New Darren

Phoenix Fitness have kicked off 2019 with an inspirational campaign to aid those who have an interest in fitness but have not yet had the urge to get themselves going. 

We have gathered some of the Phoenix FitnessFam together to capture their first hand experiences to help you start your journey!  It's a new year and there can be a new you!  So get inspired and see the change you can make! 

Check out @dazcharles transformation below, the image shows a transformation of 1 year apart.

Phoenix Fitness :

How did you start off your fitness journey?

Darren:

When I was 17 my 6th Form College opened a brand new Fitness Suite and I got a part time job there. Started lifting weights because I wanted to look like a Men’s Health cover model and the journey began from there.

Phoenix Fitness :

At what stage in your life where you encouraged to get into fitness?

Darren:

Age 17. I decided to get more serious about modelling and competing when I was 22. I took up long distance running when I was 26 and wanted a new challenge.

 

Phoenix Fitness :

Did you invest in fitness equipment?

Darren:

No. I had free access to a gym so I used that every day after school. 

Phoenix Fitness 

Have you ever tried working out at home and how did this work out for you?

Darren:

No (except for a bit of foam rolling and yoga)

Phoenix Fitness :

Did you consider a personal trainer or workout plan?

Darren:

No, but if I was to compete in bodybuilding or Mens Physique again I would consider hiring a prep coach. Likewise, if I was to take up running seriously and prep properly for a marathon I would probably hire a running coach.

Phoenix Fitness :

Did you create clear and trackable goals?

Darren:

Yes I did.

Phoenix Fitness :

Was Transformation ever tracked during your fitness journey, if so why do you think this is important?

Darren:

Yes I do think it's important to track variables if you are undertaking a fitness transformation. When I was strictly bodybuilding/training for physical results, I would take weekly progress pictures and would regularly track my weight and certain measurements (waist, chest, shoulders, hips, biceps, forearms, calves, quads etc), and would track my calorie intake using an app called MyFitnessPal.

I would also log my workouts so that I could measure my gym performance and so that I had a chronological log of my progression. This is important so that you can accurately measure progress and also to see what changes may need to be made along the way.

Now that I train in a more holistic way, I track slightly different variables such as my sleep quality and quantity, daily step count, weekly mileage and weight. Although these are now different variables that I am tracking I still think it is really beneficial to be able to keep a regular log of these stats so that you can monitor your progress and periodically assess how your training is going so that you can make adjustments in alignment with your health and fitness goals.

Phoenix Fitness :

Did you ever leave focus to your fitness journey, if so what motivated you to get back on track?

Darren:

I lost my way a few years ago with my training – I was kind of just going through the motions and not enjoying it. I felt like I had to maintain this pre-conceived notion of being a bodybuilder/big guy and I wasn’t really motivated with my training nor was I that happy with how I looked. I decided to try something completely different and train for a half marathon.

It was exactly the change of direction I needed to freshen up my training and set some new goals. It was refreshing and liberating, and now I combine both running and bodybuilding into my programming.

Phoenix Fitness :

Which exercises do you find work best for you to achieve your overall goals? 

Darren:

I don’t necessarily have ‘staple’ exercises which I must perform no matter what, but if I had to choose:

  • Back & Arms = Wide Grip Pull Ups
  • Chest & Shoulders = Smith Machine Incline Bench Press
  • Legs = Barbell Split Squats

I also try and do at least one 5k run every week!

Phoenix Fitness :

Are you happy with that you have achieved or are you wanting to do better? if so what are your next goals?

Darren:

I am happy with where I am. I guess I’ve got to a stage in my development where I’ve ‘completed’ fitness – at least to a level that most casual health and fitness enthusiasts would love to achieve.

My main goal is to stay mobile and injury free, and to be able to maintain my physique and current health and fitness levels into my 30s and 40s with the current lifestyle that I enjoy.

In terms of competitive goals, I’d still like to run a marathon in under 3 hours so that might be the next thing on the list if I can stay injury free!

Phoenix Fitness :

Do you have any top tips to give to beginners who are starting off their fitness journey based on your experience? 

Darren:

Enjoy the process, because that in itself is the reward.

Going to the gym isn’t a punishment for what you ate or how much you sit, fitness is a celebration of the fact that you are alive, healthy, and can still move freely.

Fitness isn’t something you only do at the gym; fitness means you either approach your body and mind with respect, or you disrespect the gift of your own life and health - and then everything that defines a healthy human - such as the simple ability to play with a child, or to walk on the beach, is taken away from you.

Getting into shape isn’t something you only do for your wedding or because you've just been ditched by your girlfriend, fitness is a personal choice where you decide to live your life at a higher level, because when you're fit, healthy and happy, then almost anything seems possible.

One day you'll suddenly be old, and if you're overweight and don’t move, that's because you made a decision - and that decision was to end your life earlier, and to live a lower quality of life, than someone who realises that what you do today in fitness determines how you will live for the rest of your life.

Fitness isn’t about achieving perfection, or about trying to emulate someone else, or about trying to recapture who you were 'back in the day'. It's about becoming the best you can be today. In this present moment.

There is no perfect you, but there is a you within that can overflow with health, happiness and energy, because you understand that fitness isn't this big one-off event that you carry out and then it's done. Fitness isn't something you do: Fitness is something you inhabit, and it's the very essence of who you are.

Fitness is that quiet walk to the gym on a Saturday morning. It's that uneventful 6 mile tempo run on a Tuesday evening. It's that 10 minutes of foam rolling which you know you should do but can never be bothered to. It's choosing the slightly more nutritious option at a restaurant because you know you'll feel better for it. And you know what? It's worth it.

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