Hello to everyone reading this and welcome to the Collected Co. Fitness Blog. My name is Adam, I am 23 years old, I was born in Chicago, and I have been weightlifting for about 7 years now. I went to Southern Illinois University - Carbondale and received my bachelors in Exercise Science. I recently completed an internship at Yale University Athletics with their Strength and Conditioning program, and I’m planning on hopefully getting my Masters in High Altitude Exercise Physiology from Western Colorado University.
Exercise and fitness has always been an important part of my life physically, mentally, and emotionally. I would say I’m far from being an expert on the topic, but my goal has been and always will be to absorb as much knowledge from as many different sources as I can, and share that knowledge with as many people as possible. Arnold Schwarzenegger, business man, actor, former Governor of California, and seven time Mr. Olympia winner has six rules of success, number six being “Give something back”, meaning, give back to your community. I struggled with that for a long time because I always thought it had to be a big event or donation that would radically change lives, and how could I do that being a broke-ass college student with a fitness background? However, what I’ve learned is that small gestures are just as important as big ones. Volunteering your time to worthy causes, donating food and clothes to a shelter, doing something nice for a stranger, giving a homeless guy some spare change, or just helping an old lady cross the street or carrying her groceries (uh, pre-covid at least), are all worth doing. Much like exercise and fitness, the little things eventually add up to become big things.
I was a part of a cancer rehab program at Southern Illinois called Strong Survivors where we helped improve the quality of life of cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers through the use of exercise. It was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done in my entire life.
Now that I’m out of school I wanted to find a way where I could continue to give back to the community, so I figure writing these articles and sharing the knowledge I’ve acquired over the years is a good place to start. Giving back is one of the ways I like to stay Collected because in the end, and I’ll be quoting Joe Holder here, “we have to realize these things aren’t about you, it’s about us”. That being said, none of this would be possible without the help of a great friend and person, the man who started it all, Joey Gomez. I’d like to take a second to thank Joey for making all this happen, this first article is dedicated to you.
With the knowledge I have now, my approach to fitness is radically different than when I started. When I first started getting into fitness it was all about bodybuilding to me. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbo, Frank Zane, Lee Haney, Tom Platz, Zyzz and the list of my idols goes on. I didn’t know anything so I learned from second hand knowledge in the gym, Youtube videos, or online fitness forums. It was a wonderful world of "bro-science" tips, bodybuilding programs, and trying to get as huge as possible with little regard for anything else. Some of it was actually good information, some of it had solid foundations but was interpreted the wrong way, but honestly most of it was absolute and complete bullshit. People did it anyway (myself included) because as it turns out, when you’re completely untrained you’ll see results from doing pretty much anything. Was it the best way of reaching my goals? No, absolutely not, but did it help me create a base and a love for working out, and most importantly did it keep me coming back? Absolutely it did. Now, the issue is discerning the bad advice from the dangerous advice, but that’s a topic I’ll cover another time.
The first big point I want to hammer into everyone reading this is that it doesn’t matter if you’re just starting your fitness journey or if you’re a seasoned veteran, consistency is key. On average, it takes people 66 days for a habit to become automatic. I can tell you now if you’re trying to form a habit with something that you hate, chances are you won't make it to that mark. In other words, do what you enjoy. If you like to lift weights, lift weights. If you like to run, run. If you like yoga, do yoga. Doing what you enjoy is the most important aspect of fitness because that is what's going to keep you coming back and progressing.
My second point is the fact that progress is almost never completely linear. You’ll have bad days, bad weeks, or even more, but the goal is to see a general upward trend. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve cheated on my diet and slacked on my training on many occasions, and that’s okay. Don’t focus on the dips, and just take it one day at a time. Every morning all you have to do is ask yourself, “How can I do better today?”
The last point I want to get across to everyone is don’t judge your progress based on what others can do. There will always be people that are stronger, that can run faster, jump higher, throw further, or look better. That’s inevitable, but it doesn’t matter because fitness isn’t about being better than others, it’s about trying to be better than you were yesterday.
“Don't ever pay people out or put people down. Instead just put yourself up and let the haters do their thing. I'd rather be a person that's hated on, than a person that does the hating.” -Zyzz