Not a lot of people know about my start in fitness and strength training, or what a ride it has been.
I started working out when I was a hardcore skateboarder. (Yes I know you can’t see that so I am going to go one better. Picture me with bangs, skate shorts, converse cons and a skateboard and that was me back in the day!)
I was involved in Martial Arts at the time. It was my true love, but I always felt small and weak. I was fast, but I was tiny. Along with being small I had 3 bigger brothers who pretty much gave me a going over every chance they could. They were 8-10 years older than me, so I am sure I have some great repressed memories in my head somewhere. They were great, but, believe me, they left an impression.
On top of feeling small, I met a an older girl. I liked this girl, but that meant me having to be around older guys. Hence me feeling smaller again. With all of this emotion and energy I started lifting weights.
I used to use my brother’s concrete plates and old bars in his bedroom. Keep in mind that our bedroom was pretty small, there were like 2 of them sharing a room and they still had weights set up. Hardcore.
I lived right across the street from the YMCA on New Cove road. I was doing Karate there at the time, but the weight room still scared the shit out of me.
Then one day everything hit a breaking point inside of me and I had to start seriously lifting weights. That meant that I got comfortable being uncomfortable and stepped up and entered the weight room of the YMCA.
2o years later and I am still strength training and loving it.
I was a pretty lost kid in school. I was reminded of this yesterday when cleaning our office and Danielle found my report card from grade 8. I think I had 1 B and the rest were D’s. My teacher’s comment was something like “Robert needs to apply himself.”
I sucked in school. I didn’t do very well, and when you are doing something you don’t like and doing it poorly it makes you feel like shit. In school, I felt stupid.
The only thing I enjoyed reading was anything to do with fitness, philosophy and martial arts. I hated school. Even more than hating school I hated not doing well at something.
I couldn’t read a text book but I would spend countless hours reading every single thing on fitness and martial arts I could find. I used to work at Coles bookstore, and for a while I was in heaven, because back then we could order books on a Micro Film that we didn’t have in stock (wow I feel old), this was way before Google or Amazon.com.
Every book I could order, I did. I consumed everything in my path. I stayed up until 4am every night reading on week nights and on weekends I worked in a bar as a 165 lb. bouncer downtown.
I was in school (failing out), working in a bar, working with kids with mental health issues, doing Tae Kwon Do, lifting weights, and starting to self-educate myself on what I loved.
I was inspired by a few people that had a huge impact on me when I was a kid. I was busy reading fitness magazines until 4 am because I couldn’t get enough information. Some of the guys I was looking to were Bill Phillips who at the time owned EAS Supplements and the big thing that started it all for me Muscle Media 2000 magazine.
It was an honor to meet Bill Phillips this year, a guy that inspired me to open a business and follow my dreams. It was the most difficult thing I could have ever done with my life but the thing I am most proud of.
Writing for Muscle Media 2000 was T. C. Luoma. I used to love the way T. C. could write, and to his day he is one of my favorite writers. T. C. went on to create the best BodyBuilding & Strength site on the internet T-Nation.com
I remember when T-Nation came out I would hit refresh about 200 times on Friday waiting for their articles. Their stuff was amazing and it still is.
It was on my goals list for 2012 to write for T-Nation. It was one of the few goals I didn’t accomplish this year. So it’s on the top of my list for 2013.
Last with Muscle Media 2000 magazine was Charles Poliquin.
I was a martial artist before I started lifting weights and sadly most of the workout and strength training info I was reading in most magazines didn’t make me faster or stronger. If anything it made me worse in martial arts. I didn’t know that body building routines in magazines weren’t going to make me a better martial artist.
Charles Polquin was the first strength coach where I tried his training information and went “holy shit this works”.
I have everything Charles has put out from his books, audio, articles, blog, and this year I went to do Charles Poliquin’s Bio-Sig level 1 certification. I was stoked to learn and meet a guy that had such an impact on me becoming a strength coach and personal trainer.
Last but not least on the impact Muscle Media 2000 had on me was Shawn Phillips.
Shawn’s abs are legendary and I loved his meticulous approach to writing programs.
I had the pleasure to meet Shawn and have dinner with him in Colorado when I in Denver for Bill Phillip’s Transformation Program.
Looking back 2012 was an amazing year and I am going to write the highlight of it but right now I just wanted to share some of my background and how a old school fitness magazine Muscle Media 2000 and the writers impacted me to do what I do and help people the way I do.
I am truly grateful to have a supplement store, a gym, and programs that make peoples lives better and allow me to do what I love.
Thank you to Muscle Media 2000, Bill Phillips, T. C. Luoma and Shawn Phillips. You guys had an amazing impact on me and I am happy to pass it on.
Look out 2013!