Author: michaelpatterson

Two Years of Blogging


This week I received a message from saying I have been using their platform for two years now. In those two years my life has changed beyond recognition. During those two years I have had my longest period of mental stability, returned to the leisure industry and was recently been promoted. My older brother got married, asked me to be one of his Ushers and asked me to be a witness to the signing of the wedding certificate. My older sister has also moved to Barcelona and made a great life for herself since I started using’s platform.
What began as something to keep me occupied when I was out of work has led to a form of therapy and an education, I wish I started sooner.

Changing Season’s


As we move further into the Autumn season the days become shorter and nights longer. The change in season also brings less chances to enjoy the sun and may make some of us want to hibernate until the Summer season returns. I feel it is important to use this time to not only recharge the batteries after the six-week school holiday, especially if you are a parent, but to use this time to asses how the year has gone for you. How much of your plan for the year have you achieved? What needs to be done in the last three months of the year to give you the best possible start to the next year. have come up with seven ways to cope when winter effects a person’s mental health. These are:
1. Do as much physical activity as possible. Physical activity can do wonders for an individual’s mental health. Being outside, experiencing nature and being around people can be as powerful as medication for managing mental health issues.
2. Make the most of natural light. This will not only increase vitamin D levels, as sunlight is an excellent source of vitamin D, but going for a walk outside will keep up your physical activity. If you work in an office try and get a desk near a window.
3. Invest in a SAD light. Seasonal Affective Disorder/ SAD is a form of depression which can lead to feelings of low mood in the winter. Some people work in offices with limited or even no access to natural light, meaning that in the winter it is dark when they leave home for work and dark when they finish work to go home. SAD lights are used as a part of light therapy which involves exposer to bright lights for up to two hours a time.
4. Keep blood sugar levels balanced. Whatever time of year it is, it is always good to keep your nutrition as balanced as possible, keeping processed sugars to a minimum.
5. Be creative. Activities such as art, photography, writing and even playing a musical instrument can help an individual to switch off from their day to day stresses, and turn a negative situation into a positive one. Joining a social group based around an individual’s interests will also help with sharing ideas and promote a better work-life balance.
6. Increase vitamin D intake. As well as keeping the bones and muscles healthy vitamin D can also help with combating mental health issues. As previously stated, natural light is an excellent source of vitamin D, other sources include supplementation and many breakfast cereals are now being fortified with vitamin D.
7. Talk. Although Western Society is seemingly more connected than ever with the help of the internet, actual human contact is reducing. If an individual has difficulty leaving the house in the winter, weather that is due to a physical impairment or a mental health issue, something as simple as a Skype call or telephone call can reduce feelings of isolation. You could be the only person an individual struggling to get out of the house in the winter has spoken to that week is you.
It is important for me to mention that we all have days when we feel fed up. This does not necessarily mean that you have SAD, however if you feel this way for extended periods of time seek medical advice.

Franco Columbu


August 31st marked a sad day in the world of Bodybuilding, Strongman and Powerlifting, when two-time Mr Olympia Franco Columbu died at the age of 78. Franco was the best friend and main training partner of Arnold Schwarzenegger for 54 years. I learned of the death of Franco when I logged onto my Instagram account and the first story that came up was Arnolds dedication to his best friend. Arnold met Franco in 1965 when they were both living and training in Munich and hit it off straight away. In 1968 Arnold was brought to California by the Weider brothers who both founded the IFBB. In his dedication to Franco, Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke of how he could thrive without money, he could thrive without being near his parents, however he could not thrive without Franco Columbu. After being constantly asked for a year by Arnold, Joe Weider brought Franco Columbu to California in 1969.

Franco Columbu was born in Sardinia Italy in 1941. His sporting career began when he became the Amateur boxing champion of Italy. Below you will find Franco Columbu’s championship titles:

Bodybuilding titles:

  • 1966 Mr Europe, 4th
  • 1968 NABBA Mr. Universe (Most Muscular)
  • 1969 IFBB Mr. Europe (Medium)
  • 1969 NABBA Mr. Universe (Most Muscular)
  • 1969 NABBA Mr. Universe (Short)
  • 1969 IFBB Mr. Universe (Short)
  • 1970 IFBB Mr. Europe (Short & Overall)
  • 1970 AAU Mr. World (Pro Short)
  • 1970 IFBB Mr. World (Short)
  • 1970 IFBB Mr. Universe (Short & Overall)
  • 1971 IFBB Mr. World (Short & Overall)
  • 1974 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Lightweight)
  • 1975 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Lightweight)
  • 1976 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Lightweight & Overall, first lightweight to win the overall title)
  • 1981 IFBB Mr. Olympia

Powerlifting titles:

  • Champion of Italy
  • Champion of Germany
  • Champion of Europe

Powerlifting best lifts:

  • Bench press 525 lbs / 238 kg
  • Squat 655 lbs / 297 kg
  • Deadlift 750 lbs / 340.2 kg

World’s Strongest Man competition:

1977: World Strongest Man, finishing 5th place, after dislocating his knee during the fridge carry.



