From the football pitch to the stage…………………

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Ben Wesselby recently made the transition from the football pitch to the competitive physique stage……….

Following his recent debut at the Mr & Miss Hull East Coast 2015 competition, after completing an amazing body transformation, I took the opportunity to ask Ben a few questions to get an insight into his motivation, his approach. I was interested & intrigued as to how he stayed focused throughout his preparation…………. So lets dive straight in……………….

Could you start by giving a bit of background about your exercise history? I

I’ve been going to the gym for over 10 years now, enjoying it, but never really truly pushing myself. For years I was doing the same routines and exercises, whilst maintaining decent fitness levels, as I played football on both Saturday and Sunday. I was then challenged by a friend to try running the Humber Half Marathon. The first time I completed it, 2 years ago, I lost a lot of muscle mass due to the high volume of running I was doing on a weekly basis.

Then last year I got a trainer to help me maintain muscle mass whilst getting me fitter than ever. As a result I lost 16lbs in 10 weeks, whilst also gaining 1kg of muscle mass.

What was behind your decision to compete? Where there any defining factors? 

When seeing the changes in my body, whilst going through the above training in 2014, I started to take a huge interest in men’s physique body building. I became intrigued by the extreme condition they achieve in photo shoots and in the videos I watched online. The better my own fitness levels were due to my training and food plans for the half marathon I continued to think ‘that’s the look I would like for myself’.

Before I ran the half marathon in 2014, I went to watch my first body building competition, I then set my target to compete in men’s physique body building in 2015.  

How long did it take you to prep?

In May 2014 I decided to look more in to what it would take to try to achieve a physique in which I could compete with other competitors. I properly started following a strict food plan in October 2014.

I then started to “cut” up 13 weeks prior to the competition, during which time I had help from a qualified nutritionist & specialist.

What where the main changes you had to make to your nutrition/lifestyle/mindset?

The first thing I was advised to do was to give up playing football, something I had done since I was a young child and it played a big part of my life. This purpose of this decision to try and maintain as much muscle mass as possible whilst training.

The next big thing was cutting out alcohol and any junk foods. As a single guy this was a tough life choice I was making! As much as I wanted to succeed in my targets, I knew it was going to have a huge affect on my social life. If I was to achieve the “look” of the guys in the fitness magazines, I needed to make these sacrifices.

Did you modify your training style?

With help from my trainer I changed my mind set regarding the way I trained. Taking on board different exercises, time under tension, and maximising every muscle to its full capability.

Then when I started to “cut” for the competition my training was then changed again, to try and hit my weaker muscle groups. A key emphasis was put on training wisely around specific muscles.

Did you train alone/with a partner (s)?

 I initially went around the task of getting in the best shape of my life with a close friend, who was also looking to compete for the first time.

However due to the fact I needed to focus on my weaker muscle groups, I then had to train on my own the majority of the time, to ensure I was getting the most from each of my weights sessions.

What aspect of the comp prep was the most challenging to you?

I went through a lot of personal challenges whilst in prep, personal life, work and financial stresses. These were all really difficult situations but the challenge of prep helped me remain focused, and without realising, it  was making me tougher to take on all the other challenges life was throwing at me.

The fact I went 4 months without booze and just over 3 months without any junk was a massive challenge in itself!

For my birthday weekend I celebrated by going out with friends……..drinking lime and soda. The following night was to watch boxing at a friends, they all sat there enjoying a beer and a huge Indian take away spread all over the lounge floor, I on the other hand remained focused on my targets and had a bowl of porridge washed down with water!!! Yes I got a good laugh from the rest of the lads at this moment!!!!  

How did you stay motivated?

I continued to take weekly progress pictures and forward them on to my food/ training planner so he could monitor my progress. Week on week, I was seeing a small amount of difference, but nothing like I wanted. I continued to see others who I was due to compete against (some being over 10 years younger than me) and I knew I was chasing them.

This kept me focused in wanting to make bigger changes. With help from family and some really close friends it helped to drive me on to achieve what I intended to achieve, the best I’ve ever looked.

Could you talk through what went through your mind the days leading up to & before your competition? 

The week leading up to the competition was really tough. I went through a process of carb depletion and water loading. This meant for 4 days I took on minimal carbs whilst increasing my water intake from 8 litres of water on the Monday up to 12 litres of water on the Friday.

As you can imagine I always had to know where the nearest toilet was whilst doing this!!!!

It was a very tiring and physically draining process I was putting my body through, but the focus remained the same: Listen to my prep coach and come Sunday night I can eat what ever I fancied, washed down with a cold beer!!!

