"Since working out regularly, I feel much happier, more energised and I worry a lot less.” - Dave
My name is Dave. I’ve been a member of Pur Gym Walton-on-Thames since 2012. I work in the Music Business and I have 3 young children and a wonderful wife.
I decided I needed some serious lifestyle changes when I was in my mid-twenties.
I was drinking, smoking and going out all the time. I had trouble sleeping and my diet was indulgent. This need for change coincided with me injuring my ankle and going to physio. The physio told me I needed to strengthen my muscles by running. This then lead to me joining a gym and I have never looked back.
My wife and I spent 3 years living in the French Alps where I went snowboarding nearly every day.
I realised that having an activity like snowboarding which requires complete focus changed my mental state and made me a much calmer and happier person.
The endorphins I was getting from snowboarding made me understand that I’m a person that needs physical activities to help me deal with my anxiety. I need points throughout the week when I am removed from reality.
When we moved back to the U.K. I needed something to replace snowboarding and I found that going to the gym 3-4 times a week was the perfect escapism for me.
I get up 5am to go to the gym so that I can work it around my kids and busy work life.
I started to change my lifestyle by giving up smoking in 2005 which made a huge difference to my health. I then started running and joined the gym. In 2011, when my wife and I found out that we were expecting our first baby, I decided to give up drinking as a show of solidarity to my wife during her pregnancy. However, I didn't realise at the time that I was giving it up for good. Giving up drinking was a huge shift in my life. I used to find I had mental highs and lows throughout the week and I used to dread Mondays after a boozy weekend.
Now I feel like I am on a constantly energised level of happiness and low anxiety. I put this down to having a great fitness routine and not drinking and now I can go out and enjoy myself on a night out and not feel the need for a drink.
When I first started training I went to the gym once a week at the weekend. Now I go 3-4 times a week and now if I don’t go I start to fret and feel worse off. Since I started training I’ve noticed loads of changes. My whole body feels stronger and leaner whilst being more muscular than before. I’m quite naturally lean so my goal hasn’t been to lose weight but to put on weight in the form of muscle. I used to weigh 68kg and now I am up to 73kg. I am really chuffed with that. I also recently hit my personal best Deadlift weight of 140kg. I was super happy with that as it is 2 times my body weight.
I’ve spent time with various PTs over the years and have learned many things from them. Educating myself on different aspects of fitness and nutrition has given me the key to hone a successful training routine. I also think changing your training routine quite regularly can help keep you interested in your training and avoiding hitting plateaus. My gymspiration is a guy called Jim Stoppani (@jimstoppani). He has a series of workouts called that individually focus on 3 pillars: Size, Strength and Shred. I rotate these three workouts and I’ve found them to be the hardest yet most rewarding workouts I’ve ever done and I always recommend him.
I’ve had an interesting time with my diet. In 2013 I tried very hard to get my BMI down so that I could have a well-defined torso. I cut out carbs and sugar and was strict with myself. However, this led to me feeling weak and unhappy.
Nowadays, I have a much more sensible attitude and sustainable approach towards eating and training. I try and eat as much protein as I need to and balance that with a good supply of vegetables whilst staying away from sugars and keeping an eye on my carb intake.
I will allow myself to have treats, otherwise eating exclusively chicken and broccoli makes meal times a chore and boring.
My family are my priority, everything revolves around them. I have to spin the plates of their mental and physical wellbeing and my relationship with them whilst bringing in the financial stability that keeps us secure just like all parents. It is also important to me to keep myself healthy so I can do my best to guarantee that I am around to always be there for them when they get older.
My fitness has to work round my busy routine which is why I am down the gym at 5am as this is just about the only time I can have guaranteed time when no one else needs me! It is also important to me that they see me as a fit and active role model and I include them as much as I can by bringing them to the gym to show them round and playing sports with them. I can’t wait until they are teenagers and we can work out together!
Since I started training on a regular basis, I am much happier and my levels of anxiety are much lower.
I strongly believe that everyone would benefit from spending more time exercising throughout their week as it can help to take your mind off from the travails of daily life.
If I could give advice to someone who is just starting out in the gym it would be to:
- Try and experience the mental benefits of exercise first and everything else will follow. For me the mental health rewards from exercise are the pillars of my training and looking good and body definition is a pleasant side effect.
- Try not to obsess over your goals. Be patient and you will get there.
- Never compare yourself to anyone else. Just be the best you can be and you will feel happier.
- Don’t force yourself to go to the gym loads of times every week. Ease your way into the gym first before upping your frequency and just exercise as much as you feel comfortable.
- Don’t forget, nutrition and training go together. If you’re not eating well and training hard, it can affect your performance, mind and your results. Try making small steps to eat healthier by incorporating more vegetables into your diet.
- Try different forms of exercise until you find one that suits you.
I think that motivation comes from habit. If you make going to the gym a regular fixture in your weekly diary and plan your visits for the coming week on a Sunday evening then you can have a busy lifestyle and still make time for physical activities. Leaving the house when you are tired or not feeling up for it is the hardest part but once you have done your HIIT session, run 5k or swam 20 lengths you will feel amazing! Last year started an Instagram account @daverrajan and I find posting pictures of me every time I go to the gym keeps me motivated to always get myself to PureGym early in the morning.
My goal is to increase my muscle size whilst staying lean. This means pulling my body in two different directions - to fight my fast metabolism and put on weight while at the same time keeping my body fat levels as low as possible. All of this whilst maintaining a healthy diet and having time for my family
Great work Dave! Keep bringing your incredible!
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