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I didn’t hear a pop. I didn’t hear anything. All I remember thinking was how I looked, crumpled on the floor, holding my knee, trying desperately to move it.
The news that my ACL had snapped left me feeling entirely exposed. Your body doesn’t lie to you, and you can’t lie to your body.
The realisations slapped me over the back of the head, one at a time; my muscles would shrink, rugby would go on without me, and a superficial passion for my work would be all that filled my days.
My rehab, fuelled by vanity, was both over zealous and completely unsuccessful. Once again, my body took over. Rockstar Van der Merwe at the Sports Science Institute delivered the crushing news that I had to have a knee reconstruction, and my head was once again filled with thoughts of atrophying biceps.
It wasn’t lost on me at the time just how pathetic my initial thoughts were to each setback. What I was forced to realise without the distractions that fill ones life, and as my body stubbornly refused to recover, was that I was bored. Bored with pursuing goals. And tired. Tired of chasing prestige that meant nothing to anyone.
With a promising career in law lined up and more letters after my name than in it, I felt the kind of emptiness that can only be felt when you realise you’re hopelessly lost somewhere. I was almost positive that I was successful. Without trying to sound like a hippy, there comes a time where a person has to ask themselves what it is they really want to do, and once you cut through the crap that’s been put in your head for decades you’ll get there. And I did.
Five months post operation I have resigned from my job, leased enormous premises, bought more equipment then I know what to do with, and am starting a gym. A gym for men. Only. I intend for the gym to be a place to forget the pressure of prestige and to break away from the duties society imposes on all of us. A place where pretence is replaced by some cold steel in your hands, and your body moves the way it was designed to.
Over the next few weeks I’ll travelling to the UK and to the States on the road trip to end all road trips. I’ll be visiting a host of different gyms and attending workshops and certifications by the best coaches in the world, including Kelly Starrett, John Welbourn, Raphael Ruiz and Jami Tikkanen – google them, its worth it.
The gym will be based on the ‘garage gym’ model, and will incorporate the best aspects of the top gyms in the world. The training will be based on explosive movements that are designed to generate and develop power, strength and speed. The workouts will combine elements from various disciplines including Olympic lifting, gymnastics and athletics. Every workout will be scalable so as to maximise the performance of each member regardless of gyming experience or athletic ability.
The gym itself will be authentic and raw. The men who belong to it will have a place where there is neither ego nor judgment, and your desire to be better is coveted more then the make of your car or the brand of your watch.