Thanks to the internet, most of us by now have probably scrolled past at least one of those ‘New Year’s gym’ memes. They usually comprise of an image of a gym in December, completely vacant, and an image below of a gym in January, swarming with people. Whilst I am aware it really is just a meme, it did make me think as to why this happens to many of us every year (sorry but it’s true). Many of us begin the year as we mean to go on; fully devoted towards our fitness goals, hungry to put things into action and finally work towards achieving our ambitions. More often than not though, that motivation tends to fall by the wayside. The notion of a ‘clean slate’ and a ‘fresh start’ at the coming of the new year resonates with all of us, and it makes perfect sense – the start of the year feels like the right time to go after the things we want and the perfect time to get the ball rolling, fitness related or other. As a student, spending hours in (and out) of the gym in the pursuit of a desirable physique is not only incredibly time consuming but also, for the most part, way too expensive. I spent some time talking to the UKDFBA British Junior champion, and the WNBF Worlds Junior 3rd place finisher Adam Powe, in an attempt to gain some insight on keeping that January motivation rampant throughout the entire year.
Q: So, you’ve won the Brits, and placed 3rd overall in the Worlds. What happens next?
A: Firstly, 2020 for myself is about getting back to feeling healthy again, and being able to give back to the people who have supported me throughout my prep. Prep is a very selfish sport and now it is important to spend time with my family and girlfriend and creating great experiences that I’ve missed so greatly in 2019. Secondly, it’s about getting big, gaining as much muscle as possible. This is necessary as in 2021 I’ll be competing in middleweights against grown men. Eating and sleeping and studying is the focus for 2020. I want to be able to focus on my degree and maintain that necessary balance between bodybuilding and my studies.
Q: Sounds good. Being in your second year at uni, do you feel pressure to keep on top of your studies and still do everything necessary to compete at an international level?
A: Of course! I have a plan to do as well as possible in my degree, whilst maintaining that love for bodybuilding. That’s why I’m putting the dieting on hold until I have finished in Bristol. It works hand in hand as it enables me to work on a full off season for the first time ever, and come back far improved. I want to be in a position where I have the option of pursuing what I love (bodybuilding) whilst having a degree to fall back on.
Q: So for many students, money is their main issue. How can students achieve their own fitness goals without having to fork out too much for food, supplementation, gym memberships etc?
A: I think it’s important to buy stuff in bulk. Shopping in Aldi and Lidl, and buying food in bulk will help save a lot of money. Same with protein; go for the biggest option as it will work out cheaper in the long run. With regards to gyms, don’t be fooled by the commercialised Pure Gyms. You get way more bang for your buck in hardcore bodybuilding gyms like Trojan Fitness. It’s the same price but the range and quality of equipment in facilitating muscle growth is much better. I think saving money is important, but spending little on the poor stuff is pointless. It’s about finding the perfect balance between price and quality.
Q: Time management is one of the most important factors to consider as a student in order to do well. How do you manage your time at the level you compete at? Do you find yourself more attentive to one or the other on some days?
A: With regards to time management, I’ve never had a problem with this. In my opinion, if you want something bad enough, you’ll make time for it. I want to do well at uni, but I also want to succeed in bodybuilding. Therefore I put aside anything else before those two goals. Training has taught myself that putting my time into something will always create the best results. If you train hard consistently you will grow. If you focus on your studies consistently you will do well. It just comes down to whether you really want it.
Q: Keeping fit and healthy is a tried and tested way to improve one’s mental health. Do you believe living this lifestyle has helped with your degree? If yes then how so?
A: I have never struggled with mental health, but I started lifting at an early age. It gave me purpose when growing up in my teenage years. The ability to zone out from any worries and stresses, creating that tunnel vision within those heavy sets is what I love. I feel growing muscle is a goal that carries lots of features of visualisation. To imagine the end goal has taught me a way of thinking that I have applied to any goal I have. At uni it’s enabled me to visualise the necessary steps towards getting that First Class degree. I know what I have to do, it’s just about applying the consistency that I can picture in my own head. I know the steps I need to take, and the gym has taught me that.
Q: Okay! And finally, any advice for anyone looking to kickstart their own fitness journey in 2020?
A: I’ll keep it short and sweet. Fall in love with training. If you are asking yourself how to keep motivated, you are already failing. Fall in love with the process, not the outcome. Be patient and the rewards will follow.