform, the early morning springboard and the gratitude from being able to reconnect with staff, friends and multiple benefits from a renewed routine…”

Available through #Apple & #Spotify

The Disability Bodybuilding Show

A Physical, mental, emotional lift…

A release…

With a deep breath I headed back to the gym – a little excited, a tad nervous wondering if anything had changed…

Then the door was opened for a return…

Followed with gratitude – smiling, familiar faces – Staff. Friends. People generally just so happy to back.

It is actually quite difficult to play down the significance of the gyms reopening in England – being very open here, I’ve certainly felt the enormous benefits from a mental health prospective from the off.

Moving forward, I know that with damn hard work and consistency, the physical attributes will follow and I’m excited about where that go but for today, for this week, it’s the endorphins, the feelings of space, of mindfulness – to enact a long thought out plan, it’s time to set off…

The Disability Bodybuilding Show – New Episode…

A new episode of my #podcast The Disability Bodybuilding Show is up on #Apple & #Spotify!

Episode notes…

“Physically, I have some different hurdles when bringing various sets into play in my gym, at home or just picking up a weight, but I know, the mindset and approach I can take to it is mine alone.

In this episode…

A short journey discussing the joys of trying something new, to keep evolving and bring your unique approach to training – your discovery, your style your way!

Hit Subscribe and head over to disabilitybodybuilding.com for more!!”

The Disability Bodybuilding Show

The Reopening – Much more than lifting weight…

As we head back to familiar training environments in England next week, it indicates a release of not just opportunities to pick up the barbells, but equally a source of headspace. To be at peace, to develop and grow. A place to getaway.

It’s also good as there is only so much exploration of equipment available in my living room!

The impact the gym had on my way of living cannot be overstated. I feel I have a freedom of building strength of both mind and body. This may well have come with age and experience but it’s a road which the gym has provided this environment and I’ve missed it.

For a long, long time in my younger days my hand stayed up my sleeve, my leg always shielded by trousers. It wasn’t worth the questions, hassle, the awkward silences about disability. Even into my 20’s this really affected the way I communicated. One of the worse things for me was an inability to accept my own disability – the exhausting pursuit of trying to ‘normalise’ situations, to try & keep pace.

That being said, this “gymless” time has provided a need to find alternatives, to be ever resourceful and time to research which I will put into practice next week.

As I’m sure many will attest, disabled and non disability athletes alike that the gym provides solace, to unwind the mind and put emphasis on development not just physically but mentally & emotionally…

To the relaunch!

Post-Lockdown – Moving back in, piece by piece…

We’re almost there.

In just over a week the gyms in England will reopen. We’ve been here before, but as I found last time out, getting the routines back isn’t as easy as switching a light on…

Here’s why (and what I’m planning next week)

Back in June 2020, there was huge excitement – its back! Let’s get training – Boom! Weeks of hard graft, cautiously back in the flow.

I got my routine, I thought – here we go just as before, nothing stopping me now!

However, during the course of October, I injured my shoulder, I didn’t quite get my positioning right on a set, making an adjustment and subsequently had to change up my routine. This wasn’t connected directly with getting full training back, but what it did do was to really shake up what the daily structure was again and I’m not sure I was “ready” / “prepared” for that sort of set back in my mind. I’d be looking to a long period of training!

It was a set back for sure, but one which enabled me to pause and reset my routine after a few weeks to get around it. I had to pivot quite a bit of the style of training but it worked – as day by day, piece by piece I tweaked, I switched and altered as I went.

My caution for the upcoming reopening is centred on making sure that I carefully adapt back to the environment, take the time to once again become reacquainted with my adaptive set up at the gym, moving from my structure at home and almost future proof potential change that may come my way, restrictions or having to change my style and rhythm again.

This period will take a little to settle back in. It’s not a lightbulb for many. Not unlike coming back from injury, taking it piece by piece, day by day will help remould that once amazing routine, give it time, it will come back!

A Beginning – The Journey into Bodybuilding with a Disability…

Here’s the start of a new series going back over and reviewing that spark that ignited my journey from the gym to the stage…

Taking off my self imposed bubble wrap…

Reminiscing through some competition photos from the fantastic Shotshoots (Give Fivos a follow!) it keeps the desire burning for future comps – Surfacing questions like how can I develop that? How can we get this area better for the next show?

Starting out, taking it way back, I remember the first movements into a gym with CP is scary.

