School's in session!
Well, it will be soon as I have decided that I 'm going to start running seminars... You're right, I'm not experienced enough or well respected enough in the wrestling industry to run wrestling seminars. That's why I'm running nutrition and weight training seminars aimed at wrestlers. Something I am very experienced in and respected for throughout the UK for my athleticism and conditioning. Hell, I didn't get two WWE tryouts for my wrestling ability!
Take a read of my previous blog entry to get a glimpse of the advice I will be putting across at the seminar. I want people to come to terms with what it really takes to be an athlete and get into great shape. There are no quick cheat ways and it's a minefield of fads and false advertising out there. Hopefully with my help they will understand what is required and have some information to take away with them to get started.
I have brought in my good friend Luke Etheridge who owns and runs Summit Strength in Gloucester. It's an Olympic weightlifting gym and Luke himself is ranked in the top 94kg lifters in the country. Luke is going to run a 1 1/2 hour introduction to the Olympic lifts at the start of the seminar. This will allow me to incorporate the lifts into my programming for everyone. The explosive power gained from olympic lifts is second to none and is the reason I can take my 15st frame and fly around like the lightweights.
The next part of the day will be a talk on training techniques, programming and a group workout. The workout will be based in CrossFit and designed for wrestling. A mixture of weight training and cardio, allowing me to show the group the intensity at which they will need to work at to make progress. To top this all off I will be providing training programs for the next couple of months for the trainees to take with them. There will be different programs for different body types and levels of experience.
The last part of the seminar will be a talk on nutrition. This is where we can sit down and everyone can eat the lunch they brought with them and I can judge them all! It won't be an overly scientific/complex look at nutrition but rather an achievable, understandable explanation of how to eat to train, cut weight safely and become more healthy. I will also be providing diet plans for everyone based on their body composition and goals. As everyone wan't to be a pro wrestler the goals are pretty straightforward but getting there will be different for everyone.
We also have the Pro Evolution Wrestling academy to take advantage of so if we have time at the end of the day there are three proper wrestling rings set up along with a matted floor area. I will take everyone through some training drills that will enable them to move better in the ring and really test their ability.
Thanks for taking the time to read about the seminar, I hope it gives you a better understanding of what to expect. I did it here as it's too long for a Facebook post and it's a cheeky way of driving traffic to my website... Buy my merch... I hope we fill all the seminar places and it's a great success. I'll write another blog detailing the aftermath!
off to the gym, hammer out.
**Warning, I talk A LOT about myself in this blog. It's long and self indulgent but I think if you get all the way through it will be fairly interesting. If not sorrynotsorry**
I'll get on average one person (trainee, fan, venue staff or colleague) per show that will draw me aside and ask about how to get in shape. It's a huge complement that they would come to me for advice and I'm always happy to talk for a bit. However, it's very easy to tell apart the ones who actually intend to get in to shape and the ones who are just hoping I will tell them some quick fix short cut secret that will have them looking like He-Man or She-Ra in six months with very little effort...
Well I got news for ya Jack. It doesn't exist. But you knew that anyway so stop lying to yourself. If you're actually happy the way you look then that is a rare gift in itself and I envy you. Stay healthy at least and you'll live happily ever after, just next time ask me about my hair or something. If you're like the majority of the rest of us then unfortunately it's probably going to take a major health scare or something similar for you to actually do something about it.
So this is for those people who are serious about getting healthy and getting in to shape. I'm proud of you for making this decision and all I'm going to do here is spill out 14 years of experience as best I can for you. I am not a nutritionist, not a personal trainer and not a life coach. I am an athlete with a biology degree and sometimes (yes only sometimes) I look like this:
No growth hormone.
No supplements? Yes really.
Here's a knowledge bomb for you. Real food, unprocessed whole foods or packaged foods that have less than 5 ingredients (those were the parameters I set for myself) are all you need. The only catch here is that you need a lot of free time to prepare and cook your meals and a hefty bank balance, organic food is expensive.
