My passion for fitness ignited when I became clear on the purpose of my training. I had never been motivated to excel in a specific sport yet I was battling trying to learn sport related skills in my quest to get fit.
Many people will have been stuck in the same mindset that I was in. As in all disciplines, learning sport specific skills requires a lot of practice and dedication to progress. Many people simply give up on fitness because they can’t learn or play a sport. Whilst competing (bodybuilding) is indeed a sport and therefore requires some sport specific training, I keep 80% of my training, even as a top 5 World Pro level, focused on lifestyle training.
My eyes became open to the philosophy of lifestyle training through regular classes that I started attending at my gym. Whilst the dynamics of the classes were different, they all had the same purpose: to get fit for life, you need to train for life.
Sit, stand, push and pull are the only 4 basic movements we need in our lifestyle… most of us will have been doing these intuitively from an earlier age than we could even speak! You could argue that we only grow old when we lose strength and cannot execute these lifestyle movements unassisted.
If our purpose is to be fit for life, just like training for a sport, our training should mimic the same principles and same movement patterns that our lifestyle requires to build resistance against the ageing process.
It was the first time I had engaged in fitness activity where my confidence and progression grew very quickly. When you are working through intuitive movement, all your focus can be channelled into keeping the intensity high. Intensity can be achieved through load, speed, tempo or power but one thing always remains consistent… no intensity, no results.
With my confidence boosted and my intensity increasing, I started seeing and feeling results that I had never been able to achieve before. Here is where my foundations were built and 3 years later I had built a recognised fitness physique and a platform to start competing.
Glute activation is a key element of most exercise routines and essential for ensuring our bodies stay mobile as we age. When it comes to glute training, everyone has a theory. Social media channels are flooded with pre activation and isolation movements and many people are forgetting to build their foundations first.
I firmly believe you need to build your strength and muscle through the logical movement (80%) and then tone and sculpt with isolation (20%).
The glutes primarily assist in sitting and standing. Engaging primarily on the upwards movement, my focus is therefore always to drop the hip and therefore the glute as low down as possible in order to maximize the muscle engagement and growth.
One of the most effective exercises is single leg split squats using a single dumbbell. The free movement of the dumbbell allows me to keep the load over my working joint.
I set up two raised boxes or platforms in front of each other for each foot with the back one slightly higher to concentrate the load on the front leg. Holding the dumbbell in the opposite hand to my front leg, I drop my hip and leg to as low as it will go, as I drive up I keep my weight forward and !BOOM! there is no mistake that my glute is working. Have a look at my video below:
I apply these same principles across all my training:
- Lifestyle movements 80%
- Free movement using dumbbells (machines and barbell only 20%)
- High intensity (either through load, speed, tempo, power)
- Full range of movement
My motivation and passion will always remain and be rooted in staying fit and healthy… that is why I train for LIFE.