Did you learn anything new about yourself throughout your journey/transformation?

My mental strength seemed to grow week on week, especially as I was fighting the desires of meals out, take aways in front of the TV and my biggest challenge…………… “missing chocolate”.

Has your experience helped you in other areas of your life?

Whilst going through other life issues mentioned earlier, the mental strength from the focus of something I wanted to achieve helped me a lot more than I realised at the time. Also this was something my close friends and family continued to praise me on, my own determination.  

What advice would you give to anyone looking to compete for the first time?

Give it everything you’ve got and leave no regrets behind. It’s hard work, but for the moments spent on stage I loved it! Anyone can do it if they have the desire to be the best they possibly can. It does take a lot of dedication to get to the extreme of competing, but I would try to tell anyone to enjoy what they are doing. To get up at half past 4 in the morning to go for a steady walk for an hour, work a ten hour shift with anything up to 4 hours driving, hit the gym on the night and then prepare foods for the following day…..If  you do it all with a smile on your face and it makes it a lot easier.

No matter what life throws at you, try to take all positives from the experience and grow as a person.

 

So there you have it folks, in Ben’s own words…no matter what your goals are, no matter what your dreams are, you can apply these tools to all aspects of YOUR life.

We are all stronger & more capable than we dare to believe…………

Until the next time,

Tristan ‘feeling inspired’ Buttle.

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DAD BOD: heres what I think………………………..

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I thought I’d weigh in on the whole ‘dad bod’ debate that seems to have recently sparked interest all over social media.

The original blog post can be found here:

http://theodysseyonline.com/clemson/dad-bod/97484

It was posted by a girl named Mackenzie Pearson.

I’d like to quickly share my thoughts & opinions. Im doing so as a guy who has spent the majority of his adult life working out, & as a trainer I have helped 100s of others take their life back, regain their confidence, improve their health, battle depression, & generally feel like they have become a better partner/husband/wife/parent.

One thing that leapt out at me is that the whole ‘dad bod’ blog predominantly presents one side; I guess this to be expected. I’m not sure how young this girl is, however she deals primarily with the aesthetic side of training throughout her blog…there isn’t a single reference to health, well being, and or mental/physical harmony….

I would like to start by emphasising that vanity & sanity are two VERY different aspects of training.

Training/working out or however you wish to define it, is very often extremely therapeutic…more so than ‘drinking heavily on the weekends & eating eight slices of pizza at a time’, that is a form of sedation. I’m not tee total and I LOVE pizza, but it’s a treat, that’s not me preaching, that’s what works for me, does this make me less of a man?

In her opening paragraph she states:

“The dad bod is a new trend and fraternity boys everywhere seem to be rejoicing.”

If these guys have the dad bod at this young age, where will they be in 5/10/15 years time? Again, I’m talking about health here, not aesthetics. If you had to place a bet on who will/wont have health issues/complications later down the line, who would bet on? There are no guarantees in life, but surely as a girlfriend/potential lifetime partner you would want your lover to live as long & as healthy as possible?

The dad bod says, “I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.”

Has she considered that you can eat & pizza/drink beer in moderation, still be in shape and still be happy?

Some of her other supporting points as to why girls love the dad bod are as follows:

>’It doesn’t intimidate us.’

Ok, I get this, to a point, however surely this is down to your man to make you feel special? He needs to make you feel secure, to make you realise that you are what he needs. I would also suggest that insecurity can breed insecurity, maybe he can be strong for you, and lift you up? This is connection; this is emotional, not physical.

>’We like being the pretty one.’
I agree that the girl should be, but doesn’t the girl in question also want to be proud of her guy? Don’t they want to show him off?

>’Better cuddling.’
Don’t some girls want to feel safe & protected?

>’Good eats.’
You can train hard, stay focused, get lean, get results all whilst still enjoying a cheat meal, however doing something everyday/consistently isn’t a cheat it’s a habit……..one that WILL effect your health….

>’You know what you’re getting.’
This is possibly the biggest issue I have with the whole blog……..The point here is that supposedly girls know they are getting into when he’s got the dadbod already at age 22 opposed to 45, in that it’s a visualisation of how the guy will look when he’s older……BUT if the guy is started at 22 with a dad bod, this is only a sign that he will potentially get worse and HEALTH (there’s that word again) WILL deteriorate…….

What about what you can’t see?
How a man enters the room, how he walks, how he sees himself, how he conducts his business, how he talks, how he is with his kids, how he performs in the bedroom are all directly effected by training.

Do you think men don’t suffer with body issues?

Do you think we don’t beat ourselves up?