Those pictures were taken after several months of a very extreme organic, natural and anti-inflammatory diet. The kind of diet that supplements were invented for because it's so damn hard and expensive. Before I started that diet and again now, I do use supplements to help 'supplement' my diet. Let's be real people, the guy in that picture looked great, but he was miserable! I maintained that level of body fat for about two weeks. It affected my training, my work and my mood. Scaling that diet back a bit, allowing myself some treats and supplementing with a shake when I'm too busy or tired to prepare food and I have myself a great working diet. A diet that allows us in this business to stay in good shape all year round.
When I'm doing well on this eating plan I have more energy, reduced joint pain and a general feeling of well-being. Think about it. There are no chemicals getting into my body as it's all organic, no refined sugars or caffeine so real foods provide my energy and fuel and my skin clears up. Of course the protein shakes are full of chemicals & a lot contain sugar and all pre-workouts are packed with caffeine but I'll only use them when I really need to. It's balance.
So you want to get in shape? and you really mean it? OK here we go... But first, more about me ;)
I train between 5 & 7 times a week, two Olympic lifting sessions, three or more CrossFit sessions, wrestling training and occasionally gymnastics. I'll have several shows a week too and I also like to surf when I get a chance in my spare time. I do a great deal of exercise. This combined with a good diet consisting of whole, real natural foods gets me that shape.
Here's what I supplement with outside of my cutting diet:
Protein shakes: low to medium carbohydrate blend. I use these right after training if I know I'm not going to be able to eat within 20 mins. If I can eat I will not have the shake!
Creatine: Without getting too deep into the science of it, creatine allows us to work a little bit longer in an anaerobic (less than a couple of mins explosive exercise) capacity. For example, it will replenish your energy stores in your muscles to be able to push out a couple more reps squatting or on the bench. It's perfectly legal in all sports and you have to put the work in to reap the rewards. I will cycle on and off as the manufactures instructions dictate as it puts strain on your liver & kidneys. You have to drink a lot of water too. I use a blend of different types which require no loading phase.
Pre-workout: effectively a concoction of caffeine, sugars, legal stimulants and often a bit of creatine. It's awful, I don't like using them but sometimes I'd rather take a pre-workout so that I train and train hard than miss a session because I'm tired. Don't get me wrong, sometimes you need to skip that workout but you'll get to know when your body really needs the rest and when it's just faking it!
That's my lot. I have tried BCAA's in the past and I'm not sure I felt any benefit so I don't bother as it's an expense I could do without. I do use some health supplements too such as Vitamin D, Fish oils and a few other things but they're not related to physique.
I don't use any 'natural' testosterone boosters, no cutting or shredding supplements or any of the other thousands of supplements, pills or magic potions that are available. Unless you are a competitive body builder with a wealth of knowledge, stay clear of these.
So you know what I do, but what's right for you? This is the bit that you've been waiting for/dreading...
Without changing your training just yet, sort your diet out. Cut out all of the unnecessary supplements, in fact if you're not training hard 5 or more times a week then you don't need them anyway. If you can afford it go organic, cut out refined sugars (you're addicted to it, we all are and I never said this would be easy) cut out caffeine. Only eat whole, non processed foods the majority of the time. We all need a treat so occasionally (once a week or so, not once a day!) have something naughty but just know it will make the days following harder to stick to your program. Eventually you will want to try and cut these out for good. Prepare your meals in advance if you know you're going to be busy so you don't get caught out hungry. There are plenty of books and on line sources that can provide diet & meal plans within the parameters I have set.I can also provide this for you but it will be at a cost. This blog comes for free, after that I need to eat too!
Here's one I like: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/
Do this for at least two months (yes I know I just put up a link for 100 days). If you stick to it you will see results much greater than adding supplements into your current diet. Of course you will. you are changing everything you're putting into your body for the better.
Now lets see if you need to supplement?
How often are you training? if it's less than 3 times a week, no supplements for you. it's not worth your money and your not working hard enough to need them. Sort your diet out and you'll see results.
Up to 5 times a week of hard training and you can think about the supplements I mentioned earlier, only when you really need them and probably not creatine unless you are training for an athletic purpose rather than just to get into shape.
