Fitness and training have always been a huge part of my life. This is a brief history of my experience and passion for physical exercise.
When I was 5 years old, my mother took me to a swimming pool, and thus I began my swimming lessons. Few years later, when I took part to my first race, I discovered the competitive and resolute side of myself. Unlike other kids around me, I was never any proficient at football or any sport involving a ball, nor was I that interested in it. This somehow made my training more focused and at age 10, it was already surprisingly consistent.
At 14 I decided to quit swimming, in favour of my newly discovered passion for trail and cross-country running. My teenage “rebellion” consisted in pushing this training as far as I could, with extreme sessions of running up the mountains, which I happened to live by. I still believe that growing up into intense endurance really forged me mentally if not only physically. The fierce determination required in this discipline, and being exposed to the natural elements of the alpine environment were sensations I could not live without.
My strength training began at home as a functional aspect of my trail running performance. I believed in a balanced body where endurance and strength ameliorate each other. Using makeshift equipment and intuition I slowly developed my own home training routines. Incidentally, as my body developed, I discovered the satisfaction and psychological benefits of an aesthetic physique.
This sort of stimulus can seem very abstract to someone with experience in a purely endurance based discipline, and the reward mechanisms rather different. Before, the achievement was measured in distance covered, altitude, time taken, and the endorphins were reinforcing the quintessential righteousness of the purpose.
Now, the joy and beauty radiating from an healthy and strong body became something that accompanied me wherever I went, and was universally accepted. Not everyone relates to a 14-hour high altitude trail running event, but everyone relates to the proportions of a classic physique. And this is simply because it is a more complete statement of balance between endurance and strength. Suddenly I understood the importance that classical art and philosophy attributed to symmetry, proportion and completeness, and how physical wellbeing related very strictly to intellectual brilliance and even to morality.
My vision of a body that could perform at its best and simultaneously manifest its virtues exteriorly was clear and crisp before me. Nevertheless, even though this provided an objective, it was not what provided the motivation nor the drive. These I already had, perhaps inherited from my endurance training and the pleasure of physical exertion for its own sake, or maybe just innate within me.
At 18 I moved to London and, deprived of the vast outdoors and mountains I was accustomed to, I joined the gym for the first time. It was like a playground, everything was so easily accessible and provided endless training possibilities. I asked myself how could anyone not have amazing gains with all this equipment at your disposal?
The transition to intense strength training happened gradually. While in college, I was part of the cross-country and athletics team and took part to inter-collegiate races. However, the remarkable gains in strength and the novelty of the newly discovered sport slowly conveyed my attention and passion to the gym workouts.
Over the years I kept up with endurance sports, in particular I resumed swimming which soon started taking place exclusively outdoor, at the lidos and ponds available in London, or wherever I could find a lake or the ocean. This was kept up through the winter seasons too, with a gradual and extremely consistent acclimatisation to water temperatures down to freezing point. I grew very fond of cycling which provided me with a means of transport as well as fun weekend workouts.
I always believed that fitness is about lifestyle, more than anything. Walking to places, taking the stairs, being up early in the morning, embracing outdoor activities and putting real effort and passion in the workouts. I have a lot to say about my own experiences, thoughts an feelings on this subject, and I am looking forward to sharing more with you all!