I grew up genuinely thinking it was impossible to grow muscle on my left, it was dangerous, unstable, unrealistic.

“Stick to “running”… to be honest, that’s not my strong point! What I did have, which wasn’t apparent to me at the time, was long term experience in creating ways to adapt to situations, keeping going when the first route perhaps wasn’t suitable. I found much later in the depths of my first comp prep that it was a useful tool!

Back to the training, I’d stuck to cardio in previous trips to the gym, but I’d decided in 2013 to at least put a 12 month stint in to explore everything. That was the important moment for me (or anyone with a disability or not) is to try out everything – machines, pulleys, adjustments and I thank the staff and PT’s for those early explorations.

It’s important to note how precious that time is – to study what works and that was given to me and provided many opportunities to find those ways. That was crucial with my disability, yes the perseverance I applied greatly helped, but that time given by others provided those opportunities and I’m forever thankful.

Those first sessions build confidence, learning, development and growth. Much like so many disciplines, it’s those first moments that plant a seed. There is so much that you research & find about your own capability and it’s become very empowering. I’m passionate about relaying this as those first moments build in those wins, not just in the gym but it also helps applying them in many areas.

It’s also a place that people may find daunting enough for one reason or another – I’m used to people subconsciously seeing my hand differently in general, That’s magnified when my wrist is strapped to pully at an alternative angle, but for the most part it’s because I’m trying a new version of a set every week. AND I LOVE EXPLORING NEW VARIATIONS!

It’s a freedom of discovery and growth but here’s the thing, isn’t that the start of the journey for EVERYONE…with or without a disability? A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY AND GROWTH?

The gym wonderful platform to explore strength, health and flexibility – I highly recommend it!

Plans, changes and adaptions – The Disability Bodybuilding Show

On this episode, as we start to view the end of the tunnel from this pandemic, I explore the changes that have been made, the challenges in adapting not just with training but life in general with a disability.

What changes could be made after lockdown, what we revert back to from previous routines and what can we take forward – and how can we make things better?

Free feel to reach out if there are any particular topics you’d like covered in the future.

The Disability Bodybuilding Show

Every Approach Is Unique…

Every approach is going to be unique.

Physically, I have some different hurdles when bringing various sets into play in my gym, at home or just picking up a weight, but I know, the mindset and approach I can take to it is mine alone.

What are your goals?

What obstacles are at the gym?

What improvements could be made?

How consistent can I be? It’s on me. How much growth can I produce? It’s on me. How much will I sweat to get my goals? It’s on me.

THIS is probably one of the drivers of my enthusiasm to build my fitness with bodybuilding. One of the key ingredients into building a routine was trying to build consistency.

In one way, my early thought process in my very first gym visits in my teens were ones of frustration with my disability – my dexterity seemingly being a curse when attempting a incline dumbbell fly, or my ankles randomly moving during an attempted squat…*

BUT, here’s the thing…

We’re not going to be utterly amazing at EVERY SINGLE THING we do, we can give it a bloody good go and try and fail, tweak and improve various elements, however, it’s going through that process which enables us to find our strengths…and this applies to me with my Cerebral Palsy and also everyone who goes training – we are in there to improve, bit by bit, day by day.

I LOVE trying new things, giving things a go, attempting different angles, could that fit in? It’s a wonderful process to keep trying and discover – and this totally outweighs my previous concern of dexterity limitations – it helps EXPAND my learning – I have to keep going to find a way and in doing pick even more knowledge of my body’s capabilities as a result…

*I found a way! – Wrist Straps & Cable for Incline Fly solved that personal issue!!

Keep trying and give it a go!

Making plans and help at the end of the tunnel…

It’s there.

The path to reach out to.

When I started to construct this piece, I had the end of lockdown in mind, how we are facing the end of the pandemic. What further help could we provide out of this crisis as we plan today and for tomorrow in respect of training…

What struck me though was how this question can be applied across many disciplines – at home, at work or at the gym in training.

My mindset for a long time was to look forward to getting the “old life” back – one created and developed from years of searching for the little tweaks and adjustments that would make small, incremental improvements along the way.

Well, the path and plans were hit with a huge series of challenges, like never before. Things will feel different.

Maybe, the set up will not be as it was, how could it be better going forward?

I have been thinking, if I can in some small way, help develop better access after this, the biggest of challenges – whether it be getting to a gym, competition and trainers, what would or could be in the future?

At this point, what help do you feel is needed that perhaps wasn’t there before?

Let me know!