Ian Hales, MyoPure Ambassador, wrote a blog for us called The Life of Iron at www.muscle.com.au (myopure started there before moving out on its own) from 2002 till 2006. Ian would often drop by and we’d chat and gossip about bodybuilding and training. Then Ian and his lovely wife moved out of Sydney to buy a house and start a family and we lost touch. Now he’s back.
To re-introduce Ian I’ve asked him a few questions:
Dr J: When did you first become interested in bodybuilding?
About 1990 I was injured playing club football with Edgeley Rangers in the UK and needed rehab on my lower back, the chiropractor advised me to start using weights to build up muscles in my lower back and that was the start of my love affair with weights.
Dr J: Do you remember much about the first gym you went too? I can remember mine was cobbled together with rusty barbells and plates in a squash court at the student union. Needless to say, I only lasted 2 or 3 visits.
Yes, the first gym I trained at was in a Church basement in Stockport way before health clubs even existed. All the benches were made out of wood and the plates and dumbbells were all just machined metal with the approx. weights written on in black marker pen. The squat rack and leg equipment was in another part of the building altogether -only accessible via the outside of the church-so on a Sunday morning you would be hobbling through the Church grounds in the snow with all the parishioners staring on. Strictly NO women allowed! – you could not simply pay your membership as you do today you had to earn your place and know your place in this strange hierarchy.
Dr J: Where did you do most of your training in the UK, what was it like?
Training in UK was completely different to here in Australia, you train in sweat pants and a hoodie and even one or two t shirts underneath, body fat was not an issue as you spent 364 days of the year covered up, with Australia’s warmer weather and outdoor lifestyle you tend to be more aware of how you look naked-and what you eat -not the “size at any cost’’ attitude when it comes to nutrition. This is a much healthier and long term approach to fitness I believe.
The yells and screams of those gym members still drive and motivate me to this day- they lifted for size and strength not for ascetic reasons. To push each other and compete on a day to day basis-something I believe is carried on with Cross fit gyms today. WOD was not created by Greg Glassman it was created 30 years ago by Zenk a giant Russian who trained at my gym! Things have changed in the UK since then -from what I can tell via the wonders of YouTube.
Dr J: Why did you move to Australia and how did you find the gyms different from what you were used too?
My wife and I moved here in 2000 to improve our quality of life and enjoy everything Australia has to offer. When I left the UK the Commercial Gym franchise trend was well underway-the days of the dungeon style gyms was numbered and this seemed to be following suit here in Aus. Now the dungeon style gyms have made a comeback thanks to the functional gym goers/Cross fitters. I love the outdoor lifestyle here in Australia something I value a great deal coming from the
Dr J: You’ve been training now for 26 years, how has your training style changed?
Yes, I have been training for 26 years with very few injuries I put this down to always warming up correctly. I use the first couple of sets going over a full range of motion keeping constant tension on the target muscle group -rep range anything up to 30 reps. The idea is to fill the target muscle with blood and prepare it for the hard work to come. I have always trained on the side of caution especially on the heavier sets. I never drop below 6 reps in a controlled form.
The most time I have ever had off is one week when my sciatic nerve was aggravated. I used to train 5 days on 2 days off-1 body part per day. Now I am older I train 2 days on 1 day off -I find my body needs the rest after two days of heavy gym work. Over the years I have used pretty much every workout style I have come across-full body workouts, drop sets, 8×8 programs, German Volume training etc.
Sometimes all of the above ☺. I love to mix it up and incorporate anything high intensity into my programs.
Dr J: Favorite exercise?
Squat, Squats and Squat ☺-my legs are quite short so I have the mechanical advantage. I love training legs in general even lunges. Then in close second would be back.
Dr J: Favorite bodybuilder? why?
Dorian Yates for his work ethic and ability to rise to the top with just above average genetics. And of Course Arnold for everything he has done for the sport and every young lifter he has inspired.
Dr J: If you could have a quiet word in the ear of the 17 year old Ian Hales, what would you say to him?
Would be to listen to your heart-and do what ever it takes to make a successful living from what you love -Fitness industry. If you do what you are passionate about you will never work another day in your life.
Dr J: Thanks for that Ian.