Ever since I was 15, there was a big interest in physical health. I found my inspirations from characters such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Lee. Where both of them seem to have a sense of clarity and focus to make their will happen. You see, I had a great deal of focus as well, which later turned out to be put in the wrong place though.
It all started back in school, were the wish of putting on muscles and the interest of exercising with heavy weights was created. I had been under the influence of the other kids that I would never be able to gain and look anything similar as my two idols. I begged the difference and a part of me wanted to proof them wrong. Over the next years I was working hard on getting bigger but forgot the importance of being healthy.
I started exercising with my friends in a Fitness Centre, ate protein powder and was self learning by studying physiology, anatomy of the body as well as observing others at the centre. This was quite a steady routine that went on for 4 years with little results and especially for me, insignificant. At least it was nowhere near my initial motivating idols. Then at 19 years of age, a major event happened that was going to change everything. I crashed on my motorcycle, leaving me with an injured leg, little finger and my right ankle was torn off, just hanging on the few remaining ligaments and some flesh. Only the big toe could be moved. The ankle was attached back to the leg with 3 screws and the doctors expected that I would never fully recover. They even dis-encouraged me to set my hopes up for running again. Well, stubborn as I am, I could not accept such judgments.
After 2 weeks of hospitalization and 1 week rest at home, I went down to the centre on crutches ready to take up where I left. Though only with those muscles which could be moved! My exercises contained a variety of weightlifting and bodybuilding. While the left hands little finger was broken, I could only manage to take half of the kilo’s I was used to in bench pressing. After half a year with these adjustments, I was beginning to walk again and therefore able to start up with leg training. My right leg was very skinny and my balance in the whole body was out of alignment. Training went on and for years I tried to balance it out again. The upper body was in alignment and the arms symmetrical but the legs remained unbalanced. I was gradually putting on more mass and muscles on this un-aligned frame when it peaked at the age of 25. Taking 160-200 kg´s in squats, 140-150 kg´s in dead lifts and 110 kg´s in bench press, all for 10 repetitions. The pain while walking and running max.1 km was decreasing but still severe in the ankle. While limping was common and the fact that I was unable to stand on the right leg for longer stands, somehow I did not care. My goal was from the beginning, a big muscular body, which surely was accomplished.
While looking really healthy, my diet was exactly the opposite. I ate everything, candy, sugar, chocolate, yogurt, MC-donalds, meat, fat, french fries and drinking bottles of alcohol in the weekends. Even had smoking addictions, mostly weed. Gradually my discipline in the workout changed. Sometimes a week could go by without any exercise and no sleeping for days surely didn´t help. The economy couldn´t hold these severe addictions and I blanked out after a severely stressful salesman job. Had to quit going to the gym where it was no longer affordable and for some months, just smoking weed with minimal exercise. After some months I started exercising at home, only with body-weight, plus switched to a vegetarian diet. This change had a big toll on the body, going from 85 kg to 75 kg in 3 months. Started to perform yoga to regain the balance which was totally off . There were times where I could not walk straight and even experiencing constant sense of shaking in the body. Around 26-years of age I stopped the habits of drinking in the weekends and smoking everyday. I was experiencing a lot of anger, though not realizing, that I was angry at my own decisions. The body had dropped everything I had worked for the last 10-11 years. Dropped a total of 15 kg, with no balance and having difficulties focusing on anything. I did not accept this situation for long.
A new journey started of yoga and simply working out at home or in the park. I build up the exercise program by home-studying, watching YouTube videos and using my own intuition. After roughly a year of experimentation, it became a steady practice. With an open mind I tried out and learned all sorts of variations to perform exercises. I tested out my old beliefs and pre-assumed facts of training methods from magazines, doctors and friends. I decided to experiment with a low protein diet, only eating what was necessary, maybe even a little less. Fasted for 1 week, two times in a year, to clean-out the body from all the crap I had been eating for years and trained blindfolded for 1 week. Also exercises was changed, switched and alternate week to week. The one thing stable was the yoga practice, which was challenging, because after years of body building the ligaments were stiff and hard.
The foundation and focus in the exercises became functionality, efficiency and an all-round higher activity level each day. With peace in mind the goal-setting went from body-image to performance. Such as, running 3 km in 10 minutes, holding the plank for 10 minutes or 20 chin ups. Goals like these keeps my spirit up and focus clear. I tried, though, to incorporate all the goals into one weekly routine but failed. Simply too many goals at one time, which ended up that some weeks I exercised for 21 hours total a week or 3½ hours in average a day. This became stressful, instead I choose to have a 1 – 1½ hour max of intense workouts. Once and a while attempting to reach new plateaus or goals.
A new idea had been created. To bring presence, peace of mind and functionality into the workout. While noticing any imbalances and correct them. Building up a super inner core strength before any muscles can be put on. Also all senses is included into the exercises which improves not only physical but also mental health. A holistic approach is the best idea I have ever come across. It simply benefits all my daily goals which can be summed up and integrated into one practice.
Things started to fall into right places. The vegetarian diet was going great, had decided to become super healthy. But most importantly, I was feeling great. Started converting into organic products and staying away from refined sugar. No alcohol nor smoke. My girlfriend and I moved to a new house, were I setup a gymnastic bar of wood in the garden.The gym-bars are wobbly and in need of stabilizers though reflecting at the time, it seems, I enjoyed as many variables as possible. That is totally opposite to bodybuilding where isolation is more in focus. Also one weight caught my attention, with a focus on body weight exercises and functionality, it seems to fit in perfectly. The kettle-bell! I played with it like the body is the earth and the bell is the moon.
Today the intensity of the exercises is high, with up to 30 minutes of workout without any rest at all. Build up with interval training, kettle-bells, warm ups, stretching, yoga, running, skipping rope and relaxation.The idea for now is to have basic elements in each workout integrated with dynamic components which can bring variety throughout the weeks and months. The diet is simple with a boost in protein and fat levels, an average amount of carbohydrates. One short routine is chosen for every morning. The Peaceful Warrior training program. It takes 5 – 10 minutes to complete and vitalizes the whole energy system, body and mind.
Finally it is really great to exercise full-body each workout. Your focus, health and balance is flowing this way. Also after the exercises you bring these benefits with you; The system is flexible and you can easily skip one day of exercise, to run, swim or whatever else you’d like to do. Even without losing any progress at all.
For a quick peak into my weekly workouts see this map.
For me doing what I love in life brings happiness around to all other aspects. It simply benefits everyone 😀 and exercise I love. / Brian