Notable awards

  • 2009: Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award

It is worth noting that Franco Columbu stood at five foot five inches tall, had a competition body weight of 185 pounds/ 84kg, he would regularly outlift Arnold Schwarzenegger and is considered by many to be the strongest Mr Olympia champion.


As well as being a competitive athlete Franco Columbu also worked as a Chiropractor and had supporting roles in some of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s films. In Pumping Iron, you can see Franco lift his Dad’s car and blow up a hot water bottle until it burst. During the 1970’s and 1980’s he trained Sylvester Stallone for both the Rocky and Rambo movies.

Franco Columbu was a huge inspiration to many bodybuilders; he was able to prove that you could be a shorter person with a lighter bodyweight and still win bodybuilding competitions. He truly was the first “Giant Killer” Rest in Peace Franco Columbu.

British Weightlifting Competition


Its earlier than I planned however I have entered my first British Weightlifting competition. It is in Birmingham in the last weekend of October. I know I won’t win as I will be going to against people who have competed for years and that is fine with me. It is not about winning or where I place. For me this competition is about the experience of competing. When I weighed myself on Monday, I was eighty-six kilograms. To have a realistic chance of placing high I would need to be competing in the below eighty-one-kilogram category. I have decided to compete in the below eighty-nine-kilogram class as I feel that to try and drop six kilograms in eight weeks would be too much of a strain on my body and could possibly make me weaker. If I enjoy the experience, I will compete again next year and give myself plenty of time to make weight for the event.
What does this mean for my training moving forward? No more slacking in the gym, consistent workouts, consistent nutrition and no alcohol till I have competed. It also means being around more experienced lifters leading up to the event for advice and keeping in contact with my coach for constructive feedback on my progress. Finally, it means perfecting my technique as I want all my three attempts in both the Snatch as well as the Clean and Jerk to count as good lifts. If it means lowering the amount of weight I lift so be it.

Another Year Older

old cat

As I turn another year older, I reflect on what I have achieved and the changes in my life this past year. Thirty-four was a year when I moved into my own flat and got promoted, which led me to move to a different centre with in GLL. Thirty-four was also a year where I learnt how to perform the Olympic lifts correctly and made some important decisions on how I want my life to be. Now I am Thirty-five it is time to put those decisions into action. I have noticed that there are lots of people who complain about how bad their life is yet do nothing to make their lives better. Lots of people seem to have big plans for what they want to do with their lives yet fail to take any of the required steps to turn their plans into reality. It is understandable that people are scared to take the first steps required to turn their plans into reality. The grander the plan the greater the risk of failure. It is easier to worry about everything that could go wrong instead of focussing on what could work out. I am guilty of this. Some of the biggest changes I have made in my life have failed to turn out how I had hoped. Since turning twenty-one I have moved relocated four times in order to build a better life for myself. My last relocation brought me back to Swindon on one week’s notice. 2017 was a rough year however 2018 and 2019 have been much better. There are still some areas of my life where I spend more time worrying about what could go wrong, instead of focussing on how good it will be if things work out the way I hope they will. This is something I know I need to work on. Breaking a habit takes time, however I will give myself till the end of 2019 to break this one.


“The Shadow” Dorian Yates

Dorian Yates

In terms of bodybuilding and strength training my biggest influence was Dorian Yates. Dorian Yates is England’s most successful bodybuilder with six straight Mr Olympia victories between 1992 and 1997. In total Dorian Yates competed in seven Mr Olympia competitions and never placed lower than second. His only second place finish was in his first Mr Olympia competition. That was in 1991 when he placed second the legendary Lee Haney. In that show Lee Haney won his eighth and last Mr Olympia title before announcing his retirement from bodybuilding competition at the age of 31. The only other bodybuilder to win eight Mr Olympia competitions is Ronnie Coleman. Following his eighth win Lee Haney retired from bodybuilding competition.

Dorian Yates lived and trained in Birmingham. He was the owner of the gym that he trained in. That was the legendary Temple Gym, which he was able to get backing for after winning the British championships in 1986. To this day Dorian Yates is the only man to win the Mr Olympia competition without living in the United States of America. Below you will find Dorian Yates’ competition history:

Year Contest Placing
1984 Mr Birmingham 1st, Novice Class
1985 Novice West Coast 1st
1985 World Games 7th
1986 EFBB British Heavy Weight 1st
1988 British Championships 1st
1990 IFBB Night of Champions 2nd, 1st Pro Show
1991 IFBB Night of Champions 1st
1991 IFBB Mr Olympia 2nd
1991 IFBB English Grand Prix 1st
1992 IFBB Mr Olympia 1st
1993 IFBB Mr Olympia 1st
1994 IFBB Mr Olympia 1st
1994 IFBB German Grand Prix 1st
1994 IFBB Spanish Grand Prix 1st
1994 IFBB English Grand Prix 1st
1995 IFBB Mr Olympia 1st
1996 IFBB Mr Olympia 1st
1997 IFBB Mr Olympia 1st


During his Mr Olympia reign Dorian Yates was virtually untouchable. In 1994 he tore his bicep and in 1997 he tore his triceps. Both injuries occurred on the same arm as he was preparing for the Mr Olympia competition. In 1994 the injury was six weeks out, in 1997 the injury was three weeks out from the competition, which limited his ability to train. Despite these injuries he was still able to win. For some people Dorians 1997 win was questionable. The man who placed second that year, Nasser El-Sonbaty was in his best shape ever and Dorian was not in his best condition. Dorian’s condition was good enough for the win though. Although Nasser had better abdominal conditioning, he lacked the thick, grainy, granite like physique that Dorian Yates was still able to bring, and Dorian was able to hide the fact he was injured by the way he presented himself.