More than 5 times a week of hard training and I would say recovery shakes and creatine supplementation will help recovery between sessions and the occasional pre-workout to get you going on those tough days. Be aware of over training, listen to your body and rest when you need to. I'm sat here nursing a strained back mid way through a run of several shows on consecutive nights because I put in three squat sessions in a row for three days and an Olympic lifting session along with two CrossFit sessions. It was too much and now I'm struggling. Stay safe.
Did you get all that? Well it's here to come back to whenever you need and I'm sure I'll write other posts along similar themes soon. I didn't touch on methods of training or talk about actual foods within the diet so there's a lot more to learn. If you're serious then you'll go out and do it. I mentioned earlier that I can help with both diet and training plans but it will come at a cost. Message me on Facebook or email me at email@example.com to discuss and we can come up with a plan tailored to you that also fits your budget.
'Nothing in this life that's worth doing comes easy'
Dr. Kelso from Scrubs...
If you recognise that name then you will have most likely read it in one of many WWE Superstar's biographies.
If you couldn't help yourself but do an impression of the great man then it's most likely that you have had the pleasure of meeting him, or know someone that has... It's infectious!
If you have no idea who I'm talking about, let me enlighten you. Brian Dixon has been promoting wrestling shows for 45 years this year. All Star wrestling is the longest running wrestling promotion in the UK and is widely regarded as the Europe's number 1 promotion. It certainly runs the most shows and after this summer I can attest to that!
I contacted Mr Dixon shortly after making the decision to pack in my job and try to make it as a full time wrestler. I had come recommended by Tyson T-Bone and so in good faith he provided me with a total of 42 shows over 6 1/2 weeks during the summer holidays. Thanks T-Bone for pretending I was decent! The 'All Star' run is infamous among wrestlers all over the world as one of the toughest schedules going and some of the biggest names in wrestling have passed through including Daniel Bryan, William Regal, Dave 'Fit' Finlay, Sheamus and many others.
It provides a steep learning curve for guys and girls looking to make their mark in the industry.
I spent the summer touring the Haven & Butlins holiday parks around the UK competing in singles, tag, triple threat, six man elimination tag matches and even two triple threat ladder matches! I finished up the summer as the current South West Haven Seaside Slam champion and the Butlins Money in the Bank holder (number 1 contender). So all in all a pretty successful start to my All Star campaign.
Along the way I had the privilege of being in the ring with some of the best international talent around including, but not limited to; USA's Chad Collyer & Sam Adonis, Italy's Adrian Severe, Germany's TKO, The Arabian Superstar Hakeem, Ireland's Joe Cabray & Sammy D and Uk standouts Dave Mastiff, Charlie Garrett, T-Bone, Zack Gibson, CJ Banks, Pete Dunne, Nathan Cruz & many more.
I also got to spend a lot of time traveling and socialising with so many others. Shout outs to Joel Redman, AJ Anderson, Tony Spitfire, Kay Lee Ray, James Mason, Dean Almark, El Ligero, Domino, 'Finland' & Sweden. Oh and Xia. I can't forget miss Brooks, no seriously, it's impossible, she never stops talking!
Last but not least... 'The Legendary' John Kenny. AKA Gypsy John Kenny, AKA Ref John Kenny. If you know him, you know. If you don't, words cannot explain this man. Sir, it was an absolute pleasure.
I have more stories than I can count. The Life Train rolled through, Surf trips happened, the Carmarthen Triple Puncher was on the loose, The Pain Cave was discovered, awful karaoke nights, epic spotify sessions in The Beast, plenty of custard and many more that are not fit for public consumption so I'll leave it there for now.
My place is sweet. It's seriously cool, A little 1 bed flat on the edge of a village which backs on to fields and a canal. I even have a beach and a fire pit in the back garden:
I wouldn't give this up for anything. Well almost anything.
I packed my first box today, DVD's, CD's, books is on the label. I labelled it because I'm not sure when I'll be opening it again. I figure if I'm going to do this, I'm going to do it right and that's not going to be a little 6 month fling. I'm also smart enough to know I won't make any real money in this business for years, maybe ever. So I'm not planning on having the space to open that particular box any time soon.
