I have had a variety of people influence my interest in health and fitness for a variety of reasons. A big influence on me was Arnold Schwarzenegger, partly for what he achieved in his bodybuilding career but mainly his over-all approach to life. I admired his ability to look at the bigger picture and set out strategies for achieving his ambitious goals. When he started bodybuilding, he wanted to become the greatest bodybuilder who ever lived. He may not have won the most titles, but Arnold Schwarzenegger is the most well-known bodybuilding champion in history. As I have mentioned in previous blogs Ronnie Coleman has won the most bodybuilding titles, however he is not as well known outside of the bodybuilding industry as Arnold. What I admired most about Arnold Schwarzenegger is the fact that he knew when it was time to move on and try something new. By 1975 when he was training for and filming the documentary Pumping Iron, Arnold had won all the bodybuilding titles available at the time and he had won them more times than anybody else. He had nothing left to prove so he moved on to the next stage of his plan. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of his idol Reg Park. Reg Park was an English bodybuilding champion who became an actor, staring in a number of Hercules movies in the 1960’s. As we probably all know Arnold Schwarzenegger went on to become the most successful action movie hero of the 1980’s and served two terms as California Governor.
Another influence on me was Lou Ferrigno. For most people Lou Ferrigno is the Incredible Hulk. What you may not know is that Lou Ferrigno is a two- time Mr Universe winner and a Mr America winner. He also placed third in the heavy weight category in the 1975 Mr Olympia. Like myself Lou Ferrigno has an introverted personality, yet he overcame his introverted personality as well as hearing difficulties to become one of the biggest names in the fitness industry.
I have also been influenced by professional wrestlers. Rick Rude was a wrestler in the 1980’s and 1990’s whose career ended after a back injury. In the 1980’s Hulk Hogan was the biggest name in wrestling. Not only did he sell the most tickets, but at six feet eight inches tall and twenty stone/ 300lb’s in body weight he was everything a wrestling promoter wanted. Rick Rude was not as tall or as big in terms of muscle size, he was however ahead of his time in terms of having a summer body year- round. I have included a picture of Rick Rude above. As a national arm-wrestling champion Rick Rude’s muscles were not just for show and according to former wrestler Kevin Nash, Rick Rude once knocked somebody out with one slap for saying wrestling was fake. Yes, the winner of a professional wrestling match is predetermined but it is still up to the wrestlers to design the match and accidents do happen.
I have also been influenced by The Rock Dwayne Johnson. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger The Rock knew when it was time to move on and become successful in a new career. Before becoming a professional wrestler, The Rock played American football. Just like Rick Rude, The Rocks muscles were not just for show. What influenced me the most about The Rock is the fact that he has been open in interviews about over-coming mental health issues.
My biggest health and fitness influence will be no surprise to my family. This person was my Grandad. My Grandad was a Physical Training Instructor/ PTI in the RAF. My Grandad got me interested in Rugby and Boxing, some of my fondest memories as a child was watching the Six Nations with him. When I started weight training he would ask me how I was getting on and offer advice based on his experience. I worked as a Fitness Instructor for sixteen years. I had the most success working with people who had been on the GP Exercise Referral program and I feel that a big part of this was the influence of my Grandad’s patience and ability to adapt his teaching style to the need of the person he was working with.