My Health and Fitness Story

Introduction

Hi, my name is Tom, and I am 29 years old as I write this post. As this is my debut post on this blog, it is an introduction to who I am and my journey regarding physical health, from its conception to now.

17 Years Old

Something began calling me to resistance training and physical well-being at around the age of 17. To this day I can’t tell you of a conscious reason for starting. One day, as a frail 17-year-old weighing 65 kilos, a connatural drive compelled me to take my first strides on the glorious highway of gains.

 

Against my father’s will while he was at work, I began secretly using his adjustable dumbbells. Devoid of any knowledge of exercises, I dived into intuitive workouts of my own making, consisting of dumbbell and bodyweight exercises. I combined this resistance training with jogging around the local area.

 

This was also around the time that I began learning about nutrition, in order to support my physical health as well as my fitness endeavours.

19 Years Old – 2011

At 19 I travelled to Swansea University to start a degree. Like many teenagers who begin higher education, I had not yet found my true calling. I allowed peers and family to direct my strides down a path for which I had no real passion. I studied my first year of Law and French followed by almost two years of Translation and Interpretation. I had no greater purpose. I did not yet know why I lacked zeal for my degree.

 

All the while, one part of my life which was categorically undeviating and religious was my gym schedule.

 

Almost immediately after I arrived at university I took a tour of the university gym and signed up for the entire year. I could barely afford this, but my internal gains compass overrode my caution, and steered me towards my first religious year of training.

20 years old – 2012

I returned home for the holidays after miraculously passing my first year of university, despite a complete lack of avidity. Upon my return my mother asked me sincerely whether I had been taking steroids. I had not and still have never done so.

 

The reality is that almost any training style will work when one is new to training. The most accelerated gains are frequently made in the first year of effective resistance exercise. Despite sheer incompetence, my formidable adoration of training resulted in considerable muscular growth. I can fathom how my mother suspected steroid intervention, but my rapid rate of growth was just what the fitness community call ‘newbie gains’.

22 Years Old – 2014

3 years of existential rumination meant that I was asked to leave university due to a lack of attendance. Although it was advised that I could appeal this decision, in my heart I knew that my departure was for the best. When one spends a small minority of one’s time on a degree, and the majority in the weights room and pondering purpose, one has to think that something is not right.

 

Although I did not yet know it, I later discovered that improving my physical health (and hopefully that of others) was one of the core elements of my innate purpose.

24/25 Years old – 2016/2017

At 24 I visited my brother where he lived at the time in Marseille, South of France. This was when it was truly visible that I had transformed from an emaciated adolescent to a fully developed, muscular adult male.

 

5 years of relentless yet unguided training had resulted in an admirable physique. During the holiday I took note of several compliments aimed at my pupation from a weak and inconsequential caterpillar to an imposing and assured butterfly.

 

2017 was the year when my first unguided attempt at powerlifting transpired.  I deadlifted 210 kilograms, squatted 170 kilograms, and bench pressed 112.5 kilograms. However, overtraining and diverse blunders meant that I did not converge with my full potential.

 

Every single workout was gruelling, and I never knew when to stop. Fatigue management and periodisation were non-existent during this period.

26 – 28 Years Old (2018 & 2019) – A Bizarre Hiatus

Unaddressed mental health quandaries and circumstantial adversity converged. Most of my physical and internal resources were diverted to protecting a loved one. The rest where used to take care of my own mental health.

 

This peculiar hiatus meant that I lost some of my pedantic training religiousness. Previously my elite metabolism ensured that all my trivial dietary digressions had resulted in no significant weight gain, however, this time they accumulated to cause my first ever period of notable fat gain.

Pandemic and Purpose – 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic caused major upheaval from March 2020 until very recently. This sparked a need to work remotely, as well as numerous ‘lockdowns’, during which gyms were closed. As many readers may recall, almost anything involving social contact was outlawed.

 

Just before the surreal events surrounding the coronavirus manifested, I began rediscovering my adoration of health and fitness.

 

The quietude and simplicity of lockdown coupled with a lack of access to gyms meant I had ample time to ruminate on how exactly physical health played (and will come to play) a role in my purpose.

 

Theretofore I had gained a vast amount of experience in the gym, and I had learnt things outside of the gym that had increased my knowledge. Notwithstanding, since 2020 my researching of the field of physical well-being has been contrastingly methodical.

 

2020 marked the beginning of my meticulous reading of books and scientific studies regarding improvement of physical health.

Back to Weight Stability

At my heaviest in 2019 I was noticeably overweight and weighed around 101 kilos. By the Summer of 2020 I had reduced my body weight to around 93 kilos. This was when my body fat percentage returned to stability at around 18 – 19%.

 

Thenceforth, said percentage has remained approximately in this range.

2021

2021 was a catalyst for a renewed gratitude for strength training.

 

2020 and early 2021 had consisted of sporadic periods of gym workouts interspersed with home workouts, to maintain my strength as much as possible. My intention during this time was simply damage limitation and maintenance until gyms reopened.

 

In April 2021, after a year of intermittent closures, gyms finally reopened.

 

My interest in powerlifting had been reignited during my period of introspection in 2020, but it wasn’t until this point that I was finally blessed once more with the ability to engage consistently in heavy strength training.

2022

Having trained intuitively during the latter three quarters of 2021, early in 2022 I began following my first structured, periodised powerlifting programme. This is something which I designed for myself, based on the vast programming knowledge of a great powerlifter named Chad Wesley-Smith. This first structured training programme started in late February 2022 and will finish with my own simulated powerlifting event at the end of 2022.

Application of Research

As I voraciously bulldoze through as many books and scientific resources as possible, I have been implementing the knowledge which I am gaining from masters of the field of physical health. I had always adored working on my physical well-being and fortitude, but the coronavirus pandemic marked a clarification of purpose and an enhanced devotion: 2021 and 2022 have ultimately been the years of amalgamating my vast experience with new knowledge, to catapult me to a new echelon.

The Purpose of Formidabody

I want to be as candid as possible in this blog, so I admit that there is still much work for me to do. Notwithstanding, I am in now in a place within myself where I want to share my experience and knowledge which I am gaining on my ceaseless journey.

 

I am on a perpetual journey of internal and external expansion. My objective for you and myself is to nurture our innate vigour and vitality, so that we may live the most vital, passionate, joyful, and fulfilling lives which we deserve.

A Final Thought

I remember when I weighed 65 kilos as a fully grown adolescent, bereft almost entirely of noticeable muscle mass, struggling to bench press a paltry 20 kilo barbell, eating a diet devoid of nutrition.

 

As I sit here today, I weigh 96 kilograms. Almost 75 of those kilograms are muscle mass, meaning that my muscle tissue alone is now 10 kilograms heavier than my entire body was at the age of 17. I can now lift more than people whom I venerated when I first began lifting weights. Fruit is one of my favourite snacks now, and I diligently care for my health.

 

I have several loftier echelons which I aim to reach in this field, but I think that this aptly demonstrates how achievable it is to have a healthy and strong physiology. With a chronic and tenacious love for physical health, over a period of many years, metamorphosis is realistic.

 

If you have any concerns, questions, or comments, leave them in the comments section below.