Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog.
In my first post I am simply going to tell you about myself, my background and how I came to start this blog and be where I am today.
I was 14 in 2004 when my Dad shouted up the stairs to me “Pat….Pat…do you want a pair of dumbells?” After several attempts to hear him correctly I went to the top of the stairs, he repeated again, “do you want a pair of dumbells, I am clearing out some old stuff and I am going to throw them out?” ok so this time I was sure I had heard him correctly, no wonder I didn’t understand though as I replied, “what are dumbells?” he motioned with his arms doing some bicep curls “you know, weights?”
I couldn’t believe it. Truth be told, despite not knowing what they were called I had wanted a set of “dumbells” for quite some time but being a shy skinny kid I was too embarrassed to go about getting some or tell my parents. Up to this point, I had been ‘working out’ doing press ups, sit ups, and cycling in an effort to put on some muscle and simply go from being skinny to not AS skinny!
I took the dumbells out to my garage immediately and used sand paper to remove all the rust that had accumulated on them from 30+ years of not being used and being stored god knows where as I had never seen them before in my 14 years at home.
From the garage it was straight to my bedroom where I began doing what any young male does when he picks up weights…. Bicep curling!! I can’t remember how many reps I got the first time but it was about 10 at the lightest combination of weights. What I can tell you is over the coming months I worked up to doing 600 reps of dumbbell curls per night, every night, in sets of 50-100 with the heaviest I could make the dumbells. No, you haven’t stumbled onto Rich Piana’s blog nor is that a typo. In a naïve and futile attempt to ‘get big’ I literally became obsessed with curls!! Not having any books or guidance on exercise and living in rural Ireland before broadband and the explosion of the internet I just did the limited amount of exercises my mind could think of curls, press ups, and sit ups for a couple of months solid!
Overtime I began reading more on the internet and speaking to other guys in high school that were into working out. I began adding in exercises such as shoulder presses and lunges and various others. I would go to the local gym on occasion also. I “graduated” to a home weight bench, barbell and pull up bar and began eating in a way conducive to building muscle
I moved house in late 2005 which saw me within walking distance to the local gym.
It was here that in late February 2006 I saw a poster for a local bodybuilding competition. I asked the guy behind the desk about it and what it was all about.
-“Do you think I could enter it? “
-“It depends, what are your legs like?” came the reply.
Let’s just say it was a good thing that I had previously began implementing exercises for legs as soon as I had learned how!
A couple of days later he gave me some old VHS tapes of the Mr Olympia competition. I took them home and watched them. I returned to the gym feeling disheartened and that I was naïve for thinking I could ever compete at that sport, those guys were huge!
The guy explained to me that those were pros, the best of the best and that at the junior category of the local competition I wouldn’t be out of my depth.
I gave it some further thought and decided to go for it. I got a structured 4 day workout program from my buddy that worked at the gym, I came up with my own nutrition plan and got stuck in for 8 weeks.
I placed second and had a blast. And so I was bitten by the bug and became immersed in the bodybuilding lifestyle and the futile pursuit of physical perfection. That summer I trained and dieted my heart out and I placed first (ahead of the guy I previously placed behind!) at my next competition which was the national championships 2006.
I graduated from high school in 2007 and went on to study a certificate in Fitness and Health
for one year.
I continued training and competed twice more in 2009, winning both shows and scooping another national title.
Despite my previous course I never worked formally in the fitness industry in my early 20’s, instead I worked in the security industry.
Somewhere along the line I began to re-evaluate my life and gradually started to lose my passion for competitive bodybuilding and became generally disillusioned with it.
I flirted with the idea of competing in powerlifting for a long time and eventually took the plunge in March 2014 after training for 6 months for it. I achieved my goal of hitting a 600kg total. And so, I had found a new outlet to express my competitive desires whilst still being able to focus solely on my true passion of weight training. Since then I have continue to improve and compete; setting national records, winning national titles and successfully representing Ireland at international level also.
Acknowledging the fact that strength and nutrition are my passions and that my skills were in demand without ever advertising or seeking clients coupled with the fact that a life working security was not something I ever aspired to; in September 2014 (just before I turned 25) I started college at Limerick Institute of Technology studying a BSc honours degree in Strength and Conditioning.
Turns out I wasn’t too shabby at the whole academic thing and achieved one of the highest results overall in first year. As a result I was selected along with two other students to take part in an academic exchange with Canadore College, North Bay, Ontario.
This was a life changing experience for me and developed me in many ways; I met new friends whom I consider friends for life, I began coaching strength training twice per week at a local high school as well as helping to form and coach the athletes of a local para powerlifting club.
During this time I also became a certified NCCP Olympic weightlifting coach as well as completing my Precision Nutrition course, thus becoming a certified sports and exercise nutritionist.
I returned to L.I.T. in September 2016 to finish my degree, I began coaching the powerlifting team on campus also.
In November 2016 I began the process of opening Kaizen Strength, researching the best equipment to buy before finally making the investment! After many long days and nights of work, the gym was officially openend on January 3rd 2017 and it continues to go from strength to strength (pun intended) weekly.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, I hope you found it interesting and that it gave you more insight into how Kaizen Strength became the number 1 name for strength and muscle development in the South East!
The Kaizen Coach