As a teenager growing up I was fairly active, even though I wasn’t skinny I wouldn’t say I was fat either. Once I started working and had money in my pocket my diet changed to chocolate and cans of coke. Fast food 2/3 times a week as well as bread all of which helped pile the weight on. At my heaviest I was 110kg and was starting to think, “this is just my body shape“. It was starting to get me down and I was conscious that t-shirts and shirts weren’t fitting right no matter how many X’s were on the label. I just felt uncomfortable in myself and needed to do something.
In 2003 I applied to become a firefighter /paramedic with Dublin Fire Brigade I now needed to lose weight and get fit. I used this as my motivation and joined our local commercial gym. I got a program from the PT there, 20-30 minutes of steady state cardio followed by 3 x 12 of each of the machine weights. I finished each session with a swim and sauna. A year quickly went by and I became the fittest fat guy in the gym. I lost no weight and my body shape didn’t change . I couldn’t understand why I didn’t see any change as I was training 3 times a week doing exactly what I was told. I went back to the PT and told him I was upping my training days from 3 to 5 and needed a new program. I foolishly taught by upping the number of days I’d start to get results. He told me I should have come back to him after 6 weeks for a change of program to keep the body guessing. I was a little bit angry because he saw me every week doing exactly as he told me. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t have the drive or interest in his clients to see them achieve their targets.
WHY THE COMMERCIAL GYM DIDNT WORK FOR ME
1) Didn’t lift any free weights
2) Cardio was steady state
3) Didn’t work hard enough
4) Nutrition wasn’t dialled in
When I eventually started with Dublin Fire Brigade the initial 6 mths training was very physical as well as academic. The fire drills and other exercises we had to do were very tough. We were running out hoses, lifting and extending ladders, lifting cutting gear, crawling, running, climbing and dragging gear while we had breathing apparatice sets on our backs. The weight had started to shift at long last but why?? The training had my body working in a interval style. Our syndicate had 6 of us in it, each drill there is only 4 people used and each person had a different job. We switched position in each drill and we did many many drills… Heart rates were elevated followed by a short rest which as I know now is a form of high intensity anaerobic training (HIAT). Of course I didn’t know then what I know now but working like this gets your body’s metabolism raised for up to 24 hours after a HIAT session. This means I was buring fat while I sitting in the class room or when ironing my uniform which is another story. The lifting involved was very similar to compound lifting in the gym were I was working many muscles at once. So on one drill my duty was to pull the ladder from the truck, extend it and climb up carrying a hose therefore working arms, shoulders, legs, back and core. The next drill my duty could be getting the water. This involves running out a hose, lift the cover of the hydrant and connecting it up then sprinting back and secureing the ladder. This drill was working upper chest, legs, arms and core. In just these two positions for one drill I was getting a full body workout. We did all of this while an officer coached or pushed us to work as fast and effectively as possible. As you can see I was working at a high intensity with short rests therefore my fitness was improved 10 fold. I was now getting stronger by improving my strength and my body was buring more kcals, I was attacking my fat from two angles, raised metabolism and more muscle mass had me looking leaner and fitter than ever before.
I made friends with lots of people during my 6 mths training, one of which was a strength and conditioning coach. He explained why I was seeing results now and where I was going wrong before . This information has stuck with me ever since and is the core of every program I design.
OUT TRAIN A BAD DIET
After 6 mths in the training centre I was stationed in Finglas for the first year. Even though it was busy the weight started to creep back on and then before I knew it I was heavier than ever. This was down to the fact I was trying to out train a bad diet. I was now training 4 days a week lifting free weights and doing high intensity anaerobic training sessions, I also took up boxing. The critical error I that I made was not looking at my nutrition properly. I now needed to learn what macro nutrients were and why they are important. I needed to learn the importance of nutrition and the role it plays in fatloss. Cutting calories and exercise will only get you so far then there comes a point when we have to control everything we eat. We all need to know and understand why we’re eating it and what that particular food is going to do for us. (You’ll find my macro nutrient break down in an earlier blog) We need to understand by eating junk food when we’re metabolically inflexible it can halt fatloss for 4-5 days. By understanding that last point I made my biggest gains because one treat day or even meal was messing my whole weeks work up.
I’ll be talking about.
The penny drops
1: Hard work and determination
2: Designing my own resistance program
3: Seeing the results
Get Strong Burn Fat