I’ve lost count of the amount of times when a guy has confided in me & muttered the words ‘I don’t want to be a fat dad’… this takes courage, its not easy for us guys to open up & admit our insecurities. We hide behind humour, behind banter, but we ALL have feelings, we ALL have issues… We often feel the pressure to be ‘the man’, not only in relationships but in life, we want our lovers to be proud of who we are, but WE also want to be proud of who we are.

If this girl or any girl for that matter is looking a guy as a long term partner, ie marriage, kids, the whole lot, then SURELY part of this involves living life with energy & confidence and passing these traits onto their kids?

Wouldn’t Mackenzie want her partner to be a HEALTHY role model to their kids?

Why not aim higher than the ‘dad bod’? Why settle? Why not be more?

This doesn’t make the man vain; it doesn’t reflect his skills as parent, or his judgement of others. If a man wants to take control of his life and channel himself through training then that’s his choice.

The aesthetic results of strength/resistance training are only a bi-product of continuous dedication, passion, focus & consistency….. There are simply far too many to health benefits to list….

NOBODY, man, woman or child should be obsessed with their looks, self obsession will only close you off from the world and ultimately exclude you from happiness.

Remember that if a guy is an arsehole, but he happens works out, he’s just an arsehole who works out. No amount of muscle will change that, just like no amount of beer or pizza will change that.

All I invite you to consider today is that there is FAR more to consider from a ‘working out’ perspective.

Nobody should be judged or put in a box, everyone has the right to do what is right for them.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog, please share with anyone who you think will find it useful.

Tristan ‘I could kill a pizza now’ Buttle

Glittery thongs…………………

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………..that’s what they wore……& very little else.

I went to a local bodybuilding show yesterday in Hull, for a number of reasons:

To educate myself, to spend some time with someone close to me, to see first hand the results possible from true hard work & focus, & to support a friend who was doing his first physique show……..

>So what?

Well, here’s the thing, whether bodybuilding floats your boat or not, it doesn’t really matter…

All the competitors where the best at what they do within their categories…they had all achieved what is required to be on that stage…they had all earned their place.

Being in a room full of people who are following their dreams, their passions & their goals is nothing but inspiring & extremely positive….

Whatever YOUR passion may be, I encourage you to surround yourself with people who have excelled in that area…and also have people around you who support & understand your passions…..this is essential if you want to succeed.

The competitors didn’t end up there yesterday by chance…

>It took practice…

>It took time…

>It took consistency…

>Dedication….

>Focus……….

>At times it took sacrifice….

You can apply this to anything my friend, whatever your goals are, whatever your dreams are, you will need to consider ALL of the above….

I urge you to find inspiration for YOUR goals, whatever aspect of your life it fits into.

Whether it’s your relationships, your business/work, or your health & fitness goals….

Seek out the people in the required area that you can learn from…….we ALL need some inspiration from time to time…..

Until the next time,

Tristan ‘totally inspired’ Buttle.

P.S – I’ll be sitting down with Ben (who I was there to support) to get a TRUE insight into his experiences leading up to yesterdays event & I’ll be sharing the content this week. We are looking at how he went about understanding his own motivation and how he kept his focus throughout……there no doubt will be some great content for you to apply to yourself, no matter what YOUR goal is……..

P.P.S – next year could prove to be my debut……….

I just embarrassed myself……………

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There I was working in the gym, catching up on some program writing, when in comes Donna, one of our top freelance instructors………

We got chatting with one of our of longstanding members/regular attendees of Fitness Pilates, about some rather challenging leg/glute class content……

This prompted me to rather stupidly ask:

‘What’s all this about?’

‘Is it tough?’…

First lesson here is be careful what you ask for my friend!

Next thing, I’m laid on my side doing allsorts of contorted movements, my leg up in the air, swinging around, kicking, squeezing & generally gasping for my breath all whilst Donna keeps calmly saying ‘8 more’!

It’s amazing what pain/discomfort can be inflicted using only your own body weight!

I freely admit, my hips are not the most mobile & I’m not the most flexible guy, but even so, this was tough!

After completing just one side, I was done!

Rolling around like a baby…………..embarrassing!

>If you apply this to yourself, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

>Tried a new approach to your training?

>Tried a new class?

>Changed your approach to your eating pattern?

Even the smallest, newest change can have a big impact………..

And these changes DON’T get easier…YOU get stronger…..

Until the next time,

Tristan ‘sore glutes’ Buttle.

P.S – Pilates, Yoga, & any class that promotes mobility/flexibility provides a great contrast to the usual ‘gym’ workout…It can actually help your gym progression, especially from a postural point of view…..