Fortunately for me, my mum is amazing. There's always going to be a place for me there. It's not ideal being a 30 year old living with your mum but I'm going to be on the road most of the time and since my Dad passed a few years ago she would probably appreciate me being around more often when I'm in the area.
I own my place thanks to inheritance from my dad, lord knows I would never have been able to afford a mortgage on my own! It's being rented for more than the mortgage so my overheads are going to be kept to a minimum. Gym membership, Vehicle upkeep and a few other bits & bobs. So all I have to do is earn enough to eat... I'm sure it's not as simple as that but I'm prepared for the struggle.
I have started signing up to casting agencies for extra work in TV/film and some physique modelling agencies to see if I can earn a bit of extra money with the flexibility my wrestling schedule gives me. My first role came in the other day but I'm still at work until 17th so I had to turn it down. Exciting times ahead! Keep your eyes peels as you might end up seeing me on your screens in the background, pretending to be normal and hiding my true star potential!
That's it... I've had enough.
Two days later I got the courage to tell my brother-in-law and business partner that I was done. I was finished running the business I had helped build into a successful local company. Throwing away my safety net and the thing that paid all my bills. I choked up a little while we talked, I felt like I was jumping ship and leaving John to clear up the mess I left, lord knows I wasn't the most orthodox businessman. I hoped that it wouldn't be a huge surprise and he confirmed that almost immediately. My sister and he have known for a while now that my heart has been somewhere else.
It's funny because it wasn't one thing that triggered my decision or even a straw that broke the camels back scenario. Something happened that gives me a warm feeling inside knowing that it was the right thing to do. There was nothing horrible about my job, yes I hated answering the phone in case there was extra work to be done that would interfere with my well laid plans for the day and yes I very much felt tied down by it a lot of the time but in reality it was a sweet deal. I was effectively my own boss, I had flexibility if I needed to run out to an appointment or take care of personal matters during the day. I could take a fantastic month long holiday in the winter when we were quiet and although I didn't take home a great deal of money due to us investing back into the business I could definitely see a huge amount of potential on the horizon.
The thing that made my decision for me wasn't anything to do with perfect green grass/Artiscapes at all. For weeks I could not stop daydreaming about what it would be like to go Pro, I mean a real professional, as in:
"what do you do?"
"I'm a professional wrestler, what about you?"
*ignores response because; THERE'S NO WAY IT'S AS INTERESTING AS 'PRO WRESTLER'
I thought endlessly about the potential of touring the world, being on TV, working the holiday camp shows during the summer, working for the major UK promotions and being the guy that helps get British wrestling back on to mainstream TV. I could be that guy I thought.
But I couldn't be that guy. There's no way. Working full time plus extra when needed because of my role as director, training to stay in good shape and to improve as a wrestler and then doing shows on weekends. Where was the time to do anything else? I couldn't travel, not even to Europe for shows because of work. I couldn't promote myself because this sort of thing takes a great deal of time and coordinated effort. So there was only one thing for it... I quit, and oddly my two business partners, John and Jess, my sister, are pleased for me! I think quite jealous too, Jess keeps going on about being my manager. I told her she needs to get herself a tennis racquet or a hockey stick to wield and I'd think about it.
In two days I'm 30. No I wouldn't believe me either! I still move like a 20 year old and I'm about as mature as one too when I get to be myself and not pretending to be a businessman. None the less, I'm going to be 30 and there's nothing like the feeling of running out of time to trigger a spontaneous decision.
So I'm doing it. On July 18th I head out with All Star Superslam Wrestling for the full summer run of shows, 9 a week! now if that's not full time I don't know what is? After the run ends I'm going to be working all over the UK and hopefully beyond. When I'm not wrestling I'll be living again. Enjoying what the world has to offer and when I get a moment to reflect on my adventures I'll be sure to share them with you on here.
For now, wish me luck, I'm going to need it. Thanks for believing in me and rest assured, It most certainly is HAMMERTIME!