In the bodybuilding world Dorian Yates is known as the Shadow. This is because when he was competing, he tended to keep to himself. He lived and trained in England throughout his career. He was never tempted to move to California and train in Golds Gym. He was selective with the fitness expo’s that he went to. He would simply train in Birmingham, turn up to the competition, win it then go back to Birmingham for another year and train for the next competition. Dorian didn’t socialise much with other bodybuilders. On Joe Rogans podcast Dorian Yates said that the whole twelve years that he competed he lived like a monk. Everything he did had to fit around his training. He wouldn’t go out to the cinema if it was on a training day or the next day was a training day. He wouldn’t book a last-minute holiday because it would interfere with his training. Essentially if something didn’t benefit his bodybuilding career then Dorian Yates didn’t want to know about it.

After reading this some people might ask why somebody like Dorian Yates would be such a big influence on my training? The simple reason is that he was an innovator. Although he did not invent Heavy Duty/ High Intensity Training he did perfect it. High Intensity Training workouts are short and intense, lasting no more then one hour, with each exercise taken to absolute muscular failure. Dorian Yates was forced into retirement from bodybuilding competition due to injury. Like many retired athletes Dorian Yates went through a period of depression. For six years he was Dorian Yates Mr Olympia, there was no difference between Dorian Yates the man and Dorian Yates the bodybuilder. Once he was able to realise that his life could be less regimented, he began to look at all the things he could now do instead of focussing on the fact that he could not train the way he always did. Now that he was not a Professional bodybuilder Dorian was able to book a last- minute holiday, go to the cinema whenever he wanted and have a meal in a restaurant without having to worry about how many kilocalories were in the meal. On Joe Rogans podcast Dorian said that one of the happiest experiences of his life was when he was finally able to buy a suit off the shelf instead of having to get it tailor made. Another reason I am influenced heavily by Dorian Yates is because just like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dorian Yates can see the bigger picture. He will always be a six- time Mr Olympia and he is proud of what he has achieved, however that is not all he will ever be. Dorian Yates is also a father, husband, businessman and spiritual man. Dorian Yates now lives in Spain where he lives with his wife. He now takes part in Yoga classes; trains using circuit training and regularly rides his bike up the mountains in Marbella. He also has his own supplement company, DY Nutrition and has appeared on the podcast London Real three times.

Goat’s Milk

goat milk

Today marks the beginning of my four- month experiment in how my body reacts to replacing cow’s milk with goat’s milk. In 2017 I did the same thing with almond milk and didn’t notice any difference in how I felt and looked. I am aware that there may be some people reading this who follow a vegan diet who would tell me that I should not have any animal products in my nutrition plan at all. I am also aware that there will be some people reading this who eat meat and fish but would say that I should cut out dairy products completely. People will have their own reasons for not consuming dairy. I am simply interested in how my body reacts to the switch., listed ten benefits of replacing cow’s milk with goat’s milk. Some of which you can find below:

  1. Goat’s milk is easier to digest the cow’s milk. People who have issues with lactose intolerance find goat’s milk is easier on the stomach. Goat’s milk has a similar composition to human breast milk which could explain this. Goat’s milk also contains twice as much healthy fatty acids then cow’s milk which aids digestion.
  2. Goat’s milk is produced in healthier environment due to being produced on a smaller scale. This allows farmers to let their goat’s graze more freely then a dairy farmer can. Instead of large- scale milking factories, goat’s milk is collected in a more traditional way.
  3. A stronger bone structure. Both cow’s and goat’s milk contain high levels of calcium, however the calcium in goat’s milk is easier for the body to absorb. This is a result of goat’s milk being easier to digest.
  4. Anti-inflammatory properties. Goat’s milk has valuable anti-inflammatory properties which provide another good reason why many make the dietary change from cow’s milk to goat’s milk. A special enzymatic element that reduces inflammation in the gut. More research is needed to see if this can benefit other areas of the body.
  5. Improves cardiac health. Goat’s milk contains twice the amount healthy fat as cow’s milk. This helps to reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol and the high levels of potassium help to reduce blood pressure.


Some of the other benefits listed included lower carbon emissions due to the amount of methane cows produce, less toxins as goat’s are not fed growth hormones to boost milk production and the potential to improve the immune system due to high levels of Selenium in goat’s milk.


I am not Scientist, Doctor or a Nutritionist. This is not intended to be read as anything other then an experiment on myself and some information on the potential benefits. In four months I will provide an update on any changes to my body and mind.