I have always trained on my own since I began strength training. I have never had a training partner as such that I regularly train with. In the future perhaps this will change, but for now I like to train alone. As you’ll see below, for me, it’s a preference made more for reasons outside the gym than within it. I train alone in my garage gym. Last year I graduated from University and moved back home to help my Mum look after my ill father. In the past I’ve trained at a hotel gym for a short time, and after that a newly built University gym. Come September this may well change as I’m off to Edinburgh University to start my Masters Degree, but for now I’m happy training alone.
I was once asked, “It must be hard training alone like that, it must take a particular mindset to find motivation and push yourself on your own every session, even when you don’t feel like it”.
For some people I’m sure that’s true. For me, I’ve never struggled when it comes to pushing myself. I find it’s as much a mental challenge as a physical one. There’s nobody there to catch me mentally if I’m having a bad day. I have to pick myself up and get the work done. This is all part of my training for me. I believe it builds mental toughness, and reliance on myself when it comes to competition day and it’s just me and the bar on that platform.
I have never needed someone next to me screaming, “COME ON, IT’S ALL YOU BRO”. I’m a calm, and quiet lifter people would say. I prefer controlled aggression. It suits me better. I’m a big believer in the mental focus and controlled aggression you can create in your head. It leaves nothing wasted, nothing escapes, it all goes into that bar.
Training on my own builds mental toughness and self reliance.
I’m not tied down to set training hours, or having to factor in someone else when I decide to train. I walk into my garage if and when I want. It’s all on me and I wait for nobody.
I don’t have to change my training to suit another person. I can decide each and every session sets, reps, exercise selection and intensity I want. Sounds selfish almost, but we’re all very individual when it comes to training and our reaction to it, even from training session to training session, I want the flexibility to change my training to suit me. As Mike Tuchscherer often talks about, “You need to become a master at training yourself”.
I can listen to whatever music I want, even if it’s crap/embarrassing.
If it’s hot I could train in my boxers (Not saying I do, just that I could..)
If I fail, I fail. There’s nobody to catch me. Some may see this as a negative. I’m safe, I have catchers and chains to stop anything going wrong. Again, it’s all on me, I’m not relying on anybody as my safety net.
Training is my alone time, my therapy from the stresses and strains of the day. I am comfortable in my own company and find I need at least some private time to myself every day. Training allows me to switch off and just train without thinking about anything else. I love it.
I like to work things out myself. I video and analyse everything I do in the gym. I do ask advice from certain people I trust and have a lot of respect for. I’m always trying to learn and expand my knowledge, but from there I want to test and apply that knowledge myself.
I get to plan detailed macro-cycles built around my life.
The Void that Dave Tate talks about. I get that. That’s exactly how I feel when it comes to my training. It’s my escape, and for a few hours every day I chase that feeling of complete metaphorical weightlessness. Some people find that feeling of exhilaration jumping out of an airplane at the weekend, climbing a hill, watching a sunset, or heck collecting stamps. Above all it keeps me sane and makes me happy. If you haven’t already found your passion whatever it may be, go find it. It’s important.
Strong Body. Strong Mind.