My Training History
I've had an interest in weights since I was young, even as a kid, if I saw weights I would always try to lift them. My enthusiasm was tempered by my family and others who, while they weren't against weight training, they were under the traditional stereotypical assumption that it was not the best thing. As a result, I didn't really train seriously until later in life. I got my first weight set at 14 and "fooled" around with lifting off and on for several years. At that time I just wanted to get strong, not big. I was on my own on how to go about this as no one I knew was into lifting. I did get fairly strong for my size, and quite muscular, but when I look at pictures of back then I have to laugh I was so skinny. Even in high school I didn't really get into training, although I was quite active in other pursuits and did use the school's weight machine occasionally (no free weights there).
I worked for 2 years after high school, I don't really remember if I trained or not during that time. Most likely I would lift at home for a few weeks at a time then stop. I was still physically active doing lots of cycling and lots of push ups and sit-ups etc. I got to a point where I was doing 500+ push ups in 1/2 an hour in sets of either 50 or 100 several times a week. After that I went to NAIT (technical college, I took dental laboratory technology) and used the gym semi-regularly for the 2 years I was there. I was also in an advanced aerobics class as well as karate, racquetball and yoga, so obviously I was in good shape but still not too big. Would have been under 150 lbs. during that time.
I finished Nait, got a full time job, and a few months later moved out on my own. Here's where I started training semi-consistently. I had my weights set up in the basement and did a few sets here and a few sets there type of training. Unfortunately, at this time I was also into partying a lot which went on for almost 7 years. I still trained throughout and would arm wrestle the bouncers and others in the bars etc. with some success. If I got beat I would train hard for a few weeks then go back and take them down, even guys much bigger than me. I made some small gains in this period reaching a maximum weight of 165 lbs. (!) at which I was kind of fat (my diet sucked). The partying eventually got boring and I had cut it down to just every two weeks or so and got more serious about training, doing a circuit session 4-6 times a week when disaster struck. I somehow got "acute pancreatitis" which laid me up for over 3 months in the hospital. This is like appendicitis but much more serious. I still remember the date: May 4, 1990. The feeling was like being punched in the stomach and kicked in the nuts, and then some. I couldn't eat anything and was on IV and Demerol the whole time. I was scheduled for surgery twice but for one reason or another it got cancelled. The second time was because my doctor was on holidays and when he came back, he noticed the "pseudocyst" (large "bag" of tissue which formed and contained the stomach acids preventing them from eating up my insides) I had formed was shrinking and held off the surgery to see what happened. I suspect this shrinking is a result of me sneaking into the bathroom to do pushups, and doing ab contractions while lying in bed. I also followed orders to walk. I walked from one end of the hospital to the other, then up the stairs and back to the other end etc. several times a day up 4 floors then back down and up again. I only say this because I believe it was the exercise that helped the pancreas to heal naturally. Once it started shrinking, it kept going until it was gone, the doctors were shocked.
I finally came out of the hospital in August weighing 138 lbs. (not the best way to lean out), and the only thing I was allowed to do was walk. I walked everywhere, miles per day and gained weight up to around 150 lbs. from eating. Luckily I seemed to have a full recovery and could and can still eat normally (after the first few weeks of being cautious). After a few weeks I was allowed to bike ride and did that instead of walking. I think it was in October I finally started back at work.
When I could, I started weight training lightly (I stayed at my parent's after I left the hospital and in November moved into a different house, with no roommates). I bought a new bike and a better weight bench and lifted steadily at home until I joined a hardcore gym in 1992. Training in the gym was like starting over again, the Olympic bar felt heavy at first due to the awkwardness of the longer length but I was soon up to over a plate per side *WOW!* and within a year was up to 225 in bench and used fairly respectable weights in all other lifts. I've always prioritized my weak spots so have always been quite strong in every lift, as well as having no glaring weak spots. During this time I used several programs and read countless bodybuilding magazines and books.
Two years later that gym got sold and the new owner wouldn't honor the membership so I switched to the gym I currently train at. Good move too as the first gym closed down about a year after. I've been training consistently since then trying different styles, routines and making gains. Somewhere along the line I decided that there was no shame in being a bodybuilder or powerlifter and trained using a combination of bodybuilding and powerlifting exercises, but more toward the bodybuilding angle. I prefer my muscles to be functional and strong as well as large, or at least as strong as they look : ).
There's been the odd occasion where I've had 1-3 months off training but these are few and far between, and even then I usually make it in once a week,
or do some type of exercise just to maintain. When I get back to steady training I put on whatever I lost in a short time, usually a few weeks.
I've become quite in tune with my body and can notice small changes as the result of different things such as supplements, different training styles, different diet etc. I've put this to use in my training and when I want to improve a bodypart I can usually devise a routine or program to get the results I want, as long as my goal is
realistic, such as adding 100 lbs. to my deadlift.
as of February 28, 2000
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